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Christmas Light Shows
Friday's Featured Author: Farrah Rochon
Feature Author: Lynsay Sands
Mass of underground caves discovered with 3D lasers!
Summertime BBQ Season: What's Hot on the Grill
Challenge: something that by its nature or character serves as a call to battle, contest, special effort, etc.; a call to fight, as a battle
As women, we play many different roles. We are wives, mothers, lovers, and friends. Though each of these roles present their own unique challenges, I believe none is more challenging than being a mother. As the mother of two teenage girls, I sometimes feel as though I’m fighting a losing battle of wills. I know that sometime in the future my hard work will pay off. Though I find it difficult to see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, I find it easier to put my life in perspective when I see some of the truly difficult issues some of my friends have to deal with on a daily basis.
My friend Jenny is a happily married mother of two wonderful sons. About 12 years ago, her life and her family’s life changed drastically. When her youngest son, Jason was born, everything was perfectly normal. He was given his HIB shot on the day he was born. Over the next few months, she spent a lot of time with her nephew, who was around the same age as Jason. Jenny began to notice differences between the two babies. “When he was about 7 months old, Jason began flapping his hands in a very awkward way. He seemed to be progressing developmentally, but I was still concerned,” Jenny tells me. At around 18 months, Jason had his MMR booster shot and had a seizure. Almost immediately, he lost all of his vocabulary and did not speak.
When Jason was about 2 years old, his pediatrician suggested he be tested for Autism. Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders known as Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD). The other pervasive developmental disorders are PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified), Asperger Syndrome, Rett Syndrome and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder. Many parents and professionals refer to this group as Autism Spectrum Disorders. It is said that 1 in 110 children, 1 in 70 boys, are affected by Autism. “It was crazy,” Jenny told me, “Jason’s diagnosis was like a grieving process. You think that someone switched babies because your baby was just fine when he was born. Then, you kick yourself in the ass and get moving!” From that point on, Jenny and her husband did everything and anything they could to help Jason, spending as much as $250,000 of their own money to get him the testing and therapies he needed. As a direct result of having the ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) therapist and a wonderful teacher, Jenny says that Jason has made tremendous gains. Technology is another very important factor, especially for Autistic children who are non-verbal. Jenny tells me that the iPad is a tremendous help to Jason and has succeeded in opening the lines of communication with those around him. He learns at school, using symbols, letters, and words that he will eventually be able to effectively use at home.
With all of the challenges Jenny and her family face, I ask her if she gets some “down” time. “Spending time with my horses and just taking better care of myself helps me find my happy place,” she explains. “I’ve also had a life-long love for reading, thanks to my mom and it has provided a much needed escape.” She also tells me that she has a wonderful circle of family and friends, as well as plenty of support, which can make all the difference.
While we are talking, I think about my goals and expectations for my girls. I ask what hers are for Jason. “My highest goal for Jason is that he will be a functional adult and be able to provide for himself,” explains Jenny. I don’t think our goals for our children are any different.
When I think about all of the challenges we face, especially as women, it can be slightly overwhelming. I believe that we need to take care of ourselves first, so that we are able to take care of everyone else. It brings to mind the safety talk they give on airplanes and how you’re supposed to put the oxygen mask on yourself first, then on the other person. I don’t think I could instinctively do that if the person sitting next to me was my child. I guess it kind of proves my point that we need to spend times doing what we love, whether it be horseback riding, getting a pedicure, or reading a book, instead of solely focusing on everyone else.
I encourage all of you to go "Autism Speaks" website to get more information about Autism and how you can get involved your community.
According to government statistics, the number of children affected by Autism increases 10-17% annually, which means someone you know or will know could be affected by Autism.
Here are just a few of the scheduled walks. For more information on a walk near you check out the Walk Now for Autism Speaks website HERE
2011 Walk Now for Autism Speaks: Northern New England
Concord, NH - Saturday, September 10, 2011
2011 Walk Now for Autism Speaks: San Diego
San Diego, CA - Saturday, September 10, 2011
2011 Walk Now for Autism Speaks: Southeast Michigan
Auburn Hills, MI - Saturday, September 10, 2011
2011 Walk Now for Autism Speaks: Southwest Missouri
Springfield, MO - Saturday, September 10, 2011
2011 Walk Now for Autism Speaks: Tennessee
Nashville, TN - Saturday, September 10, 2011
2011 Walk Now for Autism Speaks: Jacksonville
Jacksonville, FL - Saturday, September 17, 2011
2011 Walk Now for Autism Speaks: Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, OK - Saturday, September 17, 2011
Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew by Ellen Notbohm buy it here
1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism or Asperger's, Revised and Expanded 2nd Edition by Ellen Notbohm buy it here
A Child's Journey out of Autism
One Family's Story of Living in Hope and Finding a Cure by Leeann Whiffen buy it here
Do you have a story that you would like to see featured here at What's Hot & On Top?
