This Summer I had the privilege to be invited to preview and review a new book – The Surfer and The Sage by Tomson and benShea. Please see the opportunity to get a copy for yourself – FREE – below. (Limited offer)
Sometimes life gives you smooth waters to navigate everyday situations. But, then there are times when a huge WAVE comes and knocks you down. You are disoriented, in disbelief, and perhaps feeling defeated. You have a choice – be resilient and keep trying or never ride another wave – play it only safe. Shaun Tomson, the former professional and medal-winning surfer, knows how real-life waves and those from grief can be life-defining. He shares his story alongside pearls of wisdom and beautiful photography in The Surfer and The Sage. Plus the photography is OUTSTANDING! This book is a keeper for your shelf (and get a second copy to share!!)
From the publisher:
Sometimes life’s waves knock you down; other times, life might seem to sweep you along powerless. But the choice is always yours to swim back up to the light. Legendary world champion surfer Shaun Tomson and international bestselling poet-philosopher Noah benShea join forces to offer you insight on a path of purpose, hope, and faith. This timely guidebook alternates between Tomson’s inspiring experiential essays and benShea’s spiritual commentary that lift the soul, all accented with stunning full-color surfing photographs.
After losing his son, Tomson walked the bitter road of loss and crossed from darkness into the light. The Surfer and the Sage addresses the eighteen relentless, breaking waves of life, from loss and aging to relationships and depression, and guides you to transformation. It is not a list of rules to follow that guarantee success, health, or wealth, but rather a collection of advice from two guides who have traveled far and wide and suffered deeply, but still look forward to tomorrow with faith and hope.
Each year I write a post with my list of ideas for holiday gifting. I try to skew to gifts that give back to charity or are educational. I also like to list gifts that are provide “random fun”. This year I am writing three blogs – three lists full of holiday gift ideas. The first one is dedicated to educational toys and games. AND… there is a GIVEAWAY. Simply comment below to be entered to win the Griddly Games 5 STONES game by midnight Pacific Time December 13, 2020. See rules below.
Two things you need to know…
First, if I recommend a product or charity I do so without any payment from the company or organization. A few companies sent samples and they will be donated to families who are struggling due to Covid 19 or teachers.
Secondly, I welcome your suggestions. Simply add your holiday gift ideas in the comment section below.
From Griddly Games comes a very unique ensemble of ” just add…” products and others that use word and numerical reasoning. I must admit, as an educator, they had me at their descriptions of being products focused on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math). All of these kits are user friendly (younger children will require supervision, as can be expected).
CALLING ALL TEACHERS AND HOME EDUCATORS – CHECK OUT VERY FUN STEAM ACTIVITY KITS FOR THE HOLIDAYS FROM GRIDDLY GAMES.
just add EGG.(ages 5 and up, parent/ teach guidance required) – Comprised of more than 10 interactive activities with “egg-speriments” included in this very fun egg shaped box. This game is filled with everything from molding clay, crayons, glue and even corn syrup! Lots of hours of fun are to be expected and all need is a child, their imagination, a parent or teacher to supervise and EGGS!
Like science AND art? Then check out just add BAKING SODA! You can make at least 20 different projects – including your very own bath bombs, volcano or holiday ornaments with this very visually fun and interactive kit! I like that this kit uses a lot of visual motor perceptual skills and helps to build fine motor skills.
Children’s Products) If you enjoy trivia games – then you will LOVE Wise Alec(TM). Meant for family night or classroom game time – WISE ALEC incorporates mind games such as brain teasers and tongue twisters with physical activity. Over 1000 questions are included in the game box. The game is geared reinforce elementary school curricula covering the subjects of History, Science and Spelling!
Need easy questions for your first grader – no problem. Want to challenge your fifth grader? With Wise Alec you can do that, too! And when you pick a STUDY BREAK card get ready to MOVE (and earn points for doing so!) Excellent game and great for those who need support with literacy skills, too! Supper fun and creative. I give Wise Alec a solid A++
SHOW ME THE KWAN!
When I first saw this game in the box I started hooting and hollering! A WORD game!! Plus it was very reminiscent of Scrabble® and Boggle®. SHOW ME THE KWAN also had many components of categorizing games such as Scattergories®. This game is Intended to be played with a large group (you can have up to ten players). I envision this game as great for classroom use, “Covid 19” education pod groups (home education) and parties with tweens and teens.
“KWAN” takes a bit of a learning curve to get the rules down – but once you do – watch out! This is a fast paced game for letter/wordsmiths! Small enough to bring along to family and friend gatherings.
