Book Review: Goodnight Love

Goodnight Love is an absolutely adorable and sweet bedtime story featuring a wonderful little sloth family.  Goodnight Love is a bedtime meditation story so throughout it teaches you ways to mediate and to wind down before bed.  While I don’t have problems falling asleep, I have problems staying asleep, adding in some meditation and positive thoughts before bed certainly can’t hurt! And who doesn’t love to read a story featuring adorable little sloths?

About the Book

Share love with yourself, your people, and the world (alongside fun sloths) in this big-hearted bedtime meditation for children.

As the day comes to a close, Goodnight Love helps children (ages 2–5) connect to the warmth of their hearts through the power of lovingkindness. We foster self-compassion by sending care to ourselves. We share kindness by wishing good things for our families and friends. And we cultivate unconditional love by radiating the wish for happiness and peace on Earth.

Goodnight Love brings the heart-based practice of lovingkindness (metta) into the ritual of bedtime, with adorable sloth characters that kids will delight in practicing beside. The beautiful, richly colored art portrays a caregiver sloth guiding a young sloth through this relaxing evening meditation, helping children slip into slumber with a heart filled with kindness.

Carrie Underwood at Mohegan Sun Arena

Saturday night Carrie brought her “Denim and Rhinestones Tour” to the Arena at Mohegan Sun.  The night started off a bit stressful, some my fault, some not.  I was in the zone with a coding project I have been working on so I ended up leaving a little bit later than I had intended because I was not about to stop when I was on a roll and fixing all the “why isn’t this working?” notes I had left for myself the week before.  The ticket said 7:30pm start time so I assumed 6:30pm doors time.  I ended up getting to the casino a little after 6 – only to find most of the parking garage floors were FULL.  I managed to get a relatively decent spot not too far from the elevators.  The casino was PACKED (which I kind of expected by the lack of parking) and once I got to the Arena, I expected doors to be open already. But they were not.  We ended up standing around with no one knowing what was going on until just after 7pm.  We got told they were “delayed” but no one knew why – there were rumors that Carrie wasn’t there yet and also something about a truck breaking down in New Jersey but I have no idea if there’s any truth to any of that.  Carrie did at the end say that they “had some snags” and she had appreciated us being patient.

When doors finally opened, they then had 4 or 5 doors open to scan tickets – but those with GA Floor tickets could only go through certain doors and no one else could go through those so everyone kept cutting everyone off to get inside and it was absolutely ridiculous.  A girl ended up getting fed up we kept getting cut off and stood telling everyone “the end of the line for this door is back there.”  My hero.  One old lady said “Sorry. I’m with her. She has my ticket” when her friend cut me off.  At least some people have common sense…

Then I got to the elevator only to see about 25 able bodied people waiting for it. I’m not sure if that’s the only way to get up to whatever suite they were going to… but I finally got on with a handful of them so I could go down to the main floor to get to my seat.  I had my walker with me, and they put it off to the side as I was front row of the lower level.  The DJ was already on and playing.  A couple of girls asked security if they could sit, I couldn’t hear why, but shortly after one of them threw up.  They both ran off to the bathroom and custodial was called to clean up – but it took FOREVER for anyone to show up and then there were like 5 staffers watching.  One of the seats ended up out of commission (#2) so as the people came who were supposed to be sitting there, they got moved.  Not only did 1 and 2 get moved (which made sense) 3 and 4 did too (also made sense, since 2 was bagged off and a mess) but then 5 and 6 demanded they get moved too.  Now, 5 and 6 were about as far away from the gross seat as I was – and I had no problem being 3+ feet away from it… but staff moved them elsewhere as well.

This was all going on during Jimmie Allen’s opening set – so I can’t really speak much for his performance and honestly don’t really know who he is or care for him anyway. I know he was an Idol cast off and on last season and that’s about it.

