Discovery Girls Magazine: Review and Giveaway

Do you have a tween or pre-teen daughter?


I just want to give you a big ol’ hug. Annie is five (going on 16 ) and I’m already pulling out my hair. She’s already dealing with issues I just don’t remember coming up at this age like jealousy and hurt feelings surrounding friendships, clothes (really?) and self-esteem. I can only what it will be like when she gets older. Luckily there are tools to help her (and me) deal with issues such as these.

My friend has a 10-year-old daughter and they love Discovery Girls Magazine. Written for those eight to 13 years old, the magazine is full of age-appropriate information presented in a fun way so that both kids AND parents are pleased. They talk about fashion, friendships, being active, spending money wisely and tons of other topics that girls this age are interested in. In the June/July 2011 issue they had an article about whether or not you are ready for a bra and the options out there, good books to read, a story about a slumber party disaster, embarrassing moments from readers and interesting foods from around the world. I like the important messages they present in a positive and entertaining way.

Discovery Girls just published a special collector’s edition to celebrate their 10 year anniversary. It’s filled with their best quizzes (like are your friends true-blue?), helpful advice (like skincare problems solved) and sticky situations (like having to choose between two friends). Colorful layouts, stickers and great articles are packed within this ad-free magazine. I’m holding on to it for Annie. She’ll be ready soon.

They also have a Fab Girls Guide book series. I looked over the Friendship Hardship book. Boy oh boy. Information on how to be truly popular (hint: stay true to yourself), what to do when a friendship ends and dealing with mean girls. I LOVE this book and I’m going to start using it with Annie immediately. I want her to have a good self-esteem and to be able to handle issues like bullies.

A Giveaway!

Guess what? I’m giving away a Discovery Girls prize pack – because I’m awesome like that and I want you to havefab resources at your fingertips…especially if you are dealing with issues like these right now.

The Prize Pack includes:

  • a one-year subscription to Discovery Girls Magazine (six issues)
  • the Discovery Girls Survival Guide Collector’s Edition
  • the Discovery Girl’s book series which includes FOUR different books. Yay!
So you know the drill – leave me a comment to enter. I’d love it if you shared something you are dealing with now with your daughter or grand-daughter. More chances? Of course. Leave a comment for each of the following you do to increase your odds. Just do it soon. The giveaway ends Wednesday, July 20, 2011, at 11:59 p.m.
  • Follow me on Twitter at @jpatrickcomm
  • Follow me via Google Friend Connect
  • Sign up to receive Still Living The Dream posts via email (see top of this blog)
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  • Tweet this giveaway using the following language: “Need help with issues facing your 8-13 year old daughter? Win a Discovery Girls Magazine Prize Pack at @jpatrickcomm”
This review was made possible by MomSpark Media . I was given a copies of the magazines and book in order to review but received no other compensation. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

The Paris Wife – A Good Read!

I just finished The Paris Wife, a novel by Paula McLain, on my Kindle. It was a great book and I highly recommend you check it out this summer. It’s a fictional story about Ernest Hemingway told from the point of view of his first wife, Hadley Richardson.

The story, which depicts their marriage and how it came undone, starts in the U.S. when they met and got married (he was 21, she was 28) but really goes deeper into the complexity of each character. I liked them both even with their faults. The author did extensive research on the Hemingways and it’s said to be pretty accurate. (Did you know that Hadley lost all of his early manuscripts on a train?) But what I loved most was the way she told the story. The language is beautiful.

Now I want to read (or re-read) all of Hemingway’s books, especially A Moveable Feast. And visit Paris. Or read A Moveable Feast IN Paris. At any rate – it’s pretty good…check it out!

I was not compensated in any way for this post. I just like to read and share with you! All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Book Review: Here, Home, Hope by Kaira Rouda

You guys know how much I like to read, right? As much as I love reading what’s been out there for awhile, I jump at any chance to get a book in my hands right before or as soon as it’s released. Through my affiliation with One2One Network, I was lucky enough to receive a novel by Kaira Rouda called Here, Home, Hope recently and I wanted to tell you all about it.

