Amanda R. Dollak

Amanda R. Dollak

Amanda Dollak has a B.S. in Criminal Justice and has been a freelance writer since 2008. She has had a lifelong passion for reading and writing and hopes to pass it on to her own two children. In addition to the articles and poetry featured here, she also has content published on Helium.com and has branched out into blogging on Blogger. You can learn more about Amanda and her writing by following her on Twitter @ARDollak. For reprints or your new content needs, email her at amandadollak@yahoo.com.
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  • My Worst Christmas Cooking Disaster
    I grew up in the kitchen and always believed I could handle anything ... until total chaos erupted on Christmas in 2006.
  • Green Options for Bedroom Furniture
    One way to better the earth is to create a more green bedroom. There are a number of ways to update your bedroom and still protect the environment.
  • 3 Advantages of Music Festivals Over Concerts
    Music festivals can be an amazing experience crammed full of energetic and diverse music—an event that can create fun memories to treasure for a lifetime.
  • How I Faced a Mystery Diagnosis
    So often we assume that if we get sick, we can go to the doctor, get treatment, and then move on with our lives. We reason that since doctors have spent years studying, they must have the knowledge and skills to help. But even doctors have limits.
  • The Darker Side of Student Loans: A Lifetime of Debt
    I struggle every month to pay my student loans. If I pay my minimum payments every month, I will finally be free from my loans when I am 58. When I signed for my loans, I never imaged I was agreeing to practically a lifetime of debt.
  • Love Poetry: Forgive Me
    Finding your soul mate is an amazing experience. But sometimes past betrayal makes it hard to trust and love again, even if you feel a strong connection.
  • Emptiness Has Taken Your Place
    Whether by the end of a relationship or death, losing your significant other and other parent of your children is a lonely and empty experience. Everything around you seems to remind you of that person's absence as you try to cope and rebuilt your life.
  • My Top 2013 Parenting Resolution: Kicking the TV Habit
    After New Year's I sat down and reflected on my parenting in 2012. Overall, I was mostly satisfied and decided to focus on 4 general areas I’d like to polish this year. Little did I know that a 5th resolution would soon become a priority.
  • A Young Girl's Champion Soul
    Physical illness can be difficult, limiting and changing lives forever. However, certain things, like the Olympics, can inspire us to dream, releasing the strong heart and soul we have locked up inside ourselves.
  • The 4th of July: A Celebration of Family and Childhood Memories
    The 4th of July is an important holiday for my family. It holds many happy, fun childhood memories while offering an opportunity to honor my late father and keep his memory alive.
  • Fireworks and Freedom
    Seeing Fourth of July fireworks never fails to touch my heart and make me thankful for the blessed life I have because of our country's freedoms.
  • Solitude Within the Summer Storm
    Being caught in the midst of a summer downpour is an unique experience. You are surrounded by a wall of water, isolating you from the rest of the world.
  • My Little Brother's New Teacher
    Kids can come up with some outlandish and colorful reasons why they can't go to school. This is a poem I wrote in honor of my little brother and all the crazy excuses he used to make up when we were children.
  • A Father's Day Poem: A Daughter's Promise
    Facing Father's Day after the death of your father is difficult. However, if you focus on the good memories, it can help to heal your wounds and bring renewed focus into your life.
  • Budgeting Tips for the Working Family
    In today’s world, prices are high, but money is tight. Consequently, it’s more important than ever for many families to create and follow a monthly budget.
  • Loss Caused My Video Game Addiction
    When my father passed away suddenly and painfully from pancreatic cancer in 2011 I was devastated. Since he was in his 60’s and had been disabled for quite some time, the realization that someday I’d lose him was always there. However, nothing prepared
  • A Mother's Day Poem: My Mother's Mother
    Nothing compares to the relationship between a grandmother and a grandchild. It is a special and lasting bond that stays with us forever. Mother's Day is the perfect day to remind our grandmothers just how much they mean to us!
  • Love Poetry: To My Soul Mate and Best Friend
    A poem for my soul mate and best friend. You mean the world to me, and I promise to love you forever!
  • Childhood Easter Memories
    A poem celebrating the wonderful Easter memories from my childhood and how I relive them each new Easter with my son and daughter today.
