Friday, July 29, 2011

Children's Book Review: The Lion's Deceit by Mpho Otukile

Picture Book
Ages: 3 years and up
Paperback: 32 pages
Trim size: 6x9
ISBN:  978-0-9867460-0-0


A lazy lion goes against his real nature by tricking other animals so he can get some food without hunting. Will the lion get away with his plot? Find out in this beautifully illustrated story.

My Review:

This is my first book that I am reviewing from Village Life Books.  I am so glad I found out about this book and publisher.  Village Life Books is a new press publishing children picture books that focus on African stories and folktales. The vibrant illustrations and humorous stories are entertaining and can be enjoyed by both adults and children. The Lion's Deceit is the first book, and what a great book it is.  I just loved the beautiful illustrations, that made the story come alive.  
Just look at some of the beautiful illustrations:

This easy to read book will keep your young child's attention, all while teaching them an important lesson.  Read along as you follow a lion who pretends to be sick to get out of hunting.  He fools the other animals in the jungle, until the jackal figures out what the lion is doing.  Moms, please be aware that the lion eats the other animals in the book.  Many children will not catch on to this, but in writing about the jungle and how animals like the lion survive by eating other animals, it does a good job in telling the real story, while not being too graphic for young readers.

Share this cute book by Mpho today, and talk about the consequences of lying and deceit with your child afterwards.  This book makes a great teaching tool.  So, if you are looking for a book to read with your young children this summer, why not pick up The Lion's Deceit today.



Purchase autographed book from Village Life Books (Ships from Canada)


Purchase from Createspace eStore. Use coupon code 2LU4EXJM to get 10% off (Ships from USA)
Part of the sale proceeds is donated to Books For Africa to help ship book containers to Botswana.

Available now for purchase​m/index.php/bookstore/
More About Village Life Books (taken from their website):

"Our founder grew up in Botswana, Africa and has very special memories of growing up in the rural village in Botswana. At Village Life Books, our goal is to bring together resources which share the positive aspect of growing up in Africa with the world by sharing some of the old stories that our village elders and grandparents shared with us.

Storytelling in Africa is maintained by oral tradition. The stories play a very important role in the lives of the children. They help solve problems and teach moral values. Without grandparents and elders to tell the stories, the stories are often lost.  Village Life Books provides a means to preserve these stories in a modern way."!/villagelifebook

About the Author

Mpho Otukile comes from Botswana, in the Southern part of Africa where she grew up listening to stories told by the village elders at night while sitting around an open fire. As much as she was entertained, these stories also instilled some moral lessons about life. The author now lives in Winnipeg, Canada and is writing these stories to pass them to her daughter and other children. 

Don't forget to follow Mpho's blog to learn more about new book releases --

Disclosure: This is a MamaBuzz review I was sent a copy of this book in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Men & Women Enter For Chance To Win!

KRAFT and Real Women of Philadelphia Season 2 Hosts are calling you!  Grab your mixing bowls and oven mitts! 

The Real Women of Philadelphia are at it again and giving away a total of $20,000 as part of the Season 2 Recipe Contest. Men and women can enter for a chance to win $500 and the opportunity to contribute to the Real Women of Philadelphia cookbook by submitting their favorite recipes made with PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese or PHILADELPHIA Cooking Crème, a picture of their recipe and a short description. Each week, there will be a new recipe category and theme, including appetizer, side dish, entrée and dessert.  Five recipes will be chosen weekly with the submission period beginning July 25 and running through September 18. There will be a total of 40 winners.

