Tag Archives: books

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Perfect Liar Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Perfect Liar Edition

Hello! Reading is one of my favorite hobbies, but it comes and goes in waves. Sometimes, I read ravenously and devour three books in one week. Other times, I can go a month without sinking my teeth into a new book while preferring the background noise of a movie before falling asleep. Right now, I am in a nonstop reading mode and have enjoyed a few page turners which includes The Perfect Liar.

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I pretty much exclusively read horror and thriller/mystery books. I love suspense and secrets and a well done who done it. The Perfect Liar definitely fell into the suspense category with the basic plot being the unraveling of big secrets between husband and wife, Max and Susannah, which began to reveal itself after ominous notes were left on their door.

The book shifted in perspective between Max, a self made artist and Susannah, a widow and stay at home mom from her previous marriage. I prefer books that are told from multiple points of view, because it keeps the pages turning as you want to read all different sides to the story once one character reveals something. Despite an uninspired story line in The Perfect Liar, it was an easy read because of the perspective change in each little chapter.

I can’t say that I would recommend this book because I genuinely enjoyed it. However, I would recommend it if you just want something to fill up some free time. I didn’t hate the characters, but I didn’t like them, either. And, in comparison to some of the other family secret based books out there, The Perfect Liar left a lot to be desired. I like when I don’t see the surprise in the book coming and, if you read this one closely enough, you can definitely figure it out on your own without the grand reveal.

I am going to give The Perfect Liar a five out of ten. This is more because I was able to finish it within two afternoons and it was insanely readable. But, if you’re looking for a book with more substance to it, then I would skip over this one, for sure.

What is the last book that you have read? What book are you working on reading now? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

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Gift Ideas Inspired By Nature

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Gift Ideas Inspired By Nature

When it comes to giving gifts, you can choose to head to a department store and you are sure to get something beautiful and thoughtful. But, sometimes, it’s great to give something a little more meaningful and likely to be treasured and used for longer. When people say natural gifts, it can conjure up all sorts of images and ideas, but if you know someone who cares about the environment, prefers natural products, or has a bit of a hippy heart, then these gifts will be perfect for them. This has the extra bonus of supporting some smaller businesses, too.

“My favorite things often have a story behind them and are usually handmade or discovered at a flea market.”Amy Sedaris

Handmade soaps:

You will often find with handmade soaps that these are home-based businesses with one person behind the whole range. If you have allergies or your skin doesn’t love some ingredients from mass producers, you’re likely to be able to use these. They are usually 100% organic, packed with pure essential oils, and smell fantastic.

Felt booties:

Slippers or boots handmade from 100% wool, and natural rubber. From farm to foot is a great ethos to live by. Usually made in part by hand and part by machine, you know you’re going to get a lovely product with a lot of care and attention to detail.

Cold water essential oil diffuser:

An essential oil diffuser will disperse gorgeous scents all over the home. You can choose different fragrances depending on what mood you are trying to create. To create a calming environment, especially when someone is feeling run down, use lemon. Lavender is perfect for soothing anxiety and aiding sleep. Cinnamon helps concentration and creates a warm atmosphere. Use Peppermint for brainstorming and boosting energy and Rosemary to help you recall information and ward off headaches.

Metal straws:

Many places have banned single-use plastics and are pushing to only have plastic straws for those who really need them. But, sometimes, sipping a cold drink with a straw is a particular type of bliss. Get your friend (and yourself) a pack of metal straws to do your share in waste reduction.

And, speaking of waste reduction, it is almost impossible to cook a meal without having some waste produced. If your friend doesn’t already compost, now might be the perfect time to start. You could gift them with a large composter for in the garden or a smaller more portable one for the kitchen. A compost pail will help your friend reduce their carbon footprint considerably. Many pails come with charcoal filters, which will help trap and control the odors that are often associated with composting. Once the compost is created, it can be used to grow herbs and more veggies.

Plants are great gifting options, too. Not every eco-friendly person is great at taking care of plants, though. So bear that in mind and perhaps opt for something that is easy to look after. Succulents are very popular right now, have a gorgeous effect on their surroundings, and are easy to care for. Air plants are also wildly popular with people who simply can’t seem to keep anything alive. Tillandsias as they are known, require no soil, and can grow simply by being hot glued to an object. All they need is a mist of water once a week or so.

Solid deodorant:

Ditch the roll-on or spray deodorant for something a little more earth-friendly. You can pick up a pot of solid deodorant made from skin loving ingredients that work hard all day to prevent you from sweating and work just as well as anything you’ll buy in store.

Great tea:

A good cup of tea at the right time can change your life. There are many, many brands of tea but you could spend some extra time looking for handmade teas that have a benefit to the local area or the makers directly. This is a double whammy, as you can also choose a beverage that has health benefits like aiding digestion, heart health, or calming teas. Gift loose leaves with a reusable tea bag for maximum eco-friendliness.

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Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

If your recipient is looking to increase their knowledge in all the ways that they can have a positive impact on the planet, then you should take a look at some of the best books around at the moment. Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste, by Bea Johnson is a great choice. This Changes Everything – Capitalism vs. Climate is written by Naomi Klein and talks environment and the ‘free market.’ Or, some inspirational literature like Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, or Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found by Cheryl Strayed.

