Review – Frientimacy


Frientimacy: How to Deepen Friendships for Lifelong Health and Happiness
by Shasta Nelson
Seal Press, 2016
Review by Tijuana L. Canders
December 24, 2016

Shasta Nelson has made a career out of understanding, encouraging, and helping women make and maintain healthy friendships. In Frientimacy: How to Deepen Friendships for Lifelong Health and Happiness, she breaks down what we seek in intimate friendships and how we can do our part to attain them.

Friends are important, and developing fulfilling friendships is important. Frientimacy is a “relationship where two people feel really seen in a way that feels satisfying and safe for both of them,” Nelson writes. It is the Platonic ideal of friendship that we carry in our hearts: the friend who is always glad to hear from us, always game for an outing, always listens with love and wisdom. We seek those friends with the wistful longing of preadolescent love, waiting for our own favorite girlfriend to stumble into our lives and sprinkle the fairy dust of frientimacy on us.

When no perfect friend appears, we find ourselves stuck with the imperfect cast of characters already in our lives, our disappointing gaggle of friends. The ones who don’t invite us out enough, who talk about themselves too much, who forget to ask about important events, with whom we struggle to develop anything more than friendly acquaintanceship.

But these are the people, Nelson writes, we should look to for frientimacy. She says, “Many women remain lonely because they think having close friends is a product of discovering the right people. But the truth is that meaning friendship is actually the product of developing the right friendships.” And Nelson goes on to say, “We don’t need better friends, we need better friendships.”

Drawing from her own life, interviews with other women, and research, Nelson explains and provides strategies for developing each side of the triangle, while providing a wake-up call to the ways we ourselves might be contributing to our own dissatisfaction with our friendships. For example, in the chapter on positivity, Nelson examines perceived imbalances of giving and receiving and finds there’s a good chance that if you consider yourself the giver in relationships, other people are thinking the same thing about themselves. You just both might see giving differently.

Part Three examines “Obstacles to Intimacy” — what blocks and errors we might make or encounter that negatively affect our friendships, such as fearing rejection, jealousy, walking away from friendships too soon, or holding ourselves back. Though she writes with compassion, Nelson pulls no punches, urging us to consider whether we are defensive, demanding, or ungenerous towards our friends’ humanity, labeling people “toxic” and walking away too easily.

Nelson admonishes, “Let’s freely acknowledge that we don’t always present to our friends the most enlightened, healthy, and happy versions of ourselves — nor do they. The trick is to judge less, observe more, and continue working on ourselves.”

In Frientimacy, Nelson provides not only a new prism through which to view our friendships and our place in them, but also exercises, concrete ideas, and “Friendspiration” for transforming unsatisfying friendships into something more fulfilling.


© 2016 Tijuana L. Canders


Review – Mamaleh Knows Best


Mamaleh Knows Best: What Jewish Mothers Do to Raise Successful, Creative, Empathetic, Independent Children
by Marjorie Ingall
Harmony Publishers, 2016
Review by Tijuana L. Canders
December 21, 2016

Marjorie Ingall blends personal experience, humor, historical texts, and scientific research, in Mamaleh Knows Best to dispel stereotypes regarding Jewish tradition, motherhood, and parenting. Ingall shares Jewish secrets for raising self-sufficient, ethical, and accomplished children. She offers abundant examples showing how Jewish mothers have nurtured their children’s independence, fostered discipline, urged a healthy distrust of authority, consciously cultivated geekiness and kindness, stressed education, and maintained a sense of humor.

Mamelah Knows Best is a 256 page hardcover book written with a strong voice, has an excellent mixture of history, personal anecdote, theology, pop culture, and common sense. It’s an absolute delight to read. You don’t have to have an ounce of jewishness in you to get something out of this book. as the author says, ‘Jewish motherhood is a philosophy, not an identity’! The lessons here are not religious in tone, but they emphasize the jewish values of community, family, reading, awareness of the world around you and your place in it, independence, good deeds without the expectation of praise, and just general integrity.

I loved this book! It’s solid, practical information: building a relationship with your child in discipline and community, the importance of asking questions rather than giving answers, actions over lip service and beliefs, reframing from the actions of helicopter parent, the too-easy-to-praise parent, and valuing the action of tikkun olam (altruism without a superiority attitude), all contribute to shaping children who are kind, independent, ethical, hardworking, creative, generous, and engaged in the world. Mamelah Knows Best is thought-provoking, and Ingall delivers her ideas in a witty, straightforward tone that’s never afraid to point out her own missteps or lend her sense of humor.