To enter the contest, register at the Real Women of Philadelphia website at

Additional contest information, recipe themes and requirements are available at:

This contest is part of the Real Women of Philadelphia community which is now in its second season.  Community members have created their own site profiles, developed recipes, uploaded pictures, written articles and self-produced more than 12,000 entertaining short videos showcasing how they use PHILLY in their favorite dishes. These recipe videos  have received millions of views across various media channels and the Real Women of Philadelphia website. 
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Monday, July 25, 2011

Spotlight on Mommy -- Charlotte Howard of Charlotte Howard Consulting LLC and Hair Artist Association

 This week's Spotlight Mommy is Charlotte Howard of Charlotte Howard Consulting LLC and Hair Artist Association.  Charlotte is a life coach specializing in social media.  She assists hair and beauty professionals on creating a life changing income using their skills and the internet.  Through her coaching services, she can help you advance your career and business today.  If you or someone you know is in the health and beauty field and looking to boost your income through the use of social media and marketing, then check out Charlotte's website and services today. 

In the meantime, here is my Spotlight interview with Charlotte.


Name: Charlotte Howard
Company Name/Product/Service: Charlotte Howard Consulting LLC and Hair Artist Association
Company Location: South Carolina, but work with clients around the globe.
Company Website:
Facebook URL:
Twitter Handle: @charlottehoward @hairartistassoc
Age of Company: Charlotte Howard Consulting 3 years old, but initially started consulting under my own before forming LLC since the year 2000. The Hair Artist Association has been started in December 2010
Favorite Inspirational Quotes: Those that show up go up! Learned from mentor Pam Perry, Ministry Marketing Solutions
Favorite Book: Think and Grow Rich

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'm an author, hairstylist and life coach specializing in social media, assisting hair and beauty professionals on creating a life changing income using their skills and the internet.

How many children do you have?
3 kids

What are their ages?
15 years old, 6 years old and 6 months old

Your hobbies?
Beauty makeovers, traveling, reading, writing and social media marketing.

Briefly explain your business.

We assist women business owners with start-up and marketing. Our specialty is working with hair and beauty professionals on skill development, business development and life coaching.

How did it come about?
Charlotte Howard Consulting LLC and Hair Artist association both started from my personal passion of helping women start their own businesses. In addition being a hair industry professional I saw a big need for more skill development, business development and balancing of transitioning from corporate America.

What is a typical work day like?
I wake up every morning at 6 am to begin my day with my family and getting my kids ready for school. At 8 am I begin my work day with coaching clients either in business development, skill development, and life coaching. I usually end my work day around 7pm depending on client needs.

What has been a struggle while starting up your company?
My biggest struggle with starting my company I would have to say was putting together the right team of people and managing distractions when working from home.

What did you do in your past work life?
I use to be a salon manager in corporate America before starting my own businesses.

What have been some of your major successes?

The ability to help other people walk away from corporate America to start their own businesses and being featured on the Synergy Energy Show, Black Business Women Online, National Business Women Entrepreneur Network, The Works Team, Linked Influence,,, Digital-Women and Pure Salon Designs just to name a few.

What have been some of your major challenges?

When I first started one of my major challenges was wasting money on non productive advertising. After being mentored years and years by Pam Perry and Lashanda Henry this has been a true blessing. Now I am able to have more cost effective advertising that requires little to no budget.

On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?

My family motivates me and having the ability to change lives motivates me to do more.

What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?

In order for me to balance my business and family life, I work around my kids schedules. I write articles and complete social media in bulks. Meaning I will write 6 blog articles in one day. Then automate social media in bulk for entire month unless other special announcements arise. I consult with clients while my kids are at school or sleeping and my 15 year old gets paid in addition for watching her siblings during other times. She loves to make her own money too.

What is next for your business?

We are launching our very first magazine, mastermind team coaching programs and repackaging our look. In addition we are creating done for you services for the hair and beauty industries.

Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business?

Everyone has a passion that is just waiting to shine through. But not everyone knows how to take the key steps to move forward. Find a mentor that will help you step by step on building your blueprint to success for your business. Achieving goals in life is very exciting. Unfortunately, many people let others tell them what they can’t accomplish and give up. The reason for quitting would never happen if you learn how to deal with others when you have effective guidance. Build your confidence and your self esteem by facing your fears right now.
If you want help with starting your business just ask, there are many of us who have been there and done the very same thing that you are doing right now. Do not sit on the fence doing the wrong actions can cost you BIG time! Find your mentor, discover your passion and surround yourself with successful people.