The book is touted as “Desperate Housewives meets Kelly Corrigan’s The Middle Place…a witty story of one mother’s journey from midlife crisis to reinvention.”

The story is about a 40-year-old mother of two young boys who are away at summer camp. She struggles with depression but is unsure why because her life seems so happy on the surface. Healthy kids, good marriage, nice home in the suburbs…but she’s grinding her teeth at night and crying during the day. She figures out, as she helps her friends with issues such as divorce, a sick child, adultery and even death; that she too is unfulfilled. Through helping others she gets the opportunity to help herself and discover her passion as she starts her own business.

To me, the book, which is fiction, is a cross between self-help/inspirational and novel because the author offers bits and pieces of real-life advice through her protagonist, Kelly, in the midst of this fictional story. As Kelly constructs her “Things to Change” list you almost feel as if you should grab a piece of paper and jot down things you need to work on yourself.

Personally, I feel like as a mother (who just turned 40!), some things have to be put on the side-burner while you take care of your family. For me it’s a struggle just to work part-time from home and keep things running smoothly. My dream is to write a book and while right now there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to even think about working towards that goal, I hope that someday I will. I can relate to what Kelly feels, wanting to be there for her kids but also nurture her dreams.

The story kept me engaged and I returned to it often and read it quickly…always an indicator of a keeper. I wanted to know what was going to happen to Kelly and her friends and while things wrapped up pretty neatly at the end, I felt like there was certainly a sense of reality to the issues the characters were facing.

Author, Kaira Rouda

The author, Rouda, is currently traveling to promote her book (check out her schedule here) I noticed that she will be in Dallas on June 8, so I wrote to her to see if she could squeeze in a visit to H-town while she is in the “area.” I’ll let you know if she extends her Texas tour for those of you in Houston who’d like to meet her in person. (I love meeting authors and having the opportunity to thank them in person.) Maybe I could even interview her for Still Living The Dream?

Until then, check out the trailer for Here, Home, Hope here to find out what others are saying about the book…or better yet – read it for yourself (you can get it here) Be sure to let me know what you think.

What else are you reading this summer?

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book from One2One Network to faciliate my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


My Five (Recent) Favorite Books

I’m following a new blog for writers called WordCount: freelancing in the digital age. The author of this blog is hosting a 2011 Wordcount Blogathon where bloggers who jumped aboard pledged to blog everyday in May. I’m not part of the group doing this, but as I follow Michelle’s WordCount blog, I know that they recently all blogged about their five favorite books. As I’m an avid reader, I thought it was a great idea and wanted to share with you some of my favorites right now.

I read A LOT. I’m kind of insatiable about reading. As soon as I finish a good book I’m immediately ready for more. A friend of mine, Stephanie, recommended a book called Look Again by Lisa Scottoline while we were waiting for our kids to finish gymnastics (or was it T-Ball?) I can’t keep it straight! Anyways – I went home that night and downloaded it onto my Kindle and two days later I was done and ready for another.

#1 – Look Again is about a journalist who adopted a boy who was sick in the hospital and without family. The journalist adopts him but years later swears it’s her son’s face she sees on a flyer for a missing boy. As a reporter, she can’t stop herself from uncovering the truth, even when everyone around her begs her leave things alone. As a mother, this one ripped at my heart strings and kept me interested until the last page. You can check the book out here on Amazon for more information.

Speaking of Hunger…the Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins, written for teenagers but loved by adults as well, became an obsession from the first page. Now I hear they are making the book(s) into a movie – due to come out next year. I. Can’t. Wait. I picked up the book after someone I follow on twitter recommended it. Since then I’ve recommended it to many others and not one person said they didn’t like it.

