Book Review: Grammar Girl’s Tips for Better Writing — Grammar Helps by Mignon Fogarty

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Grammar Girl's Grammar Book Review

The Book

Online sensation Grammar Girl makes grammar fun and easy in this New York Times bestseller

Are you stumped by split infinitives? Terrified of using “who” when a “whom” is called for? Do you avoid the words “affect” and “effect” altogether?

Grammar Girl is here to help!

Mignon Fogarty, a.k.a. Grammar Girl, is determined to wipe out bad grammar—but she’s also determined to make the process as painless as possible. A couple of years ago, she created a weekly podcast to tackle some of the most common mistakes people make while communicating. The podcasts have now been downloaded more than twenty million times, and Mignon has dispensed grammar tips on Oprah and appeared on the pages of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.

Written with the wit, warmth, and accessibility that the podcasts are known for, Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing covers the grammar rules and word-choice guidelines that can confound even the best writers. From “between vs. among” and “although vs. while” to comma splices and misplaced modifiers, Mignon offers memory tricks and clear explanations that will help readers recall and apply those troublesome grammar rules. Chock-full of tips on style, business writing, and effective e-mailing, Grammar Girl’s print debut deserves a spot on every communicator’s desk.

My Thoughts

The full title of this book is actually Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. I’ve known of Mignon Fogarty (aka Grammar Girl) for a long time, so I wasn’t worried about the content of this book, but I didn’t want anyone who is not familiar with her to read the title and get the wrong idea of the kinds of material I’ve been reading. :)

Other than the unfortunate sound of the title, this is a GREAT grammar and writing book. If I could choose only one grammar book to have on hand, I’d choose this one, even over Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style. It’s thorough and it’s easy (and fun) to read. Mignon’s writing style is personable, friendly, charming, relevant . . . Anymore adjectives I should throw in there?

I’m so glad I got my hands on a copy of this great book. I’ve already referenced it several times. (I can never keep the rules for “who” and “whom” straight in my head!)

A plus is that this book covers many questions that have risen in the age of the Internet regarding citing websites, capitalizing special words, and much more. I totally recommend this book to any student or writer!

I give this book 5 stars.


Visit Grammar Girl on the Web.
Follow Mignon on Twitter.
Purchase a copy on Amazon.

About the Author

Grammar Girl

Mignon Fogarty is the creator of Grammar Girl and founder of the Quick and Dirty Tips Network. A technical writer and entrepreneur, she has served as an editor and producer at a number of health and science Web sites. She has a B.A. in English from the University of Washington in Seattle and an M.S. in biology from Stanford University. She lives in Reno, Nevada.

August Wedding Posts

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For those interested, here are the wedding posts I wrote for Dainty Jewell’s this month! (I’ve decided to send out one post at the end of the month rather than posting links to them weekly.) Enjoy!

August's Dainty Jewell's Wedding Posts

1. Popular Purple

2. Choosing the Perfect Wedding Dress

3. White Pumpkin Wedding Ideas

4. Pink & Blue, Tranquil & Feminine


Odyssey Adventure Club iPad Mini Giveaway!

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The end of summer is in sight, and OAC is giving away an iPad Mini back-to-school bundle!
It might seem like summer just began for your kids, so if they need some added motivation to get their homework done, remind them they can jump on the Odyssey Adventure Club after their papers are written and their math problems are solved.

As members, your kids can also listen to Album 58 before the album is released to the public! Sign up today for just $5!

Here’s what part one is about (which you can listen to for free HERE):

It’s a time of surprises as Wooton becomes the celebrity guest at Comic-Connellsville and Whit finds himself in conflict over the upcoming “Let’s Get Together Festival” in Odyssey. Plus, hear an interview with writer-director Paul McCusker about the entire 14-part series.

Album 58 was inspired by Focus on the Family’s The Family Project, a 12-session small group experience that explores the theological, philosophical, and cultural underpinnings of the traditional family, and combines that information with inspiring stories and practical tools to help 21st-century families thrive.
Plus, here’s a sneak peek of a new episode called “The Lone Lawman”!

LoneLawman_Final 2

Jason, Whit, Red and the gang rustle up herds of fun while performing a new Kids’ Radio show set in the Old West. “The Lone Lawman” features a confused boy getting mixed up with a shifty band of bank robbers. Can a hero on horseback set things right? See just how wild the West can get in this action-packed send-up of old-time radio dramas.