Read more »

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mark Your Calendars -- Free Freschetta Pizza Opportunity -- August 4, 2011


Event Details:
Date - August 4th, 2011
What - FREE* FRESCHETTA® By The Slice pizza event
Where - From the comfort of your own home

FRESCHETTA® will be giving away thousands of slices of our delicious By The Slice pizza in a special live online event. The FRESCHETTA® By The Slice pizza will be given away in 5,000 increments every half hour. There will also be fun, interactive contests where you can win additional coupons. You can find all the delicious details surrounding this event on the message board in

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bib’expresso 3-in-1 Baby Bottle and Food Warmer by Béaba Product Review

Visit Béaba to view their entire product line.

Thank you to Béaba for providing me with a Bib’expresso to review free of charge. To order your own Bib'expresso or one of many Béaba products, visit
If you have never heard of Béaba products or the Bib’expresso, then this blog review is for you.  I was so excited when Béaba selected me to try out their Bib’expresso product.  And, with an infant at home who was formula/breast feeding, this was/is a must have item for any busy mom.

First off, I was impressed by the appearance of the Bib’expresso machine.  It looked like a high-end machine and fit perfectly amongst the other kitchen gadgets on the counter.  When friends came over, they were always drawn to the green and white Bib’expresso machine and wanted to know what it was and how it worked.

Being a busy mom, I don’t have the time to sit down and read through pages and pages of instructions for products I buy to use with my daughter.  I was pleased when I saw the instructions and was able to begin using the Bib’expresso machine in minutes.  What a life saver and time saver this machine is.  

Just look at the product features of this amazing product:
  • Bottle preparation in 90 seconds.
  • Safe - The bottle is always at the right temperature thanks to direct water control
  • Practical - direct water flow mixes the powder formula and helps ensure more even temperature
  • Easy to Use - just one hand required to prepare the bottle
  • Removable, ultra-compact bottle and food warmer can be used anywhere
  • Microwavable sterilizer/bottle storage compartment included. Can hold up to three 10 ounce (300 ml) bottles. Protects sterilized bottles from light and dust and keeps them handy and ready to use when preparing baby's bottle.
  • Self-cleaning steam system for in-depth cleaning of the device.
  • Product can be used after baby for preparing beverages with hot water such as tea and hot cocoa.
  • BPA-free.

I have been using the Bib’expresso for over 2 months now, and don’t know how I ever lived without it.  In the beginning, it would take me 1-2 minutes to warm up water in the microwave and then another minute or 2 letting the bottle sit in the heated water – all to get a cold or less than lukewarm bottle.  And, while this tedious process was going on, I had a crying baby attached to my hip just waiting for her bottle.  I needed a better way to warm her formula, and thanks to the Bib’expresso, my daughter can have a warmed bottle in 90 seconds.  How is that for convenience? And, now that my daughter is transitioning to more solid foods, I can easily warm her food jars in 30-60 seconds. This is so great!  And, I never have to worry about overheating.  In the past, I tried to heat her food in a bowl, but would either overheat it, or take forever just to warm it to the right temperature. 

So, if you are busy mom or know someone who is, you should definitely check out the Bib’expresso and other time saving products by Béaba.  I am thankful to have had the opportunity to try out this product.  I am now a Béaba fan and suggest their products to all my family and friends.  They also make great baby shower gifts!

---Buy Now---

To purchase a Bib’expresso machine by Béaba for yourself, click here to order directly from the Béaba website.  In addition, you can purchase the Bib’expresso machine at retailers like Amazon.