PUZZLES! PUZZLES PUZZLES!
There are several reasons for parents to buy puzzles this holiday season. How many gifts can teach history, art, geography and much more for a fraction of the price of an electronic gaming system? Plus, kids can learn foundational literacy skills.
First, when you assemble a puzzle you need organizational and visual discrimination skills. Some people like to separate pieces by color, or by shape. Others are very focused on the cover picture and organize their puzzle pieces section by section (frame vs. inside, for example).
Did you know that when you assemble a puzzle you also are training your eyes to see how “parts become a whole”? Puzzles, believe it or not, can help teach children how letters become words and words become a paragraph?!
Endless Gamesis a company that you can access online or by driving to your nearest Kohl’s. If you are a lover of puzzles AND Broadway you will FREAK at their PLAYBILL Presents puzzle! Hours of fun for under $15!
PEACE ON EARTH
This is a beautiful 1000 piece puzzle spotlighting the artistic talent of Malcom Watson. Your whole family can linger over the dining room table as you complete this puzzle that measures almost 20″ by 26″ when finished.
Master Pieces – beautiful quality puzzles.
I received this CATOLOGY puzzle. While not a huge fan of cats (more of a dog lover) – this puzzle was simply lovely and the poster inside was a nice bonus feature!
More Favorite Puzzles with Educational Value
White Mountain Puzzles. Their Nostalgic / Vintage Collection are my favorites. These puzzles are great for multi-generational play. Grandparents and parents can educate children and young adults about life before the new Millennium! The pieces are thick and that is good for young and old fingers, alike. White Mountain Puzzles are POPULAR – so be sure to check back if ones on your wish list are out of stock. Website and Amazon.
Uncommon Goods offers novelty puzzles with political and historical themes. This VOTES FOR WOMENis a circular pattern.
GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
GIVEAWAY- the Griddly Games new edition: 5 STONES! Open to all United States residents who are 18 years of age or older. Must comment on this post on or before Sunday, December 13, 2020, 11:59pm Pacific time. No employees or family member associated with Griddly Games nor LouiseSattler.com may enter. One winner. Will be announced here on the blog AND via email. No substitutions.
Coming up in the next blog: Giving with a Purpose!
Have you ever watched the movie Mary Poppins? If so, do you remember how the main character (played by Julie Andrews) seemed to have a magical purse that carried everything and anything one could possibly want – yet not weigh a ton?! Honestly, I coveted that bag as I always wanted my own “Mary Poppins purse” as I tend to “carry my life” with me whenever I leave the house. Now thanks to the Heyrtz company and their amazing Laptop Tote Bag, I feel as if I have discovered a bit of “magic” that allows me to bring along all my essentials when I travel and work!
This tote bag simply is perfect for those who need to carry their office with them when “on the go”. Here is a list items I added to my tote when I filled it for the first time.
TWO MAC COMPUTERS (13 and 15 inches)
ACCESSORIES to the electronics above, including a microphone and ear buds
My computer and phone chargers
Powerbank plugged in for easy use with the charging function integrated in to the bag
Pens, pencils, small stapler, and ruler
My key case
Toiletries for travel
I am sold! This Heyrtz will definitely be the tote I use for carry on luggage. Lightweight and comes with a handy and sturdy strap that allows you to secure and rest the bag on the handle of larger wheeled luggage. Did I mention it is waterproof! (I truly wish I had this bag when a passenger sitting next to me on a recent flight spilled his drink all over my carryon items!)
AND one of my favorite features… (yes – there is MORE!)… this bag offers a USB charging port. You simply need to add your own choice of powerbank. This is the bag I would have designed for my lifestyle, especially my freelance media work, but thankfully I don’t need to do that as Heyrtz did it for me!
Lastly, more great news! This bag is not expensive. You may be shocked to learn that that his bag, as shown above, with the discount code I received (and share with you below) is only $29.99! No joke!
I know the holiday season nearly has passed, but the season for DEALS has not! So grab this tote for yourself or give it as a gift. Think of it as a way to celebrate a graduation, new job or birthday! And for my friends who work in media – THIS IS YOUR #MUSTHAVEBAG!
As aforementioned, I received a special link from the company for you to use to get deals on this bag and more! Simply use the link and my name as the code.
This link will bring you to DealSpotr.com – a new way to shop and SAVE!
I purchased this product and was reimbursed via my participation with a media campaign for this company. However, this truly is an awesome tote and all my comments are 100% my own opinions and writings.
