BOOK REVIEW: Mistwalker by Denise Lopes Heald

In an effort to breathe new life into old books, here, the first in a series, are book reviews written in the 1990’s. What would be more appropriate than a novel from Del Rey’s Discovery line.Editor’s note: This is the only book by Denise Lopes Heald. It can be found in some used books stores or online at Amazon, eBay or other online used book dealers.

“Because something new is always worth the risk.”

This is the quote from Del Rey’s Discovery line. It’s a project that boasts to help readers “experience the wonder of discovery with Del Rey’s newest authors.” A worthwhile endeavour, and one most people would expel a slight harrumph at it lofty goals. With good reason. In these days of ‘conglomeration’, and (publishing) houses being run by MBA’s, chances are rarely taken on new authors. “If its not a bankable name, it ain’t worth the ink to print” seems to be the motto decried at stockholder’s meetings. (Or the ‘new’ author is subjected to the worst possible contract, barely making them any money on their own work.) So, dear publisher, don’t mind us being slightly skeptical.

Yet Mistwalker is a refreshing change. Denise Lopes Heald has had a few SF and Fantasy stories published. Although Mistwalker is her debut novel, it is packed with incredible story potential. This book is not without its faults, but they are easily overlooked as the author spins words and crafts written pictures with the skill of a veteran. Most of the problems with the book should have been caught by an editor and the text has rough spots because of it. Mistwalker, however is still a wonderful read.

It’s the tale of an off-world political fugitive and a local working stiff. Its romance is handled with panache, Sci-Fi (element) handled with technical care, and (the) ecological suspense dealt with in an even manner. (The latter storyline – however – is tumbled out haphazardly and not expounded upon with due effort.) It’s about Meesha Raschad, a tough off-planeteer who has a reputation of surviving where most “newbies” would have died, and the local women he meets up with. Their lives intermingle in a widening path of mismanaged romances, mystery pasts and political intrigue.

Heald writes in an interesting style, mixing local and alien languages with familiar templates. She skirts the fringe of ‘cyber’-words (references that are made up to fit the story and make it sufficiently alien) and walks the fine line of nonsensical ramblings. Some sections (of the novel) infuriate with their unusual references, yet pique the interests with their mutations of the usual. As she matures, and perhaps finds a better editor, Denise Lopes Heald has the talent to see her into the next age of SF. (This latter being where all the current authors have faded into the background.)

A solid thumbs up for Mistwalker. And a hope that Del Rey‘s future discoveries will have an equal amount or more of the abilities Heald shows here.

paperback edition
Publisher: Del Rey
Date: July 1994
ISBN: 0-345-38890-9


Book Review: Brunch – the Perfect Weekend Treat by Jennifer Donovan

Brunch: The Perfect Weekend Treat, by Jennifer Donovan, is simply the best! The book breaks away from the normal menu and offers 40 creative, delicious and unique weekend selections that would make your mother proud. Donovan takes brunch to a whole new delicious and wonderful level and flawlessly proves it to be truly indulging inspiration to the weekend tradition that never goes out of style.

Brunch introduces Donavan’s “favorite meal of the week” in four scrumptious chapters that represents her love and passion for the mid-morning cuisine. My favorite chapter is “Sweet Moments,” which takes you back to the sweet moment in time during the weekend of unbridled bliss of sleeping in and indulging in nothingness. This chapter is devoted to nothing but sweets, sweets, and more sweets. The Apple Pancakes with maple syrup butter is a sweet delight that wakes up the old breakfast tradition and the Waffles with Caramelized Bananas recipe would definitely put you on the top of the list with your brunch buddies.

I especially enjoyed the Dried Cherry Cheesecake and Doughnut Muffin recipes. The Dried Cherry Cheesecake recipe combined my love for cherries and cheesecake in a breakfast cuisine. The Doughnut Muffin recipe has a fluffy, rich and sweet taste that creates a delight that you can truly enjoy. I’m truly impressed with the simplicity of the ingredients that make these recipes easy and mouth-watering, and I found that the difference is in the superfine sugar that gave the muffins a richer taste.

