Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mary J Blige's Album The London Sessions is Released December 2, 2014

Note: This was originally published on my fitness and lifestyle blog Feeling Fit, Bit by Bit.

Mary J Blige has done it again! Her new album The London Sessions is due for release December 2, 2014 from Capitol Records. The London Sessions showcases Blige's powerful voice as well as her determination, talent and resilience. The sound is distinctly "Mary", yet the influences of her collaborators Sam Smith, Disclosure, Emeli Sandé and others give it a hint of the London sound.

Disclosure: I participated in the Mary J Blige The London Sessions album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided a free album to review, but all opinions are my own as a listener and a fan.

The London Sessions by Mary J. Blige Cover #TheLondonSessions #O2O

About the London Sessions:

Mary J Blige likely needs no introduction. Her resume' boasts eight multi-platinum albums, nine Grammy Awards (plus a staggering 31 nominations), a 2012 Golden Globe nomination, and four American Music Awards, Mary J Blige is a global superstar. As established as she is, she still evolves as an artist. The London Sessions reflects the next phase in her evolution.
In an effort to shake things up and step out of her musical comfort zone, Mary J Blige spent a month in London writing and collaborating with some of the most exciting and popular artists in the UK Рincluding Sam Smith, Disclosure, Emeli Sand̩. The result is her highly anticipated album The London Sessions Рwhich will be released on December 2, 2014.
An inspirational and powerful performer, Mary J Blige knows the ups and downs of life. If you’ve ever seen her perform, you know the passion she brings to her everything she does.  The London Sessions is full of meaningful moments and uplifting messages.  Get ready for some “Therapy” in the form of a new Mary J Blige album! (Quote from London Sessions press materials)
“It’s all about the London Music scene and I’m so excited to have been part of it, to record my album,” says Mary J  Blige. “The songs are fun, therapeutic and soulful. This is a beautiful change for me and I’m proud of what we have done here.”    

I always find it interesting to learn a little about the artist's process and inspiration. The following trailer sets the scene for The London Sessions.


Track Listing for The London Sessions by Mary J. Blige:

1. Therapy
2. Doubt
3. Not Loving You
4. When You're Gone
5. Right Now
6. My Loving
7.Long Hard Look
8. Whole Damn Year
9. Nobody But You
10. Pick Me Up
11. Follow
12. Worth My Time

Ms. Blige isn't afraid to get personal and to sing life's struggles. Several songs on The London Sessions feel highly intimate and personal. Mary J. Blige has long been a superstar of popular music with a soul flavor. I love that she has such a range including fun, party songs and songs that explore the darker struggles many of us face. I love that she sings with a voice of strength and resilience. The following "Lyric Video" of the track "Whole Damn Year" is a good example of some of the raw and highly intimate music from the London Sessions:

The London Sessions also contains highly energetic uplifting songs such as My Love. I dare you to listen without dancing (at least with your mind and soul if not your body). Another track that literally  moves me to dance is the strong, yet sassy Right Now. Enjoy the video for a taste of The London Sessions...

Many listeners, especially women, may feel that Ms Blige is singing directly to them with her deepest truth. I, for one, love the mix of the personal lyrics and the music. I have had The London Sessions on loop for a couple days. With each listen, I feel like I have been on an emotional journey. Sometimes I find myself getting up from my desk to dance and snap my fingers. Some times I feel moved to tears (well, on first listen I did).  I certainly think it is worth a listen for any fan of Mary J Blige, of the London sound, or uplifting music in general.

Mary J Blige publicity photograph #TheLondonSessions #O2O


Pre-order or Purchase Information (Release Date December 2): 

The London Sessions is due for release December 2, 2014. I have also included some affiliate links in the pre-order and purchasing information. If you click on the Amazon or Itunes links and make a purchase then I receive a small commission.

On Amazon (in CD, MP3 and Vinyl formats):

And on Mary J. Blige's Official Website  and your favorite music retailers starting December 2, 2014.

