Children’s Book Review- If The Slipper Fits by Lindsay DeRollo

If The Slipper Fits author Lindsay DeRollo

Lindsay DeRollo has written and illustrated an adorable children’s picture book, If The Slipper Fits, which is the third book in her Sugarplum Stars series.

The book features two little ballerina’s Emma and Pinky who are performing their roles in the ballet Cinderella. The pair along with their ballet mates auditioned for their parts and are quite excited to twinkle their toes.

However following their performance, Emma becomes quite conscientious of her height following her performance when she overhears two other dancers commenting that Emma is a talented dancer, but tall dancers like Emma never get the lead role.

This comment upsets Emma greatly as she loves to dance and longs to be a “real ballerina.” She begins to question if she is good enough because of her height. Emma makes the decision to talk about the gossip she overheard and face her fear by asking her dance teacher, Miss Linda, if it is indeed true that tall dancers never get the lead.

To Emma’s surprise and delight, her teacher reassures her this could not be further from the truth, “Nonsense… Size should have nothing to do with a dancer’s talent…” said Miss Linda to a very relieved Emma.

Instantly Emma’s spirits are lifted and her hopes and dreams of becoming a ballerina in a lead role on stage are renewed.

The story’s focus of believing in one’s self despite your size is such an important topic to be discussed for all children as to instill a positive self image in one-self. Also a lesson to others to be mindful of what you say as it could deeply hurt others.

I highly recommend this book for all the little dancers in the world as well as all children learning the lesson of the importance of building a healthy self-esteem and body image.

Lindsay DeRollo is a children’s book author and illustrator living in Central New York. Her book series is published under an independent publishing company named Two Girls and a Reading Corner https://twogirlsandareadingcorner.com/

Lindsay also has a self-published short story through Amazon, titled “Prima Ballerina”. https://www.amazon.com/author/lindsayderollo

She continues to write and illustrate children’s books which will be published later this year. 

You can follow Lindsay’s progress and updates on her social media links here:

https://www.facebook.com/shimmeringhope86

https://www.instagram.com/lindsayderolloauthor/https://twitter.com/faery86

https://twitter.com/faery86?fbclid=IwAR1IU5pmoYI7NmrjvLFwha9MW7wao51WgidHVuUagxBi0A8wS1AoT9aTZpM

-Alison Paul Klakowicz

Host and Creator of Hodge Podge Podcast and Blog

Author of Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck

http://www.alisonpaulklakowicz.com

Alison Paul Klakowicz is an Eastern North Carolina native, children’s book author, freelance writer, blogger, podcaster and creative writer. She is a military spouse who resides in Fayetteville, NC with her husband, Adam, and son, Mak.

Children's Book Review- Something Lost Something Found by Natalia Paruzel-Gibson

Something Lost Something Found by Natalia Paruzel-Gibson is a beautiful story of a little girl, Ella Samantha Bean, who has lost her happiness.

Ella is on a mission to find her happiness and looks near and far, yet struggles to find anything that makes her happy in life. The storyline leads the reader to the source of Ella’s sadness— the loss of her mother.

Illustration by Laura Catrinella

The children’s picture book’s gorgeous poetic words along with simple, yet poignant illustrations (by illustrator Laura Catrinella), move the reader to follow little Ella on her journey to find days filled with joy and glee again.

And to the reader’s delight— she does indeed find happiness again.

Not through magic or potions, but returning to a special place- an apple tree- covered in the sweetest memories of special times she spent there with her mother.

The book holds the key for us all to find our inner peace when dealing with loss in our lives. Children and adults alike will find comfort in the wisdom and lessons Ella finds on her journey to happiness when missing her mother.

The key is to hold dear the memories of lost loved ones and integrate those memories into our everyday so that we do not lose sight of the importance of those times spent that helped to make us who we are.

Illustration by Laura Catrinella

The author, Ontario-based Natalia Paruzel-Gibson, holds an honours BA in history and English literature from the University of Toronto and an MA in history.

In 1998 she received a young talent award from the Turzanski Foundation for stage work and writing and reciting poetry.

Natalia Paruzel-Gibson, author of Something Lost Something Found

Her first children’s book, Something Lost Something Found received a positive critique from the prestigious book reviewer Kirkus Reviews.