The “Get Cracking – The Perfect Egg” and “Toasts and Tarts” chapters provide very distinct and tasty brunch items sure to get you ohhs and ahhs. The Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon and the Cheese & Herb Soufflés with Sautéed Mushroom recipes make the top of the list in these chapters. Donovan also has a simple Eggs Benedict with Quick Hollandaise Sauce recipe that make this traditional brunch dish seem less daunting.

The chapter that really makes this cookbook unique is the “Cheese and Greens” chapter. It shows off Donovan’s distinctive culinary skills by introducing the out-of-box brunch recipes that don’t fit into the normal brunch hour. But the recipes are one of the kind and I can’t wait to experience them all. My favorite recipe is the Mini Bacon & Egg Pastries with Cheddar. It was very simple to make and very tasty.

Brunch: The Perfect Weekend Treat is a perfect tribute to brunch and brings back the joy of lazy weekends.


Health Concerns for Artists

How often have you read the warning labels on your cleaning supplies? What about your art supplies? Perhaps it is because the warning list are long, complicated or difficult to understand that people ignore them. What ever the reason, health complications for artists is a serious issue that compounds over time through repeat exposure.

In a society where we now worry about ingesting contaminated food, we should apply the same caution using our work and hobby related materials.

The first year I ever experienced a sinus infection was also the first year I worked with large quantities of unmixed plaster. Coincidence? Maybe. But if you’ve ever mixed large quantities of plaster, you’re aware of how the dust lingers in the air and will coat your body mouth and nostrils if you aren’t wearing a dust mask. So in other words, the first thing to protect yourself from should be any sort of airborne particles. If you can blow it out into a tissue at the end of your work session, you should be taking precautionary measures. Be especially cautious of pigmented dust, (like from pastels) because it might also contain cancer causing heavy metals such as cadmium.

Another airborne danger is vapor inhalation. Just this morning I was thinking back to how much I loved playing with the markers and pencils at my grandparent’s house as a child and my nostalgia was triggered by the smell of a permanent marker. Again, not something you should sniff a lot of. Some vaporous products trick people into believe that they are safe because the are labeled odorless. Wrong! Usually you won’t know it is affecting you until you start to feel dizzy or light headed. To protect yourself, always read the warning label on the side of the container. Why risk killing off brain cells you might need to create your next masterpiece? And if you pooh-pooh the risk keep in mind that building up a toxic level of a material (like turpentine) might prevent you from working with it again, forcing you to change your choice of materials. I knew someone in graduate school that this happened to. Ventilate your working space well, or invest in a respirator or specialized air purifier.

Skin absorption is another danger that is not viewed very seriously. Most people by now understand the concept of nicoteen patches so apply the same concept to your paints. You should be most concerned with any pigments that contain specialized health warnings. Solvents can also be absorbed into your skin. I once received a chemical burn on my wrist years ago when I worked at a photo shop. Some chemicals splashed onto my watch band and although I washed it immediately, unbeknownst to me the chemical was still present. By the following day I had a blistered rash on my wrist, directly under the watch band. Keep your clothing clean and protect your skin with barrier cream or solvent resistant gloves. Also, just because I’ve seen it done so many times, don’t use solvent to clean your skin. For oil based stains try an oily product first to cleanse the skin, like baby or olive oil. Then wash with soap and water. Lava soap is a great hand soap for artists because of the pumice particles that help scrub away paint, but also for its economical price.

