Thursday, December 11, 2014

Winners of the Victoria Secret Gift Card

First of all, I want to thank everyone who entered the giveaway. I really do appreciate the support. Thank you!

The winners were:
Shane O and Elena I

Congratulations to you both! I have sent you both an email. I hope you get some use out of those gift cards.  

Monday, December 8, 2014

Victoria Secret Gift Card Giveaway

Recently, Victoria Secret had a promotion where they gave away gift cards. I was the recipient of a $10 gift card. Unfortunately, I'm not going to be using it; however, I figured I could give it away and hopefully someone else might find it more useful. So, without further ado, here is the giveaway for the $10 Victoria Secret gift card.

Please note that following my Facebook page is optional, but appreciated. All other entries are optional, but completing them will increase your chances of winning. If I have enough entrants, I will giveaway a second $10 Victoria Secret gift card to those who followed my Facebook page.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Zep Cleaning Products: How well do they Work?

Recently, Crowdtap had a sampling in which I was able to try Zep Quick Clean Disinfectant and Zep All-Around Oxy Cleaner and Degreaser. I cook everyday so my kitchen can get messy pretty quickly. This means I need something that will keep my counters, sink and cooking top clean; I also need the product to work on all these surfaces. I hate having to use separate products for separate surfaces since it takes up so much time that I would rather use to do something else.

Having said all that, I was happy to learn that Zep All-Around Oxy Cleaner and Degreaser does in fact work on virtually any surface and cleans it as well. It does mention, however, that you shouldn't use it on leather, silk, suede etc., but I don't have silk countertops so I think I'll be alright. Anyways, I found that the All-Around Oxy Cleaner worked just as well as other cleaning products I've used before, but was not any better than they have been. Does it clean? Absolutely, but I wasn't blown away by it. I cleaned my sinks with baking soda a few times and it worked just as well. The only pro I would say about Zep vs. another cleaning solution is that I was able to use it on all my kitchen surfaces without having to switch cleaners for the different surfaces.

I found the Zep Quick Clean Disinfectant to be a little trickier. There were all these warnings about using gloves and how it was a skin irritant on the label, which was fine, but how does this make it different than bleach? It works essentially just as well as bleach and contains the same warnings, so I didn't find anything special about the Zep Disinfectant. Would I recommend it? Yes, if you use bleach to clean surfaces to rid them of bacteria-go ahead, this works just as well. My point is, it doesn't seem to be any safer or have any added benefits over using bleach. That being said, the product does claim to kill 99.9% of bacteria like Staph so it is very useful in the kitchen or even the bathroom.

Overall, I liked the Zep Cleaners, but to be honest, I didn't find anything spectacular about them.

*Disclosure: I received this product for free in exchange for an honest review. As always, all opinions are unbiased and my own. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Cake Pops: the Best Invention since Cake

Apparently, I've been living under a rock or in a cave or in my own little bubble, because I'd never had cake pops before. It's true-while I'd heard of them, I'd never actually tried them. Now I'm wondering why I never did. A few months ago I won a giveaway that had a number of prizes. One of those prizes was a cake pop arrangement by Kelly's Confectionary Creations. Having never tried cake pops before I was intrigued and more than a little excited to see what they were like.

However, there was a tiny problem: Kelly's shop was located in Minnesota, while I'm in Tennessee. How could she send me the cake pops in August with temperatures hitting the 90 degree mark? Kelly suggested that we wait until it was cooler and then she would figure out a way to get them to me. She was super friendly and nice throughout the whole process and then in early November I got in touch with her again and she sent them out. Within two days I had a lovely package on my doorstep full of delicious cake pops.

Kelly sent me two different flavors: pink lemonade and orange chocolate. Not only do they look amazing, they taste even better. I tried the pink lemonade first and even managed to get a picture (it was difficult, but I did it).

