Holiday Gift Guide Feature — Chicken Soup for the Soul

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

I will never forget the many moments that I have spent over the years reading Chicken Soup for the Soul books.  These books have been popular since I was a teenager and are something that I have spent countless hours reading and enjoying them.  There are so many different topics that the books have covered that I have always been able to find the right topics for our life.

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I was excited to work with Chicken Soup for the Soul and I have loved the two books, Chicken Soup for the Soul Touched by an Angel and Chicken Soup for the Soul Reboot Your Life, that I received.  Both of these were interesting and shared amazing stories that made me thankful for each of the life changing experiences that I have had.

I love the stories that are shared in these books and I think that they are both encouraging and perfect for the holiday season.  I thought that I would share some tips for choosing happiness in the new year as part of the review of these two books!

Tips to Choose Happiness for 2015

**Believe that This is Your Year

When you are trying to find happiness you must believe that happiness is there for the taking.  Look at 2015 as the year that you were focused on being happy.

**Remember the Simple Things You Love

For me reading is one of my favorite activities.  It brings me joy and peace to sit down and take in a good book.  I have been able to read through Chicken Soup for the Soul Touched by and Angel and really feel like this is the type of book that could put me in a great mood no matter what I am doing.  During times where I feel like I am struggling this is the type of book that can make my spirit fly.

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**Choose Happiness

You have to make a choice each day as to how you are going to look at things.  When it comes to happiness you must choose to be happy.

**Remember the Things that Make You Happy

Make a list of the things that make you happy and put it on display in your house.  I am actually planning on doing a project with my kids where we each share a picture or a list of the things in life that make us happy.  I am going to put these on display and encourage the kids to choose something from their happy list when they are down.

**Be Open to New Ways to Be Happy

Choosing happiness is something that requires you to be willing to check out new ways of being happy.  The book Chicken Soup for the Soul Reboot Your Life is all about trying to be happy and learning new ways of becoming happy.

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Happiness is at your grasp and your reach.  You can easily find your own happiness and choosing books like these two from Chicken Soup for the Soul can help you.

Learning How to Use Yoga to Cure Your Ailments and Illnesses

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

I have to admit that I am becoming OBSESSED with yoga. I find myself practicing and striking poses in the oddest places these days. Sometimes I even choose to stop what I am doing just to do a few poses so that I can refocus on the information at hand. I love the practice of yoga and was very interested in learning more when I saw the book, BKS Iyenger Yoga I was instantly intrigued.

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BKS Iyenger Yoga offers you the ability to look up the different ailments that you might have in your life. You can check out the different types of ailments and then find yoga poses that can help you to cure them naturally. This is a great way to use eastern medicine without having to leave your home. Plus if it does not work for you there are always the choices for you to choose to visit your doctor. I wanted to be able to tell you amazing things that I have noticed from checking out some of these poses on my own.

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I will admit that I suffer from some severe digestive issues and that the poses and combinations of poses really seem to fix the problems that I am generally experiencing. I would not have believed that something that I have tried multiple medicines and therapies for could be solved simply with something that I already love.
In addition to the digestive issues that I have used yoga for I have began using yoga for everything that I find difficult in my life. Even if I only get a few poses in I figure that this is better than nothing. I try to pose my way through morning television shows or any television shows where I am not working and writing.

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I am focused mostly on the section for obesity as I am really trying to cure myself from this disease that I suffer from. Most people try to hide behind their obesity and do not call it what it is. It is a sickness and a disease just as much as anything else. By doing the yoga poses that are listed here I have been able to consistently keep in with my goal to lose weight and change who I am for the better.
I also find that yoga is a great past time for curing boredom. If I am bored I look up something in the book that I have been struggling with and start to strike some poses. This a healthier alternative to my old reliance on food and snacks when I was bored. Instead of doing something unhealthy I am choosing to do something healthy.

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Finally one additional great thing about this book is that there is a very thorough introduction that goes through all of the poses with detailed images and instructions. It tells you everything that you would ever need to know about the poses. Then you just flip to the back of the book and you can find your ailment where you will see the series of poses that are great for that ailment. Then you can flip back to the front of the book to the detailed descriptions to figure out if you are doing the poses right. The best thing is that the page numbers are listed right there making it easy for you to look up what you need to find.
I would highly recommend the BKS Iyenger Yoga book for anyone who is interested in finding out how they can be their best self. It is also good for those friends who want to avoid traditional medicine and doctors and are trying to live a more natural life.