Disclosure:  While Béaba provided me with a Bib'expresso to review, the opinions I've expressed here are solely my own and represent my honest viewpoint. Béaba, Clever Girls Collective and I promote Blog With Integrity.
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Monday, July 18, 2011

Spotlight on Mommy -- Lisa Consiglio Ryan of Whole Health Designs, LLC

This week I would like to introduce you all to Lisa Consiglio Ryan of Whole Health Designs, LLC.  Lisa offers private and group health coaching for women who are ready to focus on themselves and become fit, strong, and healthy.  Through her comprehensive programs she will help you achieve your personal goals like weight loss, detoxing and more.  I know that it has been hard for me to lose the extra baby weight, and I would have benefited greatly from one of her programs -- that is, until we learned we were expecting again this November.  I have definitely bookmarked Lisa's website and will be taking part in one of her programs after baby #2 is born.

If you are looking to make healthy improvements in your life, but don't know where to start, you should check out Lisa's website and program offerings.  Don't let those New Year resolutions fall by the waistside again this year.  Do something positive for yourself today!  You don't know how great you will feel.

And, now on to my interview with Lisa.  Enjoy!

Name:  Lisa Consiglio Ryan
Company Name/Product/Service: Whole Health Designs, LLC/Reboot Your Body Spring Detox/Weight loss, women's health, detox
Company Location: Annapolis, MD
Company Website:
Facebook URL:
Twitter Handle: @LisaConsiglioR
Age of Company:  1 year
Favorite Inspirational Quotes: "I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship." Louisa May Alcott
Favorite Book: Half the Sky

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  How many children do you have?  What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc.

I am a holistic health and nutrition coach and mom of Kate and Jack. Kate turned 8 years old in April and Jack is 6 years old.  I love multisports. I participate in triathlons and running races. I also read everything dealing with nutrition!

Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about? 

I offer private and group health coaching for women who are ready to focus on themselves and become fit, strong, and healthy with my programs.  I was a teacher/mentor teacher for 15 years in a town outside Washington DC.  While I loved it, I always felt something was missing.  After doing some soulsearching, I enrolled at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in NYC and got certified in holistic nutrition. I actually went to the school to learn all I could about over 100 diets or so, but I realized that I had such passion for the coaching aspect. I decided to start my business, Whole Health Designs.

What is a typical work day like? 

Crazy! Well, no, not really. Okay, yes.  With 2 children, a husband, and a house, to take care of, I usually get up at 4:30 am to work out, get on the computer to start work for the day, get the kids to school, kiss my hubby goodbye, and get back to work.  I am usually doing a lot of program development at home, and I meet clients at my office during the day. Around 3 pm I get the kids off the bus, make them a snack, help them with homework, cook dinner, get the kids showered and ready for bed. After that, I am back at work.  Whew!

What has been a struggle while starting up your company?  

The main struggle is the learning curve with technology. Since I am not a born savvy techy, it usually takes me a lot longer to complete a task than most.I am getting help now so it is getting easier!

What did you do in your past work life?  

An elementary school teacher. I just loved first grade the most!  I also became a master/mentor teacher and coached new teachers.  Even now I am an educator but just in the nutrition field.

What have been some of your major successes?  

Personal it would be giving birth to Kate and Jack. I know, moms say that, but it is true. I am learning everyday more about patience and unconditional love. They are my best teachers.  In business, I have many satisfied clients who are reaching their health goals with my guidance. I am so honored to be working with such dedicated individuals.

What have been some of your major challenges?  

Balancing being a momprenuer!  I just love my business. This is it! I am so happy even though I work a lot and sometimes have to delegate tasks to my husband to keep things going on the homefront.  BUT I do admit, I get that guilty feeling when I have to head out to meet a client at 6 pm and Kate is crying, not wanting me to go. Breaks my heart, but I try to spend as much time as I can with them.

On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?  

The burning fire in my belly. I can feel it...I get so excited when one my clients says, "I feel so good, I don't ever want to eat that Big Mac  again. Give me my green juice!"  Usually I take some time and write in my journal about all I have done so far and that I am doing it!

What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?  

