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    3 out of 5 Stars

    This is the 4th and final  installment of the Napa wine heiress series.
    I would've been fine with this series ending at the 3rd book, as this was not my favorite in the series.

    Xavier St. Pierre is forced to introduce his three daughters to their half-Japanese sister, a product of one of his many affairs.  
    The sisters had no clue Sake even existed!  

    Sake has been living a less than glamorous life in San Francisco. 
    She has a potty-mouth, hangs out with less than desirable people and longs for the day she will see her mother again.  I did not really 'buy' her relationship with Bill Diamond, the real estate broker.  They just did not seem like the right 'fit'.  Sake's character was definitely more 'street' than than her half-sisters and she really had a difficult time fitting into this family.  
    (Talk about opposite sides of the track!)  
    I enjoy Heather Heyford's writing, but I guess I just didn't like the character Sake.


    Book Review: A Taste Of Sake by Heather Heyford

    3 out of 5 Stars

    This is the 4th and final  installment of the Napa wine heiress series.
    I would've been fine with this series ending at the 3rd book, as this was not my favorite in the series.

    Xavier St. Pierre is forced to introduce his three daughters to their half-Japanese sister, a product of one of his many affairs.  
    The sisters had no clue Sake even existed!  

    Sake has been living a less than glamorous life in San Francisco. 
    She has a potty-mouth, hangs out with less than desirable people and longs for the day she will see her mother again.  I did not really 'buy' her relationship with Bill Diamond, the real estate broker.  They just did not seem like the right 'fit'.  Sake's character was definitely more 'street' than than her half-sisters and she really had a difficult time fitting into this family.  
    (Talk about opposite sides of the track!)  
    I enjoy Heather Heyford's writing, but I guess I just didn't like the character Sake.


    Posted at 11:27 PM  |  by Elle
    3 out of 5 stars

    This book is centered around the death of Greg and Tess MacAvoy
    and their circle of friends, three couples, who recount their past travels and memories with the deceased couple.  Each couple thinks about how they may have contributed to their friends deaths.


    The book revisits the days when the friends met and grew up on the island and the chapters alternate between each friend's memories and viewpoint.
    There's a lot of storylines and characters to keep up with in this book.
    Affairs, gossip, drama, mistrust....






    Book Review: The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand

    3 out of 5 stars

    This book is centered around the death of Greg and Tess MacAvoy
    and their circle of friends, three couples, who recount their past travels and memories with the deceased couple.  Each couple thinks about how they may have contributed to their friends deaths.


    The book revisits the days when the friends met and grew up on the island and the chapters alternate between each friend's memories and viewpoint.
    There's a lot of storylines and characters to keep up with in this book.
    Affairs, gossip, drama, mistrust....






    Posted at 9:12 PM  |  by Elle
    Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

    This book was recommended by one of AVON's top representatives, 
    Lisa M. Wilber, Platinum Executive Leader.  
    Lisa also wrote a recommendation at the very beginning of this book.


    Andrea Patten addresses the fact that everyone has always been told to hush the inner critic within you.  Her approach is to try to work with that voice so that it can work for you, instead of against you. 

    "Finding benefits hidden by annoyances is not an easy process.  It takes effort, energy and focus.  And creating a new, more peaceful relationship with your Inner Critic is complicated by the fact that, for years, experts have been offering advice on how to silence the Inner Critic."

    She believes that by trying to 'kill off' the inner critic brings it back to be "even stronger and naggier than before."

    What is an inner critic?  Patten describes it in this way: 
    "An Inner Critic is our brain's misinterpretation of stimulus or data that:
    amplifies harsh self-judgement, creates negative self-talk and, interferes with the confidence needed to take action toward personal goals and desires."

    The author also gives many ideas and skills to help "transpose the negative into positive."

    "Your Inner Critic can brilliantly detect threats but is none too bright about priority-setting." 