Mamaleh Knows Best is an excellent read for expecting parents and current parents who may be searching for a well balanced parenting method to raise children successfully.


© 2016 Tijuana L. Canders

Review – Food With Friends


Food With Friends: The Art of Simple Gatherings
by Leela Cyd
Random House, 2016
Review by Tijuana L. Canders
November 17, 2016

Food With Friends is written by author Leela Cyd who travels internationally for work teaching workshops and photographing hotels, chefs, and artisans. The book is filled with Cyd’s inspired ideas, beautiful photographs, and tips, from Beets in Coconut with Curry Leaves to Pistachio Rose Clouds and Whiskey-Pepper Magic Shell to drizzle over ice cream.

The book is a collection of Leela Cyd’s recipes gathered during her travels while shooting culinary stories and throughout her childhood in her family’s sunny California kitchen. Cyd learned early on that food and laughter are a universal language and the most valuable currency for making new friends. Cyd’s hope is that her words, tips, and colorful images inspire you to live better in the moment emphasizing eating healthy and expressing your creativity with food that looks and tastes good.

The intention of Food With Friends: The Art of Simple Gatherings is to refine the art of hanging out showing you how to to turn an everyday necessity -eating- into an intentional gesture that sparks creativity. The book includes an Introduction, Index and six chapters, Breakfast & Brunch, Teatime, Happy Hour, Potlucks & Picnics, Desserts, and Tiny Takeaways. Cyd’s  writing and pictures are uplifting, vigorating and pushes the most distant person who is not enthusiastic about cooking to explore the art of cooking with friends. The difference of food is exquisite in introducing vast amounts of culture through culinary. Food With Friends is a great read! Pick up your copy to use during special occasions, holiday seasons and summer events.


© 2016 Tijuana L. Canders




Review – Mother, Can You Not?


Mother, Can You Not?
by Kate Siegel
Crown Archetype, 2016
Review by Tijuana L. Canders
June 24, 2016

Mother, Can You Not?, is a book written by Kate Siegel based off of the popular Instagram account @CRAZYJEWISHMOM, a collection of essays about life with the woman who she adores and yet feels is controlling many moments in her life. There is nothing more special than a mother’s love but only when that love is directed in giving Kate Siegel her space.

Kate Siegel understood the mother-daughter dynamic uniqueness between her mother and herself, creatively conveying those hilarious conversations on Instagram. After all, take lemons and make lemonade, right? Soon, hundreds of thousands of people were following their daily text exchanges, eager to see what outrageous thing Kate’s mom would do next. Now, in Mother, Can You Not?, Kate pays tribute to the woman who set a trend for the concept ‘concerned parent.’

From embarrassing moments, to outrageous stories, to hilarious celebrations, Mother, Can You Not?, expresses the lengths in which mothers will go to better our lives, even if it means to interject their concerns, opinions, or advice when it is most bothersome to their daughters during the process.

Kate Siegel is a writer and a social media guru. She has been featured on BuzzFeed, Elite Daily, The Huffington Post, Cosmo,,, in People magazine, and on Nightline. She previously served as an associate producer for Teen Vogue, Bon Appetit, The New Yorker Festival, Conde Nast Traveler, and Self.

Mother, Can You Not? is humorous, sentimental, and enlightening. Kate Siegel implores a message to readers that when you have a close relationship with your mother, you develop a kind of secret language that only you and she understand. Mother Can You Not? is worth the read to learn about a stand-alone relationship between a mother and daughter relationship.


© 2016 Tijuana L. Canders




REVIEW – Alzheimer’s A Love Story


Alzheimer’s A Love Story
by Vivienne Ulman
Scribe Publications, 2010
Review by Tijuana L. Canders
May 21 2016

An author, journalist, and book reviewer herself, Vivienne Ulman shares the story of her mother’s struggles and battles with Alzheimer’s.  Unforgettable moments are penned into existence through separate sections of Vivienne’s written letters to her mother, diaries of treatments, and informative written outlines of the family’s experience.  Aspects of her family’s hard work, Jewish heritage, community and religion along with their roles in social justice were sound boards and preparation of memories for themselves before, during, and after the silent disease Alzheimer’s, introduced itself to her beloved mother Lucy Tugend.  Where the Communist Party threatened control and the Menzies Liberal Government wanted to ban such acts, the Tugend family sought peace through receptive meetings between the two parties for common ground.