Our email address can be found within the 'contact us' section below.
"My paper works have been based around an exploration of the relationship between two and three dimensionality. I find this materialization of a flat piece of paper into a 3D form almost a magic process - or maybe one could call it obvious magic, because the process is obvious and the figures still stick to their origin, without the possibility of escaping. In that sense there is also an aspect of something tragic in most of the cuts. Some of the small paper cuts relate to a universe of fairy tales and romanticism, as for instance Impenetrable Castle inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale The Steadfast Tin Soldier, in which a tin soldier falls in love with a paper ballerina, living in a paper castle. Other paper cuts are small dramas in which small figures are lost within and threatened by the huge powerful nature. Others again are turning the inside out, or letting the front and the back of the paper meet - dealing with impossibility, illusions, and reflections."
"The paper cut sculptures explore the probable and magical transformation of the flat sheet of paper into figures that expand into the space surrounding them.
The negative and absent 2 dimensional space left by the cut, points out the contrast to the 3 dimensional reality it creates, even though the figures still stick to their origin without the possibility of escaping. In that sense there is also an aspect of something tragic in many of the cuts."
Gingko Press, Inc.
The Steadfast Tin Soldier
Hans Christian Anderson
Buy it here
Meet romance author Farrah Rochon, who has a new book release this week! Her new book is part of her New York Saber’s Football series - Field of Pleasure. Here’s a little about Farrah in her own words......
"Remember those annoying people in school who stood up and cheered whenever the teacher would spring a pop essay test on students? No? Well, you didn’t go to school with me. Okay, maybe I didn’t stand up and cheer, but inwardly, I did.
My love of writing goes back longer than I can remember, and it only grew as I went from high school, to college, to graduate school. Back in my sophomore year of college, after a childhood of devouring more books than I can count, I decided to write my own novel. This suspense-thriller is probably the most horrid piece of writing ever created, but I still love the story. It wasn’t until I tried my hand at writing a romance novel that I truly found where I belong.
I can’t pinpoint exactly where my inspiration for writing comes from. I’ll hear a song or hear something in passing while people-watching, and an idea will pop in my head. My New York Sabers football series is inspired by my absolute obsession with the game of football. Now that the NFL is back in action, I have a feeling ideas for more Sabers stories will start popping up in my mind pretty soon."
The third installment in the series, Field of Pleasure, hits stores this week and features the Sabers star cornerback and punt-returner, Jared Dawson, and the Saberrettes dance squad’s new freelance choreographer, Chyna McCrea.
Here is the back cover blurb:
"Life is one endless touchdown for Jared Dawson. Until the former playboy and star corner back for the New York Sabers discovers his girlfriend in bed with another man. Reeling from the betrayal, Jared returns to his flings-with-no-strings ways. But no man can walk away from Chyna McCrea. The ravishing choreographer is already tackling the pro-footballer's heart.
Playing defensively is supposed to safeguard against heartbreak. But how can Chyna protect herself from Jared's sensual onslaught? It seems the hunky athlete-and sports world's most eligible bachelor-has decided that playing the field is not an option. Together, can they score the greatest victory of all and be on the winning team of both their dreams?"
The first two books in the series are Huddle With Me Tonight (September 2010) and I’ll Catch You (March 2011), with Pleasure Rush coming this Spring (April 2012).
Here are some of Farrah’s favorite authors and books -
Judith McNaught - Whitney, My Love and Paradise
Suzanne Brockmann - Troubleshooter series
Maureen Smith - Recipe for Temptation
Simone Elkeles - Perfect Chemistry Series.
Buy Farrah Rochons books now on Amazon. Click here
Or at Barnes & Noble booksellers here
For more recommendations and reviews check out our Red-Hot Reviews section here
Interested in some romance book inspired bracelets? Check out our What's Hot and On Top! SHOP NOW
Are you a crafter, artist or author and would like to be featured here at What's Hot and On Top? Just go to the "contact us" link below and email us for more information.
