Book Review: Liar

LiarLiar by Rob Roberge

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a hard book to read. I was interested because I’ve recently become a concussion awareness advocate and Rob Roberge suffers fro post concussive syndrome along with addiction, bi-polar and who knows what else.

The book is told in a fragmented way. Snippets from different periods of time all jumbled up. At first, all I could think about what how in the heck am I going to review this book. It is messed up. But then I realized that a real person with these disorders would probably think this way and it became easier to read.

The narrator thinks he’ll eventually lose his mind. He feels bad, a lot of times, for his crazy behavior and doesn’t like to share it with people because he fears their reaction. I became extremely sympathetic to his character.

It’s a tough book to read but it grew on me the more I read.



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Penises Are Killing My #Snapchat Experience

I love Snapchat. It’s so much fun. Ever since I learned about the stories, thought about how I could use them in mine and my clients’ businesses, and connected with some really cool and creative people, Snapchat has almost caught up to twitter as my favorite social network. 

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I received a shout out the other day from another snapper and got a bunch of new followers. That’s fun. Getting to know knew people on any social platform helps me to achieve my personal goal of being able to have coffee with a friend anywhere in the world. 

I have my settings set to where anyone can send me a private snap. Normally, that’s not a problem. Until it is. Until is’a penis lying in my inbox. 

I get a lot of kids, under 18, trying to flirt with me, telling me I’m beautiful. That’s kinda funny and I tell them to think of me as beautiful like their mom or their grandma. But the penises…

So this morning, instead of the fully exposed penis of yesterday, I got this message:

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At least he asked, right?

So then I start thinking. Maybe I’m over thinking this but I’d rather overthink it and be protected than to under think it and be in jail. Coming to my big question:

If I open an unsolicted photo of a child’s penis, can I be considered a pedophile?”

It’s pretty easy to guess that some of these kids are under 18. I don’t want to see any penises but the age of the sender and my opening of the snap without knowing what it contains makes me wonder. 

So younger, hipper lawyers than the one in my family who doesn’t know social media, what is the answer to this? Should I be doing a better job of protecting myself from unsolicited porn? Where in the legal realm exactly does this fall?

I’ll be waiting patiently for your answers with my “Who can send me snaps” moved to “my friends”. 

 

Book Review: Heart Conditions

Heart Conditions (The Breakup Doctor, #3)Heart Conditions by Phoebe Fox

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love this series so much and it has the BEST dog character ever, Jake.

I was excited to read the next installment of the Breakup Doctor. I love the characters and, although we met Jake in an earlier book, I feel like we really got to know him in this book. A good dog makes a great book, in my opinion.

In this book, Brook struggles to make sense of her relationship with Ben and the reappearance of her former fiance’, Michael. On top of that, her bestie, Sasha becomes pregnant and is struggling with how to accept that kind of responsibility.

The book is fun and endearing and, Jake of course, is fabu. I highly recommend this book and can’t wait for the next one!

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Trip Through the Southwest

David and I drove home to Tulsa from San Jose for Christmas. After I spent two weeks in Las Vegas helping my sponsor, Story Clothing Co., David picked me up and we traveled historic Route 66 to get back to Tulsa. 

We accidentally stumbled upon Winslow, AZ. It was really early in the morning and I was ready for breakfast. I told David to pull off at Winslow which was 8 miles away according to the road sign. It was early, I’d had no coffee and the realization came to me piece by piece. Winslow, Arizona. That’s in a song. Which one? I finally pinpointed Take It Easy by the Eagles and I told David that when we got there, I was going to stand on a random street corner and sing the lyrics to the song. 

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We were looking for a diner and ended up on downtown Winslow. The diner was closed but there we found the Standin’ on the Corner Park. How cool! 

Of course I had to sing and then we ate breakfast. 

Next up was New Mexico. I absolutely love New Mexico. It’s so pretty there. Sunrises and sunsets are spectacular. 

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We stopped at the Route 66 Memorial in Tucumcari. There was snow there!

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Then it was on to Texas where we  stopped at my favorite, The Cadillac Ranch. A couple of years ago we lived in an RV for several months a little bit to the west of the Ranch. I saw it all the time and fell in love with it. 

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It’s always so fun to see what people paint on the cars and I swear, the next time I go there I will NOT forget my spray paint! I’m pretty sure one of those cars needs to sport a pink crown. :D

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We had lunch at the Big Texan Steak Ranch and I was able to have my photo taken with Big Rex.

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We all know everything is bigger in Texas and when I saw this ginormous rocking chair, I had to sit in it. 

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We had a great time driving through the southwest. The southwestern part of the United States is gorgeous in a whole different way than other parts of the country. Since we first visited New Mexico early in our marriage, I’ve always wanted to live there. I think I could get used to seeing this every day.

