It’s Time for a Watch Party!

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Malala Yousafzai is a well-known name around the world! Besides winning the Nobel Peace Prize, starting an organization to provide girls around the world with an education, she wrote a book about her life all before the age of 18! Now watch the book come to life through the film, He Named Me Malala.

Who doesn’t need an excuse to get their friends together and support a great cause? On Monday, February 29, 2016, at 8/7c get your snacks together and watch He Named Me Malala  commercial free  on the National Geographic Channel. Learn more here. 

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Thanks to the National Geographic for my Watch Party Kit!

 

 

You even help bring 12 years of safe, free, quality education to girls around the world by spreading the word on social media – it’s that easy!

Visit supportmalala.com and create a custom Facebook profile video to show your support. For every person who participates through March 10, 21st Century Fox will donate $1 to the Malala Fund. A $1 donation will also be made for every tweet using the hashtag #withMalala during this time period, for a total donation of up to $50,000.

  • Host a watch party: Share your passion for girls’ education and invite friends and family over to watch the film. Sign up to host a watch party in your home or community.
  • Live tweet with @MalalaFund: The Malala Fund will be live-tweeting from @MalalaFund using #withMalala during the broadcast. Follow along for behind-the-scenes photos and stories, as well as information on how you can take action for girls’ education.
  • Fill a Schoola bag during your viewing party: Have your friends and family gather gently used clothes and fill a Schoola Bag. Send it in a 40% of the proceeds will go to the Malala Fund! It’s an easy way to get a lot of people involved, raise awareness and funds, and it costs absolutely nothing! Read more about the program and request a bag here.

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Get  ready for the event by reading my past blogs about Malala: 

See you on Monday to live tweet! Follow me: @Ms_ShininLight

 

Book Review – Work Song by Danielle Allen

Book Review
By: Nicole Howard



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My Mini Summary: Realistic fiction meets romance and with an accent of GIRL POWER! 

Author: Danielle Allen
Pages:335
Publisher:  E by M

I have read and reviewed almost all of the books Danielle Allen has written. Work Song is her latest release and she has found a way to do something a little different than what I’m used to from her.

Work Song addresses a few topics that could be great conversation starters for book club discussions including family dynamics, body image shaming, and work relationships. The one that stood out the most was being a woman in a male-dominated field. It is not uncommon for women to grow up watching sports and being as knowledgeable about them as men. However, doing this socially and professionally is a different story. In Work Song, the protagonist, Tatiana Green is serious about pursuing a career as a sports journalist but she also publishes writing about fashion. She gets the opportunity to meet the ESPN’s head writer and she uses the pseudonym Pat Daniels instead of Patti Daniels. The question is if this is misleading because it’s a neutral name that would most likely be seen as a man when in a sports publication. Patricia addresses this question for Tatiana when they met during an extravagant work event. This brief moment becomes a game changer for Tatiana later in the book. It reminds me of a recent feature guide in O, The Oprah Magazine about being your truest self where Ada Calhoun tells her story about using a pseudonym.

(See page 122 in the November issue. The article is Call Me What You Will – Ada Calhoun).

Does using a pseudonym make you less authentic? J.K. Rowling (author of the Harry Potter Series) used one instead of her full name because her publisher didn’t think a woman’s name would appeal to the male young reader audience (Bio here).

Will Tatiana continue to pursue this dream even though it’s not a common field for women? If so, will she be successful or quit?

(Read this featured post from Tatiana Green)

The speed of her books usually read like a romance meets a suspense mystery. You can’t put the book down until you figure it out. The speed of Work Song is a little slower with fewer flashbacks and twist and turns BUT Allen still delivers the “OMG” moment. Since the speed is slower you are caught completely off guard. This surprise made me want to smile with pride as if Tatiana was my friend or even me. The best part is realizing she alluded to it and if you don’t pay attention you may miss it. One trait I enjoy about her books is the realism for a work of fiction. I can imagine the whole book as it plays out in my mind. (I think someone has a future as a TV drama writer somebody call Shonda!)

Check out my interview with the author here. 