Google Calendar. I put all my tasks for work and home on the calendar and share it with my husband. That way Kevin knows each day what the family needs to do and I keep focused with my business tasks. 

What is next for your business?  

I am working on new customized coaching programs as well as webinars for virtual clients.

Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business? 

Stop thinking about it and just do it. Really, the more I would mull over things, the opportunities seem to be missed. If you have a driving interest, go for it. The world needs us!
Read more »

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

YA Book Review: Breath of Angel, a Novel by Karyn Henley

Paperback, 277 pages
Published June 21st 2011 by WaterBrook Press
ISBN: 0307730123 (ISBN13: 9780307730121)


Colorado Springs, Colo- In Breath of Angel (WaterBrook Press, June 21, 2011), award winning author Karyn Henley brings to life the tale of Melaia, a young priestess who witnesses the murder of a stranger in the temple courtyard.

A place where age-old legends recited in song suddenly come to life, in this story of two immortal brothers quest for restoration.

With Angels. Shape-shifters. Myths and stories… Melaia finds herself in the middle of a blood feud between two immortal brothers who destroyed the stairway to heaven, stranding angels in the earthly realm.

As the feud turns violent and Melaia becomes a target, she finds refuge with a band of angels attempting to restore the stairway. But the restoration is impossible without the repayment of an ancient debt—the “breath of angel, blood of man,” a payment that involves Melaia’s heart, soul, and destiny.

Young readers are sure to be intrigued and dig deeper into this make-believe story that explores the payment for redemption. 

My Review:
4 stars out of 5

I am not usually a big fan of fantasy books, but I thought I would give this book a read after reading summary.  I have been surprised lately with the increase of fantasy books and books about angels and spirits that have been showing up on bookstore shelves.

Again, not expecting much, I was pleasantly surprised to find this book was enjoyable to read.  It was full of suspense and Karyn Henley did an excellent job in keeping the reader interested through the story line and cast of characters.  This book is meant for young adults, but adults who like fantasy books will also like this book, the first in the Angeleon circle series.

I have to say there were a few times in the middle of the book that I felt lost.  But, Karyn did a great job of bringing the story full circle.  You will be surprised at the ending -- I was!

So, if your young teen or yourself love fantasy books, why not give Breath of Angel by Karyn Henley a try today.

About the Author:

Karyn Henley has written over 100 titles, along with being an accomplished songwriter nominated for a Dove Award. She also received a regional Emmy Award as Music Composer for a television special and lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, a jazz drummer.

Disclosure:  I was sent an advance copy of this book in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.

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Children's Book Review: Enchanted Thyme, Book 1 by Ariane Smith

  • Reading level: Ages 9-12
  • Hardcover: 123 pages
  • Publisher: Big Word Press; 1 edition (September 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0981487203
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981487205


Enchanted Thyme – Book one in the Delicious Adventure Series.

Every night at bedtime, 10 year old Belinda Phair and her younger brother Peter choose a story for their father, Chef Michael, to read them. One night they discover a new volume on their shelf, a book that neither remembers seeing before, a book that seems to have magically appeared, a book of endless stories, adventures and recipes. The book is “ENCHANTED THYME.” 

That night, as Peter and Belinda drift off to sleep, they're visited by three winged kitchen mice named Marjoram, Basil and Rosemary who whisk them off to the land of Enchanted Thyme.  There they discover a mystical forest heavy under the dark spell of the Fricassee Fairy.  The Fairy's powerful curse of eternal hunger has stricken the land's Queen Topstead.  Everyone in the kingdom is topsy-turvy trying to find a meal that will satisfy the Queen's longing and appetite.  Peter and Belinda are chosen to help the royal kitchen's master chef find just the right secret ingredient for a dish that will satisfy the royal appetite and restore order.
Will they ever be able to break the Fricassee Fairy's curse once and for all?
Well … fairy tales can sometimes come true. 