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Go Red Girlfriend Moments

In November, I was contacted by the local Go Red coordinator and asked if I would be willing to host a Go Red Girlfriends Moment to take a stand for all the women in my life.

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What is a Go Red Girlfriends Moment??

A ‘Moment’ is defined as an opportunity taken to spread awareness to women’s cardiovascular health, and to ask friends and family to join you in making a gift to the cause to take a stand for all women close to your heart.

I was getting ready to hit the road but I planned three “Moments”. They were small but important. 

I held the first Moment in Las Vegas. We met at Serendipity 3 for their famous frozen hot chocolate. Not something that is necessarily heart healthy but it’s not every day you share a treat like this. My two friends, Lyndzee and Lauren, joined me and we were able to talk about how they could keep their hearts healthy. 

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My next Moment took place in Tulsa at my home. I invited my friends for a glass of wine and some Christmas cookies. It was really getting close to Christmas and only two of my Tulsa friends were able to make it, Laura and Shelley. Yet, the message is important and as a bonus, these are two women I was excited to introduce to each other. 

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I scheduled my third “Moment” in Oklahoma City the same day Mother Nature decided she wanted to schedule an ice storm. I had to cancel this “Moment” and I was really disappointed since it would’ve been the largest. I made a donation for each of my friends who said they would attend and I hope to reschedule it in the future. 

The Go Red message is one that I believe in strongly. I’ve seen my own aunt be an almost text book story of how her symptoms didn’t look like a “typical” heart attack in men, the doctor sending her home, and my cousin insisting they figure it out. Over my years of volunteering for Go Red I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that particular scenario.

Ladies, know your numbers! Know the signs and symptoms of heart attack in women and be alert for your heart health and the women around you. Extra information can be found at the Go Red for Women website. 

Trunk Show!

I was super excited to drive to Lawton, Oklahoma and visit my dress sponsor Crowning Around. They were holding a trunk show with the latest designs from Tony Bowls (my favorite!), Sherri Hill, and Ashley Lauren among others. 

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I was looking forward to nailing down the final details for my custom Tony Bowls competition gown for the Mrs. International pageant next July. I was also hoping to get the remaining pieces of my wardrobe figured out.

First, I have to tell you how awesome the customer service is at Crowning Around. Lawton is three hours away from my home in Tulsa and a five hour flight from my home in California but I’ve never received such amazing customer service at any other shop and it was worth the drive to know that they would be doing their very best to help me with everything that I needed. I wasn’t disappointed!

It was so great to visit with Cynthia who helped me find the items I was looking for. She’s so kind and helpful and I feel like I’ve made a lifelong friend. I was also excited to see Victoria Wiggins, the new Mrs. Kansas USA. I met Victoria when she was a teen and competed in one of our Oklahoma International regional pageants. I’m super excited for her new title and I love how she bent over backwards to help me over the phone the first time I called the shop last month. 

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All in all, it was a fabulous day. I’m excited for the sponsorship, I’m excited for the awesome wardrobe, I’m excited to have new friends! Thank you, Crowning Around!

 

 

The Gift for the Person Who Has Everything

A lot of us have that person in our lives who have everything. Mine is my stepmom. I get to her birthday and Christmas and I never know what I should get that she will enjoy. I’ve done coffee and chocolate and flowers and wine. A lot of wine. ;-)  

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This year, I was hoping to be inspired by something really different and awesome. But what would it be? I was clueless. 

Then I had a unique opportunity come my way. I helped my friend work her clothing shop in Las Vegas for two weeks at the Stetson Country Christmas show. The show was a large marketplace of cowboy and rodeo related merchandise. It was incredible. I would never have guessed that I’d find the perfect item at a rodeo show.

We were lucky enough to be placed next to Stuff It Olives. First of all, Bob and Norine who are the owners, are fabulous people. But secondly, their products are awesome. 

They sell many different kinds of stuffed olives and garlic. My favorite of the olives was the Sicilian Double Stuffed. 

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The smoked garlic is amazing and is their best seller, according to Bob.

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But my very favorite thing they have is the balsamic vinegars and flavored oils. And this is what I got for my stepmom, the person who has everything. 

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The olive oil that’s infused with basil is SO tasty. I knew that would have to be one of my choices. Norine then paired it with the fig balsamic and I was in heaven. What a fabulous taste commotion in my mouth!