NOW . . . on to the iPad Mini back-to-school bundle.
One grand prize winner will receive:

  • An iPad Mini

Hurry, the giveaway ends on August 27th. All winners will be announced August 28th on the widget on this page.

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit this page again on the 28th to see if you won! (You’ll see the winner’s name in the widget.)

White Pumpkin Wedding Ideas

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White Pumpkin Wedding Ideas

I realize that my blog has become quite the hodgepodge! I’ve debated whether or not I should continue linking to my weekly posts at Dainty Jewell’s. Since the majority of my readers are women, I’ve decided there may be enough interest in weddings to share these links (for now) without it becoming annoying. :) So if you’re interested in ideas for using white pumpkins in weddings, feel free to check out my post here:

White Pumpkin Wedding Ideas

Book Review: “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens” by Sean Covey

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7 Habits Highly Effective Teens

The Book

Being a teenager is both wonderful and challenging. In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, author Sean Covey applies the timeless principles of the 7 Habits to teens and the tough issues and life-changing decisions they face. In an entertaining style, Covey provides a step-by-step guide to help teens improve self-image, build friendships, resist peer pressure, achieve their goals, get along with their parents, and much more. In addition, this book is stuffed with cartoons, clever ideas, great quotes, and incredible stories about real teens from all over the world. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens will engage teenagers unlike any other book.

An indispensable book for teens, as well as parents, grandparents, and any adult who influences young people, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens is destined to become the last word on surviving and thriving as a teen and beyond.

My Thoughts

This was SUCH a great book. I read it in preparation for writing a Bible curriculum series about choices, and I ended up being just as inspired as I hope the teens who go through my series will be! :) I can’t say enough good about this book. To me, the first half in particular was superb. The book is divided into four parts:

Part One: How habits make or break you and the importance of making principle-governed choices
Part Two: Being proactive, controlling your destiny so no one else will, and having will- and “won’t-” power
Part Three: Handling relationships and seeking to understand others
Part Four: “Sharpening the saw” — renewing yourself

One thing that made this book so great was how fun it was to read. The many, many stories were interesting and inspiring, and the quotes, poems, and graphics interspersed throughout the book made it an intriguing read. I wish I’d read this book as a teenager! Maybe it would have helped me use better sense in some of my decisions…

On Amazon, 303 out of 500 reviews were 5-star. I skimmed through some of the lower ratings, and people mostly said that this book was all common sense, or that it didn’t contain any miraculous revelations. That’s true — yet, to me, this book contained the kind of common sense many Americans don’t have — or don’t choose to use. The more good stuff you put in your mind, the more good will be reflected in your life. So to me, even if some of the content is common sense, mindfully choosing to dwell on how to be a better, more fulfilled person will ultimately yield those results.

This book is not a “Christian” book, but I believe God would be pleased if we would all try to live by the principles outlined in it since they agree with the Bible.

There was only one aspect I didn’t like about the book, and that was in the chapter on synergy. It inferred that no one faith is the “only” way, and of course, as a Christian, I believe that Jesus is the only way.

All in all, awesome book! I totally recommend. I would love to read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The 7 Habits of Happy Kids.

I give this book 5 stars.

Please know that ratings from 3.5 to 4.5 are good. I rarely rate a book a 5 as that wouldn’t leave a sufficient rating for those mind-blowingly great books that come along from time to time!


Visit Sean Covey’s website.
Follow Sean on Twitter.
Purchase a copy on Amazon.

About the Author

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens

Sean Covey is Senior Vice President of Innovations and Products at FranklinCovey, a world-renowned organization devoted to helping individuals and organizations achieve greatness. Sean graduated from BYU with a degree in English and later earned his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. As the starting quarterback for BYU, he led his team to two bowl games and received numerous honors. He is the author of Fourth Down and Life to GoThe 6 Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make, and the international bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, which has sold over three million copies and was translated into more than fifteen languages. He is a popular speaker to youth and adult groups on topics such as leadership.

Sean’s favorite things include going to movies, eating Mexican food, writing, producing short films, playing with his kids, riding his motorcycle, reading The Far Side comics, and shooting paintballs. He adheres to the common saying, “You’re only young once, but you can be immature forever.” He and his wife, Rebecca, live with their kids in the Rocky Mountains.