Lucy Tugend considered to be a balabosta woman of her time, a Yiddish term for, “one who raised housekeeping to the level of an Olympic sport” provided nurture to her children, strength to her husband Saul Tugend and provided a spotless kitchen, gourmet feasts, all while wearing lipstick, French perfume and an apron.  Preparing the Jewish Ceder Celebration, Passover Feasts, along with Challahs and Matzah balls were her signatures. Upholding her husband and quieting her children so his soul would be quieted and not overflowed, during his paths of setbacks, to breakthroughs, gave him the sustainable strength he needed in leading his family.  Her words of encouragement became the foundation for the growth in their relationship and later the backbone for Vivienne’s growth before the onset of her battling Alzheimer’s.  Vivenne Ulman describes a woman of exquisite contour in dress, with a business mind like her husband, and nurturer of other marriages as a counselor who beset her own family before anything else, through hands on shaping and molding, deteriorate in speech, perception, thought, mind, body, and soul until the end was apparent, near, and unavoidable.

While Vivienne notices changes in her mother’s behavior and though Saul Tugend, a gentle man in spirit, refuses to believe such an onset was the case of his wife’s absentmindedness, it is only after seeking a neurologist and the diagnosis is met that Saul Tugend absorbs that his wife is suffering from the illness and Ulman finds relief that there is a name to her mother’s setbacks.  While Ulman absorbs the information she realizes that she will now know another Lucy Tugend and that the woman she once knew was somewhere hidden behind the new Lucy Tugend in thought, words, and actions.  Her love for her mother never wavered but the intensity of the disease caused a flow of emotions to face within Ulman including her future worries and perceptions of developing the disease herself.  A longing for her mother’s love grew within her with each passing stage of the silent disease and only grasping the concept of her own memories through reliving moments mentally and writing relieved the final known outcome and aided Ulman in a more personal growth.

Alzheimer’s: A Love Story should be shared with anyone wanting to be aware of this disease.  Ulman shows her family’s life wrapped in love and endurance to the tribute of her loved mother.   A must read.

© 2016 Tijuana L. Canders

Review – Parenting a Child Who Has Intense Emotions


Review – Parenting a Child Who Has Intense Emotions
Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills to Help Your Child Regulate Emotional Outbursts and Aggressive Behaviors
by Pat Harvey
New Harbinger, 2009
Review by Tijuana Canders
Mar 29th 2016

Pat Harvey and Jeanine A. Penzo  graciously help parents who deal with a highly emotional child, (most commonly known as emotional dysregulation) to  grasp  foundational methods of thought processes, and the usage of dialects (thinking in a positive way), through their own exposure and  Marsha Linehan’s Dialectical Behavioral Therapy framework.  They note that most of us either think with  an emotional or reasonable mind and need an overlapping of the two minds in balance, “a path to thinking wisely”, “the  wise mind” of which according to Linehan, “Helps the parent to feel calmer, and comfortable with their decisions, helping them to make necessary changes in  response to the child” (1993a).

Harvey’s and Penzo’s examples of dialogue scenes between parent and child with referencing techniques, aid parents in the workbook sections to revise pertinent information learned throughout each chapter.  The scenes teach them to remain calm, implement wise mind techniques, and understand their child’s story of emotion in order.  In turn, this will help parents to carry out concrete workable reinforcers, the use of each helping to minimize the child’s possibility of reacting with an emotional outburst when in intense situations, while helping the parents to subside from high emotion to their child’s overwhelming behaviors, “learn to step back from a situation and to see things with new eyes and a different point of view.”  The methods spelled out in the book include applying valuable DBT Assumptions (“Your Child is Doing the Best He Can”, “Your Child Needs to Do Better”, “Your Child Must Learn Behaviors for All Situations”, “Family Members Should Not Assume the Worst”, and “There Is No Absolute Truth”) enabling parents to retain confidence in their child’s behavior for easier transitions of communication.  The authors’ emphasize that “a person must feel heard in order to hear” and “a person must feel accepted in order to change.”

