You Are Not Alone: A Heartfelt Guide to Grief, Healing, and Hope (and a Giveaway)


Just off the presses:  You Are Not Alone: A Heartfelt Guide to Grief, Healing, and Hope by Debbie Augenthaler.
For those of us who haven’t experienced it yet, we wonder what it would be like to be thrown into immeasurable grief. That’s what happened to the author of this riveting book. Debbie Augenthaler not only recounts in vivid, compelling prose what it was like to lose her husband, but she offers clear and encouraging coping suggestions for those enduring intense grief. I found this book so deeply moving and encouraging that I could turn right around and read it again.
Here’s what the publisher says about You Are Not Alone:  Debbie is a psychotherapist in private practice in New York City. Her husband, Jim, died suddenly in her arms when she was only 36 years old. He had been healthy and vibrant – the doctors compared the probability of his death by heart attack to being struck by lightning. That lightning strike ended her life as she knew it and thus began the “baptism by fire” that brought her to her new future.

You Are Not Alone is the book she wishes she’d had when she was grieving. With the connection of a shared experience, Debbie guides the reader through grief to transformation and a new beginning.

“This is my story of loss, healing, and the spiritual journey that led me to know that love never dies. This book is about hope. As hard as it might be for you to believe right now, I want you to know: you will heal, you will not only survive, but you can thrive and find joy and meaning in your new life. This may not be the life you had before; but it is still your life to live.”

Giveaway: The publisher is giving a copy of You Are Not Alone to two lucky Friend for the Ride readers. For a chance to win, please enter a comment by June 10. U.S. only. Thanks!



Alvoru Clothing: A Giveaway!

A post by Jeanette Knittel, founder of of alvoru:

The middle of the night and I woke up wondering if I was swimming! Seriously, how could I be soaked? The sheets, mattress pad, me—everything was screaming wet! I thought for sure I would find a pool of water under the bed!

Maybe it was a freak incident? But wait this happened the next night, and the next, and the next! Welcome to my beginning of peri-menopause and night sweats.

While I knew that night sweats and hot flashes are a part of the aging process, I was so unprepared for the misery that would be a part of my life for years. After months of the same scenario, night after night, I decided to go online and look for sleepwear to help with the night sweats. What I found was a number of companies with wicking fabric but OMG…no way at 46 was I ready to be wearing granny gowns for the rest of my days! So much for any sex appeal in my bedroom! Still, I desperately needed sleep so I bought the best-looking option out there. Lo and behold, it helped, yet it wasn’t at all what I wanted in appearance, performance, and function.

After letting the idea percolate for a number of years (along with continued pool parties!) I decided to look into creating a line of clothing of women that would help them feel sexy, cool, confident and comfortable while struggling with hot flashes and/or night sweats. Nearly 10 years later, I launched alvöru and I’m thrilled to share my passion for my product with other women who suffer like I did (and still do!).


My brand, alvöru, is an apparel line designed for women who want FEMININE, CLASSIC, and COMFORTABLE clothes to balance career and casual while dealing with hormonal fluctuations that cause hot flashes and night sweats. Aside from menopause, many women face challenges due to increased body temperature occurring in pregnancy, chemotherapy, various medications and other illness or disease.

avöru utilizes the technology that went into space gloves used by NASA to regulate astronauts body temperature using what’s called PHASE CHANGE MATERIALS.  Imagine ice cubes in a drink; as the ice cube changes from solid to liquid, it absorbs heat and cools the drink, keeping your drink at the desired temperature for longer. Our clothing works the same way – as the skin gets hot, the heat is absorbed, and as it cools, that heat is released.

The alvöru collection is created using a blend of fabric that feels great against your skin. Current designs are made from a jersey knit of supima cotton, viscose and spandex. All of these components bring you the comfort of that old worn T-shirt but in a STYLISH and CLASSY design that works whether under your business suit, with jeans or even to sleep in. And, everything about our product is proudly Made in America.

