Favorite Things

These are a few of my favorite things. From products I have reviewed in the past, things I enjoy now and places I have been.

Book Review: My Happy Place by Sheleen Lepar and Helene Pam


I was given the opportunity to review a wonderful children’s journal. “My Happy Place” by Sheleen Lepar and Helene Pam is a self reflection and personal growth journal filled with creative exercises, activities and inspiring quotes. This journal will take your child on an exciting journey of self-discovery.

By engaging in the activities and exercises in this beautifully illustrated journal, your child will have an opportunity for personal growth and self reflection. They will have a chance to creatively express themselves through writing, drawing and coloring. In addition, each exercise will give them an insight of who they are. It will empower them and give them an awareness of their importance in this world. They will have a chance to discover their dreams and reflect on their accomplishments. In turn, this will build self confidence which leads to a better relationship with themselves and with others. It will take them on a path to happiness by teaching them the habits of happy people.

A true happy place is a place deep inside that bubbles and glistens and glows. It grows from the seed that we plant in the world when love and our gratitude flows. In our happy place, we will treasure all life and love and embrace who we are. We’ll nourish our minds and nurture our souls and radiate light like a star”- Helene Pam

There are 4 sections of this journal. One is self reflection. The exercises in this section will help a child discover their inner beauty, reflect on the things that they like about themselves and the things that make them happy as well as express their dreams and things that they are grateful for. The next section is school and hobbies. This section helps them to write out their achievement and goals. Family and friends is another section in which they list the people that they love and how they can express that love to them. It helps them to reflect on the deeds of love and how to be more thankful. The last section is helping the world and how to help the community in big ways and little ways. It gives them ideas on how to take care of our earth and enjoy nature.

At the end of the book, the child will receive praise on completing the book along with a beautiful poem written by Helene Pam part of which states that:

Our world is connected; that’s something we share and love and compassion can spread everywhere”- Helene Pam

In reviewing this journal, I can tell that a lot of love went into the making of this journal. That it is the passion of these two women, Sheleen Lepar and Helene Pam ( a mother daughter duo) to spread happiness and inspire young minds. This journal is also well thought out. The exercises and activities contained in this book provide well researched techniques of personal growth and happiness. Not only were the exercises and activities well thought out and researched but they have a positive vibration which is important for a child. The quotes throughout the book help with self reflection. They are simple enough for a child to understand and deep enough to inspire self reflection. The two poems contained in the book and written by Helene Pam are beautiful and touching. The illustrations are beautiful and whimsical, perfect for a little child (or child at heart person) to enjoy.

The message that I received from this book is a message of love- a love of self and a love for others. When I used this journal with my 8 year old son, it made him smile throughout all the exercises. He had a great deal of introspection and then afterwards, a feeling of satisfaction as well as empowerment, confidence and happiness when he was able to see all the achievements, dreams and goals that he accomplished. My favorite page to do with him was the gratitude tree. It was enlightening as well as introspective to talk about the things he is grateful for everyday. His favorite page was the goals page. He had a great time listing his goals and taking pride in them.

My Happy Place journal is beautifully made. The colors on each page are vibrant and bold. The illustrations are beautiful, cute and whimsical. The book itself is excellent quality. In addition, the pages are of good quality. My son was able to use marker to write in his journal and it did not bleed through. This book makes a wonderful keepsake of your child’s thoughts, dreams, goals and wishes. I will treasure his writings forever.

I highly recommend this journal for your child to build self confidence, learn the habits of happy people, develop and exercise self reflection and self expression and in turn, increase empowerment.

Most importantly, the message of a love of self and a love for others is in this journal and I believe that is the best message of all.

Please visit purplesplashstudios.com/my-happy-place to check out and order this book for your child. You can also check out other wonderful books by Helene Pam and Sheleen Lepar at purplesplashstudios.com/books

Also at Purplesplashstudios.com, you can find some fun extras, such as these wonderful printables:

Don’t forget to check out Purplesplashstudios.com

on Instagram: @purple.splash.studios

on Twitter: @PurpleSplashS

on Facebook: @purplesplashstudios

on Pinterest: @PurpleSplashS

Today I am grateful for wonderful opportunities to be a part of something beautiful and inspirational. Thank you Sheleen for this wonderful opportunity to review  the “My Happy Place” Journal. 

Stay tuned for my review of the “My Gratitude and Dream Journal” also by Sheleen Lepar and Helene Pam.


About Cristy’s Pride- a non profit organization

Below is a speech that was written and given by Sabrina Shahawi, in honor of Cristy’s Pride.