Now for the romance, Tatiana doesn’t have the best relationship history. Her ex-boyfriend’s words continued to haunt her that she was not capable of loving someone, in other words, she’s selfish. The reader is casually introduced to the love interest who she works for the same company, Sports Central and they only communicate through e-mail. There is no pressure for her because they have never met. So they learn about each other through these exchanges and share their love of movies all without speaking or meeting in person. Pretty much the original possibility of a “catfish” situation without relationship apps like Tinder and OK Cupid. It’s all fun and games until her “work best friend”, Wesley Barnes, accepts the opportunity to relocate to work in her office. Just the thought of having to see him every day raises intense fear especially since one of her close girlfriends had a negative work relationship experience.

She continues to deny that she can fall for this man because she has to remain a professional in the workplace. Once he arrives they spend time together and even as she begins to stop denying that she is developing feelings she fights it and him the whole way. Eventually, she has to choose between finally removing the false claim that she can’t love someone and the career opportunity of a lifetime. It is clear she is not supposed to have both. Danielle Allen finds a way to bring up so many relevant life topics in less than 400 pages that will make you stop and think can YOU have it all?

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Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26228446-work-song

Find it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1QWV6gm


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When society tries to put you in a box, knock the walls down. –Tati Green

“You have a pretty face” is such a back-handed compliment. It’s like telling me that my face is beautiful, but the rest of me is not.

Despite what society says, my curves are hot. My love life, on the other hand, is not.

My mom says I’ll never find love because of my weight.
My sister says I’ll never find love because of my personality.
My almost-fiancé says I’ll never find love because I’m incapable of loving anyone.

My mom and sister are full of it, but my ex kind of has a point.

At twenty-seven years old, I’ve never been in love. I date a lot, yet sparks never fly. But when I experienced the heart-pounding, skin tingling feeling for the first time, I didn’t think it would be caused by a guy I’ve never met. And I damn sure didn’t think he would end up holding my future in his hands in more ways than one.

Guest Blog Post – Tati Green (Work Song Book)

Every body is different because everybody is different. Different is sexy. Different is unique. Different is beautiful. Don’t let fashion magazines, haters or body shamers tell you otherwise. –Tati Green

(Who is Tati Green? Read this blog about the new book Work Song) 

We all come in different shapes and sizes.

Some of us are tall and some of us are short.

Some of us are fat and some of us are skinny.

Some of us have curves and some of us don’t.

Some of us have light skin and some of us have dark skin.

Some of us have long hair and some of us have short hair.

But all of us are beautiful. We are all beautiful.

Looking at the cover of fashion magazines, you would be led to believe that there was only one type of beauty. The media continues to perpetuate those images as the ideal. And every time we look in the mirror and tell ourselves that we aren’t good enough, we are feeding into that.

So no more!

Your body is beautiful because it is YOUR body. No one should have the power to make you feel badly about the way you look. Don’t get me wrong—there are some assholes out there that love to tear others down and it may hurt your feelings. But THEIR feelings about your body shouldn’t change YOUR feelings about your body.

If there is something about your body that you want to change, then you should change it. If there is something about your body that you can’t change, then you should stop worrying about it.

If you look different than the next person, GOOD!

Different is unique. Different is beautiful. Different is what makes you stand out in a crowd. Different is what makes you exactly who you are. So dare to be different by daring to be you.

Wrap yourself in the clothing that best reflects your personality and just enjoy the skin you’re in. The beautiful thing about being beautiful is that there is no one way to do it.


When society tries to put you in a box, knock the walls down. –Tati Green

“You have a pretty face” is such a back-handed compliment. It’s like telling me that my face is beautiful, but the rest of me is not.

Despite what society says, my curves are hot.
My love life, on the other hand, is not.

My mom says I’ll never find love because of my weight.
My sister says I’ll never find love because of my personality.
My almost-fiancé says I’ll never find love because I’m incapable of loving anyone.

My mom and sister are full of it, but my ex kind of has a point.

At twenty-seven years old, I’ve never been in love. I date a lot, yet sparks never fly. But when I experienced the heart-pounding, skin tingling feeling for the first time, I didn’t think it would be caused by a guy I’ve never met. And I damn sure didn’t think he would end up holding my future in his hands in more ways than one.



Danielle Allen is a lover of football, fashion, film and fiction. Married to the yin to her yang, Danielle spends most of her time with her husband, family and friends. From karaoke nights to vacationing and everything in between, she enjoys making the most out of the life in which she’s been blessed. Danielle spends her days teaching and event planning and her nights writing.