Part Two: Newstead Abbey, Nottinghamshire, England
Newstead Abbey, Nottingham, England
Newstead Abbey is located in Nottinghamshire, England. Originally it was an Augustinian priory, but is more recognized as the home of well-known poet Lord Byron. It is said that the Augustinian monks were not happy with the takeover of the abbey and its new tenant ‘Lord Byron’ so they cursed the property. With the age and history of this location, it has gathered quite a few ghosts.
So starting with the curse the monks put on Newstead Abbey. Either due to the supposed curse or not, it is said that there have been quite a few sightings of black clothed monks wondering the property. Not long before Lord Byron’s disastrous marriage to Anne Milbanke, Byron himself came across the ‘The Goblin Friar’ as he is known. He would show himself to the head of the Byron family shortly before an untimely or disastrous event. The Goblin Friar has been seen many times hovering over the bed of his unsuspecting victims. Along with the ‘Goblin Friar’ is the ‘Black Friar’. As a local villager was about to give birth, her husband called for a doctor. The doctor was late and had said if he hadn’t stopped by the abbey to ask one of the monks for directions he would have been extremely late. Little did he know that there hadn’t been monks at the abbey for over 100 years!
Now on to the ‘The White Lady’ a former resident, can now be seen wandering through the gardens she loved so much... Due to the fact she wore light clothing she was tagged as the ‘White Lady’. Sophie Hyatt, (White Lady) lived in a nearby farm located close to the grounds of Newstead Abbey. Being born deaf and mute she carried a slate to write on, should she need to communicate. Lord Byron later sold the property to a close school friend Thomas Wildman. The Wildman’s, knowing that Sophie loved the gardens and admired the former owner so much, they allowed her to wander the property whenever she chose. Having no income to support herself she relied on a family member to support her. That family member later died and in despair she got a carriage to London to try and contact another family member she had in the United States for help. Before she departed, she wrote a letter to the Wildman’s letting them know her situation and where she was heading. When the Wildman’s read poor Sophie’s letter they immediately sent a rider out to stop her and bring her back. They had planned on letting her live on the property for the rest of her life. Unfortunately the rider didn’t make it in time, as he arrived in London he found her dead. Apparently she was run down and killed by a carriage while she was trying to cross the street. Being deaf she didn’t hear the shouts from others to stop as she was trying cross. She has been seen from that day forward, walking the grounds of the abbey, her beloved garden and sanctuary.
Well I hope you enjoyed this article and come back next Wednesday for the last installment in the ‘Ghosts of England’ series!
Much Love and Happy Reading to you all!
The Penguin Book of Ghosts: Prepare to be haunted by England's most unforgettable ghosts
by Jennifer Westwood and Jacqueline Simpson - Buy it here
Abbotsford and Newstead Abbey by Washington Irving Buy it here
A Look at Classic Romance Literature
Developed in Western culture this literally genre was mainly in English speaking countries. Inspired by Jane Austen, the historical romance genre developed in 1921 by a woman named Georgetter Heyer. Nearly a decade later British company called Mills and Boon began releasing the first category of romance novels. In North America, romance novels are the most popular genre in modern literature.
"According to the Romance Writers of America, the main plot of a romance novel must revolve around the two people as they develop romantic love for each other and work to build a relationship together. Both the conflict and the climax of the novel should be directly related to that core theme of developing a romantic relationship although the novel can also contain subplots that do not specifically relate to the main characters' romantic love. Furthermore, a romance novel must have an "emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending."
"In Lyrical Ballads (1798 and 1800), a watershed in literary history, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge presented and illustrated a liberating aesthetic: poetry should express, in genuine language, experience as filtered through personal emotion and imagination; the truest experience was to be found in nature. The concept of the Sublime strengthened this turn to nature, because in wild countrysides the power of the sublime could be felt most immediately. Wordsworth's romanticism is probably most fully realized in his great autobiographical poem, “The Prelude” (1805–50). In search of sublime moments, romantic poets wrote about the marvelous and supernatural, the exotic, and the medieval. But they also found beauty in the lives of simple rural people and aspects of the everyday world."
The second generation of romantic poets included John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and George Gordon, Lord Byron. In Keats's great odes, intellectual and emotional sensibility merge in language of great power and beauty. Shelley, who combined soaring lyricism with an apocalyptic political vision, sought more extreme effects and occasionally achieved them, as in his great drama Prometheus Unbound (1820). His wife, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, wrote the greatest of the Gothic romances, Frankenstein (1818).
