Author

Amanda Harkness

Amanda Harkness has 59 articles published.

has written for Green Life Guides, LLC, an eco-friendly lifestyle website, and contributed articles for Green Life Guides to Huffington Post Weddings, Huffington Post Green, The Daily Meal and Martha Stewart Weddings. She has also published poetry in the Albion Review, contributes DIY articles to Moxy Magazine and writes entrepreneurial topics for the women’s website, She's Self Employed. In her spare time, Amanda makes hand forged metal jewelry and loves to travel. She has an M.S. in Publishing from Pace University and currently lives in New Haven, CT.

Books About Wine to Feast on This Thanksgiving and Beyond

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You can keep your cranberries and candied yams. Everyone knows that turkey—and Uncle Bob’s stories—go best with a nice glass of wine. While everyone else is busy dressing their turkeys and mashing their potatoes, I’ll be on the hunt for the best wine to bring to the Thanksgiving Day table. While searching for some new ideas, I stumbled upon The Winerist where I found an article on the Top Six Wines to Serve for Thanksgiving and I was pleasantly surprised. The Winerist recommends keeping it simple and serving a sparkling wine before the meal and at least one red and one white wine during dinner. I’m all about starting things off with a celebratory note, so I’ll be adding a…

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*NEW* Mayor of NYC Announces #MeatlessMondays at Gracie Mansion! We’ve Got Recipes!

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We love food, whether it’s a recipe that’s been passed down in the family, or updates on classics from our favorite stars. But we also want that food to be pretty healthy (we’re trying to be good, okay?), and when we heard the news that fifteen schools in Brooklyn, NY, are going to be having vegetarian meals every Monday (#meatlessmondays), we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share some of the best vegetarian meals we’ve found with you. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the new meal plan today, and will also be having vegetarian meals on Mondays, alongside Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, and all of Gracie Mansion (the residence of the Mayor of New York…

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Alexandra Kleeman’s ‘Intimations’: An Absurdist’s View of Costume Parties and Lobster Dinners

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When Alexandra Kleeman’s debut novel You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine released last year, I was lucky enough to be able to interview her on BookTrib. The buzz around her new book was palpable and it was unlike anything that I’d read before. The debut earned her comparisons to several literary heavy hitters like Thomas Pynchon and Don DeLillo. You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine was eerie, unsettling, whimsical and surreal. The aimlessness of the characters and their existential angst at times made me feel like I was swimming through several dreams at once, with ultra-violet advertisements dancing in the background with Kandy Kakes and late night infomercials for anti-aging creams. Events as mundane as a…

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Wanderlust Achieved with Lonely Planet’s New Money-Saving Travel Guide

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There are many reasons why people don’t travel: fear of flying, packing anxiety, the inability to decipher simple road signs in Chinese. The list goes on. But one of the biggest issues holding people back from satisfying their wanderlust is one simple factor: money. Lonely Planet (#LP) has dedicated these pages to unearthing the world’s hidden treasures, keeping things free and cheap in as many places as possible. Before you hit the road, you’ll need to take The Best Things in Life are Free: The Ultimate Money-Saving Guide (Lonely Planet, August 9, 2016) with you. My particularly favorite sections are: Free Music When traveling, I always look for live music and entertainment. Try the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, open mic…

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Leave Your Reading Comfort Zone — Go on a Blind Date with a Book!

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A few weeks ago I took a trip to one of my favorite U.S. cities, Asheville, North Carolina. In between hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains, strolls through the River Arts District and lazy river tubing down the French Broad River, I also found some time to pop into one of their local literary gems, Malaprop’s Bookstore. My friends and I all went our separate ways into our own preferred book worlds; I found myself going back and forth to the new fiction section and the DIY stacks, but nothing seemed to tempt me until their “Blind Date with a Book” shelf caught my attention. Each book was wrapped in brown paper with the description, price and ISBN written on…

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Throw the Ultimate Olympic Viewing Party with Cascade Ice Water — Plus, One Lucky Reader will WIN a Case of Cascade Ice!

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Have you been rushing home every day after work to watch the 2016 Summer Olympics? Is one of your favorite past times creating viewing parties around your current TV obsession? If my suspicions are correct, the following advice has you covered for the ultimate Olympics viewing party. Deck your house in gold, silver and bronze décor and gather around to watch the games with friends and family. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, create some Olympic-esque hurdles and other obstacle courses in your yard to get your guests moving. They’ll work up an appetite in no time. In honor of the host country, settle in with some traditional Brazilian eats. Fried bar foods like cod fritters or Pao de Queijo (bread balls…

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Top 3 Summer Harlequin Mira Romances for Thrill Seekers

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Anyone who claims they’re not a fan of romance is telling tall tales. It’s essentially a part of every book, film and television show out there. It seems as though it’s less about romance and more about the type of romance that one prefers. To me, the best romance novels are always peppered with a little bit of history, suspense and mystery. Fortunately, the new Harlequin titles out this summer from Mira and HQN really deliver. Here are the top 3 romantic suspense/mystery novels that are piled on my nightstand this summer: The Bourbon Thief  by Tiffany Reisz (Harlequin Mira, June 28, 2016) This historical romance first won me over with its splashy cover and continued to impress once I learned that the premise is…

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Beat the Heat with No-Bake Treats from the Creator of Beyond Frosting Blog

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It’s been a pretty tame summer until this week’s heat wave hit on the East Coast and today’s the kind of blistering sweatfest where ice cream sundaes turn to colorful puddles in a matter of seconds. I couldn’t think of a better time than now to satisfy my sweet tooth without having to use the oven. Until I came across No-Bake Treats: Incredible Unbaked Cheesecakes, Icebox Cakes, Pies and More (Page Street Publishing Co., July 19, 2016), I had no idea that there were so many dessert options that can be made easily and without any extra heat involved. Many people out there are willing to go the distance for the desserts they crave, but I have to draw the line…