Another easily overlooked hazard is accidental ingestion. Though I have heard a horror story of some actually drinking turpentine by accident it is a small concern compared to what you might take in on your lunch or smoke break. Often people don’t think to wash their hands before eating a snack or having a cigarette. Both have the potential to transfer hazardous materials from your hands to your mouth. By being aware of these potential dangers, you help insure that you’ll be making art how you’d like, for as long as you’d like.…

Low Fat Fruit Smoothie: A Healthy Snack

There are busy days you need more than just breakfast, lunch and dinner. One of the keys to healthy snacking is preparing the snack before you are too hungry to control yourself, before the craving for a sugar rush overwhelms you. It helps to have something quick and easy on hand. A fruit smoothie will give you a boost that lasts till dinner time. The merits of a fruit smoothie are simple:

1) It helps to meet your fruit and dairy intake for the day.

2) Fruit and honey have natural sugars that give you a real boost without crashing your blood sugar level later on.

3) Depending on the fruit you use, you could boost your anti-oxidants, your immune system, etc..

4) You can share it with your children and not feel guilty – no need to hide a sugary quick-fix snack.



Honey (optional)

Frozen fruit

Milk (dairy substitute) or Orange Juice (or other fruit juice)

Put two cups of frozen fruit in a blender. Add a cup of milk or orange juice and two to four tablespoons of yogurt depending on how creamy your taste runs. Blend until fairly smooth, then add the desired amount of honey. When all is mixed, pour into a glass to enjoy a simple, quick, healthy snack.

On a side note, you can buy prepared frozen fruit in your grocer’s freezer, but that can be expensive. I prefer to buy fruit in bulk when it is on sell (strawberries at $1/lb) or I go to a pick-your-own farm. Simply wash and freeze the fruit in individual sized bags or in large freezer bags; after one night’s work it’s ready to go for months to come. Also know that raspberries, blackberries and the like make the smoothie very seedy, and may require extra blending time if you choose to use such fruit.…

Brands That Offer Extended Girls’ Sizes and Small Women’s Clothes

Buying clothes for young girls who have outgrown children’s sizes can be a challenge for parents who want modest or age-appropriate clothes. Juniors’ fashions may be too risqué or have embellishments that parents of young girls may want to avoid. Fortunately, there are several brands of clothing that offer either extended girls’ sizes, extra small women’s clothes or both.

Extended Girls’ Sizes at Old Navy and Gap

Old Navy and Gap are two brands that offer both extended sizes and women’s sizes to fit young girls. Sizing is similar between these two brands, both owned by parent company Gap Inc. The international company has five distinct brands – Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime and Athleta, according to the Gap Inc. website.

Old Navy clothes can be trendy, but the company also offers staples like basic jeans and shirts. Girls’ sizes at Old Navy run from size 6 to 16. Many shirt styles are available (online only) in plus sizes L, XL and XXL. These shirts fit chest measurements up to 36 inches. Some pants are available in size 8 plus to 16 plus. These fit up to a 30-inch waist.


When girls have outgrown the children’s sizes, the women’s sizes pick up where the sizes for girls left off. Women’s clothes are available in sizes 0 to 20. Women’s petites are available for young girls and women up to 5’4″. Women’s pants are available in petite, short, regular, long and tall.

Sizing for clothes at the Gap are similar but prices are slightly higher and styles tend to be timeless. Sizes for girls at the Gap are available in XS to XXL. Girls’ plus-size shirts are available in M, L, XL and XXL. These fit chest measurements up to 35 1/4 inches. Girls’ pants are sold in regular and slim sizes 4-18, with plus-size pants available in 7 plus to 18 plus. The 18 plus pants fit up to a 31 ½ inch waist.

When girls move into women’s sizes, shirts are offered in sizes 0 to 22. Women’s size pants are available from 0 to 22 and are available in petite, ankle, regular, long and tall. Some jeans are available in size 00, which has a 23-inch waist measurement.

Wide Range of Plus Size Girls Clothing

Land’s End is one company that has an extensive offering of plus-sized girls’ clothes. Not only are girls’ clothes available in size small (7-8) through XL (16), but plus sizes are available in small to extra large, sizes 7 plus to 16 plus. Pants are offered in a similar size range, with regular and slim pants in 7 to 16 and plus sizes in 7 plus to 16 plus. Size 16 plus pants fit a waist measurement of 32 inches.