The oh so soft inner cake layer was perfect-light, fluffy and delicious. The outer chocolate coating was also wonderful-it just melted in my mouth as soon as I bit into it. The sprinkles added just a touch of fun and sweetness. Where has this been all my life?!

My daughter, who I've somehow managed to keep under a rock with me and has also never had cake pops, stole asked nicely and took one of the orange chocolate cake pops to try. She devoured it! It's hard to please my daughter, who, quite possibly may be the pickiest eater on the planet, so the fact that she LOVED them really says something.

If you're located in the Minneapolis/St.Paul area or nearby, give Kelly's Confectionary Creations a try. You can't go wrong. Not only does she make cake pops, but also other baked goodies. Take a look here and here. Working with Kelly has also been great, she's just wonderful to work with and kept me updated about the status of the cake pops throughout. All in all, I'm so grateful to have gotten a chance to try these delicious treats-they are now one of my favorite sweets!

*Disclosure: I was not provided with this product for review purposes. However, I did win and receive these for free. As always, my opinions are my own and unbiased.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Remington 2" Straightener: Straight up Great

Remington First Look gave me the chance to try their T|Studio LUXE 2" Straightener. A little background before I start. My hair is frizzy-I'm not talking a little static on a humid day, I'm talking full blown Van de Graaff generator frizzy (well pretty close to it). It's also wavy to curly, not quite coils, but not straight either-somewhere in between. A straightener is pretty much a necessity at this point. So of course, I was thrilled to be able to try Remington's 2" straightener.

The straightener was a light lavender color, which I really liked. It was built well and was very sturdy-I could see this lasting a long time. 

Let's start off with the pros:

1. Fast heat up time: The package says the flat iron heats up to it's set temperature in 15 seconds. I found this claim to be true. I had the temperature set at 380 degrees Fahrenheit and it reached that temperature within 15 seconds. I was beyond pleased because the faster it reaches the set temperature, the faster my morning routine goes.

2. Easy to read digital setting: The digital light is very easy to read. I usually need glasses when the script gets too small, but in this case, I didn't have a problem at all.

3. Easy to use: I'm not that great with technology most of the time, but using this flat iron was a breeze. It was literally just plug it in, set temperature, wait 15 seconds, presto done. It required no work from me and I figured it out within minutes.

4. Works very well: My hair is wavy on good days and a frizzy, curly mess  the rest of the time. This basically constitutes 360 days of the year. A flat iron is a must at my house. This was a lifesaver. It's very simple and I felt that it did a very good job with my hair. I found less frizz (pretty much non-existent) as well as leaving my smooth and silky to the touch. This has definitely become a staple in my morning routine.

5. Fast: Did I mention how fast it is? From heat up time to actually using it, I found that the flat iron is incredibly fast. I didn't have to straighten parts of my hair over and over. I ran it over once and I was done. This really saved me a lot of time.

All in all, I was pleased with the flat iron: it was durable, high quality, was easy to use and left my hair silky. This makes for a very happy me and I would definitely recommend this to anyone who would like to straighten their hair. 

*Disclosure: I received this product for free from Remington in exchange for an honest review. As always, my opinions are my own and unbiased. 

Arla Dofino: Did Someone say Cheese?

A few weeks ago I got an invitation from BzzAgent to sign up for their Arla Dofino Cheese campaign. Now let me start by telling you how much my family loves their cheese. We have to have cheese in at least 1 dish a day, whether it be pasta, mac and cheese, pizza, quesadillas, etc. You get the picture. If it's not in a recipe, I'll find my the various members of my family (including me) raiding the fridge and cutting a piece of cheese to eat. String cheese doesn't last long and whole blocks of cheese disappear within a week. Basically, we love our cheese.

