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By Linda Ballou, NABBW’s Adventure Travel Associate

About an hour north of Los Angeles a spectacular day trip to the Island of Santa Cruz awaits you.

Turn up at the Island Packer dock in Ventura Harbor about 9 AM with a lunch in your backpack and leave your worries behind.

After an hour-long cruise across the channel, passengers are dropped off at Scorpion Anchorage and admonished to be back by 4 PM, or plan on spending the night on the island. Some choose to do exactly that, but most fan out on separate day hikes.

Santa Cruz, the largest of all the Channel Islands, offers the most varied hiking and opportunity for self-exploration. The stiff hike up to Cavern Point overlooking Scorpion Anchorage takes you to the shadeless North Bluff Trail.

This easy march traces the bluffs and calls for binoculars for spotting birds in the meadow and marine life in the vast expanse of blue spread out before you. Far below, kelp forests sway in aquamarine waters where golden Garibaldi and sea lions play. The trail ends at the turquoise horseshoe bay called Potato Harbor that is a perfect spot for your picnic.

No humans, save national park rangers, live on the island today. But, for thousands of years this was the domain of the Chumash Indians. Legend has it that the “people” sprouted here from seeds and became so numerous that Hutash, the earth, created a Rainbow bridge for them to go to the mainland. While crossing, many of the people tumbled into the sea and became playful dolphins.

It is tempting to believe that the pod of 1,500 dolphin that leap madly about the Island Packer boat on this journey are enlivened by the spirits of the people. Gray whales migrating through the channel on the way to and from their breeding grounds in Baja are often seen on the crossing to the mainland. The skipper often takes time to follow them, even if you are not on a whale watch cruise.

Wrap up this day with the seafood sampler at Brophy Brothers’ upstairs glass-enclosed patio overlooking the yachts tied up in Ventura Harbor. The best viewing of the sunset is on the beach on the other side of the harbor parking lot.

The surf is a bit rough for swimming, but you can take a nice long stroll on a less-traveled stretch of sand where you will meet lots of shorebirds.

There is much more to learn about the Channel Island National Park and the Island Packer offerings on their website. 

IF YOU GO:

Be sure to make reservations in advance!

Linda Ballou is an adventure travel writer with a host of travel articles on her site, along with information about her travel memoir, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales; historical novel, Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i; as well as her latest novel, The Cowgirl Jumped over the Moon. Find more information about Linda at: www.LindaBallouAuthor.com.

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Provided by Pamela J. Sams, CRPC, NABBW’s Retirement Planning Associate

When our parents retired, living to 75 amounted to a nice long life, and Social Security was often supplemented by a pension. The Social Security Administration (SSA) estimates that today’s average 65-year-old female will live to age 86.6. Given these projections, it appears that a retirement of 20 years or longer might be in your future.1,2

Are you prepared for a 20-year retirement?

How about a 30- or 40-year retirement? Don’t laugh; it could happen. The SSA projects that about 25% of today’s 65-year-olds will live past 90, with approximately 10% living to be older than 95.2 

How do you begin?

How do you draw retirement income off what you’ve saved – how might you create other income streams to complement Social Security? How do you try and protect your retirement savings and other financial assets?

Talking with a financial professional may give you some good ideas. You want one who walks your walk, who understands the particular challenges that many women face in saving for retirement (time out of the workforce due to childcare or eldercare, maintaining financial equilibrium in the wake of divorce or death of a spouse).

As you have that conversation, you can focus on some of the must-haves.

Plan your investing. 

If you are in your fifties, you have less time to make back any big investment losses than you once did. So, protecting what you have is a priority. At the same time, the possibility of a 15-, 20-, or even 30- or 40-year retirement will likely require a growing retirement fund.

Look at long-term care coverage.

While it is an extreme generalization to say that men die sudden deaths and women live longer; however, women do often have longer average life expectancies than men and can require weeks, months, or years of eldercare. Medicare is no substitute for long-term care (LTC) insurance; it only pays for 100 days of nursing home care and only if you get skilled care and enter a nursing home right after a hospital stay of 3 or more days. Long-term care coverage can provide a huge financial relief if and when the need for LTC arises.1,3

Claim Social Security benefits carefully.