When girls are outsized in the children’s size range, women’s shirts and pants are available in size 00 through 26W. Jeans are available with 30-inch through 34-inch inseams. Women’s petites are available in sizes designed to fit women 4’11” through 5’3 ½” tall. Shirts in size 00 fit a bust measurement of 31 inches.

Land’s End clothes are known for their classic look. Prices may be slightly higher than other stores, but promotional codes for free shipping are often available. Land’s End offers extensive clearance and marked down items online.

European Sizing for Girls’ and Women’s Clothes

Hanna Andersson clothes use European sizing based on the child or tween’s height in centimeters. Sizes are available from 50 cm to 160 cm. The 160 cm-size fits girls 62 to 66 inches tall and weighing 88 through 110 lbs. Women’s sizes are available in XS through XL. The XS size is similar to a size 2 or 4 and fits a 32 ½ inch bust and 25-inch waist.

Although Hanna Andersson clothes sport a hefty price tag, there are some advantages to purchasing these clothes. Hanna Andersson offers styles that are more modest and age-appropriate than other retailers. The clothes are shrink-resistant, high quality and carry a recognized brand name. All of these factors improve the chances of reselling Hanna Andersson clothes to recoup some of the cost of the items.

Boden previously offered European sizing for their women’s clothes but now offers US sizing equivalents for women’s clothes. They added US size 2 and size 18 to their offerings in the fall 2010. Size 2 fits up to a 32-inch bust and up to a 25-inch waist. Pants, skirts and dresses are available in regular and long lengths.

Boden sells children’s sizes, …

Emma Watson New Clothing Line with Alberto Ferretti Inspired by Jane Birkin

Life as Emma Watson is pretty good right now. The ‘Harry Potter’ actress has teamed up with Alberto Ferretti for an ethical clothing line which is nearing completion. The Hollywood starlet has released her third set of designs for the ethical clothing line People Tree. Reports are that Watson worked on a “green” capsule collection.

Who is Emma Watson?
The 21-year-old was born in Paris and moved back to England by the age of five. At the ripe old age of 10, Emma Watson landed the role of a lifetime as Hermione Grangerin the uber successful ‘Harry Potter’ film series. Over the next 10 years, Watson has grown up on the silver screen, continuing to play Grangerin in ‘Harry Potter’ films. Watson also manages to balance her time as a university student, studying at the prestigious Ivy-league Brown University. Watson then went on to become the face of Burberry for two campaigns and is now collaborating with People Tree for an ethical teen line.

Who is People Tree?
People Tree markets itself as ‘The Fair Trade fashion pioneer.’ They work with 50 Fair Trade groups in 15 countries in order to bring the most benefit to the greatest number of people. People Tree designers, located in the UK and Japan, enjoy using handmade fabrics to create not only beautiful, but caring garments.

Emma Watson and People Tree
“Emma had a Jane-Birkin-in-the-70s image in mind,” said The Times of India in a recent report about Watson’s collaboration with People Tree. When speaking of Emma Watson, Ferretti admits, “she is intelligent, with a strong personality, a young, modern girl of today but aware of social issues at the same time and very rigorous.”

The Emma Watson at People Tree line ranges from women’s dresses and skirts to men’s t-shirts and scarves.

The general population isn’t aware of animal cruelty and the impact the clothing business has on that industry. Clothing lines like People Tree collaborate with actresses like Emma Watson to raise awareness and c onsciousness of the growing issue.…

How to Be Fit at Fifty+

Keeping fit in your fifties and beyond, is no simple feat. As the years advance, I find my body says to me, “Just let me sag, just let me eat; it’s part of old age…” All these body arguments go against the fact that, as humans, we need to exercise and watch our food intake at whatever age, and if we don’t, we will pay for it big time in bodies that are less agile, sick and overweight. As I watched my weight creep up to a level I was not comfortable with, I rebelled against my complacent body and thought, “This is it. I’m getting back to the weight I used to be, pre-body-metabolism-slowdown, and I’m going to get in shape.” Even though it was only 10 pounds, I knew it was going to be a colossal struggle. I joined an online weight monitoring organization, and kept track of everything that went into my mouth, because at this age, just exercising is not enough to lose weight, although it is vital.