You will LOVE tablift® by nbryte. You will love to give it as a gift. You will love to ask Santa for one for yourself. You will love the functionality. You will LOVE the price! AND… YOU WILL LOVE THAT I AM OFFERING A GIVEAWAY!
What is tablift®? Here is where photos can be worth a zillion words to describe this handsfree device that helps you to view with ease content on a tablet or cell phone.
tablift has strong but lightweight construction making it perfect for travel or when lounging.
Use the tablift while in bed. Perfect for individuals who are bedridden due to illness or need a way to prop their device while lounging!
Save yourself from getting “tech neck” by bending too much to read your device. Use the tablift to be better with ergonomics and save yourself from future pain!
1- The tablift is compatible with the Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy, Amazon Kindle, Asus, Microsoft Surface 2, 3 and other tablets. (Frankly, I think my iPhone 8 plus would also fit!)
2- Height of the tablift can be easily changed by stretching the “legs”.
3- User friendly. No complicated directions – just pop it up and fasten your device. Really – 3 steps, if you include removing it from the box!
4. Perfect for parents with young children, people with physical challenges, those who wish to have better ergonomics and travelers.
STEP 3- READ MY WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT on DECEMBER 3rd. This giveaway ends midnight December 2, 2019. Must be US resident, live in the US and be at least 18 years of age. You also can’t be one of my relatives. Winner chosen via a randomizer.
I was given a free gift of one TABLIFT for my personal use in exchange for this sponsored blog. But all opinions are organic, authentic and groovy.
Confession. I am a real push-over for books written and/or illustrated by children. l don’t care if it is their kindergarten Mother’s Day project or a book, such as The Wild Slide written and PUBLISHED by 8 year old ,Aryanna Khodorkovskaya – from Alfred Station, New York.
The Wild Slide is a very thoughtful and engaging story that in a few pages tells a rather sophisticated tale that includes adventure, friendship and bravery. The reader is brought along with Aryana’s characters to enjoy an exciting “ride”. I found myself also wanting to be part of this cadre of friends and transported in to world where a Wild Slide could offer a great escape.
Illustrated by Michael Stevenson, Jr. – the story reads like a typical early childhood reader. The twist – it has content, including vocabulary, that would be more typical of an adult writer who is creating for a child, rather than a child writing for other children.
Here is another accolade for Aryana – not only does she have a book that is published BUT she holds the record for being the YOUNGEST published author in Western New York!
Keep in mind that rarely does an author, of any age, become published on their own. In this case – Aryana credits Nicholas Dosch for “generous financial and emotional support.”
She also had the artistic talent of Michael Bernard Stevenson Jr. to help add the illustrations that graced the pages of Aryana’s story. I was curious to see how these two teamed up and what role as a mentor Michael may have had with this project.
Here is a short interview with Michael:
Question 1: How would you describe your artistic illustrations and the inspiration for them in Aryanna’s book, “The Wild Slide”?
MSJr.: The Wild Slide, written by Aryanna Khodorkovskaya, was quite descriptive in nature which provided a more than adequate foundation for creating imagery for the book. One of my favorite lines is “‘Should we do this?’ Violet asked. ‘Yes’ said William. ‘No!’ said Rosie, looking panicked.” Rosie’s demeanor was spelled out for me. Various other elements were laid out for me too, like later when Violet and Rosie gives Zee a necklace and bracelet respectively, I knew I wanted to include those elements in the character design. I also modeled the character of Violet after Aryanna herself, and Rosie after her sister Natasha. Violet calm and composed, delicately dressed, while Rosie has a slightly more ruffled aesthetic, with untied shoes in every scene.
As far as my own illustrative style goes, I have always had a style that closely resembles that of children’s drawings. I like my drawings to communicate an idea without relying on the exemplification of drawing technique. Part of the reason is that I don’t derive intense pleasure or joy from agonizing over details. I want to move on to the next thing. I also enjoy the simplicity of the drawings I do. However, this also serves the nature of my work with young people. They’re always shocked and impressed by what I’ve drawn, as well as how quickly when I’ve done the drawing in front of them. This creates a level of comfort with them, I’m not producing photorealistic drawings, the likes of which they could never produce themselves. I produce work that’s accessible to them both visually and practically as far as their own drawing practice goes.
Question 2 : As an adult, you appear to “slide” into the role as mentor, who was or is your mentor?
MSJr.: Interestingly, most of my work is collaborative by nature, a process that’s been a long time in the making. Much of my work is in direct response to having a series of primarily elder mentors in life and practice inside and outside of the art world. Won’t You Be My Neighbor, the exhibition that The Wild Slide was produced for, was actually all about this dynamic. While I was growing up in Alfred New York I had a series of mentors, a prominent one being Fred Tscheda who taught neon and lamp design at Alfred University.
