Staying Healthy in a Crazy World

Welcome to the Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge hosted by Long and Short Reviews! To read posts from other participants, click HERE.

This week we are pondering how we take care of our health which is a topic that has always been important but feels even more relevant now that we are almost one year into a global pandemic. A year ago most of us probably never considered wearing a mask or social distancing but now, those are part of our day-to-day lives as we try to minimize our risk of exposure or spreading infection to others. I think most of us can agree by this point that it’s a necessary evil and it’s the very least we can do.

But that is COVID and if you’re like me, you’re getting weary of continuing to live with the constant fear and anxiety that the pandemic holds over us even while we are doing all we can to try to prevent or minimize it. We need other outlets to keep our health and our sanity as we go about our lives in our new normal.

I try to revel in the little things – like taking a walk through the park or around the neighborhood, which honestly, wasn’t something my husband and I did much before lockdown but once it became a routine last spring, I started to really look forward to those walks together. Not only did they provide exercise and an escape from the house but there is a mental boost that comes from breathing fresh air and feeling warm sunshine on your skin. We’re very much looking forward to getting back to those walks as soon as the weather permits. (Come on spring!)

I’ve always been a huge fan of dancing and I love to exercise. Going to group exercise classes at our local YMCA was high up on the list of one of my favorite activities. Since I haven’t been able to enjoy that like I once did, I have started investigating online alternatives. I recently subscribed to Beachbody’s On Demand channel where they offer all of their workouts and while it pales in comparison to the fun of getting out and being social at the Y, at least it keeps me moving in the meantime. So far, so good.

We also invested in a second hand treadmill so theoretically, we can walk or run whenever the mood strikes. I say theoretically because, well, we haven’t been using it quite as much as I’d hoped. My middle son participates in cross country and track so running is big in our house. Last summer we stayed in shape by running together at the park. I suppose a treadmill doesn’t quite have the same appeal.

Then there is the fitness watch. Raise your hands… how many of you wear a Fitbit or smart watch to track steps and pretty much everything else under the sun? Yep, me too. I had a Fitbit for years but when the battery started to go on that, my husband surprised me with a Samsung Active watch. Last April I challenged myself to achieve 10,000 steps each and every day, no matter what. At the time, I was running so that made it pretty easy. But despite slacking on the runs, I have still not missed a single day. No matter what, even if it means walking circles in the house to reach my goal, I get those 10,000 steps, gosh darn it! It’s silly, perhaps, but now, I just want to see how long I can keep it going. Coming up on almost a year!

Last, but not least, when it comes to keeping myself and my family healthy, I’ve been taking more time to experiment with new foods, particularly vegetarian and vegan dishes. While I would love for us all to go vegetarian entirely, I don’t think my kids are ready for that. At least I can minimize the amount of meat on our plates though and I feel like we’re better off for it.

So, what do you do to stay healthy in this crazy world?

My Favorite Things

Welcome to the Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge hosted by Long and Short Reviews! To read posts from other bloggers, click here.

As I sit down to write this morning, Janet works her way around my floors picking up dirt, dust, and dog hair. And there is certainly a lot of dog hair! Janet isn’t actually a person, although we’ve named her as one. She is, however, one of my favorite things. Janet is our robotic vacuum and if you’ve ever watched The Good Place on Netflix you’ll make the connection with the name. (ha ha) We decided to take the leap to purchasing a robotic vacuum in November when trying to keep up with the never-ending shedding of our one year-old lab, Daisy, became too overwhelming. I’ve never looked back since. Janet has been a very welcome addition to our home and finally, the dog hair is manageable without my having to spend hours cleaning. Yay! 🙂

But Janet is just one of my many favorite things. Spending time with my family definitely tops that list but then there are the long walks in the woods – we love to explore, campfires in the summertime, music, quiet romantic dinners with the husband when the kids are otherwise occupied, tasty chocolate treats, reading or writing stories, doing Mad Libs (I’m silly, I know), laughing, listening to music…

And guinea pigs! What would life be without a guinea pig? Or six? Yes, our family owns six of the furry little creatures. I suppose guinea pigs are sort of like potato chips – you simply can’t have just one.

I love taking pictures of flowers, which you already know if you follow me on Instagram, and although I may not be the world’s best dancer, dancing makes the list, too, even if I’m only dancing in my living room these days.

