anne_mikolay_2012_120Merriam Webster dictionary defines “boast” (verb) as “to puff oneself up in speech, to speak vaingloriously.” Well, pardon me while I “puff” myself up and do a little bragging.

As we all know, the internet is a double edged sword bringing a wealth of information to our fingertips. However, it also gives voice to the misinformed, the misguided, and those who are just plain quackers. While blogs and the self-publishing industry bring forth talented writers who would not otherwise be published, it also opens the floodgates for less than accurate information and “writers” who can't properly string a sentence together. Obviously, when surfing the net, one must be discerning. That being said, allow me to direct you to several interesting blogs written by young, talented writers - whom I happen to be related to. Thus, let the boasting begin!

Both my sons, Dennis and Matthew, are columnists for The Atlantic Highlands Herald (“The Populist Approach” and “Dining Out” respectively). Dennis, a graduate student at Monmouth University, was first published professionally in grade school. Fast forward several years, and he has channeled his writing skill and his passion for politics into his own blog at mikolay.org and is a contributing writer  for ivn.us (unfiltered news by independent contributors). Matthew, a senior at Rutgers University, is a contributing writer reviewing new, fun foods for theimpulsivebuy.com while penning his own blog, snacken.net. Writing ability is not exclusive to my immediate family; my nephews caught the “fever” as well.

My godson and nephew, Dan Fiorelli, a graduate of Rutgers University (and new homeowner!) recently launched a blog, postglutenfreeliving.com. Diagnosed with celiac disease two years ago, Dan quickly discovered special dietary needs can make eating in restaurants a challenge. There's a lot more to gluten free eating, Dan learned, than simply purchasing a gluten-free cake mix at the supermarket, and a restaurant advertising “gluten-free” fare does not guarantee proper food preparation. Log onto Dan's site to learn more. Dan's brother, Michael Fiorelli, graduate of Ramapo College and Villanova, parlayed his love of film and the written word into theneuroticcritic.com. Before you rent movies from Netflix, you might want to check out Mike's site and sample one of his excellent, in-depth movie reviews.

Ordinarily, boasting is quite distasteful, but in this cyber-world of junk, it's my civic duty to direct you to what is, in my humble opinion, quality work. If that excuse for my “puffing” myself up doesn't work, how about this one: I'm just a proud mother/aunt sharing my family's talents.

Enjoy!