Finding Great Books for Gifts DK Publishing is the Place to Go

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

One of the things that I love to give as gifts more than anything else is books. I will admit that there are some hard to shop for people in my life and I often end up looking for great giftable books for them. When I was researching publishers I found DK Publishing and was instantly impressed with their vast selection of books on different topics.  I thought that I would share a few of the books that I chose to review for gifts and tell you why I love them so much, a little about the gift getter, and share why I think they will love them.

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I was offered five books from the publisher and I chose two books that I plan on using as gifts sometime in the near future. I am very impressed with the quality of these “coffee table” styled books. I chose The Soccer Book for my soon to be 11 year old and Firearms an Illustrated History for my father who is very hard to buy for.
The Soccer Book

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The Soccer Book is quite impressive. It has a TON of information that I enjoyed flipping through it and I am sure that Andrew is going to love the book. He is a soccer nut even going as far as being a part of British Soccer Camp this summer. He is not the athletic type of child but he does love playing soccer which is good for him and something that he has done since he was four. He will have played for 7 years this fall.

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I love that the book has such vivid illustrations. The pictures are great and go through everything from the history of soccer to some of the best moments in soccer. There are parts of the book that look at different countries and how soccer is played there as well as a lot of great information about the game and how it is played.

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I am very eager to give this book to Andrew and plan on giving it to him on his birthday which is on July 30th. I am so excited to watch him read and tell me about the things that he learns. That is the type of child that he is. He is always reading and then coming to share with me random facts that he has learned while reading.

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Firearms an Illustrated History

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My dad gets excited about really loves few things in life. One of these things is firearms. While some people do not agree with the owning or use of firearms I often avoid this topic because I do not know what I think. I am not a firearms owner and do not have a gun nor do I have a FOID card that this time. I do know that I should probably have a card just so that I can go out shooting from time to time because I like shooting for sport. I enjoy target shooting because I think that it is challenging and fun in the same way that many people enjoy playing video games. It is how I grew up.

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The Firearms an Illustrated History is a book that I am 100% certain that my dad is going to love. I love this book just from flipping through it and I was fascinated with the information and beautiful pictures that I saw on the pages. I think that some of the guns from history are so beautiful with their amazing craftsmanship. I love the wonderful pictures that this book contains about guns throughout history.

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All in all Firearms an Illustrated History is going to make a great birthday gift for my father and is sure to be something that he is really going to enjoy reading for a few months. I am excited to hear what he thinks about it and to see if he learns something that he did not already know about firearms since he already has such a vast knowledge.
If you are looking for books to give as gifts then you must check out DK Publishing and see what they have to offer for those who you would like to purchase gifts for in your life.

Mommy MD Guides Help You Through All of Your Tough Moments

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

Mommy MD Guides are a great collection of books written by women that you can trust. I say this because we all know that we trust other moms more than we trust anyone who has not had a child. Each of the women who has written in these books is a mom herself. Secondly these women are doctors and they are able to give you great advice about medical issues which can really help.

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When I was given the opportunity to work with Mommy MD Guides I was excited to be able to check out two of their books. The Mommy MD Guide to Losing Weight and Feeling Great and the Mommy MD Guide to the Toddler Years are both books that are important.

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Mommy MD Guide to Losing Weight and Feeling Great

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Of course since I am on my own personal weight loss journey I was obsessed with being able to check out books on weight loss and this one initially caught my eye. The book is a great read for anyone who is looking to lose weight. I love many of the features but one of my favorites are the highlighted areas where you can find “When to Call Your Doctor.” These sections tell you what information is important to talk to your MD about. This is a great thing if you are unaware of certain things. I learned several things that I should have mentioned because they could have indicated medical issues that were causing me to struggle with my own weight loss.

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I had two favorite parts of the book when I was reading. One of these was that you should celebrate meeting your goals. I think that it is important for you to celebrate meeting goals that you make for yourself. In the past one of my biggest problems is that I was trying to celebrate with food. Let’s face it if I was rewarding myself with bad for me food then what good was the dieting in the first place. As I change my mentality I am checking out workout gear or clothes that I want and rewarding myself with these things instead. I think that the biggest thing for me to be successful in my weight loss is to truly start thinking in a new way. I have to change who I am to become who I want to be.

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Another thing about the book that I really enjoyed was the medical information about things. I LOVED the section on things that could help you to have more energy and feel more energized. This was a lot of great information that really was easy for me to understand and I really learned something new. I learned a lot of information about why certain things work to energize you which was very helpful.