If your career and health permit, delaying Social Security is a wise move for single women. If you wait until full retirement age to claim your benefits, you could receive 30-40% larger Social Security payments as a result. For every year you wait to claim Social Security, your monthly payments get about 8% larger.4

Above all, retire with a plan.

Have a financial professional who sees retirement through your eyes help you define it on your terms, with a wealth management approach designed for the long term.

Pamela Sams may be reached at 703-547-8682 or pamela@jacksonsams.com or www.jacksonsams.com 

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate.

Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., a Registered Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC.  Advisory services offered through Securities America Advisors, Inc., a SEC Registered Investment Advisory Firm, Pamela Sams, Investment Advisor Representative.

Jackson Sams Wealth Strategies, Securities America, Inc. and all other entities named are separate entities.

Citations.

1 – cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db293.htm [12/21/17]

2 -ssa.gov/planners/lifeexpectancy.htm [5/9/18]

3 – medicare.gov/coverage/skilled-nursing-facility-care.html [5/8/18]

4 – thestreet.com/retirement/how-to-avoid-going-broke-in-retirement-14551119 [4/10/18]

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By Linda Ballou, NABBW’s Adventure Travel Associate

NOTE: My sojourn in South America began and ended in Buenos Aires where half the population of Argentina reside. Like most Americans, my knowledge of the geography of South America is a bit fuzzy. The journey took me to less-traveled parts of Argentina and Chile providing an overview of the landscape and high points, which I have shared in a series of pieces. This is the third and final article in the series:

I am sipping coffee at Hotel Lago Grey in Torres del Paine, Chile before everyone arrives for breakfast. An exquisite rainbow is arcing to the left of a panorama of turquoise glacier-fed waters framed in snow tipped-giants that soar to 10,000 feet. I feel as misty as the gauzy clouds drifting over the Paine Massif; privileged to behold the grandeur before me.

The five-hour drive across the undulating plains of Patagonia Steppe from Punta Arenas to Torres del Paine (Torres del Paine is Spanish for “Towers of Paine,” with “paine” being the old indigenous name for the colour blue) offered many wildlife sightings. The lesser rhea, a bird in the ostrich family, the favorite food of the Tehuelche Indians, was our first encounter.

The Southern-Crested Caracara, an opportunist by nature who stays close to the roadside hoping for easy pickings, became a common sighting. A highlight was watching an awkward take off by a grounded condor flapping his 9-foot wing span. We spotted a lone gaucho trotting briskly across the tawny waves of billowing grasses. They are as rare as a puma sighting since the sheep industry gave way to tourism in the region.

We passed Puerto Nogales where our local guide, Kris, lives in a house with no electricity or running water. She carts in water and has a generator and wood-burning stove for heat. Her life is rugged and hard, but she says she finds freedom in her walks in the mountains. She feels safe there. No snakes, no mosquitos, no altitude sickness, nothing that could harm a human save the elements that she knows how to read and is prepared for. She leads trekkers from around the globe who come to explore the magical vales on 5 and 10-day circuits in the park.

I fell in step behind Kris as we leaned into the wind on our first hike. It was into a lonely valley with a clear view of the salmon-colored towers of the Torres del Paine that pulled me to the ends of the earth an 8-hour hike away.

This Guanaco trail was lined with humps of a prickly bush only the guanaco can eat with their sticky tongues. Guanaco, distant relatives of the llama with doe eyes and gentle demeanor, will spit a vile green slime on you if you get too close They provided the Tehuelche with fur for their capes, foot coverings, and tents along with meat that they ate raw.

At Hotel Lago Grey, lodging inside the park, travelers congregate in the lounge with its warm ambiance and walls of glass overlooking Lago Grey. Once bedded down, I listened to a rowdy wind tossing the tree canopy and rain pelting my window. I slept like a squirrel with his tail tucked over his head and woke to the sun streaming through mist rising on the emerald green grass.

