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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Book Review: “Room For Love” by Andrea Meyer

Recently, I did something that I thought I would never do. I went on a blind date! 🙂

OK, I have to be honest it wasn’t with a guy. My date was with a book. I know you’re probably thinking, “Rosie, WTF! You had our hopes up!”  Before you go and revolt, let me explain. I participated in my public library’s Valentine’s Day event called “Blind Date with a Book.”  The staff gift-wrapped a1264885 small selection of romance novels and placed them on display at the front of the library. With the book’s title in disguise, those interested could pick one lucky member out of the group, check it out of the library, unwrap “the date”, and start reading.

Beneath the cleverly-wrapped red-hearted tissue paper, I read Andrea Meyer’s debut novel called “Room For Love.” The book is about a 32-year-old film writer and editor named Jacquie Stuart and her quest is to find the man of her dreams in the streets of New York City. She has looked for love in all the wrong places, and she wonders whether she’ll ever meet Mr. Right. Taking her sister’s advice, Jacquie scours through the “roommate wanted” ads to find her one true love. In doing that, she can find out more about a guy by studying his surroundings. It’s such an innovative idea that she writes a piece about it in the fictional Luscious magazine (think Cosmo, Redbook, Harper’s Bazaar, etc).

After visiting several apartments and seeing (and dating) potential candidates, Jacquie finds in an almost perfect situation with Anthony, a reality show producer. Certain circumstances makes Jacquie questions her actions. Is Anthony Mr. Right? What will happen when he finds out the truth about her? Did she really have to look hard to find love?

This is a very light chick-lit read. It almost reminded me of Candace Bushnell and the show Sex and the City. The characters were appealing and Andrea Meyer did a great job in making them seem real and in building the suspense. While reading the book, I kept wondering when Jacquie was going to Mr. Right.

I was very surprised with how my “date” ended. 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2013 in Book Reviews

 

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Flavorwire

British children’s author Terry Deary — best known for his Horrible Histories series and controversial chatter about the nation’s school systems — told the Guardian he thinks libraries “have had their day.” He’d prefer that people buy their books instead of borrowing them, claiming that “books aren’t public property.” Deary added, “Authors, booksellers and publishers need to eat. We don’t expect to go to a food library to be fed.” The cranky comments feel like a swift kick in the teeth since libraries around the world are struggling against significant budget cuts each year, and authors have been tirelessly advocating for their importance. We gathered a few passionate statements from 20 writers that emphasize why libraries aren’t “sentimental” institutions. See what Neil Gaiman, Judy Blume, Ray Bradbury, and other writers have to contribute to the conversation, below.

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Posted by on February 22, 2013 in Random Thoughts

 

Community hub keeps expanding

A/N: This article appeared in the February 20 issue of the Ephrata Review.

By: Rosalba Ugliuzza

Fridays are back and the Village Post Office has arrived.

These are just two of the reasons the year is off to a great start at the Ephrata Public Library.

But there is even more excitement on the way in the coming months as library visitors and users will be able to scour the building in a galactic way.

Beginning Saturday, May 18 until July 11, the library will host a science traveling exhibit called “Discover Earth.” Thanks to a grant received by the American Library Association, Ephrata is the only library in Pennsylvania hosting the grand exhibit.

“This project will be the largest that we’ve ever done at the library,” said executive director Penny Talbert. “I am expecting in those six weeks to see 60,000 to 80,000 people come to see the exhibit.”

Part of the STAR Library Education Network, which is led by the Space Science Institute’s National Center for Interactive Learning, the Discover Earth exhibit is visiting 10 libraries nationwide.

The exhibition includes an 18-inch diameter Magic Planet globe and a 42-inch multi-touch table computer. Children and adults will be able to gain knowledge about the Earth through features like animal specimens and simulation-based educational games.

Talbert said said there will be educational tours for the kids.

“They will view a short movie and then they will go through the exhibit to do experiments,” she said. “There’s a game show that kids can play. It’s really neat.”

The library has also recently installed a real-time digital weather station that will collect data and show how local temperature, pressure, and precipitation change during the exhibition’s stay at the library.

“We’ll be able to gather that data and compare it with the other data that the 10 (stations) in other libraries in the country have,” said Talbert.

As part of the exhibit, there will be an archaeologist who will help the kids with an archaeological dig. Talbert said an astrophysicist from NASA will be teaching a beginner astronomy course for the public.

“There are close to 100 programs that we are doing for this exhibit,” she said. “It’s going to be crazy, but it’s going to be awesome.”