So, I stepped up my exercise program to include at least 3 times a week at the gym, two 40-minute walks a day, and, in the summer, biking when I wasn’t walking. At the gym I usually do 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer or cross trainer with ramp, or hour-long classes related to firming up various parts of the body, using light weights and bands. I also used the weight machines to firm up arms, abs, hips, and legs. I was amazed that when I teamed this up with cutting the calories and large portions, the weight began to drop off, and my body became more efficient at keeping it off, even though it still complained about sore and tired muscles!

In our 21st Century world there are just too many opportunities to eat high-calorie food and to sit and use technology, whether it be texting and surfing on your phone, watching movies and TV, sitting too long at outdoor patios and drinking and eating too much, or just sitting in your car on your way to work. Sitting is very hard on the human body; it was made to move and be active. Our ancestors spent little time sitting- there was too much to be done, just to survive. One of my most active pastimes is gardening, and I do it for exercise, but also to enjoy my own organic fruits and vegetables in the summer, and flowers from spring to fall, not to mention the connection it gives me to the earth and to all the creatures that inhabit it. There is no better exercise than emptying a compost bin and planting and weeding a garden. Sore muscles, yes, but good for the body!

In all, there are many ways to keep fit that don’t cost a lot. Yes, the gym does cost, but it is minimal in relation to the benefit. Compare it to the cost of buying pop or junk food. Every day I try to think of how I can get exercise in the simplest ways, “Can I ride my bike to the store for milk? Can I walk to the library? Why not?” I will also save on gas, which has become a more and more expensive part of life. I’ll show those oil companies I can get along without them, at least some of the time, and become even more fit.…

Quick and Trendy Hairstyles in Under Five Minutes

When the weather is humid or we just don’t have enough time in a day, it can be hard to get your hair the way you’d like. There are always those days when you’re hair is a frizzy mess or just won’t hold a curl. When things don’t always go the way you’d hope, your hair can still look trendy and sleek. Try some of these quick, but gorgeous, hairstyles in less than 5 minutes.

Quick Hairstyles: The Basic Braid

When you just have a few minutes in the morning to put yourself together, you want an easy, but professional look. The basic braid is a quick and put-together look that can be made to look trendy.

Separate your hair into 3 sections and alternate the pieces over one another until you’ve created your basic braid. Start up your curling iron before starting this style to allow it to heat while you’re getting ready. Take pieces of hair around the face and curl to allow for a more elegant look.

Quick Hairstyles: Messy Up-Do

When you want your hair up and out of the way, but still sexy and seductive, try this quick messy up-do. After jumping out of the shower, scrunch your hair up with some anti-frizz spray as well as a scrunching mousse product.

Set a French twist and pin with a set of ornate chopsticks or a detailed hairpin or clip. Allow some pieces to fall around the face. The best part of this hairstyle is that it can be done with wet hair. For those with naturally curly hair simply set your locks with a curling gel product to make your curls bouncier.

Quick Hairstyles: Hair Accessories

When you’ve given up on your hair and every style in the book, try a trendy hair accessory. Add a colorful headband, soft scarf, hairpins, clips, and other versatile hair accessories. You can use most of these hair accessories in hair set in a pony tail, half up and half down, or just long and flowing hair.

You can find these great accessories for your hair at the dollar store, grocery store, drugstore, and many other shops. When you don’t have time to mess with your hair, simply pin it up or hide it using these handy hair goodies.