    Patten also recommends giving your inner critic a new name....something that "brings both comfort and confidence."  

    "Personal growth strategies are not Swiss Army knives: I can't think of a single one that works in every situation, that's why it's such a good idea to try them on for size."

    "Part of nurturing an inner ally involves deciding which messages to focus on and which ones to let go." 

    Some negative key words mentioned within the writer's vocabulary in this book are:  demoralization, enemy, flaws, faults, tension, bad mental habits, threaten, warning, shatter, permanent, worrying, harmful, dangerous, panic and undesirable,

    Positive vocabulary used in this book to counter-act the negative words above are: brave, honest, relax, soothe, energize, safe, forgive, strengths, peaceful, strong, partnership, healthy, powerful, brilliant, nurturing, honesty, acceptance, courage, flourish, opportunities, benefits, focus and energy.

    I wish I could say more and believe more about the topic presented in this book.
    I've tried many times in my life to turn things around by mental ability.
    I honestly think this is way to continue to motivate yourself to just keep moving on in life.  I don't think that just by 'thinking' about something that it will happen.
    I could post examples here, but will refrain because I do not want to drudge up old memories just to upset myself on a book review.
    Change takes action, that I believe.  But even sometimes with action and doing the best you possibly can do, that still isn't enough.
    It's discouraging, and unfortunately we learn to live with it.

    I do not totally disagree with the thoughts and exercises presented in this book.  Like the author said, it's not a one-size-fits-all type of thing.  Definitely read this book to get ideas to help yourself deal with your inner critic.
    Try to apply the mental exercises presented and
     choose the ones that are best for you!


    Book Review: The Inner Critic Advantage: Making Peace with the Noise in Your Head by Andrea Patten

    Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

    This book was recommended by one of AVON's top representatives, 
    Lisa M. Wilber, Platinum Executive Leader.  
    Lisa also wrote a recommendation at the very beginning of this book.


    Andrea Patten addresses the fact that everyone has always been told to hush the inner critic within you.  Her approach is to try to work with that voice so that it can work for you, instead of against you. 

    "Finding benefits hidden by annoyances is not an easy process.  It takes effort, energy and focus.  And creating a new, more peaceful relationship with your Inner Critic is complicated by the fact that, for years, experts have been offering advice on how to silence the Inner Critic."

    She believes that by trying to 'kill off' the inner critic brings it back to be "even stronger and naggier than before."

    What is an inner critic?  Patten describes it in this way: 
    "An Inner Critic is our brain's misinterpretation of stimulus or data that:
    amplifies harsh self-judgement, creates negative self-talk and, interferes with the confidence needed to take action toward personal goals and desires."

    The author also gives many ideas and skills to help "transpose the negative into positive."

    "Your Inner Critic can brilliantly detect threats but is none too bright about priority-setting." 

    Patten also recommends giving your inner critic a new name....something that "brings both comfort and confidence."  

    "Personal growth strategies are not Swiss Army knives: I can't think of a single one that works in every situation, that's why it's such a good idea to try them on for size."

    "Part of nurturing an inner ally involves deciding which messages to focus on and which ones to let go." 

    Some negative key words mentioned within the writer's vocabulary in this book are:  demoralization, enemy, flaws, faults, tension, bad mental habits, threaten, warning, shatter, permanent, worrying, harmful, dangerous, panic and undesirable,

    Positive vocabulary used in this book to counter-act the negative words above are: brave, honest, relax, soothe, energize, safe, forgive, strengths, peaceful, strong, partnership, healthy, powerful, brilliant, nurturing, honesty, acceptance, courage, flourish, opportunities, benefits, focus and energy.

    I wish I could say more and believe more about the topic presented in this book.
    I've tried many times in my life to turn things around by mental ability.
    I honestly think this is way to continue to motivate yourself to just keep moving on in life.  I don't think that just by 'thinking' about something that it will happen.
    I could post examples here, but will refrain because I do not want to drudge up old memories just to upset myself on a book review.
    Change takes action, that I believe.  But even sometimes with action and doing the best you possibly can do, that still isn't enough.
    It's discouraging, and unfortunately we learn to live with it.