Having said this, I was ecstatic to try Arla Dofino cheese. I had seen their products in stores, but for some strange reason (especially being a cheese lover) had never actually bought them. Well, getting a free product coupon was just the catalyst I needed. Once I got my coupon I rushed over to the Kroger in my area and searched. Weirdly, I was only able to find 1 type of Arla Dofino cheese: the Chipotle Gouda. Fortunately, this was the one I had wanted to try. However, it would have been nice to have a selection of different cheeses-I'll have to check in other stores nearby to see if they offer a greater variety.

Regardless, that night I made quesadillas as a side dish. It was an instant hit! The slightly nutty, smoky flavor of the gouda balanced with a hint of spice really was just the ticket for my family's palate. I also made grilled cheese and added the gouda to some veggie pasta to see what it would taste like and both were wins! At around $5.00, the cheese is relatively inexpensive for the quality and I definitely think it's great value.

Overall, I was impressed with Arla Dofino's cheese and have bought more of their cheeses since my campaign. More Gouda as well as Havarti have become household favorites and I know I'll definitely be seeing more of them in my kitchen in the near future.

The one bad thing about having tasty cheese is that I completely forgot to take a picture of the meals I prepared with them and by the time I remembered, they were sitting snugly in our stomachs!

*Disclosure: I received a coupon for a free product in exchange for a review via BzzAgent. As always, all opinions are my own and unbiased. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Chloe + Isabel Review with a Surprise

About a month ago I saw and decided to enter a giveaway for a Chloe + Isabel piece from Life With Angie. It was a pleasant surprise when I got the email from Ms. Angie that I won! This was my first experience with a Chloe + Isabel piece so I was excited to see what their jewelry was like. Well, about a week later Angie sent me my necklace and I was definitely impressed.

As you can see, it came with a cute burlap type drawstring bag and the necklace itself is so delicate and dainty. It's gold tone and is adorned with a very elegant feather. I'd have to say my favorite part is actually the little bird on the end of the necklace near the clasp, which is a staple it looks like with all C + I pieces. The simplicity of the necklace has me sold and I know I will be wearing this often-dressed down and dressed up!

C + I pieces come with a lifetime warranty. How many other jewelry companies can say that? The jewelry is high quality and can be worn alone or with other jewelry you own. They also have free shipping with a $100 order.

Angie and I have decided to run a pop up shop. This is basically like a party where you can check out all the great products C + I have to offer and if you like something, you can buy it. To sweeten the deal a little more Angie is graciously providing a giveaway for $25 off a $75 purchase to a winner. Imagine the things you could get with that.

The giveaway ends on October 8, when I'll pick a winner and give them the code so they can order whatever they'd like from the provided link.

Browse C + I's gorgeous selection of jewelry and if you'd like,
Order here

You can always join Angie's C + I group to see the special deals and offers she'll post.

Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out some of the other pieces C + I have to offer, these are some of my favorites:

*Disclosure: I was not provided with product for review purposes, however, I did win and receive it for free. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Blogger Opportunity

This is your chance to Review and Giveaway an ESSIO Aromatherapy Shower! Yup, that's right. Just fill out this form here and you could be on your way to an amazing shower.

1. This is open to the 1st 100 bloggers
2. Your kit will be mailed to you after you provide your address
3. You need to complete your review within 30 days

If you can do all that, why not give it a shot?!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Vitamin C Serum Review

It seems that these days natural products are making a bit of a comeback and it's all you really hear about. There are just so many, especially when it comes to beauty products. How can you be sure a serum or cream lives up to the hype? Or that it will even work? In many cases, you really don't, but word of mouth is one way to either corroborate or demolish the statements made by these companies.

I was given the chance to try out the Vitamin C Serum from La Beaute Pure and was excited to see if it lived up to the claims on Amazon. My initial reaction was very positive as I received the serum within a week and was given a free e-book and complimentary Shea Butter Black soap with my order. I also received a personalized email from the company to ensure that my experiences with all parts of the review process were excellent. From the ordering to a month after using it, the company made sure that I was pleased with the final result. They have excellent customer and are happy to work with you to resolve any issues. For that alone they deserve a five star rating.

