January 27, 2011

Soapmaking the Natural Way by Rebecca Ittner

Soapmaking the Natural Way by Rebecca Ittner is a how-to book on making homemade soap. Custom soap that is handmade with natural ingredients can be quite pricey, but now you can learn how to make your own soap!

Book Description
“Here's where simple techniques meet 100% natural soaps that please the eye, the nose, and the environment!

Made with the safe and simple melt-and-pour method, these projects feature a delicious range of eco-friendly and animal-free ingredients-from oatmeal and lavender to honeysuckle and clay. The ins-and-outs of soap bases, colorants, and essential oils all received detailed attention.

Soapmaking the Natural Way is an affordable, informative, and inspiring resource.”
Soapmaking the Natural Way

My Thoughts
Soapmaking the Natural Way is a very helpful tool to use if you are interested in making your own soap. I’ve wanted to make soap for years, but was always scared to do it. I thought it would be this huge undertaking and really hard and messy to do. Surprisingly, it wasn’t!

The recipes for soap in this book all really sound (and look) amazing. I ended up making the Brown Sugar and Vanilla soap. It didn’t look like the soap in the book, but I used different molds and didn’t scrape them.

Here is what my handmade soap looks like:

I put little amethyst chips in two of them just to try it out, and it actually worked (sort of). I’ll experiment more with this later.

Some of the recipes from the book that I really want to try soon include:
• Lavender Clay
• Vanilla Sundae
• Berry Smoothie
• Himalayan Magic
• Pomegranate Crush
• Tropical Dream
• Carved Quartz (looks like real quartz!)
• Fruity Cupcakes (soap that looks like cupcakes!)

The basic knowledge of making soap and many easy to make recipes are included in Soapmaking the Natural Way. Overall, this is really the perfect book for learning how to make your own natural soap. Trust me, it isn’t that hard! If you’ve ever wanted to do this, go for it. It isn’t expensive and is really quite easy!

* Thank you to the publisher of Soapmaking the Natural Way, Lark, part of Sterling Publishing, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Majesty 2: Monster Kingdom Review

The newest expansion pack for Majesty 2 is Monster Kingdom. In this expansion pack, you will get to play as the king of monsters. This is a really unique (and quite fun) take on the game, so if you are a fan of the series, check out this Majesty 2 Monster Kingdom review!

Game Description
The King would imagine that Ardania belongs to him alone, and his advisor supports him in this ignorance, forgetting that there are two sides to every coin. As mentioned in the ancient scriptures of Murphius:“Try as you might to do something that everybody likes, there is always someone who does not.” Soon, the hard truth of these words will reveal itself to the Great King in full.

And what will he do, and where will he go, should everyone turn against him? Well, not his loyal Advisor, of course, but all those petty nobles and the Conclave. It will be a difficult challenge to maintain the righteous command. Determination will be his greatest weapon, and sacrifices will have to be made. But just how far is the King ready to go in this dire situation?

And the situation is dire indeed. The High Priests have stolen the Crown of Ardania, to summon the Spirit of the Kings and proclaim it the righteous ruler. Your Majesty, you who so bravely defeated Barlog, have lost your throne, and must now fight to reclaim it. The Nobles support the Conclave, and your only hope is to find new allies, those who no one, even you, would ever expect to be join you. Once again you must heed the wisdom of your Advisor, in hopes that with his guidance you may bring peace back to Ardania.

• New “Exiles of Fate” campaign, which features 10 new missions
• New monster race avaible in multiplayer mode
• Monster kingdom with a full set of new buildings, heroes and citizens

My Thoughts
The Monster Kingdom expansion pack brings all of the fun from the previous games in the series but makes it different by letting you control monster heroes. With these new monsters you control, your buildings are also different because you couldn’t use the same ones humans do, right?

The new missions that are in Majesty 2: Monster Kingdom aren’t easy. Sure, the ones that are at the beginning are, but after that – be prepared to have to give a few takes before beating it. For me, the timed ones were really the hardest. I ended up getting stuck on the second to last mission. I’ll probably try again in the near future, but for now… I have yet to beat it (which can be quite infuriating if you are a gamer).

The graphics, voice acting, and other aspects of the game remain he same and of good quality. I didn't really have any issues with the game crashing, until I was almost at the end of the mission I can't seem to get past - just my luck, right?

Overall, I found this expansion pack to be fun and provides endless hours of entertainment. For the price of this series, you really can’t beat it. I highly recommend it to all those who like simulation city building type games.

Thank you to the publisher of Majesty 2: Monster Kingdom, Paradox Interactive and Gamers Gate for providing me with a digital copy of the game for review. All opinions and experiences are my own.

January 24, 2011

Sarah Palin’s Alaska Show Makes Me Want to Visit Alaska

I’m not really very political, so don’t worry - this post has nothing really to do with that. Instead, it is just about Sarah Palin’s Alaska show that was on TLC. I’m not sure if there will even be a second season or not, though I hope there will be.

If you love reality TV, or perhaps just like Sarah Palin’s political views, or maybe want to voyeur into her Alaskan reality, you probably saw some of Sarah Palin’s Alaska show that aired in Fall 2010.