Not obscure or overbearing, Harvey and Penzo bring parents to the realization that both parent and child have a part in this process, parents must realize a person must feel heard in order to hear, and must feel accepted in order to change.  Parents will come to see that although behaviors can be changed, they will not be changed overnight, so it does take patience and endurance, along with shifting family goals and expectations, in correlation with creative calm activities in order to modify old molds of parenting with new ones in parenting. Both parent and child will eventually start to see results and gain  a visional sense of a better future. Harvey and Penzo encourages parents stating that, “They are not alone as parents, nor are they bad parents, they have done the best that they could have done from the skills they knew”, but also makes it clear that new skills can be learned.

Parenting a Child With Intense Emotions is an invigorating 225 page book and well presented due to the authors’ warmness and transparency. The book helps caregivers and parents to acquire skills of sound parenting in relation to intense emotions and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy skills. Parenting groups, youth group homes and mental health facilities could benefit from the DBT perspective. A resourceful appendix of support and psycho-educational groups are provided in the back of the book for further help on the subject.

© 2016 Tijuana Canders


Review – Hope Unfolding


Review – Hope Unfolding: Grace-Filled Truth For The Momma’s Heart
by Becky Thompson
WaterBrook Press, 2016
Review by Tijuana Canders
Mar 7th 2016

Hope Unfolding is the pinnacle of many mothers’ story which every mom needs to read. Becky Thompson has presented an exceptional script for moms on all levels to relate too. For some moms their hard work is never enough by their own standards. Sometimes moms need to encourage themselves and see the great things that they apply toward their child or children’s upbringing. Perfection is not the big picture in being a mother but quality is.

Becky Thompson gives moms from every walk of life a glimpse of hope that they are valued, needed, and as every mistake made seems to drown out the good sown seeds from their parenting, that those sown seeds are still growing into a harvest of greatness waiting for the family as a whole to reap the benefits.

The transparency of your life should not be compared to another mother’s standards or accomplishments Thompson says, ‘because we are to look forward to the harvest we have uniquely created.’ When God blesses a woman with the gift of motherhood, He blesses her with grace, patience, and surmountable love to carry her own motherhood of gifts, serenity, love, and joy, to fruition for her child. Realizing who they are as a parent involves accepting who they are uniquely as a mother.

Hope Unfolding: Grace-Filled Truth for the Momma’s Heart is a poignant read for mothers who need to hear others point of views of how not to compare yourself, accept where you are, grow from your experiences, and to see the positive even when their circumstances, or trials speak louder than what they see at the moment. This book will be released 3/15/2016. It will make a great Mother’s Day gift or stocking stuffer on other occasions for moms.


© 2016 Tijuana Canders




Review- Healthy Fats, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook


Review – Healthy Fats, Low-Cholesterol, CookBook
by American Heart Association
Harmony Books, 2015
Review by Tijuana Canders
Feb 14th 2016

Healthy hints are given for each meal from the “Healthy Fats, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook” by the American Heart Association. Boston Citrus Salad, Rustic Tomato Soup, Chicken with Mushroom and Sherry Sauce, Fish Roll-Ups with Spinach are a few of the healthy meals found to be enjoyed. The book encourages a healthy lifestyle, healthy heart, and encourages you to stay active, giving great tips for each!

The message is straightforward and simple, regular physical activity and healthy eating helps protect against heart disease; it helps to reduce your cholesterol, reduce blood pressure levels and manage your weight. In addition to the health benefits you’ll gain from being active, you’ll probably feel better, have more energy, and can make other lifestyle changes more easily. It’s one thing to read about what you “should” do to stay healthy, and it’s another to decide to make those recommendations a real part of your life. “Recognizing the habits that keep you from effectively managing your weight,” says the American Heart Association, will help you adopt healthier behaviors that lead to a longer, stronger life.

The book gives Healthy Cooking Strategies as you prepare recipes, your time in the kitchen is well spent, not over exasperated by unneeded instructions, but with quick, clear instructions and how to apply them for a family meal in minutes. To create these healthy meals the American Heart Association rely on certain principles that allow us to cut back on saturated fat, trans fat, added sugar, and sodium without losing flavor and appeal. The techniques can be applied to the foods you cook at home, by starting out with wholesome ingredients and then using one of the recommended techniques to create delicious and nutritious meals. Stewing, Broiling, Poaching, Steaming, Stir-Frying, and Roasting, are some of these techniques.