    I do not totally disagree with the thoughts and exercises presented in this book.  Like the author said, it's not a one-size-fits-all type of thing.  Definitely read this book to get ideas to help yourself deal with your inner critic.
    Try to apply the mental exercises presented and
     choose the ones that are best for you!


    Posted at 7:26 PM  |  by Lisa Epler, AVON ISR
    -->
    Hello Everyone!
    I'm back with a 2-in-1 book review because these two books are directly related. 
     I was very fortunate to be nominated and accepted into the Fall 2016 online course for the AVON Leadership Academy in partnership with 
    This was a 12-week online course and it was Ahhh-mazing!!!
    I started as an AVON Representative in July 2015.  I'm quite new. 
    I've never been a salesperson, never been in marketing or wanted to be a home-based business.  (I have always wanted to work from home, however.)  Becoming a representative for AVON was the right thing at the right time for me due to wanting to pay off the braces my daughter was about to have put on and the next goal was (is) to pay off my car loan (still working on this and getting closer!)
    Direct sales was not something I knew much about.  
    Yes, I had known people who invited me to home parties (not really my thing) and a few people who had been representatives, but I never really asked about how they worked.  Now here I was a part of the mother of all home-based businesses, AVON!!!!   (131 years old in 2017!!!!)
    Now before I go any further, I know what you're thinking.....home-based business?  You just show some brochures and put some orders together!!!!
    Yes, that's what a lot of people think it is, and what some people do, but it can be made into so much more.  There are personal shoppers, hobbyists, part-timers, full-timers and sales leaders.  There are many avenues you can follow in this business and you can do it all from home!  
    I was kind of in awe at the opportunity of being able to build a business all from home for such a reasonable price.
    (If you'd like to find out more, please visit this link.)
    When I was presented with the chance to take the AL Academy courses, 
    I was excited and a bit hesitant.  I hadn't attended a class in quite a long time and now I had to fit this in with my kids schedules, home-duties and my AVON  business.  It really wasn't that difficult to squeeze in, and there were replays I could listen to if I could not attend the webinars live. 
    The training was broken down into six parts: 
                                                      1-Visionary Planning
                                                      2-Creating Community
                                                      3-Team Building
                                                      4-Training
                                                      5-Coaching
                                                      6-Business Management
    One week would cover a topic, the following week would be a review and a coaching session with two chosen participants and plenty of time to ask questions and learn from the session.  Then the following week the next topic would be covered, followed by a coaching session for that topic and so on.
    Some topics I felt like I had already mastered, but many others I knew I could use a lot more training in.  
    I was given a  digital printable workbook and the two Build It Big Books for my Kindle as part of the course.  A few weeks into the course I decided it was worth buying both of the hard copies of these books because I could easily flip to a section and find information I may need to help a team member or myself.  In my opinion, these books are close to being Bibles for the direct sales industry.
    I will go over the general sections covered in each of these books and I hope you will consider purchasing them through the links provided if you are a part of a direct selling company.  Many, many, many thanks to the DSWA for creating this program and tailoring it to AVON Representative Leaders!  And to all of the contributors in these books (including my own sister, Pam Heller, which I didn't even know until I got to her chapter!) thank you for sharing your expertise and honest opinions, solutions and outlooks on what can happen in a home-based direct sales business if you have the right tools to aide you in your success!
    Published in 2005
    • Starting Your Direct Selling Business
    • Booking And Coaching Your Hostess
    • The Art Of Selling
    • Sponsoring And Building Your Team
    • Coaching Your Team
    • Developing Leadership Skills
    • Managing Business Finances
    • Integrating Home And Business
    • Building Through Technology
    • Strategies For Success
    Published in 2006
    • Direct-Selling Excellence
    • Sensational Shows
    • Networking And Prospecting
    • The Art Of Sponsoring
    • Principle-Centered Coaching
    • Managing Your Money
    • Home Business Excellence
    • Enlightened Leadership
    • Success Strategies


     Purchase the Build It Big books through the below links to help Elle raise  money for her vision of making this blog bigger and better in the future.                             Thank You!