Mood swings in the weather are the norm. Layered clothing is the order of the day with rain pants in your daypack for good measure. We determined to stroll through the forest on the shore of Lago Grey to a swinging bridge across an energetic river to a view of the snout of the Grey Glacier. The path is lined with shrubs with tiny red berries locals turn into jam. There are yellow orchid, sweet peas, and fungi in the mossy undergrowth. The beech tree, or linga draped with old man’s beard, and the monkey puzzle are the most common trees. A solo stroll in the sheltered forest back to the lodge listening to birdsong made me very happy in that moment.

Furious winds lifting the waters to a cooling spray greeted us at Salto Grande, a turgid, turquoise waterfall charging from Lago Nordenskjöld into Lago Pehoé.

On our afternoon hike to the base of the famous Cuernos del Paine, AKA the Horns, Kris taught us to spot water mists dancing on the metallic lake. They tell you that a blast of air strong enough to knock a man off his feet is on the way. You learn to look for a protected area behind green mounds, and if you can’t find it you turn your back to the wind and place one foot in front of you and take a stand.

The winds have blasted bowls of granite in the imposing mountain and carved shafts into sharp fingers piercing blue skies. Ominous lenticular clouds crowding overhead fanned across the heavens. They can turn mean in moments and let loose a downpour that may pass as fast as it comes, but we were graced with a crystalline day.

As I look out over Lago Grey, stippled with white caps, see the leaves whipping wildly in the ceaseless wind, I feel lucky to be here and to experience some of the Creator’s most magnificent handiwork. It is the grandeur and the awful power of the craggy giants reaching for the heavens guarding Lago Grey that remind me that wet and wild places are worth saving.

Thank you to Overseas Adventure Travel for this exciting 17 day sojourn into South America from the Andes to Patagonia that climaxed with a visit to Torres del Paine National Park.

Note: the group picture at left and the shot above of our group traveling single file are courtesy of Susan Pendrick. All other images by Linda Ballou.

For a complete bio as well as published on-line clips with photos go to my website www.LindaBallouAuthor.com. Your reward, aside from learning about me and my work, will be to discover the secret to youth! Follow my blog or friend me on Facebook to keep up with my latest adventures.

If You Go:

Here are several useful links:

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By Linda Ballou, NABBW’s Adventure Travel Associate

I hiked the half mile around Malibu Lagoon to what is famously known as Surf Riders Beach, aka “Buns Galore” Beach. Barefoot surfers joined me on the shade-less path carrying their boards tucked under their arm or over their heads. Unzipped wet suits, folded down on slim waists keep them half-way cool. These are real he-men if you ask me. I wear sneakers for the trek and carry supplies of water and fruit for when I get dry.

At the entrance to Malibu Lagoon State Park I was snagged by a couple of gay caballeros from Italy who wanted their picture taken by the park sign. Their English was sketchy, but with some animated sign language I got the drift.

The beach is lined with sparsely clad individuals from around the world. Pasty white Germans are a common sighting. Middle Eastern accents abound. Japanese women wearing big-brimmed hats and bandanas like the kind cowboys wear when herding cattle stroll the sands fully clothed.

Children of all ethnic origins are delirious with joy from spending a day in the sea, no matter what language their parents speak. They squeal at the top of their little lungs and run in and out of the surf dragging diapers full of sand.

The local girls spread out on towels belly down wearing butt-floss bikinis that leave nothing to the imagination. They dare to bare themselves to an intense sun that crisps them like fritters on the sand. There are always co-eds taking cell phone pictures of one another practicing coquettish poses to share with their Instagram followers.

Occasionally, a young man with six pack abs and his body oiled to glistening perfection will be flexing for a photo shoot. One day, I witnessed one woman stripping flirtatiously to the camera, perhaps auditioning for a porn film. It is, after all, Malibu; home to the rich and famous and those who want to be.

