Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday’s Gathering Of Information

I’m constantly amazed at what one can find on the Internet and through blogs.

I can read a number of the wonderful blogs I follow through my inbox and that is extremely helpful when I don’t have the time to visit as I’d like. It also allows me to go back to a post for more information or a re-read when I have the time.

I have just a small sample of the interesting information I discovered in the past few weeks that I’d like to share with you. I hope by sharing this information I’m not infringing on any copyright issues. For this reason, I’m just going to hit the highlights of the information and give you the link so you can read more in-depth (in case you haven’t already seen it). 

If you are a self-published author, have you heard about Writer’s Digest’s 22nd Annual Self-Published Book Awards? This competition features works of self-published authors and is a great way for these authors to promote their work.

The competition welcomes writers from all genres. You can see the complete list of entry categories here. The First Place Winner in each category will receive some great prizes including promotion in Writer’s Digest and $1,000 cash among other things. There will also be one Grand Prize Winner! The list of prizes can be found here.

The early bird deadline for this competition is April 1. Click here for more information and to register.

Writer’s Digest is also sponsoring their 83rd Annual Writing Competition. This is a competition that spotlights all forms of writing including screenplays, children’s literature and much more.

Once again, some great prizes are being offered and a chance to have your writing showcased. A complete list of rules, regulations and prizes can be found here. The deadline for entry is May 5th.

As many of you know, we recently lost our beloved cat, Little One. She was almost 17 years old and she had been with us since her birth. Not have children, we tend to treat our pets as four-legged children so it can be quite heart-breaking to lose one of them.

I’ve found that people who aren’t as connected with their pets aren’t sure what to say to those who are when they lose one. And, of course, you have some people that don’t stop and think saying things that really hurt those grieving for their beloved pets.

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V had a good post recently about what to and not to say when someone loses a pet. The post was entitled ‘What to say to someone in mourning.’ As she mentions, the information is universal when it comes to grief.

The last bit of information I have to share deals with a federal court ruling and bloggers being protected as ‘traditional’ journalists.

The post I read “UPDATED: Federal Court Rules Bloggers Have Same First Amendment Protections as 'Traditional' Journalistswas written by Liza Barry-Kessler and was posted on BlogHer.

Be sure to check it out, if you haven’t already. I think you’ll find some interesting information. I must admit, I had never given much thought to this issue but this post made me stop and think.

What bits of information have you come across this week that you’d like to share? Isn’t blogging a wonderful way to learn new things and keep up-to-date on the latest happenings around the world?

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Things Are The Same and Snow Cream

Well, the snow remained yesterday and will still be here today. Hopefully it will begin to really melt today as we are supposed to be in the 40s. (Keeping my fingers crossed). 

The snow did melted a bit yesterday in spots, but then we dipped down into the teens and it turned to ice (oh, fun).

You might think that with all the snow I would have plenty of time to get caught up on emails, visiting blogs and reading.  Unfortunately that’s not the case when you live in the country, have horses and heat with wood. There’s always something that needs to be done.

I did find a few minutes to take a couple of photos and of course, make snow cream! There is something magical about snow causing you to see things in a different light.

As for the snow cream, who could resist? Have you ever made snow cream. It’s a lot of fun to make and taste great. I’ve noticed that when you ask someone if they’ve made snow cream, they usually respond with a story of how their mother made snow cream when they were growing up. Snow cream is just a tradition that has to be shared from generation to generation.

snow cream 2014Snow cream is one of those things that I really don’t have a recipe for. I know, there are hundreds of recipes on the Internet, but you don’t really need a recipe to make this delicious treat. It just take practice and the fun of tasting again and again. I just combine a little sugar and milk, add in snow and vanilla flavoring and mix well. If it doesn’t taste just right, add more of the ingredient you need. It’s best to eat the snow cream as soon as possible because if you freeze, it will be so hard that you will have to microwave it in order to eat it.