        
    I received a leadership pin, certificate and I can proudly display the below seal for completing the AVON Advanced Leadership Academy training.
    The training has been invaluable to me and I know I will continue to come back to these two books as resources whether to help myself or my team members.
    Contact me @ colorsofavon@gmail.com if you'd like to learn more about joining my AVON team and adding some extra income to your life!

    Book Review: Build It Big & More Build It Big

    -->
    Hello Everyone!
    I'm back with a 2-in-1 book review because these two books are directly related. 
     I was very fortunate to be nominated and accepted into the Fall 2016 online course for the AVON Leadership Academy in partnership with 
    This was a 12-week online course and it was Ahhh-mazing!!!
    I started as an AVON Representative in July 2015.  I'm quite new. 
    I've never been a salesperson, never been in marketing or wanted to be a home-based business.  (I have always wanted to work from home, however.)  Becoming a representative for AVON was the right thing at the right time for me due to wanting to pay off the braces my daughter was about to have put on and the next goal was (is) to pay off my car loan (still working on this and getting closer!)
    Direct sales was not something I knew much about.  
    Yes, I had known people who invited me to home parties (not really my thing) and a few people who had been representatives, but I never really asked about how they worked.  Now here I was a part of the mother of all home-based businesses, AVON!!!!   (131 years old in 2017!!!!)
    Now before I go any further, I know what you're thinking.....home-based business?  You just show some brochures and put some orders together!!!!
    Yes, that's what a lot of people think it is, and what some people do, but it can be made into so much more.  There are personal shoppers, hobbyists, part-timers, full-timers and sales leaders.  There are many avenues you can follow in this business and you can do it all from home!  
    I was kind of in awe at the opportunity of being able to build a business all from home for such a reasonable price.
    (If you'd like to find out more, please visit this link.)
    When I was presented with the chance to take the AL Academy courses, 
    I was excited and a bit hesitant.  I hadn't attended a class in quite a long time and now I had to fit this in with my kids schedules, home-duties and my AVON  business.  It really wasn't that difficult to squeeze in, and there were replays I could listen to if I could not attend the webinars live. 
    The training was broken down into six parts: 
                                                      1-Visionary Planning
                                                      2-Creating Community
                                                      3-Team Building
                                                      4-Training
                                                      5-Coaching
                                                      6-Business Management
    One week would cover a topic, the following week would be a review and a coaching session with two chosen participants and plenty of time to ask questions and learn from the session.  Then the following week the next topic would be covered, followed by a coaching session for that topic and so on.
    Some topics I felt like I had already mastered, but many others I knew I could use a lot more training in.  
    I was given a  digital printable workbook and the two Build It Big Books for my Kindle as part of the course.  A few weeks into the course I decided it was worth buying both of the hard copies of these books because I could easily flip to a section and find information I may need to help a team member or myself.  In my opinion, these books are close to being Bibles for the direct sales industry.
    I will go over the general sections covered in each of these books and I hope you will consider purchasing them through the links provided if you are a part of a direct selling company.  Many, many, many thanks to the DSWA for creating this program and tailoring it to AVON Representative Leaders!  And to all of the contributors in these books (including my own sister, Pam Heller, which I didn't even know until I got to her chapter!) thank you for sharing your expertise and honest opinions, solutions and outlooks on what can happen in a home-based direct sales business if you have the right tools to aide you in your success!
    Published in 2005
    • Starting Your Direct Selling Business
    • Booking And Coaching Your Hostess
    • The Art Of Selling
    • Sponsoring And Building Your Team
    • Coaching Your Team
    • Developing Leadership Skills
    • Managing Business Finances
    • Integrating Home And Business
    • Building Through Technology
    • Strategies For Success
    Published in 2006
    • Direct-Selling Excellence
    • Sensational Shows
    • Networking And Prospecting
    • The Art Of Sponsoring
    • Principle-Centered Coaching
    • Managing Your Money
    • Home Business Excellence
    • Enlightened Leadership
    • Success Strategies