Surfers of all ages and genders fly in an out of the waves in their black body suits tempting the great white sharks rumored to be heading this way. I figure there are so many of them to be mistaken as seals—natural shark food—that they will have no interest in little ole me—the solo female in a purple rash-guard sporting three-foot fins.

I swim in the calmer waters by the Malibu pier. Swells there can be quite strong when the tropical storms come up from Baja sending ten-foot waves curling to shore with a thunderous crescendo. I have been caught out in the monster waves and escaped their crashing on my head.

Getting out of the water is difficult as the ocean sucks the pulsing water and everything and everyone in it back into its clutches. So far, I have been able to count the wave sets and survive. With lifeguards busy surveying all those bare bottoms, I don’t have much hope that anyone will run in to save me.

After my swim, I lay content under my umbrella, (hoping to avoid dying from melanoma) watching the surfers fight to get the perfect take-off spot. I envy them their grace and agility and marvel that some of them have survived long enough to collect social security. Once a surfer, always a surfer? Even the gray-hairs are wiry and fit. It’s a good way to die.

The biggest challenge on weekends is getting a place to park when the State parking lot is full. On those formidable days, I go down Malibu Canyon Road to my favorite less-traveled beach where locals hang out and bring their dogs. It is a finable offense, but since there is no one to call them out for this transgression all breeds are represented.

They frolic wildly tearing up and down the sand, sniffing freely of their fellows and generally having a hell of a good time. So far, it has not been a problem for me though I have had a few interlopers come to my marked-out territory on the sand to shake themselves vigorously sending spray my way.

Another winter has passed. Spring has sprung and I am eager to air out my spirits with sunshine and a sea breeze. Can’t wait to join the throngs, to don my fins, take a dip, and feel the synapse snapping in my skull and tingling in my limbs.

Summer in the “Bu” is busy for good reason. The water is a deep aquamarine with white foaming white ribbons rolling along the shore. The sky overhead is cerulean blue smeared with creamy white clouds, so I am heading back today. Not sure what I’ll find, but it is always a heady way to while away an afternoon.

Linda Ballou is an adventure travel writer with a host of travel articles on her site, along with information about her travel memoir, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales; historical novel,Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i; as well as her latest novel, The Cowgirl Jumped over the Moon. Find more information about Linda at: www.LindaBallouAuthor.com.

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Title: Done With the Crying: Help and Healing for Mothers of Estranged Adult Children
Available in paperback, Kindle and Audiobook formats
Author: Sheri McGregor, M.A.
Reviewed for the NABBW by: Anne L. Holmes

In writing  Done With The Crying: Help and Healing for Mothers of Estranged Adult Children, Sheri McGregor, M.A., hopes to help parents whose adult children have chosen, for one reason or another, to leave the family unit. She writes not just from her professional expertise as a life coach, but also from her personal experience — one of her five adult children, a son, is estranged.

Armed with her personal experience, as well as research she did through interviews with 9,000 parents of estranged adult children, McGregor writes authoritatively of the horrible shock that wrings a parent dry, triggers denial, blame, anger, and shame.

Written with the empathy and understanding of someone who’s been there, the book offers tools, the latest research, as well as insight gathered from the research group, to help parents of estranged adults plan ahead, prepare for emotional triggers, and prevail over setbacks and pain.

In this encouraging and comprehensive book, McGregor fully covers the phenomenon of estranged adult children who grew up in caring, loving families where no one ever anticipated that a son or daughter might decide to cut ties and walk away.

Using a calm, authoritative voice, and exercises she’s used both personally and in her coaching work, McGregor assures readers they can be happy again.

Better yet: that they can come to terms with their estranged adult child’s choices, and regain their health and joie de vivre.

Readers will find nine in-depth chapters covering a variety of topics beginning with what she calls “the early daze,” and transitioning into the whys, the importance of getting support, managing adversity, dealing with your pain, distrust and emotional triggers, and finally, learning to move on.

There are also chapters on managing the effects on the rest of the family (both the other children and the aunts, uncles grandparents). And finally, help on how to deal with the potential for reconciliation, information on how to handle what she calls “phase-of-life” struggles, such as grandparents’ rights, end of life decisions and issues related to parental health and estate planning.