Thank you for visiting, I do so appreciate it. I hope where you are the weather is warm and beautiful. I leave you with one more photo.

lone pine cone in the snow 2014

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

This Wasn’t Supposed To Happen

What do you do when things don’t go as they were supposed to go? Do you adjust and make the most of it or do you let it get the better of you?

Pine straw in the snow 2014Old Man Winter or Mother Nature (or maybe the both of them) have been giving residents throughout the United States a run for their money this winter. With record-breaking temperatures and unseasonable snow storms, it’s not been a typical winter.

Living in the South, we typically see some snow during the winter, but thankfully nothing like those living in the North. Our snows tend to start out as rain, turn to sleet and ice and then end as snow for extremely messy and hazardous conditions. So our snows turn out to be more ice than puffy white snow.

Sunday and Monday of this week we enjoyed temperatures in the 40s with sunshine. Then the weathermen began talking about a winter weather advisory, but wait it was going to be in South Georgia not North Georgia as it normally is. From all their weather maps, we were completely in the clear – no rain, no sleet, no ice, and especially no snow – just a few flurries Tuesday morning. All the bad weather was to be from Atlanta and south.

Pasture in snow 2014Guess what? The weathermen forgot to inform Old Man Winter and/or Mother Nature of their prediction. The flurries began around 9 a.m. like they were supposed to. But instead of being a few flurries and tapering off within the hour, they turned into heavy snow showers and at this writing almost 7 hours later, it’s still snowing. Granted it has finally turned into the light flurries we were supposed to have this morning.

The last time we measured the snow fall (a couple of hours ago), we had already accumulated 1 ¼ inches of snow. Not bad for a few flurries today, huh? I’m sure when it’s over we’ll have at least an inch and a half snow, if not more. Okay, I know if you live up North, you’re laughing at me now saying ‘oh, boo hoo.’ But remember, we’re not accustom to snow and the weathermen said we weren’t going to get any so we weren’t prepared.

Magnolia in the snow 2014I know that snow is beautiful and serene, but I’ve never been a big fan of it. I guess the reason I’ve always disliked it so is because I had to work it. It’s no fun trying to cover traffic accidents in the snow when your own car is sliding all over the place as you try to get to the scene wreck hoping all the while that you’re not going to be involved in the next accident. Or you watch firemen covered in ice trying to put out a house fire where someone was burning candles after their power was knocked out by the snow.

As I’ve gotten older and since I no longer have to travel in the snow as much, I’ve tried to see it from a more calming outlook. I try to have enough supplies on hand that I don’t have to worry about trying to get to the grocery store (especially since it’s a 30 minute drive on a good day).

brook in the snow 2014I try to see the snow for the beauty that it is. Walking in the woods today, I was amazed at how loud the tiny flakes are as they fall. They can sound extremely loud hitting an umbrella, which I was using to shield the camera. But at the same time, there is a quiet like no other. 

It was funny, as I looked up and down the small branch flowing through the pasture, it brought to mind several movies, a few paintings and numerous plots from books. I guess it was that eerie quiet and the feeling of isolation that brought to mind characters lurking behind every tree. Smile

As life surprises us each day with things that were not supposed to be, we have to adapt and make the best we can of it. But, boy is it hard sometimes. I hope your weather is what you want it to be or you’re at least prepared for what you’ve got. Hopefully you still have the Weather Channel and can keep update on the latest changes in the weather (DIRECTV decided its customers didn’t need it anymore).

I’ve sprinkled a few photographs throughout this post that I shot yesterday during my walk. I hope you enjoy them. Thanks for dropping by today. Stay warm  and dry and may you have a cup of hot coffee (cocoa or tea) handy as you relax with a good book.
Waiting on Spring 2014

water and ice 2014
water still runs 2014

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Off The Shelf: Inspiring Memoir and Feel-Good Travelogue

Books that inspire and encourage give us a new outlook on the world and what we can do. Today I’m taking not one, but two books off my reading shelf to tell you about that do just that.