     Purchase the Build It Big books through the below links to help Elle raise  money for her vision of making this blog bigger and better in the future.                             Thank You!

        
    I received a leadership pin, certificate and I can proudly display the below seal for completing the AVON Advanced Leadership Academy training.
    The training has been invaluable to me and I know I will continue to come back to these two books as resources whether to help myself or my team members.
    Contact me @ colorsofavon@gmail.com if you'd like to learn more about joining my AVON team and adding some extra income to your life!

    Posted at 9:54 PM  |  by Lisa Epler, AVON ISR
                                                   
                                                  Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

    This was not a 'planned' read for me because this past year I really haven't had much time to read like I have in the past.  When I learned at Thanksgiving that Elin Hilderbrand would be doing a talk at my local library for her third installment of her Winter Street series, I just had to go, even though I have met this author once before. 

    The talk was on Saturday December 10th at 2pm and I purchased Winter Street at the talk because I did not want to start with the third book in the series.  Elin began the talk with a bit of background from the 1st and 2nd books (yes, I heard some spoilers, but not enough for it to ruin anything in the series for me) and then she read an excerpt from Winter Storms, the third book in the series. 
    She told us she is working on the fourth book in this series called Winter Solstice and that it will tie together characters from other books she has done.  I have a feeling this one will probably be my favorite of this series!!!! 

    Elin then took  some questions from the audience.  
    Someone wanted to know if her characters are based on people in her real life.  She said some are a compilation of people she knows, but not enough for people to know who she is referring to.
    So no, only she truly knows who a character is based on.

    The characters of this series are as follows:

    Kelley Quinn - patriarch of the family and operator of the Winter Street Inn
    Mitzi Quinn- Kelley's second wife
    George- the Inn's Santa Claus who Mitzi has been having an affair with
    Margaret Quinn- Kelley's first wife and famous news anchor

                              Kelley and Margaret's adult children:

    Patrick Quinn- eldest son who is dealing with being an inside trader within his company

    Kevin Quinn- bartender and in a secret relationship with the inn's housekeeper

    Ava Quinn- school teacher hoping her long-time boyfriend proposes this Christmas

                                Kelley & Mitzi's son:

    Bart Quinn-the youngest Quinn who is stationed in Afghanistan

    The book's chapters are by character, so you get the point of view on the specific character's feelings and viewpoint.  Regardless of the dysfunction going on within the Quinn family, the story finally gets its 'Christmas-feel' towards the end of the book.  I will be reading the rest of this series as time permits, so look for those reviews in the future.



    Book Review: Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand

                                                   
                                                  Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

    This was not a 'planned' read for me because this past year I really haven't had much time to read like I have in the past.  When I learned at Thanksgiving that Elin Hilderbrand would be doing a talk at my local library for her third installment of her Winter Street series, I just had to go, even though I have met this author once before. 

    The talk was on Saturday December 10th at 2pm and I purchased Winter Street at the talk because I did not want to start with the third book in the series.  Elin began the talk with a bit of background from the 1st and 2nd books (yes, I heard some spoilers, but not enough for it to ruin anything in the series for me) and then she read an excerpt from Winter Storms, the third book in the series. 
    She told us she is working on the fourth book in this series called Winter Solstice and that it will tie together characters from other books she has done.  I have a feeling this one will probably be my favorite of this series!!!! 