The DJ came back on for a bit and then it was time for Carrie. I was entertained by people with floor tickets not knowing what a pit floor and GA floor meant and wanting to sit somewhere or complaining that their legs hurt.  Carrie’s set was everything I was hoping for, and more.  Lots of sparkly costume changes and even a couple of swings that got her from the main stage to the B stage (which was very close to where I was sitting!)  A nice mix of good and old songs and I am absolutely obsessed with her new single – Hate my Heart.  Totally relatable.  She even had Jimmie come out for a song and they had a cute little dance break!  My favorite was probably the end, the part she said was the “sassy” part of the show – Last Name, Something in the Water and then the encore of Welcome to the Jungle and Before He Cheats.  Screaming those lyrics at the top of your lungs with a full arena is very therapeutic.

Global Entry in 10 Days

This is not a paid post. I just need to share the amazing.

After Jamaica, there was some discussion on me getting Global Entry, which helps expedite getting back into the country and through customs.  My credit card would actually pay for me to get it as a card perk but I remember there not being anywhere nearby to do interviews when my friends started talking about it several years ago so I opted to just go for TSA Pre-Check instead.  The CT airport has an interview location so I figured I would go for it and shortly after filling out the form saw that appointments were over a year out.

Enter Appointment Scanner.  For $30 I had access for 1 month for it to look at up to 3 locations for appointments. I chose CT, RI and tried to add Boston but it wouldn’t let me (Could have been user error).  Almost immediately I had an appointment scheduled for April 2023.  Then March. Then Feb. And a couple came up for the next day, but I wasn’t able to make it with my work schedule.  In the end, I got an appointment for an off Friday and had signed up and got through the interview process in about 10 days.  I will say – though I had CT and RI in my profile to give me updates, I never saw any pop up for RI so as they always say – your mileage may vary.

Just a tip – once you sign up it’ll default to look for appointments within the next year.  Once you get one closer, update that date to the date of your appointment or your phone will keep blowing up with appointments that may be later in the year than the one you already have.  I snagged whatever I could initially, and then tried to be a bit more selective with my schedule and it worked out for me.

I am still waiting for my ID card to come in the mail – but I am all set now until 2028!  Best $30 I’ve spent in a while!  I just wish I came up with this scanner idea myself!

Book Review: Shakira

Yet another book in the Little People, Big Dreams series  – this one tells the story of Shakira! How she grew up loving belly dancing and the stage (much to the annoyance of her classmates, at times!) and how she started to play guitar and write poems to help her family heal.  Shakira also wanted to be a good person in addition to being successful and made a promise to herself that she would help the orphans.  Once she found some success with her music after she released a few albums, she started a foundation to help bring education to those in her hometown as well as Hispanic children all over the Americas. This is a wonderful story of perseverance and success told in such a way that it would inspire any child!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the book

From the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy bestselling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Shakira, the world’s most popular Latin American singer.

As a child, little Shakira knew she was born to be performer. Even as a little girl, she was full of natural rhythm and she was obsessed with singing, writing songs and dancing whenever she got the opportunity.

At 14 years old she recorded her first album, and although it wasn’t a success, she knew she had found her calling. She persevered, and within four years she had finally got her first hit! She soon became a Latin American icon, winning many awards and creating global hits across the world, becoming widely known as the Queen of Latin Music.

With her fame, Shakira started a foundation to help children in her native country, Colombia and other developing countries across the world, providing them with education and the chance of a better future.

This inspiring book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the iconic singer’s life.

Little People, BIG DREAMS is a bestselling series of books and educational games that explore the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists and activists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream.