Danielle Allen is the author of the Back to Life Series (Back to Life, Back to Reality, Back to December*), Love Discovered in New York, Autumn & Summer, the Heartache Series (Heartache, Heartfelt, Heartless*) and Work Song.








New Book by Danielle Allen!

Be sure to check out the latest book by Danielle Allen!

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When society tries to put you in a box, knock the walls down. –Tati Green

“You have a pretty face” is such a back-handed compliment. It’s like telling me that my face is beautiful, but the rest of me is not.

Despite what society says, my curves are hot. My love life, on the other hand, is not.

My mom says I’ll never find love because of my weight.
My sister says I’ll never find love because of my personality.
My almost-fiancé says I’ll never find love because I’m incapable of loving anyone.

My mom and sister are full of it, but my ex kind of has a point.

At twenty-seven years old, I’ve never been in love. I date a lot, yet sparks never fly. But when I experienced the heart-pounding, skin tingling feeling for the first time, I didn’t think it would be caused by a guy I’ve never met. And I damn sure didn’t think he would end up holding my future in his hands in more ways than one.

Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26228446-work-song

Find it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1QWV6gm

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Read my interview with the author. 

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Danielle Allen is a lover of football, fashion, film and fiction. Married to the yin to her yang, Danielle spends most of her time with her husband, family and friends. From karaoke nights to vacationing and everything in between, she enjoys making the most out of the life in which she’s been blessed. Danielle spends her days teaching and event planning and her nights writing.

Danielle Allen is the author of the Back to Life Series (Back to Life, Back to Reality, Back to December*), Love Discovered in New York, Autumn & Summer, the Heartache Series (Heartache, Heartfelt, Heartless*) and Work Song.

Go to her website to see other work she has written: www.authordanielleallen.com

Connect on social media:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DanielleAllenAuthor

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/authordanielleallen

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/XOXO_DAllen

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/XOXO_DAllen

Book Review – Big Magic By Elizabeth Gilbert

Book Review
By: Nicole Howard


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My Mini Summary: When you think being a creative person is no longer worth it when you’re frustrated with what you once loved to do. Read Big Magic to help you find your way.

Title: Big Magic
Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
Pages: 288
Publisher: Riverhead Books

Elizabeth Gilbert’s Ted Talks about being creative and a writer have always been my go to when I want to doubt my goal of becoming an author. I also saw Elizabeth Gilbert speak during Oprah’s Life You Want Tour in Washington, DC. While reading Big Magic, I felt like I could hear her voice. It was as if I was having lunch with a  writer friend. For those who are advanced in their “creative” careers, I’m not sure if they will see anything new or inspiring. For me, I had a few ah-ha moments

Check out Elizabeth Gilbert on the NEW Season of Super Soul

Fear is boring! What an easy way to remember to be fearless. A reminder that when you live in fear you miss out on experiences that can teach you something new. Gilbert points out why we are fearful and how to get over those feelings. Another big point was to be curious this is where the magic happens. The best part about this book is the honesty. Gilbert doesn’t make her story of being a best-selling author as something of mere magic but continuing to do what she loves daily. To sit down and write even when there isn’t exactly something to say. To pursue the small questions that may lead to the big magic moments like how she came to writing the Signature of All Things. For me this is an exchange of letters to a writing friend to say keep going, don’t quit now, if it’s what you love, love it back.

For more check out her podcast Magic Lessons.

Read more book reviews here.


Overview:

From the worldwide bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love: the path to the vibrant, fulfilling life you’ve dreamed of.

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work,  embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

BEST Used Bookstore Find – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone!

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I have always loved books and reading you could blame growing up in a family full of educators OR blame growing up as an only child. I still remember my mother knocking on the door to make sure I was okay. Why? I was reading the Harry Potter series all day! Fast forward…Soon I will be going to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida. Bringing a book to life through film is one thing but being able to walk through a theme park is going to be so much fun. In preparation for this trip, I watched Harry Potter movies including Magic Beyond Words: The J.K. Rowling Story. Searching for the movies is when I saw the title: Philosopher’s Stone and again in the movie about her life.

Today I decided to check out a used bookstore, Carpe LibrumI stood in the Young Adult section for what seemed like forever. I kept looking not exactly sure what I was looking for and then I saw IT! I couldn’t believe it. The first book J.K. Rowling published before it reached the U.S. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I just finished reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and I am pretty sure this moment was brought to me by magic. I look up to J.K. Rowling because her story tells me I too can be an author. Here are all the books I bought. See more book photography on my Instagram page.

