I've officially made the jump to etsy!!  I have always been crafty and enjoyed creating- anything really!  Mostly I've been working on jewelry and headbands.  I opened the store in the beginning of March and have sold 3 items locally and 1 from the shop. 

Any ideas on networking and getting my name out there veteran etsians?! 

Hop on over to my shop Little Bird's Designs on etsy for jewelry and headbands- soon to branch out to badge/key lanyards for all your work duty needs! (or just fashionable car keys!)

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow


Jay's Journal

Jay's Journal
Jay's Journal is the journal of a 16 year old boy, Jay that was "found" after his untimely death.  The journal was "given" to Beatrice Sparks by his mother.  She has also "edited" Go Ask Alice- another "anonymous" journal that she published.  There is much debate over the authenticity of both journals... you can find more information about the debates here (Go Ask Alice) and here (Jay's Journal).  She has "edited" many other "true diaries" as well, but the only ones I have read or looked into are the aforementioned.

***be aware that this review does contain spoilers***

This journal is the story of Jay, a troubled young boy growing up in the seventies and trying to find his footing in life- school, family, friends, faith.  Jay begins the journal due to the insistence of those around him.  As he moves through the story, Jay thinks he has found his one true love, but she is mixed up in some serious drugs.  His two best friends, Dell and Brad try to warn him, telling him that Debbie has "been around the block".  After months of providing for her addiction (and of course playing with fire himself) he gets caught stealing pills from his fathers pharmacy.  Sent off to reform school, Jay is miserable.  He hates the other kids there and all the staff.  Missing his friends and his family, he begins to form a bond with a staff member.  Before he realizes it, he starts to dabble in the Occult, learning about magical powers and witchcraft.  Swearing it (and Debbie) off for good before he discharges home, Jay seems to have finally gotten his act together.  However, once he gets home he starts to go up and down on the roller coaster again.  Getting in with another girl, getting deeper into the Occult and witchcraft, Jay's life begins to spiral out of control.  Eventually things get too heavy and much too real, and Jay begins to lose control of everything in his life.  He feels he is being visited by a demon, Raul, who wants his body (that Jay has ceremoniously "given" to him).  As his world begins to crumble around him, Jay begins to crumble inside... the coven with which he was associating with is getting stranger and stronger. Then his two best friends end up dead.  Jay finally ends it all by taking his own life.
Take the story as you will- it is definitely a cautionary tale.  As noted above, the debate surrounding the book is large- google it and you find a lot of entries. However, there is another side.  Some of the material is from Jay (real name- Alden Barrett) and some is from the journal entries / discussions of her other clients... seemingly making some of it true?  The entire Occult, witchcraft, voodoo, auras and Astra explored in the journal are very real- many people practice such beliefs, although I am sure that there is fabrication in this story. Whether or not you believe that these things (witchcraft, supernatural etc) do exist and have power is moot.  Could there be potential that black magic (witchcraft, occult, etc..) really did play a part in Alan Barrett and other local kids deaths?
 Jay's Journal was interesting for sure...

I do want to weigh in on Beatrice Sparks. I personally think she is a fraud.  I also don't think her intentions are pure.  I think that she wrote these journals based on her clients (many all meshed together) and her own ideas on what should and what shouldn't be... and then uses the tragedy of a suicide or death of a teenager to drive her point home- she makes sure to kill off the protagonist to make a statement about it.  I believe that she is trying to throw her judgements on teenagers... basically telling them that ANY exploration outside of her faith is bad, dangerous, deadly.  If you take a look at her other works, all of them carry a similar theme: cautionary tales that stem from her beliefs: Occult/witchcraft/supernatural powers are always indicative of devil worship.. AIDS and teen pregnancy are both works of premarital sex (as in, sex after marriage you are safe from unplanned pregnancy and AIDS)... prostitution, drugs or other mind-altering ideas/substances always have a hand from the devil.  Now, don't get me wrong- having faith is a wonderful thing, and I think that whatever faith is to you is wonderful- if it makes you happy and doesn't hurt.  But I also very strongly believe that every day is a chance to learn and grow, and that children and teenagers should be encouraged to do so.... if it isn't illegal and it isn't harming someone else, it is the FREEDOM of human right.  Humans are inquisitive.. if we shut that off at a young age by making teens and children feel like exploration or questioning (of anything- other faiths, sexual curiosity, questioning, occult, magic, government) is wrong, we are doing a disservice to the world.  We fear what we do not know.  What is most wrong with Sparks is pushing judgement and ideas, and LYING about it to get an end (in her case, fame as well as scaring teens "straight").  I just think that she wants to rid the world of certain things, and killing off a protagonist as a warning is her way of doing it.
Freedom of thought is our only true freedom... and Sparks is trying to crush it by scaring the shit out of a whole bunch of teenagers and parents alike.