Throughout, McGregor peppers the book with dozens of inspiring examples culled form the her research with thousands of parents of estranged adult children. With this information at hand, the reader, as a parent of an estranged adult child is able to gain understanding and realistic practical help from a person who has lived with — and therefore intimately understands — the pain of this devastating loss with all its uncertainty and heartache.

McGregor’s thesis: hope can remain, but you don’t have to stay stalled, forever waiting. You can move past the disbelief and distress. Take charge. Reclaim yourself and your life — or perhaps one which is even better.

NOTE: This book can help fathers of estranged adult children, too. McGregor says she focused the book toward mothers because “Ninety-three percent of the parents who answer my survey at RejectedParents.Net are mothers. That’s why the title is directed at them. But many of the book’s examples are from couples, and include the experiences of fathers. Some passages directly highlight men’s reactions, including my husband’s. The principles presented are relevant to fathers, and the strategies for coping can be used by anyone.”

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Title: Done With the Crying: Help and Healing for Mothers of Estranged Adult Children
Available in paperback, Kindle and Audiobook formats
Author: Sheri McGregor, M.A.
Reviewed for the NABBW by: Anne L. Holmes

In writing  Done With The Crying: Help and Healing for Mothers of Estranged Adult Children, Sheri McGregor, M.A., hopes to help parents whose adult children have chosen, for one reason or another, to leave the family unit. She writes not just from her professional expertise as a life coach, but also from her personal experience — one of her five adult children, a son, is estranged.

Armed with her personal experience, as well as research she did through interviews with 9,000 parents of estranged adult children, McGregor writes authoritatively of the horrible shock that wrings a parent dry, triggers denial, blame, anger, and shame. Written with the empathy and understanding of someone who’s been there, the book offers tools, the latest research, as well as insight gathered from the research group, to help parents of estranged adults plan ahead, prepare for emotional triggers, and prevail over setbacks and pain.

In this encouraging and comprehensive book, McGregor fully covers the phenomenon of estranged adult children who grew up in caring, loving families where no one ever anticipated that a son or daughter might decide to cut ties and walk away. Using a calm, authoritative voice, and exercises she’s used both personally and in her coaching work, McGregor assures readers they can be happy again. Better yet: that they can come to terms with their estranged adult child’s choices, and regain their health and happiness.

Readers will find nine in-depth chapters covering a variety of topics beginning with what she calls “the early daze,” and moving into the whys, the importance of getting support, managing adversity, dealing with your pain, distrust and emotional triggers, and finally, learning to move on. There are also chapters on managing the effects on the rest of the family (both the other children and the aunts, uncles grandparents). And finally, help on how to deal with the potential for reconciliation, information on how to handle what she calls “phase-of-life” struggles, such as grandparents’ rights, end of life decisions and issues related to parental health and estate planning.

Throughout, McGregor peppers the book with dozens of inspiring examples culled form the her research with thousands of parents of estranged adult children. With this information at hand, the reader, as a parent of an estranged adult child is able to gain understanding and realistic practical help from a person who has lived with — and therefore intimately understands — the pain of this devastating loss with all its uncertainty and heartache.

McGregor’s thesis: hope can remain, but you don’t have to stay stalled, forever waiting. You can move past the disbelief and distress. Take charge. Reclaim yourself and your life — or perhaps one which is even better.

NOTE: This book can help fathers of estranged adult children, too. McGregor says she focused the book toward mothers because “Ninety-three percent of the parents who answer my survey at RejectedParents.Net are mothers. That’s why the title is directed at them. But many of the book’s examples are from couples, and include the experiences of fathers. Some passages directly highlight men’s reactions, including my husband’s. The principles presented are relevant to fathers, and the strategies for coping can be used by anyone.”