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California Celebrity Vineyards Book Suggests Fine Wines Brought to You by the Stars

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Visiting local vineyards is always a relaxing getaway, especially in the summer when the sun is shining and you’re looking to venture outside. But what if you could tour the sprawling vineyards of some of your favorite celebrities? There’s an easy way to catch a sneak peek of celeb wine country, and this edition was written exclusively for the Golden State. Nick Wise and Linda Sunshine’s California Celebrity Vineyards: From Napa to Los Olivos in Search of Great Wines (The Overlook Press, June 15, 2016) provides an amazing selection from the likes of Francis Ford Coppola, Kurt Russell, Mario Andretti, Yao Ming and Lillian Disney. Whether you’ve started your foray into wine because of family traditions, the sheer challenge or simply the science behind…

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Lonely Planet Suggests the 50 Best Museums, Bars and Beaches to Blow Your Mind

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Enter to win these books below!!! Every time that we receive packages from Lonely Planet we are instantly excited even before we see what’s inside. And this time was no different when we received these three fantastic little travel-sized books with summer activities for anyone on any budget. The first one I picked up is 50 Beaches to Blow Your Mind and I was happy to find that the third beach listed was Flamenco Beach in Puerto Rico, a place that I’ve recently traveled to. I was taken with its long stretch of white sand and the remnants of an old war tank that has been painted and turned into a surreal piece of artwork. Stick around for dusk at this…

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Don’t Miss NBC’s Exciting New Series Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge

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What do you get when you pair mud pits, barbed wire crawls, intense rope courses, leaping over fire and a treacherous scaling wall? From the producers of American Ninja Warrior comes Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge.     On Monday, June 13, at 10 PM EST, NBC premieres the Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge. Inspired by the Spartan Race, the creators of the world’s most demanding obstacle races, this seven episode series features six teams of five competing in a uber-challenging obstacle course race to win $250,000. The teams consist of two men, two women and a Spartan elite team captain who also happens to be a member of the Spartan Pro Team. Spartan Pro Team racers Robert Killian, Matt Novakovich, Brakken Kraker,…

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Mike Urban’s Cookbook and Travel Guide Should be on Every Seafood Lover’s Bookshelf

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If you’re a Connecticut native like me who has also spent a lot of time in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, chances are that you have a mental check list of all your favorite roadside seafood spots along the coast during the summer months. One of my favorite places comes from my college days in Bristol, Rhode Island. Situated between Bristol and Newport is Middletown, where a simple family business called Anthony’s Seafood churns out fresh dishes all day. This does not go unnoticed in Yankee Magazine writer Mike Urban‘s The New England Seafood Markets Cookbook: Recipes from the Best Lobster Rounds, Clam Shacks, and Fishmongers (The Countrymen Press, May 24, 2016). One of the most unique things about Rhode Island is the…

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5 Mind-Bending Books to Read Before Wayward Pines Returns

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It takes a really great show to get me hooked like Wayward Pines did. Just when you think that life in this strange town is settling into normalcy the very last shot of the final episode reveals some deeply disturbing occurrences. I was completely sucked into this series the entire time and I ran out and bought all the novels by Blake Crouch the day after the series finale. Even after I finished those amazing reads, though, I found myself wanting more stories about futuristic, sci-fi, and dystopian communities just to keep me satisfied. I went on a hunt for new books in the same twisted vein as Wayward Pines but I found myself going back to classic books and short…

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Untapped Wellness and Wisdom Through the Stars — A Scorpio’s Perspective

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Have you ever read a description of your astrology sign and you suddenly understand what you had actually known about yourself all along? For me I’ve found that, I need to die in order to be reborn — not in the literal sense –- but metaphorically speaking. Let me explain. I often find that I’m an all or nothing person in life. I’m either in it for the long haul or I’m out. When I decide that I’m out, I’m really ready to take the plunge and I’ll risk losing a lot to start over again. In the never-before-seen guide Your Body and the Stars (Atria Books, May 10, 2016) by Stephanie Marango, MD RYT and astrologer Rebecca Gordon it is indeed Scorpio who…

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Lonely Planet’s ‘National Parks of America’ is the Perfect Earth Day Read

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I consider myself very lucky to live in a country where each state is so uniquely different. Within many of our states, national treasures can be found in the form of enthralling and eclectic landscapes at our national parks. I’ve had the opportunity to visit several of them and each experience has been vastly different: Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Dry Tortugas, Mammoth Cave, the Redwoods and Mt. Rainier. So during National Park Week (and also Earth Day), it’s no surprise that I’m currently loving the most recent Lonely Planet book on my TBR list. I can say with full confidence that after reading Lonely Planet’s National Parks of America: Experience America’s 59 National Parks (Lonely Planet, April 2016) that their experts have a…

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Combat Stress with Kombucha: The Miracle Tea!

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“It is better to go three days without oil and salt than to go one day without tea.” –Tibetan Proverb For those who aren’t familiar with it, kombucha, also lovingly referred to by some as “bottled booch” is a fermented sweet tea that packs a serious health punch. If you haven’t experienced the many wonders of this unique drink, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon, and now’s the perfect time as we close out National Nutrition Month. With all of the new recipes and blends out there (there’s even kombucha cocktails!) booch could become a palate pleaser in your near future. Let’s call it, as the authors suggest, “kombucha kismet.” According to The Big Book of Kombucha: Brewing, Flavoring and Enjoying the…

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