#2 – The Hunger Games, the first of three books, introduces the readers to a future world that isn’t pretty. Corruption has made people live in fear daily but especially during the annual event where children from different districts must compete to the death in a Survivor-type reality show /game. Sounds gruesome? It is. But it dives into the personal relationships that will seem familiar even when the circumstances are unbelievable.

#3 – The second book, Catching Fire, will make your jaw drop. You won’t believe the author has the nerve to take the characters back to the field for more.

#4 – By book 3, Mockingjay, you’ll be dying to know how it all ends. And it will keep you guessing until the last page…I promise!!! Check them out here.

#5 – The most recent book I read was If You Were Here by Jen Lancaster. I read a short review of it in People magazine and what it lacks in depth it makes up for in fun. It’s a fun, easy-breasy read about a gal who lives out her love for John Hughes films by purchasing the home Jake Ryan lived in in Sixteen Candles. I like almost any genre and this one falls into the chick-lit category for me. Which is fine. I ate up all of Sophie Kinsella’s novels like red skittles. I’m not ashamed of loving chick-lit. There. I said it! This one is cute and perfect for those 15 minutes here and there reads. It won’t take you long to pick up where you left off if you have to go drive your son to baseball practice, attend a PTO board meeting or find out why your five-year-old has been so quiet upstairs for more than 10 minutes. You can find this one here.

So there you have it…my recent reads. Have you read anything good lately? Give me the deets!!!


Happiness Is….

Remember that song the Peanuts sang in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown? I don’t know who wrote it, but I goggled it and Lea Salonga came up as a singer. Anyways – it was a favorite of mine when I was a kid and it goes something like this.

Happiness is finding a pencil…Pizza with sausage…Telling the time.

Happiness is learning to whistle…tying you shoe for the very first time.

Happiness is playing the drum in your own school band.
And happiness is walking hand in hand.

Happiness is two kinds of ice cream…Knowing a secret…Climbing a tree.

Happiness is five dif’rent crayons…Catching a firefly…Setting him free.

Happiness is being alone ev’ry now and then
And happiness is coming home again.

Happiness is morning and evening,
Daytime and nighttime too.
For happiness is anyone and anything at all
That’s loved by you.

Happiness is having a sister…Sharing a sandwich…Getting along

Happiness is singing together when the day is through.
And happiness is those who sing with you.

Happiness is morning and evening,
Daytime and nighttime, too,
For happiness is anyone and anything at all
That’s loved by you.

I’m singing this as I type it. Lucky for you – you can’t hear me. It’s a little like fingernails on a chalkboard – so my kids tell me. But I like to sing and I’m here alone. So there.

It’s been awhile since 5 different crayons did it for me. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. But what I do know, is that I’m not sure what exactly makes me happy. (Which doesn’t mean I’m not happy or that nothing makes me happy). I just can’t articulate it right now – you know what I mean?

I mean, I like kites, but I don’t know if that makes my list….

So I’ve heard a lot of rumblings lately about Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project. I picked it up yesterday at Barnes and Noble(I didn’t literally just pick it up, I paid for it, too!) and basically – it’s about her one-year journey…(why are all the good authors lately picking one year to do something and then writing about it? Julie and Julia…Eat, Love, Pray…I’m seeing a trend here – I think I’ll ponder this and get back to you with some thoughts!)

I digress.

…it’s about her one year journey to look at what Happiness means to her and she dives into 12 areas to work on, tackling one each month including: marriage, parenthood, friends, eternity, attitude, work, play, passion, energy, money, mindfulness and then I think December she wraps it all up. Heavy stuff.

I’m super excited about this book right now because I just found out she will be the keynote speaker at a conference I’m attending in February…the Mom 2.0 Summit.(More about this soon, too!)

I’ll keep you posted on what I learn as I read what she’s learned. But if you want to look into it yourself – or even take on your own Happiness Project, you can visit

BTW – The picture is of me (the cute gal in the middle) when I was a kid and probably around the age I first heard that song and loved crayons.

What makes you happy?