Today’s books are TURNING THIS THING AROUND and GOODWILL TOUR: PAYING IT FORWARD. I recently became acquainted with the author of these books, Keith Maginn, and found both of his books to be quite intriguing. Keith has agreed to share an excerpt from each of the books so that you might see what I mean and entice your reading taste buds even more.

The first book is TURNING THIS THING AROUND. Here’s a brief summary of it:

        TURNING THIS THING AROUND is an inspiring memoir of overcoming personal struggles. This brutally honest, deeply personal account of redemption takes readers on a moving spiritual journey. Confronted with caring for a manic depressive fiancée in addition to several of his own obstacles, the author was outwardly happy, but inwardly miserable. Pushed to the lowest point of his life, Maginn shares how he gradually turned things around and used his experiences to grow as a person.
        Supplemented by heartfelt poetry by the author and with quotes from Gandhi to Dr. Wayne Dyer to Eckhart Tolle, TURNING THIS THING AROUND has universal themes that speak to nearly everyone, as we all must face challenges as part of being human. TURNING THIS THING AROUND is a story of a normal young man’s resiliency when battling extraordinary circumstances.

Here’s what some readers on Amazon had to say about this moving memoir:

        Excellent read for all!: “Keith has done an awesome job creating a self help memoir to not tell others how to change their lives but to inform us with what worked for him and to encourage everyone on a positive path. After reading Keith's book I'm inspired to make positive changes for myself and don't feel so alone anymore. Thank you, Keith. Congrats on a great book.” -- By Sarah (5.0 out of 5 stars)

        Freakishly Honest: “I finished the book in a couple of hours. It's freakishly honest (that's a compliment) and it’s an easy read. Not many people have the guts to let their skeletons out of the closest. Not only does Maginn let his out...he lets them dance around and be their messy selves. You walk away from "Turning This Thing Around" feeling less embarrassed by your own hidden secrets and with empowering notion that there is always a way out.” --By Kela (5.0 out of 5 stars)

        An Amazing Story: “Like other reviewers I also read this book in one sitting. I was at actually at a loss for words when I finished reading it, I wasn't sure if I'd even begin to be able to convey how it effected me. The author’s strength to rise above difficult times and strive to improve his life, as well as his courage to tell his story in order to help others, truly amazes me. I have already recommended this book to several friends and will continue to recommend it to others.” --By Amy Kline (5.0 out of 5 stars)

Now for a short excerpt from TURNING THIS THING AROUND:


KeithMaginn_TTTA_picWhat the hell did we do to deserve this? That question has popped into my head a few dozen times in the past several months. I’m in a shit-hole motel somewhere in Atlanta, but it might as well be a five-star hotel compared to my fiancée’s situation: Mary is in a psych ward being treated for severe bipolar/manic depression. I just got off the phone with her. She was hysterical, begging me to sneak her Coca-Cola and muscle-relaxers.

I have no idea what to do or how much longer I can take this. Tears are streaming down my face and I am asking God, once again, for help. My life has fallen apart and I see no daylight ahead.

Mary is still furious with me about check-in night at the “rehabilitation center,” as they delicately call it. She is enraged at me because I refused to give her muscle-relaxers despite strict orders to the contrary. Weaning her off the plethora of medications she was on was the whole idea of bringing her here: sixteen prescribed meds daily and another ten to be used “as needed.” Up to twenty-six different medications a day for one person (and she weighed less than 120 lbs.)!

And they were not helping; quite the opposite, actually.

I stood firm on that first night, refusing to “help her pain” by disobeying facility commands. Mary cried and told me to leave; she said I must not really love her. I stalled for a few minutes, waiting for her to change her mind. She did not.

Hadn’t I proven time after time I would always be there, that I truly loved her and would do anything I could for her? Hadn’t I talked her out of suicide multiple times, holding her on the bathroom floor or in bed as she cried uncontrollably night after night? Didn’t I lay with her in the hospital telling her things would be better someday? And now she’s saying I don't care and she doesn’t want me around?

So I left the building.

