December 28, 2014

The Inner Camino by Sara Hollwey and Jill Brierley

The Inner Camino by Sara Hollwey and Jill Brierley is an excellent resource for someone who is looking to make a change in their life. If you are struggling to find out what you are meant to do, this may be the guide for you to take you on a journey to discover it.

Book Description
Are you looking to make real and lasting change in your life? The Inner Camino offers a reliable method to support such change effortlessly, even when we feel imprisoned in situations that appear intransigent or hopeless. With easy to follow maps and a compass to re-orientate the reader in the direction of their true purpose in life the Inner Camino guides the reader on an inner pilgrimage. Along the path the reader learns to dream into hitherto undreamt visions for our world and ourselves. This guidebook is practical, unsentimental and packed with immediately applicable insights towards clearly identified and easily accessible goals. The Inner Camino takes the reader on a heroic journey of awakening within. It initiates an extraordinary expedition, both deep into our own psychology, and to the heights of our numinous potential, our mystical capacities. Between these two differing terrains, the Inner Camino follows the way-marks through our most creative source of wisdom, our Intuitive Consciousness.” – The Inner Camino

My Thoughts
The Inner Camino takes you on a journey of your intuitive consciousness helping you to see what it is that you truly want to do and are meant to do. It can awaken or re-ignite passions you never knew you had, or perhaps forgot you had. Only read it if you are serious about finding this for yourself.

This is a practical guidebook with easy resources to help guide you along your path to figuring out your purpose and reach your goals. It isn’t going to lead you on the wrong path because you know what you are meant to do deep down, but sometimes we are too afraid of it and push it really far down, and it takes a bit of a push (like with this book) to discover it again. I especially liked the section on “Chatter or Guidance” because sometimes that inner dialogue we have within ourselves isn’t always so positive, but this section helped me to push aside those negative thoughts and focus on the actual guidance.

Overall, I think that this is an excellent guide for anyone that wants to go on the path of awakening. I highly recommend it.

* Thank you to the publisher of The Inner Camino, Findhorn Press, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

December 19, 2014

Animal Stars by Robin Ganzert and Allen & Linda Anderson

Animal Stars by Robin Ganzert and Allen & Linda Anderson gives us an inside look at the lives of famous animal actors. Learn what they do to get motivated to “work”, what they do off-camera, training tips, and much more!

Book Description
When cameras roll and directors call, “Action,” some of the most dependable, funniest, and most enthusiastic actors stand poised on four legs, with ears alert. From Joey in War Horse to the wolves in Game of Thrones, what we see on screen is the result of meticulous preparation and professional teamwork. The eye-popping, heartwarming stories in these pages reveal the trainers, actors, directors, and, of course, dogs, cats, horses, penguins, deer, and other animals in all their behind-the-scenes glory. You’ll discover that some animal actors have diva tendencies and others have rags-to-riches backstories. American Humane Association certified animal safety representatives work carefully to ensure that no animals are harmed, as they have been doing for decades.

Animal stars have done it all — convinced us to eat more tacos, broken our hearts in war dramas, inspired us with enduring love and loyalty, kept us at the edge of our seats as they snarled in the shadows, mirrored human antics to make us roar with laughter, and, like Uggie (from The Artist), stolen the show on the red carpet. Who besides a monkey named Crystal could impress a brilliant comedian like Robin Williams in Night at the Museum? And animal stars will work for food, including only KFC original recipe for Casey the bear — no other fried chicken will do! 

These charming and sometimes hilarious stories will give you a new appreciation for the skill and patience it takes to teach nonhuman actors to perform on camera. Training tips from the pros and personal recollections of celebrities such as Julia Roberts, Hailee Steinfeld, and Steven Spielberg make this insider’s look at the lives and work of these incomparable stars as irresistible as the animals themselves.

A portion of the publisher’s proceeds from this book will aid American Humane Association.” – Animal Stars

My Thoughts
Animal Stars is the perfect book for animal lovers who also enjoy movies and TV shows which feature them. Find out what their lives are like off the screen, get tips from the pros on training them, and much more!

My favorite sections of the book included reading about the wolves Thunder, Harley, Shadow, and Cody (who appear in True Blood, Game of Thrones, The Vampire Diaries, and Teen Wolf) – only some of my favorite TV series right there! I also quite liked the section on famous cats (like Hermione Granger’s cat Crookshanks in the Harry Potter series) and Mr. Jinx in Meet the Fockers. I learned a few tips on training cats, too, but mine will never be nearly as trained as these famous felines.

I really enjoyed reading about all of the animal stars in this book. It is truly the purrfect book for an animal lover. I highly recommend it.