By the way, Googling Alden Barrett, Beatrice Sparks, Jay's Journal all come up with very seriously interesting stuff.  Apparently there was some crazy stuff going on in Utah in the 70s...
I did enjoy the 2 that I have read- as fiction, and will probably read the others if for nothing more than to further prove my opinion.

if you don't believe in something, you'll fall for anything.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow


Sway: The Irresistable Pull of Irrational Behavior

Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior
I recently read Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior by two brothers, Omi and Rom Brafman.  Both of the Brafman brothers are well known in their respective circles- Rom has a PhD in psychology and has taught and given seminars at many universities, as well as conduct research and run his own private practice.  Ori graduated from Stanford Business School and is an organizational expert, speaking regularly for Fortune 500 companies and government and military agencies. (Information from bn.com as well as the book).
Sway is about irrational behavior and why humans so easily succumb to bad decisions- even when we are aware it might not be the greatest choice ever.  Presented in case studies, the Brafman brothers dive deep into the reasoning behind our poor decisions.  Why, for example, would any pay MORE for a $20 than $20???  Why would a pilot take off in almost zero visibility, causing a catastrophic crash?
An interesting read for those who enjoy non-fiction and / or behavioral psychology... or for the person who just wants to know why good people make bad choices- every day.  Written in (mostly) plain English and easy to follow, Sway is a quick read with the possibility to expand your knowledge... and hopefully help you understand why it is so easy to make a bad choice, and to help you stop from making these choices!  I know that it is a lot easier to stay away from bad decision making
write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow


The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary

The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary (Diary of a Wimpy Kid)
I have yet to actually see Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Movie, but did read the companion book, The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary by Jeff Kinney.  It is really a cool book, because it is still written like a diary and has all the pictures and comics that Greg likes to draw, but it is written from Jeff Kinney's point of view.
It is an interesting read, because it gives you and inside look at the movie making business.  It isn't like other "movie" books I've read- this one really seemed to explain how a book turns into a movie and all about the movie making process.  I totally felt like I learned a lot while reading it.  I didn't realize how much goes into a movie... I mean, I always knew it too a lot of people and a lot of effort, but I didn't really realize it until I saw the pictures and read about it.  I liked that they added so many stills and pictures from the movie and the behind the scenes action.  It was also interesting to learn about the casting process for kids.  I think for a child reading this book it would definitely shed light on a possible "dream life" - while it seemed like a lot of fun it is still a lot of work and a lot of boring time too.  I do plan on seeing the movie... it is currently an incentive and I will be watching it with my class after they meet their goals.  Once I see it I will review it- so far I have heard mixed reviews.... I'll have to judge for myself!

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

Diary of a Wimpy Kid 4 & 5

Dog Days (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book 4)I should have gotten around to these reviews a while ago, but things got busy (don't they always?) as I started my online etsy store (Little Bird's Designs) and work got even busier.  Hence why I am now lumping both Wimpy Kid Diaries into one review. 
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth Book number 4 in the Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney is called Dog Days and follow Greg through his summer vacation.  He wants to spend it indoors, but he mother has another idea of the ideal family summer vacation.  Just by looking at the cover you can tell Greg isn't going to have the greatest of all summer breaks.. but he does manage to get through it and survive yet another summer with his family and his friend Rowley.
The Ugly Truth is the 5th installment in the series... in this book, Greg is beginning to go through some big changes.  His relationship with best friend Rowley really begins to go south, puberty is on its way and there are changes happening in the family like his mother deciding to go back to school.  All this puts Greg in a pretty pessimistic state.  As Greg maneuvers through middle school with all this on his mind...  and is pretty miserable.
I liked both books, but found Dog Days to be more appealing than The Ugly Truth.  Greg seemed too miserable in the final book... but maybe that is because as they say "all good things must come to an end".. Not sure if Kinney will continue on with Greg Heffley and The Wimpy Kid series... time (or probably some digging around on the internet) will tell.  Either way, I'm indifferent.  I liked the series a lot- it was quick and fun, the comic book style art kept the story moving and as a teacher there is a lot I could us these books.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow