October 31, 2012

Genie Bra Review

Have you seen the Genie Bra infomercial, seen it in a store, or perhaps just wondered if there is a bra out there that doesn’t have a wire that could still be supportive of your girls? Well, I tried out the Genie Bra for this review, and I am happy to share my experience of it with you.

Genie Bra Product Details
·         Woven everlast comfort stretch fabric.
·         Machine-washable.
·         Curve-hugging seamless design.
·         Cups stretch to custom conform to your shape.
·         No wires or hooks.
·         Comfort straps that stay put all day.
·         Removable Modesty Pads (sold separately).

My Thoughts
I admit it, I love bras, panties, and all types of lingere. What I don’t love is the wire in my bras. When I found out about the Genie Bra, I thought that this could be the answer to all of my uncomfortable bra problems, and I was extremely excited to get to try it out and put it to the test.

I picked one out that according to their sizing chart, should fit me well. Instead of a regular cup size, you just order based on your shirt size. However, after putting it on, I found it could have been a little bit tighter to provide more support. I’ll have to try a size down next time, but I think I just might be in the in-between sizing.

The fact that it doesn’t have wires for support makes it a very comfortable bra to wear. It is also seamless, and forms to your body shape to provide smoothing instead of bulges. Wearing it throughout the day was comfortable, and the straps didn’t dig-in.

I first tried it without the pads, and I wasn’t initially very impressed with the bra because of this. It felt more like a sports bra without them in. When I tried the Genie Bra with the pads in, it provided more support and helped enhance my curves more. For me, I like it with the pads much more than without.

This isn’t the bra I’d wear when I want to show cleavage. However, if a top didn’t show cleavage, this would be a very good, comfortable bra option to wear underneath it.

There are many different colors you can choose from for these bras, and there is even matching panties that are available in a few of the colors online. I like these so much for regular wear days, I am thinking of buying the lace set and the bright colors sets.

If you buy from the Genie Bra website, you can buy 3 and get 3 for free, with free shipping right now.

Thanks to Genie Bra for sending me the product for review. All opinions and experiences are my own, and I wasn’t paid to provide a favorable review of the product.

October 29, 2012

Lifted by Angels by Joel J. Miller

Lifted by Angels by Joel J. Miller is all about angels in the bible and in our very real lives. You don’t necessarily have to have a large knowledge base about angels to appreciate this book for what it is, and if you like biblical studies, this would be a great book to read.

Book Description
Explores the relationship between people and angels, through the eyes of the early church.
Heaven is closer than we realize. Its boundaries overlap our own, and angels move in and out of our porous present, this moment that seems to us so solid and concrete. If that reality seems dim to us now, it beamed for the early Christians. Through their writings, sermons, songs, and art, the ancient faithful confessed a powerful and vivid belief that angels help carry us on our journey to God.
Rooted in the Scripture and following this ancient understanding, Lifted by Angels reveals:
·         the role that angels play in the lives of people and in God’s plan of salvation
·         the different ranks and functions of angels
·         how Satan and his demons fell from grace and plagued humans
·         the functions of guardian angels and how God assigns them to fit our personal needs
·         how guardian angels help us resist evil, temptation, and the devil
·         the way angels join with us in our prayers, even adding their own to ours
·         the service angels provide in worship

Featuring examples of angels in ancient icons and frescoes and supported by extensive research on the early church and its pastors, poets, theologians, and artists, Lifted by Angels answers universal curiosity about angels and the unseen world, leaving readers inspired and hopeful about the nearness of God.” – Lifted by Angels

My Thoughts
Lifted by Angels is a book about angels that uses information about angels as told in the bible. There are many other books out there about angels (which I also like very much) that do not focus on what the bible or the early church has said about angels.

For me, this book reads more like a biblical study textbook than an inspiring book to read about angels. I did enjoy reading some of the book, such as the chapter about guardian angels. However, most of it wasn’t an “easy” or “fun” read for me to get through.

If you are the type of person who doesn’t like to read religious books that do not focus on what the bible says, this is obviously the type of angel book that will appeal most to you. However, if you are more open-minded about angels and religion, I think that there are other books that are easier to read and more inspiring than this that are out there.

* Thank you to the publisher of Lifted by Angels, Thomas Nelson, for providing me with a copy of this book for review as a part of their “Book Sneeze” program. All opinions expressed are my own.