At first, I really wasn’t all that interested in watching it. My DVR is pretty full already, so why add something else to it, right? Well, my parents actually started watching it and said how much they liked it. So, I figured if they liked it, maybe I would too. For those who are wondering, no my parents aren’t even Republicans, so it wasn’t about that either.

Reality television can be good and educational, which was surprising, because Sarah Palin’s Alaska show was just that. It was entertaining too of course. They went on many adventures each show to show the viewers what Alaska is like – and just how beautiful it is.

Somehow I ended up actually watching all of the episodes that aired and I can honestly say that I enjoyed them all - even the one that Kate Gosslin was on. Sure, I can’t stand that woman but it was quite hilarious how rude and miserable she was outdoors. Sarah was of course politically correct and nice about it all, but I bet they laughed about it after the cameras were off – I would have! I really enjoyed watching where they went, and seeing how her family is without the paparazzi’s point of view on it.

Watching Sarah Palin’s Alaska show really makes me want to visit Alaska someday. I probably can’t manage to go anytime soon, unless I somehow win some kind of a lottery or win a trip to Alaska somehow.

What I can do is request free information about Alaska and perhaps cut out a beautiful image from the travel book to post on my vision board, so maybe the Law of Attraction will let me win that trip.

If you’d like to order your free book too, click on the image below.

January 21, 2011

Yoplait Original Giveaway

Yoplait yogurt is delicious and also low in calories. Now it is even better for you by providing two times more calcium than the leading yogurt. This equals to 50% of the Daily Value women need in just one 6-ounce cup! It also provides 50% of the Daily Value of vitamin D which will help you to absorb the calcium.

As it is still a “New Year” many of us (myself included) are still motivated to lose weight this year and get healthier. Sometimes snack foods aren’t very good when you are on a “diet” or “lifestyle change” which is really just a fancy word for a diet. So, finding something as yummy as this and also can help with the diet? I mean really, I can’t beat that.

My favorite types of the Yoplait Original yogurt are: Strawberry, and the French Vanilla. It can come in a 4-cup pack or 8-cup pack and is available in 23 different flavors – almost a different one you can use for each day of the month.

Yoplait Original Prize Pack Giveaway
I’m very happy to get to share this gift pack with one lucky reader, thanks to MyBlogSpark and Yoplait. This package includes: VIP Coupon for a free sample of Yoplait Original yogurt, as well as a duffel bag, speed rope, water bottle and sport towel.

To enter please leave a separate comment for each entry, if you do not have a viewable e-mail in your Blogger profile, please include that in your entries:

One Comment (required) – Follow my Blog publicly and tell me which kind of Yoplait Original Yogurt you plan to use to get more calcium.

Two Comments – Blog about my giveaway (linking to this post). Leave URL of the post in your comment.

One Comment – Follow me on Twitter and tweet about my giveaway (linking to this post). Leave URL on here. http://twitter.com/sherinewton

Contest will end on February 1, 2011

Good luck!

Thank you to MyBlogSpark and Yoplait for allowing me to review and giveaway this prize pack. The products, prize pack, information and additional prize pack to give away were all given to me from Yoplait through MyBlogSpark.

Get Energy by Denise Austin

Get Energy by Denise Austin is a book aimed at giving you extra energy in your life by empowering your body, and loving your life. Denise Austin is a serious source for motivation and really knows how to stay fit, healthy, and full of energy. The best part of this is that she actually does care about helping all of us with this too.

Book Description
“With busy schedules, demanding careers, and little time, many of us battle just to stay awake. But energy is something that is in our control, even when time is short. Now 50 years young, fitness guru Denise Austin shows readers how to super-charge their lives, using her innovative lifestyle plan. She eats the right foods at the right time of day. She uses the power of stretching and breathing to feed her body with energy-enhancing oxygen. She uses mini-workouts to get energy even on her busiest days--and now you can too!

Denise shows how simple changes can add up to increased energy levels throughout the day. From the foods they consume to the way they sit in their chairs, readers won't believe how Denise's quick and easy plan will dramatically increase their energy levels. In as little as a week, results will be felt: radiant skin, more restful sleep, and a sharper mind...so follow Denise Austin and prepare for a fitness wake-up call!” – Get Energy

My Thoughts
Get Energy is Denise Austin’s newest book about having more energy. I don’t know many people that aren’t stressed or tired in some form, so this is a very timely book for our overly-caffeinated country.

Denise Austin gives very good advice on the types of energy, and how to have more of it. As she explains, this isn’t a diet book or a workout book. It is instead just a guide to help you achieve a healthier life and have more energy doing so by making time for YOU.

I really enjoyed the different stretches and workout moves that Austin shows in the book. They are simple, yet very effective for boosting energy and they don’t really take that long. If you don’t have one of her workout DVDs, this would be a very helpful guide on some quick moves to do.

Austin writes in a very relatable way that gives the reader the feeling that they are being motivated by Austin herself. Get Energy is an easy read and if you implement the suggestions into your life, you will notice a difference – I did.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading and using Get Energy to bring more positive energy into my life. If you need an energy boost into your life too, this is the perfect book to help you do just that.

* Thank you to the publisher of Get Energy, Center Street, part of the Hachette Book Group, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Flex Diet by James Beckerman, M.D.