  • My Funniest April Fool's Prank
    For as long as I can remember, April Fool’s Day has always been one of my favorite holidays. As a child, my younger brother and I would compete to see who could come up with the funniest and most outlandish prank.
  • The Lonely Days of Life's Fall
    There comes a time in everyone's life where we wonder if there is something more to life. If we search hard enough, we realize that even when we have felt the most alone and the most worthless, God is always with us, guiding us toward an amazing future.
  • My First Black Friday Shopping Disaster
    Each year Black Friday deals beckon from every direction, trying to lure us from our turkey-laden slumber with promises of amazing gifts for even more amazing prices. But beware the insanity that lies beneath the jolly holiday decorations.
  • My Top 5 Resolutions for a Healthier New Year
    As 2011 slowly comes to a close, the prospect of a new year brings both hope and regret. Another year has come and gone, leaving me contemplating the New Year’s resolutions from previous years that were quickly thrown aside.
  • The Top 3 Things I Hate to Admit as a Parent
    As parents, we all have a handful of mistakes we are ashamed to admit. But in reality, parents are only human and are bound to err occasionally.
  • 4 Tips for Hosting Your First Big Dinner
    Every dinner host longs for the perfect meal. However, with countless dinners and parties under my belt, I have learned that chaos loves a good social event.
  • The Demons of My Past
    Sometimes, the pain, grief, and ugliness of our pasts linger. Instead of us moving on and making a fresh start, it all clings to the back of our minds, and taints the happiness we seek today. It takes a lot of faith and determination to fight for more.
  • Raul Malo at Club Cafe, Pittsburgh
    It is a crisp December night in Pittsburgh, PA. The door of Club Cafe opens, and as Raul Malo and his band take the stage, the audience starts to cheer. The room is filled to the brim as the lights dim.
  • An Actress and Her Role
    Acting in a Shakespearean play can be one of the most difficult and annoying things in high school. And yet, it has the potential to be one of the most rewarding.
  • A Childhood of Priceless Christmas Memories
    Christmas has been and continues to be my favorite time of the year. The glittery tinsel, sparkling Christmas lights, warm Yule fires, freshly baked cookies, and chorus of joyful laughter seem to transform everything around us.
  • A Christmas Poem: Christmas Morning Breaks
    The moments before the sun rises on Christmas morning is full of anticipation. As dawn breaks, the glory, joy, and hope of Christmas explodes, and if we allow ourselves to look beyond life's difficulties and sorrows, we can see how blessed we truly are!
  • A Winter Poem: Dance of the Snowflake
    No matter how old I become, I still have a childlike fascination with snow. Each flake is unique; each a tiny, intricate sculpture all of its own. Each time it snows and these works of art swirl together on the breeze, a new magical dance is born.
  • Grasping for Light Through the Darkness of Death
    It is so difficult to find peace and life again after the trauma of watching a loved one painfully die. You must struggle tirelessly against the ugliness and raw pain until you can find a way out of the darkness.
  • A Fall Poem: Farwell to the Spring Bird
    Fall is a season of many changes. Leaf rainbows swirl around us. The wind becomes more crisp. And we must say goodbye to many of the beautiful birds that have livened our backyards for months.
  • 5 Educational but Entertaining Cartoons
    As a parent of a 4 and 5 year old, I am no stranger to the world of cartoons. On one side lurk the types of cartoons that literally can make a parent cringe: crude, obnoxious humor and little to no true redeeming qualities.
  • The Splendor of Autumn
    Fall's myriad colors and wonderous changes have such breath-taking and timeless beauty that speak to the very soul.
  • Poetry of the American Soul: The Wild Stallion
    Nothing captures the strength, freedom, and beauty of the American heart quite like the sight of mustangs racing across the barren landcapes they call home.
  • The Cross
    The cross is one of the simplest of shapes, yet when Christ laid His life down to save mankind He transformed the cross into a symbol of hope and love for each and every generation past, present, and future.
  • 3 Things I've Learned About Grieving
    Losing my grandfather, father, and stepfather within the span of 9 months to cancer has probably been the hardest thing I have had to face in my entire life.