October 22, 2012

Logitech Gaming Keyboard G110 Review

Looking to replace your plain, boring, standard keyboard with a high-tech one that is quite possibly a gamer’s dream keyboard? The Logitech Gaming Keyboard G110 has features for gamers and non-gamers alike, so if you are looking for a new keyboard, be sure to check this model out before buying the same boring, standard model you had before.

Logitech Gaming Keyboard G110 Features
Custom-color backlighting – You can easily locate the correct keys, even in the dark. Plus, you can mix red and blue backlighting LEDs in varying intensities to create custom colors.

Twelve programmable G-keys – Three macros per key let you configure up to 36 unique functions per game, including single keypresses or complex macros. You can even create macros on the fly.

Game/desktop mode – No accidental interruptions – you can disable the Windows/Context Menu keys when you play.

Intelligent cable management – You can keep mouse, headset, and other cords out of the way by  routing them through channels on the underside of the keyboard.

Integrated USB audio – Separate headphone and mic jacks and mute buttons mean you can use any analog headset with 3.5 mm plugs as a USB audio device for clear communication.

Hi-Speed USB 2.0 hub port – You can connect a flash drive for lightning-fast data transfer or quickly plug in your gaming mouse.

Removable palm rest – You’ve got extra support when you need it. If the palm rest is in your way, you can easily detach it.

Instant media access – Convenient one-touch controls give you instant access to volume control and media playback.” – Logitech Gaming Keyboard G110

My Thoughts
I have a laptop and a desktop computer. I generally just use the desktop for PC gaming though. I am one of those night owl gamers that plays in the evening, and don’t like too much lighting around me. The problem I had with that was simple: I couldn’t see my keyboard. I was always envious of those laptops that had the custom backlighting color for the keys. I didn’t want to spend over $1,000 just for this feature and a new laptop though. When I found the Logitech Gaming Keyboard G110 I knew that this would solve my problem, or at least I hoped it would.

The first thing I tried out on this keyboard was the custom backlighting on the keys – in the dark. I chose a pink color, though you could mix it between a large variety of colors of red and blue. With absolutely no lights on except for the monitor, I could see the keys very clearly and finally that problem was solved in a fashionable way!

There are twelve programmable G-Keys on the left side of the keyboard. I don’t use all of them when gaming, but I have set a few of them to work when playing certain games. There is also the very helpful game/desktop mode on it, so you won’t accidently window out of your game during crucial moments.

Another very cool feature to this keyboard is that you can plug your mouse and audio into it. For MMO gamers that use Ventrilo or TeamSpeak, you can use separate headset and microphone plugins, and any analog headset with 3.5 mm plugs can be used as a USB audio device.

The removable palm rest is easy to take on and off, and for where my keyboard is on my desk, I had to remove it. However, I did try it out for a few days, and it worked well. I also appreciate the cable management with the keyboard which allows you to route the cables neatly under the keyboard.

I have been using this keyboard for gaming for about three months now and haven’t had any problems with it at all. It is helpful, nicely designed, and has fantastic features for gamers. I highly recommend it for everyone to use, especially those who like using their computers in dim lighting, and of course, gamers.

Disclosure: Thank you to Logitech for providing me with the product for review. All opinions, experiences, and thoughts about the product being reviewed are my own.

October 16, 2012

Bad Habits by Jenny McCarthy

Bad Habits by Jenny McCarthy is a candid account of Jenny’s relationship with religion. She was raised as a Catholic and actually wanted to be a nun when she grew up. She wanted Jesus like girls now want Justin Beiber, and she shares all of it with us in this hilarious account of her life as a Catholic.

Book Description
Dearest Reader,

By now you might be wondering: Jenny McCarthy has more to say?! After six New York Times bestsellers,* I’ve talked about pregnancy, autism, and motherhood. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. I hope it’s made you laugh and cry and all those things that bestselling books about such topics by funny people are supposed to do.

But this book is about something entirely new—a subject that has pervaded my life since birth and confused the f*ck out of me for about the same time: Catholicism. As I enter into adulthood (play along, thanks), I think I may have finally figured out this faith thing. And what it means to me. But first, I had to reflect on my life. And my memoir, Bad Habits, is the fruit (not the Eve’s apple kind) of that labor.

Bad Habits is my journey from aspiring nun at an all-girls Catholic school in the suburbs of Chicago, to Playmate of the Year, to autism awareness activist, to bestselling author, to host of my very own talk show … and all the Hail Marys in between. After reading this book, you’ll know why you should wear underwear to church, why Jesus was my Justin Bieber (he’s totally hawt!), and why I had to give up giving shit up for Lent.

