New Book: Listen To The Squawking Chicken By Elaine Lui

2014 April 22

The title alone is enough for me to say SURE!
Who wouldn’t want to read an advanced reader copy about a Squawking Chicken?


New Book: Listen to the Squawking Chicken 4 starsPlus I had an 11 hour flight of boredom to fill.
(Right, feel sorry for me, I was Hawaii-bound.)

I might not have read the press release real closely about The Squawking Chicken part…

Wait, this isn’t a novel? It’s a memoir of sorts about the author’s mother. (AKA a really loud and extremely red-fingernailed Chinese Canadian immigrant.)

She wrote an exposé about her MOTHER??

Here’s the real gossip.

Elaine Lui is a well-known Canadian gossip columnist. She writes her own blog, taps out witty tweets and appears on television. She attends swanky after-Oscar parties and pretty much lives in a world totally cooler than most folks can imagine. I’m now following her everywhere, I even watched her TED talk. I’m not into celebrity gossip, and I hate People magazine. But ‘Lainey’ is hilarious and makes fun of the celebs in equal part with reporting their Tabloid doings.



This book ISN’T about her story.
It’s about a feisty mother who reinvented herself several times.
It’s fascinating. It’s funny. And there are a lot of papayas involved.
I read most of it in the last few hours of my flight—Post-Melatonin.

I was expecting a Mother-Daughter-Love-Hate story along the lines of an early Amy Tan book. I’m a sucker for books like that where I get to see deep inside another culture with enough ties to my own culture to really enjoy the pain and joy and sorrow and gritty real life.

Yes, it is a mother-daughter-love-hate relationship described in these pages. But Elaine is a well-adjusted kid who grew up loving her wacky mother and maybe even appreciating the lessons learned even if the method of delivery was in terms of ‘Pre-Shaming’ and ‘Feng Shui Blackmail’. —I’ll never look at a papaya the same way again.

Plus there is a whole list of ‘Low Classy’ behaviors I’m still confused by… Please Please Please don’t tell her mom that I’m a leg jiggler!

It’s no wonder Elaine Lui grew up to be a professional gossip.
You’ll see after reading, she learned from the best.

Also I’m now DYING to learn how to play Mah-Jong.
No, not the app on your phone.
The kind where a Chinese mob boss breaks down your door!

I give Listen to the Squawking Chicken 4 Stars.

  • Definitely you should read it. Totally worth the $9.99 Kindle price.
  • It’s available today—special for Earth Day!
    (Maybe it’s an auspicious Feng Shui day her mother picked? Wait… too many fours?)
  • It’s PG-13 for swearing, but not so awful my mother couldn’t read it.

This would be brilliant as a book club choice. Because, everyone has their own mother-daughter-love-hate story to share and everyone learned something from their own squawking mother.

I’m still confused by the papayas by the way.

Disclaimer: I was given this book to read if I chose at no cost to me.
I was not expected to write about it. My opinions and papaya confusions are all my own.

Sign The Petition To Update The TSCA | Let Congress Know Our Children Are Worth It!

2014 April 20

It’s quick. It’s easy. It’s superhero time.


Sign petition to update the TSCA Seventh Generation and VolunteerSpot asked me to help spread the word.

Right now there’s a chance to tell congress we want the Toxic Substances Control Act updated.

It hasn’t been altered or updated since the 70s.

  • Think about that.
  • I want more safety and regulations for my children.

Seventh Generation is hosting a petition and working hard to get 100,000 signatures by EARTH DAY.

Hello. THAT’s Tomorrow!
You can help.

I signed it.

I was number 96,819.
Several thousand more people are needed.
YOU are needed.

Sign The Petition To Update the TSCA | Let Congress Know Our Children Are Worth It!

Help make a change. Will you help tell Congress we deserve a safer place to live, work and play?
Click over to the petition. Electronically sign your name. THAT’s IT.


DO IT! Click the image below

 sign petition to update the outdated Toxic Substances Control Act with seventh generation click


social media iconsThink Social:
Use #FightToxins on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram to help spread the word and generate meaningful reform across the U.S.!    

 Sample Tweet or Update:
Help #FightToxins by signing the petition to update the TSCA: and tell Congress to stand up for safer chemicals!

Tell your friends to sign the petition at


Disclaimer: I’m working with to help get Congress’s attention.


Hawaiian Photo Journey 2014 | GoodNCrazy Photography

2014 April 19

Imagine you decide to save up the money to send your child on a high school band trip to Hawaii!