  • An Inspirational Poem: The Rose Within My Soul
    Although life can hold so much darkness and sorrow, it must always pass. And if we trust God to strenghten us and use our pain, disappointments, and sadness, something beautiful and unimaginable will blossom and grow.
  • The Loss of a Father
    A poem I wrote for my father after his tragic death from pancreatic cancer. It was so hard to lose someone I loved so much but even harder to see him in such agony! My heart and prayers go out to everyone touched by the ugliness of cancer.
  • The Living Night
    As my father lays painfully fading away from cancer, I feel so helpless and alone. I can't understand why God would allow such suffering to exist. Yet, I sill believe in His goodness and His promise to always be there, if only we call out to Him.
  • A Shopping Anecdote
    A humerous glimspe into the everyday hectic life of American shoppers and the almost animalistic behaviors we exhibit when we are stressed and frenzied.
  • Friendship Across the Miles
    In this hectic, non-stop day and age, it is sometimes difficult to keep in touch with friends, especially those who are not near by. I myself have been guilty of this on occasion. Thus, I wrote this poem to remind my friends how much I still care.
  • Comfort After Losing a Loved One
    Overwhelmed by my grandfather's sudden death, I wanted to keep his memory alive in a poem. After prayering, these words came flowing from me, as if my grandfather was speaking to me. My you find these words just as comforting in your time of loss.
  • Modes of Leadership
    In the end, any individual can increase his/her effectiveness as a leader merely by familiarizing himself / herself with common styles of leadership and by remembering when and how these styles are most useful.
  • A Past Generation's Evil
    Whenever we face the uncensored reality of past evils and misdeeds part of us must wonder whether we ourselves are capable of such behavior if given the same circumstances or opportunities.
  • Lingering Nightmares
    All our darkest secrets and deeds await us at night in our dreams. Sometimes, they can haunt us so much that we are left consumed by doubt and feeling completely isolated from our friends, family, and God.
  • Should Victims of Sexual Crimes Be Interviewed by Individuals of the Same Sex?
    When an individual becomes the victim of a sexual crime, I firmly believe he or she should have the option of being interviewed by law enforcement of the same sex.
  • Should Parents Assign Chores to Toddlers?
    Most parents realize early on that children need a structured, safe, and loving environment to grow to be confident, well-rounded adults. However, what constitutes such an environment varies vastly from parent to parent.
  • A Review of Royall Tyler's Play The Contrast
    How refreshing! Royall Tyler's play The Contrast brought some much needed humor to my hectic life. This play was an absolute delight to read. It was hilarious, entertaining, quite believable and easy to understand.
  • Tips for Building a Strong Mob on MySpace Mobsters
    Mobsters is currently one of the most popular applications on MySpace. However, as more people add this application and grow their mobs and their skills, it is becoming more and more difficult for one to rise among the Mobster ranks.
  • A Review of Jonathan's Swift's "A Modest Proposal"
    I could not believe how graphic and gripping satire can be until I read Jonathan Swift's works, especially A Modest Proposal. When I read this particular satire I was simultaneously shocked, enraged, and sickened.
  • Christian Poem: A Modern-Day Psalm
    Life is full of disappointments, pain, and loss, and we so easily make mistakes and fail God. However, we have the power to ask God for forgiveness and for the strength to move beyond all that and embrace a brighter future.
  • Inspirational Christian Poem: Heaven Bound
    God promises to always be with us to care for us and comfort us in our time of need. Even death itself cannot keep Him from fulfilling His promises, for He'll be right there with us to carry our worn souls to Heaven.
  • Christian Poem: The Wayward Son
    Many people go around trampling on others to get what they want, thinking they are on top. But in reality, they are in sad shape, desperately in need of God's mercy and love.
  • My Favorite Thing About Christmas
    Of course, we all love to receive gifts, myself included. But there is something even more rewarding to know that you helped make someone else's Christmas extra special. So, I would have to say that the best part of Christmas, for me, is that look on
  • Inspirational Christian Poem: Feelings of Loneliness
    Sometimes, life can be extremely lonely. However, as Christians, we never have to feel completely alone. If only we look to God, we can see He is always with us, helping us through everything.
  • Thanksgiving Poem: A New Mother's Thanksgiving
    Never did I know the true significance of Thanksgiving until I started my own family and started celebrating this holiday with my children.
  • Legal Ways to Reduce the Amount of Taxes You Must Pay
    With the cost of living skyrocketing and the troubled economy heavy on our minds, we often are forced to cut out some of our necessities in an attempt to meet all of our obligations. Perhaps one of the most dreaded and hated of these obligations is taxes.
  • Should I Buy Organic or Conventional Foods?
    Although organic products are becoming more and more common in the United States, organic food still remains a controversial topic. There seem to be countless organic enthusiasts waiting around every corner and just as many (or perhaps even more) critics.
  • Organic Foods: Definition of Organic & Explanation of Organic Labeling
    When I lived in southern New York between the spring of 1998 and the summer of 2003, my diet consisted almost entirely of organic food.
  • An Analysis of the U.S. Declaration of Independence
    This article discusses the drafting of the Declaration of Independence.
  • Review of the Film Super Size Me (2004)
    The documentary Super Size Me (2004) truly shocked me. I knew McDonald's food was unhealthy for you, but just like the doctors who were monitoring this man, I did not think that it could do that much damage to someone's health in so little time . . .
  • What is Antisocial Personality Disorder . . . is it the Same as Being Psychopathic?
    The DSM-IV gives specific criteria that each individual must meet to be diagnosed with ASPD. First, the patient must display "a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others . . . " (PsychNet-UK, n.d.b, para. 1).
  • What is a Personality Disorder?
    The DSM-IV defines a personality disorder as "an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that differs markedly from the expectations of the individual's culture . . . " (eMedicine, 2006, Background).
  • The History of Organizations
    "An organization is a deliberate arrangement of people to accomplish some specific purpose (Robbins & Coulter, 2007, p. 17). It is believed that organizations have existed since the beginning of mankind.
  • How Should I Claim Tax Deductions on My Income Tax Return & What Sort of Deductions Can I Claim?
    It is important to realize that when an individual or couple files their taxes, there is two basic ways to claim tax deductions. The first is to claim a standard deduction.
  • Two Common Tax Credits: Child Tax Credit (CTC) & Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
    Two common tax credits are the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) (Internal Revenue Service, n.d.b).
  • What is a 401(k) Plan & What Other Retirement Plan Options Are Available?
    There are a number of retirement plan options to help you save for your retirement. First, there is the 401(k) plan.
  • I'm Young & Healthy . . . Do I Really Need Health Insurance?
    It was estimated that over 46 million Americans did not have any health insurance in 2007 (Appleby, 2007, Introduction para. 4).
  • Poe's Crucial Choice of Point of View in The Cask of Amontillado
    Imagine Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" written from the perspective of that unnerving and mysterious bird or "The Tell-Tale Heart" told by the detectives. Surely this point of view would immediately dull these literary works.
  • Inspirational Christian Poem: "The Window"
    Sitting alone one night, a man is struck by how a plain window can be an object of wonder. After a life-changing experience, he realizes that God has designed all Christians to be His windows to reach the cold, lonely world.
  • Expanding to Foreign Markets: The International Operations of Best Buy, Carrefour, HP & Wal-Mart
    In today's world, countries all over the globe are closer than ever. Areas that were once seemingly impossible to reach are now only a phone call or a click of the mouse away.
  • Suggestions to Improve Investigation & Prosecution of Terrorism in the U.S
    Unfortunately, we have not even been that successful in the United States with investigating and prosecuting terrorists.
  • How Should American Businesses Approach Social Responsibility?
    In the wake of shocking corporate scandals such as WorldCom and Enron, it is not that difficult to view businesses in the United States as greedy and self-centered.
  • Safety & Health Risks of Crime Scene Investigation
    Many individuals fail to realize that there are countless health and safety risks that may be present at the scene.
  • Seven Warning Signs that Terrorists Are Operating in Your Community
    Secure Community Network (2005) offers seven distinct warning signs, created by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York, that terrorists might be operating within a community.
  • Company Web Sites: Defining Market Segments & Satisfying the Consumer
    In today's world, businesses are faced with a significant challenge. Modern companies must contend with countless competitors around the globe on a daily basis.
  • Diagnosing Schizophrenia: The Five Symptoms & Other Requirements
    The Diagnostic Statistic Manual IV (DSM-IV) identifies five symptoms of schizophrenia.