Pink and Blue Weddings: Tranquil and Feminine

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This post originally appeared on the Dainty Jewell’s blog. Enjoy!

This week is my seven-year wedding anniversary, so I’ve been reminiscing about my wedding a lot. One thing I regret is that I didn’t put more thought into my color scheme. (To be honest, I pretty much went with the first idea that popped into my head.)

At the time, I probably wouldn’t have considered a pink-blue theme, but here lately, I’ve fallen in LOVE with this color combo.

Pink and Blue Weddings

Pink and blue is a sweet mix of femininity and tranquility. A wide range of pink and blue hues makes for gorgeous color-combination possibilities. You can use pink and blue evenly in your wedding or lean more toward one color, using the other solely for accents.

Pink and Blue Weddings

Feather and Stone Photography

In contrast to the first photo, this one shows the bride’s choice of a warm shade of pink accented with periwinkle blue.

While pink-and-blue schemes tend to evoke feelings of springtime or early summer, a little tweaking can give them a late-summer-early-autumn feel. Check out this beautiful inspiration board:

Pink Blue Inspiration Board 3

Call Me Cupcake /Men of Habit / Caroline Tran Photographer via Style Me Pretty /

So pretty – and the colors are more reminiscent of autumn hayrides than of spring flowers.

In addition to the tweed suit above, I love this groom’s soft blue suit:

Pink and Blue Weddings

Jana Williams Photography via

If you’re looking for ways to incorporate extra pops of your wedding colors, consider the unconventional: The bride below used a cotton-candy-pink toile petticoat under her dress. It looks great for photos! (If you love this petticoat – for you or for your bridesmaids – you can find it here at

Pink and Blue Weddings

Tiffany Hughes Photography via

It’s said that the colors you choose for your wedding say something about your personality. Blue denotes a patient, well-balanced, and tranquil bride. The shade of blue she chooses shows whether she is introspective (e.g., pale blue) or an extrovert (e.g., aqua). Brides that go pink tend to be compassionate, sweet, and feminine. According to, blush pink is currently their most highly searched wedding color.

I was first drawn to pink and blue after seeing this wedding where the gorgeous bride used Dainty Jewell’s popular “A Night in Paris” dress for her bridesmaids. Beautiful!

Pink and Blue Weddings

Photos by Courtney

Even if you’re not a fan of pink and blue, I hope we’ve given you a little inspiration today. :)

Until next week!




5-Book Christian Book Giveaway

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5-Book Christian Book Giveaway

I realize that the only posts I’ve added to my blog in weeks have been related to my Dainty Jewell’s posts or to giveaways, but I’ve been pushing myself hard to meet writing deadlines! I haven’t had as much time to keep up with my blog as I’d like . . . The good news is I’m still trying to read when I can, and as I finish books, that often means giveaways! I have overly crowded shelves, so I’m giving away FIVE books (in good to very good condition) to a lucky winner.

As usual, use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Because of postage costs, I can only mail to addresses within the United States. Your email address will be used ONLY to contact you if you win; I never store, collect, or spam email addresses.

If you or the children in your life like VeggieTales, don’t miss this giveaway also going on here on my blog until August 11!

I hope everyone’s having a great summer!

RAFFLECOPTER TIP: If you “like” WordSmith on Facebook and the Rafflecopter form asks for your Facebook profile URL, it’s referring to what shows at the top of your screen when you’re in your Facebook profile. For example, The Facebook URL is used to verify that you’ve done what you said you’ve done. :) If all else fails, just enter your name. 

UPDATE: Congratulations to Elizabeth Landes for winning this giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

VeggieTales “Celery Night Fever” — DVD Review & Giveaway

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Celery Night Fever DVD Review and GIveaway



About the Film:

In Celery Night Fever, the retro funkadelic sights and sounds of polyester leisure suits and disco balls take center stage — along with a timeless message of friendship and forgiveness. Actor Terry Crews provides the voice of Bruce Onion, a nefarious real-estate developer who plans to turn the serene, green Celery Park into a parking lot. His unsavory scheme spurs Laura Carrot and Junior Asparagus to enact a bold plan: reuniting the long-lost 70′s band The Groovy Brothers to play at a fundraising concert. The problem is, The Groovy Brothers haven’t spoken to each other in decades, and the members have little interest in getting back together. The long-simmering feud spills over to affect Laura and Junior. It’s not just Celery Park that’s in jeopardy: if best friends can’t learn to forgive each other accept each other’s faults, the veggies might lose their cherished community gathering spot. Celery Night Fever features six original songs, including a rousing number from Bruce Onion, showcasing the musical side of Terry Crews. Celery Night Fever debuts Aug. 5 exclusively on DVD. 