Last but not least, I love my kindle. I couldn’t pass a day without it. I know, I know, many you you believe that there is no substitute for real books and I agree there is something magical about flipping the pages but how can you not appreciate being able to carry an entire library wherever you go? No matter what I may be in the mood to read… there it is!

Thanks for reading! I’m new to the Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge but hoping to become a regular face over the coming weeks. Looking forward to sharing more.

Kismet by April Canavan #BookBlitz #Giveaway #Suspense

April Canavan
(Birch County Blue #1)
Publication date: August 11th 2017
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

Never look back.

In the dark of the night, 911 dispatcher Maya Daniels becomes the one thing she fears the most, a victim. Faced with new limitations, both physically and emotionally are what prove the hardest for Maya to handle. That and one very stubborn deputy who refuses to take no for an answer.

Brian will never forgive himself for the pain Maya went through when he couldn’t protect her. When he’s given one more chance to make things right, he swears that he’ll do anything to keep her safe. Even if it means he could lose his job as a Deputy Sheriff.

Nobody believes that Maya is safe, especially when her stalker returns with a vengeance. Maya finds herself fighting for her life once more, but this time she’s not alone.

Fans of Mary Burton and Susan Stoker will fall into the world of Birch County and never want to come back.

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“Hey,” she called to him from the stairs. He looked good, but then she always thought that he looked good.

“Hey yourself, pipsqueak. Figured this might be easier than texting.” He moved from where he was next to his cruiser and stood at the bottom of the stairs.

From his position, Maya was only an inch or two higher than he was. She looked into his eyes, and smiled at the familiarity that was in their depths.

“I guess.” She breathed in deeply, and was pleasantly surprised when she was hit with his earthy scent. “So how was the shift?” The deputies could normally go home at one in the morning, but were on call until the shift ended at four.

“Good, too many tourists doing stupid crap though. It’s the season, I suppose.” Pointing a glance at her cast he said, “How come everyone else has gotten to sign it but me?”

“It’s coming off in like a week. There’s no point now.” She put both her hands behind her back, even if it was awkward with the cast on her arm.

He joined her at the top of the stairs, and she looked up into his eyes. “You really are short.”

“I know. Perks of being me, I guess. I’ll be the last to die when the zombies attack since I can fit into smaller places.” She knew it was derisive, but since she was making fun of herself it didn’t matter.

He started laughing, a comforting sound coming from deep in his chest. After he was finished, he just stood there and looked at her. She got caught up in the moment and when he pulled her into a hug, she let him. The warmth of his body enclosed her, and she felt safe. After she stayed in his arms for a minute, reality struck.

“I need to go. I’m getting tired.” She yawned for effect and looked at his cruiser pointedly.

He didn’t take the hint. “I know you are. Can I take Jonathan now?”

“No,” she was offended by his question, and it stung a lot more than she’d ever tell him. “You can’t have him. I promised that I would make him breakfast in the morning, you can have him after.” She crossed her arms, which would look a lot more imposing if she was able to do it without the cast. Instead, she shot him her most stern look. “You should go home now.”

“Okay, no problem. You know, you’re kind of cute when you’re telling me what to do.” He smiled. But it was more of a smirk, mirth reaching his eyes.

“Brian.” She really did need to go back inside, but before she could say it again, he cut her off.

“Kiss me.” He looked at her mouth, and seemed to be fascinated by it.

“Why?” Her throat was dry, the words coming out as more of a croak than a question.

“Because if you don’t I’m going to lose my mind.” He pulled her back into his arms, and she pushed against him until he released her.

When she was out of his arms, she took a deep breath and said, “I’m done with these games, Brian.”

“I can’t live my life without knowing what you’re going to feel like in my arms. You don’t understand. I need you.” The look on his face said that he was lost, and that she was the key to him finding his way home.

“There was a time when all I wanted was to be needed in your life, Brian. But that’s not what I want, not anymore. I need something other than hidden glances, innuendo, and being made to feel like I’m not good enough to be someone’s first choice.” Instead of feeling happy at the thought of being told exactly what she wanted to hear from him for so long, it just made her angrier that she didn’t have happiness like that in her life already and probably couldn’t in the future.

