The Post About 8 Must-Read Books and a Giveaway

I'm a book lover.

However, my path to this affection was a bit bumpy.

In the 1st grade, each student was placed into groups based on initial reading skill. There was the superior Group A, the adequate Group B and the remedial Group C. Each student performed a reading sample and then Mrs. Stanford would assign your group. The selection was from the classic Dick and Jane series.

I stood with confidence to read the passage knowing I would get to "win" and be in Group A. I was sailing along beautifully until this:

Dick said "Jane, where are you?" 

I pronounced "Jane" like "Jan-eee."

Mrs. Stanford asked me to try again. I repeated the sentence and the error. She told me I was pronouncing the girl's name wrong. My mother's name was Jan so my 6-year-old logic chose "Jan-eee."

This was my first soap box. I was placed in Reading Group B.

Luckily, I recovered from this travesty of justice and never looked back. Until this blog post. 

Here are 8 books I've read this summer you should consider adding to your list. I would not steer you wrong. Pinky swears.

There may even be a giveaway to entice you.

1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Sixteen-year-old sarcastic cancer patient finds love in a support group. You'll laugh and ugly cry all in one sitting.

2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Stay-up-late thriller about a missing wife and a husband who killed his wife. Or did he. Note: Some language not suitable for my Mom.

3. Wild: From Lost to Found on The Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. A twenty-something whose life is in shambles randomly decides to hike 1100 miles. Riveting.

4. The Colonel's Lady by Laura Frantz.I'd be remiss not to include a swoony historical romance. Frantz immerses you in the early Frontier which reminded me why I love 2012. A beautiful story of faith and forgiveness.

5. Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me by Ian Morgan Cron. A hard-to-believe memoir that's all the better because it's true.

6. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption  by Laura Hillenbrand. Louie's true tale of being shot down over the Pacific and locked away in a Japanese POW camp is not a lighthearted romp. But it IS captivating.

7. Love Does by Bob Goff. A storyteller of the highest caliber who makes you want to live your life in a way that fills up its own spellbinding pages.

8. Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt. Disclaimer. Michael Hyatt is my Twitter crush. This book teaches you how to connect your "product" to a meaningful platform. I'm a marketer by day, so it was a great tool. But your product may be writing, houses, or homemade hair gel. The theories sill apply.

Love Thy Rival: What Sports' Greatest Rivalries Teach Us About Loving Our Enemies by Chad Gibbs. This book debuts today. I'm 3 chapters in and it's funny and pinch-you-behind-the-knee thought provoking. And although the author would not necessarily agree with me...Roll Tide.

Previously Mentioned Giveaway:
I'm giving away the e-book of your choice from the list above. I'll choose 8 winners and each lucky person can choose any of the 9 books mentioned above in any e-format. If you win, you can even tell me to send it to someone else as a gift from you. We're easy peasy here at the rabbits.

All you have to do to enter is follow the instructions in this nifty Rafflecopter box. If you already follow me on Twitter or like me on Facebook, then that counts too. And thank you. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Post About Random Rabbit Pictures

Finding time to write has been difficult. Between the eating and the sleeping, it's almost all I can do to wash clothes. This is why one article of clothing I have on today is not as fresh as the others.

Let's leave it at that.

But I do have time for pictures, so let's review.

This year I've been attempting #photoaday developed by Fat Mum Slim. I'm in it to win it 95% of the time. But in order to maintain this batting average, I sometimes do something reprehensible.

Instagram and Drive.

I know...it's bad. I'm stopping. Just one more cigarette picture and I'll quit.

Last week, the day's picture prompt was "arrow." I thought "How fun would it be to get more than one arrow? Where is more than one? On the road. How convenient. I'll slow down and do that."

And then my car died on the 4-lane road. Right in front of the arrows. So there's that.

I have a general rule about not eating at sit-down chain restaurants, particularly if they have food in the name.

I find their food to be less-than. Plus, they aren't generally owned by locals and I like to support the 'ham as much as possible. 

But there is one exception. And its name is "Breadsticks of Life." Hubba hubba.