My Thoughts

My two-year-old is OBSESSED with VeggieTales. As a matter of fact, I offered to review this DVD not completely sure it was in his best interest. :) (We have to have VeggieTales “time outs” every now and again!) I’m glad I decided to review it though; it was cute, and our family enjoyed it.

The film had a good theme of friendship and forgiveness, as well as an enjoyable story. The new Silly Song wasn’t our favorite, but all the other songs were catchy. As is his custom with fun music, Axton pranced around the room in circles for the duration of the songs.

I loved almost the whole show. There was one scene were Junior Asparagus, in his rush not to be late to meet Laura, runs out of his room with his underwear over his pants. Not amused by underwear and potty humor, I wasn’t a fan of that two-second clip. But I have no other complaints. I completely recommend this DVD.

Now for the fun part!

I have an extra copy of this DVD to give away!

If you are interested in winning Celery Night Fever, please use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. You will be notified by email if you win. Drawing is Monday, August 11th.

UPDATE: Congrats to Haley Scully for winning this drawing. Haley has been notified via email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and are NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Stay Tuned for Wedding Inspiration . . .

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Wedding Inspiration

For those interested . . .

Starting next week, I’ll be blogging wedding inspiration on Wednesdays at Dainty Jewell’s! I’m excited about doing this. In four days I’ll have been married seven years, but dreaming about gorgeous weddings is just as much fun as it ever was. :)

If you’re planning a wedding, you hope to plan a wedding someday, or you just like dreaming about weddings, join me there on Wednesdays! I actually started up the wedding posts this week even though it’s Thursday. You can see today’s lace-inspired post here: Lace-Themed Wedding Ideas.

Book Review: “No One to Trust” by Lynette Eason

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Book Review: No One to Trust by Lynette Eason

The Book

Summer Abernathy wakes up one morning to find her husband missing, three men in her home intent on finding him, and the life she’s been living based on a lie. Which Kyle Abernathy did she marry? The computer programmer she met in line at the bank? Or the one who was apparently using that image as a cover story?

The search for her husband — and answers — takes Summer ever deeper into a world of organized crime where people are used one moment and discarded the next. And with her deepest relationship of trust already shattered, Summer doesn’t know who to believe.

Always thrilling, Lynette Eason outdoes herself in this taut, breakneck story of lies, loyalties, and love that will have readers up all night to discover the truth hidden in the shadows.

My Thoughts

Sadly, I haven’t had much time to read for leisure lately, and it will probably be that way for a while. I did have the pleasure of finishing No One to Trust this week though, and it was such a treat! Of the handful of suspense novels I’ve read this year, No One to Trust was my favorite.

I knew it was a good sign when I started feeling tense while reading the first chapter! I can’t remember the last time a book has had that effect on me. Not only was the story interesting, the Christian themes were strong without coming across as preachy or feeling contrived. There were a few places I wasn’t sure the characters’ actions were totally believable, but I enjoyed the story so much in general that those parts didn’t mess up the story for me. The book had several surprises that kept me guessing.

I will definitely be reading more from Lynette Eason. If you like suspense, look this book up!

I give this book 4.5 stars.

Please know that ratings from 3.5 to 4.5 are good. I rarely rate a book a 5 as that wouldn’t leave a sufficient rating for the really great books that come along from time to time!


Visit Lynette’s website.
Follow Lynette on Facebook and Twitter.
Purchase a copy on Amazon.

About the Author

Book Review: No One to Trust

Award-winning, best-selling author, Lynette Eason has written/contracted thirty-six books since 2007. She writes for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense line and for Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Her books have hit the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists. Lynette has been teaching for more than ten years and is very happy to make the transition from teaching school to teaching writing whenever the opportunity presents. She is married, has two children, and lives in Greenville, SC.