    Elin then took  some questions from the audience.  
    Someone wanted to know if her characters are based on people in her real life.  She said some are a compilation of people she knows, but not enough for people to know who she is referring to.
    So no, only she truly knows who a character is based on.

    The characters of this series are as follows:

    Kelley Quinn - patriarch of the family and operator of the Winter Street Inn
    Mitzi Quinn- Kelley's second wife
    George- the Inn's Santa Claus who Mitzi has been having an affair with
    Margaret Quinn- Kelley's first wife and famous news anchor

                              Kelley and Margaret's adult children:

    Patrick Quinn- eldest son who is dealing with being an inside trader within his company

    Kevin Quinn- bartender and in a secret relationship with the inn's housekeeper

    Ava Quinn- school teacher hoping her long-time boyfriend proposes this Christmas

                                Kelley & Mitzi's son:

    Bart Quinn-the youngest Quinn who is stationed in Afghanistan

    The book's chapters are by character, so you get the point of view on the specific character's feelings and viewpoint.  Regardless of the dysfunction going on within the Quinn family, the story finally gets its 'Christmas-feel' towards the end of the book.  I will be reading the rest of this series as time permits, so look for those reviews in the future.



    Posted at 7:19 PM  |  by Elle
    My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

    This was a fast summer read for me.
    Beware, there are a lot of characters to keep track of at first, but you will get the hang of how the story line jumps from present day, to the past and back by chapters explaining various parts of the main characters lives. 

    This light, summer read is focused around Deacon Thorpe, a famous celebrity chef, his three wives (Laurel, Belinda and Scarlett) and three children (Hayes, Angie and Ellery.)  I must admit that I liked Deacon's first wife Laurel the best and would've rather seen the story be about their life together minus the two following ex-wives.  But, this was Elin's story to tell, not mine.

    The Thorpe family is quite dysfunctional and full of drama to say the least!
    The book begins with a flashback of a very important day in Deacon's life. The last day he spent with his father on Nantucket.
    The second chapter starts with his best friend and agent John 'Buck' Buckley revealing that it is his duty to gather "Deacon Thorpe's entire family at the house on Nantucket so that they can spread Deacon's ashes and discuss the troubling state of his affairs."

    You learn about each of the key family members in Deacon's life and some secrets along the way.

    I could have done without the drug use and alcohol issues some of the characters struggled with.  I  wasn't expecting these topics at all.  
    There were some scenes I was not a fan of because of this.

    As always, there are some recipes throughout the book, which is always an enjoyable addition to Elin's books!



    Book Review: Here's To Us by Elin Hilderbrand

    My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

    This was a fast summer read for me.
    Beware, there are a lot of characters to keep track of at first, but you will get the hang of how the story line jumps from present day, to the past and back by chapters explaining various parts of the main characters lives. 

    This light, summer read is focused around Deacon Thorpe, a famous celebrity chef, his three wives (Laurel, Belinda and Scarlett) and three children (Hayes, Angie and Ellery.)  I must admit that I liked Deacon's first wife Laurel the best and would've rather seen the story be about their life together minus the two following ex-wives.  But, this was Elin's story to tell, not mine.

    The Thorpe family is quite dysfunctional and full of drama to say the least!
    The book begins with a flashback of a very important day in Deacon's life. The last day he spent with his father on Nantucket.
    The second chapter starts with his best friend and agent John 'Buck' Buckley revealing that it is his duty to gather "Deacon Thorpe's entire family at the house on Nantucket so that they can spread Deacon's ashes and discuss the troubling state of his affairs."

    You learn about each of the key family members in Deacon's life and some secrets along the way.

    I could have done without the drug use and alcohol issues some of the characters struggled with.  I  wasn't expecting these topics at all.  
    There were some scenes I was not a fan of because of this.

    As always, there are some recipes throughout the book, which is always an enjoyable addition to Elin's books!



    Posted at 2:49 PM  |  by Elle

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