Being COOL, COMFORTABLE and CONFIDENT throughout your day is so easy with alvöru.

tank giveaway-2 (1)

Giveaway: Jeanette is giving away a tank (above)  to one lucky Friend for the Ride reader. Here’s the description:

The perfect tank – sizes XS-1X  in black or off white
A lifestyle wardrobe essential, the alvöru perfect tank, will be your go-to basic tank. With flattering not-too-low and not-too-high scoop neck along with bra-friendly straps and some slight waistline tailoring, our perfect tank will fit into your business and casual style with ease. Being cool and comfortable will never feel the same!

For a chance to win, please enter a comment by June 10. Thanks!

About Jeanette: Jeanette Knittel never knew after graduating from John Brown University in Siloam Springs, AR with a B.S. in Home Economics/Child Development & Psychology, decades later that education would be integral when starting alvöru clothing.

Prior to alvöru, Jeanette worked 10 years in the computer graphics industry owning Computer Images of Wichita and Kansas City with such clients as Pizza Hut, Inc. Sprint, AMC Theaters, and Boeing. Upon selling, Jeanette took her talents of relationship building to various sales careers – in computer-related industries and her last employment with the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.

With acceptance in 2012 into UMKC’s Entrepreneurship Scholars Program, the decision to turn a dream into a business became reality.


The Ladies Room Door Art Series: Part Forty-three

From Matt, Felinni’s Restaurant in Charlottesville, Virginia

Susan G. found these  funky doors in Spain.


And more obviously: His:

Susan sent this more subtle sign, too.

Rachel went on safari in Africa. Here’s a ladies room door at Serena Lodge in Masai Mara, Kenya.

A Masai couple indicates ladies vs. gentlemen at Serena Lodge in Amboseli National Park, Kenya.

The fine elephant sign graces Lake Maynara National Park, Tanzania.

Rachel included a photo of the Eastern squat toilet.

On the home front, Susan took these photos at Moe’s Southwestern Grill in Durham, North Carolina.


I snapped this at The Mellow Mushroom near our ballpark in Durham, NC.

From Tom, Luciano’s in Huntsville, Alabama

A friend of Ken’s sent these. Look carefully…

Here’s an old time sign at the Graham Cinema in Graham, NC. Cliff and I love this theater because it’s cheap and so is the popcorn (with unlimited butter).

From Matt, The Pie Chest in Charlottesville, Virginia. Broom closet and bathroom!

Judy sent us this link to the World’s Most Scenic Bathroom. And it’s a public bathroom too, near the town of Gildeskål in Norway. Talk about a fun place to go to the potty!

Thank you one and all for your wonderful doors. Onward as potty trips continue.


Paper Napkins and the Millennials


When we  visit our grown daughters, they serve us delicious food on lovely dishes. On an extra fancy occasion, the table is set with arty cloth napkins. But for a simpler meal, there are no napkins on the table. Upon request, my girls will tear off a sheet of paper towel and hand it to us.

What gives? Surely my daughters, who seem to have their act together quite nicely, can purchase  a pack of kitchen napkins.

Enter an article I found on a Facebook. Turns out the millenials don’t use napkins! Read about it here.

Or top sheets. Turning over the edge of the top sheet is one of the small joys of my life.

“Do you use top sheets?” I asked Kath. “I’ve heard your generation doesn’t.”

“Yes,” she said, “but Thomas didn’t when we got married. I had to convince him.”

I think the millenials are great. I admire them for not staying in a job that makes them unhappy. They’ve got brains and spunk, and they’re hard workers, especially when they do find that perfect job. (And power to Gen Z for their gun control advocacy. I hope they gain steam and never stop.)

But back to napkins. It seems hard to eat millennial foods like black bean hummus or kale salad without getting some of it on your fingers. I still argue we need napkins. Although maybe millennials are more dainty eaters than we zesty baby boomers?

Any opinions on this matter?

Photo Above: The purple dotted napkins I took on a beach trip a few weeks ago.

Photo Below: The eyelet edging similar to edging on sheets I bought for our new house. I took this one from Google images. The eyelet on the real top sheet is kind of crumply. Hey, maybe that’s why the millennials aren’t fond of top sheets. The edge does crumple up once washed. And that reminds me of our grandmothers. They would have IRONED those top sheets.


The Beauty of Dirty Skin: A Book Giveaway


Just off the presses, a fascinating book about our skin. Dr. Whitney Bowe tells it all, from the technical and scientific aspects of  skin care to the emotional and psychological.

Here’s what the publisher has to say about The Beauty of Dirty Skin: The Surprising Science of Looking Radiant from the Inside Out.

In recent years, science has shed new light on the connection between the gut and the brain. Now, for the first time, The Beauty of Dirty Skin spells out the connection between the microbiome—the balance of healthy microorganisms that inhabit your body inside and out—and skin health.
In the book, Dr. Bowe provides data-driven knowledge and life-changing, actionable advice, including:
An explanation of the gut-brain-skin axis, the hidden factor of skin health
How you can turn your diet into a solution to myriad skin problems, including 5 fundamental dietary rules about what to eat and what to avoid for glowing skin
How oral probiotics are the new emerging antibiotics, and can work wonders on skin health
Why we have an epidemic of adult acne, rosacea, eczema, and premature aging today (including skin cancer!)
Why some of today’s skincare products, including organics and antibacterials/antimicrobials, can inflict lasting damage
How to send signals of beauty to your skin through 3 lifestyle interventions: the power of sleep, exercise, and meditation.
With simple explanations of the science behind Dr. Bowe’s findings, do-it-yourself practical skincare strategies, and a life-changing 3-week program, The Beauty of Dirty Skin will forever change the way you look at loofahs, Diet Cokes, fat-free milk, energy bars, and antibiotics.
Amazon Link: Here’s the link.
Giveaway: The publisher is offering a copy of the book to two lucky Friend for the Ride winners. For a chance to win, please enter a comment by May 15. U.S. only. Thanks!
Dr. Whitney Bowe is Medical Director of Integrative Dermatology, Aesthetics & Wellness at Advanced Dermatology, P.C., in addition to being a distinguished research scientist and a thought leader in her field. She is one of the most in-demand dermatologists in America and has lent her expertise to programs like Good Morning AmericaThe Rachael Ray Show, The Doctors, and Dr. Oz. She and her work have been featured in publications including the Wall Street Journal, the New York TimesAllureInStyleVogueElleReader’s Digest, and O, The Oprah Magazine.



I Think My Guardian Angel Drinks: A Giveaway


Hot off the presses from Vikki Claflin. Don’t you love this title and cover? Here’s what the publisher says about Vikki’s new collection on living well for the over-60 crowd. And don’t shy away if you’re well under 60. You can gather some tips!

International best-selling author of four books, including Who Left the Cork Out of My Lunch and Chin Hairs & Back Fat, Vikki Claflin brings it home again with her new compilation of her laugh-out-loud look at aging in a society that worships youth.

Vikki bares her most embarrassing moments, and unabashedly tosses in irreverent, hilariously honest advice on marriage (and not just for women), sex, fashion tips, body image, and relationships for the over-60 crowd.

Chapters include “Sexy After 60. Nine Tips to Get You There Fast,” “You Want Sex, She Doesn’t. What She’s Not Telling You,” “Forget Frumpy. These Things Make You Look Fat,” “Mother-in-Law From Hell. Could This Be You?” and “They Said, ‘You Can’t be Too Rich or Too Thin. They Lied.”

Settle in with a glass (Or a bottle. Or a box. We won’t tell) of your favorite wine and enjoy the laughter as Vikki shows you that life just keeps getting better. She’s your new best friend, and you won’t want it to end.

Giveaway: The publisher is offering a paperback copy of the book to  one lucky Friend for the Ride reader. For a chance to win, please leave a comment by May 1. Thanks!

About Vikki Claflin: Vikki Claflin is an international best-selling author, humor blogger, and inspirational public speaker. She lives in Hood River, OR, where she writes the award-winning humor blog Laugh Lines: Humorous Thoughts and Advice on How to Live Young When You’re…well…Not. 

Vikki has been featured on the Michael J. Fox Foundation website, Erma Bombeck’s Writer’s Workshop, The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Midlife Boulevard, Better After 50, and Funny Times Magazine. She received a BlogHer14 “Voices of the Year” Humor award, and has been a guest on over 40 radio programs throughout the US and Canada.

 Follow Vikki!: Vikki’s Blog    Facebook Page   Goodreads AuthorPage   Amazon Author Page   Twitter  Google+   Pinterest