Archives for November 2016

Belinda’s Book Nook Review: The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi


Title: The Icarus Girl
Author: Helen Oyeyemi
Copyright: April 11, 2006
Genre: fiction
Format: book Pages: 352

So I finally started this book that I’ve had since my birthday.  I thought that this book might sound good if I read the entire book outloud. I decided that I give it a try. I wanted to hear my mouth try to pronounce the names and hear the words coming through my lips as opposed to just in my head.It started off fine and then challenges presented themselves when my kids arrived home from school early on half days or my husband working from home. So finding time to read out loud needed to be scheduled. Early mornings mid-day when the kids are at school are the prime times when I was able to do this. I was successful for much of the reading of this book.

Quick Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Jessamy “Jess” Harrison, age eight, is the child of an English father and a Nigerian mother. Possessed of an extraordinary imagination, she has a hard time fitting in at school. It is only when she visits Nigeria for the first time that she makes a friend who understands her: a ragged little girl named TillyTilly. But soon TillyTilly’s visits become more disturbing, until Jess realizes she doesn’t actually know who her friend is at all. Drawing on Nigerian mythology, Helen Oyeyemi presents a striking variation on the classic literary theme of doubles — both real and spiritual — in this lyrical and bold debut.

My Thoughts:

I had heard about Helen Oyeyemi about a few years back and then last year on Booktube. Then a show that I watch that talks to author’s about books interviewed her. So my approach to this author and her works is to take the opportunity and the time to explore all of her writings to date in the order published. I don’t always do this but I would like to see how she evolves as a writer from book to book and what similarities or common themes she may have throughout her books. I also really wanted to just hear her stories and learn more about Nigeria and it’s people through her stories. Of course my other motive was to support a black female author.

This book was written by Oyeyemi while she attending college and published at the age of 19 started out very strong. I felt very engaged while reading this story. There were a few areas where the pacing slowed a bit too much but she was building up background information. I think she did a great job of trying to convey the feelings of a biracial child trying to find friendship and ward off bullies. The main character, Jess was a bit of an introvert but wanted to try to figure out how to navigate the world of friendships. Oyeyemi did include the challenges that a young girl of mixed race growing up in a predominantly white environment.

I really enjoyed the way that Oyeyemi included so much detail that help to bring the story to life. For example, I like the description of the grandfathers wrinkles and the lighting in the room and the aromas that she smells when she arrives in Nigeria for the first time. She captured the senses well.

One thing that bothered me about in this book was her portrayal of Jessamy’s father. He is a British white male and his wife is a Nigerian woman and he came off as very weak to me in the book.  There’s were many instances where I just wanted him to have a backbone. The first few instances of that happening in the story I just brushed off as him being a person who wants to avoid conflict and keep the peace. But after a while it just felt like it felt like it was a deliberate characteristic she intended to portray. Perhaps to balance out the stronger characteristics of the wife (Jess’s mom). I do wish she provided more background information of the father. Perhaps that would have brought to light the reasoning for his behavior.

I found the story very interesting and the only thing is the ending that bothers me. I will leave that for any of you that decide to reads it to see what you decipher. I would love to hear from anyone that has read it because I’m not really sure but there was a bit confusion on my part with the ending.

Overall, I would recommend the book and look forward to reading her other books.

Happy reading!


Wellness Wednesday – Cleansing for Good Health


Hello Everyone! I hope you are all taking care of yourselves. Last week, Many of us were thrown for a loop when the dust finally settled from the election and stress levels were high. It’s important that we all take care of ourselves regardless. I thought I might start a weekly series that features some of the many things I have learned with regard to greater wellness. My hope is that my journey might invite you in big or small ways to embrace some new changes to your nutritional habits and well being.

I am currently in the final week of the 21-day Clean Gut Cleanse. For those who are new to my blog, back in May of 2015 I embarked on my first cleanse. I was actually one of those people that wrinkled up her nose when I read or heard about a cleanse. I would say,”All I need to do is eat in moderation and all will be fine” and then I would drop the subject. For a year, prior to that first cleanse, I had already incorporated daily smoothies in my routine. I think that was what really opened me up to the possibilities of a cleanse and prepared me for the opportunity.