But let's move on: you're here to find out if the serum actually does what it's supposed to do. The package comes with the product as well as a separate eye dropper or lid. This is the same bottle I received:

I loved the eye dropper because I could customize the amount of serum I needed. About 4 drops usually covered my entire face and I usually added a moisturizer on top of it. I found that my skin feels a lot fresher and softer than when I used a moisturizer alone. I can honestly say that it was so much better and faster acting than most high priced store bought products that I had used before. Also seeing that I'm only using about 4 drops a day, I know this bottle will last me a very long time meaning that it is very cost effective. I usually end up buying a new moisturizer every month or so, but I can see this easily lasting me 6 months or more.

I also want to note that my daughter started using this a couple of weeks ago as well and her skin looks great too! She doesn't use a moisturizer with it and uses it alone. La Beaute claims that the serum also lightens the complexion and while I didn't notice this on my skin, I can definitely see it on my daughter's skin. Her skin has definitely brightened and become more even toned after using the Vitamin C Serum.

Essentially, the Vitamin C serum by La Beaute Pure works, is cost effective and the awesome customer service is why I would absolutely recommend this product to anyone.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, June 16, 2014

HDMI Cable Review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

I love watching Youtube videos: DIY projects, clips from movies, and even the always loved cat videos. It's kind of a hassle though to watch on my phone or computer. Even full screen I just don't get the same effect as if I were watching something on a big screen TV. Recently, I found this great Sherlock Holmes series on Youtube from way back in the day and hated watching it on a tiny screen. I wanted it on my TV, but how to connect it. I don't have a smart TV so all that wireless stuff was out of my reach, but I could use an HDMI cord. Well, this is where Vimle comes in. They offered to send me a pack of 2 HDMI cables that could connect my computer to my TV. Of course, I jumped at the offer.

The HDMI cable can connect not only a computer to a TV, but will also create an interface between any audio/video source. DVD players, Blu-ray players, video game consoles-pretty much anything that has an HDMI port.

I found that it worked exceptionally well! I connected my computer and TV up and voila, I had perfect clarity, picture and sound. I was able to watch my Sherlock Holmes series (and cat videos) with perfect ease and convenience. And since it came in a 2 pack, I could leave one with the TV downstairs and have a spare for another job if needed. It worked out really well. Another thing you should know is that I'm not very technologically capable-my daughter is the techie in our house, but I was able to figure this out and get everything going with ease.

It's not just useful for watching videos on the internet. When I connected it to my computer it had my computer screen on the TV-so I could literally do anything from give a presentation on Powerpoint to play Minesweeper while watching on my TV screen.

I was curious whether it would work with my Roku box and tried that out as well-worked like a charm! So now I have one cable connected between my Roku and TV and the other on standby for when I want to connect my computer. This is definitely a purchase worth making; the HDMI cables are quite exceptional!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Dead Sea Mud Shampoo Review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Dry, frizzy hair that never seems tamable or acts up in humid weather-sound familiar? Yes? Me too! In fact, my hair is one of those things I have to spend most of my morning routine on just to avoid looking like a crazy loon in public. I hate that I have to spend so much time trying to simply tame my hair. This is why I jumped at the chance to try out Adovia's Dead Sea Mud Shampoo.

Now I'd heard about the benefits of Dead Sea Mud shampoo and how well it's supposed to work on hair. In fact, this is what Adovia says about their product:

Helps to Relieve Itching from Dry, Flaky Scalp & Dandruff
Helps to Relieve Symptoms of Scalp Psoriasis & Seborrhea Dermatitis
Made with Pure & Natural Dead Sea Mud for an Infusion of Essential Minerals into Scalp & Hair
Specially formulated for dry, itchy scalps & Dandruff
Also Contains Olive Oil, Shea Butter, Vitamin E & Chamomile for a Natural Formula that gets results.