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Mommy MD Guide to the Toddler Years

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If you have a toddler you know how frustrating the toddler years can be. I love that the Mommy MD Guide to the Toddler Years tackles many of the difficult challenges that you face when you have a toddler.  One of the sections of the book that I found most helpful was the listing of foods that you should always buy organic because of pesticides. This list definitely made it very clear as to which of the foods were the worst for your toddlers and even yourself to consume. These foods included the following: potatoes, blueberries, and strawberries which my family eats all of the time. As soon as things settle down financially I am going to take the list to the store with me and only purchase organic versions of these foods. There were also foods that are lower in pesticides that are healthier for you to eat. These foods were ones that are safer for you to choose to purchase regular and not organic. They included the following: avocados, mushrooms, kiwis, and watermelon.

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Another section of the book that I personally found particularly interesting was the one that was about learning how to time potty training. I feel like such a mom failure in this area. I rushed a couple of mine only to have them regress completely and train later, waited for a few to do it on their own and there was a year and a half difference in when they were fully trained, and am still struggling with number four. I just do not know what to do to make the process easier and something that I am going to be able to do. This section is completely filled with a number of different tips that can help you.

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Finally I loved the sections that talked about different tips that you can teach your child. There are may things that you can begin to teach your toddler. If you try to push learning too hard you could have a child that has no interest in school or learning the things that they should know. If you do not try at all you are not doing your job as a parent to teach them what they need to learn. However when you find that balance and place in the middle you can teach your children some valuable life lessons that will help them to learn the most possible. The tips included in this guide really can help you with your goals.
The Basics
All in all I would say that Mommy MD Guides are a great resource for new and seasoned parents alike. Just because someone is having their fourth child or even more does not mean that they know everything for every child. Each child is different and these guides offer practical and useful tips that can help you to meet your personal goals as a parent and with things that you have to handle while being a mom.

Lorie Marrero, Goodwill Spokesperson Interview

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

1.         How did you become involved with Goodwill?

Our team approached Goodwill® back in late 2009 because we wanted to pitch a national TV show about losing your clutter pounds in January and do a story with them. I was looking for the right nonprofit partner to find a way to give back and add more meaning to what we do. From there our conversations led to the Donate Movement, an initiative to teach people about the impact that donating has on both people and the planet. I learned Goodwill would soon be launching the movement, and we all realized it was a perfect match for us to work together! I reach thousands of people who are making decisions about the stuff in their closets and garages, and I now have the honor and privilege of educating them about why Goodwill is a smart and responsible choice for donating those household goods. [Read more…]

Always Upbeat Book Review

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

 Book: Always Upbeat

 Author: Stephanie Perry Moore

It was my pleasure to work with Stephanie Perry Moore on the book review for Always Upbeat.  Mrs. Moore is a married mother of three and is an extremely talented author from the south, born in South Carolina and raised in Virginia, She attended school in Alabama and is the author of many YA Inspirations fiction titles such as Urban Flip Book Series, Lockwood Lions, Payton Skky series, Laurel Shadrach series, Perry Skyy Jr. series, Faith Tomas Novelzine series, Carmen Browne series, Morgan Love series and Beta Gamma Piseries.  Mrs. Moore also spends time speaking to the younger generation across the country, sending a strong message and encouraging them to reach their dreams.

She is a busy women that has followed her dreams and is a walking breathing example of what we can do if we follow our dreams.  She did a phenomenal job with her book Always Upbeat, I have to be honest I did read the book but my 13-year-old daughter did most of the reading.  She absolutely loved the book, is working on round number two.  When she finds a book she likes, its normal for her to read it several times.  My daughter tells me the reason she reads a good book over and over is, “because mom, it’ kind of like when you find a song you like, we all have to listen to it over and over again.  The only difference is you don’t have to listen to me.”  LOL, the mind of children, and a sarcastic teenager never the less.  She’s a good kid, but she likes to get her kicks in at mom when she can, don’t blame her I did it to my mom.

I am honestly going to let my daughter take it from here, she loved the book and I think she will bring more life to it than I will.  The book was definitely something she enjoyed and fits her age group.  Everyone, meet Catilin my 14-year-old daughter!  Take it away Catie!

Hi everyone, this is the second time I have reviewed something on my mom’s blog!  I think it’s about time I start my own, if I get awesome books like Always Upbeat.  This book was great, it’s about Charli.  Charlie has what seems to be the perfect life, the one that all teenagers want.  She is a popular junior that goes to school at Lockwood High, and spoiled rotten.  She is the girl that everyone wants to be she has the cutest boyfriend, captain of the cheerleading team, I guess just the coolest girl in school.  My mom says there was even girls like that in the dinosaur ages, ha-ha don’t tell her I said that.