One day, I was on my Overdrive app on my Kindle and I came across the audio book called Clean Gut by Dr. Junger called and I checked it out and while I worked in my garden, cleaned in the house, and folded laundry, I listened to his story and gradually began to open to his philosophies. I made the decision that I wanted to try a cleanse to see what effects it would have on my life and I went for it. You can read about the basics and the start of that journey here.

So since that time, I decided that I would do this cleanse every 6 months.  This will be my fourth time.  I like to do it this time of year right before the holidays and our cold winter when I tend to dive into comfort foods. Then the next time will be in May before summer hits and I have to trade my oh so comfy sweaters for shorts and bathing suits.  Although the primary reason that I do this cleanse is to allow my body to have time to truly care for itself and to identify what are my trigger foods, I do always lose weight because I can’t eat the offenders I love like dark chocolate, chai, chips, and alcohol among other things.


This time around, I had a bumpy start due to traveling the weekend before the cleanse began and not shopping ahead of time for week one.  But week two went great. The food as you can see is quite yummy.

Whether you ever decide to do a cleanse for 7-days or 21 days like I do, please take time to look at what you put into your body. Because our bodies are constantly bombarded with all the external toxins in the air, lotion and perfume we put on our skin and the food we ingest into our bodies. The magic that our bodies perform to keep us well can only last for so long and then things start to go bad in your body and illness begins. So even incorporating a clean recipe into your weekly rotation and taking more precautions will lead to a healthier life.


Once I complete the program and go through the re-introduction program, I find I am more mindful of what enters my body. That is not to say that I won’t have my Chai or other items, but that I will slow down and listen more to my body. That I will question the ingredients in my food. That I will take time to incorporate more variety in my choice of vegetables that I eat more regularly.

Dr. Junger also has another cleanse called, The 21-day Clean Cleanse and I have done that one as well. But due to my reaction to some of the restrictions, I prefer the Clean Gut Cleanse. He also has a fantastic cookbook Clean Eats that helps with finding clean recipes that meet both cleanse requirements.

You can also search Pinterest for great Clean snack and meal ideas so don’t hesitate to see what you’re missing.

Have a blessed day my friend!



Happy Monday! Nope.. it’s Tueday!!


Hello everybody! It’s taking me a little bit of time to gather myself and sit down and write after our current election. I was truly devastated and shocked and really had to take time to fully process what happened. One thing that’s very important that I have learned from the past is that I have to stay engaged and not allow what I believe is a setback to push me out of the arena.  It’s the time to for me to educate myself further with regards to our country and our politics. Rather than take a passive stance and complain, I will aim to be more active moving forward.  No that doesn’t mean I’m going to run for a political office, but I would like to push my activism more to the forefront and to increase my knowledge especially in areas that are important to me. Part of being a citizen in this country is to be a part of the democratic process and the only way that we can do that is through active education and an engagement. So as I learn things I will share some things on here with you all and I hope that everybody feels inspired after this election to take action and to be involved. Now enough of that, and onto my meanderings.

As for my work, I managed to miss my launch date twice: first with house guests and this last week, I lost all motivation to do anything after the election results. But I am going to push on and get this latest release out. The timing is off but can’t be helped. The beauty of cards is that some people buy seasonal cards for use next year, so it isn’t a total loss for me. I will be sure to let you know when my new products finally make it on the shelf.