I went to my car to think for a few minutes. I decided to go back to Mary’s room. I asked her if she really wanted me to go. She said if I wouldn't give her the muscle-relaxers, then I should.

I left again.

The Most Loving Thing I Could Do
sitting outside your prison
where they’re trying to figure you out
wondering why you?
why now?
what’s this crazy world all about?

Been trying to read a little
but thinking of you a lot
you’re stuck inside alone
wondering if you’ll make it or not
I keep tearing up
looking to the sky
drops smack the pavement
as I ask “oh God, why?”

I know you feel so alone
maybe someday it will make sense to you
why I didn’t give you what you asked for
that’s the most loving thing I could do

I withheld from you
what I was ordered not to give
even when you said
I should leave
there was no reason for you to live

I would give up us
my love
only if that would help you
maybe someday you will understand
that’s the most loving thing I could do.

–KM (February ’08)

Mary had been manic on the drive down from Knoxville, Tennessee, the phase of her illness when she felt indescribable euphoria. I dreaded this stage because of the devastating low that inevitably followed. And it wasn’t her; it was a fake happiness, a mirage.

She’d had these sporadic manic periods for years, often staying awake for days. Mary would finish entire novels in one sitting or jog for miles, despite rarely exercising normally. It was a fantasy-like high, as if she were on hallucinogenic drugs.

The rehab center was one highly-monitored hallway of rooms. Patients stood inert with blank expressions on their faces. Others stared at bare walls as if there were no life inside them. I could not tell what gender some of the patients were. There were odd, primal sounds coming out of several rooms.

Nearly all the patients had attempted suicide at least once, some several times. Many were in the midst of electro-shock treatments. It was a sullen, grave place, much like the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest with Jack Nicholson.

The huge difference to me, of course, was that in this real-life psych ward, my fiancée was the main character.

Mary was adamant that no one know the whole truth of our predicament. A great number of prejudices and stereotypes are associated with mental illness in our society and she did not want to be judged unfairly. Nor did she want pity. My friends and family eventually began to suspect something was not right, but chose not to pry. I admitted to others that Mary struggled with migraines and insomnia—which she did—but no one had a clue how serious her problems were.

In the meantime, I could feel myself slipping away. I was going down with the ship. My mind was a whirlwind of worry, sadness, confusion and anger. It was overwhelming.

I feared I was losing my mind.

Repeatedly, I asked God for help, but things kept getting worse. What did Mary do to deserve this? She was a good person—so great with kids—yet had suffered almost her entire life.

And, what did I do? I was a good person. Had I not spent years in low-paying jobs helping others instead of chasing a bigger paycheck elsewhere? And for what, so we could struggle with bills and barely afford groceries?

I often feared Mary would finally give up. She swore she could never do that to me, but she talked about it often.
We had no idea how long Mary would be at the rehab center. Thank God my boss was understanding and told me to stay as long as I needed and not worry about work right now (I only told my boss that Mary’s health was terrible and we were going to a center to help her regulate her medications). I had very little money, hence the shoddy motel. My “smoke-free” room reeked of cigarettes and had multiple burn holes in the drapes and comforter. The cleaning crew neglected to clean the shavings from the previous guest, which were still on the bathroom counter-top and in the sink. Yet compared to Mary’s circumstances, I had no right to feel sorry for myself.

After Mary asked me to leave, I drove an hour toward home before I swallowed my pride and returned to be with her. I didn’t know if she would pull through. I didn’t know if either of us would ever be “okay” again. I had no idea how we’d gotten into this mess or if we could get back out.

Visiting hours at the center were 5 to 9 pm. I spent the days reading and writing, but mostly worrying. I also passed time in a small hospital chapel next door to Mary’s facility, meditating and praying. I prayed mostly for Mary, but—for the first time in years—I also prayed for myself.

Here’s a look at Keith’s second book, GOODWILL TOUR: PAYING IT FORWARD.