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

December 11, 2014

Christmas Spirit Essential Oil Blend

Christmas Spirit is a sweet, spicy blend of orange, cinnamon, and spruce essential oils that taps into the happiness, joy, and security associated with the holiday season. With Christmas Spirit on hand, simply open a bottle and start diffusing!

How to Use:
For aromatic use. Diffuse or sprinkle on logs in the fireplace, on Christmas trees, on cedar chips, pinecones, or on potpourri. Use all year round for feelings of the Christmas Spirit.

*Possible skin sensitivity. If pregnant or under a doctor’s care, contact your physician. Dilute before using on sensitive areas such as the face, neck, genital area, etc. Keep out of the reach of children. Avoid using on infants and very small children. 

For more info on Young Living and essential oils, check out my group's website at:

December 2, 2014

Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson

Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson is a witty tale about love, loss, and the amazing aspects of life in-between.

Book Description
Someone Else's Love Story is beloved and highly acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson's funny, charming, and poignant novel about science and miracles, secrets and truths, faith and forgiveness; about falling in love, and learning that things aren't always what they seem—or what we hope they will be.

Shandi Pierce is juggling finishing college, raising her delightful three-year-old genius son Nathan, aka Natty Bumppo, and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced parents. She's got enough complications without getting caught in the middle of a stick-up and falling in love with William Ashe, who willingly steps between the robber and her son.

Shandi doesn't know that her blond god Thor has his own complications. When he looked down the barrel of that gun he believed it was destiny: It's been one year to the day since a tragic act of physics shattered his world. But William doesn't define destiny the way others do. A brilliant geneticist who believes in facts and numbers, destiny to him is about choice. Now, he and Shandi are about to meet their so-called destinies head on, making choices that will reveal unexpected truths about love, life, and the world they think they know.” – Someone Else’s Love Story

My Thoughts
Someone Else’s Love Story is a novel that drew me in right away. It is as the title says, someone else’s love story – and I can’t write too much about that without giving the plot away (which I will not do). Seriously, it is a brilliantly written novel that is worth a read!

The author writes this story from two very different perspectives. Shandi is my favorite, she is funny, smart, a bit if a smart ass, and an extremely likeable character. Will is more logical and matter of fact. I like the yin and yang to this. The story also primarily takes place in the present, but it has flashes of certain events that took place in the past. Nothing too often to take the story out of their current reality, so it was done quite well.

I really enjoyed reading this novel because it was written in a different way than most books out there. It is a distinct style that the author perfected with this book, and the characters truly help to give it a life that will capture you in their world for the time you are reading it. I definitely recommend it.

* Thank you to the publisher of Someone Else’s Love Story, William Morrow, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Love Cycles by Linda Carroll

Love Cycles by Linda Carroll helps us to understand the different love cycles that we all go through with those we love. This is helpful for everyone to understand who is in a relationship or wants to be in one.

Book Description
In Love Cycles, veteran couples therapist Linda Carroll presents a groundbreaking model of the five natural stages of romantic relationships — the Merge, Doubt and Denial, Disillusionment, Decision, and Wholehearted Love — and a guide for navigating through them toward lasting love. Love Cycles helps readers understand where they are in the cycle of their relationship and provides a clear strategy for how to stay happy and committed, even in difficult times.” – Love Cycles

My Thoughts
Love Cycles is a book that is great for anyone who wants to make their love genuinely last. The author understands the challenges that couples have in their relationship and how each stage or cycle they are in can make a relationship stronger.

The “Merge” cycle is where it all starts, this is similar to what I would have called the “honeymoon” phase. What comes next is not so fun though, it is the “Doubt and Denial” cycle which is where a lot of people give up on their relationship. This doesn’t have to happen though, and can actually make the relationship stronger – if you know how to handle it. Same goes for the “Disillusionment” phase. The “Decision” phase is where people decide what the future holds for the relationship (if it has lasted this long). From there is where the goal is – the “Wholehearted Loving” cycle.

Overall, I think this is a very insightful book about how to become our best self in a relationship to have a truly fulfilling and loving relationship with another. I highly recommend it.

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

November 30, 2014

Aromatherapy for the Soul by Valerie Ann Worwood

Aromatherapy for the Soul by Valerie Ann Worwood is a great reference book that combines aromatherapy with spirituality. If you are looking for an informative book which does this, this would be an excellent resource to add to your library for aromatherapy use.

