Month: January 2017

Barbie’s Impact on Body Image

people-1105591_1920I’ve read a lot of studies and paid attention to this topic for a number of years now and it’s left me with my own take on the matter. Many articles point out that Barbie’s unrealistic body measurements are unhealthy and it’s impacting our girls in a negative way. I’ve seen many parents opposed to the idea of their kids playing with Barbie dolls and opt for dolls with more realistic measurements. Another issue that seems to be popping up is Barbie’s “trashy” look, the dresses that she wears aren’t suitable for little girls.

Now I just stated what I’ve gathered over several years, not my actual opinion. Firstly the people that do spend money on surgeries to look like a doll are few and it’s definitely not a doll problem. Is a body image problem. But is Barbie really impacting girls to want to dress in skimpy dresses and acquire unhealthy sized waists?

I was born in the Caribbean, brown skinned and definitely not slim and I absolutely loved playing with Barbies as well as my cousins and friends. It never crossed my mind that I needed to be like my fair skinned, blue eyed, skinny Barbie. Of course we thought her very pretty and fashionable but she was a doll. We were able to differentiate a doll’s body and real life bodies. As for her dresses, I was raised in a conservative house and never questioned why Barbie got to be sexy and I didn’t. I didn’t even know what sexy was. It was just the way the doll dressed and it was just the way I dressed in “real life”.

Even if you don’t allow your children to play with superficial Barbies, they are going to see women with all different body types all around them that may or may not cause them to question their own body size. The skinny girl wants more hips, more boobs, the fat girl thinks the skinny girl has it easier but it’s never really the case. We will all criticize ourselves one way or another. My point is if you raise your children with a good head on their shoulders, Barbie won’t have that kind of effect on them.

As a child I felt like Barbie’s different careers were more interesting than the way she looked. I never really thought about it at all until recently with the body shaming. Also in more recent times people are praising the companies for making more curvy dolls and a wider variety which is a good thing but it shouldn’t just be a good thing because you didn’t teach your children to differentiate between reality and pretend play. Teach your children to love their bodies and accept that we are all different shades, shapes and sizes. Let them know that it does not take away from who they are as a person inside.

xo Coffee Doll

What Irks Me About Beta Reading

As an avid reader of Kindle Books, I always leave honest reviews whether they’re good or bad. If you do this, you’ll find that quite often you find an e-mail or two in your inbox requesting you to read a book in exchange for a review. Now I have no problems with this marketing tactic. Self published authors need to get their books out there, don’t they? So it’s not in the least bit annoying to me.

I’m actually excited to receive free material to read. Having a variety of options is crucial for me, because I read different genres based on the mood that I’m in. What irks me is when you get this long e-mail detailing the book and it’s genre and how your reviews on Amazon made them select you to read their book, and then it’s not free.

The author will give you the impression that they’re sending you a free copy of their book and then you see a link provided, thinking….uh…well okay, maybe it’s a promotion day and it’s free so let’s click this link. Then you click the link and realize that the book is not free or on sale, and you have to purchase a book that probably won’t even be your first choice, and read it, and review it, because the author asked you to. Now I have some issues with this strategy. And one other thing that I got hit with in the past is being offered a code to get the book free and it didn’t work.

I have self-published a couple books with amazon kindle and I ran promotions. I’ve since taken down a few for revision, and I’ve never asked anyone to read my book via email because I myself didn’t think it was that good. But that’s not the point. The point is, as a self published author, who doesn’t have a name in the writing world and very much avenues of promoting my book in a way that people will rush to buy, I understood that I needed to give away a lot of my work. The best way to gain exposure is to literally give your work away. This is just something that happens when’re you’re self published and not picked up by an agency. It’s part of the game.

I’m not saying that I completely hate paying for a book but the manner in which I’m approached, it just really gets on my nerves. The author and I e-mail back and forth a few times then I realize that they’re not going to send that .mobi file. So then what’s the point of offering your book for free in the first place? And I’m pretty sure if you e-mail a hundred people, the entire hundred won’t even respond. So when you’re sort of begging someone to read your book and hopefully like it so much to leave a good review…please have a digital copy on hand that you can e-mail the person. It is a bit of inconvenience when you send someone the link of your book and it’s not even free when they were promised a free copy. Earlier this evening I was promised a book, I asked for a .mobi copy of it, I was then promised that copy then emailed again to let me know that a promotion would be running tomorrow so I can pick up the free copy then. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me. But it’s bad marketing…

 

xo Coffee Doll

 

 

An Excerpt from Trapped:A Zombie Short Story/2

Another copy and paste from an unfinished story…thought I’d share since it was just sitting there in my archives…

xo Coffee Doll

 

I heard the sounds of shuffled footsteps and loud thuds outside the door. My hair plastered to my forehead with perspiration. The back of my t-shirt, wet, clinging to my body and my fear increasing as the sounds grew closer. What was it that I was so afraid of? My parents had managed to protect me and my brother from these monsters for nearly two months, they would succeed today too. In that moment, I was certain that I would walk out of this closet alive. It felt like I had been standing in there for hours.

I closed my eyes when I smelled my mother’s faint perfume scent on her clothes. I was standing so tight among the clothes, my sweat had begun to drench through a few of my mother’s blouses.

I opened my eyes. There was a bang on the door. I realized I was also scared of not being able to defend myself. I had never even hit a monster before, let alone kill it. Some people called them zombies, but I always thought zombies were decaying dead people. These stone colored monsters were far from dead in my opinion. Being a few feet away from them, inhaling their stench, they felt very much alive.

 

 

Finding Motivation

impossible-701686_1280Some days finding motivation can seem like looking for a needle in a haystack. When you’re exhausted, overwhelmed and just hopeless, it’s hard to be a go-getter. There are intervals in my life where I am like this. I lose all sense of capability and start procrastinating. More than that, I forget my real vision.

In the last few days I felt like I’ve been dragging my feet around, my mind is jumbled and I just don’t have the zeal to get any work done. I just want to curl up in a nice warm blanket and sleep. But even I don’t sleep that much so I’m left with a lot of time just staring and thinking, my thoughts pounding on my brain like a dreadful migraine.

This is a phase we deal with at regular intervals in life, here’s how I manage it…

Adequate Rest. Like any good thing, motivating yourself starts with physical health. Sufficient amount of sleep can gear your mind towards productivity.

Coffee. Don’t worry the rest of the post makes sense. I just needed to plug the importance of coffee 🙂

Set Smaller Goals. When you are doing everything and anything, it eventually gets overwhelming. Step back, and focus on one goal at a time.

Don’t Rush Things. When you can’t see the end product happening anytime soon, you tend to rush yourself. Slow down, reevaluate and complete smaller goals that’ll eventually lead to the big one.

Take a Break. To avoid a lengthy procrastination period, take a small break sometimes.

Be Proud of Yourself. It’s okay if you’re not moving at everyone else’s pace. Give yourself some credit for actually making progress.

Be enthusiastic. This is very important. You can’t make progress if you’re not in the least bit excited to do what you’re doing. This is really what motivation is. It’s a driving force. It helps if you’re passionate about where you want to be. Use that driving force to enhance your work.

Proper planning. How often have we gotten an idea and fallen completely in love with it and we just roll with it the next day and it doesn’t pan out the way we expect it too? This happens to me with writing. Properly plan out your tasks and goals so that when you execute, you’re not just guessing.

Focus on your vision. When you’re overwhelmed by tiresome goals, always remind yourself of the bigger picture, the “why” you started and the “where” you’d like to be. Remember the vision you had for yourself or what you set out to do and never let that candle burn out. It’s hard but it’s never impossible.

Don’t give up. When the going gets tough, don’t ever give up. Stick with it, keep working towards that goal. The end product may seem far fetched but if you stop now, you just may never get there.

Inspiration. Something that helps me a lot when I set out to do something is to read a lot or watch videos on the topic. Inspire yourself by using tools that can enhance your knowledge of what you set out to do.

Support system. I personally do not have a support system. My kids and husband don’t understand when I ramble on and I don’t share that closeness with many people but it does help to talk things through. It opens up a way to get advice, acknowledgement. I don’t believe in others’ validation but something I’ve learned is we’re all humans and it works for other people. It really does so if it works for you, talk to people.

Filter negative thoughts. When you think about who is progressing faster than you or maybe you’re not good enough it plants a dark seed within you and it eventually grows until you can’t believe in yourself anymore. So out with the negative and lay down some positive thinking.

Acceptance. And finally, you have to accept that your motivational levels will drop at times. It’s not something that stays consistent throughout your life. Things happen, goals change, you’re dealing with a lot in your life and you won’t always be motivated and that’s okay. You’re not alone. People don’t always have it together even though it seems that way. Once you’ve accept that maybe today is not as motivating as yesterday, it’ll be easier not to give up and let those negative thoughts in. There’s always an approach even for the worse day but you have to possess the will power to get up and get.

xo Coffee Doll

 

 

 

An Excerpt from Trapped: A Zombie Short Story/1

This is a short story that I started working on sometime in 2016…I haven’t completed it as yet but I thought I’d share a slice of it.

 

I felt a pang of guilt as I wished death upon my father. What kind of a son does that? But then again, this world wasn’t a world anymore. It was a graveyard of roaming monsters controlled by an unseen force. I kept my eyes closed and prayed that Alex had kept himself locked in the attic. Instinct kicked in and I forged a plan in my head. We would wait this out, until our parents were nothing but a pile of bloody bones and then we would run, as far as our legs could take us. If Alex hadn’t kept his mouth shut, I hoped with all my might that he would’ve gone quickly. It’s not the death that scared us. It was the pain of it.

 

xo Coffee Doll

Book Review: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Coffee Doll Chronicles






A mother and two daughters were brutally murdered in what was suspected to be some kind of cult killing. A 7 year old sister Libby survived and her older brother is in jail for the murders which she claimed to witness. The novel is told from Libby Day’s point of view years later, with flashback chapters throughout the book. Personally I didn’t care for Libby’s tone in telling the story. I understand that seeing your family brutally murdered will leave you damaged for life but I just couldn’t deal with her attitude towards people around her who were nice to her. Ben, the older brother is a very interesting character as his teenage life unfolds in the book. The plot was impressive and well written, I can’t say that the climax “wowed” me at all. I would recommend.


Happy Reading 🙂
xo

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Book Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

Coffee Doll Chronicles

I enjoyed this book, it was written very nicely and narrated from a 5 year old’s point of view. It was not too long with details that can bore you to death. I find myself preferring standalone short novels these days. Overall I would give this book a five, I have no complaints about the story or characters. No one annoyed me 🙂
If you don’t mind spoilers, keep reading!

This novel is about a woman in her mid-twenties who was kidnapped at 19 by this old creeper. He kept her in this sound proof, well insulated shed which was called “Room” in his backyard. The novel is narrated by the woman’s five year old son whom she gave birth to in the Room. He has never been or seen outside of this Room so he believes the Room is the entire world. Through his view we see how they…

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All Work and No Pay

Placeholder ImagePeople that know me look confused when I say that I have work to do. Well, it’s because I don’t actually have a paying job. It’s bizarre to some people why I would invest my time, sweat and tears into something I’m not being paid for. Do I wish to be paid for it? Yes, maybe. Does it need to impact my creativity? Absolutely not.

The thing that I’m talking about is writing but there are many creative people whether it be artists, musicians, cooks that aren’t making money where their skill set lies. I truly believe what drives creativity is something that comes from deep within, that no matter what you’re doing or what people tell you to do, you cannot shut the lid on your creative aspect.

Personally I do it because I love to do it and it’s a dream of mine to put out some completed work. Maybe see it on a shelf one day? Wishful thinking I know. But it’s really the journey of doing something you were born to do that keeps people going.

Many people became famous long after they were dead. Not everyone generates a whopping income at the end of the month doing what it is they love. And that’s okay. I believe that creativity comes from a place where there are no boundaries or limitations. One can truly set free and reach unimaginable lengths.

Writing is an escape for me. I delve into different worlds and carve a variety of characters and it’s empowering. It’s liberating to be the author of the story that you want to tell. It can go anywhere you want it to. And that’s something I can’t ever experience in a nine to five job unless it revolves around writing. I’ve never been so fortunate to have a job like that so I’ll settle for this unpaid one for  a little longer.

I’m not saying there aren’t avenues to sell your writing or paintings or whatever it is you do but money can’t be the only driving force. The moment you let making money become a factor, it becomes strenuous on your creativity. And don’t think this hasn’t happened to me. I’ve spoken on rushed kindle books and how it impacted my process of writing.

It’s not about setting unrealistic goals for yourself. It’s about finding who you are and what you were truly meant to do. What excites you, what contents you, what motivates you. And just do it. Do it with diligence, let it come from an honest place and you have to believe that you will succeed.

xo Coffee Doll

Signs You’re Probably Done Having Kids

baby-sitter-1140872_1920.jpgBeing a parent is one of the most rewarding things in life and even though we may unconditionally love and provide the best for our children it can get overwhelming. And sometimes you just know in your heart that you are happy with the size of your family and you don’t feel the need to expand.

When you know, you just know.

No baby fever. This I think is the main one. After having my first baby, I knew right off the bat that I wanted another one and I didn’t want there to be a wide age gap between them. Each and every pregnancy story and baby story were attractive to my ears. When my oldest hit eighteen months, I was very emotional. I missed the baby stage, being able to do each and everything for her. I really wanted her to stay a baby forever. Whenever I passed a baby on the street or in a store, my heart would just melt at its littleness. My second will hit the eighteen month mark in two weeks and I have experienced no such thing as baby fever and there’s a slim chance that I will.

Can’t wait for them to be potty trained. I am so tired of cleaning dirty diapers. You’d think after four years and two children, I won’t mind a bit of poop but I do. I really can’t wait for everyone to be potty trained at both day and night as well as clean up after themselves. And I am just so over diapers. Did I mention how much they cost?

Cringing at the mere thought of being pregnant. Nope, I can’t even fathom it. It makes me nervous to think of my body going through another pregnancy…and delivery.

Serious about prevention. When you’re serious and a little anal about contraceptives, perhaps you’re done. Some people will even go for sterilization.

So over baby decor and equipment. I’d really like to get rid of all the nauseating pink stuff, baby swings, high chairs. Just counting down the time until the second one doesn’t need anything like this is another way I knew I was just over having a newborn.

Over-spending on baby paraphernalia. If your kids are anything like mine, they need spill proof cups. I can’t even begin to tell you how many different brands of sippy cups passed through our house and the quantities of it. They get lost and they get yucky so I like to change them out and it’s very annoying.

Can’t wait for school. I actually feel a little guilty about this one. I thought I’d cry and get emotional when my oldest started preschool and I honestly did get emotional when we were shopping for uniforms but when school started, I was dreaming of the second child starting school. It’s not that I don’t like my kids’ company but they do receive a better mental stimulation and social interaction at school.

Tired of the clutter. Nothing can ever stay in its true space. I’m always stepping on a crayon, sitting on a doll. My floor barely has space to walk at times.

Zero patience. When you feel like you’re about to lose your cool a lot…yeah it’s probably best you don’t add another kid to the mix.

xo Coffee Doll

Image: pixabay.com

 

 

Reading in A Different Accent

Do you find yourself reading in a different accent than your native one? This is truly as bizarre to experience as it sounds. I’m sure it happens to many people, right? Right? For some inexplicable reason, I read out loud in a British accent and my inner voice also speaks with one. My first language is English and I have a Caribbean Islander accent so I can’t for the life of me figure out this occurrence. We do not pronounce the letter R and we do spell words like favorite and color with a “u” but it still does not explain why my reading and inner voice is full on Brit.

I’ve never went to Britain by the way and I’d love to visit. I’m fascinated by the accents around there, English, Irish, Scottish…they’re just really attractive accents and possibly my favorite ones in the entire world. The only legitimate reason I can think of is that I really loved playing around with accents as a child and this being my favorite one lent itself to my inner voice.

I do enjoy enjoy reading historical dramas and romances just to hear the way they spoke, the slang they used and I think it does have an effect on the way I write as well. A negative one, actually. When I write contemporary romances or stories it’s basically set in the now, and my language needs to be in the now. It’s already an effort to upkeep with today’s words and slang and not the ones in the nineties that I know of and it’s especially harder when you have an inner voice speaking like you’re from the Victorian Era. I find myself using words like naught or whence and when I proofread, I mentally hit myself in the face.

Sometimes I wish I could separate what I want to project into my story and my inner voice. We all have our challenges, unfortunately…

xo Coffee Doll