        In mid-July of 2011, Keith Maginn, and his friend, Emily, set off from Cincinnati, Ohio, on a 3,000-mile road-trip through several southeastern states. The pair stopped in Memphis, New Orleans, Savannah, Charleston, Asheville and smaller towns in between. GOODWILL TOUR: PAYING IT FOWARD is a travelogue detailing a philanthropic experiment in this incredible country the two call home.
        What makes their trip unique is that sightseeing wasn’t their sole purpose. Emily and Keith were determined to spread kindness as they worked to make a difference in the lives of others along the way. They gave their own money to hand-picked strangers, who then had to pay the money forward to someone else.
        GOODWILL TOUR is the narrative of the places Emily and Keith visited and the people they met on their journey. It is an ode to the United States and, even more, a tribute to its people. From Beale Street to Bourbon Street and Graceland to the Biltmore Estate, from feeding the needy in downtown Charleston to brainstorming ideas with a female Buddhist monk to help abused teens and high school dropouts in North Carolina, readers will enjoy riding shotgun on the trip as they relive the experience of these life-altering events, and contemplate how people changed as a result.
        Emily and Keith’s pay-it-forward mission will touch and inspire readers to take the trip that they’ve always dreamed of or to have a positive effect in the life of a loved one, an acquaintance, or even a complete stranger.

Here’s what some readers on Amazon have to say about this feel-good travelogue.

        Highly recommend: “A short, concise, to-the-point book. In a world where negative news always seems to take priority, this "paying it forward" mentality reminds us of the good in humanity. I was able to read it in a single sitting and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for an inspirational read.” --By Charlie (5.0 out of 5 stars)

        Refresh your heart: “The perfect mash-up between The Motorcycle Diaries and Pay It Forward, Goodwill Tour reminded me of the impact one act of kindness can make. I read it and wondered "Why aren't there more people doing this?" With no motivation aside from making the world a better place, the author and his companion brave the open road, and find kindness in unexpected places. A great book to cure your fear of giving.”  --By Meg (5.0 out of 5 stars)

        Hats Off: “My hat is off to the author for chasing a lifelong dream and spreading humanity. This book is a great illustration of the wonderful country we live in and the good that can be achieved when people come together to serve others.” -- By Dersh (5.0 out of 5 stars)

Now here’s a short excerpt from GOODWILL TOUR: PAYING IT FORWARD:

First donation: Memphis, Tennessee

KeithMaginn_GWT_picIn the morning, Emily and I decided to heed several friends’ suggestions and took the $4 monorail to Mud Island River Park. On the ride over, a female staff member dressed in khakis and a bright red Mud Island polo shirt greeted us. Being the lone passengers at the time, Emily asked the attendant, “Are you our entertainment?” Without hesitation, our host did an impromptu dance for us.

We could tell immediately that Jena (pronounced “Gina”) was an affable young lady who didn’t waste time complaining about the 100-degree temperature. When questioned about her favorite part of the job, she said it was being able to meet people from all over the world, from Amsterdam to Hawaii. Her favorite thing about Memphis: “Beale Street. There are so many places to go and eat, to hear live music. It’s always live.”

Jena could have been in a foul mood, outside in excessive heat. Instead, she had a big smile for everyone, asked questions, and seemed genuinely interested in our responses.

Since two cars shuttled visitors to and from Mud Island, we told our new friend that we would catch her train on the way back (which she told us was the car that Tom Cruise had ridden during the chase scene in the movie The Firm). As we got off the rail, I hinted strongly to Emily that we’d just met our first donation recipient.

While we put the idea on the back burner, Em and I explored Mud Island. Had the temperature been 25 degrees cooler, the park would have been the ideal setting for a picnic. We saw several young adults singing and dancing, oblivious to the hotness. The sun shimmered on the Mississippi and a light breeze lifted from the water from time to time. It was a beautiful day in Memphis, with blue skies and few clouds.

When we stood by to return from the island, a staff member told us Jena was on her break for the next 45 minutes. We decided to wait. After all, we’d promised we would see her again.

So we plotted.