The Flex Diet by James Beckerman, M.D. is another book about losing weight and getting healthy. It is different though because it is written by a doctor and also gives many different examples on how to actually pull off losing weight that will work for you.

Book Description

Many diet books present readers with a single, inflex¬ible program which forces them to stay on that diet or risk another dieting failure. Rather than teaching you just one way to lose ten or twenty or even fifty pounds, The Flex Diet shows you how to lose a single pound . . . in 200 different ways. A medically proven approach to weight loss from WebMD's heart expert, The Flex Diet allows you to create your own custom¬ized weight-loss plan—one that fits your lifestyle, is full of tasty and nutritious meals, boosts energy levels, and keeps the weight off for good.

Start TODAY to lose five pounds: The Flex Diet begins with a two-week phase called "Today," when you begin to make small changes to your diet and lifestyle that will help you lose weight right now and create a blueprint to a new you. It's as easy as keeping a food diary, taking a multivitamin, and getting more sleep.

Do it EVERY DAY and lose ten more pounds: Next, three weeks of "Every Day Solutions" introduce meal plans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with dozens of tasty recipes and complete nutritional information. Heart healthy exercise and lifestyle options let you retool your life. Get yourself started on posi¬tive Every Day habits like storing leftovers before you eat, switching to skim milk, and walking during breaks at work.

Have it YOUR WAY to keep inches off your waist: The "Your Way" phase offers nearly 100 more lifestyle changes and solutions that you can use to take things to the next level and continue a lifetime of slim and healthy living.

The Flex Diet is an exciting new approach to a new you, your way.” – The Flex Diet

My Thoughts
The Flex Diet is not just another cookie-cutter diet that says no to the cookies. He doesn’t list that you have to eat certain things on certain days or do certain workouts on certain days. Instead, he gives valuable tips on ways that will help you to reach your weight loss goals and get moving in the direction to become healthier.

For those who have read many diet books, the ideas may not be that groundbreaking. However, that doesn’t make them any less true or valuable to lose weight with. The 200 ways Beckerman has for us to lose weight can be adjusted, or flexed to suit your needs and lifestyle. Not everyone is the same, and he realizes this from what he saw at his practice. Also, each of those ideas he gives reasons to why they work (and also why some things won’t work) to help you lose weight. I really enjoyed this because someone saying “don’t drink diet soda” isn’t the same as a doctor actually explaining why not to drink diet soda, or regular soda for that matter.

Overall, I think that The Flex Diet is a plan that will work for everyone that is actually motivated to follow it and start living a healthier life. I highly recommend it.

* Thank you to the publisher of The Flex Diet, Touchstone, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Winner of the Yoplait Light Giveaway

Thank you to everyone who entered the Yoplait Light Giveaway. I used randomizer to come up with one lucky winner, and the winner is... Cheryl F! Congratulations, I will e-mail you right now to find out where to send this prize package.

Also, check back again later today for another great giveaway I will be hosting!

January 19, 2011

Is Life Unexpected Cancelled?

Life Unexpected only has had two seasons so far on the CW. If you don’t know what the show is about, it is about a teenage girl that was given up for adoption because her parents were in high school (and the father didn’t even want to acknowledge the girl was pregnant). Lovely, right?

Well, the girl eventually found out who they were and ended up being adopted by them – even though they weren’t together. Over the seasons that aired, there was tons of drama and I actually liked the show.

Last night’s “Season finale” of Life Unexpected was two hours and did the whole tying up loose ends and finally… the “Two Years Later” portion at the very end that also showed huge changes (that weren’t so unexpected) to show how everyone would end up. Personally, I love that Lux ended up with Jones and that she was somehow Valedictorian. Kate and Baze together, and Ryan with Julie (his ex) and their son was cute, but it kind of made the whole show seem like a big waste of the Kate and Ryan relationship.

This lead me to wondering, is Life Unexpected cancelled?

I am guessing that yes, it is. Generally shows wouldn’t have a two hour season finale on the CW and round up things like this at the end. Sure, One Tree Hill jumped five years into the future, but that is a much more popular show than this. I don’t seem to be the only one guessing this – Tvbythenumbers also stated that there probably won’t be another season to the series.

Did any of you watch this show? What did you think of the finale?

January 17, 2011

Voices of the Faithful Book 2 - Review

Voices of the Faithful is the second book in the series that is for daily devotions throughout the year. It is all about inspiring stories from missionaries that have been around the world. These stories are meant to give hope and inspire, but do they?

Book Description
A new year's worth of inspiring stories from the front lines of faith.

"A willingness to go is all they have in common," says Beth Moore and Kim P. Davis, speaking of their friends on the front lines who are spreading the gospel around the world and with whom they collaborated to create this book. This second book of 366 daily devotionals features stories of God's faithfulness, written by hundreds of missionaries worldwide.

From stirring miracles to heroic adventures, this second volume highlights those who daily go to the outer limits of spiritual devotion.

A follow-up to the first book which has now sold 300,000 copies.

My Thoughts
The stories that were included in the second book of Voices of the Faithful are really quite interesting and many are also inspiring. What missionaries do all over the world is really amazing. However, as someone who is new to the whole missionary thing makes some of the stories seem just a bit… unrelated towards the people they were there to “help save” from their current religion.