Book Description
Renew Your Essence through the Divine Power of Fragrance

Fragrances possess a unique ability to evoke emotions, memories, and visions. Since the dawn of time spiritual traditions as diverse as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Shinto, and Buddhism have used fragrances to enhance the experience of the Divine. WithAromatherapy for the Soul, world-renowned aromatherapist Valerie Ann Worwood has created a comprehensive guide to the use of essential oils and aromas to enhance spiritual practice. 

Originally published as The Fragrant Heavens, this groundbreaking book draws equally upon the pioneering research of eminent scientists and the insights of leading spiritual teachers. Extensive charts and exercises demonstrate how to use fragrance in healing, prayer, and meditation and in conjunction with vibrational and energetic healing. This extraordinary guide covers more than seventy essential oils and will help you call upon the divine power of fragrance to enrich your spiritual journey.” – Aromatherapy for the Soul

My Thoughts
Aromatherapy for the Soul is a well-researched and well-written book. The charts, uses for the essential oils, aroma traditions of different cultures, how to use with prayer and meditation, and much more is included. The index is also of great help when you need to just grab the book to look up something quickly, making this an excellent resource to have on hand.

As with all of the books I’ve read from Valerie Ann Worwood, I was left with the enthusiasm for the subject and the desire to want to try out some of the suggested uses for the aromas. This is the type of book that any aromatherapy enthusiast should have on their shelf.

Overall, I think this is a very good book on aromatherapy used for enhancing spirituality. It doesn’t contain the recipes I was hoping for, but there are other books for that. I enjoyed reading through this book and will continue to use it for many years to come with aromatherapy. I highly recommend it.

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

November 24, 2014

The Groom Says Yes by Cathy Maxwell

The Groom Says Yes by Cathy Maxwell is the final book in the Brides of Wishmore trilogy. Fans of the series and newcomers will enjoy this book that takes you back in time to the life of Sabrina Davidson.

Book Description
New York Times bestselling author Cathy Maxwell continues her dazzling series, The Brides of Wishmore

He had a noose around his neck and a price on his head . . .

Sabrina Davidson, dutiful daughter, avowed spinster, thought she'd secured a place for herself in Aberfeldy society— until her hard-earned acceptance of her fate is challenged by the arrival of Cormac Enright, earl of Ballin, trained physician, soldier of fortune, and convicted felon.

A prim and proper miss was the last thing he needed . . .

Mac is determined to clear his name, but first he has to find the man whose testimony sentenced him to a hangman's noose. Of course, Robert Davidson is missing and protecting Mac is Davidson's daughter, the most entrancing, frustrating, beguiling, stubborn woman Mac has ever met.

And it doesn't help that he has already tasted her kisses. Or that he has found in her a passion for life and adventure to rival his own.

Mac has turned Sabrina's world inside out—but what will happen when he leaves?

Or will the Groom Say Yes?” – The Groom Says Yes

My Thoughts
The Groom Says Yes is the third in the series that me and other family members I have passed these books on to all love. This is a great series to read, so if this is the first book you want to try out, I will warn you – you’ll want to go back and read the previous two!

Sabrina is a brilliantly written character that you want to cheer for and know what will happen with. Sabrina and Mac take on trying to solve a mystery about her father, but what they uncover may not be what they would have imagined. Sabrina and Mac are characters on an adventure in this novel, and the romance is sure to spring into flames, or will it fizzle out after the newness of it wears off? I’m not telling, you’ll have to read it to find out!

Overall, I enjoyed this series and this is my favorite book in the trilogy. It has ab it of everything, romance, adventure, humor, betrayal, and more! I definitely recommend it.

* Thank you to the publisher of The Groom Says Yes, Avon Historical Romance, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

November 12, 2014

The Alliance by Shannon Stoker

The Alliance by Shannon Stoker is the last installment of the Registry Trilogy. This time, Mia is back risking her freedom to help others gain theirs, and put an end to the Registry.

Book Description
In this deadly endgame, the final move is hers . . .

In America, the Registry weds girls to the highest bidder and raises boys for its army.
Mia Morrissey escaped to make her life her own, and now that she has, she will risk everything so that everyone can be free.

Going undercover as part of a diplomatic mission, Mia returns to America. But life there is more dangerous than ever as the walls grow taller, and the forgotten country faces its most ruthless leader yet, Grant Marsden . . . a shadow from Mia's past. With the help of Andrew, Carter, and other members of the subversive group Affinity, she embarks on a perilous journey to defeat Grant, bring down the government, and destroy the Registry once and for all.

But when a terrible betrayal exposes the operation, Mia discovers that her enemies have used her—and so have her friends. Alone and frightened, she's uncertain of whom to trust—or whether the mission is worth the sacrifice.