Giving money to a stranger was foreign to us. We didn’t know how to give cash to a person we had just met. Even Emily, who seems comfortable in any situation, was nervous.

I suggested we pose the idea to Jena as if we were conducting a survey, asking strangers what they would do if someone gave them $100. (Unlike the donations to come, this was not necessarily a pay-it-forward gift: One of Emily’s co-workers had donated $100 to be used specifically in Memphis, as her family had lived there years ago when her husband was in the military.)
Soon enough, we saw Jena again. She remembered our names, which impressed us, as she probably saw hundreds of people every day. Jena looked suspicious: “They told me y’all wouldn’t get back on without me.”

Emily: “Well, we told you that we’d see you on our way back.”

I dipped my toe in: “Yeah, we’ve been walking around asking people this question, ‘What would you do if someone just walked up and gave you $100?’”

Without hesitation, Jena replied: “The staff is not permitted to accept tips.”

I tried again: “No, no, no. I’m just saying hypothetically. What if someone gave you $100?”

Without a second’s pause, Jena answered: “I have four kids. I’d give them each $25.”

Emily and I changed the subject and hid our smiles.

Worried Jena might be prohibited from taking our gift, we decided we should talk to her boss. After getting our picture taken with Jena, we told her goodbye, acting like we’d never see her again. When I got to the ticket booth, I asked to see the manager about one of the staff members.

The woman behind the desk shot back, “What did he or she do wrong?”

I clarified that it was quite the opposite. We wanted to reward Jena for her great attitude.

As the woman paged the manager, she said: “Well, you picked a good one. Jena sometimes goes across the street and shares her lunch with the homeless people.”

Two men came out of a back office and asked me how they could help. I explained that Emily and I were doing a “goodwill tour” of several cities and wanted to give money to deserving people. I told them how great of a job Jena was doing and that we were not giving her a tip, but a surprise gift as part of our project. They agreed that Jena was a great choice and asked only that we give her the money offsite.

One of the men radioed for Jena to come down to the office. A few seconds later, she saw Emily and me with her boss and gave us a “what-the-hell-is-going-on?” half-grin. Her boss asked Jena to go across the street with us and get him a newspaper.

Hesitantly, she walked with us. I can’t imagine what was going on in her head at this point.

I broke the ice: “Remember that $100 we talked about on the monorail, Jena? Well, we want to give it to you. We are traveling around, meeting special people and giving money away. After meeting you and seeing what a great job you do, we want you to be our first selection.”

Jena was shocked, and tears welled up in her eyes, which caused a chain-reaction in Emily and me. She couldn’t believe strangers as of a few hours ago were giving her money. Jena said she couldn’t wait to share the joy with her kids. She informed us that she is 26 and the mother of three boys and a girl, ages one, four, five and eight.

Giving Jena the money felt great (though the credit goes to Emily’s co-worker Nancy for her generous contribution). It was an emotional experience, and we seesawed between nervous laughter and happy tears. Jena sighed, “Today, I am truly blessed.”

After more hugs and pictures, Emily and I had to move on. Relieved that our opening donation went better than we could have imagined, we were able to relax. Maybe this crazy plan would work out after all.


Keith Maginn was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, the youngest of four kids. He attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, as an Evans Scholar. After earning a Bachelor's degree in Sociology, Keith relocated to Knoxville, Tennessee, to work for AmeriCorps (a service organization like the Peace Corps, but within the United States) and for Knoxville Habitat for Humanity.

Keith recently moved back to Cincinnati after living nearly ten years in Tennessee. He likes to be around family and friends and has eight nieces and nephews that he adores. He loves playing and watching many sports and also enjoys live music, writing, meditation, yoga and reading.

In December 2012, Keith self-published an inspiring self-help memoir, Turning This Thing Around. Maginn's second book, Goodwill Tour: Paying It Forward, is about a philanthropic experiment on the road. Released in January of 2013, the author hopes it will be his second book of many more to come. He feels writing is his life's purpose and that he has a message to share that will help others.