Personally, I think that if someone is open to converting to another religion, or just wants to learn more about it – great! Just some of the stories made it seem like they thought they were better than others because they believed in the Christian religion as opposed to whichever religion the other people believed in.

Aside from that, I enjoyed reading about people finding God, praying, and finding little miracles in life. It is also setup as a very easy to read format of one per day. I think that if you like Christian books, you will enjoy this book very much.

* Thank you to the publisher of Voices of the Faithful, Thomas Nelson, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

January 14, 2011

Yoplait Light Giveaway

Yoplait Light yogurt is one of my favorite snacks that is satisfying and also low in calories. My new favorite is the Red Velvet Cake one. I haven’t found a gluten-free recipe for my favorite cake (yet) so this is the closest option I’ve found – and it is absolutely yummy!

Yoplait Light has a new Two Week Tune Up plan that could help you lose weight (about 5 lbs) in two weeks. It would include eating a Yoplait Light yogurt, a whole grain, and a fruit for breakfast and lunch, and some exercise (walking). For more information, visit www.yoplait.com

Yoplait Light Prize Pack Giveaway
I’m very happy to get to share this gift pack with one lucky reader. This package includes: a VIP coupon for a free sample of the yogurt, a gym bag, a reflective wrist wallet, and a pedometer.

To enter please leave a separate comment for each entry, if you do not have a viewable e-mail in your Blogger profile, please include that in your entries:

One Comment (required) – Follow my Blog publicly and tell me which kind of Yoplait Light Yogurt is your favorite.

Two Comments – Blog about my giveaway (linking to this post). Leave URL of the post in your comment.

One Comment – Follow me on Twitter and tweet about my giveaway (linking to this post). Leave URL on here. http://twitter.com/sherinewton

One Comment – Friend me on Facebook and post about the giveaway. Leave URL to your profile page.

Contest will end on January 20, 2011

Good luck!

Thank you to MyBlogSpark and Yoplait for allowing me to review and giveaway this prize pack. The products, prize pack, information and additional prize pack to give away were all given to me from Yoplait through MyBlogSpark.

January 12, 2011

Happy (Late) Holidays!

Wow. So, I’m a little late in wishing everyone a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays (whatever it is you celebrate). My family celebrates Christmas. Usually we have some kind of a party here before Christmas (big family) and then end up going over to my Aunt and Uncle’s house on Christmas day. This year though, we went to Gatlinburg, Tennessee and stayed at a really beautiful resort.

While we were there – it snowed. I mean, a lot of snow! Blizzard kind of snow for this area of the country. We got around 14 inches of the beautiful powdery white stuff. We were snowed in for a few days, but that was okay. Luckily the resort we stayed at was in town and not high up on the top of a mountain like some unlucky tourists that were stuck up there for a week. Yeah, they ran out of food and water and couldn’t even get down the mountain!

It was a nice relaxing Christmas vacation though, which was quite needed for us all. Of course we did some shopping and had some good meals, but we also had fun playing the Wii – who know my Mom would be so good at that?

After we left Gatlinburg, we went to my Aunt and Uncle’s house in North Carolina for New Year’s. My Nana was also there who was visiting (she stayed at our house, and then my Aunt’s for a month each). It was fun and guess what? They had tons of snow there too! I don’t think I’ve seen this much snow during the holidays since I was a little kid.

I would post pictures of us all and perhaps mention names, but I like to keep it a little private since they probably don’t want me sharing with the world pictures of them, etc.

Here is a bit of a picture recap of my holiday…

Driving into town (before it snowed)…

View from our balcony after it snowed.

Self-shot of me on the balcony.

View of the pool area after the snow.

This is a shot in Gatlinburg after we got back from some shopping. VERY busy roads!

The Mill we stopped at for some souvenirs in Pigeon Forge. Love this shot!

I hope that all of you also had a great holiday. What did you do? Do you have snow where you live right now too?

Winner for the Yoplait FiberOne Giveaway

Thank you to everyone who entered the Yoplait FiberOne Giveaway. I used randomizer to come up with one lucky winner, and the winner is…. Brittney! Congratulations, I will e-mail you right now to find out where to send this prize package.

Also, check back again later today for another great giveaway I will be hosting!

More Make it Fast, Cook it Slow by Stephanie O’Dea

More Make it Fast, Cook it Slow by Stephanie O’Dea is a cookbook that uses recipes for cooking with a slow-cooker (crockpot). It is also a gluten-free cookbook, but as the author says, the recipes can all easily be altered to suit your tastes or food allergy restrictions.

Book Description
“The New York Times bestselling author of slow-cooker cookbook Make It Fast, Cook It Slow returns with budget (and gluten-free!) meals that will satisfy the entire family. Stephanie O’Dea’s 200 delicious recipes include

• Baked Herbed Feta
• Smoky Bean and Corn Soup
• Maple-Glazed Pork Chops
• Moroccan Chicken with Lentils
• Apple-Pecan Bread Pudding
• Orange and Honey Tilapia
• Chocolate Pot de Crème with Ganache

—and many more. More Make It Fast, Cook It Slow is the perfect cookbook for easy-to-prepare meals that don’t take a toll on the family budget.”
More Make it Fast, Cook it Slow

My Thoughts
More Make it Fast, Cook it Slow is really a cookbook that is for people who may not like to cook so much. The recipes are all for the crockpot, which is actually a fabulous way to cook if you don’t have the time to cook over the stove for a long amount of time (or perhaps burn things often). The recipes are also all gluten-free and range from costing $7 and under to $15 and under (and serve 4 people).

Some of my favorites included in the cookbook:
• Ranch Party Mix
• Baked Potato Soup
• Old-Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup
• General Tso’s Chicken
• Lemon Pudding Cake
• Mint Chocolate Fondue
• Witches Brew – very fun for Halloween!
• Sun-Dried Tomato Risotto
• Turtle Pudding

Overall, I love the cookbook. I’ve never really been too into cooking with the crockpot, but this has my mind changed on how easy it is to use! You really just have to prepare it, and then set it and come back when it is ready and eat! The recipes including in the cookbook are fun, yummy, and really very affordable.

* Thank you to the publisher of More Make it Fast Cook it Slow, Hyperion, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

January 9, 2011

The Day I Shot Cupid by Jennifer Love Hewitt

The Day I Shot Cupid by Jennifer Love Hewitt is a witty account of all of the good and bad things we as women go through with dating. Taken from someone who knows a thing or two about dating, Love is able to give a funny and refreshing take on the whole self-help book genre on relationships and flip it on its head.

Book Description
“For any woman who has ever bought a self-help book and wondered why she bothered.

(P.S. Now that I know he’s just not that into me, where do I go from there? Yeah, thanks for that advice.)

Jennifer Love Hewitt is a self-proclaimed “love-aholic” and a hopeless romantic (her middle name is Love, after all!). She has been lucky and unlucky in love, and lived to tell—and she’s done it all in the spotlight. Much has been written about her love life—some true, most made up to sell magazines. Now Hewitt shares the real story of what she’s learned navigating the dangerous dating waters.

In The Day I Shot Cupid, Hewitt offers her hard-won wisdom and tells us how to embrace love with both feet on the ground. Funny, quirky, and empowering, The Day I Shot Cupid deserves a place on every woman’s nightstand, bookshelf, or coffee table, or tucked inside her oversized designer handbag.” – The Day I Shot Cupid

My Thoughts
The Day I Shot Cupid is a very witty and tell it like it is kind of self-help book on relationships. Honestly, I was quite surprised by this. I have never been a big Jennifer Love Hewitt fan. Sure, I’ve seen some shows she has been in, but she was never on my favorite list. If I had known she had this kind of a personality before, I would have added her to my favorites list much sooner!

The Day I Shot Cupid gives funny (and also quite helpful) advice on what you should notice when you first meet a guy, what to do before a date (and what not to do), things you shouldn’t say on a date, a workout plan, and much more.

This is a great book for all women that are either in need of some romance advice, or perhaps need a good laugh about it all. I highly recommend it. It is an easy read, and feels like Love is right there with you drinking a margarita while dishing about past relationships.

* Thank you to the publisher of The Day I Shot Cupid, Voice, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

January 6, 2011

Silver Zombie by Carole Nelson Douglas

Silver Zombie by Carole Nelson Douglas is a new book in the Delilah Street series which focuses on paranormal investigator, Delilah Street. Find out what this heroine is up to when she goes to Kansas…

Book Description
“Zombies and Witches and Vamps . . . Oh, My!

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas—at least that's Delilah Street's hope. With Sin City's vampire and werewolf mobs wanting to cash in her chips once and for all, she's retreating with her partner Ric Montoya and half-wolfhound Quicksilver to her Kansas birthplace. Unfortunately, when it comes to finding trouble, there's no place like home. . . .

It doesn't take long before Delilah realizes she's not in Vegas anymore. Zombie cowboys and spectral cattle drives are kicking up dust, the local weather girls are total witches who forecast perfect storms, and some Hollywood fanatic is recasting zombies as the greatest stars of the silver screen. And speaking of silver, Delilah's special affinity for the all-purpose monster-repellent leads her posse straight down a silver brick road—and into a notso- fun house of mirrors—putting her face-to-face with her dicey past and a mystery woman named Lilith, who's a real dead ringer for Delilah. The key word being dead.” – Silver Zombie

My Thoughts
Silver Zombie is the first book I’ve read in this series about paranormal investigator Delilah Street. This series is in a world of where the “paranormal” is now “normal” and vampires, witches, zombies, and more are out there. Perhaps because it was the first book out of the series I read, I was confused about many things that happened throughout the book. So, if you haven’t read any of the Delilah Street books, I suggest reading those before jumping in and reading this one.

At the end of the book, there is a “Delilah’s Darkside Inferno Bar Cocktail Menu” which I thought was cool. It gives cocktail recipes great for Halloween (or for fun) that were also in the series. Find out how to make: Silver Zombie, Vampire Sunrise, Brimstone Kiss, and Albino Vampire.

Overall, I was disappointed. I love worlds where vampires, witches, werewolves, and other paranormal aspects are in. However, this one just didn’t grab me.