Bad Habits is also my personal examination of faith and how it turns out to surprise us at the most unexpected moments. It is a book of confessions about confession! I’ve tried to be brutally honest, though it might read as more like embarrassingly entertaining, and I’m always outlandish so that’s in here too. But truly, this book is sinfully hilarious.*

Bless you my children,
* My publisher made me say this.” – Bad Habits

My Thoughts
Bad Habits is a sinfully funny read. I started reading it with only the intention of reading it for around 15 minutes that night, but I ended up staying up late and finishing it. The time flew by, and before I knew it I was done. So with fair warning, if you plan on reading this book, be prepared to be sucked in and possibly reading it in one evening, too.

Jenny McCarthy writes like she talks, and doesn’t care if this is a touchy subject matter that could (and will) piss people off with her humor. As someone who also grew up as a Catholic, I wasn’t embarrassed, offended, or angry with anything she wrote in it. I’m sure some fellow Catholics (and probably other Christians) will be highly offended by what she wrote in it, but who cares? This is who Jenny is, and she doesn’t make apologies for it. You know what you are getting when you go to read one of her books, so if you don’t like it, don’t read it.

This is a highly entertaining, funny, and honest read. If you can handle her sense of humor and like Jenny McCarthy, I highly suggest reading this book, perhaps with a glass of wine while you wear the rosary.

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

Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi by Brian Leaf

Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi by Brian Leaf is an inspirational book that acts as both a memoir and self-help book rolled into one. On a whim, the author enrolled in a college Yoga class that turned his life upside down, and eventually made him become happier and able to see things clearer.

Book Description
When he was a college freshman business major suffering from a variety of anxiety-related maladies, the author stumbled into an elective: yoga. It was 1989. All his classmates were female. And men did not yet generally “cry, hug, or do yoga.” But yoga soothed and calmed Leaf as nothing else had. As these rollicking and wise chapters show, Leaf went on to visit yoga studios around the country, have a spiritual experience at a Grateful Dead concert, and consult Ayurvedic physicians, swamis, and even (accidentally) a prostitute. Twenty-one years later, he teaches yoga and meditation, practices multifaceted healing, and is the beloved founder of a holistic tutoring center that helps students — whose ailments he once shared — manage ADD and overcome test and math phobias.” – Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi

My Thoughts
Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi is a look at how Yoga and holistic therapies can truly change someone’s life for the better. Leaf’s adventures exploring holistic health, traveling, and becoming who he is today is a real inspiration for all of us out there who take the time to read this remarkable book.

Brian Leaf writes from the heart, and is inspiring while also being witty and memorable. He made it easy to read this book quickly, while leaving a lasting impression. This book is like Eat, Pray, Love, but told from a man’s point of view. It is honest, real, and to the point. Hopefully everyone gets something from this book. Either an inspiration to become more real with yourself, or more spiritual, perhaps even both. I highly recommend it.

* Thank you to the publisher of Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi, New World Library, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

October 15, 2012

New Kids on the Block: Five Brothers and a Million Sisters by Nikki Van Noy

New Kids on the Block: Five Brothers and a Million Sisters by Nikki Van Noy is an authorized biography of a boy-band that millions of girls and women fell in love with in the late 80s and 90s. The group has had its ups and downs over the years, but has managed to come back together and remains a strong group that has countless fans around the world. If you were or are a NKOTB fan, this is a book you’ll want to read.

Book Description
Jordan, Jon, Joe, Donnie, and Danny. They set the bar for every boy band that followed and changed the course of pop music forever. In the 1980s, for millions of young girls around the world, they were gods. But behind the scenes, they were just kids. In this authorized biography of the band, the New Kids tell it all to rock journalist Nikki Van Noy. 

From makeshift stages in Boston clubs to soldout shows at Madison Square Garden, through winning American Music Awards and selling 80 million records, the New Kids on the Block (NKOTB) were a rite of passage and a touchstone of youthful memories. Scoring platinum albums, and with a series of sold-out international tours, NKOTB blazed through North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia, leaving throngs of screaming teen and tween girls in their wake. But after a few heady years, the guys (and their fans) grew up, and moved on. The New Kids disbanded in 1994 and, for nearly fifteen years, there was every reason to believe that the NKOTB phenomenon was over once and for all. 