Speaking of locally owned. If you happen to live in Birmingham or drive through Birmingham or want to drive through Birmingham and eat food with me, then consider Slice Pizza and Brew. They donate 10% of their Tuesday proceeds to local nonprofits and that's just good business. Plus, the above was scrumptious.

"Soul Pie" Pizza: Turnip Greens, Black Eye Peas, Conecuh Sausage, Grilled Red Onion, Pepper Jack & Cheddar Cheese. That was chased by a S'mores Calzone. MARSHMALLOWS Y'ALL.

I do everything Entertainment Weekly tells me to do and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn was considered a must-read. I'm 80% done and... HOLY MOLY WITH THE TWISTY TURNS AND JUNK.

Last night I had to stop reading and put my iPad outside of my locked bedroom. And turn on a night-light.

It's that good.

This is week #1 of healthy eating and I think I'm doing an amazing job.

Trust me, I have a plan.

Follow me on Instagram or Twitter or like me on Facebook to get more special glimpses inside the Rabbits.

And "special" may be misleading.

Do you have rules about where you'll eat? Do you combine healthy habits with bad habits? Do you like Olive Garden?

{images: Jamie}


The Post About Resume Tips and Tricks

I have a day job. I'm a marketing director at a child and family welfare agency in Alabama.

I adore it.

Even on days when it's tougher to love, I  simply tweet out my solution...

But trust me, even on the worst day, there are not many better places to work. Coworkers who are normal, an office with a comfortable chair, and a mission of nurturing children by strengthening families.

I think the word is out on our goodness or the economy is in the crapper, because we receive 100s of resumes for each job we post.

However, our HR Director doesn't read them all. Who would have time for that? So she works it out so some get eliminated from the beginning when they violate a few rules.

Here's how you wouldn't make it past square one in our hiring process:

1. Use Comic Sans as your resume font. There are other options folks. Arial, Calibri, Helvetica, Georgia exist on almost every computer on the planet. Use them. Even the disaster that is Times New Roman would be better than CS. A professional job demands a professional font.

2. Don't follow instructions. There is only one way to submit resumes to my nonprofit which we include in every job posting - email attachment to employment@childrensaid.org. If you snail mail or fax or hand deliver it, then you will not receive a rose. Most employers have guidelines for submitting applications or resumes...follow them to the letter. 

3. Send resume from an unprofessional email address. When my best friend Kara decided to return to the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom, she asked for tips. I suggested not sending her resume with her email address that begins with "kpookie." So unless you're applying for a job in a pet store, your resume email address should not be dogsgetme81@aol.com.

4. Using an unprofessional ringback song and/or voicemail message. I was hiring camp staff this summer and I made a call to an applicant. He was a graduate student in counseling who was also looking for permanent employment. His ringback tone was the unedited version of F*** You by Cee Lo Green. His voicemail was "Hey...it's _________. I'm probably busy gettin' busy so leave a message. I might call you back. I might not." 

True. Story.

5. Don't proofread. Spell check and grammar check won't protect you. Make sure you have someone else proofread your cover letter and resume. Employers are assuming you're putting your best self forward in your cover letter. And no ones wants to hire a "best self" with a master's degree, 10 years experience who can't write. 

Note: This applicant also left a digit out of her phone number. So, there's that.

What job search tips do you have?

{images: Jamie}


The Guest Post About Naming Your Child for Social Media Success

Today's guest rabbit chaser is Elizabeth from Elizabeth Hyndman (www.edhyndman.com). See how she did that - a blog name that would never mislead you to think she raises bunnies. I discovered Elizabeth on Twitter and then we met in real life at a blogging conference and then we broke bread when I visited Nashville and now we are best friends. She may not characterize our friendship that way, but trust me...we're tight.

I have the worst name for social media.

Maybe that's a little hyperbolic--I'm sure there are worse names--but let's focus on me here, okay? thanks.

My first name is long and common, my last name is unusual and not spelled phonetically. It is a social media disaster. And kids these days? They have twitter accounts before they're out of the womb (seriously, I know a few) and people give websites to kids on their third birthday. As a parent, you want to set your child up for success in all areas, but especially in social media. Social media success starts with a name--a name unlike mine. Let me give you a few tips:

1. Give your child a short name.
We've only got 140 characters here, people. With all the information on the Internet, you want to keep your child's web address short and sweet so people remember it. Elizabeth is a great name, but it has 9 letters. NINE letters. Add in a last name and that is far too many for sites with character limits.

