Meet Joanne Guidoccio!
The Right Treats
We can all benefit by finding the right treat or combination of treats that serve as "comfort food" for our brains. It is important, however, not to fall into the trap of selecting pleasures that come at a cost. For example, an hour of retail therapy may lift our moods, but over-spending will strain our finances. Eating that ice-cream cone or extra piece of cheesecake may calm jittery nerves and add pounds. Consider the following treats that do not involve too much time, money, or energy:
Plan for at least one movie a week. In her book, Reel Fulfillment: A 12-Step Plan for Transforming Your Life Through Movies , psychologist Maria Grace says, "We've found certain films can work for patients as well as prescription drugs." For example, a romantic movie (Casablanca, Shakespeare in Love, Sleepless in Seattle) raises levels of progesterone by ten percent. This calming hormone can reduce anxiety and boost well-being. Watching funny movies (Legally Blonde, Mrs. Doubtfire, What about Bob?) can alleviate tension by 61 percent and slash a blue mood by 98 percent. To boost family happiness and reduce overall stress, watch The Wizard of Oz, Shrek, Alvin & the Chipmunks or Finding Nemo. Many of these movies can be found at the local library.
If you are musical, schedule two to three practice sessions per week on your instrument. Foodies could read that new recipe during one of their quick fixes and then spend time preparing it for a special weekend meal. Crafty people can start small knitting, quilting, or other projects that can be completed in less than three months' time. While on the computer, create and send e-mail cards to friends and relatives. Don't wait for a special occasion. Send "Just Because" cards and give someone else a special treat.
Carefully examine your daily routine and carve out small pockets of time. All you need is 20 minutes to soak in a bubble bath, read the first chapter in a book that has been sitting on your night stand, flip through your favorite glossy magazine, get out the yoga mat and do sun salutations, or plan your next holiday on expedia.com. If you can only find a five-minute break, light a scented candle, brew a cup of herbal tea, or rock in a rocking chair.
10 Other Possibilities
• Take your dog for a long walk.
• Look at puppies and kittens in a pet store.
• Get a complimentary makeover at a cosmetic counter.
• Spend time at a bookstore or public library.
• Visit a botanical garden.
• Complete a crossword puzzle.
• Explore a new neighborhood.
• Organize your photos in an album or scrapbook.
• Go bird watching.
• Try Sudoku.
Do you have a favorite treat? Please share in the comments section.
Hours before the opening of her career counseling practice, Gilda Greco discovers the dead body of golden girl Carrie Ann Godfrey, neatly arranged in the dumpster outside her office. Gilda’s life and budding career are stalled as Detective Carlo Fantin, her former high school crush, conducts the investigation. When three more dead blondes turn up all brutally strangled and deposited near Gilda’s favorite haunts, she is pegged as a prime suspect for the murders. Frustrated by Carlo’s chilly detective persona and the mean girl antics of Carrie Ann’s meddling relatives, Gilda decides to launch her own investigation. She discovers a gaggle of suspects, among them a yoga instructor in need of anger management training, a lecherous photographer, and fourteen ex-boyfriends.
As the puzzle pieces fall into place, shocking revelations emerge, forcing Gilda to confront the envy and deceit she has long overlooked.
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In 2008, Joanne took advantage of early retirement and decided to launch a second career that would tap into her creative side and utilize her well-honed organizational skills. Slowly, a writing practice emerged. Her articles and book reviews were published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes cozy mysteries, paranormal romance, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.
Where to find Joanne...