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Books ‘n More

My personal essay, Room for Two: When Old Traditions Meet New,” appears in the BlogHer ebook anthology, “Roots: Where Food Comes From and Where It Takes Us.” The essay speaks to the merging of my familial food traditions of the past and present. The essay won 2nd place in the Connecticut Press Club’s 2014 Annual Writing Contest. Purchase your copy by clicking —->Roots: Where Food Comes From and Where It Takes Us: A BlogHer Anthology or click on book image to the left.


BookCoverImageGettin’ Back to Happy is one woman’s look at embracing her happiness. In Gettin’ Back to Happy, Valerie Albarda takes a self-guided journey of discovery on a path that is a year in the making through humor, frankness and introspection. Hers is not a quest to define happiness but to revel in the simple joy that it can bring. Beyond singular characterization, every day happiness presented itself as a chameleon with a different façade to be embraced–it came in as many forms to discover as there are to rejoice in being happy.


A much anticipated vacation in South Africa was complemented by the unmatched thrill of World Cup fever. From the electrified city streets of Johannesburg to the vast and all-encompassing beauty of the bushveld, South Africa opened its arms wide and welcomed the world. Valerie Albarda was there among the revelers celebrating not only the historic sporting event but a special occasion of her own as well.

Travel alongside Valerie as she spends nine days in Johannesburg soaking up the sights, sounds and smells of the city and outlying areas. Along the way she encounters a cast of vuvuzela-toting characters, experiences an emotional excursion to the Apartheid Museum, romps in the dirt with rare white lion cubs, allows her stomach to be her intrepid guide as she samples local fare and more.


In the Fall of 2007, Valerie’s love affair with travel led her and Maarten on a long-awaited journey to one of Valerie’s top three wish-list destinations: the beautiful country of Italy. Travel along with the intrepid explorers and take a peek into twelve days of unforgettable sights, bungling mishaps, enticing cuisine, one renegade partridge and more as they journey from Atlanta, Georgia to the world’s most famous boot. First stop: Venice.




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