* Thank you to the publisher of Silver Zombie, Simon & Schuster, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

January 5, 2011

High Voltage Tattoo by Kat Von D

High Voltage Tattoo by Kat Von D is a visually stunning book that is designed like a scrapbook to show off the life and art of Kat Von D. This is a great book if you are a fan of L.A. Ink, tattoos, or just Kat herself.

Book Description
“High Voltage Tattoo is a graphic perspective on today's global tattoo culture by Kat Von D, star of The Learning Channel's L.A. Ink and one of the most talented and popular artists working today. Designed in a style that is reminiscent of a handmade Gothic journal with its red padded cover, ornate typography, and parchmentlike pages, it throws the door wide open to tattooing culture in the way only an insider like Kat can.

High Voltage Tattoo traces Kat's career as an artist, from early childhood influences to recent work, along with examples of what inspires her, information about the show and her shop, her sketches, and personal tattoos. The book goes deep into tattoo process and culture: readers can see up close the pigments, the tools, and the making of complex, even collaborative, tattoos.

With a foreword by Mötley Crüe's Nikki Sixx, the book features images and stories about celebrities, rockers, pro skaters, and everyday citizens, including Slayer's Kerry King, Anthrax's Scott Ian, Margaret Cho, Jackass' Bam Margera, David Letterman, and many others. It profiles and showcases the work of artists Kat has selected from all over the world, her interviews with people who have compelling tattoos and stories, and amazing images of extraordinary tattoo work. Numerous portfolios throughout the book showcase a range of relevant subjects, from the black and gray portrait work for which Kat is famous to a popular tattoo theme, such as the rose or biblical images. There is a knockout ten-page full-body spread of Kat—clad in a yellow bikini and seven-inch, rhinestone-studded red stilettos—that catalogs in detail all her personal tattoos on her front, back, left, and right sides—even her hands and head.” – High Voltage Tattoo

My Thoughts
L.A. Ink is a great show on TLC that I’ve watched many episodes of. Reality shows that show off artwork with tattoos is fun to watch. I may not personally have a tattoo, or plan to get one in the near future, but if I ever did, it would have to be from someone as talented as those on that show. They make the standards high!

High Voltage Tattoo by Kat Von D is all about who she is as an artist, and as a person, giving you a glimpse into the highly interesting life that she lives. You get to see pictures of the first tattoos she ever gave, and even her artwork as a child.

Ever wonder what Kat Von D’s tattoos mean, or just want a closer look at them? Well, inside High Voltage Tattoo, you get to see Kat’s tattoos up close and personal, and she explains what they mean to her. Very cool part of the book.

Overall, I really liked the book. It still doesn’t make me want a tattoo (unless it is temporary) but I still enjoyed looking through it. If you like Kat, enjoy tattoos, or perhaps just like L.A. Ink, you will enjoy this book too. I also think that this book would make a perfect gift for someone you know that also loves tattoos. They may have never heard of this book, and it would be a very fun surprise gift!

* Thank you to the publisher of High Voltage Tattoo, Collins Design, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

January 4, 2011

The Fashion File by Janie Bryant

The Fashion File: Advice, Tips, and Inspiration from the Costume Designer of Mad Men by Janie Bryant with Monica Corcoran Harel is all about fashion from Mad Men, but with a spin to use in your very own life.

Book Description
“From Joanie's Marilyn Monroe-esque pencil skirts to Betty's classic Grace Kelly cupcake dresses, the clothes worn by the characters of the phenomenal Mad Men have captivated fans everywhere. Now, women are trading in their khakis for couture and their pumas for pumps. Finally, it's hip to dress well again. Emmy-Award winning costume designer Janie Bryant offers readers a peek into the dressing room of Mad Men, revealing the design process behind the various characters' looks and showing every woman how to find her own leading lady style--whether it's vintage, modern, or bohemian.

Bryant's book will peek into the dressing room of Mad Men and reveal the design process behind the various characters' looks. But it will also help women learn how fashion can help convey their personality. She will help them cultivate their style, including all the details that make a big difference.

Bryant offers advice to ensure that a woman's clothes convey her personality. She covers everything from where to find incredible vintage clothing and accessories to how to pair those authentic pieces with modern shoes and jeans. Readers will learn how to find their perfect bra size, use color to convey a mood, and invest in the ten essentials every woman should own. And just so the ladies don't leave their men behind, there's even a section on making them look a little more Don Draper-dashing.” – The Fashion File

My Thoughts
I love the style from other decades and I’ve always loved design sketches of fashion. This book combines both into a beautifully crafted book all about the fashion from Mad Men. The Fashion File is in full color and is a stunning book that any fashionistas would love, even if they never watched a single episode of Mad Men. However, those that love the show would of course enjoy it even more.

The Fashion File shows you how to determine which type of a leading lady you are, and how to use certain colors to give off the particular vibe that you want to exude. Based on your shape, you also learn which type of fashion staples would look best on you. The fashion sketches and real pictures used help to give perfect visual examples.

From the vintage designers, amazing accessories, and of course the style from Mad Men, and everything in-between, you will learn more about fashion than you perhaps thought you’d ever know. Overall, I really enjoyed the book and think that all of my favorite fashionistas reading this will too.

* Thank you to the publisher of The Fashion File, Grand Central, part of the Hachette Book Group for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

January 3, 2011

Majesty 2: Battles of Ardania Review

The newest Majesty 2 expansion pack, Battles of Ardania is out just in time for those who love the game to accept some new missions in Ardania. Are you ready to fight for glory of your kingdom?

Game Description
When there is peace in the kingdom, and nothing has happened in a month, any good King would itch for war. And even if not a full scale war, then at least for a skirmish; and if there is no skirmish, then at least it's time to go hunting.

And if the game is a werewolf, then well – that's a sure cure for boredom!

But what started as a hunt may grow into a skirmish; and a skirmish may yet develop into a full-scale war. Or maybe the Adviser is exaggerating as always and all you'll have to face is a few minor problems....

But no, deep in the darkness there prowls a mysterious mage-werewolf, who unites hordes of monsters to pose a hairy, scary threat to Ardania. Could it be that some ancient enemy, or his heirs, has returned to reclaim his domain? To overcome this menace, the Great King must draw upon all his skills, all the wisdom of his advisor, as well as the powers of an unexpected ally....

• “Heirs of the Night” campaign -- protect your borders and face an unknown threat in 8 new missions
• Clash with several new monsters
• Four New Multiplayer Maps ( including two co-operative missions)
• New sets of weapons available

My Thoughts
The Majesty 2 games are fun and usually require quite a lot of thought to beat the expert or advanced challenges. Battles of Ardania takes it a bit further though and makes them exceptionally hard. This can either be viewed as good or bad. Good because it allows you to continually replay missions before beating them, or bad because it is hard to beat. I haven’t found any Majesty 2 cheats to use, so that is even out of the question! :)

Aside from the new missions, not too much was added content wise, but it is fun and worth it if you like the game.

The only problem I encountered is that when I tried to save a game it exited out on me, didn’t save… and I had to start the mission over again. Not so fun really, and quite frustrating!

This expansion pack is only $14.95! So, really you can’t beat that for a new expansion pack. You do have to already have to have the base game, but it is rather cheap too. Numerous hours of entertainment for under $20 – what isn’t to like?

Majesty 2 System Requirements:
• Operating system: Windows 2000/XP/Vista
• Processor: 2 Ghz dual core processor
• Memory: 1 GB RAM
• Hard disk space: 4 GB free hard drive space
• Video: 512 MB, PS 2.0, GeForce 6800GTX or better
• Sound: DirectX-compatible
• DirectX®: 9.0c
• Requires Majesty 2 at least version 1.4.356 to play

* Thank you to the publisher of Majesty 2: Battles of Ardania, Paradox Interactive and Gamers Gate for providing me a digital copy of this game and allowing me to review it.

Yoplait Fiber One Giveaway

Looking for a good snack that is not only low in calories, but is also quite delicious? Well, the new Yoplait Fiber One Blueberry yogurt really is great for that. With the New Year’s resolutions in full swing this time of year, this snack is great to keep you on track because it only has 50 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 0 grams of fat.

Thanks to MyBlogSpark, I was able to try out this new yogurt and I have to say that it is really good. I plan on eating at least one yogurt a day to stay on my weight loss goals, so picking this one is a great snack for me. If you want to try it out too, I also have a prize pack for one lucky winner! Everyone can use the $1 off coupon though!

Yoplait Fiber One Prize Pack Giveaway
I’m very happy to get to share this amazing gift pack with one lucky reader. This package includes: a VIP coupon for a free sample of the yogurt, fitness journal and pen, sport towel, water bottle, and a blueberry stress ball.

To enter please leave a separate comment for each entry, if you do not have a viewable e-mail in your Blogger profile, please include that in your entries:

One Comment – Follow my Blog publicly and tell me what time of day you’d like to enjoy this snack, or perhaps what are your New Year’s resolutions?

Two Comments – Blog about my giveaway (linking to this post). Leave URL of the post in your comment.

One Comment – Follow me on Twitter and tweet about my giveaway (linking to this post). Leave URL on here. http://twitter.com/sherinewton

One CommentFriend me on Facebook and post about the giveaway. Leave URL to your profile page.

Contest will end on January 10, 2011

Good luck!

Thank you to MyBlogSpark and Yoplait for allowing me to review and giveaway this prize pack. The products, prize pack, information and additional prize pack to give away were all given to me from Yoplait through MyBlogSpark.

Giveaway Winners for Sheri’s Favorite Things!

Thank you so much to everyone who entered into this contest. I hope that everyone who won enjoys it as much as I do. I hope everyone had a great holiday and if you didn’t win, stick around, I’ll be posting a new giveaway tomorrow (or maybe even later today)!

The Winners….
  • Jessica Galbreth Fairy Figurine – Madison!
  • Yankee Candle Gift Set – Celine Davis
  • Yes to Carrots – Chloe
  • Random Books – Adam

Congratulations to the winners, I will be contacting you right now to find out where you live so I can mail these to you. If you don’t respond by January 15, 2011, I’ll have to let someone else win the prize, so please respond as soon as you can, thanks!