I would like to start off by talking about Cristina. She was a daughter, a sister, a niece, a cousin, a friend and a very special person who made a positive impact on every person she touched while she was present on this earth. For those of you who weren’t able to meet her, know that she had a heart of gold. She sincerely cared about everyone. It was her mission to make someone’s day, week, minute and life better. Just this past weekend, her college sorority held their annual walk in her memory. They held this walk to raise money for the scholarship that they created in her honor. It is truly amazing to see how her memory continues to live on even when she is no longer with us in the physical world.

We first founded Cristy’s Pride in 2013, the year that she passed away. Prior to her passing, she was working towards a career as a teacher. Specifically, she wanted to work as a teacher to low income areas and to offer free tutoring to her students who wished to advance their knowledge, but whose families did not have the means to do so.

We founded this organization in her honor to continue the work that she was doing here on earth. I am so happy to say that we are now serving over 400 students, across 6 different schools in our tutoring centers located in Barranquilla, Colombia. Our organization aims to prevent children from dropping out of school by using innovative teaching strategies to tutor them in mathematics, reading and writing. We work towards empowering them to reach their highest potential and to raise their self esteem in order for them to achieve their goals and dreams.

The children whom we are serving live in very poor conditions. Many of them do not have shoes and have to share their shoes with their siblings. In Colombia, schools are separated by morning and afternoon sessions. So some children go to the morning session for school and then run back home to give their shoes to their sibling so that they can attend the afternoon session of school. Since they need to go home to give their shoes to their sibling, they cannot attend our morning tutoring sessions. Today, your donations will go towards new shoes so that these children can go to school and go to tutoring. They will also go towards backpacks, school supplies and tutor funding.

We are hoping to expand our organization in either Tijuana or San Diego this upcoming year. It fills me with such happiness to see all the support present here tonight. From the bottom of my heart, I truly appreciate everyone for coming out and supporting an organization that means so much to me and my family.

To learn more about Cristy’s Pride, please visit the Cristy’s Pride website at http://www.cristyspride.com/. You can also visit the Cristy’s Pride Facebook page at Facebook/Cristy’s Pride or the Cristy’s Pride at Twitter.com/CristysPride

K cups are now fully recyclable!

I wrote a post a while back on Ideas on how to upcycle your K cups. In it were links to DIY posts with ideas on how to upcycle K cups.  Upcycling is a great idea for K cups because K cups are not fully recyclable. The K cup pods consist of a combination of plastic, aluminum, coffee grounds and a paper filter. All of these items can be recycled separately but as a whole, the K cup cannot be recycled. You will need to take it apart and separate it in order to recycle the plastic part.

NEWS FLASH AND UPDATE: When I wrote Ideas on how to upcycle your k cups, Keurig had stated that they wouldn’t have fully recyclable K cups until the year 2020. But guess what I found out? Keurig now has some coffee flavors with pods that can be fully recycled! Check out their website keurig.com to see what they have available.

Now back to the original subject:

Along with the links on how to upcycle K cups for DIY purposes, I also suggested buying a Recycle a Cup tool which cuts and separates used K cups for recycling. The coffee grounds can then be used for compost and the plastic part can be recycled. Go to Recycleacup.com to check out this gadget.

I never bought this tool. Although at times I wish that I did. Instead I took apart the k cups by hand. This is a very hard task. You basically have to rip out the foil top, scoop out the coffee grounds and rip off the filter. Ripping off the filter is the hardest part. It really was a lot of work.

Of course another great option is to use a k-cup pod reusable filter. Then you won’t have to worry about recycling any plastic part, because there is no plastic part. You simply fill the reusable filter with coffee. Then when you are done making your coffee, you simply dump the coffee grounds out and wash your reusable filter so that it can be used again. This is the option we use.

However, I was happy to find another alternative. An alternative that allows you to still benefit from the convenience of a K cup with the ability to recycle the plastic. I found Sun Harvest Organic Fair Trade Single Serve coffee pods.

Smart and Final carries this brand. Sun Harvest has natural and organic products which are made with certified USDA Organic ingredients.

This cup of single serve coffee is not only delicious and bold and strong and delightful but the pod is fully recyclable! The carton contains the directions on how to take this cup apart after use, but really, it is so easy. The top of the product which is the foil top, the coffee grounds and the filter is constructed to rip off easily after use. No tugging, or pulling, or spilling coffee all over the place because of the difficulty involved in taking it apart. No, none of that. Because these single serve coffee pods are fully recyclable!

Oh, I said that already.

Give these coffee pods a try. Drink your coffee without the guilt of Mother Nature looking at you with that “mommy” look. You know the one.

Oh, and just in case you still want ideas on how to upcycle your K cups, here are the DIY post links:

25 ways to reuse k cups by happyhooligans.ca

33 genius ways to reuse your k cups by buzzfeed.com.

20 crafty uses for k cups by Mother Nature Network.

how to reuse your k cups  by Good Housekeeping

how to reuse your k cups by popsugar.com

Now back to drinking coffee…