Also on Enjoys & Shares or Feeling Fit, Bit by Bit:

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Excerpt: Make Your Own Rules Diet

I recently reviewed the wellness book Make Your Own Rules Diet by Tara Stiles. You can read that review on my fitness and lifestyle blog Feeling Fit, Bit by Bit: Make Your Own Rules Diet reviewI enjoyed the positive spirit, practical tips and recipes. The publisher HayHouse agreed to allow me to share an excerpt...

The following is an excerpt from Make Your Own Rules Diet by Tara Stiles. It is published by Hay House (November 2014) and is available at bookstores and online at

Screen Capture of e-reader version of the Make Your Own Rules Diet book cover

Losing Yourself

When it comes to getting healthy, not only do we have to worry about the punishment-and-reward cycle desensitizing us; we also have to deal with problems in our food supply, societal pressures, and events that lead us away from ourselves. Natural foods are often modified from their original forms and presented to us with the intent to exploit our feelings of failure and disappointment. Fake sugars, salts, processed chemicals, colors, and smells trick our minds into believing that our problems will be solved if we down a bag of Doritos, clean out a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, or hit the drive-through on the way home from a stressful day.
Teams of highly paid consultants decide how best to deceive us into consuming the most junk food in the largest quantities to keep us addicted. It’s comforting and scary to know that much of the food nonsense isn’t our fault; it’s what is put in the food and marketed to us. Knowing what kinds of junk items are available and knowing what they do to us when we consume them regularly is valuable information and fuel for us to eat more naturally so we can feel better. 

We all know by now to some degree or another, depending on how much Googling you do and how many local farmers and food industry insiders are in your inner circle, that the food industry has evolved to make us fat, get us sick, and give us life-ending diseases. “Obesity is such that this generation of children could be the first basically in the history of the United States to live less healthful and shorter lives than their parents,” said Dr. David S. Ludwig, director of the obesity program at Boston Children’s Hospital in a New York Times article. Shorter lives are not the only risk. Quality of life is affected, as well. Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney failure, and cancer are likely to affect people at younger and younger ages.

Aside from the messed up stuff happening with our actual food supply, we deal with insane amounts of pressure from advertisements and the media. Photoshopped images we see in magazines are a superdistorted version of reality that try to fool us into believing we need to change everything about ourselves in an attempt to fit into an unreal image. We lose sight of the fact that we actually are beautiful and perfectly unique. We lose sight of the fact that we are born to be individually awesome, not to fit into an artificially generated mold that actually looks like no human alive. Our digital age can warp our body image easily if we let it. We have to actively work to stay true and centered to who we are and constantly build our self-esteem. 

Events in our lives occur that pull us off balance and away from our intuition. Traumatic experiences and social pressures of all sorts swing us way off course. We all go through tough times in our lives. It’s how we survive and thrive that makes the difference. Not-so-fun things are going to happen. We have to build the strength to remember that when we come back to center, we come back to the path of feeling happy and grounded, and back to the path of sustainable health and happiness. You are worth so much in this life. Don’t ever forget it.

And let’s not forget one of the biggest intuition killers . . .

Time for a Breakup

Diets are the worst thing you can do if you’re looking to get back to a healthy life. They are fundamentally designed to be cheated on, broken up with, and crawled back to with desperation. They tell us that we aren’t good enough, don’t know enough, and aren’t equipped with the skills we need to be healthy and happy and to feel great in our ideal bodies. Diets tell us we are broken. Diets lure us in with deceptive promises of external results while attempting to control our every move. Diets teach us to hold our breath, to grin and bear it. Diets tell us, “If it was easy to be healthy and have a great body, everyone would.” Diets tell us we have to go through them to get to ourselves. Diets teach us to hate ourselves, and they show us many ways to practice aggression and tension toward ourselves. 

Diets are no good for us. They don’t work, and they waste our time while leading us further away from our ideal selves. If a diet were a person that we were involved with, hopefully our close friends would stage an intervention and tell us to break up and end the cycles of abuse for good.
We all know that diets don’t work. Diet fads are so popular because we try, we fail, we get desperate, and we jump on the next one. We don’t stop to consider that the failure might not be our own. And there is always a next one. Our dependence on diets could be the reason 70 percent of the population is set to be obese by 2022. Whoa . . . now that’s heavy! 