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Title: Move or Improve? The Baby Boomers Guide to Housing Options: How to Choose What’s Right for You
Available in paperback and Kindle formats
Author: Debbie C. Miller
Reviewed for the NABBW by: Anne L. Holmes
Author Debbie C. Miller is a licensed Realtor with over 20 years’ experience specializing in assisting older (55+) home buyers and sellers. With her additional certifications as a Certified Senior Advisor, and a Lifestyle Transition SpecialistR ,  she knows that her clients have a myriad of decisions to make.
And she knows that sometimes the maze of moving-related decisions, combined with the emotions related to the process – not to mention the less- than-perfect eyesight and agility that often accompany the aging process – mean that the whole moving project can easily become overwhelming. 
My husband and I, Baby Boomers born in the 1950s, experienced some of the emotional and logistical stresses of a major move right after our youngest child graduated from college. We weren’t yet at an age where we were ready to start thinking about retiring, but we’d decided to sell the home where we’d raised our kids, and move to another state, about 90 miles North, downsizing in the process.
We were initially excited about the move. Our businesses are online-based, which means we can work from anywhere. So we’d decided to move to a small town in a nearby state, where we’d owned a vacation home, a historic community we’d enjoyed visiting for years.
But, of course, the vacation home wasn’t suitable for year-round living. So we planned sell our current full-time place as well as the vacation home and build ourselves the perfect new house. And in the meantime, once moved, until the new house was built we would rent.
That way, we reasoned, we’d be able to handily supervise the day-to-day decision-making situations that evolve during the process of home-building — something friends of ours who’d built homes in other states told us would be really helpful. AND, we reasoned, then when when the new home was ready — we’d be able to skip the selling process and move right in!
It all sounded so logical and simple. But the first hint of the challenges to come hit us when we started to assess what had to be done to our current home before we could list it and sell. And it got more challenging when we simultaneously had to manage our planned downsizing.   
Quite honestly, when I went to the lower level of our sprawling ranch home, which is where the kids had lived, I literally burst into tears. Not tears of sadness over the fact that the kids had successfully “flown the coop” — but tears of overwhelm related to the question of how I was going to manage the move.
It was around this time that both my knees were starting to show the first signs of what ten years later would evolve into total knee replacement surgery. And as I surveyed that level of the house — 2 bedrooms, a full bath, a large office, a spa room and two large storage areas my problem became very clear: There was TOO. MUCH. STUFF. Not to mention that the entire lower level needed to be painted, the floors needed to be replaced, the rooms needed to be decluttered and the whole house deep-cleaned. And that was before we even started in on the packing
Let me say that my tears galvanized my husband. And thankfully, we managed to get everything done. But only with the help of family and friends, a huge garage sale, not to mention eBay sales, donations to the Salvation Army and Goodwill, gifts of major amounts of furniture and household goods to a series of nieces and nephews who were in need of furnishings, a full truckload carted off by the 1-800-GOT JUNK folks, an enormous amount of “stuff” that was deemed trash and hauled off by the garbage men — and eventually two round trips by the moving van!
BUT: we had to figure this move out all by ourselves. We’d never heard of moving specialists. And our Realtor, while a top-producer within his organization, wasn’t much help.
All he advised was: you need paint, new carpet, and decluttering. He also advised that it was unfortunate that our house was blue, because people prefer to buy white houses. And, he opined,  if we weren’t willing to change the siding color, at least we needed to make the garage door white. (Something that made no sense to us, since the home’s exterior was a warm red brick with blue vinyl siding, and dark brown trim.)
I still think changing the garage door color to white would have been awful! And we sold the house without doing that. (But I have to admit, it didn’t sell until we did the recommended interior painting and downstairs carpet replacement.)
Miller’s book helps the reader ask all the necessary questions needed in order to know whether to stay or go. Something I wish we’d had when we made our epic move. And which I will use when our next move comes – which will either be to “age in place” in a smaller home in our current community – or the same sort of move – but to a state with a better tax situation for seniors — and a more accommodating climate.
 