Friday was Veteran’s Day so the boys and I headed out to catch the parade. Apollo brought his iPad so he could record the parade.

nov15cI love seeing the old cars in the parade. The owners are always so proud and friendly. It adds to the charm of the parade.

nov15dThe boys wanted to walk down to where the memorial is in the town center to hear the talk. So off we went and I couldn’t resist taking a photo of our shadows as we walked. I love the sprinkling of leaves.

nov15fAs we got there we managed to find a spot that was unfortunately closer to the back of the crowd so I could barely see the speakers. But I could hear them when they approached the microphone. So while I was listening, a part of me was peekint to see the people standing behind the speaker and noticing not one person of color or female for that matter. So I drifted off into thought and complained about the lack of diversity.  When all of the sudden the crowd shifted and I couldn’t see the speaker anymore and he began to introduce his keynote speaker. Well what do you know, he introduced Lieutenant Colonel Gayle-Bennett as the keynote speaker and as he began to talk, I was thrilled to find the speaker was a female and African American. Below is a little bit I pulled off the internet about her:

Lieutenant Colonel Gayle-Bennett has been an officer in the U.S. Army National Guard for more than 20 years and has completed several active duty tours.  During her employment to Iraq, she worked as a Physician Assistant providing medical care for soldiers. She currently serves as the Deputy Commander of Medical Command for the Army National Guard and is now the most senior ranking African-American woman in the Massachusetts National Guard.  LTC Gayle-Bennett is also a pediatric Physician Assistant with the Harvard Vanguard Medical Group.

In 2010, LTC Gayle-Bennett led the Massachusetts National Guard Command Resiliency Team in organizational support for soldiers at mobilization and demobilization sites.  She also facilitated the identification of wounded soldiers and served as an advocate for them during the wounded warrior process. The daughter of Jamaican immigrants, LTC Gayle-Bennett is also a wife and mother of five children.

As soon as the ceremony was over, I rushed over to meet her, shake hands and thank her for her service for our country. The boys seemed excited too and I was so happy we decided to attend this year’s parade. After our photos with the Lieutenant, Apollo grabbed a seat on a bench to see the parade re-assemble to complete the second half of their march through town. Despite my feelings of despair from the election, I found the parade and the speeches including Colonel Gayle-Bennet’s moved me towards a place of hope.


I hope you all have a blessed week and I plan to resume my posts with a new series starting tomorrow.


Hello Friday!!

newport2Well I have gone and done it again. Went MIA on my Happy Monday Musings. I had every intention of sitting down and writing a post on Monday but it was Halloween and I started day one of the 21-day Clean Gut Cleanse (later on that). I went away for the weekend to Newport Rhode Island with my family and neglected to shop prior to Monday for the cleanse. So grocery shopping and preparing for Halloween to the front stage. But let me slow down and catch you up before another Monday sneaks up on me.newport5First, we took the boys and my in-laws to Newport Rhode Island for a weekend getaway. I had visited a few years ago for a sister’s weekend with my sister Bernadette ansd boy did we have fun.  But aside from me it was everyone else’s first visit. Saturday was a bit windy and cool so I had planned an indoor activity to keep things moving. I found a glass blowing place that teaches you how to blow glass and we made our own ornaments.

My in-laws, Leao and I made the ornaments while the boys watched.newport6We all weren’t sure what to expect but was so pleasantly surprised at how much fun it was. Being a crafter, I knew this would be something we would all remember and have something amazing to look at and remind of our special time.newport4The guy that taught our lesson was really fun and relaxed so that helped set everyone at ease.

newport3We drove around to peek at the mansions (we are saving them for another visit) and then rode along Ocean Drive to “oh and ah” over the amazing views and the enormous homes. We had lunch at Panera because it’s Apollo’s favorite. Then I even researched and found a local comic book store to take Nick to see. He was quite pleased. Then we checked into The Marriott and it didn’t disappoint with the ocean view, modern furnishings and amazing balconies. The boys love staying in hotels so that in itself is always a treat.


We even saw a Halloween costume event for dogs while driving around. I loved the Sherlock Holmes costume!


Overall, it was a wonderful time where we enjoyed each other’s company and explored a few sights in this beautiful place. My in-laws enjoyed themselves and we promised to bring them back in the summer months so they can experience the seasonal offerings like going out on a cruise and walking the Cliff Walks. I am trying to ensure my boys have wonderful memories when they think about their grandparents and this one will definitely get filed in the fun times bank!!newport1I don’t know about you, but I am ready for the weekend! I will do better next week. I’m still reading like crazy and need to put up a review.

Have a blessed weekend!



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