  • Alcoholism
    Alcoholism is a devastating disease with heartbreaking complications. But perhaps the saddest reality of alcoholism is its devastating effects do not stop with just the alcoholic. They actually hurt the alcoholic's family as well (Shuker, 1993).
  • What Are Internal Controls & Why Are They Neccessary?
    Some business owners (or other high-ranking personnel) may put off developing and/or setting up appropriate internal controls for their own companies, dreading the time and effort it can take to safeguard a business's financial records.
  • Four Field Tests Used to Detect Blood at a Crime Scene
    The average human body contains around ten pints of blood. And when a body suffers a wound, it loses blood.
  • Investing for Your Future
    "Investing simply means allowing individuals, businesses, and governments to borrow your money in return for a fee, or interest" (Keown, 2007, p. 17). You may ask yourself, why is investing so important?
  • Criminal Investigation: Understanding Properly Handling Blood Evidence
    Blood evidence is a valuable resource in a criminal investigation, but it is extremely fragile. Mishandling can easily damage or even destroy this type of evidence.
  • Unique Challenges Posed by Al-Qaeda
    Al-Qaeda went practically unnoticed by the United States for many years. This terrorist organization was not actually taken seriously as a threat to our country by the majority of Americans until after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
  • Terrorism in America: Recognized Vs. Unrecognized Acts
    Since before our nation's birth, terrorism has been a problem for America and its allies. One of the earliest examples of this was the terrorism of the Barbary pirates.
  • Understanding Autopsies: Investigating Suspicious Deaths
    "An autopsy is an examination of the body after death" (Cohen, n.d., The Autopsy, What is an autopsy?). During this examination, both the inside and the outside of the corpse are analyzed.
  • Four Common Justifications for Criminal Punishment
    Have you ever wondered why we, as a society, are so quick to punish criminal offenders? The automatic response might be . . . because they did something wrong and broke the law.
  • Developing a Strong Mission Statement for Your Business
    In today's business world, the goals and values of companies are becoming increasingly important as consumers and private investors are becoming more concerned about how they use their money.
  • Examining the Need for a Unified Definition of Terrorism
    In our world today, terrorism is a factor in our day-to-day lives, even if we choose to ignore it. It has touched countless lives around the world and has changed each of them forever.
  • The Algerian War for Independence
    The country of Algeria is located in Northern Africa near the Mediterranean Sea and between the nations of Tunisia and Morocco (Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, 2007, Geography, People).
  • How is My Credit Rating Determined & How Can I Improve It?
    Fundamentally, "credit means buying now and paying later [and] . . . becoming indebted to someone for something" (Procter, 2008, Introduction section).
  • An Overview of the U.S. Presidency
    In reality, the majority of Americans fail to realize how daunting a task it is to simply become President of the United States, not to mention to successfully serve in that office.
  • Managerial Roles
    In recent years, there has been a call to develop more leaders in the workplace (Leskin, 2006). Many management and leadership experts insist that "we have too many managers and not enough leaders" (Leskin, 2006, para. 3).
  • How to Plan a Safe Hiking Trip
    Now that the cooler, milder days of fall are upon us, it is the perfect time to enjoy the great outdoors. One of my most favorite fall outdoor activities is hiking.
  • Structuring Your New Business - Pros & Cons of Four Common Legal Structures
    One of the first major decisions a new business owner must decide is how to structure his or her company. Four of the most common legal business forms are (1) sole proprietorship, (2) partnership, (3) limited liability company (LLC), and (4) corporation.
  • The Accounting Cycle
    "The accounting cycle is the sequence of procedures used to keep track of what has happened in the business and to report the financial effect of those things" (Service Automation, Inc., n.d., para. 1).
  • The Role of the Diagnostic Statistic Manual IV (DSM-IV) in Diagnosing Mental Disorders
    The Diagnostic Statistic Manual was first complied in 1952 and is periodically reviewed and revised by the American Psychiatric Association (U.S. Surgeon General, n.d.; WebMD, 2007). (The current manual is the fourth revision).
  • What Causes Mental Illness?
    The specific cause of mental illness is still widely debated. The truth is the mind is one of the most complex objects in the natural world.
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