2. Give your child an unusual name.
Do you know how many Bellas there are these days? (Though, in light of recent events, that number may be waning.) Twitter only has so many available handles. You better sign your Bella up now so she doesn't have to be @Bella_48765374821 someday.

3. Spell the name traditionally.
I get that there are about 84 different ways to spell Kaitlyn or Shawn, but if there's a standard spelling, use it. Jonythyn and Eizack will have no problem getting twitter handles or their own website, but Google isn't going to default to those spellings.

Those are just a few pointers. Of course, if you give your child a name like mine, they can always go with a nickname or a made up name on twitter. They can pretend their last name is something like...I don't know..."Rabbits" and have a fun blog name. Perhaps your child will even be a niche blogger and therefore name his or her site something specific and enticing.

Meanwhile, I'll continue to pray that Ed Hyndman remains a late-adapter to all things requiring a user name or, you know, I get married and my last name changes (just throwing that one out there).

What are your tips?

Elizabeth Hyndman's day job is at a church. Her night job is grad school. She's a rare Nashville native who fancies parentheses. Read her blog: edyndman.com. Follow her on Twitter: @edhyndman.

{images: Elizabeth Hyndman}


The Post About Aging at the ABC Store

I've shared before that I have 3 life goals:
1. The world to be at peace.
2. Every foster child to live in a healthy, happy home.
3. Look younger than my chronological age.

I may spend more time on one more than the others as I practice carefully choreographed steps intended to ward off what the years would have me think is classic beauty or aging gracefully.


An enabling moment in this obsession was a recent trip to the ABC Store.

Rabbit Sidebar for My Mom: I was visiting the Alabama Alcohol Beverage Control store to witness to strangers. I love you long time.

When it was time to check out, the cashier asked to see my ID. I didn't hesitate since it's standard practice. But then she looked at it...looked back up at me...looked back at it and furrowed her brow.

I lightheartedly asked "Is it my weight? Because I do actually weigh that amount...minus my legs."

Her narrowed eyes did not seem amused.

She called to the manager for assistance. With that, I began to get nervous. Just like when a police car pulls behind you at a traffic light and you start to second-guess whether your tag is expired or your seat belt is locked or you've forgotten about that body in your trunk.

The cashier whispered and pointed. The manager pointed and asked "Miss, what year were you born?"

I answered "1975?"

Then they simultaneously said "Humph."

The cashier then handed back my license and commented "You don't look that old. I thought it was fake."

I responded "Two things. Firstly, who would pick 1975 as their fake ID birthday? Come on. Secondly, we are now BFFs - deal with it."

Are you aging well? Do you try to punch Father Time in the face like he deserves?

{image: Jamie}

{Don't Forget: I'm giving away stuff.}


The Post About The Rabbit Recommends v. 113 Giveaway

Each week or so I post a readable or watchable and/or listenable of which I'm fond. You can choose what happens after my recommendation. Ignore, embrace, debate. Earlier volumes of The Rabbit Recommends can be found here. 

Listen - Boys of Summer Edition
I could spend every day propped up in a porch swing, sipping iced coffee, and listening to music.

If only real-life could mimic my summer playlists - littered with boys.  

Here are 5 albums that have been on repeat this season, making me sweat. IT'S THE HUMIDITY, MOM.

Alex Clare - The Lateness of The Hour: A Brit with a deep rich voice. Sold. This album is a solid blend of electronica and R&B. And then there's that voice.

Usher - Looking 4 Myself: I've loved Usher since Yeah and Caught Up - ahhh, the 2000's. This album is not just another warm-up for Friday clubbin'. YES I CLUB ON OCCASION. Usher's falsetto, his collaborations, and that thump will get you clubbin' too. Or cleaning the house with a lil' more shake.

Matthew Mayfield - A Banquet for Ghosts: I'm always loyal to Alabama musicians - The Civil Wars, Alabama Shakes, Lionel Richie. Matthew Mayfield is a singer-songwriter who came into his own on this album. Rock with a smidgen of folk. And then there's that raspy, comforting voice.

