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Fragments: Journeys from Isolation to Connection Blog Tour: Excerpt and Prize Pack Giveaway

Welcome to the blog tour for Fragments: Journeys from Isolation to Connection, written by award-winning author and playwright Maura Pierlot. Enjoy a free excerpt courtesy of the author, learn a bit more about the book and enter to win a copy, along with a $50 Amazon gift card!



Reena studies herself in mirror, prodding and pinching her body.

Fat! Fat! FAT!

Stands back for full view before addressing audience.

The only thing not fat is my head. Actually, it’s too small for my body. Great, I’m deformed too.

At the portrait gallery I went to with Nan last week, there was a huge black and white photo of an old woman sitting at a cafĂ©. Her cheeks were all wrinkly and droopy, like our pug Otis, and she was wearing the skimpiest outfit, just a singlet and drawstring shorts. It was kinda gross cos rolls of fat were escaping everywhere, like sausage meat popping out of the casing. But she had the biggest smile, like she was a beauty queen decked out in the most expensive designer gown ever. My brain was screaming, Look away but my eyes weren’t listening. I voted that one for People’s Choice cos a great photo captures your attention, makes you react. Nan didn’t vote. She said, ‘Nasreena’ – cos she still can’t call me Reena like everyone else – ‘Nasreena, a great portrait captures a person’s essence, so how can anyone judge another person’s photo?’ And I thought, Oh my God! I love that word, Ehhh- ssssssence.
I’m still trying to find my essence but I don’t know what I’m searching for. Is it a sparkle? Does it change all the time? Will other people see it through this?

Grabs her flesh.

I wish I could be put through a photocopier. I’d hit sixty percent reduction and voila! Instant happiness! Cos except for that old lady in the pic, it’s skinny girls who have the biggest smiles on their faces. And they’re everywhere! Skinny girls in magazines with stick legs in high heels carrying oversized handbags.
Skinny girls on TV in string bikinis frolicking in the surf, showing off their thigh gaps.

Scanning her feed.

They’re online, too. I mean, hello? Have you ever checked out Instagram? The whole point is to be seen, living and loving life. To have people follow you. To wanna be you. All my friends have over a thousand followers and ya know how many I have? Three hundred ninety-six! Cos no one wants to flick through photos of fatties! But I’ve changed all that. Yep, you’re looking at ‘NazzyXO’ with … wait for it … twelve hundred twenty-four followers.

Checks phone, smiling.

Make that twelve hundred twenty-eight followers.

How’d I do it? Well it’s funny, cos I used to hate getting my photo taken … until I discovered these awesome apps to create a better version of me. Someone taller, thinner, tanner. I can change my hair, my clothes, even my eye colour. I mean, there’s no point being on Facebook and Instagram if you look like shit, right? But with the right apps, anything’s possible. There’s even a formula: Photo, Filter, Caption. See, the trick is making the photos look natural, like you just happen to be out and …

Poses for selfies.

Photo: My legs, beach in background. Filter: Cool Breeze. Caption: Summer days, sun emoji, thumbs up! Photo: My lips with a glimpse of my bra. Filter: Mayfair. Caption: Up close and personal, winky face. Photo: My butt, photoshopped. Obviously. Filter: Black and White … it’s all about the vibe. Caption: Tongue out dollar emoji.

So what if I’m only thirteen? It’s not like anyone’s gonna find out. No one even knows it’s me! That’s cos I use a filter for all my pics. Enough so they look like me, but not enough that they look like me, if ya know what I mean. So what if it’s not really me? It’s the future me, the one I aspire to. If you’re looking for a dress, you don’t buy the first one you try on, right? You go through a few and pick the one that’s the best fit. That’s what I’m doing. Shopping for the best version of me. Cos why would I wanna be me when I could be …

Holds up phone.

Me! NazzyXO is perfect, and everyone loves her.

Checks phone, excited.

Check out these comments: ‘Killer, knife emoji, flame. Yum, tongue out emoji. Beauty.’ See?



From Fragments: Journeys from Isolation to Connection by Maura Pierlot © 2021

DIY Kit Creations Lip Gloss Making Kit Review & Giveaway {September to Remember Giveaway Hop}

There's a dazzling collection of beauty products out there, but sometimes you may still find it hard to get exactly what you want. Wouldn't it be nice to have custom made makeups that cater to your personal preferences? DIY Kit Creations has made that possible with their DIY Lip Gloss Making Kit and DIY Nail Polish Making Kit.

DIY Kit Creations kindly sent me a DIY Lip Gloss Making Kit for review. The kit comes in a cute box including everything needed to make my own customized set of lip glosses:

  • 6 empty lip gloss containers with wiper inserts, each holding approximately 10 ml of lip gloss
  • 5 ounces of Versagel American-made lip gloss base 
  • 5 premium mineral pigment (mica) powders in Elegant Merlot (Deep matte red), Sunset Coral (Bronze finish), Cool Berry Pink , Warm Bermuda Pink and White 
  • 2 oral filling syringes (No needle) 
  • 2 powder scoops 
  • 1 mixing spatula 
  • 1 fluid ounce dropper bottle of fractionated (no flavor, no scent) coconut oil 
  • 1 microwave-safe, white silicone mixing bowl 
  • Instructions

The kit is very easy and fun to use. While the American-made lip gloss base provides an awesome lip-softening moisture barrier with its nourishing ingredients, the natural mica-based mineral pigment powders allow for unlimited color and shade blending possibilities, as well as various finishing effects. The included moisturizing coconut oil helps control the texture, reduce stickiness, and adjust the feel of your final creation. You may want to experiment with color combinations on a palette before committing to a full tube. Watch the short video below to see how it works.

Era Organics Skin Care Products Review & Giveaway

Keeping your skin happy and healthy is no easy task and it usually starts with finding the right skin care products. With safety and effectiveness as their top priorities, Era Organics offers a full line of plant-based skin care products made with organic food grade ingredients such as Manuka honey, aloe vera, coconut oil, and olive oil, and completely free from harsh chemicals, toxins, and fillers.

I was recently given the opportunity to try out three Era Organics skin care products, including the Revive Microdermabrasion Facial Scrub & Mask, the Cleanse + Restore Face & Body Wash, and the all new Complete Moisturizer Cream.

Era Organics Complete

Featuring a powerful 20-in-1 formula, this all-purpose, all-natural moisturizer cream is packed with the vitamins, minerals, ceramides, proteins, and peptides good for all skin types, including sensitive skin. Besides a super hydrating daily face cream, it also works as an anti-aging firming cream, and helps soothe irritated skin with the peptide, protein and ceramide complex that fully supports the skin’s top defense layer.

The moisturizer is creamy but lightweight. It absorbs fast and easily, leaving my skin feeling nourished, hydrated, revitalized, and soft to the touch.

The Triumphant Tails of Rescue Dogs: Punk's Plight Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway

The experience of neglect or mistreatment can be very hurtful, especially for those who once had a taste of love. Pets are no exception. Learn more about The Triumphant Tails of Rescue Dogs: Punk's Plight and enter to win a signed copy!

About the Book:

Book Title: The Triumphant Tails of Rescue Dogs: Punk's Plight by Dr. Hope A. Walter, EdD
Category: Children's Fiction (Ages 5-12), 38 pages
Genre: Children's Picture Book
Publisher: Mascot
Release date: Aug, 2021
Tour dates: Aug 23 to Sep 10, 2021
Content Rating: G.

This is not just another book about a dog! Meet Punk, an eight-year-old petite English Bulldog. Her life appears great right now, but it wasn't always that way. Join Punk as she recounts her story of neglect, her rescue and recovery, and her journey of learning to trust and heal again. Punk's Plight is meant to help educators, psychologists, social workers, counselors, and allies of children teach children about the difficult topic of neglect. Punk teaches that neglect may change you forever, but it does not have to stop you from living your best life.

My Review:

Based on a true story, the book follows the unusual journey of a cute bulldog nicknamed Punk, short for Pumpkin. Using Punk as the first person narrator, the story brings the readers closer to what she has to go through over the years and let them feel how she feels at different stages of her life. It's heartbreaking and disturbing at first, but heartwarming and comforting in the end.

Punk's first family stopped loving and taking care of her as she grows older. As a result, her health deteriorates and she starts to lose hope in life. Her misery finally comes to an end when she gets spotted by Xavier, who takes her back to the rescue and recovery ranch he runs for neglected and abused animals. He not only helps Punk get better, but also finds her a new family, where she learns to love and trust again.

Featuring soft colors and realistic images, the book does a wonderful job of showing Punk's facial expressions, which accurately reflect her feelings at the time. The text repeatedly draws our attention to the detrimental effects of neglect on animals and children alike, both physical and psychological. Healing can be challenging and may take a really long time. Special sections are included in the book to encourage children undergoing neglect and abuse to seek help, urge people around such children to step up to offer help, and to suggest ways in which adults can foster positive childhood experience. Punk's story implies that love is not about chanting I love you a thousand times a day, and is so much more than hugs and kisses. Love entails care, commitment, and responsibility!

Buy the Book: Amazon | B&N | Mascot Books

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