Read together: Ages 5-8
Read alone: Ages 8-11

To learn more about this book visit the Enchanted Thyme website.

My Review:

What a great book to read with children.  Not only will they go on an adventure, but they will also learn about cooking through fun and easy recipes that are included in each chapter of this book.  This is a great book to introduce to children who are old enough to help out in the kitchen and help you create wonderful and healthy treats.  Just look at one of the recipes that you can make together:

1 Tablespoon sugar
½ cup whole organic milk
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract or ½ vanilla bean (seeds scraped out)
¼ cup fresh blueberries
6 Tablespoons table or rock salt
1 sandwich size zip lock bag
1 1 gallon zip lock bag
•  Place sugar, milk,vanilla and blueberries in sandwich sized bag and firmly seal
•  Fill gallon sized zip lock ¼ of the way with ice cubes and sprinkle with half of the salt
•  Place sealed bag with milk mixture on top of the ice
•  Cover the bag with more ice cubes and sprinkle with remaining salt
•  Seal bag and shake for about 5 minutes until ice cream sets
•  Spoon ice cream in bowl or cone and enjoy
•  Try adding different fruits, nuts, coconut etc.

 Now, how easy was the above recipe.  And, with blueberries in season, this is a must try recipe. 

This book is set up to introduce children to a more modern form of fairy tales.  Your children will want to continue reading each chapter to find out what happens next.  It is simply written that children ages 8-11 would enjoy reading on their own.  If you like series books and are looking for a now book to add to your bedtime reading with your children, why not give Enchanted Thyme a try.  I can't wait for the other books in this series to come out and share with my daughter.

About the Author:

Ariane Smith is an award winning writer with over 20 years experience as a master storyteller and producer of live interactive children's events.  Her interactive storytelling shows have been heralded in print and on TV; and she personally has been cited as “one of New York's top children's entertainers.” Smith's Enchanted Thyme storytelling show and culinary workshop has become a staple at the FoodNetwork NYC Wine and Food Festival.

Her award winning children's novel ENCHANTED THYME is the first in a six book series and has received universal acclaim, even being called “one of the most sought after cookbooks for the holidays” by America Online. She is currently in production with a new 2D animated series for children based on her books.

As a playwright, her trilogy, THE VENUS CYCLE was commissioned by Tribeca Performing Arts Center in New York City where it gained favor in The New York Times, New York Newsday, The Daily News and Theatre Week.  It went on to win many grants including an endowment from the prestigious Harkness Foundation.

Ariane is currently at work on ENCHANTED THYME-Book Two, scheduled for a Spring 2011 release.

Disclosure:  I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.
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Monday, July 11, 2011

Hugh Aaron's Stories From a Lifetime Book Tour -- Book Review

ISBN 9781882521128, 288 Pages, Softcover
List price $15.00  


It’s a fact that living, being alive and experiencing life, is, by itself, an amazing experience. Regardless of our age, if we look back on our lives we are bound to find something or someone marvelous, unforgettable: a person, an event, even a dream. And when we look back from the vantage point of an elderly person, we have only the long past to ponder because there’s so little time left in the future. In our old age we think about our life’s experiences, especially the crucial ones that molded us into the persons we’ve become and marvel at them. That experience, those events, those people, are the sources of the stories you will find in Stories from a Lifetime. All of us are important, not only to ourselves, but to the people around us, and we carry them within us to the very end. All of us have such stories to tell, different from your author’s, of course, but no less moving, no less inspirational. So as you read each tale, think of your own stories, beginning with your childhood to where you are now.


Stories from a Lifetime carries readers through a widely diverse series of life’s peaks and valleys with poignant, clear-eyed vision and understanding that is only gradually gained across the course of a lifetime through endurance and honest appraisal of the emotional rollercoaster that we all ride.

These stories form a welcome, and increasingly rare, honest, grounded, and beautifully written collection that will touch nerves while sympathizing with what it means to be human.