This book is good because it teaches you that just because everything looks perfect doesnt’ mean it is.  Things happen in a second and everything changes for Charli.  He friend betrays her and everything flips.  Charli finds out her boyfriend that she loves only wants one thing from her, but it’s not true.  This is a good book I don’t want to tell you all of it because you need to read it for yourself.  I will tell you that this book is an A+ in my eyes, I am working on reading it again I liked it so much.  It’s easy to follow and really brings you in there was times when I really felt bad for Charli and honestly I did not like her in the beginning of the book because she seemed like one of the preps that are spoiled.  When the book moved on I got to know who she really was and I just wanted everything to work out.


This book has also made me thing about things in my own life, drama.  I don’t like it but am in middle school now and the older I get the more full of drama the girls are and sometimes they want to make your life fall apart.  I think after reading this book I will really think before I just belive what another person has to say.  Thank you for this book, I really enjoyed it and will be sharing it with my friend after I read it a little more.

Thank Catie, isn’t she great!  I have to agree she is faced with more drama and I have been lucky to have her, she’s not much for talking bad about people, hurting anyone, or getting in the middle of drama..  She will pretty much turn and get away from it.

Now my review on the book, I will keep it short and to the point.

I agree with Catie, on of the biggest points in the book that children can learn from is not to allow anyone to turn your life upside down.  Unfortunately at that age there are people who are jealous and want what you have and will start rumors.  Teaching children to have the ability to make up their own mind about something that is happening in their life is important.

I believe this is a perfect book for any teenager that enjoys a good story.  Its written in a way that it’s easy to understand even if you don’t read perfect you’re able to follow along with the story.  The two characters are Blake and Charlie, and they very much fit their parts in the book.  You can picture what they look like, I could see how Catie got sucked into the book, I enjoyed reading it as well and I know at 13 I would have loved this book.

The book is written where kids that struggle reading can read and understand the book and the story is good enough to keep the attention of those that read at a higher level.  The story of the two teenager coming of age, learning about relationships, friends, family and putting all that together, oh don’t forget spots.  Sports play a huge role in the book, they learn about life in a way that grabs your attention and makes you feel like you know the characters.

I think for the younger generation this is a wonderful read, I give it two thumbs up along with my daughters A+.  It’s wonderful for all age groups but perfect for the teens, the story is wonderful and written in a ways that its easy to understand and follow.  I also enjoyed how close you felt to Charli and Blake, my daughter and I both agreed we felt like we knew them, could picture what they looked like, and compared them to people we went to school with.

Mrs. Moore did an outstanding job making this book readable for all different reading levels and I feel that’ extremely important when you are writing a book geared toward the teen generation.  They all read at different levels and hats off to Mrs. Moore for writing Always Upbeat in a way everyone can enjoy it.  I look forward to purchasing some of her other books for my daughter, which she is requesting now that she knows about them.

If you’re looking for a good read for you teenager I highly recommend Always Upbeat.

You can learn more about Stephanie Perry Moore on her website.  If you would like to purchase of copy of Always Upbeat you can easily find it on Amazon.


Champion Me Personalized Books | Book Review

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

My 7-year-old has been doing a lot of reading, she reads well when she wants to.  I guess that’s pretty much any child, once something looses the magic and fun many children lose interest.  Vayda was actually supposed to be held back in 1st grade because of her reading, she just didn’t want to buckled down and get it done.  Once she found out she wasn’t going to get to move on with her friends things changed.  She began stepping it up, working hard and showing everyone what she was really made of.

I wanted to reward her with something educational and fun, I was provided the chance to review personalized books from Champion Me!  It was seriously perfect timing, I couldn’t have asked for a better gift.  I was able to review 4 different personalized books, one of which was especially for Vayda.  These books are fabulous, the stories are fun, and even better you’re able to personalize the name of the main character and the way the main character looks.  Vayda freaked out once she began to read the book, it hit her like a ton of bricks, “MOM, MOM, THAT’S ME,” she said.  It was wonderful, she has not put the book down for over a week now!

With Champion Me books you’re able to customize the way your child looks, spell out the childs entire name (up to 15 letters), shipping is fast, soft cover and hard cover books are available, and none of the books are gender specific.  Not to mention the stories are absolutely cute.  The stories are inspiring adventures and my daughter has not put her book down, she probably knows all 4 stories by now.