To learn more about this book and the author, you can follow her here:

Website: nataliawritesbooks.com

Instagram: @nataliawritesbooks

Facebook.com/nataliawritesbooks/

– Alison Paul Klakowicz

Host and Creator of Hodge Podge Podcast and Blog

Author of the Award-Winning Children’s Picture Book Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck

https://www.amazon.com/Mommys-Big-Red-Monster-Truck/dp/1525530178

Alison Paul Klakowicz is an Eastern North Carolina native, children’s book author, blogger, podcaster and creative writer. She is a military spouse who resides in Fayetteville, NC with her husband, Adam, and son, Mak.

Renaissance Day Spa Rises From Ashes

Renaissance European Day Spa Staff with Owner Natalie Spencer

Fayetteville, North Carolina-

Despite devastation from a fire which caused Renaissance European Day Spa to close its doors for seven long months, Owner Natalie Spencer continues to keep a “bounce” in her step and attitude.

I recently sat down with Natalie to talk about the reopening of her spa after a fire occurred in October 2018 which caused the successful Fayetteville, North Carolina business to close due to necessary restorations.

Renaissance European Day Spa Owner Natalie Spencer

What struck me most about Natalie was her enthusiasm and optimism, the care and genuine concern of her employees as well as her customers; not to mention, the strong partnerships with area businesses she’s built, and the gratitude in her heart for those who helped lift her up during such a difficult time in life.

Natalie’s genuine appreciation of her community here in Fayetteville is infectious.

Listen to our conversation on Hodge Podge Podcast here:

https://anchor.fm/jalisonpaulyahoocom/episodes/Natalie-Spencer-Rising-from-the-Ashes-e4j81n

A Day at the Spa

I was thrilled when Natalie invited me to visit the recently reopened spa to try out some of the new as well as tried and true services the spa offers.

Natalie graciously set me up for a full day of pampering which was just what this lady needed in her life.

Thanks, Natalie. 😊

It’s not everyday I get to submerge myself in total pampering and relaxation.

My personal spa experience was fantastic and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

First, I was given the Mellow Moonchild CBD Body Nourishment (skin polish) part of the spa’s new Total Swellness services followed by a delicious steam bath, shower and massage that left my skin quenched and super soft.

Kim, the fabulous aesthetician who graced me with her healing hands, has been employed with Renaissance European Day Spa for thirteen years. She educated me on Farm Fresh products out of Texas to include the Mellow Moon Dip Body Mousse and Muscadine Moonshine Body Scrub. The smell of these products was heavenly— I was transported back to my childhood plucking grapes off my grandparents’ muscadine grapevines.

Next up was a classic Swedish Massage provided by Melissa, an extremely talented massage therapist who worked out my sore neck and shoulder muscles as well as stubborn hip and sciatic pain. The massage room was so relaxing thanks to a very comfortable massage table, soft linens, dreamy lighting and mesmerizing meditation music. I was able to easily let go of all my cares and concerns.

The hot towels placed on my tired muscles following the massage was transcendent. I will note the upper neck massage at the base of my skull cap was wonderful. I could feel the tension and stress melt away. I would recommend this massage by Melissa for anyone under a great deal of stress or anyone suffering migraine headaches.

One client I met said she’d waited seven months to receive a massage from Melissa since the spa closed last October. It was worth the wait to receive impeccable services. I have to agree with her 💯.

While enjoying the beautiful upstairs lobby area and sipping a delicious smoothie, I talked with a customer who was awaiting services named Valerie Walker. Valerie is a Fitness Instructor and Physical Trainer with Cape Fear Valley Healthplex, Minister at Rivers of Life Church, and primary caregiver for her elderly mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease. Valerie treated herself to a birthday Swedish Massage and Facial. She said she wanted to take care of herself on her birthday.

“We put all these expectations on ourselves— our bodies, and we need to treat it (our bodies) from time to time. We need to reward it for all the hard work we put it through,” Valerie expressed to me. I thought this such a poignant message and reminder for us all.

Valerie Walker, REDS Customer awaiting spa services on her birthday

Following the Swedish massage, I was treated to a new facial service offered by REDS: Hyperbaric Oxygen Facial, a noninvasive facial minus burning acids or painful injections. This was quite a unique experience. Intraceuticals developed serums that, when administered in conjunction with oxygen, visibly plump and hydrate skin to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The facial left me fresh faced which helped to reduce redness and some stubborn acne brought on recently due to travel and stress.