The exhibition will also coincide with the library’s summer reading program this year, aptly titled “Earth Science.”

“It’s like the perfect storm,” said Talbert. “So we are really excited and scared to death.”

The library has overcome challenges in past years, but it has received enormous support from the public for its changes like the most recent one with the “re-opening” on Fridays.

“We had a lot of people that were very adamant that we open on Fridays. In fact, we used to get our annual fund drive letters back, and they would write, ‘Will donate when you open on Fridays,’” Talbert said. “Fridays were our slowest days so that’s why we decided to close.”

Closed Fridays resulted in a 37 percent cut in the state funding. Talbert said the Ephrata library wasn’t as badly hit as other libraries.

“When something like that happens, you try to recover, and you find new sources of income,” she said.

Foot traffic has consistently picked up with more services offered. In 2012, more than 335,000 people visited the library, and circulation has increased by four percent.

With the growing popularity of electronic readers, EPL has expanded its collections of books, audiobooks and magazines by launching a digital library.

“Not only is the library going to be about books and the community, but it is also going to be about content delivery,” said Talbert.

Through an online service called OneClick Digital, users with a library account can download free e-audiobooks. Users can also download books through OverDrive, another online service with a collection of best-selling and classic titles. There’s a seven- to 14-day lending period. Once the e-books expire, they will return to the digital collection. Users can check out five titles at one time.

Users can also check out Amazon Kindles and Kindle Fires at the library. Talbert said people have also started to embrace the Zinio online service, which allows users to download magazines to their computers, Kindle Fires and iPads.

“Books will never go away. People love books,” she said. “Sometimes people will say, ‘Oh in 10 years, we’re not going to have books,’ but they like them. There’s a reason why we’re so busy.”

The Village Post Office, located on the State Street entrance of the library in the former staff room, opened about two weeks ago and functions just like a regular post office. People can mail letters and packages and buy postage stamps — however, packages will not be weighed.

The library’s VPO is the first in central Pennsylvania.

“The nice thing about it is that the (Village) post office is opened much later because we are opened Monday through Friday until 7 p.m. and Friday, we are open until 5 p.m.,” said Talbert. “People seem pretty excited about being able to come here and mail their packages.”

With the passport and post offices now in effect, the library plans to expand it services again in mid-summer by opening a notary office. Talbert said the expansion of services is a good thing for the library.

“It’s almost like a knowledge center or a community commons, and it’s becoming more and more like that,” she said. “It’s a destination. I want them to come here.”

There are a couple of spots still available to sign up for the Discover Earth exhibit. For more information on the exhibit, the digital library, and the Village Post Office, visit ephratapubliclibrary.org.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2013 in Published articles

 

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Valentine’s Day Book Review: “Love Unscripted” by Tina Reber

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“I don’t want anyone else – just you. And no matter where I am, wherever I go, you’re the only one who is holding my heart.” ~Ryan

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Normally, I don’t particularly care for this day because my philosophy is that if you really want to show that special someone how much you love them, you demonstrate that love 365 days a year!! Don’t just show your love on that one day in the middle of February. To be honest, your significant other isn’t the one getting the incentive of your love on Valentine’s Day. It’s Hallmark and other greeting card and chocolate candy companies that’s milking this “holiday” because they’re the ones sucking the life out of your wallet with every penny you have.  I’m not bitter. I’m just saying my peace. *Sigh* I just hopped off my soap box and move on to important things. 🙂

Now I love a good love story. One that’s well-written, brings drama and angst to the plot and ultimately melts my heart with a happy ending, and I found that in Tina Reber’s first novel in her Love series called Love Unscripted.

The story takes place in Seaport, Rhode Island, where Taryn Mitchell owns a pub that she has inherited from her family and lives above the establishment. She’s had a difficult, yet quiet life. She’s maturely independent, confident, self-sufficient, and a little standoffish when it comes to men. She’s not one to be googly-eyed when an adoring Adonis lurks around the corner. A-List heartthrob actor Ryan Christensen is in town filming the second movie from a book trilogy called “Seaside.” Being an A-List celebrity is tough, since one has to deal with those pesky paparazzis and stalking fans. Ryan knows all too well about that, especially when one day he is being chased by screaming fans. As Taryn steps out of her bar, she sees him running down the street. Their worlds begin to collide when she lets him into her closed bar. Ryan manages to escape from his fans, but once in the pub he accidentally opens the back door that leads up to Taryn’s apartment. They spend the whole day together, and a friendship is born, which then leads to love.