I also collaborated with Tschida for the Won’t You Be My Neighbor exhibition on a project involving the collection and display of rocks found across America. Fred and I have collaborated on rock based projects in the past and hope to collaborate on more in the future. We still stay in touch even though we’re a few time zones apart. At this point the majority of my practice is one on one or small group mentorship projects with young people.
In closing – please add The Wild Slide to your holiday gift list. Amazon offers it and consider it an investment in the future of this creative writer! Thanks to Aryana for letting us in to the world of her Wild Slide friends! And, thanks to Michael for his responses.
Let me start with this “disclaimer”… I shop local when I can because I love to support “Mom and Pop” stores in my own backyard. From CRAFTEDin San Pedro with their original wares by local artisans to flea markets and local box stores. But, when I need something fast, not readily available or in bulk, I go to my computer and click on Amazon. In this blog, I am going to have a little fun and tell you about my favorite items for tech, travel and back to school as TOMORROW, July 16th, starts their widely popular AMAZON PRIME DAYS. This is when they will suggest and make offers on thousands of GREAT DEALS! But, I am throwing my faves in to this “mix”, too!
And, in turn I want to know your favorites – so use the comment section below. Note, as am Amazon Influencer, I get my “own favorites page” that you will find right below. There are many more items listed on this page than blog space allows and that any proceeds from this page to me go directly to back to the community as I support a wide variety of charities.
I love having all my essential travel products for hygiene in one zipper kit that doubles as a nice bag, too. There are many different configurations of the Convenience Kits line, so check them all out for one of your faves!
I NEVER leave home for a long trip without this inflatable pillow by Therm-A-Rest! This product is the envy of everyone who spots it on flights and train rides and wishes they had one, too!
Recently I have met entrepreneurs who have developed very interesting businesses. Their focus is on bringing unique products that are “out of the box” – while being very appealing.
Are all t-shirt companies equal? I think NOT
I fell in love with an apparel company because of their amazing display at the Celebrity Connected gifting suite for the Emmy Awards. Gosh I loved NAIA VIBES. If you are an entrepreneur who becomes a vendor at a trade show or gifting suite- take a page from NAIA VIBES. The display was GORGEOUS. Very clever ways to give prizes (gifts) to the celebrities that were on hand. AND… the array of apparel and accessories made me want to order and order and order. Having a theme that was a standout made for one photographic opportunity to spotlight the brand after another.
I was confused when I saw this unique necklace design sitting at the Celebrity Connected. It was a beautiful piece of jewelry but what exactly made it look “different”? So, I inquired. And much to my delight it was a functional piece of jewelry where a lipstick could be hidden, but also at your finger-tips for easy application. I was trying to think if a pepper spray would fit inside – but I don’t believe so (Hint to the design team). However, it did fit my lipstick without fail. It retails on their website for $98 and is in silver and gold colors. It is worth the price as it is a carrying case and a statement piece of jewelry.
I connected with the creator, Christine Abdoo who sent me some background information. She sent to me her press packet that chronicled briefly the story of this Grand Rapids based company:
“I would find that multiple times a day I would want my lipstick with me,” said Christine Abdoo. “I would get frustrated during the day, jumping from meeting to meeting, not being able to go back to my office to put my lipstick on. […] I wanted a necklace with a fashionable container where I could carry my lipstick with me.” The first designs on the market fit Chapstick size lip balms, and travel size lipsticks.
… “It really just started with an idea. We all have them, but it’s what you do with them that makes a difference,” she said. “Taking an idea and making it come reality is pretty exciting”
I must say that the guys from SOLE Bicycles caught my attention recently. In fact I made a bee-line to their vendor booth at the Halopalooza vendor fair in Los Angeles this past month. How unique to put advertisements on the bikes themselves and then have them available to rent at hotels, resorts, etc. Imagine having an event, such as a music festival, where vendors can bike from place to place with your logo zipping by!
If you love one-of-a-kind ideas that are eye-popping check out this Southern California company pronto!
Eat my promotional material – Please!
Are you tired of receiving or giving the same old branded products. What if I could introduce you to products that are from sustainable materials that can turn your event wristband in to a flowers with just a little TLC? Or instead of a greeting card – send a garden in a box? So much good can come out of so little effort by simply planting your branded products after initial use or when you are done with them. Find my favorites here.
Are you stuck? Looking for the magic pill or words that will help you overcome a failed relationship, deal with unexpected changes in employment or cope with a loss of a loved one?
Are you looking for a way to find some meaning and purpose as to why your life might be topsy – turvy? Why yesterday made sense, but today it does not? Everyone at one time or another experiences a tidal wave of self – doubt, grief or apprehension.
Confession: The week I felt stuck.
Yet, despite feeling a bit “stuck” in situations that I thought I had no control, I found solace and hope in a series of books written by Christine Kloser and featuring a consortium of excellent contributors. I had started reading them earlier this year, but really delved in to them this week. Pebbles in the Pond (2014), shows that behind every life changing event there is a purpose. It also demonstrated that beyond a shadow of doubt that the human spirit is resilient beyond measure.
Each chapter talks about situation that serves as a catalyst. Something that prompted the author to change or shift their thinking. While many of the stories resonated with me there were a few that I believe stood out the most.
One story, Transforming My Aging Script, by Sharon Matthias, talked about the personal passages one faces when turning 65. How life seems to shift mentally when you are deemed “too old” to be employable. Everywhere you look there are people or organizations that tell you that “65 or older” you should take this pill for this ailment or it is time for retirement. Yet, this author convinced me that 65 is not to be feared but simply an age where you re-invent yourself – again. Thanks, Sharon!
What would you do if you were faced with a life and death situation? One author , Carin Rockind, discussed just that as she wrote From “Perfect” to Purpose, how she changed her life course when she became face to face with a predator holding a gun to her head. She eloquently described how her biggest fear moments earlier was her bad choice in blind dates. Now as she bargained with God for her life, she realized that if she survived this personal assault that her priorities would need to change. Heck of a way to find out what path you should be on – but Rockind did survive and now leads a life that gives her a more purpose, grace and meaning.
Then there is the poignant story by Tiffany Kane, who I know personally from our association with the Beach Cities Breakfast Club. I have heard Tiffany speak before, but wow, I was unprepared for her deep sole searching following a series of tragedies that was eloquently written in the chapter simply titled, “Inner Power Parenting”. Tiffany describes how one can find the tools you need to grieve and turn a life that seems “stuck” into a productive one. I admire Tiffany for her candor and willingness to help others who are “only parenting”. Tiffany is also the founder of Widows with Kids, an organization well worth checking out. Please do.
I could write much more about the golden “nuggets” of wisdom throughout Pebbles in the Pond. Instead, I will invite you to read them and enjoy them on your own time.
Also recommended: Cultivating Joy and Choosing Happiness, featuring chapters by Tiffany Kane, as well. All books are available on AMAZON.
Note: I received nothing more than the books for this review. The books will be donated to a local Los Angeles library.
I don’t often review holiday specific products on this blog. However, there was something intriguing about Peaceable Kingdom’s Valentine’s Day card collections that piqued my interest.
First, they are A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E! Not only do they have some weight and substance to them (unlike the store bought ones I use to give my kids to hand out in school), but they come with messages that are thoughtful, yet not too “sappy”.
The “foodie” in me loved the Scratch and Sniff Valentines (Chocolate scented – a bonus!). They are large enough to go through the US mail without being lost, but small enough to not be overwhelming in a backpack. The box that I received had the standard classroom quantity- 28 cards and 28 envelopes (kinda wish they would add one extra envelope for boo-boos).
The second pack I received was the more interactive Lollipop Valentine’s with “Moustaches and Lips”. These are a hoot! Imagine dress-up for Halloween blended with the sweetness of Valentine’s Day! Again, 28 was the quantity.
Not just for kids!
Here is an “out of the box” idea for the grown-ups who read this blog. These Valentine’s are not just for kids! Imagine how fun it would be to put some out in your office lounge or at your organization’s meeting? Not only are they a fun discussion starter, but they also show that your place of business or group has a sense of humor sprinkled with compassion.
About Peaceable Kingdom
Before I tell you how to get these delicious cards – let me delve more in to the company itself. Peaceable Kingdom is “my kind of company”. They are dedicated to #SocialGood. In fact on their “about page” they go in to length about their commitment to being ecologically friendly as a “green company.”
Peaceable Kingdom’s company mission or “promise” says it all…
The future, as they say, is in our hands. We consider this every day in everything we do so that our children and their future may be as healthy, as peaceable, as our kingdom today.
Also, they don’t just create speciality cards as they are big in to the board game business. Their website also helps promote game inventors, creative kids and much more. People in the San Francisco Bay area who are interested in being a GAME TESTER can learn more via their website.