In closing, let me say two things: (1) My personal favorite part of the book is the flow chart she includes in her Downsizing Tips chapter. (2) If you are fortunate enough to have Kindle Unlimited, the Kindle version of the book is “free,” – keeping in mind that Kindle Unlimited is $9.99/month.
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Title: Isosceles’ Day  
Available in hard cover, paperback and Kindle formats
Author: Kevin J. Meehan
Reviewed for the NABBW by: Anne L. Holmes
What a fun book, both for young readers – and those who enjoy hearing someone read them a story! Author Kevin J. Meehan, whose “day job” is as  an integrative health care practitioner with expertise in acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, lives his life according to a favorite quote: “With the eyes of a child, we learn how to see!” He has clearly used this philosophy when writing and illustrating his book.
Each page of text which details a day in the life of his dog Isosceles, is paired with a gorgeous illustration of said dog, who appears to be a lovable Black Labrador. (But since Isosceles is a rescue dog, his heritage is not important to the story…)
More importantly, readers and their friends are given a gorgeous treat: the opportunity to share in Isosceles’ highly entertaining day, which he spends with his friends, who include a mole, a moose and a mouse. (But wait, there’s also a goose, a frog, a prairie dog, and more…) It’s clearly a dog’s day as observed through the eyes of a child.
My favorite illustration is the one showing us what happens when Isosceles’ mouse friend turns an old-fashioned oscillating table fan directly on Isosceles, causing his lips to flap. What kid wouldn’t enjoy a similar experience?  It totally reminds me of what used to happen decades ago, when my (then very young) kids would put their faces in the way of those high speed hand dryers sometimes found in restaurants and gas stations. (You know, the ones with names like Xlerator?)
The story’s clear and simple words attempt the rhythm of poetry, but a perfect and repetitive rhyme scheme is not book’s the main focus. Instead, the joy of these words is that they’re simple enough for a preschooler to understand, and for a primary student to successfully tackle as a read aloud venture. Ands what kid wouldn’t enjoy the story of a day in the life of a cute dog who enjoys eating healthy food – like eggs, peas and apples – and playing with a wide variety of friends?  
This is one of those books where as you read, you must stop to fully involve yourself in the illustration paired with each page. There is so much happening in each picture!
The roughly 25-page picture book is nicely priced, and as it’s available in three formats, easily available to everyone. A great gift for grandchildren, in our opinion.
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By Linda Ballou, NABBW’s Adventure Travel Associate

The Olallieberry Inn is located in the East Village of Cambria on the Central Coast of California. This quaint Victorian-style inn nestling on the sunny side of the Santa Rosa Creek offers all the comforts of home, and then some. The Inn, in service for over 40 years, has received a facelift by new owners providing modern amenities without losing its charm.

Cooks in the sparkling new kitchen deliver gourmet breakfasts at two settings each day. One at 8:00 for those eager to get out and explore this gorgeous region, and one at 9:15 for those who like to sit on the deck overlooking a sweet garden listening to the twitter of birdsong

Nearby Fiscalini Ranch offers a hike through an enchanting old growth forest complete with lacy veils of Spanish moss dripping from the limbs of the windblown cypress.

The trailhead off Highway One takes you to a vast meadow with a head-spinning view of the shining Pacific far below. I hiked down to the coastal bluff where a boardwalk loop that is wheelchair and stroller accessible winds through wildflower meadows.

Fuel up at one of the many cozy restaurants like the Harmony Café or Linn’s (boasting the best olallieberry pie in Cambria). Take some time to browse through art galleries displaying the work of local artisans inspired by foaming white surf crashing on black sea stacks and expanses of silver sand.

Cambria is proud of the wine selections it offers with many wine tasting opportunities. I enjoyed the hospitality at the Moonstone Tasting Room where locals come to sample the delicious choices of wines from warmer inland valleys like Paso Robles and Edna Valley. I chose the Slabtown Chardonnay.

In the 1800s, Cambria was known as “Slabtown” because many of the buildings were made of rough slabs of wood. Today, Main Street is lined with trendy shops, tasting rooms, boutiques and is a fun place to score antiques.