Hugh Aaron delicately reveals the world through the innocent eyes of a young boy, through those of a soldier far from home during wartime, and those of a struggling businessman and faltering husband. He is unafraid to reveal panic beneath a façade of success, the deep and hollow sadness that may exist in an outwardly happy marriage, the yearning we feel to make a break for freedom from the rat race, the unexpected emotional responses that shift lives far beyond the expected course of events.

My Review:

What an amazing book to read.  Even though I am in only in my 30's, I have experienced so much personal, as well as had so many important people help shape and make an impact on my life.  Through Hugh Aaron's short stories, you are able to see how other people's lives are impacted and the emotional roller coaster many people experience during their lifetime.  It doesn't matter what age you, from the moment you are born to the time you take your last breath, each day you are impacting someone's life, and they and are others are doing the same with yours.  It is amazing to see how each individuals journey through life plays out, and how a series of events can shift our lives from one direction into another.  

If you are looking for a great summer read, I highly suggest picking up Hugh Aaron's book, Stories From a Lifetime today.  No matter what your age, you will truly appreciate the stories, and begin to think about the journey you have been on and what lies in.

About the Author:

Hugh Aaron was born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts.  He then went on to graduate from The University of Chicago, where his professors encouraged him to pursue a literary career. However, Mr. Aaron made his living as CEO of his own manufacturing business, while continuing to write.

Hugh Aaron sold his business in 1984, at which time he decided to devote his full attention to writing.  This endeavor has thus far resulted in two novels, a travel memoir, two short story collections, two collections of business essays, a book of movie reviews, a child’s book and a letter collection. The Wall Street Journal also published eighteen of his articles on business management as well as one on World War II.

Mr. Aaron has written a total of eleven full length and sixteen one-act stage-plays. His most recent books are a collection of five novellas entitled QUINTET, published in 2005 and a second short story collection, Stories from a Lifetime, which was published in December 2010. Most of Hugh Aaron's plays deal with contemporary issues and several have had readings at local libraries, churches, and in private homes. One of his full length plays was given a world premiere production by a prize winning theatre company in June 2009 in New Bedford, Mass. A second play was produced in Portland Maine in 2010.

Hugh Aaron resides in mid-coast Maine with his artist wife.

To learn more about Hugh Aaron and his works, please visit his website.

Disclosure:  I was sent a copy of this book in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.

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Spotlight on Mommy -- Dr. Thyonne Gordon of CoachArt

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Thyonne Gordon of CoachArt, a non-profit organization aimed at improving the quality of life for chronically ill children through arts and athletics.  I am just amazed at people like Dr. Thyonne Gordon and what they do for chronically ill children, out of the kindness of their hearts.  They look to make these children's lives better or more manageable through art, athletics, wish making, music, etc. Having recently battled cancer myself, I know how important improving a person's quality of life is during treatments, recovery, etc.  And, now with children of my own, I can't imagine what I would do if one of them was sick.  With Dr. Thyonne Gordon's non-profit, chronically ill children and their parents have a place to turn for support and inspiration.

Thank you Dr. Gordon for all that you do!  I know you have made many children's lives better because of your organization and services.

And, now on to my interview with Dr. Gordon of CoachArt.  Enjoy!

Name: Dr. Thyonne Gordon

Company Name/Product/Service: CoachArt

Company Location: Los Angeles, CA

Company Website:

Facebook URL:

Twitter Handle: @coachartorg

Age of Company: 10 years

Favorite Inspirational Quotes:  Bloom where you're planted!

Favorite Book:Children's version = Oh The Places You Will Go, Dr. Seuss; adult version = The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  How many children do you have?  What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc.

A little about me is usually a lot about others (smile). Let's see.... I have one beautiful 16 year old daughter and hundreds of other children through my work with CoachArt. It just so happens my hobby is finding new ways to encourage and empower young people and I love to travel.

Briefly explain your role.  How did it come about?