But then an unexpected thing happened. The band (and their fans) got a second chance to relive their youth when NKOTB reunited in 2008. And they realized that this band has something special—an unbreakable bond with their fans and with each other that has only strengthened with the passage of time. Today, fans both old and new celebrate the band’s triumphant comeback with sold-out concerts, cruises, and top-selling albums. And this time, Jordan, Jon, Joe, Donnie, and Danny are enjoying it all right alongside them. An intimate, all-access backstage pass to everything New Kids on the Block, from their meteoric rise to fame 

Nikki Van Noy talks directly to those loyal fans, as well as to all five band members and their families, weaving their stories together in this no-holds-barred chronicle. With frankness and honesty, each New Kid recalls nearly thirty years of experience with the group, both on and off the stage. Like a time machine, this book will take you right back—giving you an inside look at the New Kids like you’ve never seen them before. 

An intimate, all-access backstage pass to everything New Kids on the Block, from their meteoric rise to fame in the 1980s to the band’s breakup in the 1990s— and their triumphant comeback today.” – New Kids on the Block: Five Brothers and a Million Sisters

My Thoughts
New Kids on the Block: Five Brothers and a Million Sisters brought me back to when I was a kid and loved this group. Sure, I was young, but even then, I had the posters on my wall, a sleeping bag, T-shirts, and of course, their music. It was pop music I could sing along to, and the boys were cute. I wasn’t a crazy fan, and I have never seen them in concert, but they did start my love of boy bands. All fans have a story about their favorite band, and Nikki Van Noy does an excellent job of telling heartwarming fan stories about New Kids on the Block in this biography.

I was really young when the band first came out, so I never knew much about their actual story of rising to the top, or why I stopped hearing their music and fell in love with the Backstreet Boys and N*Sync. This authorized biography tells their story of how things actually happened, what they thought of one another then, and how things are with the group now that they are back together again.

What I really appreciate about this group is their love and appreciation of their loyal fan base. Not all groups are lucky enough to have fans that still love their music, and care about the band members as people after over twenty years. This biography was written by a true fan, and it shines throughout the book. If you call yourself a NKOTB fan, this book is for you.

* Thank you to the publisher of New Kids on the Block: Five Brothers and a Million Sisters, Touchstone, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Judging a Book by Its Lover by Lauren Leto

Judging a Book by Its Lover by Lauren Leto is the absolute perfect book for a book lover to read, laugh with, and give to other book lovers. Leto writes like she is your best friend, and this book is just something you two are privately discussing, over wine, to mock other people with. Book snobs will likely frown at it, but true book lovers will laugh along with it, even if your favorite book or author is slammed.

Book Description
Want to impress the hot stranger at the bar who asks for your take on Infinite Jest? Dying to shut up the blowhard in front of you who’s pontificating on Cormac McCarthy’s “recurring road narratives”? Having difficulty keeping Francine Prose and Annie Proulx straight?

For all those overwhelmed readers who need to get a firm grip on the relentless onslaught of must-read books to stay on top of the inevitable conversations that swirl around them, Lauren Leto’s Judging a Book by Its Lover is manna from literary heaven! A hilarious send-up of—and inspired homage to—the passionate and peculiar world of book culture, this guide to literary debate leaves no reader or author unscathed, at once adoring and skewering everyone from Jonathan Franzen to Ayn Rand to Dostoyevsky and the people who read them.” – Judging a Book by Its Lover

My Thoughts
Judging a Book by Its Lover is a fun, witty read about books, authors, and the people who put them on their bookshelf. As someone who has four bookshelves (with highly contrasting books on each one), reads for hours every day, and finished the Twilight series in a weekend, I’d consider myself a lover of books. Even though I didn’t read every book that is mentioned in this book, I found many of the ones I have read in it, or know of the author, and found Leto’s witty take on it hilarious.

I love this book and author’s writing for many reasons. Here are a few of the top ones for me. She love Harry Potter and thinks J.K. Rowling fans are “smart geeks.” She hates the term “bookworm” and thinks it should be changed to “bookcats.” She also loves real books over e-books, and continues to give books as gifts, even though she knows not everyone will read them. She is witty and can sum up a book or author quickly, so it is easy for us to now fake having read some “classics” we never really wanted to read anyways.

I highly recommend this book for all book lovers. If you are a book lover, get it. If you know a book lover, buy it for them. Trust me, they’ll thank you for it.

* Thank you to the publisher of Judging a Book by Its Lover, Harper Perennial, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

October 12, 2012

Angel Blessings Stamp Kit Review

Angels can help you transform your life, bring to life your dreams, and bless others with the same transformative power. The Angel Blessings Stamp Kit helps you to focus your prayers with certain angels to help change your blessings, thanks to the angels.