However, their love story is not an easy one as they try to overcome several obstacles such as right to privacy, trust issues, sensational tabloid stories, jealous fans, and the ever-present paparazzi. Can Taryn adjust herself to Ryan’s world?

I enjoyed this story immensely because for once it wasn’t a lust-at-first-sight plot. It starts out slow and builds up little by little to the point where you’re like “OK! Let’s hook up already!” Their chemistry is palpable, and their interactions and emotions towards one another can be felt as a reader. Their character developments, including Taryn’s insecurities, were real. Tina Reber does a great job in exploring the culture of super-stardom. As any celebrity may tell you, though it reaps many benefits, it’s not an easy thing to be. I love that fact that Taryn stays grounded throughout the entire plot. The ensemble characters (Ryan’s castmates and family and Taryn’s friends: Marie, Tammy, Pete, and Mike, to name a few) add humor, drama, and a little vibrance to the story.

The story actually reminded me of the way Matt Damon met his wife Luciana. He was an A-List, award-winning actor/screenwriter when he met his wife at a bar she worked at in Miami in 2003. She was a bartender, and Matt was filming the “Stuck On You” on location at the time.

So overall, great book! Kudos to Tina Reber. I am currently reading the second book in the series called Love Unrehearsed. Stay tuned for my upcoming review.

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2013 in Book Reviews

 

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Pumped for Love

A/N: This article was also part of the Heart Health supplement in February’s issue of Businesswoman’s magazine.

By: Rosalba Ugliuzza

Behind every great man, there’s a great woman. But for 77-year-old Eugene Borza, he has a sweetheart.

Thanks to his wife of 37 years, WITF-TV President Kathleen Pavelko, Borza has overcome his latest health scare for the better.

Last January, Pavelko was at her husband’s side when he underwent surgery to replace four blocked arteries at the PinnacleHealth Heart Center in Harrisburg.

“My wife Kathleen is an angel. She decided she was going to best take care of me because when you’re on a lot of meds, your mind is not working very well. She was there all the time,” said Borza, a retired college professor. “She was the basic source of support.”

Borza had no medical and family history of heart disease. So the news came as a shock when he developed symptoms of shortness of breath and chest discomfort in March 2011. After a stress test resulted negative, the couple consulted with their physician who initially thought the problem might have been gastric-related.

“Our physician, Dr. Howard Cohen, suggested that only the “gold standard” test (cardiac catheterization) could confirm the source of the symptoms,” said Pavelko. “That revealed four blockages that were repaired via surgery a few days later.”

Borza is grateful for the excellent care the doctors and staff provided at PinnacleHealth. The couple, who have two children, have resumed a healthy, low-salt, moderate fat diet and exercise regularly.

Pavelko said it’s important that two people are present when they are consulting with a medical professional.

“Each meeting is an invaluable opportunity to ask questions and expand your understanding of the situation,” she said.

 

Borza said his wife did just that and owes her a great debt.

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2013 in Published articles

 

Center Stage

A/N: February is heart awareness month. This article was featured in a supplement in February’s issue of Businesswoman magazine.

By: Rosalba Ugliuzza

Brenda McCann was an active person growing up. She had played softball and bowled. She has never had high blood pressure or high cholesterol. However, when she experienced fatigue and shortness of breath, she thought it was part of the aging process.

Unbeknownst to her, her heart would take center stage in the years to come.

Her cardiac journey began in January 2008 when McCann, 51, was supposed to undergo a hysterectomy. But once she was under anesthesia, her heart jumped to 300 beats per minute. Alarmed, doctors canceled the surgery and performed a heart catheterization instead.

“They claimed normally when the heart races and does an irregular beat, it usually means there’s a blockage,” she said.

By spring 2011, she had a pacemaker put in, and in July 2012, she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, in which the organ wasn’t pumping out enough blood. McCann said her heart was pumping out blood below average, between 20 to 25 percent.

Doctors at PinnacleHealth performed a cardiac ablation to correct her heart rhythm problems. Though heart problems run in her family, McCann is the only member to have this surgery.

“I guess I can say I’m lucky I went in for surgery or I might not have known the condition that I had was serious and it was,” she said.

In addition to her follow-up appointments at PinnacleHealth, McCann takes her heart medications and monitors her sodium and water intake. She and her husband, Howard, have also taken an organic approach to their lifestyle like growing vegetables from their garden and ignoring packaged foods and canned goods from grocery stores.