Looking outward for fear-based motivation and diet rules might at best help you temporarily drop a few pounds. But in no way will looking outward for satisfaction or direction ever get you lasting health, sustainable happiness, and the body shape and mental clarity you’ve been looking for. You might have been searching a long time for the answers, and maybe you forgot to dive into the source, where the answers are waiting for you to discover them: right within you! 

Whether too heavy or too thin, the external result is hardly the root of the problem. An unhealthy relationship with food takes on many forms: eating disorders, emotional eating and restricting, overly healthy control behaviors, exercise addiction, and diet obsession—the list is endless. Every person is unique and every relationship is unique. Our only hope for lifelong health begins in understanding that it’s not about the food and it’s not about the diet. It’s about you and how you feel. It’s about getting connected.

Purchasing Information For Make Your Own Rules Diet:

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Shimmy for Me is a Modern Romance With A (Hip) Twist

She had me at shimmy. As a "belly dancer", I am always interested in any book or media entertainment that involves middle eastern dance. Needless to say, I was excited to learn that Goddess Fish Promotions was organizing a Book Blast for Deanna Cameron's new novella Shimmy For Me. I jumped at the chance to participate. Previously, I had read Cameron's historical novel The Belly Dancer and was eager to catch a glimpse of Shimmy For Me.

Slysam Enjoys and Shares is participating in a book blast. So this post contains a summary, a chance to enter a giveaway for a $25 giftcard, and an excerpt from the novella.

Cover for Shimmy For Me by Deanna Cameron

Book Summary:

Juggling two jobs to keep her belly dance studio afloat keeps Abby Anderson’s mind off her shattered love life—until a reawakened pain sends her into the arms of an anonymous stranger she plucks from the audience of her tribal belly dance show. No names, no strings, no romance. She tells herself it’s a harmless hookup.

Until he turns up at her day job . . .

Derek Collier, the sexy heir to the Collier media dynasty, just landed everything he’s always wanted: the publisher’s seat at the Orange County Herald. Except his first order of business is to sell the newspaper. Reeling from his family’s betrayal, his only comfort is the memory of that mysterious belly dancer and the perfect night they spent together.

He won’t rest until he finds her again.

She’ll lose everything if he does.

About the Author, Deanna Cameron:

The author Deanna Cameron
DeAnna Cameron writes novels featuring feisty heroines transformed by true love and belly dance—the oldest and most exciting dance form in the world. Her novels have been translated into Japanese, Polish, and Serbian, and her work has been praised for its “deft prose, energetic characters and . . . colorful images” by RT Book Reviews and called “most entertaining” by the Historical Novel Review. Before turning to fiction, DeAnna worked as a journalist, writing and editing for several Southern California newspapers and magazines. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, as well as its Orange County chapter. When she isn’t working on her next novel, she can usually be found at her jeweler’s bench, creating new wire-wrap, bead, and multimedia designs. She lives in Orange County, Calif., with her family.

Excerpt From Shimmy For Me

Promotional Meme From The Authors Website:

By the time Abby took her place on the small stage, the lights were low, and a slow, snaky melody had filled the restaurant’s main room. She was only a silhouette to the roomful of diners, holding her pose like a living statue. She usually closed her eyes during this prelude and focused on the energy of the music and the audience.

Not tonight.

In the darkness, her gaze roamed. She wanted a good view before the stage lights came up to brighten her, and blind her.

Nearly every seat was filled. A good draw for a Thursday night. Mostly couples, some groups. But it was the single men she searched for. The ones who sat on the fringe to watch.

Would it be the college jock tipping back beer in a bottle? The shy guy in the Oxford shirt fidgeting with his soda straw? Maybe the older . . .

A Suit at the bar caught her eye. One hand wrapped around a highball glass, the other tugging at his tie. Calm. Confident. And sexy as hell. The way his gaze locked on her made her tingle in all the right places.

He was the one.

Derek Collier sipped his Macallan 18 and watched the restaurant’s belly dancer come alive to the hypnotic rhythm pulsing through the dining room. When he’d seen the words “belly dancing” glowing in blue neon beneath the Sultan’s Tent sign, he’d expected the kind of flashy beads and sequins dancer he’d seen a hundred times before.