With the fate of her friends and the future of her country on the line, Mia knows that her next step may be the last for her . . . and America.” – The Alliance

My Thoughts
The Alliance is a final in the “Registry” trilogy by the author. The conclusion to the series is definitely worthy of finishing the series, and shows real growth in writing skills from the author. I quite enjoyed reading it and look forward to reading more from the author in the future.

Mia Morrissey is a strong female character that I could see kicking some serious butt in a movie one day – just sayin’. She has become a very likable character in this series that is fighting for freedom, and has some hero complexes that would show well on the silver screen. The last book does not disappoint with her character or the story, and fans of the series will definitely enjoy reading this one, too.

Overall, I liked this series and the final novel the most in the trilogy. I definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good dystopian series.

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

November 6, 2014

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton is a historical novel set in 17th century Amsterdam. The obsession with wealth and acquiring more desirable objects is the societal influences that the story navigates around. However, the characters involved are just as intriguing as all of the glamour that surrounds them.

Book Description
On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office–leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin.

But Nella's life changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a miniaturist–an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways...

Johannes's gift helps Nella pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand–and fear–the escalating dangers that await them all. In this repressively pious society where gold is worshipped second only to God, to be different is a threat to the moral fabric of society, and not even a man as rich as Johannes is safe. Only one person seems to see the fate that awaits them. Is the miniaturist the key to their salvation...or the architect of their destruction?

Enchanting, beautifully written, and exquisitely suspenseful, The Miniaturist is a magnificent story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth.” – The Miniaturist

My Thoughts
The Miniaturist is a book that I really enjoyed reading. It is a historical novel that shows how the obsession with having more material wealth continues today, and that isn’t necessarily such a good thing. The characters are all interesting, even ones that I didn’t really like. I wanted to know what was going to happen next, and what would become of all those involved. It is definitely a good book to read over a weekend!

At only eighteen years old, Petronella moves to Amsterdam into the arranged marriage she had with Johannes. Not an ideal situation, but she had no real choice in the matter. Her new husband is not at all what she had imagined, and the people in this new city are not as friendly as she had hoped for. The one nice thing he did for her though was to give her a wedding present of a miniature version of their home. However, it isn’t furnished, so she finds a miniaturist to help re-create the furnishings in the home for it. When these new furnishings come, they are amazing – but then, new pieces not similar to ones in the home start to arrive, and strikingly accurate copies seem to magically appear in the home. Who is this miniaturist, and what does all of this mean? No spoilers here!

Overall, I think that this is an excellent debut book from an author to keep an eye out for in the future. I highly recommend it.

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

November 1, 2014

Hanes Cotton Leggings Review

With the temperature outside falling, leggings are coming back into our wardrobes. For me, I love this time of year, and I have to admit, the clothing is a big part of it. For a large portion of my life, I lived in Florida where there is the Four H seasons: hot, humid, hurricane, and hell. Now that I a little bit further North, I can actually experience seasons changing and a wardrobe that actually corresponds to the seasons.

I was never a big fan of tights or leggings when I lived in Florida. However, I now absolutely love them and after some trial and error, I found a brand that is fantastic for both. Perhaps you have heard of Hanes? Yes, they are affordable, fashionable, and actually make products that last for more than one use.

The Hanes Cotton Leggings come in a variety of colors and sizes, so no matter what you are wearing, there is a pair of leggings that you could wear with it to keep your legs warm and your legs looking good. My favorite is the black legging. It is basic, but it seriously goes with 99% of my wardrobe.

I’ve washed my Hanes Cotton Leggings a few times now, and they are in perfect condition each time. Just be sure to use a machine washer, on cold, with similar colors, and use non-chlorine bleach if needed. To dry them, I just threw them in the dryer on low.

Overall, I really like these leggings and definitely recommend them to everyone who wants to stay warm and look great this time of year.

Thank you to Hanes for providing me with leggings for review for purposes of this article. All opinions and experiences expressed are my own. 

October 22, 2014

How to Dress like a Viking for a Halloween or Cosplay Costume

One of my favorite TV shows is Vikings on the History Channel. If you are looking for an interesting Halloween or cosplay costume that shows your Viking spirit, this is definitely one you want to check out for costume inspiration!

October 11, 2014

Leadership Lessons: Avoiding the Pitfalls of King Saul by Ralph K. Hawkins and Richard Leslie Parrott

Leadership Lessons: Avoiding the Pitfalls of King Saul by Ralph K. Hawkins and Richard Leslie Parrott is a valuable tool for any Christian that is in a leadership role. You not only learn what is good to do as a leader, but also what is not good to do, which is just as valuable to learn as the authors also point out ideas and solutions to learn from the negative ways as well.