I'm the Executive Director of CoachArt, a nonprofit that improves the quality of life for children with chronic illness by providing them free lessons in the arts and athletics.  My primary job is to keep the program solvent through finding sources of funding. My secondary job is to find caring mentors for children in all walks of life.

After having my daughter I decided to stay home and became an entrepreneur. Through my work, writing, consulting and growing businesses, I was fulfilled yet, I knew I could do more with leverage of education and some funding behind me.  I returned to school, got my MBA and began working for a major company. Along the way, I was invited to a youth center in South Central and became so engaged, that shortly after I was working for them. I've spent the last years as an Executive Director with nonprofits encouraging and empowering young people.  At CoachArt there is an at-risk population based on their environment, economic conditions and illness. These youth are a marginalized population who's needs are not always understood.  This is why I'm so impassioned about the work we do. To see young people living with conditions like tumors, cancer, sickle cell and kidney failure actually come alive when offered arts and athletics opportunities is all I need to know that expanding my entrepreneur work into nonprofit work was the right thing to do.

What is a typical work day like?

There is no typical day when you're searching for funding. From lunch with board members to writing grants to visiting hospitals and healthcare providers to assure CoachArt can help them service chronically ill youth.  It's always something different.  Yesterday, I had to speak with a parent who just found out her child has an illness that will confine him to the house for a minimum of 6 months. Can you imagine a child not being able to go out and socialize for 6 months! I was called in because the child was 5-1/2 and our program starts at age 6. Tough decisions  to bend the rules for one child verses another but, I'm not so tough -- we began searching for a mentor immediately to help the family keep the child engaged.

What has been a struggle in your company?

It's a struggle with any business to assure the funding is adequate to serve the needs of its' constituents. But, with CoachArt, the struggle is in knowing there are so many people who need help and you can't reach them all.  I've been told "if you just help one person, you've lived a good life," but that doesn't do it for me. There are so many children suffering with chronic illness who need outlets to take their minds off the pain and isolation of their diagnosis.

What did you do in your past work life?

My career focus has always been in Business Communications. I've worked as an Operations Director for streaming and Entertainment companies and I've also acted as Executive support for studio Executives. The consistent theme has been in service for the greater good.

What have been some of your major successes?

When I think of major successes my first thought is to my 16 year old daughter.  We celebrated her birthday in April and I was quite the proud "momma" because she has grown into an intelligent, competent and respectful young woman. In regards to career, I've been able to engage people for securing funding for at-risk youth in a time of crisis and recession. That's no small feat!

What have been some of your major challenges?

The young people I encounter have such tremendous aptitude and spirit I want to hold their hand all the way. But, there comes a time when we have to let go. One of the major challenges is working with terminally ill youth. When it's time to let go ... they are usually ready ... but, I'm never ready. I always think there's something more we can do.

On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?

The impossible days are the days that motivate me. In the struggle, you see the real need.  Even if the struggle is a child rejecting the service -- then you understand the fear and blockage that's in their life.  The tougher it gets, the more I'm moved to make sure children get what they need -- a caring adult mentor in the arts and athletics.

What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?

I have not always been good at the balancing act but, my daughter helps me. In short, she just tells me to shut down sometimes because she needs time.  It makes me realize that there must be balance. She's into yoga, so I get to practice yoga. She likes music, so I enjoy music with her. We both love to dance so when it comes to going to the ballet or just dancing around the house -- we both get a little off balance and let our hair down!

What is next for you?

CoachArt is growing organically and we want it to be a national brand.  That is a big "what's next" but, I believe we will grow this brand into something that is recognizable by people everywhere and that benefits sick kids across the globe.

Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting/running a business?

I went to a show of a friend this past week and it was entitled, "The Time Is Now".  This actor decided not to wait for someone to give him a role but, to cast himself in his own creation. The only person holding you back is you.  So, don't wait to be invited to do something -- just do what you love, what you've thought, what you've created. Tomorrow's not promised so, The Time Is Now.
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