“But you are my first choice. Don’t you see that? I would turn the world upside down if it would make you happy.” Without waiting for her response, he grasped her by the shoulders and brought his face down to hers. “No more games, not between us.” And he kissed her. The entire world imploded in a barrage of light and sound. The kiss couldn’t have lasted more than a few seconds, but in that moment it felt like everything was right in the universe.

Pulling away from her just slightly he continued, “I should have told you how I really feel a long time ago, Maya. Then we wouldn’t have all of this wasted time. I want you in my life. Just give this a chance.”

“I’m a different person; all of the love I had was left behind that night. I can’t give you anything.” Eyes still stinging from the explosion of lights she saw during their kiss, she leaned away from him.

Author Bio:

USA Today Bestselling author by day and superhero by night, April spends her time split between real and fantasy worlds. While she writes across genres, her heart lives with Contemporary Romance that will tear her readers apart.

She lives on the rocky coast of Maine, in the perfect place to visit the ocean but still live surrounded by the woods. Her son inspires her to write, demanding stories that he’s not allowed to read.

As long as she has coffee, April can conquer the world… but she hates talking about herself in third person.

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The Marriage Game by Sara Desai #BookTeaser #Giveaway

The Marriage Game
Sara Desai
Publication date: June 9th 2020
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance

One of Oprah Magazine’s Most Anticipated Romances of 2020

A high stakes wager pits an aspiring entrepreneur against a ruthless CEO in this sexy romantic comedy.

After her life falls apart, recruitment consultant Layla Patel returns home to her family in San Francisco. But in the eyes of her father, who runs a Michelin starred restaurant, she can do no wrong. He would do anything to see her smile again. With the best intentions in mind, he offers her the office upstairs to start her new business and creates a profile on an online dating site to find her a man. She doesn’t know he’s arranged a series of blind dates until the first one comes knocking on her door…

As CEO of a corporate downsizing company Sam Mehta is more used to conflict than calm. In search of a quiet new office, he finds the perfect space above a cozy Indian restaurant that smells like home. But when communication goes awry, he’s forced to share his space with the owner’s beautiful yet infuriating daughter Layla, her crazy family, and a parade of hopeful suitors, all of whom threaten to disrupt his carefully ordered life.

As they face off in close quarters, the sarcasm and sparks fly. But when the battle for the office becomes a battle of the heart, Sam and Layla have to decide if this is love or just a game.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play


“You’re sitting at my desk.” She put the pot on the reception desk and folded her arms.

Sam shuffled his papers, spreading them across the polished wood surface for no reason other than to keep his gaze off her distractingly perfect breasts. “I didn’t see your name on it.”

“Just look at your lease. You’ll see it written across the top, or can’t you read big words like Patel?”

“I don’t recall seeing any identification,” he countered. “For all I know, you could have just walked in off the street. You’re certainly not dressed like you’re running a business.”

Eyes blazing, she glared. “What’s wrong with how I’m dressed?”

“An apron and a pink tracksuit with Juicy written across the ass are hardly serious business attire and they certainly don’t scream swipe right on desi Tinder.”

Sam didn’t know if there was such a thing as Tinder for people of South Asian descent living abroad, but if it did exist, he and Layla would definitely not have been a match.

Layla gave a growl of frustration. “You may be surprised to hear that I don’t live my life seeking male approval. I’m just getting over a breakup so I’m a little bit fragile. Last night, I went out with Daisy and drank too much, smoked something I thought was a cigarette, danced on a speaker, and fell onto some loser named Jimbo, whose girlfriend just happened to be an MMA fighter and didn’t like to see me sprawled on top of her man. We had a minor physical altercation and I was kicked out of the bar. Then I got dumped on the street by my Uber driver because I threw up in his cab. So today, I just couldn’t manage office wear. It’s called self-care, and we all need it sometimes. Danny certainly didn’t mind.” Danny certainly didn’t mind.”

“Who’s Danny?” The question came out before he could stop it.

“Someone who appreciates all I’ve got going here…” She ran a hand in and out of her generous curves. “… and isn’t hung up on trivial things like clothes.” She tugged off the apron and folded it on the crock-pot.

“I’m not hung up on clothes either,” Sam teased. “When I’m with a woman I prefer her to have no clothes at all.”

“You’re disgusting.” Layla grabbed her crock-pot and donuts and marched into the small kitchen at the back of the office.

Sam heard cupboards bang. Cutlery clatter. Angry mutters and a huff. A few minutes later Layla marched back out with a bowl of dal in one hand and two donuts circling her finger like rings.

Only when she sat down and proceeded to eat one of the donuts off her finger did he realize he hadn’t done any work since she walked in.

“Donuts and dal are not two foods that naturally go together,” he pointed out.

Layla took a giant bite and licked her lips. “Do you not have work to do? Or are you just going to sit there and look pretty?”

Author Bio:

Sara Desai has been a lawyer, radio DJ, marathon runner, historian, bouncer and librarian. She lives on Vancouver Island with her husband, kids and an assortment of forest creatures who think they are pets. Sara writes sexy romantic comedy and contemporary romance with a multicultural twist. When not laughing at her own jokes, Sara can be found eating nachos.

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Traveling Back in Time… to Meet Aliens? #MFRWAuthor

Over Christmas my brother told me about a man who claims to be a time traveler. According to him, we are going to meet real life aliens … this month. Crazy, right? And maybe just a tad terrifying if you’re like me and aliens have been a source of anxiety since you were a kid.

Welcome to week two of the blog challenge. This week we’re taking a step back (okay, maybe a few steps back) into childhood in order to reminisce.

Ah, the fun of summer nights sat around the crackling campfire. It was always one of my favorite ways to pass the time. My family was big on camping regularly and every once in a while, if my parents needed a weekend away from us (shocking), my brother and I would spend a weekend at the campground with my grandparents. I remember one particular star-filled evening as Pap Pap enjoyed a beer and the rest of us made mountain pies when I looked up into the sky and wondered “What if?” I was maybe 11 at the time and the question had been weighing on my mind a lot and was the source of many nightmares. Sitting out under the open sky, admittedly, invoked a sense of anxiety. We were having fun… but weren’t we vulnerable? I’d heard too many horrific tales of alien abduction to want to take my chances.

I mentioned my concerns to Grandma and Pap Pap. Pap Pap laughed, leaned back in his chair and said to me, “If aliens come down, I’ll just offer them a beer.”

Fair enough, I thought. Why should any of us be so afraid of the unknown? Maybe this alien thing wasn’t all about kidnapping, probing, and leaving mysterious crop circle messages in our corn fields?

During another camping trip, this time with my parents, I came across a girl slightly younger than I was at the time. She claimed to be from another planet. (What kid doesn’t at some point though, right?) I didn’t believe her but she intrigued me so we played together anyway. She decided she liked me and by the end of the day, she decided to initiate me into her ‘world’. I shrugged and figured why not? I lay against a large boulder while she muttered gibberish and pressed stones into my skin in order to turn me into whatever she claimed to be. I never truly believed I was different after her initiation but looking back, I can’t help but wonder if this explains a lot. (ha)

My brother and I once insisted we saw spaceships flying between the trees behind our house and disappearing underground. I grew up in an area that had at one time been used for strip mining coal. Behind our house was a field that had mostly overgrown except for patches of thick, black coal dust where nothing grew. (Incidentally, for a kid, coal dust makes a great substitute for a sandbox. Trust me kids, your parents won’t agree!)

We watched the alien spacecraft disappear into what we assumed was a tunnel network underground – doing who knows what – and couldn’t believe that no one else witnessed this amazing event!  Keeping an eye on things kept us out of trouble for days until finally, we got bored and conceded that maybe, just maybe, there really wasn’t anything out of the ordinary going on out there.

They say it’s a good idea to write what scares you. I’ve always thought aliens would make a wealth of story ideas for me in that case because I have a long history of fears and pretend encounters to draw from. Perhaps one of these days I will delve a little deeper and turn those memories into a short story? You never know.

As for the time traveler, that’s a pretty far-fetched idea. I’m not sure I’m ready to believe it’s possible but I did a little googling and found this blog post about the guy making this claim and his predictions for our alien visit this month. I figured you might want to keep a cold beer ready… just in case…

What do you think? Is there life out there somewhere? Do you think we will meet?

Thanks for traveling back in time with me and reliving some crazy childhood memories. If you would like to see what others are remembering, make sure you visit the MFRW website and check them out!

By the way, the photo at the top of my post comes from Amazon. The backpack is currently unavailable but here’s the link in case you want to keep an eye for it when it comes back in stock. 🙂 I thought it was pretty cute. AMAZON