A stroll on the boardwalk that lines Moonstone Beach is mandatory. Lined with a profusion of sunny yellow wildflowers in spring, it rings a stunning cove for over a mile.

This is just one of many gorgeous beaches to explore as you head north on Highway One to visit the famous elephant seal breeding grounds. These bulky beauties spend most of their time sunbathing in summer. February is when they give birth and are a raucous and rowdy site to behold.

Of course, there is the infamous Hearst Castle a short ride up scenic Highway One and the San Simeon restaurant with huge hamburgers made from the local grass-fed cattle on the Hearst Ranch.

The trailhead on the north side of San Simeon State beach leads you through eucalyptus groves to views of the surf crashing below and the Rock in Morro Bay in the distance.

Just remember to get back to the Olallieberry in time for happy hour with fine local wines and gourmet treats to share the day with other guests.

Your most gracious hosts, Nelson and Maureen Hubbell, delight in giving pointers on how to spend quality time in Cambria. They made reservations for me at Robin’s, one of the finest dining options in town with a cozy fireplace to take the chill off when the sun goes down.

Download the Visit Cambria app.

It gives detailed information on art tours, hiking trails, shops, live music, surrounding spots, events, and lodging. Everything you need to know for a wonderful week in Cambria—the toast of the Central Coast.

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Available in: Kindle and Paperback
Author: Ann LeFevre, PhD, LCSW, CMT
Reviewed for the NABBW by: Anne L. Holmes

Every time I start to write this review, I hear a song in the back of my brain: Firework, by Katy Perry. You know, the one with that great, very insistent and upbeat music, that’s almost stressful — and the  lyrics that begin like this:

“Do you ever feel like a plastic bag
Drifting thought the wind
Wanting to start again
Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin
Like a house of cards
One blow from caving in
Do you ever feel already buried deep
Six feet under scream
But no one seems to hear a thing
                …”
I think I associate the two because this book seems to address the very same frustrated feelings. In fact, the chapter titled Day 8: Look for Opportunities almost mimics the song when the first paragraph begins like this:
Do you ever feel stuck in a rut? Like your life has become an endless routine of getting up, going to work at a job your don’t necessarily enjoy, working long hours, coming home feeling too tired and burned out to make a healthy dinner and certainly having no energy left to engage with your family or pets, and the thought of working out or going for a walk never even crosses your mind? …
Can’t you almost sing that sentence to the Firework lyrics? I can.
And the frustrating thing is, Dr. LeFevre finishes that paragraph by telling the reader, “Congratulations. You are completely normal…some might even call that living the American dream.”
But thankfully this book offers help. A way off the treadmill. So if you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, overwhelmed by stress, and struggling to generate the momentum needed to improve your circumstances, you’ll want to grab this book immediately. Why? Because it promises you a 14-day program designed to to help you kickstart a new and improved you.  Chapters are labeled by days — Day 1 through Day 14. And each ends with Thinking Points and Action Items.
And her program makes sense, because she’s used the same information to help her own clients. In fact, the book came about after she had worked as a psychotherapist for nearly 20 years. At that point, she decided to share a series of lessons in her book, Live Your Life: 14 Days to the Best You. These lessons have inspired countless clients to take control of their lives, manage stress naturally and holistically, enjoy lives filled with meaning and value, and to start living the lives they always dreamed of.
 
For additional support and guidance, readers are invited at the beginning of the book to download a free companion workbook, and to view brief, informative videos throughout the book on Dr. LeFevre’s website.
If you’re not sure what all the “alphabet soup” appended at the end of  Dr. LeFevre’s name means, let us clarify that she is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Massage Therapist, and a Certified Acupressurist. She is also the founder of Restore Body and Soul, a health and wellness enterprise designed to meet the therapeutic needs of the whole person using research-backed Western and time-tested Eastern techniques.
Restore Body and Soul offers counseling for concerns such as depression, anxiety, insomnia and PTSD, as well as therapeutic and acupressure massage, workshops on self-acupressure and other health and wellness topics, and hand-blended bath and body products created to enhance wellness and relaxation.
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