Hope Viega, Fayetteville resident and loyal customer of REDS receiving a spa pedicure

Following my facial, the lovely Jozette, nail guru at REDS, provided me some much needed toe and foot indulgence via the Happy Camper Pedicure. My heels haven’t been that “happy” in a longtime!

The Farm Fresh Peet Moss Masque and Light as Air Body Mouse and Hemp Oil Lotion left my toes twinkling. I chose a super fun blue color from the OPI collection that reminded me of the turquoise shores of The Crystal Coast on North Carolina’s Southern Outer Banks.

Last— but definitely not least— was time for some hair love by Haley, REDS Stylist Diva, who saved my dull locks with a fabulous shampoo and scalp massage followed by a trim and texturized cut.

The Brazilian Blowout Smoothing Serum Haley used on my hair is awesome and beats the July North Carolina humidity. This smoothing serum only available during hair service at REDS, left my hair tame and lustrous for days following my appointment.

I encourage everyone to visit Renaissance not only for stellar spa pampering, but also to support a locally owned and operated business that truly cares for the people of its community.

Beginning this August, Renaissance will begin a brand new program called REDS Gives Back. The program will support a different local charity each month by either raising monies to donate to the charity, collecting donated goods and/or through volunteerism. Clients of the spa can help as well.

Natalie expressed it was extremely important more than ever for the spa to support its community following the outpouring of support they received in the past months following the fire.

Also, military members need to take advantage of the 15% off discount on spa services in July before offers end.

The deals and kindness do not stop there… the spa is also offering some major promotions in August for teachers to help them get ready to return to school relaxed and looking fabulous!

Watch here for more information:

For more information on how to contact the spa, look here:

You can check out the list of spa services on the website here:

http://therenaissancedayspa.com/

Make your appointment today! You will definitely get your bounce back!

-Alison Paul Klakowicz

http://www.alisonpaulklakowicz.com

Podcast: anchor.fm/jalisonpaulyahoocom

Instagram @alisonklak

Twitter @KlakowiczAlison

Alison Paul Klakowicz is an Eastern North Carolina native, children’s book author, blogger, podcaster and creative writer. She is a military spouse who resides in Fayetteville, NC with her husband, Adam, and son, Mak.

Read to Children

Some of my fondest childhood memories are those snuggled up to my mother while she read bedtime stories to my brother and me.

The simplicity and sanctitude of those memories are like tiny perfect pearls all strung together in a perfect circle of life.

Now that I am a mother, I carry on this nighttime tradition.

There is something wonderful about reading to your child with them nestled close to you, watching intently as you read each word to them.

I’ve found even when my son is in the foulest of moods— crying the blues because he does not want to go to bed— that if I can contain him long enough in the four corners of his bedroom and crack the pages of a book, it will tame the beast roaring inside him.

Slowly, he will begin to pay attention and crawl to my side to listen to the story unfolding from the pages.

I know from my own experience as a child, there is no time you feel safer or more secure than when your parents give you their undivided time to whittle a fantastical tale into your tired mind and tuck you snug into your bed.

That is truly “the stuff” of life.

We all need more of those still moments together. Where you unwind and listen— and love.

I suppose this is how I came to love books and storytelling so much.

Thanks, Mom.

Thanks for taking the time to snuggle and read to us.

Without it, I surely would have been lost.

Quite possibly, I would have been wandering about life unaware of the beauty that lies within books.

The thought makes me cringe.

Yikes!

So, my point is… take the time to read to or with your children. You could be helping to feed a love of words for the world’s next greatest writer.

And without words and writers, where would our world be?

Not a place I want to be.

So, go on now. Start collecting those books for your home library.

And, make memories of a lifetime through the pages of a wonderful bedtime story.

Alison Paul Klakowicz BA, MS

Author of Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck

http://www.alisonpaulklakowicz.com

Mother, Milspouse, Writer, Podcaster, Artisan

Alison Paul Klakowicz is a North Carolina native, children’s book author, blogger, podcaster and creative writer. She is a military spouse who resides in Fayetteville, NC with her husband, Adam, and son, Mak.