Now imagine YOU are traveling with the high school band to Hawaii!

 Hawaiian Sunset by Carissa Rogers

Now let it sink in, there will be 90 students on the trip and just as many parents and family member ‘Tag-a-Longs’! You aren’t a ‘chaperone’, there are teachers and Band leaders aboard for that. You are simply extra on a group tour of over 180 people, traveling 3,000 miles away—with 6 time zones of jetlag between. They will be tooting their horns at Pearl Harbor is the main reason for the trip. With a lot of extra going on as well.

—That is a LOT of people in one tour group!—


daughter hawaii carissa rogers

I basically never saw my daughter on this trip. I wasn’t of the opinion she ‘needed’ me to stowaway on the trip but her FATHER wasn’t about to let his 16 year old travel that far for that long without her own specific grown-up nearby.  There were a few times when I was able to help her out but no real situations she couldn’t have dealt with on her own. And wow I was impressed and shocked with just how carefully and extremely they kept these kids in control! TAPING their rooms from the outside with a large strip of tape each night, for example. I have NEVER seen that trick before!!

When I did see her, it was like capturing a photo of a rare and exotic creature on the island!

Instead, there I am with 90+ other parents I don’t know very well, basically on a 6 day tour of Oahu. Oh and by the way, not to brag but this will be my THIRD trip to Oahu. Once as a huge surprise from my husband and once to return with our kids. (The flight is much easier and cheaper from the West Coast where we lived.) I wasn’t super excited about this trip if you can’t tell.

There’s a happy ending though, so stay with me.

3 Part Strategy for a Blogger to Enjoy Oahu Alone

  1. I figured I would turn it into a photo-journey; just me and my Nikon snapping photos of tropical paradise.
  2. I also contacted a tour company to see if I could line up a Travel writing opportunity and was happy to play with me (more on that part of the journey over on next week).
  3. Plus I wondered what it would be like to try out my new jogging/exercise thing on the streets of Waikiki??

I was able to accomplish all three. First I’m happy to share a few (hundred) of my favorite photos during the trip (a WHOLE Basket Load of more photos are on my Flickr stream if you’d like to see more…). Like I said a review of a online booking of an Island Eco Tour through Discover Hawaii Tours will be coming on TravelingMom soon.

Jogging in Waikiki: Surprisingly Easy and Hard at the Same Time!

 Streets of waikiki palm trees jogging in hawaii carissa rogers

Jogging in Waikiki is both perfect and surprisingly hard at the same time! Mainly there are simply too many people along the ocean view street called Kalakaua Street. One of my roommates suggested I try running along the canal street a few blocks north of the Ocean where we were staying. It was perfect, the sidewalk along the Ala Wai Canal has no breaks or street lights! I got in about a 3 mile round trip in the evening after our day tour but before dinner. There are plenty of people out walking, strolling and jogging but not so many it’s crowded. I definitely felt safe. And the whole strip of Waikiki is relatively flat and LITERALLY sea level.

The morning our tour group was shuttling to and then hiking up nearby Diamond Head Crater, I opted to leave 45 minutes earlier and jog to the Crater. I mapped it at just under 2 miles. Easy Right?


Remember, I’ve been to Diamond Head twice before… in fact, one of the times walking back to Waikiki after hiking the side of the ancient volcano! Yeah, apparently I forgot that the whole journey to the Crater from Waikiki is ALL UPHILL.

Also my map was only giving me the distance to the ‘entry’ of the park. It was another half mile (more uphill) distance to the meeting point inside the crater with the group. Oops. I made it with several minutes to spare, but just so we’re clear…

Jogging from Waikiki to Diamond Head State Park is a 2.5+ mile uphill run.

And it took me nearly 40 minutes to complete it from the eastern end of Waikiki.  I happily rode the shuttle back to our hotel after the 1.5 mile round trip hike to the top of Diamond Head! But the return jog back to Waikiki would be ALL downhill in case you plan to try it out.  Oh and the photos from the top of Diamond Head are TOTALLY worth the hike by the way!

 Waikiki view from diamond head hawaii hike crater volcano carissa rogers

Traveling to Hawaii to Finally Make Friends from Back Home?

One of the main reasons I dragged my feet about this trip in the first place is I don’t know these people. I’ve had several chances to get to know Band Moms, but I was either cheering on my kid during a competition or helping with a fundraiser or I don’t know what else? But becoming friends with these folks hasn’t been working out, maybe something is wrong with me? Or maybe they’re just not my people?