The American Heart Association doesn’t want you to be afraid of trying something new. They suggest that you do not have to give up your favorite recipes to eat heart healthy. You can still enjoy most of your favorite dishes simply by making a few easy substitutions to cut back on saturated and trans fats, added sugar, and sodium. Readers are encouraged to stock a heart healthy pantry. Keeping healthy staples on hand makes cooking healthy meals at home easier and more convenient. They don’t want you to let the long list of ingredients discourage you, because most of the items aren’t perishable or have a fairly long shelf life, so they can be acquired and built up over time. Making a commitment to keep some healthy basics in each category, you’ll have more options for cooking nutritious meals at home.

The ‘Healthy Fats, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook’ is a great book for individuals wanting a better eating lifestyle, exercise plan, and heart health tips for a more productive life!


© 2016 Tijuana Canders







Review – How To Stay Christian In College


Review – How to Stay Christian In College
by J. Budziszewski
Tyndale House Publishers, 2014
Review by Tijuana Canders
Jan 27th 2016

When students go to college, they’re leaving behind their network of support and heading to a world with different perspectives, responsibilities, and expectations. Even for those going to “Christian” colleges, there’s no guarantee they won’t face challenges to their faith. So how do students stay Christian in college? How do they stay open about their faith in the face of potential ridicule?

J. Budziszewski has written the book for three groups of people. The first group is Christian students who plan to go to college. The second is Christian students who are there already. The goal here is to prepare, equip, and encourage students to meet the spiritual challenges of college life. Few new college students are ready for them.

The third group is for the parents of students in the other two groups. The goal is to help them understand what their children are going through in college so they can offer more effective spiritual support.  Maybe they never went to college. Maybe they went but can’t remember what it was like. Maybe they remember, but they’ve heard that college today is different than it was when they were there before.

How to Stay Christian in College is a terrific read that is just what it sounds like- a book that gives lots of advice on how to handle difficult situations in college.

It was interesting, and a nice refresher course on the technicalities of the Christian belief. The author being a college professor gave the book a nice angle from his personal experiences.

A must-read for every college student, How to Stay Christian in College will guide readers through the maze of campus realities. J. Budziszewski discusses the foundations of the Christian faith and directly addresses different worldviews and myths that students may encounter at college. Filled with quotes, statistics, resources, stories, and encouragement, this book will equip students to conquer the dangers that lie ahead.


© 2016 Tijuana Canders




Review – Just Add Watercolor


Review – Just add Watercolor
Inspiration & Painting Techniques From Contemporary Artists
by Helen Birch
Watson – Guptill, 2015
Review by Tijuana Canders
Jan 8th 2016

Bold and unusual colors capture everyday inspiration in Just add Watercolors. Helen Birch has brought together a collaboration of elite professional painters along beside her, in this book to share their unique techniques with others who are beginners or intermediate painters.

A visual index guides the painter from pages six through nine to find specific watercolor paintings quickly and easily. If trying to find an image already seen in the book, or are looking for a specific style, color, or background, the index takes the painter right to the page. Each professional artist is credited alongside their work and the name appears in the accompanying text. At the back of the book you would also find an alphabetical list of all the artists and where located relevant.

The artists name the type of painting, tools to use, what the painting should look like, and what to expect. Tips are given at the bottom of each page to guide the painter further throughout the process. Only, the professional artists do not give directions to how the painter should structure their painting. Expecting to open the page and be shown exactly how to carry out a painting, should not be the assumption. Although I would propose – as a former art student, that there is a valuable reason behind the professional artists not providing specific instructions of how to paint each picture. Mostly, many art instructors want the students to use their own imagination and painting hand to design a watercolor painting that is unique in their own style. Preparatory guidelines are given, but the inspiring painter is expected to give the best impression of their work.

Just add Watercolor is uniquely formatted, brilliant in color and is understandable even to a person who has never painted. Each artist gives a link to their blog or website so the painter can look up more of their work. Helen Birch has delivered a unique approach to the world of painting from the classroom to a book.


© 2016 Tijuana Canders