Although the great novelist Jane Austen wrote during the romantic era, her work defies classification. With insight, grace, and irony she delineated human relationships within the context of English country life."
Here are some classics in romantic literature:
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (1816 - 1855; English) Buy it here
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (1818 - 1849; English) the tale is set on the rugged moors of Yorkshire. Publication 1847 Buy it here
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1775 - 1817; English) - The courtship of proud Mr. Darcy and prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet Buy it Here
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (1775 - 1817; English) Publication 1811
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy Buy it here
published in serial installments from 1873 to 1877 in the periodical The Russian Messenger
This Tolstoy novel is a must add in the list of classic romantic novels of all time. Set in the backdrop of Russian high society this story tells the tale of Anna Karenina who has found herself an anew love conflict. Despite being married she was attracted to Count Vronsky. Her desire was so powerful that it has made her estrange her husband, Alexie. When she was denied divorce she has to live her life seeking acceptance for her new relationship.
And of course there are many more. No matter what genre of romantic literature you are sure to find some that are pleasing to you and help you escape from the everyday.
For more recommended reads check out our Red-Hot Reads section here at What's Hot & On Top!
References and article sources
Celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow, Selena Gomez, Jessica Biel, Jessica Szohr, Ashanti, Heidi Klum and others have been wearing feather earrings and driving crafters worldwide into a feathered frenzy. For the younger celeb lovers you see Vanessa Hudgens and Miley Cirus sporting some fashionable fish tackle. We are seeing many fashion magazine covers with models wearing feathered art from their ears, head or neck. And who can go to their local malls and browse without seeing some sort of feather variety amongst the accessory stores. From the junior accessory giants like Forever 21, H&M, Claires to higher end boutiques and specialty shops for the more pricier items ranging from $5.00 to hitting up to $250 or more depending on the jewels attached. Either way feather accessories are going to be sticking around for quite awhile according to fashionistas everywhere. Not only has this trend gone from simple and plain feather picks, combs and hair bands but now the more detailed and gemmed up bling has been the evolution of design in our feather friends. Adding colors and detailed beading and charms helps to dress it up for those special occasions.
Part of the lure has been seeing the celebs wearing them such as rocker Steven Tyler. American Idol draws millions of viewers worldwide and although the feather trend was set before Steven was seen as this years new American Idol judge, seeing him flip his hair back to reveal the popular fluffy piece certainly doesn't hurt the accessory sales industry. Although the fishing industry has made a light squabble about women buying up the saddle hackle typically used for fly fishing, they cannot complain too much with the enormous amount of sales this trend has brought them.
Here are just a few available at the Etsy Shop of Fairy Tales and Feathers:
This fashion trend is spilling over through the seasons with feather earrings that have some holiday charms to them:
Are you a crafter or artist and have a website that you would like What's Hot and On Top to feature? Email us at info@whatshotandontop(dot)com.
Check out the Etsy shop of Fairy Tales and Feathers HERE
Care to make your own feather accessories? Watch this how-to video:
The hair on this fellow will grow!
But you never will creep
Upon him in his sleep,
That’s why he’s aware-wolf, you know!
Full moons, silver bullets, and blood thirsty shape-changers fill the stuff of modern werewolf legend. With such a blanket of myth built around tales of people transforming into animals the topic might easily be scoffed away by science. However, some scientists propose that werewolf fables are closer to reality than most other monstrous competitors, such as the ever popular vampire.
Human beings have had a fascination with the werewolf for many years. They have been the subject of literature, television shows, and movies such as Underworld Rise of the Lycans. They have been romanticized, criticized, vilified, and pitied for hundreds of years. But do they really exist? Most of us would automatically answer "of course not." They are fictional characters meant to entertain and terrorize. But are we absolutely certain?
There are cult groups today that believe in the existence of werewolves. They have their own organization, their own website, and a substantial fan base. If werewolves don't exist, why are they so certain that they do? And with the help of Twilight author Stephenie Meyer, the Quilete Tribe has been placed into the light of legends and the werewolf. Let's take a look:
Legends of Werewolves and the Quilete Tribe
The First Werewolf of 1591
It is easy to imagine how the isolated and terrifying atmosphere that wolves created around the small villages throughout Europe during the 16th century could easily have fostered a horrible werewolf legend involving monstrous wolf-creatures. However, some of those stories about a human wolf were proven true in the late 1500's. One particular villager named Peter Stubbe, from the town of Colongne and Bedburg in Germany, confessed under torture that at age twelve he began practicing sorcery. He even claimed he'd eventually made a pact with the devil where he obtained what he believed was a magic belt. He believed that he became a wolf when he wore the belt. He would travel the fields around the village and attack animals, young children and even adults. He would massacre each victim, drink their blood and sometimes devour the bodies. He committed these horrible attacks for many years.