The first time I used it, I didn't really notice a whole lot of difference between my regular shampoo and this shampoo. After about a week of using it is when I really started to notice a bit more of a difference; my scalp didn't seem as dry and while I don't have a problem with dandruff, I can see how it would help someone who did. In terms of my overall impression of the shampoo, I have to say I do like it, but I don't love it. Without question, it cleaned my hair well and I could only hope that the Dead Sea minerals were doing a good job on my hair. However, I didn't feel like it blew me out of the water in terms of how well it worked. I didn't look like I just came back from shooting a shampoo commercial or like I could drive a convertible and still have smooth waves of hair falling down my back. It just wasn't meant to be.

Basically the pros and cons were this:

Cleans hair very well, Dead Sea Mud is very beneficial for the scalp and hair, Lathers very well, Has a clean fresh scent (not muddy smelling like I may have been expecting), relieves dry scalp and has 100% absolutely wonderful customer service (see note at bottom).

Works like any other shampoo I've used, Smoothness and silkiness of my hair didn't really improve that much.

One thing I wanted to point out was that the Adovia customer service is incredible. I would bump up a star just for that! I was having trouble checking out on Amazon using the code they gave me to review the shampoo. When I emailed them about the trouble they immediately emailed me back and tried to fix the issue. Eventually it came to a point where I just couldn't get Amazon to accept the code and so Adovia sent me the shampoo without having to use Amazon. They simply got my info through email and a couple of days later I had it. Now they could have said, "if it doesn't work, maybe you can do a review next time" or "sorry there's nothing we can do", but they went above and beyond to make sure my experience with their company was a good one. For that reason alone, I know I will be buying more of their products, because I know they work just as well as other products out there, but I also have that additional security that if I'm not satisfied with something, Adovia will fix it.

I've also come to realize that Adovia sells Dead Sea Mud Conditioners as well so I think I'll be trying that next with the shampoo to see if I can try to duplicate that shampoo commercial hair ;)

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Vitamin C Serum + Organic Rose Hip Seed Oil + Organic Argan Oil Review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Moisturizers are a big part of my life-I don't quite know what I would do without them. In the winter seasons, my face tends to get dry and if ignored, would probably start itching and peeling. Doesn't sound pretty? Yeah, I don't think so either. So I use moisturizers like a life-line. I have them at home, in my purse, in my car-you get the idea. The one thing I don't love about moisturizers is the ingredients list. Now I'm not the kind of person who looks at a list and says, "Oh, I can't pronounce that word, it must be bad for me!" I take everything with a grain of salt. I like to do my research (from reputable sources) and figure out for myself if something is good or not. Of course, the ingredients list on moisturizers can be somewhat daunting and I'd like to spend my time not having to worry about this list. Well, that's where InstaNatural LLC comes in. They offered to let me try their products in exchange for a review-no doubt, I jumped on the opportunity.

What I loved about their products is that most of them are USDA certified organic. They're products are pure and contain what they are supposed to contain.

The first product I tried was the Organic Rose Hip Seed Oil:

It comes in a blue glass bottle (which I've heard is the best color and kind to put anything) and is a good size. I know this will last a long time, because as the directions say you don't need more than about 4 drops for your entire face. They ask you to store it in the fridge to keep it cool so there is now a spot in my fridge just for the Rose Hip Seed Oil. InstaNatural also mentions that it can be used as a moisturizer, hair oil for shinier, healthier hair, and cuticle oil for healthier nails.

What do I think of it? I really love it! I've only used it as a moisturizer so far, but I have no doubts that it would be great as a hair oil or cuticle oil. I've had these awful age spots on my skin and after using the Rose Hip Seed Oil they seem to have gotten lighter. My skin is so much softer than it was before and I've a noticed a lot of blemishes disappear. My skin has also brightened in tone and is smoother in texture. I cannot sing the praises of this oil enough! The only con to the oil is the slight smell it has. The smell can be described as a little fishy-not overly bad and it disappears completely after a few minutes, but there is just a hint at the beginning. To be honest, I didn't really notice it at all and wouldn't have, but InstaNatural mentioned it on their page. So if your very sensitive to certain smells, it might be more noticeable for you. Besides that I can only rave about how much I love this oil and I know once I finish it (which might take a while), I'll be back for more!

