Sunday, March 5, 2023

Hope and Fortune Children's Book by Marissa Banez



I'm reviewing this charming children's book as part of the author's blog tour with WOW! Women On Writing. I jumped at the chance to participate because I love children's books and this one is delightful. Its message inspires children and adults who find difficulty being a bit different from others in today's world. Plus, I love the gorgeous illustrations.  A win-win.

The story is about a young girl named Esperanza (her name means hope) who chases a butterfly into the Fabled Fairy Forest. Once in the forest the butterfuly disappears leaving Esperanza lost and scared. The Golden Tree wanted to help her and so he said:

Deep into the Fabled Fairy Forest you should go 

To learn everything you need to know.

Sometimes we all need someone for guidance.

It's scary but we don't need to suffer in silence.

So find the twelve Fortune Fairies at all cost.

They will help you to never again feel lost.


From there the story continues with Esperanza encountering twelve diverse, multi-cultural fairies that gift Esperanza with their hope, wisdom, virture, and courage. 

Below is a list of all the stops on the author's tour with WOW! And in case you missed her initial interview  on The Muffin you can link to it here.

About the author:

A first-generation immigrant to the U.S. from the Philippines, Marissa Banez is a graduate of Princeton University and a lawyer licensed to practice in New York, California, and New Jersey. She has published legal articles for the prestigious New York Law Journal and the American Bar Association, but her true passion is in her children's stories. She currently lives in New York City with her husband and daughter. In her free time, Marissa likes to travel, design and make clothes, cook, binge-watch Star Trek shows and Korean dramas, and occasionally strum a guitar.

She is currently working on her second book, Hues and Harmony (How the Singing Rainbow Butterfly Got Her Colors), a story about mixed or multiracial children, self-discovery, and respect for others as told through the life and adventures of a caterpillar. It is scheduled for publication on July 20, 2023.

You can find her online at: Her WebsiteFacebook, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Goodreads



Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Thinking of Spring

 Borrowed this illustration from the web. It made me smile and reminded me spring is coming. I love seed catalogs, especially vintage ones, but reading them is about all I do. I wish I wanted to plant from seed. My late husband always planted seeds in the garden, his spots. Sunflowers and morning glories mostly. He was a patient man. Me? I've got to buy plants to put in the soil. Instant gratification? Yes, I admit it. I love to plant something that is ready to bloom, waiting is hard to do. Especially when the first signs of warm weather creep in I want to see color in my yard. As I type this and look out my french doors, daffodils are in bloom. They come back every year on their own. I'm worried a cold snap will come and they will leave. But for now, they remind me of all the beautiful flowers that will return this year (flowers planted by the previous owners of my house) and have me looking at photos on Instagram of beaufitul gardens, wondering what plants will I buy, bursting with buds, to plant on my patio. Perhaps I'll try a bit of patience and remember that big guy who loved morning glories and sunflowers and buy a few seed packs to see if I have any green in my thumb.

Sunday, February 5, 2023

The Ultimate Brag Book About Yourself by Marla J. Albertie Review


I'm reviewing this book as part of the author's blog tour with WOW! Women On Writing. It is a unique concept as it is more of a journal to get you thinking about all the positive things about yourself. A small introduction by the author followed by a hundred questions for you to answer. There are 216 blank lined pages with a topic at the top. Some of the pages are blank lines while others have numbers on the lines to make you work harder to think about multiple answers. While this book is for any time of the year, I loved getting my review copy as the new year started. We all make those resolutions trying to think what changes will make the upcoming year better. This book makes you realize you are pretty cool as you are then goes further to help you plan what's next. Simple? Yes and No. I put on my thinking cap and answered some of the questions and surprised myself. At times we all doubt who we are, what we contribute to the world around us. In all the hurried craziness of life we get lost. I loved finding out so many happy things about myself. Some of the questions in the 100 questions include: 10 strengths of mine are, 10 "me time" things I do for self-care, 20 things I am super great at, 10 things that make me smile, 10 accomplishments I am proud of, my 15 favorite memories, 10 things I'm obsessed with, 10 things I learned from my parents. The list goes on to 100 questions with plenty of room for you to jot down all your answers. I love journaling, writing, and this book is a lovely place to keep my thoughts and create new ideas. A perfect book for yourself or to give as a gift. I'm keeping my copy on my bedside table and at night answering a question or two before I turn out the lights. My dreams will be full of positive thoughts thanks to this sweet book.

About the author, Marla J. Albertie:

Marla believes life is a journey and we can create the life we want. She is the owner and founder of TruthSpeaksGroup LLC, a multi-media company that creates strategies and solutions  for work/life integration/harmony. She is also the founder of MJA Notary Services, LLC, MJA Publishing LLC, and JEMA Holdings LLC, and being the founder of I/O for Teens Inc is her greatest work yet. Marla's mantra is to #TeachTrainEducate working women who desire to understand their truth and live a life of success defined on their own terms. To learn more about the author link to her interview on WOW's The Muffin which kicked off her blog tour and will also give links to her upcoming tour stops.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Eye Strengthening Exercises for Writers - Author Marla J. Albertie WOW! Blog Tour

Today meet author Marla J. Albertie who has written a fun and amazing book The Ultimate Brag Book About Yourself  that asks you to reflect on 100 questions about “how awesome you are.” I'll be reviewing this book and talking more about Marla on February 5th right here on my blog. So stop back by.

Marla is on blog tour with WOW! Women On Writing and I'm excited to share her guest post with you.  I never thought about eye strengthening exercises. I do know some days after I've been on the computer I feel like my eyes are crossed and my vision blurred. You can bet I'm going to try her suggestions below. You should, too!

    Eye Strengthening Exercises for Writers (Okay, yes, these exercises are for anyone, not just writers.)

By Marla J. Albertie

               Do you have weak eye muscles? This is common among us writers out there, trust me I understand.

I write and look at my computer a lot (as many writers do), therefore my eyes often get tired. I asked my ophthalmologist for tips to strengthen my eye muscles. Here is what I learned to help fellow writers.

*Disclaimer: I am not an eye doctor. Please see your eye doctor if you have a serious condition. These are simple eye exercises anyone can do to strengthen their eyes*

Here are two eye exercises to build strength:

Exercise One

Look up

Look up and left

Look up and right

Look left

Look right

Look down

Look down and right

Look down and left

Repeat 2–3 times daily

Exercise Two

Hold your arms out to the side (like the wings of an airplane) with your thumbs up. Keep your head straight and look straight ahead. While keeping your head still, move your eyes to the far left and right trying to look at your thumbs. Repeat 2–3 times daily.

Do these daily and you will build your eye strength and your 80-year-old self will thank you.

More about the author and her book!

Purchase a copy of the book on Amazon or get an autographed copy off the author's website. You can also add it to Goodreads.

Marla believes life is a journey and we all can create the life we want so why not; you only live this life once. She has a passion to see growth in peoples’ lives and wants others to pay it forward.

See her original interview on The Muffin and follow the links for her month-long tour with WOW!
 Main Site:
Follow her as a writer on Medium
Subscribe to her blog:
Take a course at Truth Speaks Academy
Subscribe to my talk show on YouTube:

Monday, January 16, 2023

Remembering Kurt Vonnegut

 Go into the arts. I'm not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something. ~Kurt Vonnegut

(Book: A Man Without a Country)

Friday, January 6, 2023

Member's Show Monroe-Walton Center for The Arts

 I have three paintings in the MWCA member's art show. The artwork in this show is fabulous. You need to stop by and see the show. Link to MWCA's Facebook Page, like it, and keep in the flow of all the wonderful shows, classes, meetings, events, etc.  Link here to like and get all the scoop on what an art center can offer.

My work:


                                                                       Pink Jungle

                                                                     Blackbird Garden

I like to visit thrift shops and pick up vintage cardboard framed prints. Like to paint my own images and voila, it's already framed. The first two paintings were on recycled framed prints. The last one on a canvas and in an old Victorian frame. Recycle, recycle, recycle. I never paint over someone else's original work. I honor their paintings - good or bad - as original art. Most of the time a piece will wind up in my personal collection of art by other artists.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

2023 Time To Bloom


     I'm not making any promises about changes in 2023. Sometimes old, comfortable habits are the hardest to break. And what do I think I want to do differently in 2023? I have a sweet life that works for me - my house, my friends, my long distance sis and brother, my books, art, and of course the dogs. The cherry on top is the Monroe-Walton Center for the Arts. Who could ask for anything more?

     Yet at night sitting in the den I love to sit and create in, surrounded by my dogs, I wonder what is missing. And I'd already figured that one out at the beginning of November. People are missing. I rarely have anyone over to visit, have dinner, a glass of wine (or in my case diet soda). 

     I've decided it's time to open my doors and invite friends to join me. I'm going to bloom friendships this year. My excuses that the house is a mess with my painting supplies, art stacked everywhere, thrift store purchases on the dining room table, and four naughty (but darn adorable) Chihuahuas who still will poop on the floor in front of company no longer will be my excuses.

    The house got straightened up for the holidays and a few friends stopped in. I was in heaven. This will continue, I promise myself. And my friends are awesome. No one blinked an eye when Odette peed in the hallway and then came dancing back out to sit on someone's lap.

     I'll keep you posted. And don't be surprised if I invite you over for dinner. The next big hurdle for me. Cooking.

     Wishing everyone a glorious and loving 2023.

Hope and Fortune Children's Book by Marissa Banez

                                                                             I'm reviewing this charming children's book as part of ...