Five things about the author:

1. His favorite books are Tao Te Ching, On the Road, Into the Wild, The Alchemist and The Motorcycle Diaries. His favorite authors are Jack Kerouac, John Steinbeck and Paulo Coelho.

2. Driving around the country in a small RV or Airstream trailer for a few months tops his bucket list.

3. His biggest pet peeves are arrogance and inconsiderateness.

4. The Dalai Lama is the person that he would most like to meet.

5. He enjoys a wide range of music (Pearl Jam, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Band of Horses, Johnny Cash, Dave Matthews Band, Hank Williams, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bob Marley, Kings of Leon, Waylon Jennings, The Black Keys, Jack Johnson, The Script, Mumford & Sons, Tim McGraw…). The two best written songs ever: “Imagine” by John Lennon and “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

For more on Keith and his writing, visit his website and connect with him on Twitter.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I hope I’ve whet your reading appetite with these two fascinating books from this new-to-me author. Have you ever had something good done for you and then you in turn did something good for someone else?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Organic Beauty with Essential Oil, Plus A Giveaway

NOTE; The winner of this giveaway is Joy Q. Congratulations to Joy and thanks to everyone who entered the contest.

I’m delighted to be participating in author Rebecca Park Totilo’s Premier Virtual Author Book Tour for her latest release, ORGANIC BEAUTY WITH ESSENTIAL OIL: Over 400+ Homemade Recipes for Natural Skincare, Hair Care and Bath & Body Products.

In this day and age it’s always nice to be able to provide your family with all-natural bath products. This book offers more than 400 eco-friendly recipes for beauty products. Thanks to the author and the lovely Teddy at Premier Virtual Author Book Tours, I have a copy of this delightful book to giveaway. Please see the end of the post for the details.

I’ll share my thoughts on this book, tell you a bit about the author, list the other bloggers participating in the tour and provide the giveaway information.


Organic Beauty CoverFinding all-natural bath products can sometimes be a difficult and expensive task. Learning how to make your own organic bath and body products using essential oils is the answer.

Author Rebecca Park Totilo has crafted a helpful resource guide that will lead you through the process of making your own products step-by-step. ORGANIC BEAUTY WITH ESSENTIAL OIL is filled with more than 400 simple and easy recipes that will indulgence and enrich you from head to toe.

The various products you can create will not only smell wonderful, but will also have therapeutic benefits to help in your all over natural health. The rich organic ingredients will aid in a relaxing and refreshing experience.

The book is designed in such a way to help those interested in using essential oils whether you’re a novice just beginning or experienced with using the oils. Many of the detailed recipes also contain variations that can be used to fit your own unique flare.

The author explains the differences in the oils and how they can benefit your body. In addition, the book details the various methods for using essential oils on the body. There are also handy charts for blending and diluting. Throughout the book, there are helpful tips to assist with the creating process.

With this handy guide you can create your own bath salts, body powders, shower gels, shampoos, luscious body creams and lotions, lip gloss, facial scrubs and toners, and foot lotions just to name a few. When it comes to pampering yourself or giving the gift of natural products, ORGANIC BEAUTY WITH ESSENTIAL OIL is the right resource book to have. 

Organic Beauty with Essential Oil: Over 400+ Homemade Recipes for Natural Skincare, Hair Care, and Bath and Body Products by Rebecca Park Totilo, Rebecca at the Well Foundation, @2013, ISBN: 978-0982726426, Paperback, 232 Pages 

FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me as part of the author’s virtual blog tour in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.


Rebecca Park Totilo’s flair and passion for life bursts into living color when she writes and speaks, as you will see in the visual way she presents herself. She literally believes in the “show, don’t tell” principle in everything she does. Becca has ministered to literally millions of people via television, radio and live appearances. She is an award-winning published author of over 40 books, including “Therapeutic Blending With Essential Oil.” “Heal With Essential Oil,” and “Through the Night With God.” 