Book Review: Sex Talks

Talking about Sex, even with sexual partners, seems to be a bit taboo.  I have had guys surprised I want to discuss things before we dive in, but I have found that discussing things beforehand and both of you being able to manage expectations of what is going to happen and what is and isn’t on the table makes for a much more enjoyable time.  The book definitely touched on that so it seems like I am on the right track in wanting to talk things through but even takes it to the next level with a lot of quizzes about different things to find out where you and your partner may differ on things like what turns you on and how you feel about how sex is initiated in the relationship.  The author even has her partner talk about his side of things as well and how things aren’t always wild and kinky in their sex life and how they have had to work through their own issues in the bedroom as well.  Definitely a must read for anyone in a sexual relationship.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

The definitive guide to creating the sex life of your wildest dreams—just by talking about it!—from sexpert couple Vanessa and Xander Marin.

There are plenty of books about sex. But this is one of the only books that shows you how to actually talk about it. Because how are you supposed to have an extraordinary sex life if you can’t even discuss it openly with your partner? Sex Talks is here to change that. Together, sex therapist Vanessa Marin and her husband, Xander, show you that the best thing you can do for your sex life doesn’t even involve taking off your clothes.

Sex Talks covers the five essential conversations every couple needs to have:
1. Acknowledgement: a.k.a. “Sex is a thing, and we have it.”
2. Connection: a.k.a. “What do we need to feel connected to each other?”
3. Desire: a.k.a. “What do we each need to get turned on?”
4. Pleasure: a.k.a. “What do we each need to feel good?”
5. Exploration: a.k.a. “What should we try next?”

With gripping storytelling and an intimate peek at what really goes on behind other couples’ closed bedroom doors, Vanessa and Xander share their successful advice that has already helped hundreds of thousands. Sex Talks provides you with the sex education you wish you’d had, plus the tried-and-tested tools you need to create the sex life of your wildest dreams.

Book Review: Nerd Crush

Nerd Crush was a really adorable book and a quick read.  The book is about Ramona who is very shy but also nerdy and artsy.  Her best friend moved away and while they still talk with each other, she’s feeling a little bit lonely.  Her parents don’t understand her art or her love for cosplay.  She decides to write her school crush a note – as her cosplay alter ego – and see what happens.  She is pretty surprised when he emails her back and they pretty regularly chat with each other.  The two IRL end up working together and getting pretty close as well – but she doesn’t know how to tell him that she is Rel AND Ramona and that everything she’s told him as Rel is true for Ramona, as well.

Caleb ends up putting two and two together and figuring out that Ramona has been lying to him and is also Rel.  She isn’t sure what to do – she was just too shy to talk to him as herself and Rel gave her the confidence she needed.  She’s really upset that now Caleb isn’t talking to either Rel or Ramona and asks him to meet her at a Con to meet the real her.  Will he show up?

This was a really sweet story about being yourself no matter what and I truly enjoyed it.  I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Happily Ever Afters meets You’ve Got Mail  in this geeky, Black Girl Magic filled debut romance about cosplay and finding the courage to be yourself. 

Ramona Lambert is a typical shy, artistic sixteen-year-old. She has a best friend whom she’s known since they were in diapers; parents who love her; a love for cosplay; and a crush on the cute boy in her class.

The only problem? Her best friend moved away; her parents don’t quite understand her love of cosplay; and she is pretty sure her crush has no idea she exists.

To escape her troubles, Ramona turns to cosplay and her original character, Rel, who gives her the confidence and freedom that she lacks in real life. Embracing this confidence, she decides to strike up an email conversation with her crush, Caleb Wolfe, from her cosplay account in the hopes getting to know him . . . and maybe win his heart. Then as Caleb and Ramona are swept up in their emails back and forth to each other, and Ramona falls even harder as he opens up about his hopes, insecurities, and his own geeky loves. However, as Caleb starts to grow closer and closer to Rel, he also strikes up a friendship with Ramona, who knows she can’t keep the truth about Rel from Caleb but isn’t sure she is ready to risk losing him. With an important cosplay convention coming up and the anxiety of her double-life weighing on her, Ramona has to decide if she’ll hide behind her cosplay character forever or take the chance and let Caleb see the real her–because he might actually like her for who she is.

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