I didn’t stop there. I brought home a couple, well, several bottles for myself. I bought a bottle of fig for myself initially. By the time I was getting ready to leave Las Vegas it was halfway gone so I got another bottle of fig. Then pomegranate, chocolate marshmallow, and cranberry walnut. I’m also hoping to get a bottle of chocolate cherry but it was the last bottle and Bob couldn’t find it at the show. We’ll be having breakfast with Bob and Norine on our way back to California so I hope they will have the chocolate cherry for me then. I know I NEED it. ;-)

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So there you are. For the person who has everything or the person who just likes tasty condiments. Everything at Stuff-It Olives and Napa Finest is delicious and I know you’ll think so too!

 

Talking about Concussion in Las Vegas

I was in Las Vegas with my sponsor Story Clothing Co. We were at the Stetson Country Christmas. I was able to talk to the people there about my new platform of Concussion Awareness.

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I was surprised that there were people who actually knew that, while a helmet can protect the skull from being fractured, a helmet cannot protect the brain from concussion. This fact was the big Aha! moment for me while reading the book Concussion

It was good to talk to people about this issue that has been so prevalent in my life for the past month while I’ve read everything I can get my hands on about concussion and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

While football is where my experience with my son’s concussions come from, I was able to share that concussions happen in so many other places and encourage the parents to be aware of the signs and symptoms of a concussion. I was also able to explain how a concussion is more than just “getting his bell rung”. That there can be long term implications of repeated concussion and that the athlete should be fully healed before going back to the playing field. 

 

Book Review: The Swans of Fifth Avenue

The Swans of Fifth AvenueThe Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really loved this book. I didn’t know too much about Truman Capote before reading the book except that he wrote In Cold Blood. While this was a fictional account of the time, the story was so interesting to me. I love the way people lived back in earlier days and it was fun to read about.

I loved the relationship between Babe and Truman. I felt sorry for Babe. It seemed like she always had to be “on” for everyone but herself. With Truman, she got to be herself. When he betrayed her, I was crushed for her.

Love the story, the writing, the characters. I also loved that the author included other works that she read before writing the story. I’ll be reading those myself!



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New Platform Direction: Concussion Awareness

When I decided to enter the Mrs. International Pageant, I was positive of what my platform should be. After all, I’ve been encouraging people to walk for health for over ten years now and it seemed a natural. Until I got my hands on an advance copy of the book Concussion (release date: 11/24/15).

I knew that the movie “Concussion”, starring Will Smith, would be coming out on Christmas Day and was eagerly looking forward to seeing it. When I learned I would get to read the book, I was thrilled. When I got it, I stayed up all night reading it until I was finished. What I read changed my life.

I decided to change my platform to Concussion Awareness. My reason for doing that is because of our oldest son. He started playing football when he was eight and went to Tulane University on a football scholarship. Before he got to college, he’d had at least one concussion. By the time he had a career ending neck injury at the beginning of his sophomore year of college, he’d had five concussions. I now believe the broken neck was blessing in disguise.

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After our son had his last concussion, the doctors at Tulane University Medical Center told us they felt he was fine to play but they would have him wear a high tech helmet that would provide him extra protection. I was happy with this. Even up until the beginning of college football season this year where it now looks like all players wear this helmet.

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Up until I read the book “Concussion” that says that no matter what kind of helmet an athlete is wearing, they will still be able to sustain a concussion because, although the helmet can stop the skull from being fractured, it cannot stop the brain from banging around inside of the skull in the cerebral fluid.

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Every time another NFL player takes his own life, and they indicate it was due to concussions, I pray that God will keep our son safe and, even if we never get to speak to him again, he will have a happy life.

What we know when we let our kids play football is that they may break an arm or a leg. We know about those kinds of injuries but no one talks about concussion. In our son’s case, he was a defensive lineman in college and played both sides of the ball all the years before college. The research indicates that the cumulative effect of all the subconcussive hits, the hits that a lineman receives on nearly every play as they go head to head with the other line, could be even worse.

Parents need to have this information and understand the potential outcome of multiple concussions. They need to be aware of the signs of concussion. I want to help get this word out.  

Would we have done anything differently if we had had this information? I can’t say. But at least we would have been making the most informed decision we could make because we would’ve had all the facts.

This isn’t just a football problem, either. Concussions happen in all sports. Football just happens to be the topic for the movie and my own experience. A place to start.

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I’ve chosen to work with the Patrick Risha CTE Awareness Foundation. When I read Patrick’s story, and it was so much like our son’s, I knew it was the place for me. 

While I will never stop telling you how great walking is for your heart, overall health, and even your marriage, I feel that making parents aware of the signs and effects of concussion is so very important. If I can stop one mom from feeling the way that I did when I learned that a helmet doesn’t really protect against a concussion at all, it will be worth it. 

You can learn more about concussion and CTE at the Foundation website www.StopCTE.org