Her credits include working as a contributor writer on two best-selling series (“Quiet Moments with God” and “Stories for the Teen’s Heart”) which sold over one million and five million copies respectively. She is also a freelance writer for several national magazines include Christian Parenting Today, Discipleship Journal and Woman’s World.

Rebecca’s photography work has appeared in numerous national magazines such as Woman’s World, Sports Spectrum, Evangel, and Sharing the Victory. But by far, her greatest accomplishment, if you asked her, is after a decade of rejection slips (with almost 150 in one year!), Rebecca hit it big in 1999, with over 13 books contracts, ranging from teaching curriculum to gift books and devotionals for adults. Truly, it’s her grit determination that makes her inspirational writings draw such a mass market appeal.

Rebecca graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1986 with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Information Systems. In addition, she attended Faith Bible Institute in Richmond, Virginia, for instruction in ministry and University of the Nations in Hawaii. She is also trained as a Clinical Aromatherapist and is an international educator offering online courses on the art of perfume-making and how to blend with essential oils worldwide on her website

Rebecca owns a cute soap boutique, Aroma Hut, near the beach in Florida where she practices as a Clinical Aromatherapist. She won the Writer of the Year in Non-Fiction (National Writer’s Association).

For more on Rebecca and her writing, you can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

ORGANIC BEAUTY WITH ESSENTIAL OIL is available at the following locations: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Book Depository.


For additional chances to win a copy of this enjoyable book and learn more about the author, visit the following blogs participating in her tour:

So Many Precious Books Jan 2 - review and giveaway 
Teena in Toronto Jan 3 - review 
Daddy Blogger Jan 5 - interview  7 pm pst Google Hangout- Live 
Saving for Six Jan 6 - review 
Taking Time for Mommy Jan 7 - review  
Library of Clean Reads Jan 8 - review 
Just Another New Blog Jan 8 - review and giveaway 
Indie Review’s Behind the Scenes Jan 10 - Live Radio 7pm
Luxury Reading Jan 13 - review and giveaway 
Daddy Blogger Jan 15 - review  
Let’s Talk About Books Jan 16 - review  
Princess Gummy Bear Jan 17 - YouTube Video Demo 
Peppermint Ph.d Jan 20 - review and giveaway
Mrs. Mommy Booknerds Jan 21 - review  
Deal Sharing Aunt Jan 22 - review  
Beagle Book Space Jan 22 - review  
Joy Story Jan 23 - review  
I’d Rather Be At the Beach Jan 24 - review and giveaway 
Sincerely Stacie Jan 28 - review 
Beauty Is a Sleeping Cat  Jan 29 - review
Sammy The Bookworm Jan 30 - review and giveaway 
Genuine Jenn Feb 3 - review  
Mama Knows Books Feb 4  
Books, Books & More Books Feb 5  
Life Happens With Kids Feb 6


This giveaway is for one copy of ORGANIC BEAUTY WITH ESSENTIAL OIL. The contest is open to residents of the U.S., who can choose either a print copy or eBook format, and residents from other countries who can win the eBook format.

To enter, just send me an e-mail ( with the subject line, “Win Organic Beauty.” Residents of the U.S. can select either a print copy of the book or an eBook. Your message should include your name and mailing address for the print copy or the email address you’d like the eBook sent to and the eBook format you’d like. If you are an international visitor entering the giveaway, please include your name, the email address you’d like the eBook sent to, and the eBook format you’d like in your message. And, just so you know, I don’t share any of this information with anyone other than the publisher/tour promoter nor use it for any other purpose. The deadline to enter this giveaway for a copy of ORGANIC BEAUTY WITH ESSENTIAL OIL is 8 p.m. (EST) on Tuesday, Feb. 4th.

After a random drawing is held to select the winner, the winner will be notified by email and will have 72 hours to respond to the email before another winner is selected. FYI: the author will be sending the books to the winners once the tour has ended and all winners’ information has been received so it will probably be mid-February to late-February before the books are shipped out.

Thanks so much for visiting here today. Do you make your own beauty products? Have you used essential oils before?