He didn’t expect this.

The poster at the front called her Zenina, a tribal fusion belly dancer. Whatever that was. From his vantage point at the bar, she looked like nothing he’d ever seen—part bohemian waif, part harem fantasy, part . . . Damn, the way she swayed and writhed up there was making it impossible to think.

Promotional Meme From The Authors Website:

Enter To Win A $25 Gift Card: 

Author Deanna Cameron  will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B&N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Where to Purchase Shimmy For Me and The Belly Dancer:

I received a review copy of this novella from the author and Goddess Fish Promotions to facilitate my review.  I received no other compensation yet. I say "yet" because I do include affiliate links in the Purchasing information. If you click on those links and make a purchase you support this blog as I receive a small commission on the sales. Sounds like a winning proposition to me -- support the author, support the blogger, and score something fun to read (or whatever you buy from Amazon). 

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Conversation With Jim Tillberry Author Of Coffee Dates From Hell

A collage of illustrations from Coffee Dates From Hell #CoffeeDatesFromH
I reviewed Coffee Dates From Hell by Jim Tillberry on my fitness and lifestyle blog Feeling Fit, Bit by Bit, for the full review visit Review Coffee Dates From Hell

In case you missed it, Coffee Dates From Hell by Jim Tillberry takes a humorous look at one aspect of single life -- the coffee date. 

Summary of Coffee Dates From Hell:
"When two single people meet for the first time, they often arrange a “coffee date.” Coffee Dates From Hell is a humorous fictional account of several very bad coffee dates. Many of these dates are disasters from the beginning. Others are destined to be train wrecks if the two people ever see each other again. The coffee dates include several famous people such as Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, and J. Edgar Hoover. You’ll also meet a range of colorful characters including a psychic, a cross dresser, and even a cannibal. The coffee dates include many funny twists and surprises. The humor is often silly, irreverent, and politically incorrect."
As a reader,  I am always curious about what inspires the author. Author Jim Tillberry graciously indulged me with this interview...

Q: What inspired you to write “Coffee Dates From Hell”?

A: I’ve been single a long time and have had my share of bad dates.  So I was interested in writing about horrible dates.   There have been many books, TV shows, and movies about “dates from hell,” so I took that concept and limited the dates to coffee dates.  It’s an ironic title because even when coffee dates are bad, they’re usually pretty short and harmless.  By making the book fictional instead of autobiographical I opened it up to more possibilities including historical figures.

Q: What inspired your idea for the coffee dates among the historical figures?

A: I’ve always been somewhat of a history buff and I was intrigued about the opportunity of revealing the personal lives of historical icons in awkward or funny situations.  For example, it’s well documented that Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln had a stormy marriage.  She was a relentless nagger and somewhat mentally ill.  So I tried to imagine what a first coffee date might have been like.

Q: You mention 10 things never to do on a coffee date, how many of those things have you actually done? Or experienced?

A: I admit it’s a silly list. These are self-evident things to avoid doing on a first date and probably any date (All right, I can see doing a ventriloquist act with your belly button by the third date, but not on the first coffee date).   Really the only one on the list that I’ve experienced is showing up the wrong day and also showing up at the wrong venue.  Both of those mistakes leading to missed connections have happened to me a few times.  As I sat waiting in a coffee house, I always wondered if I was being stood up.  Afterwards I was never completely sure which one of us was at fault in getting the time or place mixed up.

Q: If readers like Coffee Dates From Hell, do you have other books they can read?

A: Yes.  If they like this book, they should enjoy my first book Revenge of the Vegetarian.  It’s just as wacky, if not more so.  Don’t be misled by the title.  Meat eaters find the book funny too. 

Where To Purchase Coffee Dates From Hell & Revenge of the Vegetarian:

Affiliate links to follow, if you click on these links and make a purchase then I receive a small commission. It doesn't effect the price you pay, so it is a nice way to support both Enjoys & Shares and an independent author too.

And Now A Word From Our Sponsors About Another Type of Story Telling:


You May Also Like: