Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Social #21

1. What is one thing you hate doing?
Cleaning. I want it done, but I hate being the one doing it. 
2. What is one thing you hate shopping for?
Groceries! I wish I was rich enough to pay someone to do it for me. And a lot less controlling over allowing someone else to do it.
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{Photo Credit}  

3. What is one thing you love doing?
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{Photo Credit}

4. Where is one place you love going?
Besides New Orleans or any place in Louisiana? LOL Corpus Christi, TX
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{Photo © Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries, 2006}
5. What is your favorite thing to do that you do daily?
Read. I am so glad that I have gotten back into reading. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

5 Things That Make Me Happy

There are several things that make me happy right now. I'm not going to list the obvious answers: kids, family, friends. I'm going to list 5 other things that make me happy.

 1. Writing
I love to write. Poetry, novels, stories, etc. I am happy when I am writing, free - writing not forced writing.

2. Psychology
I love studying psychology. I am so happy that I changed my major. 

3. Football Season
We all know I am a football fanatic, right? Well, football season is upon us! Soon, my Saturdays will be filled with college football while my Thursdays/Sundays/Mondays will have NFL. I. Cannot. Wait. I spend all spring/summer waiting for this!

4. New Orleans
I love NOLA. I know that I am not going back anytime in the near future but the thought of my precious city makes me happy.  
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{Photo Credit: Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries, 2012}

 5. My Dreams
While I can't say my dreams in such a public forum, they make me incredibly happy. Now, if they would only come true. 

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I Was a Victim of Cyberbullying

When we hear cyberbullying we think of teenage drama. Sadly 25% of our nation's teenagers experience cyberbullying. But, did you know that adults can be too? I found out the hard way a few weeks ago. 

Some may know this, some may not, but I have a blog separate from this one where I promote books and authors, primarily in the Indie Author world. Long story short: Author A accused Author B of plagiarism. I looked at the "evidence" presented in the claim and realized that Author A was correct in her accusation. I offered to help her however I could. This started a chain of events of bullying and harassment from Author B/others on Author B's behalf. {You can read the whole story here}

Now, I am a good person. And I will not stand for plagiarism. If you want to write a book, write your own book. Don't take someone else's book, change a few names and scenes, and claim it as your own. After I offered my assistance to Author A, I went on about my life away from the internet. I came back to an email accusing me of selling ARCs. ARCs are Advance Reader Copies. These are usually given to the reader by the author in exchange for a review. Sometimes these copies are given prior to the book's release and sometimes they are given after release. Now, selling these is morally wrong as well as legally wrong. When these are given, it is with the expressed knowledge that they are not to be shared or sold. So, this accusation was a serious one. I ignored it because A) I had never heard of the person who emailed me, B) I knew it was false, and C) no other book blogger I talked to knew who this person was. A bit later, I received a message from another book blog that said that someone was making accusations against me on their facebook page. I went and read these accusations where she blasted my name, my email address, and my blog name/url and said outright that I was selling ARCs. This infuriated me because she was tarnishing my name and reputation with these accusations. I then found out that not only was she putting this on her page, but she took the time to message EVERY author I had ever reviewed for or promoted and told them the same exact thing. Now, a few of the ones she had contacted were authors I had been working with since the very beginning. Of course, they didn't believe these accusations and stated as much publicly. Other authors, bloggers, and readers had also come to my defense. For a few brief minutes, I almost gave up my book blog and accept defeat. But, I have some very wise and persuasive friends in the Indie book world. My response to this? I re-designed my blog's facebook page and created a new twitter account solely for that blog. Nope, I wasn't going to accept defeat. I took screenshots of the email, the facebook posts, everything. And sent them to Author A who forwarded them to her lawyer. 

I stopped regretting my decision to help Author A. I was standing up for what was right. I was doing the right thing. I continued to get messages from various names concerning Author B. But, you know what? I think they ARE ALL Author B. I feel bad that I almost let someone who hides behind false names push me out of a world I love. I almost let them win. 

It took awhile for it all to sink in. I had been cyberbullied by a nameless, faceless person. I am a grown adult and someone out there thought they could sling false accusations, and rumors against me and I would disappear. But, I didn't. I am stronger than that. I continue to stand against plagiarism. And I stand against cyberbullying of any kind. 