When it comes to giving gifts, the thought far outweighs the price that has been paid. So get your friend or family member something that will mean a great deal to them while being kind to the world.

Featured Image By: Vladimir Proskurovskiy on Unsplash

Lil Red Loves: Libraries

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Lil Red Loves: Libraries

Hi! Something that I’ve been fond of for as long as I can remember but, even more so this year, is the good ol’ local library. In my neck of the woods, there are plenty of different libraries to go to that have instilled in me a love for reading from story time as a youngin up until now as a twenty something. And, what I have learned this past year, is that libraries aren’t just for checking out books and movies.

Frequenting the libraries in the greater Akron area has become a staple in my day job, as they offer wonderful, educational, and fun programs that are all completely free. My clients and I love visiting different libraries and always end up reaping the benefits that the programs and events have to offer. From gaining knowledge and new hobbies to receiving totally free books like the ones below, the library is definitely the place to be.

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The libraries in my area offer everything from reading with therapy dogs to GED classes and murder mystery dinners. I have been to excellent music concerts with clients and showings of recently released movies in a huge auditorium. I’ve also attended yoga classes, escape rooms, and lessons in meditation all for the cost of absolutely FREE.

Just last week at North Hill Library’s meditation class, there were cardboard boxes full of free books for the taking. Mysteries, romances, fiction, and nonfiction alike were all there to be sorted through and there was no limit to what we could select. My client and I had a blast looking at all of the choices and I ended up picking out all of the above horror style murder mysteries (My favorite!) to take home with me. Will I like all of them? Maybe not, but that’s no harm done, because I can always donate it so that someone else can have what might be their new favorite page turner.

Lil Red will always support establishments that better the community and I am thankful that mine has so many excellent libraries to choose from, because they do just that. Libraries are inclusive to every single person in this world and there is much to be learned and a lot of fun to be had during your next visit to the neighborhood library!

Who else makes good use out of their local library? What type of programs does your library offer to the public? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Meditation Recommendations

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Meditation Recommendations

Hi everyone! Something that I really enjoy doing is going to a meditation class offered by my local library. The woman who runs it, Joann Xi, is the founder of the Center for Health, Happiness, and Chan. This organization promotes a mindful and contemplative lifestyle and teaches the art of meditation to those in the greater Akron area. During class this week, Joann gave us a paper listing some helpful books, apps, podcasts, and websites that she recommends and I thought that I would share it with all of you. And, if you are interested in seeing Joann in action, check out my blog post which features her YouTube videos. She’s amazing!

From Eastern Traditions:

Books:

  1. The Art of Living: Vipassana Meditation as Taught by S.N. Goenka by William Hart
  2. Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh
  3. True Love by Thich Nhat Hanh
  4. Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism by Chogyam Trungpa
  5. Bringing Home the Dharma by Jack Kornfield
  6. The Wisdom of No Escape by Pema Chodron

Podcasts:

  1. Insight Hour Podcast with Joseph Goldstein
  2. Ram Dass Hear and Now
  3. Heart Wisdom Podcast with Jack Kornfield

Websites:

  1. https://www.secularbuddhism.org/
  2. https://www.lionsroar.com/

From Western Traditions:

Books:

  1. Invitation to Love by Thomas Keating
  2. Intimacy with God by Thomas Keating
  3. Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton
  4. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
  5. Fully Present by Susan L Smalley and Diana Winston
  6. Mindful Work by David Gelles

Audio Books:

  1. Going on Being by Mark Epstein
  2. Going to Pieces without Falling Apart by Mark Epstein

Podcasts:

  1. 10% Happier with Dan Harris

Apps:

  1. Headspace (Westernized version of eastern meditation practices)

YouTube:

  1. Zen Den
  2. Cosmic Kids

Websites:

  1. https://www.cac.org/
  2. https://www.couragerenewal.org

Integration of East/West:

Books:

  1. Living Zen Loving God by Ruben L.F. Habito
  2. The Mystic Heart by Wayne Teasdale
  3. The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts

I hope that some of these wonderful options to help introduce you to meditation or further your practices prove to be beneficial to those who need it. Once a skeptic, I truly believe in the power of meditation and the amazing work that Joann is doing, so please enjoy!

Who else participates in meditation? What are some ways that help you to relax? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Keeping Yourself Entertained On Vaca

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Keeping Yourself Entertained On Vaca

Are you one of the lucky ones heading abroad on your vacation this year? Whether you’re on the road, in a hotel, or on a cruise, there can be moments, particularly after a long day of exploring, when all you want is to settle down and relax. An evening in the hotel with Netflix or a good book can be just what the doctor ordered after you’ve been on your feet all day sightseeing. But staying entertained and ensuring that you don’t run out of things to do while you’re abroad isn’t quite so easy as when you’re at home. Here are just a few ways that you can make sure that, even in your downtime, you’re fully fighting the boredom blahs:

Don’t Rely On Books: If you love to get a jump on your summer reading list while on vaca, books can become far too cumbersome. Whether you read while you travel, relax by the pool, or just as you go through life, it might be time to invest in a bit of a technological helper. Rather than packing a book a day into your luggage, a Kindle is a cheap, lightweight, and easily transportable alternative. With literally millions of books to choose from, all accessible online, you’ll never be caught short without a book again.