Quick Hairstyles: Conclusion

Battling with your hair day after day can become tedious. Don’t fret over a bad hair day when there are plenty of ways to overcome your problem. Try some of these quick hairstyles that you can do In less than 5 minutes…

A self-made man by Norah Vincent

Image from GoodReads.Com, find quotes from this book here.

Self-made man: My year disguised as a man is a book written by journalist Norah Vincent. Before discussing the book further, it must be said that this is a kind of experimentation which women have thought of doing to invade into traditional male spaces and know more about what happens there. Vincent recounts something similar in her book. She states that: 

  • Infiltrating male-dominated spaces: She did an 18-month-old experiment where she discussed herself as a man who she named “Ned” and integrated herself into traditional male-centric places or venues. This includes places like the bowling league as well as a monastery. In the book, she talks about what she and experienced in other men only places like strip clubs and such. She also details her experiences in men’s s support groups and on dates as well. 
  • Not a transgender but a lesbian: While some may construe this activity as her coming out or becoming a transgender but she stated it clearly in the book that she isn’t a transgender but only a lesbian. 

How did she do it?

Vincent got a buzz cut to pose as a man and even used a sports bra to flatten her chest. She got makeup artists so that she could have a fake beard shadow. That’s not all, she also trained her voice for months so that it sounded deeper and bulked up to gain more upper body muscle. 

What did she found out?

She said in an interview that: 

“Men are suffering. They have different problems than women have but they don’t have it better. They need our sympathy, they need our love, and they need each other more than anything else. They need to be together.” 

Apart from this she also states that many thought that her butch qualities (in female spaces) were considered to be effeminate in men’s circles. 

In the book, she expands more on how men suffer under older men and there is a very toxic cycle that continues. This results in the misogyny of course but it also results in depression and other issues in men who can’t even articulate it properly due to traditional unspoken male laws. …

How Massage Chairs Help While Relaxing And Reading?

Massage chairs must seem like a gift from heaven after a long day at work. It helps one relax and some time in it seems to get rid of all kinds of body issues. While you were relaxing in that chair, you must have often wondered how did it manage to do it. So let’s talk about it along with all the benefits of it: 

It helps one heal quickly

Relieving tension from the body is very important if you want to function fully on an everyday basis. But this tension should be relieved in a harmless manner so that it doesn’t accidentally add on to your pain and worries. Massage chairs are able to do just that with the different kinds of settings that it has. You can gauge your own stress and tension levels and then proceed to set the level of massage which makes you the most comfortable and relaxed. This is certainly more effective than going to a masseuse who you won’t be able to dictate to about the speed and strength to be used. 

It costs less

Buying just one massage chair will be enough to last you for years. You can use it according to your wants and then get it tuned up when needed. This will certainly cost less than going to a masseuse and that too periodically. Moreover, a massage chair will relax your whole body but a masseuse might not be able to do so. 

Doesn’t disturb

You can easily take a book and then settle down in your massage chair. The vibrations or movements of the chair aren’t so powerful that it will disturb your reading rhythm. In reality, you will be fell relaxed, be able to read a book and then probably be able to go to sleep there as well if the chair setting is on low. Using a massage chair is a really great way to unwind after a long day. 

Get ahead and foot massage

One of the best parts of all massage chairs is that you will be able to get ahead and foot massage at least. Of course, there are massage chairs that allow you to get shoulder and back massage as well but a head and foot massage are common in all. This is possible due to airbags in the massage chair which moves in several different directions so that it gives your head and feet a full massage. These airbags commonly move in the S and L track as well so that you can get a variety of head and foot massages. After all, it’s your head and feet which bears the brunt of the day’s labour mentally and physically. 

Basically, in a massage chair, you will have a remote controller with you that will allow you to get the massage intensity you want. It will also allow you to set the timer so that you get to be in the mood and intensity you want. 

The whole massage session is always a deeply comforting and pleasing experience. In this, massage chairs will satisfyingly improve your mental well-being. The massage sessions will certainly help uplift your mood, help in ensuring you have better blood circulation and help you relax as well. …