Ed Sheeran - +: I discovered Ed Sheeran when his song "Fall" was featured in the proposal scene on Cougartown. Don't judge. It was love at first listen. Another Brit who makes acoustic pop better because he sings it. And although he's a ginger, it appears you can trust him.

Tyrone Wells - Beautiful World: Tyrone and I met on Pandora after that beautiful matchmaker thought I might fancy him. I did. I do. He just released this EP and it's wistful and hopeful and romantic - traits that aren't too shabby .

I want to know what albums you have loved this summer. In order to motivate your disclosure, how about a giveaway?

WINNERS UPDATE: Lindsey M. won a 3-month subscription and Ann. H won a 1-month subscription. Email jamiesrabbits@gmail.com to collect your swag!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I'm giving away TWO prizes. One winner will get a 3-month subscription to Spotify and another will get a 1-month subscription.

I LOVE Spotify. So much so that I cut my coffee budget to pay for it. That's love. You can also have a free account which is how we started dating.

We're now 2gether 4 ever.

Spotify is a music streaming service that comes in all shapes and sizes, available for PC, Mac, home audio system and mobile phone. Wherever you go, my music follows me. My favorite kind of stalker. 

Note: Although I fancy Spotify more than I can type in small italics, they don't know the first thing about this giveaway.


The Post About Random Rabbits

Food porn. I made these last week and people offered me their first born children. I kindly refused. I mean...who has time to sleep 10 hours nightly when there are kids to raise?

It's not this Jamie, but the Jamie at Baking Addiction who concocted these snazzy recipes for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Raspberry Lemon.

Note: her baking magic is sometimes more complicated than ACTUAL magic. But that rabbit that comes out of the hat is always worth eating. I mean...you know.  

My favorite parents are those who aren't afraid to admit how hard parenting actually is. Especially in pictures. Amanda Williams (life_edited) deserves an Instagram gold medal for pulling back the curtain on her delightful life. 

Ridiculously fabulous artwork by Wes Molebash

Ricky Anderson, who's been a guest rabbit chaser by evaluating the differences in having kids vs. not having kids, picked me for his team. His Blogging All-Star Challenge Team.

I'm the angry stump in the top right.

Please know...I look EXACTLY like that when playing cards, putt putt, or trying to snag a handicap-adjacent parking space.

So to help ease my crazy eyes, please consider a vote for Team Ricky. Our team is 50% women, 30% blind and at least 3 of us are under 5'2". So it's a vote for The Littles.

You guys...The Littles.

Click here to vote. Team Ricky is 20 votes behind. Not cool.

{images: Jamie, screenshot of image by Amanda Williams, Wes Molebash)


The Post About Texts I Will Miss While Driving

Today, Alabama became the 38th state with a law banning texting and driving.

According to the Alabama Public Safety Department, when a driver sends to receives a text message, his or her eyes are off the road for 4.6 seconds on average -- enough for a car going 55 mph to travel the length of a football field.

First of all, I'm probably going faster than 55 mph, Second of all, my AMAZING car alignment means I'm on top of your cupholders in less than 100 yards.

However, I did notice the new law allows you to text while stopped at a traffic light. So look forward to being behind me in traffic. You're welcome.

Here are 3 type of texts I'll simply have to wait to enjoy once I am off the road.

1. Event Reaction Texts: My friend Carla and I have enjoyed watching the Olympics "together."

2. Medication Influenced Texts. My friend Patrick is far too dependent on auto correct after taking a sleeping aid. Here, we are discussing him sleeping on an air mattress in a conference room on a trip. Don't ask.

3. God Answers Prayer Texts: My friend Caryann tries to be the "iron sharpening iron" as mentioned in Proverbs 27:17 when it comes to me making poor decisions. I like that I can counter that accountability with Holy Spirit texts.

Are you a super-texter? What annoys you the most about texting? Would a ban on tapping on your phone while driving send you into a deep depression? Please feel free to make your struggles public in the comments section of this humor blog.

I'll go first in the comments. 

{images: Jamie's iPhone}
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