I learned that doing the right thing isn't always the easy thing. But, I would never NOT do the right thing just to make my own life easier. 


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday Social #20

1. What are you most looking forward to about Fall?

2. What is your favorite sports team?
Pick a sport! I am a sports fanatic!
College sports: LSU Tigers;
NFL: New Orleans Saints;
NBA: New Orleans Pelicans;
MLB: Atlanta Braves;
NHL: Carolina Hurricanes

3. If you could go back to college is there one thing you would change?
I am in college now. The one thing I plan to change that I didn't do when I was an undergrad is to keep my grades up high.

4. What was your favorite class you ever took? HS or College
Abnormal Psychology. Love it! And I'm so glad that I get to take it again at the graduate level.

5. Reach into your purse what is the first thing you grab?
The movie Gravity that we rented from Redbox.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday Social #19

1. What is one item you wish you could splurge on right now.
A Kindle Paperwhite 3G. I have been using the Kindle app on my phone and it just is not working for me anymore.
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 {Photo Credit}

2. If you had an entire weekend of no plans what would you do?
RELAX! Actually, I'd probably work on my novel or read.
3. What is the next place you are visiting outside of your current city?
No idea! I never know when I may go to Charlotte (IKEA world for me). But, major place because I don't consider Charlotte a big trip? Myrtle Beach or Charleston, SC (both are on my 101 in 1001 Days List)

4. Are you a neat freak or a clutterbug?
I, personally, am a neat freak! My kids are clutterbugs. Life is not good around my house. It's a constant battle.

5. What is your favorite summer purchase?
Can I count the Banana Pudding Doughnut from Krispy Kreme? Oh. My. Word. They are delicious. I could eat a dozen of these a day! I haven't bought much else this summer.

Monday, August 11, 2014

5,000 Question Survey {Part 5}

Part 4 of this challenge includes Questions #101-150.

101. What does happiness/joy feel like physically? 
  • Physically? I don't know how to explain it physically. It's one of those things that have no words to explain it. 

102. List five people you love starting with the one you love the absolute most. 

  • I cannot list the people I love the most in any order. It's kind of a sadistic thing to do. BUT, I will list 5 people that I love above everyone else. 

A  My Kids

B  Chris

C  My grandmother

D My parents

E Myself

103. How many movies have you gone to see this month? 

  • None. I am very selective over what movies I go to the theater to watch (another words, I know it's worth the money). However, I have watched movies on Netflix and we just rented 2 from Redbox over the weekend.

104. If you could have 3 wishes...but none of them could be for yourself, what would you wish for? 

  • My grandmother to win the lottery.
  • Lifelong happiness for my children.
  • Another Lombardi Trophy for New Orleans.

105. In what ways do you relax and de-stress when you are really tense? 

  • Clean, cry, scream, daydream, take a long hot bath.

106. How much money would it take to get you to drive to school naked in the springtime and get out of the car? 

  • We'll go with a million. See, you never said it was a day when people were there. So I could do this on a weekend and no one would be the wiser. And I'll be a millionaire. :-)
107. Have you ever killed an animal?

  • Yes. Fishing and hunting kills animals. Guilty. 

108. Have you ever lost someone close to you?

  • Yes. Too many in fact.

109. What do you think of cloning? 
  • Is this still an issue in science? It's been talked about for years. Not sure how I feel about cloning. I haven't done enough research into it. 

110. Do you read or watch TV more often? 
  • Lately, watch TV more often.

111. With all this talk of terrorism going around are you willing to sacrifice rights and freedoms for increased safety? 
  • This is a touchy subject. Does increased security at the airport bother me? No. Am I willing to give up my rights as laid out by the Constitution and Bill of Rights? No. 

112. What is the punishment you would come up with for Osama Bin Laden if you caught him alive? 
  • Well, according to the government, he's dead so this is a moot point. However, if I had caught him alive? Probably a bullet into the head. He's only viewing himself as a martyr anyway. 

113. Have you ever named an individual part of your body? 
  • No, I don't think I have. 

114. Have you ever been on the radio or on TV? 
  • No. 

115. Have you ever won a lottery, or sweepstakes? 
  • Just scratch offs and raffle drawings. And a few Bingo games. Nothing major. 

116. Have you ever won a contest or competition? 
  • I've won a scholarship. Won raffles, but otherwise no. 

117. Do you like to watch The Joy of Painting show with Bob Ross (check out this link if you don't know who he is. Also please note me if you notice the link is broken) 
  • No. 