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Sidebar: The illustrated version was also released today!

He Named Me Malala Film Screening

hnmm_posterThe E Street Cinema held a screening of the documentary,
He Named Me Malala on Monday, October 5, 2015. (Be sure to check out the book, I Am Malala.) Something that immediately stood out to me was the feeling of being homesick. After the attack on her life, Malala, and her family cannot return to their home and friends in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. Now, they reside in the United Kingdom. The film captures the family well; reminding the audience that a Pakistani family has similarities to ones right here in the United States. What a difference it would be if there were continuous reminders of the things that make us similar instead of a constant reminder of what separates us.

The documentary helps the audience to see how her parents helped influence her life. She would sit with her dad as he had conversations about politics as, her father created a school which she explored at a young age. He spoke out against the Taliban using Islam to treat people unjustly. In one scene he reveals watching his own father give sermons wanting to be like him. I enjoyed hearing from her father and learning more about her mother. The relationship between father and daughter really touched my heart.

In the first scene and throughout the movie animation that resembles a moving watercolor brought to life tells stories from the past and how Malala got her name. These scenes break up the tense reality of the darkness of this world.

I had the honor to hear Malala speak during a phone interview on the day of her movie premiere. She encourages youth to speak up, and women to believe in themselves because they can do anything. She’s so confident and convincing. I’m reminded of other world leaders who knew of the threat of death over their life but didn’t let fear silence their voice. Her father spoke up feeling he had to speak up, her mother taught her she must always tell the truth, and the gun shot tells her she has already faced fear there is nothing left to stop her from continuing to speak for the right of girls going to school.

There is a moment when she doesn’t speak when asked about her struggles. It is clear the traumatic experiences she has already dealt with, feeling out of place at school, and being away from a home you love.

The movie reminded me of the children that can be forgotten unless talked about on the news. The refugee children all over the world who not only aren’t in school but don’t have a place to call home anymore.

I recommend seeing the movie with your family this weekend. Discuss it with them, see how you can help the Malala fund. Also spread the word on social media. Check out the trailer below:

Join me on snap chat!

The time has come to join the snap chat world. Join me! Let’s snap about books.

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Happy National Coffee Day

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It’s here! Today is National Coffee Day!!! I am a true coffee lover. So free coffee sounds good to me. Check out your favorite coffee spots for free or discounted coffee.

Here are the ones that I know are celebrating today: Wawa, Whole Foods, Krispy Kreme, Dunkin Donuts (free), Peets Coffee and Tea.

Starbucks and Caribou Coffee are donating money to organizations for your purchases today.

Enjoy!

NEW Season of Super Soul Sunday!

The new season of Super Soul Sunday is here on the OWN Network at a new time, 7pm ET/. This season has a HUGE lineup for my fellow bookworms. I am especially excited about authors Brené Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Malala Yousafzai. Most of these authors have NEW books they just released and Malala Yousafzai has a film out now called He Named Me Malala.

Below are brief summaries of the shows:

Sunday, October 11 (7 p.m. – 8 p.m. ET/PT) Episode: Malala Yousafzai

Oprah sits down with the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai to discuss her mission to educate girls across the world, her spirituality and how she has thrived following the Taliban’s attempt on her life.

Sunday, October 18 (7 p.m. – 8 p.m. ET/PT) Episode: The Dalai Lama

Oprah is joined by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, world-renowned spiritual leader and Tibetan Buddhist monk.  They discuss his core practice, which centers around spreading kindness, and his commitment to promoting peace throughout the world.

Sunday, October 25 (7 p.m. – 8 p.m. ET/PT) Episode: Gloria Steinem

Oprah talks to women’s rights pioneer, political/social activist and living legend Gloria Steinem about her lifetime of travel, her activism and leadership, as well as her first book in more than 20 years, “My Life on the Road.”

Find out more here


“Super Soul Sunday is the two-time Emmy award-winning series that delivers timely, thought-provoking, eye-opening and inspiring programming designed to help viewers awaken to their best selves and discover a deeper connection to the world around them.  The series features all-new conversations between Oprah Winfrey and top thinkers, authors, visionaries and spiritual leaders exploring themes and issues including happiness, personal fulfillment, spirituality, conscious living and what it means to be alive in today’s world.