Angel Blessings Stamp Kit Includes:
“* Beautiful Archangel Michael stamp holder 
* 12 angel stamps
* A 60-page booklet that describes the theme and purpose of each angel
* A gold inkpad

The perfect gift for anyone who loves angels, The Angel Blessings Stamp Kit blesses stationery, envelopes, journals, notebooks, greeting cards, and gifts. The angels in the kit assist the Archangel Michael in acting on our behalf.

Each angel stamp depicts angels that oversee areas of daily life:
* Angel of Wise Guidance
* Angel of Wholesome Choices
* Angel of Fruitful Opportunities
* Angel of Impeccable Integrity
* Angel of Clear Communication
* Angel of Beloved Relationships
* Angel of Vibrant Health
* Angel of Profound Peace
* Angel of Flowing Abundance
* Angel of Absolute Protection
* Angel of Spiritual Growth
* The Archangel Michael

The accompanying booklet discusses angels as forces for good in our lives. It also offers an entry explaining each stamp that includes:
* An introduction to each angel and how they bring empowerment and healing
* A prayer, blessing, and meditation
* Suggestions for using the angel stamps in daily life

Angel Blessings Stamp Kit gives you everything you need for the angels to bless and guide your life, your friends, and your loved ones each and every day.” – Angel Blessings Stamp Kit

My Thoughts
These Angel Blessing Stamps are a true blessing. The twelve stamps that come with the set are all beautiful when stamped, and they are really quite easy to stamp with. Some stamps you have to test out multiple times with before getting it just right. These stamps, I got the hang of using right away and even my “tester” stamp area turned out just fine.

Here is one of the cards I made that I keep in my wallet:

You do need to use the stamp cleaner for these stamps because you don’t want the stamp coming off the base for you to put it into the plinth to actually stamp with. It doesn’t come with the stamp cleaner, but it can easily be found in the stamping section of a local craft store (and it is inexpensive). Plus, this stuff really cleans the stamps (and your fingers) of ink.

The guidebook written by Ambika Wauters includes information about how to use the stamps, and also how to work with the angels that the stamps are based on. Each one includes a meditation and a prayer or blessing to go with that angel. Wauters did an excellent job writing the guide, and when using the stamps, it is the perfect guide to use to guide your angel blessings.

I really enjoy using the Angel Blessing Stamps Kit and I highly recommend this set to use for stamping anything that you can stamp for yourself and for others to bless them, too.

Disclosure: Thank you to Red Wheel Weiser for providing me with the product for review. All opinions, experiences, and thoughts about the product being reviewed are my own.

October 5, 2012

Ghosts of Manhattan by Douglas Brunt

Ghosts of Manhattan by Douglas Brunt is a novel set in 2005 about a bond trader that isn’t so happy with his life, even though from the outside, it looks like he has everything he could possibly want.

Book Description
It’s 2005. Nick Farmer is a thirty-five-year-old bond trader with Bear Stearns clearing seven figures a year. The novelty of a work-related nightlife centering on liquor, hookers, and cocaine has long since worn thin, though Nick remains keenly addicted to his annual bonus. But the lifestyle is taking a toll on his marriage and on him. 

When a nerdy analyst approaches him with apocalyptic prognostications of where Bear’s high-flying mortgage-backed securities trading may lead, Nick is presented with the kind of ethical dilemma he’s spent a lifetime avoiding. Throw in a hot financial journalist who seems to be more interested in him than in the percolating financial armageddon and the prospect that his own wife may have found a new romantic interest of her own, and you have the recipe for Nick’s personal and professional implosion. 

By turns hilarious and harrowing, Ghosts of Manhattan follows a winning but flawed character as he struggles to find the right path in a complicated urban heart of darkness.” – Ghosts of Manhattan

My Thoughts
Ghosts of Manhattan is a book that Douglas Brunt started while he was working as a CEO of a private venture-backed Internet security company. Instead of doing the unsavory things that the character in his book did, he relaxed by writing, which is how this book began. I find this bit of information about the book inspiring and makes me like the author that much more.

The main character in the novel, Nick Farmer starts off as the typical type of Wall Street guy I think of when it comes to this type of character. He is rich, wants more of everything, neglects his wife, visits strip clubs and hookers, and his drug of choice is cocaine. However, as the novel progresses, you see him as much more than that – and eventually he becomes more charming and likeable. He becomes worried about the financial outlook of the market and his company once Fred Cook, the market risk analysis makes his dire predictions. His marriage starts to become as shaky as the predictions in the market, and he realizes that he may not be going on the right path in his life. Is it too late for him to change though?