118. Do you know what your grandparents and your great grand parents did for a living? 
  • My great grandparents - No. My grandparents, yes. Paternal grandfather was a farmer. Paternal grandmother once worked for a division of the agriculture office and now is a CSM at Walmart. My maternal grandfather owned his own construction company. My maternal grandmother was a wife, mother, and helped with the business.

119. Is there anything really interesting in your family history? 
  • No, not really. Nothing for the history books. Some distant cousin was once the governor of VA and president of the University of Virginia. 

120. Is there anyone you trust completely? 
  • Myself.
121. Have you ever lost someone without having the chance to say goodbye?
  • Yes. 

122. How do you feel about women in politics? 
  • I'm all for it as long as they know what they are doing.

123. Would you rather have an indoor Jacuzzi or an outdoor pool? 
  • Hard choice. I really prefer an indoor pool. 

124. What things are you interested in that you study or read about on your own? 
  • EVERYTHING! I am constantly thirsting for knowledge. When I was a teenager, it was the Titanic, Alcatraz, and the Salem Witch Trials. 

125. Would you consider yourself to be intelligent? 
  • Yes. 

126. Would you consider yourself to be wise? 
  • Sometimes. 

127. Have you ever given or received a lap dance? 
  • No.

128. Have you ever spoken to a homeless person? 
  • Yes. 

129. Would you ever creep into the subway tunnels to go exploring? 
  • Probably. But, I don't live near a subway. 

130. If you could add 70 years to your life but only by making some random person die 70 years sooner would you? 
  • And live till I am 106 minimum? What if my life was going to be 70 years anyway? So, if I add 70 years to it then I would live to be 140? No thank you. Besides that some random person could be someone I love. So the overall answer would be No. 

131. Can you finish any of the following lyrics? 

A: Nothing to kill or die for... And no religion too

B: Late comings with the late comin' stretcher... That's a body bag in disguise y'all betcha

C: I could make a film and make you my star... You'd be a natural

  • That was some random music....

132. Were you ever with someone while they died?
  • Yes. One of the worst moments ever.

133. Would you rather be a world political leader or a rock star? 
  • Well, I have no skill as a rock star so world political leader it'll be. 

134. Have you ever given someone a love letter that you wrote? 
  • Yes. 

135. Have you ever sent someone a surprise though the mail? 
  • Yes.

136. Are you looking forward to any concerts right now? 
  • No. Want to go to Fozzy/Theory of a Deadman but probably won't be able to.

137. Of all animated movies, which is the best one you've ever seen? 
  • Beauty and the Beast.

138. What are the best bands or songs to listen to while driving? 
  • I prefer metal/hard rock when I'm driving. 

139. What do you think is the most amazing thing that anyone has ever accomplished? 
  • I don't really know. 

140. What could a member of the opposite sex do to impress you? 
  • Be themselves. 

141. About how many emails do you get a day? 
  • A hundred or so over my various accounts.

        How many of those emails are junk mail? 
  • A good portion of them.
        How many of them are forwards?
  • None. 

142. What's your favorite thing to do online besides write in your diary and hang out at this site? 
  • I don't write in a diary online (Is a blog a diary?) and I have no idea what "this site" is since I got these questions from someone else. Facebook, twitter, blogging.

143. Do you believe Kurt Cobain ( killed himself or was it a conspiracy? 
  • Jury is still out.

144. Have you ever though about hitchhiking across the country?
  • Traveling? Yes. Hitchhiking? Hell no!

145. Who would you bring with you on this kind of a road trip? 
  • Can't I just go alone?

146. Of the following, which word best describes you: accurate, bold, charming, dependable
  • Dependable

147. If you are single, at about what age do you think you will be ready to settle down and get married? If you are married, how old were you at the time?
  • I was 20.

148. Do you often wonder, when you say goodbye to people, if it is the last time you will ever see them?
  • Yes. It's a sad, sad thought. 