Either way… 6 days on a gigantic group tour didn’t sound like a winning equation.

Roommates hawaii 2014 carissa rogersAlso, since I was alone as a parent I opted to share my hotel room with 2 other moms to save on hotel costs. Plus there were several other moms on the trip who were traveling alone as well. In the end I happily got to know 6 or 7 other moms and genuinely feel like I made new friendships. Turns out, they all felt about the same as I did about not getting to know other parents before and sort of dreading this trip!

It wasn’t just me after all! I wish the parents of such a huge band could be more friendly and inclusive, but I think the size of the group (there are over 150 band kids total) is a bit of a hindrance. I mean, I’m the most social person I know, and if I can’t figure out how to break into a group this size, there’s bound to be others in my same position. Anyway, it’s kinda crazy, but I traveled all the way to Honolulu to finally make friends with people I’m genuinely interested in from my own back yard!!

It’s Photo Time!!

 kids jumping in the surf ocean at waimea bay hawaii oahu carissa rogers

View of diamond head from waikiki beach oahu hawaii carissa rogers

woman kissing hawaiian native giving honi honi carissa rogers photography

Hawaiian Shack at Kualoa Ranch near secret island Carissa Rogers Photography

high school band concert at pearl harbor patriotic songs carissa rogers photography

USS Arizona Memorial over the top of the sunken battle ship in Pearl Harbor 2014 carissa rogers photography

Pearl Harbor US Navy plaque with Arizona Memorial in background carissa rogers photography

 Surf Shop at North Shore Oahu near Hale Ewa Carissa Rogers photography

Koi feeding frenzy in the Dole Plantation Hawaii Oahu Carissa Rogers photography

Not a sponsored post, The post will be on TravelingMom next week.
More (SO SO many more) photos over on my Flickr Stream.

Pregnancy Survey | Paid! 2nd Or 3rd Trimester

2014 April 18
Pregnancy Survey | Paid! 2nd Or 3rd Trimester

Paid Pregnancy Survey, Hurry this weekend deadline! Share with your friends!


Time for The Ragnar Trail Relay Smackdown!

2014 April 7
Time for The Ragnar Trail Relay Smackdown!

We finished the Ragnar Trail Relay race!

There were 8 of us and each person had to run 3 different loops of the trail for a total of 24 legs. 120 MILES!! And camping was involved. Which means 3 tents and a whole-lotta STUFF.


Keep Charged W ZonePerfect’s #BlogForward & Win A Portable Phone Charger!

2014 March 31
Keep Charged W ZonePerfect’s #BlogForward & Win A Portable Phone Charger!

Did You Keep Your 2014 Resolutions Longer Than 6 Weeks? Why or why not? Win A Portable Phone Charger!


A GoodNCrazy Oregon Weekend!

2014 March 28
A GoodNCrazy Oregon Weekend!

Huge thanks to the husband and dad for surprising us with tickets ‘home’ as his Valentine’s gift to us!


Good Book, Bad Title—The Fish Factory, Book Review

2014 March 26
Good Book, Bad Title—The Fish Factory, Book Review

Despite the strange title and cartoon polar bear… I found myself in dire need of something to read on a long flight. My Kindle App was empty and lonely. WWII book to the rescue.


The 2015 #Chrysler200 And My Nikon In Louisville

2014 March 25
The 2015 #Chrysler200 And My Nikon In Louisville

A Manual Mode Camera Challenge + #Chrysler200 photos = Great Weeekend!


Will The New SAT Test Changes Affect My Teenager?

2014 March 21
Will The New SAT Test Changes Affect My Teenager?

The main thing that will affect my daughter who is due to take the SAT again in the fall of 2014 is… WELL… NOTHING.

Because the changes in the SAT won’t go into effect until 2016.


Early Spring Flowers & Orchids At Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden #DSBG

2014 March 19
Early Spring Flowers & Orchids At Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden #DSBG

The Carolinas deceived me. I was expecting a light winter. And you know… WARM weather by now! Finding early blooming color in Charlotte at


When Do You Plan To Retire??

2014 March 6
When Do You Plan To Retire??

My dream ‘retirement’ goes something like this…


In The Time Of Peacocks | Book Review 4 Stars

2014 March 4
In The Time Of Peacocks | Book Review 4 Stars

I was intrigued enough by the back cover description of this book to agree to read it. But I gave no promise that I would like it or that I would write about it.
Here I am. Writing about it.

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