book club, reviews

The Dalai Lama’s Cat

This book can best be described as charming, fun to read, and even a bit enlightening! Told through the perceptive of one very lucky cat, we get a glimpse on what it might be like to live inside the home of the Dali Lama.

‘Oh! How adorable! I didn’t know you had a cat!’ she exclaimed. I am always surprised how many people make this observation. Why should His Holiness not have a cat? ‘If only she could speak,’ continued the actress. ‘I’m sure she’d have such wisdom to share.’ And so the seed was planted . . .

I began to think that perhaps the time had come for me to write a book of my own—a book that would convey some of the wisdom I’ve learned sitting not at the feet of the Dalai Lama but even closer, on his lap. A book that would tell my own tale … how I was rescued from a fate too grisly to contemplate to become the constant companion of a man who is not only one of the world’s greatest spiritual leaders and a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate but also a dab hand with a can opener.”

A fun and easy read, it will draw you in with it’s warmth and humor. I loved the lessons that each chapter taught, subtly yes, but there none the less.

From her rescue story to her meetings with dignitaries, this little kitty know how to tell a tale! I found myself wishing it were all true, as I was falling more in love with this sweet cat. Within her story are many founding principles of Buddhism, told in such a way that anyone could easily relate to them. It’s the type of story where you can glean wisdom and be entertained at the same time. It is also a story I am sure to enjoy reading again.

Find The Dalai Lama’s Cat on Amazon or anywhere fine books are sold.

Thank you to Hay House for providing me with a copy free in exchange for my reviewing it.

book club

Forgiving Leads to Honey

This is a guest essay from Mary Anne Radmacher. I am happy to be part of her blog tour celebrating her eighth book Honey in Your Heart: Ways to See and Savor the Simple Good Things.

Mary Anne Radmacher has an international following of both her art works and her writings. She’s been included in the Oxford Dictionary of American Quotations. Her work’s been featured on CNN, HGTV, the New Yorker and many other publications and is frequently quoted by media personalities. Her words hang in the lobby of Oprah’s Harpo Studios. Honey in Your Heart is a beautiful book full of uplifting thoughts and ideas, as well as some very fun art!

Forgiving Leads to Honey

People often ask me if there are things that are essential to do before you can see and experience the small joys in your life.  In HONEY IN YOUR HEART I identify six starting points:  make sure self-care is first on your priority list;

Do not be limited by the pains of your history; choose to tell the positive story by sharing what went right; live your life as a victor (not a victim); be open to surprise and celebration; be flexible.   And now I would add:


A Dr. Seussian-type rhyme has been floating through my mind while thinking about this:

It was a matter of just forgiving folks
and that forgiveness had to be free… while
I’d doled it out generously to others … the last
on the list was always me.

The little poem gets worse from there…

But I forgive my inner poet!

In these transition decades of learning that forgiveness is not the action of a martyr but a self-preservationist, I come to accept that I am a partner in most inappropriate scenarios.  Some way or another.

In the old days I took everything upon my shoulders.  In fact a key mentor in high school threatened to ban me from the dramatic arts department if I didn’t stop taking responsibility  for errors and omissions and commissions that were not mine.  A characteristic I learned  later in life was common to the archetype of “martyr.”  Ick.

Then, in the classic pendulum swing of learning, I went through a period where I took no responsibility for anything.  Equally unsatisfactory.  An essential phase and I am so glad it was short lived.

I face a current circumstance that most of my friends have found untenable, on my behalf, for some time now.  And while, on the surface, it appears that forgiveness must be forthcoming for an “other,” my experience has demanding that I offer forgiveness to myself.   I have to forgive myself for poor boundary setting.  For losing my voice in this instance.  For not speaking up when the time was right to say, “Now, WAIT a minute…this is not correct.”  My inner mouse took over my boundless inner labrador and huddled just this side of the cheese on the trap.  Hoping it wouldn’t spring and catch my writing fingers in the snap of it.

I forgive myself for being so timid.  And so far, that’s the circle of forgiveness as I experience it. Forgiving my self creates a full circle experience.  It’s like the “OTHER” gets swooped in on the broad embrace of forgiving myself.

And that self-forgiving action really frees my eyesight to see the sweet joys and simple pleasures in the course of each of my days.

To read more be sure to get a copy of Honey in Your Heart: Ways to See and Savor the Simple Good Things!

book club, food, holidays

Happy National Banana Split Day!

Did you know that today is National Banana Split Day? Well it is! And just in case you feel like celebrating, I have an amazing recipe to share with you from Taste of Home: Best Loved Recipes. If you haven’t gotten your hands on this cookbook yet, don’t delay, it’s seriously amazing. We have been trying dinner ideas from it ever since we got our review copy, and all have been hits so far. I can’t wait to make this desert though, doesn’t it sound delicious?

True, it’s not an actual banana split, but it’s close enough in my book! Enjoy!

Banana Colada Sundaes Recipe
Excerpted from Taste of Home: Best Loved Recipes: 1485 Favorites from the World’s #1 Food & Entertaining Magazine
By Taste of Home
Prep/Total Time: 20 min.
Yield: 8 servings

6 tablespoons butter, cubed
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 medium bananas, sliced
½ teaspoon rum extract
3 pints vanilla ice cream
½ cup flaked coconut, toasted

In a small saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, orange juice and cinnamon. Cook and stir over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until sauce is smooth. Stir in bananas; heat through. Remove from the heat; stir in extract.
Serve warm over ice cream. Sprinkle with coconut. Yield: 8 servings.

Nutrition Facts: 3/4 cup ice cream with 1/4 cup banana mixture and 1 tablespoon coconut equals 398 calories, 22 g fat (14 g saturated fat), 66 mg cholesterol, 159 mg sodium, 50 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 4 g protein.

About Taste of Home
Taste of Home is America’s connection to the personal recipes of people who cook at home as a way to bring family and friends together, particularly at the holidays. Each year, thousands of people from across the United States and Canada submit more than 40,000 recipes, of which 3,000 are published. Every recipe that is published is carefully evaluated and selected by the Taste of Home Test Kitchen, which ensures that it can be prepared with affordable, everyday ingredients. Taste of Home content is available in print; online at; in books; via digital download on iPad, mobile apps and Kindle; and Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Obtain a subscription or on your favorite digital download device.

For more information please visit, and follow on Facebook and Twitter.

book club, home and garden, reviews

Design books from Better Homes and Gardens

Two new books to get your creative juices flowing! Both of the books have so many great ideas, it makes me wish for more than one house so I could try them all out!

In Color (Better Homes & Gardens Decorating), you will find tips for choosing paints, fabric, and accessories that work well together. Full of photos and examples showcasing the latest in color pallet trends, this is a great book for anyone who wishes to add more color to their home. No need to be afraid of making a color mistake, the book will walk you through the entire process.

Next, start dreaming of that beach house or cozy cottage you have always wanted! New Cottage Style: Decorating Ideas for Casual, Comfortable Living (Better Homes & Gardens Decorating) will show you all kinds of cottage styles that you can incorporate into your own home. Again packed full of color photos that will have you itching to redecorate, this book is a real treat to read! Featuring homes in all kinds of settings, the book shows that it is possible to have cottage style no matter where you live.

*These books were provided to me for review, as always my opinion is my own. Links are Amazon affiliate links.*