Overall, I enjoyed reading this novel. It was written very well and the author’s insider information on the lifestyles and characters in it made it more realistic and readable.

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

October 4, 2012

Willa Skincare Review for Girls of All Ages

The Willa products were developed by a girl named Willa who wanted good skincare products, but couldn’t find anything natural to use that felt good on her skin. She and her mom started the line to make these natural skincare products available to everyone, and keep them naturally beautiful without all of those harsh ingredients that are in so many other skincare products.

Willa skincare products are natural. They are paraben free, sulfate free, propylene glycol free, DEA free and phthalate free, and are not tested on animals. Plus, all of the products are made by girls for girls right here in the USA.

I’m always looking for natural and eco-friendly products to use that are also affordable. I was really excited to come across the Willa products and even more excited to have the opportunity to review them. Below is what I thought of the following products, but don’t just take my word for them, try them for yourself.

Price: $1.75

This revitalizing face mask is honestly one of the best facial masks I’ve ever tried. There is more than enough in each packet for a single face mask, but when you use all of it – it feels so luxe! The clay mask removed the excess oils, cleared my pores, and made my face really smooth. This is also the type of product that is perfect for girls and women of all age categories to use. It is my favorite Willa product, and I will definitely be stocking up on these to have ready for my at home facial each week.

Price: $10.50

Pre-teens, teenagers, and adults often get acne that they wish they could erase with a pen. This acne spot treatment is easy to use, and gets the job done. It didn’t over-dry my skin or make it red, which some of those other treatments I’ve tried in the past did. I was happy with how quickly it worked on some problem spots, and will definitely use it again when needed.

Price: $11.50

This moisturizer has some fabulously natural ingredients to help the skin including: aloe, green tea, mango extract, vitamin C, and eucalyptus. It is clear and helps your skin to be clear, too. The first time I used this, I used a little bit too much and my face was shiny from using it. The next time I used it, I only used one pump of it, which was enough and this time, my face didn’t shine at all. I think that this is the perfect type of moisturizer for girls to start their skincare routine with. It works well, so it would also be a product that those girls could use as they grow up as well.

Price: $8.50

Most girls and women love lip gloss. I’m no exception to this, but I am picky when it comes to which ones I use. If it is too sticky, I won’t use it. This lip gloss is super moisturizing, has a light pink shimmer, is shiny, and isn’t very sticky. It also has vitamins C and E in the formula to help protect lips from environmental aggressors. This is a great lip gloss that all girls and women would appreciate, naturally.

These fantastic products (and more) are available on their website at: http://willaskincare.com/ and in select Target and JCREW Crewcuts stores around the USA. For a full list, check out their “Where to Buy” section on the website.

Disclosure: Thanks to Willa skincare, I was given the products featured in this review for review purposes. All opinions and experiences expressed are my own. 

October 3, 2012

How to Kill Gnats or Fruit Flies

One of the most annoying things to me is gnats. They are also sometimes called fruit flies because they are drawn to sweet things such as fruit, sugary drinks, etc. They are small little things but they cause a huge disturbance factor for me. Once I see one, I want it dead. However, they are fast little suckers and are often hard to kill with just your hands.

I’ve been trying to find out how to kill gnats or fruit flies for years. Someone suggested using red wine by putting it in a dish, but that didn’t work.  Plus, it is a waste of wine.

Finally, I think I found a way. I put apple cider vinegar into a small dish, and overnight three of those little suckers were found swimming in it.

Have you tried this? Do you know if anything else works better to kill gnats or fruit flies? If so, please share with me and let me know!

Sutton by J.R. Moehringer

Sutton by J.R. Moehringer is the type of book that pulls you in right in the beginning, and takes you along on a ride right up to the very end. It is about the life of Willie Sutton and his career as the most successful and famous bank robber in America. It isn’t exactly a memoir or life story about the man, but instead weaves historical fiction about his life with the creative imagination of J.R. Moehringer.

Book Description
Born in the squalid Irish slums of Brooklyn, in the first year of the twentieth century, Willie Sutton came of age at a time when banks were out of control. If they weren’t taking brazen risks, causing millions to lose their jobs and homes, they were shamelessly seeking bailouts. Trapped in a cycle of bank panics, depressions and soaring unemployment, Sutton saw only one way out, only one way to win the girl of his dreams.
So began the career of America’s most successful bank robber. Over three decades Sutton became so good at breaking into banks, and such a master at breaking out of prisons, police called him one of the most dangerous men in New York, and the FBI put him on its first-ever Most Wanted List.