On a lighter less-hairy note:
Things can get pretty hairy when a werewolf is involved. A classic Halloween icon, the werewolf plays well with others most of the time. But when their inner beast emerges, look out! Here are thirteen werewolf facts to inform and entertain you this Halloween.
1. Werewolf legends exist in most of the world's cultures. Some of the tales date back to the beginning of written history. One of the earliest examples is the story of King Lycaon of Greece.
2. Lycanthropy is the supernatural condition whereby a human transforms into a wolf. If an afflicted person transforms into another type of animal, the correct term for their condition is therianthropy.
3. Historically, werewolf legends have been used to explain the acts of serial killers. Rabies, schizophrenia, porphyria, and hypertrichosis (a medical condition that causes excessive hair growth) have also been mistaken for lycanthropy.
4. Werewolves can be created in a variety of ways. Some say that lycanthropy is a curse or divine punishment. Others say it is the result of deals with dark forces. Still others suggest that werewolves can be born naturally, contract lycanthropy through the bite of another werewolf, or obtain their powers by wearing an enchanted wolf skin or belt. Other theories abound - including drinking water from the footprints of a werewolf!
5. How can you spot a werewolf? The symptoms vary widely, according to the source. Some interesting signs from folklore and popular film and literature include: uncontrollable rage; insomnia; a hairline that forms a widow's peak; hair or magical marks on the palms of the hands; eyebrows that meet in the middle; an unnatural fear of water; excessive body hair; unusually compelling eyes; longer-than-average third fingers on each hand; and difficulty pronouncing words that start with the letter 'W'.
6. Clinical Lycanthropy is a real psychological condition in which a person believes their body changes into a wolf or other creature.
7. Some suggest that mercury, not silver, might be the best choice for dealing with werewolves. Alchemists in ages past could have easily mistaken "quicksilver" for true silver.
8. Peter Stubb was known as the Werewolf of Bedburg. In 1573, he was accused of killing several people, including his own son, before he was sentenced to death. Stubb claimed that his powers were granted by the devil, who presented him with a magical belt which transformed Stubb into a monstrous wolf. Other "werewolf" killers of the time included Pernette Gandillon and Jean Grenier.
9. In 1764, the Beast of Gevaudan terrorized a small town in southern France. The Beast killed between 60 and 100 people, but its true identity was never proven. Some believed that the Beast was a ravaging werewolf.
10. Not all werewolves are bad guys. In 1692, in Jurgenburg, Livonia, a man known as Thiess testified under oath that werewolves were the "Hounds of God". He claimed that werewolves battled against evil forces. The fictional character Remus Lupin, of Harry Potter fame, was also a werewolf.
11. Werewolf movies commonly link lycanthropy with the onset of puberty, as both conditions commonly involve hair growth, mood swings, and strong impulses.
12. The first movie to feature lycanthropy was "The Werewolf", a twenty minute silent film from 1913. The top grossing domestic werewolf film is 1994's "Wolf", starring Jack Nicholson and Michelle Pfeiffer.
13. The bands Metallica, Genesis, and Jefferson Airplane have recorded songs about werewolves.
Recommended Werewolf reads:
The Riley Jensen Guardian Series, by Keri Arthur
Guardians of Eternity Series, by Alexandra Ivy:Beyond the Darkness
Salvatore: "One look at Harley leaves the powerful King of Weres consumed by one overriding need…to claim her as his mate. But first he must convince her to let go of her distrust of purebloods and to give into her own predatory desires."
Women of the Underworld Series, by Kelley Armstrong (Book 1 is ‘Bitten’)
Historical Werewolf Series by Susan Krinard (Book 1 is Touch of the Wolf’)
For more information on the Quileute Tribe, visit the Quileute Nation website store and more HERE
Janna Weiss, Yahoo! Contributor Network
Doug Wetzel, Yahoo! Contributor Networ
Charlotte Kuchinsky, Yahoo! Contributor Network