Keep Some Entertainment Downloaded: Sometimes WiFi is obscenely slow, and sometimes *gasp* you just can’t connect at all. The worst thing in these situations is to have no backup plan. Keeping a few shows downloaded onto whatever device you’re using can be a real lifesaver in moments of boredom. Netflix has options to download now, as do many other video hosting sites. And be sure to double check that your Spotify Premium account is up to date before you set off so that you can still access all of your favorite music, even when WiFi isn’t an option.

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Netflix Is Your BFF: When you need some reassuring familiarity and an evening to yourself, it’s all about Netflix. Whether you’re entertaining young ones or just chilling on your own, being able to get a few of your favorite shows online is essential. While Netflix, ordinarily, won’t work abroad, using a VPN enables you to bypass that. Check out securethoughts to find out exactly how to do it. Then, all of your favorite shows are just a button-push away.

Portable Chargers Are Everything: We rely so heavily on electronic devices in this day and age, from smartphones to laptops and tablets to Kindles, that it’s not surprising that portable charging devices are growing in popularity. When you’re in an airport or hotel room, chances are that you’ll have access to power, but when you’re on the road, public transport, or walking around the city, it could be a bit more tricky. Keep a fully charged portable power supply in your handbag all of the time, and you’ll never find yourself caught with the power out again.

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Is your device fully charged??

Traveling the world doesn’t mean that you don’t want a few moments of R&R every now and then, and if they take the form of your favorite books or TV shows, it’s always best to be prepared. Happy traveling!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Tattoo Update!!

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Tattoo Update!!

Hi everyone and happy Monday! So on Saturday I got my new tattoo, which you can see the inspiration for in this post. It went swimmingly BUT there is still some work to be done on it – a few add ons and touch ups because some of it was done in white. SO I won’t be posting a picture of the finished product until next week when it is officially “all done”. Rest assured that I am absolutely in love with my Little Prince themed ink so far and I can’t wait for all of you to see it soon!

Until I post pictures of my new tattoo baby, enjoy this picture of me talking on my good ol’ trap phone, instead!

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^^^ AYYY!

(And if you use your powers of observation, you’ll notice my Little Prince shirt underneath my favorite moto jacket!)

How was everyone’s weekend? Who else has gotten some new body mods done recently? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Summer Fun Checklist

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Summer Fun Checklist

It may not always seem like it, but the time of year that it is can make a huge difference in a person’s life. Winter and autumn can be difficult sometimes because of things like seasonal effective disorder. How early the sun rises and sets is enough to have an effect on people’s moods (I know it does for me!). As another example, people look at the New Year as something of a new start, and it is a time when they try to grasp that opportunity.

Summer is no different. If you are in college, especially, the break from the academic year represents an opportunity to improve yourself (or simply to bask in laziness for a few weeks). That may mean that you go traveling and experience the wonders of another culture or you may decide, instead, to stay closer to home and participate in some volunteering or work experience to better prepare you for your post-graduation job search. For people who work, it is a chance to go on holiday. However, you may just want to stay at home and relax. For some people, the perfect summer day is taking a book to a local park and sitting under a tree until it gets too dark to read.

If you are thinking of making the most of the summer this year, you will need to start preparing now since it is so nearly upon us. Here are five things that you need to make sure of before you set off on whatever plans that you’ve made:

  1. If you are hoping to leave the country, you should book your flights exactly eighteen weeks before you intend to travel. Research has shown that airline websites offer the cheapest prices at those times. Otherwise, you need to check that your passport is still valid. And do not forget your visa! There is nothing worse than getting somewhere only to be sent back again right away.
  2. Depending on where you’re going, you will need to make sure that your wardrobe matches. If you are heading to some tropical paradise, you’ll need a bikini or swimming trunks. Do not forget your sunglasses and the most important thing of all: sun tan lotion. Nothing ruins a vacation quite like a nasty sunburn.
  3. Personal grooming is crucial, too. If you are looking for the best razor for the bikini area, you need to make sure that you get one with which you are comfortable. Otherwise, you should remember that in different climates you will need to have products for your hair and skin. If you are not used to hot weather all year round, you may quickly find that your lips crack or your skin becomes a little dry. Thinking ahead and packing precautionary lotions or ointments is the smartest thing to do when you’re jetsetting to a new place.
  4. You should always take a book with you just in case for surprise waits before appointments or lunch dates, but it is never more important than when you are on holiday. They are not called ‘beach reads’ for nothing!
  5. No one forgets a camera anymore since they do not forget their phone but to get the best pictures, you should think about a camera with film. It costs more but the photos are better. Also, why not take a notebook along so that you can better remember the holiday when you get back?

Nothing makes pre-vacation planning easier than a good old fashioned checklist. Make yours, check it twice, and you’re off!

Featured Image By: Pexels