If you are looking for an amazing, unique, quality, fun, educational book for you children or a child you know, I cannot recommend Champion Me Books enough!  Books and stories are quality… My children all have their own book, with their own avatar.  Even my 13 year old, Catie loves her book!  Just goes to show you’re never too old for an awesome adventure!   These personalized children’s book really are the best books I have in my home.  Their fun and truly encourage my daughter to read, of course it’s about her lol.. Darn girls!

Be sure to check out Champion Me Personalized Children’s Books!

The Dark Monk and The Hangman’s Daughter | Book Review

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

I have been reading the Dark Monk and The Hangman’s Daughter.  Written by Oliver Potzch, who was born in 1070 and worked as a script-writing for Bavarian television.  Oliver does a phenomenal job making you want more!  He is a very talented writing, and I enjoyed reading this books.

The Dark Monk is a fabulous books.  The Dark Monk is set in a village in Bavarian Alps.  Following a tale of riddles, Jakob is my favorite character also with his daughter Magdalena.  This book is one that will keep you grabbing the edge of your seat, waiting for more.  I seriously could not wait to turn the page, I couldn’t read fast enough.  My oldest daughter and I agreed over who’s turn it was to read it on the Kindle Fire, of course Mom win’s but it’s very rare that we argue over the same book.

I am now working on reading another amazing book written by Oliver Potzch called, The Hangman’s Daughter.  I am almost to the end of the book, it took everything in me to set the book down long enough to write this review.

The Hangman’s Daughter is a story of a dying boy who is pulled out of the river.  He has a mark of crudely tattooed on his shoulder.  In this book Jakob Kuisl is asked to check out if there is witchcraft in play.  I can hardly wait to finish this book, only a few pages left!  I can tell you it’s amazing and an awesome read.  If you like fast-paced historical thrillers, this is an amazing choice!

I have very much enjoyed reading both of these wonderful books.

For those of you who love a good thriller make sure to check out The Dark Monk and The Hangman’s Daughter, you can get your copy at Amazon.


Check out these books out on Amazon

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Book Review | Marketing Plan eBook

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

Title: Marking Plan – The Ultimate Guide To Choosing Memorable & Powerful Domain Names 

Author: Jim F. Kukral 
My Review
I enjoyed reading Marking Plan – The Ultimate Guide To Choosing Memorable & Powerful Domain Names by Jim F. Kukral.  I think it happens to all of us, we start a blog and we have not idea how important a domain name we just pick something fun, meaningful, or available.  We do not put a lot of thought into what we are planning on getting out of it how it will help us later on down the road, and many of us have no idea how much work is put into a website to make it rank and attract traffic.  We start to learn the importance and wish we would have and wish we could, but simple fact is we already have so much time put into what we have, not to mention money.  
I wish I would have been smart enough to read something like Marketing Plan when I decided to take the plunge into the wonderful world of blogging and marketing online, I had to learn the hard way.  Which means extra work, not just a little a lot of extra work.
The $7.95 Marketing Plan offers awesome tips and tricks things I highly suggest you check out if you are thinking about joining the awesome blogging community.  You will learn great things such as awesome sites that are available to check out keywords, and pages full of useful information.   Before you jump, test the water so you make sure you start out on top of your game.
If you are just starting out or been up to it for a while $7.95 Marketing Plan is an awesome read filled with great tips.  If you would like to learn more about this book you can do so HERE

Cleaning Robots Book Review

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure


Cleaning Robots Book Review 
Author : Lisa Moore 
My Review 
I have enjoyed working with Lisa Moore, Author of Cleaning Robots and daughter of an engineer.  Lisa was able to get some robot kits and computer access before the internet was even around and spent her time investigating robots that are available for home and writing Cleaning Robots – How to Choose.
Cleaning Robots helps teach you how to get future robots to help you clean your home.  Also helps you figure out which ones are right for your and your homes needs, right for you budget, and how to know what will work.  
I honestly did not look forward to reading Cleaning Robots, the subject did not interest me much, however I am glad I did.  Not only did I enjoy the book it was very informative and was not hard to understand.  She explained everything where we all could totally understand, and went over not only the pros of each of the cleaning robots but the cons too.  I walked away from it completely understanding that I needed to get my butt in gear and start to get smarter about my cleaning.  I need a robot for my home, to make my life a little less stressful on me.   
I recommend Cleaning Robots – How to Choose it is a good read for anyone that hates to clean and wants to work smarter rather than harder.  If you are interested in getting your own copy of Cleaning Robots you can do so by clicking HERE