149. What movie are you most looking forward to seeing when it comes out? 
  • Mockingjay, Insurgent, Fast and Furious 7

150. What is your quest? 
  • A happy and fulfilling life. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sunday Social: Entertainment

1. One Show you would love to see on netflix that isn’t there
Teen Wolf. I started to watch it, but don't have MTV anymore. I was in the middle of Season 1 and can't seem to find anywhere to watch it. At this point, I'll even be happy if Hulu would show it. {I have both Netflix and Hulu}

2. One song you wish they would play more on the radio
Nothing really. There are plenty of songs I wish they would play LESS on the radio. I've learned that they play the same songs repeatedly. I usually just listen to my playlists on Spotify anyway.

3. Your favorite song to sing loudly to in the car
I don't sing in the car. I don't think I've been alone in the car in years; I've always had either a kid or Chris in the car with me. I don't sing in front of people. At all.

4. What Movie/TV show do you quote the most?
Steel Magnolias! I say each of these at least once a week.
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We also say "Stop being nasty." from Meet the Browns a lot. 

5. One silly thing you do daily
{This comes from the teen} "She talks to Maci (the dog) in a baby voice." - Tina (16)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Glimpse Into My World: Homeschooling Curriculum

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Most of the kids' work will be done through Easy Peasy. I am beginning my Masters degree this fall and the Easy Peasy route seems to be the best route for us right now. I will be using other things to supplement along with the courses on Easy Peasy.

Tina (10th grade)
Carly (7th grade)
Caitie and Charlee (4th grade)
Chey and Court (2nd grade)
Connor (Pre-K 4) 

We will also be doing some Geography fun stuff using THIS and THIS.

I know that some of this is Common Core aligned. However, I will work around whatever I feel necessary to work around.

** This post was originally posted on Bayou Excellence Academy

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Dear Mr. President

This was not what I had planned for today’s Pour Your Heart Out Post. However, my internet has been down since Monday. With no internet (oh, the horror!), I decided to clean out all my folders on my external drive. I found this “letter” to the president. Now, I didn’t decide one night to just write an off the wall letter to the president; this was an assignment for my Child Psychology class. The assignment was to write a letter to the president and suggest at least 3 policy changes, based on research, which would increase the health and safety of the country’s children. I chose education, nutrition, vehicle safety, and firearms.


Dear Mr. President,
            America’s children are the future of our country. Their education, health and safety should be a primary focus of our government. Some policy changes that should be focused on are education, nutrition and exercise, automobile safety and firearm safety.
            Education is a vital key for our children. It appears that in the last few years, the focus of education has shifted from promoting learning to teaching enough in order to pass a standardized test. Evidence of this decline in our education system is shown by the increase in numbers of home schooling families. Our children should have the desire to learn all the time; not just enough to pass a test. All schools should incorporate both the constructivist and instructivist learning approaches in order to foster a long – lasting desire to learn. Another concern in our schools is bullying. Bullying affects our children’s self esteem and overall psychological well – being. Anti-bullying programs need to be implemented in our schools. There needs to be stiffer punishments for those who do bully. These children need to know that bullying is not an acceptable behavior and will not be tolerated in our schools. There also needs to be programs in place to help those children overcome their aggression in order to help eliminate bullying.
            I am excited about The First Lady’s “Let’s Move!” program. Childhood obesity is a major concern in our country. In a 2008 study, 38% of our country’s youth aged 2-19 years old are at risk for being overweight. This same study revealed that 16% of our youth are overweight and 11% are obese. This means 65% of our youth are obese, overweight or at risk for being overweight! The United States has the 2nd highest rate of childhood obesity. I feel this is not acceptable for our youth. All parents need to have access to health and nutrition education. Organic and wholesome foods need to be made more accessible to all income families. Sometimes, buying pre-packaged foods with all the additives is cheaper than the organic and healthier way. Physical activity needs to be encouraged and available in all schools.
            Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death in young children. The government needs to promote child safety seat policies. Safe child and booster seats should be made available for lower-income families. There should be child safety seat installation clinics on a regular basis. There should also be stiffer penalties for child restraint violations. Parents should be held more liable for these potentially fatal decisions.
            According to a research study, firearms are the 7th leading cause of young children. Our country has the highest rate of firearm related deaths among children less than 15 years old. As a country, we need to promote firearm safety. Safety classes should be offered for parents, child care providers (both in-home day cares and regular baby sitters) as well as to our youth.
            We, as a united country, need to promote education, health and safety to our children. After all, our future begins with them.

Crystal S.

If you had the chance to write a letter to the President suggesting policy changes for the welfare of our children, what topics would you cover?