'Paper Crowns' by Mirriam Neal

'Paper Crowns' by Mirriam Neal

A spotlight on the newly published novel by author Mirriam Neal.
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I have some exciting news to share! One of my dearest friends has published a book! Her name is Mirriam Neal, and the title of this book is "Paper Crowns." You can find it on Amazon.

And you can find Mirriam Neal at her blog, here.

I highly recommend checking it out. She's an amazing writer and has insightful, helpful and uplifting blog posts on numerous topics.

Several years ago, I became friends with Mirriam. Initially we bonded over our love of the Scarlet Pimpernel, but soon found out that both of us love to write fiction. At the time, Mirriam was working on her debut novel "Monster." I eagerly asked to read it, and she put me on the beta list. Let me tell you, this girl can turn out chapters as quick as anything. It didn't take long for me to realize what a gem of a writer she was. In fact, the realization was almost instant. Thus, even after "Monster" was finished, I continued to stay on the beta list for anything else she was writing. This was how I came to read "Paper Crowns."

I fell in love with the book instantly. Mirriam has the wonderful and rare ability to write any genre and excel at it. When I opened the first chapter of "Paper Crowns," I realized I had stepped into a whimsical, magical world that I was going to enjoy journeying through with the characters. The book is beautiful, from the enchanting art on the cover, to the final sentence on the last page. I highly recommend moving it to the very top of your reading list immediately. I've read it more than once and each time over gives me more joy than the last. This gal truly is a master of words.

This lighthearted fantasy novel, centers around a young girl named Ginger and her cat, Halcyon. It took almost no time at all for Halcyon to claim his place as my favorite character. However, I can honestly say that I loved every character in this book. Every character is so lifelike and well-written. This runs through every one of Mirriam's stories and never ceaseless to impress me. And though the story starts out with Ginger in the relatively peaceful, secluded life she's led up to this point, everything soon changes for this young girl. The book reels you in very quickly and doesn't let you go until the very end. It's one of those stories you can't seem to put down, even if you've read it several times already.

So head over and check out her book! Your imagination will thank you.

Cover Image Credit: https://scontent-ord1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/11329770_949342041764676_5119312225845042584_n.jpg?oh=6b708af967c0b0bd39c44c5b492b3631&oe=57D74149

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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A Division-By-Division Review Of The MLB In May

Now that it is more than 1/3 of the way into the season, the good teams have separated themselves from the bad ones.

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May was one of the most exciting months of baseball in a long time. For some insight, the MLB set the record for most home runs hit in any one month at 1,135 home runs. Austin Riley, the newest call-up for the Braves, has gone on a historic tear with nine home runs in his first 18 games, good enough for NL Rookie of the Month. Hyun-Jin Ryu, the Dodgers pitcher, is the NL Pitcher of the Month after giving up just three runs total in all of May. So let's take a look at what has happened inside each division in May.

(All statistics and standings referenced come from https://www.mlb.com/)


1. AL

AL East

Unsurprisingly, the Yankees have jumped out to lead the division over the Rays by 2.5 games, despite the Rays being 12 games over .500. I strongly believe the Rays will still make the playoffs, considering they are the leading AL Wild Card team by a good five games. In other news, the Red Sox are above .500 with a record of 31 wins to 29 losses, as I previously predicted. They had quite a slow start and are 7.5 games back, so they will likely have to contest for the other of the two wild card spots this year. The Blue Jays and the Orioles are just having brutally tough years.

AL Central

The Twins are literally the best team in baseball right now in my opinion, with a league-leading .678 winning percentage to back that up, and a lopsided 41 wins to 19 loss record. They are on a historic power tear, being the second team ever to hit 100 homers in their first 50 games. Everyone else in the AL Central is disappointing, with the so-called "easy" divisional champs, the Cleveland Indians, being a whopping 10.5 games back. The White Sox and Tigers are struggling to produce offense and the Royals are just all-around terrible and having a forgettable year.

AL West

The AL West has quickly changed its dynamic and moved back to its expected ways after the month of May. The Astros have surged and taken the lead by 10 games, while the Mariners had a wonderful fall from grace. I truly believed that the Mariners had figured something out and that after April, they truly were a decent team. But after starting 13-2 much to the surprise of many, they went from first to worst in the division and are now sitting at a terrible 26-40, winning just 13 games out of 51 played after their good start. The Rangers, As, and Angels are all mediocre teams, and Houston has set themselves for another division win.

2. NL

NL East

The NL East is shaping up to be one of the more interesting divisional races, with no clear frontrunner. The Phillies are on top right now, but the Braves are just a couple of games back. Last year, the same story was there with the Phillies leading going into the All-Star Break, but the Braves had a fantastic second half and comfortably won the title. However, each team in the NL East still has time to make a surge, with the Nationals and Mets having good starting pitching, and the Marlins starting to heat up, winning six of their last 10 games and even sweeping the Tigers. I would not put it past the NL East to become a four-team race heading into the later parts of the year. I still expect the Braves to win the division if they can find a proper number 4 and number 5 pitcher in their rotation, as the offense is there to back them up. Now that they have signed Dallas Keuchel, the Braves will likely solidify themselves as the division leaders in the next month. Regardless, a wild card spot or two will come from this division.

NL Central

The NL Central, like the NL East, is turning out to be a competitive, interesting division. After, a slow start, the Cubs have returned to lead the NL Central, but only alongside the Brewers and NL MVP candidate Christian Yelich. The Cardinals, Pirates, and Reds are only 3.5, 5.0 and 7.0 games back respectively. I really like the Reds and believe they can heat up and push up to second or third in the division, and maybe even claim a wildcard spot. The Pirates are somehow 28-31 despite a -75 run differential thanks to their abysmal pitching, so I think the Reds can easily surpass them. Also, now that the Cubs have signed elite closer Craig Kimbrel, they can finish off games and win ballgames more comfortably. If the Brewers manage to snatch the division, that wild card spot is always there for the Cubs.

NL West

The Dodgers are playing good baseball (again) and are on a similar track to their AL West counterpart, the Houston Astros, with a division lead of 9 games. Similar to the AL West, the rest of the teams are pretty mediocre with records around .500, with the Giants being the lone wolf and being 10 games under a .500 win percentage. I believe both the Rockies and the Padres have it in them to push for one of the two wild card spots, as the Rockies have been a streaky team this year and the Padres nearing the end of their rebuild. If the Padres were to make a late push, they need the young Tatis Jr., just coming off the Injured List, to stay healthy and boost their offense.

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