But the public rooted for Sutton. He never fired a shot, after all, and his victims were merely those bloodsucking banks. When he was finally caught for good in 1952, crowds surrounded the jail and chanted his name.

Blending vast research with vivid imagination, Pulitzer Prize-winner J.R. Moehringer brings Willie Sutton blazing back to life. In Moehringer’s retelling, it was more than need or rage at society that drove Sutton. It was one unforgettable woman. In all Sutton’s crimes and confinements, his first love (and first accomplice) was never far from his thoughts. And when Sutton finally walked free—a surprise pardon on Christmas Eve, 1969—he immediately set out to find her.

Poignant, comic, fast-paced and fact-studded, Sutton tells a story of economic pain that feels eerily modern, while unfolding a story of doomed love, which is forever timeless.” – Sutton

My Thoughts
Sutton is a fabulously crafted novel that is written with such substance it felt as if I was watching a movie play out as I read it. This fact shouldn’t be ignored in the review, it is a high quality story that could easily be turned into a movie. Hopefully it does, but in the meantime, this novel is one that could be enjoyed by many different types of readers.

Willie Sutton was a “Robin Hood” of his time, and is the type of anti-hero that I enjoy reading about. He isn’t a “good” guy, but he is one I found myself rooting for. He had a horrible childhood, didn’t get things right for a long time, and along the way found out he is really good at robbing banks. Obviously it wasn’t legal to do so, but he tried to justify to himself that doing this to the corrupt banks was okay.

This is a highly entertaining book that I really enjoyed reading. If you are looking for a good read, I highly suggest reading this novel.

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

October 2, 2012

The White Forest by Adam McOmber

The White Forest by Adam McOmber is a gothic novel set in Victorian England. It is mysterious, seductive, and has a magical quality to it that leaves you wanting more. The author does an excellent job mixing historical fiction with the gothic magic element in the story. The love triangle makes it more interesting, and when the mysterious disappearance of the young Nathan Ashe occurs, everyone is concerned, especially the two young women who loved him.

Book Description
In this hauntingly original debut novel about a young woman whose peculiar abilities help her infiltrate a mysterious secret society, Adam McOmber uses fantastical twists and dark turns to create a fast-paced, unforgettable story. 

Young Jane Silverlake lives with her father in a crumbling family estate on the edge of Hampstead Heath. Jane has a secret—an unexplainable gift that allows her to see the souls of man-made objects—and this talent isolates her from the outside world. Her greatest joy is wandering the wild heath with her neighbors, Madeline and Nathan. But as the friends come of age, their idyll is shattered by the feelings both girls develop for Nathan, and by Nathan’s interest in a cult led by Ariston Day, a charismatic mystic popular with London’s elite. Day encourages his followers to explore dream manipulation with the goal of discovering a strange hidden world, a place he calls the Empyrean. 

A year later, Nathan has vanished, and the famed Inspector Vidocq arrives in London to untangle the events that led up to Nathan’s disappearance. As a sinister truth emerges, Jane realizes she must discover the origins of her talent, and use it to find Nathan herself, before it’s too late.” – The White Forest

My Thoughts
The White Forest is a book that I instantly wanted to read. The description of it sounded so interesting that I started reading it the day I received it. I was drawn into this fantastical world within the first few pages of the novel and didn’t put it down until I finished it.

The main characters were created with a passion, and reading throughout the story shows how much the author took the time to make each one come to life on the pages. Jane is a very special person in the story, and as a reader, I felt like I could feel her pain, passion, and guilt about the disappearance of Nathan Ashe. Her struggle to help find him doesn’t turn out like I expected it would, but the story does end perfectly. The character of Madeline wasn’t my favorite out of the three main characters. However, she does serve her purpose in the story.

I won’t give anything away on the details of what unfolds in this novel; just know that it is an excellent read with surprising twists and turns throughout it. I highly recommend it.

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

October 1, 2012

Mary Kay Lash Perfection Review

Eye makeup is a fun way to show your individuality, mood, and changes with the seasons, fashion, and your age. Your eye makeup is as unique as you are, but most people do chose to use black or brown mascara, and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want longer and fuller eyelashes.

Mascara is one of my favorite pieces of makeup. I’ve been through a lot of different types over the years, too. I’ve tried the expensive ones and the not so expensive ones. I’ve tried waterproof, and ones that will in fact run down your face if you cry, sneeze, or laugh really hard.