 

“We bake our own bread. We can our own produce in the summer. It’s just something that we do,” she said. “Everything on my end contributes to longevity.”

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2013 in Published articles

 

“Bold & Bling: What’s Hot? What’s Not?”

A/N: This article was previously published in the December issue of BusinessWoman magazine.

By: Rosalba Ugliuzza

The beauty of jewelry is special; it’s a personal extension of fashion that brings versatility. From bold to bling, jewelry gives a touch of confidence to a woman that can transform her to a precious darling or a sexy diva.

And with the seasons changing, so do the trends. Whether the hottest piece of jewelry is a big, bold pearl, a unique colored gemstone, or sterling silver, one thing is for sure each year: Customers want to be wowed.

“Jewelry is such an emotional purchase, whether that emotion is a celebration or a reward. At Mountz Jewelers, we always want to fulfill that need for a customer. We stay current with the trends,” said Cherie Grove, manager of Mountz Jewelers in Camp Hill and a Certified Gemologist Appraiser. “Customers want something that will wow them, and that they can be proud wearing because its unique.”

Year after year, the diamond still proves to be a girl’s best friend as it is a timeless classic for every woman to own.

“Diamonds stud earrings never go out of style,” Grove said.

With a lot of the young people, particularly children of the baby boomers, getting married, bridal jewelry is selling like hotcakes.

More diamond engagement rings are being set in white gold rather than yellow gold to amplify the unique look.

“Right now, we see so many of the diamonds surrounding the diamonds, and it gives this great look that is big,” said Julie Gantz, manager of Warren Jewellers in Lancaster. “It’s bold, but it doesn’t have the gloss of one single diamond itself. A lot of sparkle or a lot of glamour that comes out of, for example, halo settings.”

Grandma-style pearls may be out the door, but big, bold, colored or white pearls are still in style.

Pearl jewelry has become so versatile for women that they wear them with a t-shirt or with a little black dress at a party to mimic Jackie Kennedy.

“We’ve found pearls are really, really big right now,” Gantz said. “A lot of pearl bracelet styles are out there.”

Gantz said while chic is in, many people are taking the classic look and injecting it with their personal flavor. For example, an 18-year-old customer was shopping for her prom and ultimately bought a double-strand pearl necklace and pearl earrings and bracelet at the store because she wanted to look like Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

“Colored pearls give it their own unique taste. It’s not something that’s too expensive or out of reach for most women,” she said. “It’s a really special moment when we can all look at someone going to their prom, and they want to look like Audrey Hepburn.”

According to the Chinese calendar, 2012 marked the year of the dragon, which symbolizes wealth, prosperity, protection, and love in the Asian culture. Designer brand John Hardy is one of the leading designers using traditional Balinese jewelry-making techniques and patterns to create modern pieces that incorporate the dragon motif. It is also a staple brand at Mountz Jewelers.

“Known as the Naga Collection, the dragon is the inspiration behind every piece of the collection. Naga earrings may reflect the scales of the dragon, while one of the bracelet’s clasps features the dragon head. The pearls and circles in the Naga Collection all symbolize love,” Grove said.

Bracelets have become popular and cover entire gamut from chunky and block-colored to beaded bracelets in rainbow hues, especially with Pandora jewelry.

“The Pandora brand offers jewelry in addition to the charms and releases a collection every fall. They’ll do the same thing in the spring as well,” said Grove. “Every season, customers have the opportunity to add the new, fresh beads, which is wonderful.”

Stackable rings from Pandora have become a hot trend as well, according to Gantz.

“You can come in and buy yourself a new ring starting at $25 and be able to mix and match colors and be able to not wear the same ring every single day,” she said. “A lot of gemstones in the designs are big, bold trends (at Warren Jewellers).”

Gemstones in any color are still a hit with customers, while the traditional birthstone jewelry is a thing of the past. Since the inception of autumn, rough-cut quartz has become popular with its brown hue that one can wear with neutrals or any fall wardrobe.

Keeping up with the trends can be a fun, enjoyable, shopping experience for customers and jewelry designers and salespeople. However, no matter the style or the trend, every client is unique.

“As the customers continue to change, the designs will have to continue to evolve, and Mountz Jewelers will continue to offer a unique and diversified selection of jewelry for our clients,” said Grove. “So it all kind of goes together to fulfill that needs of each client when they’re looking for a beautiful, special place.”

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2013 in Published articles