January 2, 2011

Infinite Quest by John Edward

Infinite Quest by John Edward is the newest book available by the very popular medium. Perhaps you saw him on TV once or twice, maybe many more? Well, he knows what he is talking about and isn’t into all of the “hokey” when it comes to the metaphysical. Something I really enjoy about him, and if you do too – check out this new book, or at least read on to find out more about it.

Book Description
“Best-selling author John Edward has captivated audiences worldwide with his unique and powerful psychic skills. Now, in his long-awaited new book, he shows people how they too can tap into their psychic selves.

Infinite Quest will help readers to develop their intuition and renew their own latent powers, so they can confidently take chances and make choices. By following certain guidelines and intuition-building exercises, we can learn to get in touch with our Spirit Guides and identify the psychic energy around us on deeper levels. Edward also discusses how technology can work with our “sixth sense,” and explains how to use divination tools. Like his new eponymous website, Infinite Quest is truly a “portal to all things metaphysical.”
Infinite Quest

My Thoughts
Infinite Quest is a book that is written to give you the tools to be more psychic in your everyday life. Even though there is some written about being a medium, John Edward does a very good job explaining that it is not something for everyone (actually, most people it isn’t). He therefore gives many tools and practices that you can use to guard yourself with psychic defenses, be more intuitive, talk your Spirit Guides, and much more.

The psychic self-defense exercises that John Edward shares in this book are really great. I’m not very good at visualizing things, but the practices that he shares are really helpful and I can honestly say that after about a week of using these techniques every day, I do feel better.

The basic information about the types of tools you can use are also helpful in picking out which one(s) you’d want to do further research with and use yourself. I personally quite like astrology, tarot, and numerology. Though other tools such as runes also have always had me interested too. Edward says that it picks you, but what to do when they all do? Guess I just like to be researched in everything, at least a little bit.

The book is written very well and is written as if John Edward was sitting right there giving you a lesson. He says it like it is and I appreciate that. Only problem was I read it very quickly and wanted it to go on much longer. I guess that is where his new website, Infinite Quest comes in at – which I plan on joining very soon!

I absolutely love this book. I am however, very interested and well-read in the metaphysical arena. I like many others find myself to be more spiritual as opposed to religious. If you find yourself with these beliefs as well, you would also love the book. Even if you don’t know much about psychic energy, metaphysics, or this side of the spiritual arena, it may be calling you to read more. Books do that sometimes, and with one like this often it picks you.

* Thank you to the publisher of Infinite Quest, Sterling Publishing, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

January 1, 2011

Jamie’s America by Jamie Oliver

Jamie’s America by Jamie Oliver is a new cookbook by Jamie that focuses on all of the amazing dishes that America has been cooking for a long time. This cookbook gives some updates to favorites such as pizza, fried chicken, breakfast tortillas, and many more favorite recipes from people all over America.

Book Description
“Jamie has long been fascinated by how vast and diverse America is, but his experience had been limited to only a few cities. All that changes with Jamie’s America. This was his chance to see it all, and he couldn’t wait to travel all over the country, in search of recipe gems buried in Americans’ own backyards. As he says: “I wanted to get to the heart of great American food…I set off on what I knew would be a completely inspiring trip. I wasn’t wrong…From New York to New Orleans, the energy of Los Angeles to the big skies of Wyoming, I found what I was looking for: Some of the most diverse and delicious recipes I’ve ever come across!”

Now, in Jamie’s America, he shares his discoveries. This mouthwatering cookbook contains 120 new recipes, gathered in New York, Louisiana, Arizona, Los Angeles, Georgia, and Wyoming, including My NYC Cheesecake (New York), Spicy Meat Gumbo (Louisiana), Traybaked Chicken (Wyoming), Rich Grits (Georgia), and Venison and Juniper Stew (Arizona). These are American recipes, to be sure, but each one has Jamie’s imprint—his enthusiasm, his ability to extract enormous flavor from humble ingredients, and his respect for home cooks everywhere.”
Jamie’s America

My Thoughts
Jamie’s America is a cookbook that is written from someone who is not from America, but enjoys the food that it has given for culinary cuisine. This cookbook isn’t just an ordinary “Southern” “Cajun” or whichever area in the USA cookbook. This is one that joined together some fun recipes that Jamie enjoyed while visiting New York, Louisiana, Arizona, Los Angeles, Georgia, and the Wild West.

Jamie’s America is a big, colorful cookbook that has scrumptious recipes that make you wish they could be brought to life with some form of a magic wand. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been developed yet, so you have to do it the old fashioned way and actually cook it.

Some of my favorite recipes included in this cookbook:

New York: Waldorf Salad, NYC Cheesecake
Louisiana: Down ‘N’ Dirty Cajun Rice, Chicken Sausage & Shrimp Jambalaya
Arizona: Rustic Tortilla Soup, Cinnamon Orchata
Los Angeles: Beautiful Breakfast Tortillas, Chocolate Rocky Road
Georgia: Red Pepper Summer Soup, Beer Butt Chicken
Wild West: Awesome Wild Pancakes

Jamie’s America is really a cookbook that gives a diverse group of recipes that may be new to you, and some may just be updates to some of the classics. Either way, it is a great book that can perhaps bring inspiration to your very own kitchen to start cooking some new favorites.

* Thank you to the publisher of Jamie’s America, Hyperion, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.