Thanks to Mary Kay and MyBlogSpark I was able to try out the new Mary Kay Lash Perfection Package that features a lash and brow serum, primer, and mascaras. It had been over ten years since I tried Mary Kary mascara, so I was excited to give them another try with their new package, and test it out.

Mary Kay Lash & Brow Building Serum
Price: $38

I applied this at night before I went to sleep to help me build thicker, fuller lashes. I’ve only been using it for two weeks so far, but I can see a small difference. When it comes to having fuller and longer lashes though, any difference for the better is big!

Mary Kay Lash Primer
Price: $15

This primer contains Panthenol-Pro which helps to condition and strengthen the lashes. I used this on days I didn’t wear mascara and on days that I did. I think that it has helped to make my lashes stronger, and less likely to fall out when taking off my eye makeup.

Mary Kay Lash Love Waterproof Mascara
Price: $15

My eyes are often watery, so I usually pick the waterproof mascara to wear. This is a gentle mascara that went on smoothly for me, and stayed on throughout the day, and was easy to take off at night with eye makeup remover.

Mary Kay Lash Love
Price: $15

This is the regular, non-waterproof mascara. I tested it out on a day I didn’t think I’d be sneezing or dealing with allergies. To my amazement, I did sneeze often, and the mascara stayed in place and didn’t smudge or run down my cheeks. It is a gentle mascara, and again, was easy to take off with eye makeup remover.

Mary Kay Ultimate Mascara
Price: $15

This is another non-waterproof mascara. I was a little iffy on this one, because it claimed it just needed one coat to make my lashes look volumized and full. I tested this claim, and sure enough, it did! I was amazed and also quite pleased that it worked well enough to last all day without any issues.

After trying out all of these products, my favorites are: Mary Kay Lash & Brow Building Serum and the Mary Kay Lash Love Waterproof Mascara. They are all excellent products though, so if you are in need of some new eye makeup, I highly recommend all of these products.

Find out more about the products by visiting the Mary Kay website and watch this video about the products:

Which mascaras are your favorite? Do you use Mary Kay products for your makeup or skincare routine? If so, which are your favorites? Have any suggestions for me to try out? Do you think you’d want to try these? Let me know by leaving a comment on this post. Thanks!

Disclosure: The information and products for the Mary Kay gift pack was provided by Mary Kay through MyBlogSpark.

Buy Shoes on Wednesday and Tweet at 4:00 by Mark Di Vincenzo

Buy Shoes on Wednesday and Tweet at 4:00 by Mark Di Vincenzo is a fun and informative read about when to buy things to save money, and when to go places to save both time and money. If you have ever wondered when is the best time to buy shoes, when to tweet, and much more – this is a book you must read!

Book Description
Are you thinking that you might have gotten a better deal on a purchase if only you'd known the right moment to buy? Do you wonder if your workout would be more effective at another time of day? Have you worried that your tropical vacation plans might land you on an island paradise just in time for monsoon season?

Mark Di Vincenzo's eye-opening, phenomenally useful New York Times bestseller, Buy Ketchup in May and Fly at Noon, captured the attention of consumers across the country—and saved readers time, money and trouble. Now he's back with hundreds of brand-new timing tips! Do you know:

(1) The best month to buy a cell phone?
(2) The best day of the week to take your car in for repairs? 
(3) The best week of the year to visit Mexico City?
(4) The best time to confront someone who "unfriended" you on Facebook?

Get more for your money, maximize your time, take better care of your health and be savvier about your career—simply by changing the time you do certain things. Timing truly is everything!” – Buy Shoes on Wednesday and Tweet at 4:00

My Thoughts
Buy Shoes on Wednesday and Tweet at 4:00 is a well-organized and researched book that is truly helpful. The chapters are organized on such topics as: getting it, getting rid of it, getting pretty, getting rich, getting healthy, getting the job done, around the house, around the world, and many more.

The author didn’t just make up the best times to do these things either. He lists his sources in the back, so it is up to you to believe what they said about each topic or not. Personally, I don’t agree with all of them based off of personal knowledge on the topics of internet shopping and buying and selling college textbooks. However, in some cases, the sources may just differ with what happened with my experiences.

The book is more of a guideline for me really, and the suggested times to do these things does make sense and is a good guide to doing them. There is a large variety of topics covered, and is a good reference when wanting to get a good deal or figure out when is the best time to do something or go somewhere.

Overall, I did enjoy it and found it to be helpful. I recommend it to everyone who wants to save money and time.

* Thank you to the publisher of Buy Shoes on Wednesday and Tweet at 4:00, William Morrow, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.