InstaNatural also gave me the opportunity to try their Vitamin C Serum.

Now since I was already using the Rose Hip Seed Oil, I gave this to my daughter to try so I could have an unbiased review. Unlike the picture, the vitamin C serum came in a brown bottle and was a little smaller than the Rose Hip Seed Oil. InstaNatural says that the serum works to brighten, moisturize and hydrate the skin. I found all of these to be true! A few days after my daughter started wearing it, I noticed her skin was brighter, more radiant and looked fresh and healthy. My daughter has naturally tanned skin and a few days after using the vitamin C serum I found that her skin had a healthy glow to it and any small blemishes had disappeared. I am absolutely in love with this product-my next step will be to try this myself to see how well it works on fine lines and age spots. This is definitely a product I would recommend to everyone! It works just as advertised and I don't have to worry about harsh chemicals on my face.

Finally, InstaNatural sent me a bottle of Pure Organic Argan Oil.

I've had nothing but good to say about InstaNatural's products and this one is going to be no different. The Argan oil can be used on your face, hands, cuticles and hair. I personally used it on my hair. In the 2 weeks I used it, I noticed a huge difference in the texture and volume of my hair. My hair gets really frizzy on humid days and is still pretty frizzy on non-humid days. After using the Argan oil I noticed that my hair felt and looked smoother on both humid and non-humid days. This is a huge plus for me because I hate when my hair is frizzy and dry. I've used other oils before, but I hate how they feel sticky and greasy in my hair. InstaNatural's Argan oil does not do that; I wouldn't have been able to tell that I was wearing it if not for the fact that my hair looked so much nicer than usual. I would recommend this to everyone-seriously this is amazing and works like a charm.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Splenderosa Handbag

Splenderosa is giving it's readers a chance to win a gorgeous Italian Leather Alligator embossed cross body bag.

Apr7216  Beige

Just beautiful don't you think? Enter here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sky1 - Foundation by William Amerman Review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Wow! Where do I even start with this book? The one thing I can say with absolute certainty is that this book will grip you in it's talons and won't let you go until you finish it. From the first page where we meet Nick Burke and learn of his situation to the last pages where...well you'll have to read and find out...the action keeps you immersed in Nick's story.

This is the synopsis provided for the book:

In a post-apocalyptic world, Nick Burke has been allotted 389 square feet of living space by the government. Disease spreads quickly when people are packed together so tightly. Quarantines have been imposed in an effort to contain the spread of infection. 

When a quarantine is imposed on Nick's Ground, he and his family are trapped. The only way out is to break laws that carry a penalty of death. 

Fearing for his life and the safety of his family, Nick joins forces with a local group to move to another Ground. But can he trust his new friends?

Right off the bat you can see that this is going to be a dystopian setting so if you enjoy reading dystopians, then I would definitely recommend this book for you. What I loved about it was the action sequences-you follow Nick and his family through their journey to get to higher ground and each scene is so meticulously described that you're on the edge of your seat. I also really enjoyed that this was a more gritty dystopian-many of the books I've read in that genre have been targeted to a teenage audience so you tend to miss out on the more gritty descriptions. This was perfect for an older audience (although I think it would be completely suitable for a teenage audience). I also really liked that this book was so believable. Many times when I read a book, I end up rolling my eyes every few pages because the scenes are just so over the top or absolutely unrealistic. That definitely wasn't the case here-I could very well see this happening in a post-apocalyptic world and that's what sets this book apart from many other dystopians.

But, the best part of the book is it's part of a series! Yes, that's right-more action, more conflict, more everything! What's also great is that the author managed to solve the basic conflicts in this book, but still sets up the overall themes for the next book so your not left with a frustrating cliffhanger. Instead, your left with a sense of completeness, with just a hint of anticipation for the next book and I know I'll be looking for the next book in the series to read soon.

Anyways, I would definitely give this book a try if your into Dystopians because it's definitely one of the better ones out there!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Haven: A Stranger Magic by D.C. Akers Review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.
I'm sure you've all had that evening when you pick up a book and think I'll just read this for an hour then get some work done; before you know it, the book is over, you're sitting there with a smile on your face and it's 2 AM with the errands still incomplete. Well, that was this book- Haven: A Stranger Magic.

As a woman with a college year old daughter I thought this book might have been too young for me. When I started reading it, I found that the protagonist, Sam, was a 13 year old boy and his sister was only a couple of years older. I didn't think that I would be able to really connect with those characters and therefore wouldn't like the book that much. However, I'm not one to quit reading for a reason like that so I continued on. I found that it was actually quite entertaining. A lot of the struggles Sam goes through are very real and I found myself sympathizing with him a lot. I loved that the author was able to make me feel these emotions, because it drew me into the story even more. Another thing I loved and was happy the author did was Sarah's point of view. In the beginning when I saw the way she acted, I was a little angry with her, but getting to see her emotions and her motivations, not only redeemed her, but had me rooting for her.

What's it about?
This book was more or less a prologue that set up the setting, characters and background for the rest of the series, so if you're hoping for mind-blowing action scenes and earth-shaking revelations you won't find them here, but you will find the understanding you need to get there.
Essentially, the book is about Sam, a 13 year old boy, who sees a man standing outside his house at night. Somehow, magically, the man always disappears either then or by the next morning. While Sam works to discover who this stranger is, his sister is also starting to uncover her own secrets. The synopsis for the book reads:

Sam Dalcome thinks he is so completely average that no one ever notices him. Until he discovers a mysterious stranger outside his home. Bewildered, he tries to uncover the stranger’s intentions. But Sam is sidetracked when he and his friend Travis discover a secret passageway deep in the town’s quarry that leads to a hidden cavern. What they uncover next will not only change their lives forever, but will uncover the first clue to a deadly Dalcome family secret. Sam finds himself drawn into a world of mystery and magic he never knew existed, which brings him closer to a destiny he never knew was possible.

Definitely an interesting premise. I will definitely be checking out the next book in the series just to find out what happens. I've always been a fan of fantasy and I think this book fits the bill. If you've ever read the Fablehaven series, I find that this book has some of the same style of writing and setup as that one (I loved that series too).

If you get a chance give the book a try-you may really enjoy it. It's free on Amazon Kindle right now, so you can try it for free!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Cottonelle Clean Slate Review

Crowdtap recently gave me the chance to try out Cottonelle's line of toilet paper and fresh care wipes. I was able to invite a few of my friends for a "Clean Slate, Clean Bum" party so we could all take some time to discuss what we liked and didn't like about Cottonelle. Of course, simply talking about toilet paper and clean bums isn't exactly scintillating conversation, nor is it the best party discussion. I'm sure all of us have been to party and met "that guy". You know, the one who brings up the most awkward and "get me out of here" topics? Well, it would be worse if that was the host. However, Crowdtap was able to solve that problem for me. Along with their amazing Cottonelle product package:

They also sent me plates and glitter glue to decorate them. A sort of fun party idea all while discussing Cottonelle. It took the party from being a somewhat awkward affair of bathroom talk to a somewhat awkwardly fun affair of bathroom talk. Seriously though, since it was held with a great group of friends who have known each other for years, it wasn't awkward or uncomfortable at all. We all a lot of fun talking about what we liked and disliked about the brand Cottonelle and their products.

Our likes:
They have high quality products. The toilet paper is soft and doesn't just crumble apart. Their fresh wipes work remarkably well and are flushable!
Great value: I find that the quality of products is quite affordable. I'm not paying large amounts of money for high quality. I find their prices to be reasonable.

One of the things we all agreed on was that Cottonelle needs to make their products in bulk. I'd like to go to the store and buy a large pack of it, so I'll have it in storage. Yes, I realize I can just get more than 1 pack at a time, but I would like to see bulk packs.

Midst all the bathroom talk we also got a chance to decorate some plates. This is one of them (and yes I know it's no work of art-in fact I'm well aware it looks more like a kindergartner got his/her hands on it):

We were all quite proud of our creations. I'd also like to add that our art skills aren't quite up to par.

*Disclosure: I received this party pack from Crowdtap in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own (and my friends in this case).  

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Twice: Designer Clothing for Less

A few days ago, a friend of mine sent me a link to a website. She told me that it was a clothing site where I could find designer clothing for a fraction of the cost compared to department stores. I was a little skeptical because, come on, designer clothing for less? Sure, you could probably score some good deals at a department store, but how much of a price cut are you really going to get? Well, I decided to check it out anyways. The site is called Twice and they advertise a variety of different name brands at up to 70%-90% off retail. Once I started browsing, wow, was I amazed! After filtering to my size, I found over 20,000 items and then some. Choose from tops, pants, skirts, jeans, dresses and more. The best part is that most of the clothes are less than $15.00-now that's a bargain.

Take a look at some of the clothes you can find there:

I've saved the best for last:
Right now when you join here you get a $10 credit in your account. What's even better is that through January 17, 2014 enter the code SURVEY10 in the promotional code box when you go to checkout and you get another $10 off your purchase. That means you can get clothes completely FREE! Shipping is $5 and you can use your credit towards it so anything under $15 is free!

And wait (yes, I probably do sound like one of those ads on tv, but seriously this is a great deal)-if you download their iphone app and login through it, you get another $10 in your account. You also get another $10 if you download their ipad app.

So let's recap:
1. Register here for $10
2. Then download their iphone app (totally optional of course, but you get $10 if you do)
3. Download their ipad app (again optional, but another $10)
4. Finally, until January 17, use the code SURVEY10 for another $10

If you do all these steps you should get $40 (of which you can get $35 of free clothing) for minimal work. Unfortunately, they don't have an android app yet, but maybe soon!

I was able to get a cute skirt and sweater so hopefully you'll find something you love as well!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Hershey's Spreads Review: Move Over Nutella

You might have recently heard about a Nutella like spread called Hershey's Spreads. Well, I was lucky enough to be one of the few to enjoy a jar of them courtesy of Crowdtap, a site where consumers can answer questions about brands. I was so excited to try them out because everyone in my family has a sweet tooth. It took a little while to arrive, but when it got here, I couldn't decide what to try it on first. I was able to try the chocolate and almond flavor, but Hershey's also makes chocolate and hazelnut as well as plain chocolate. Move over Nutella, there's a new spread in town!

After looking at some suggestions of what to use it on, such as toast, waffles, fruits and the like, I decided to try my own experiment and scooped a teaspoonful into milk. I warmed it up for a good 2 minutes and added a hint of sugar; voila-hot chocolate! It tasted delicious and I was happy with the results.

I also tried it on sugar cookies. Yes, I know that seems a bit much, but seriously, if you have a sweet tooth like me, you can't go wrong. Honestly, it wasn't as sweet as it sounds and actually was pretty good. I found that the taste was rich and the varying textures made it all the better. But, the best way I found to eat Hershey's spreads is straight out of the jar. A spoonful of it is just perfect while your watching your favorite movie or reading a good book. Rich and creamy, you can't go wrong with it's chocolaty goodness!
*Disclosure: I was given this product by Crowdtap for free to review. However, all opinions are my own.