Book Description
Rise above mediocrity and become indispensable after working through ten timeless lessons from Scripture. Leadership Lessons: Avoiding the Pitfalls of King Saul is a practical leadership guide that avoids abstract ideas and unproven steps. Instead, biblical studies professor and pastor Dr. Ralph Hawkins along with leadership expert and education professor Dr. Richard Parrott tell the stories of King Saul’s leadership missteps and connect those stories with the challenges facing leaders. In today’s climate of rapid change, intense competition, and moral relativism, find valuable advice that will give your leadership a firm foundation in sound biblical principles.

Features include:
·         References to ten sound biblical principles of leadership
·         Examples illustrate how to apply these lessons to your life
·         Action points give you concrete steps to improve your leadership skills
·         Checklists help church, business, and community leaders excel” – Leadership Lessons: Avoiding the Pitfalls of King Saul

My Thoughts
Leadership Lessons: Avoiding the Pitfalls of King Saul is a great book for leaders to read. I never really thought about King Saul with leader roles in today’s society until I read this, but it is a great lesson on how we can learn from the past to make our futures a better place to live in. King Saul failed miserably at many things, but his failures can prove to teach us, even today, and hopefully lead us to being more successful leaders. I definitely recommend this book for leaders or anyone in business to read.

* Thank you to the publisher of Leadership Lessons: Avoiding the Pitfalls of King Saul, Thomas Nelson, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Spirit-Filled Life by Charles F. Stanley

The Spirit-Filled Life by Charles F. Stanley is a book that shows you how to go beyond the motions of being a Christian and invite the Holy Spirit to actually be a part of your life. If you have ever felt like something was missing in your life, and needed help with faith, this is a book that is definitely meant for you to read!

Book Description
A wise, measured, and deeply passionate invitation to a Spirit-filled life
Are you trying your best to be a good Christian but still feel something’s missing? Do the peace and joy you long for seem to elude you? Does following Christ sometimes feel like a lot of work—or like it’s just not working very well?
Much has been written and spoken—and argued!—about the Holy Spirit and what it means to be filled with the Spirit. Charles Stanley cuts through the confusion and introduces you to a living Person as real and active as God the Father and Christ the Son. Through personal stories, biblical exploration, and insightful explanation, he will help you discover:
·         who the Spirit is—and how to develop a relationship with Him
·         who the Spirit isn’t—and how to avoid damaging misconceptions
·         how being “filled” with the Spirit actually works
·         what the Bible really teaches about spiritual “signs” such as speaking in tongues
·         how the Spirit can increase your capacity for faith, hope, love, and personal transformation
·         what it means to “hear” the Spirit’s voice
·         how to make the most of your unique spiritual gifting to build up Christ’s body
·         what happens when the Spirit’s power is unleashed in your workplace, your family life, your friendships, and every other area of your life

In The Spirit-Filled Life Charles Stanley reveals how to recognize and begin to live with the guiding presence of the Holy Spirit.” – The Spirit-Filled Life

My Thoughts
The Spirit-Filled Life is a book that really spoke to me. Sometimes when going through life, I haven’t made the time for my faith like I should have been doing. Something did feel missing, but I have been on the path to re-finding it, and am pleasantly surprised by how much this book could have helped years ago for me! It is an excellent resource that helps anyone to discover the joy of welcoming the Holy Spirit into your life. It doesn’t cost anything extra to do and can bring in a happiness that can’t truly be filled in your spirit in any other way. I love the message of this book and the stories included in it. I highly recommend it!

* Thank you to the publisher of The Spirit-Filled Life, Thomas Nelson, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

October Fresh Savings at Publix – Going on Right Now!

If Publix is near you (besides being lucky for having my favorite grocery store nearby) you can also save big this weekend on your weekly trip to the grocery store!

From October 9 – 15, you can save:
  • Save $2 when you buy any one (1) Hellmann’s® Mayonnaise (22oz or larger) and Deli Item (any variety, $2 minimum)
  • Save $2 when you buy any two (2) boxes of Quaker® Chewy® Granola Bars and Sliced Deli Meat (any variety, $2 minimum).
  • Save $2 when you buy any one (1) Nature Valley™ Protein Granola Cereal and Fresh Fruit (any variety, $2 minimum).
  • Save $2 when you buy any two (2) Propel® items (6pk 500ml) and Fresh Fruit (any variety, $2 minimum).
  • Save $1 when you buy any two (2) Knorr® Sides and Meat (any variety, $1 minimum).
  • Save $1 when you buy any one (1) Betty Crocker™ Potatoes (3.7 - 6.6oz) and Meat (any variety, $1 minimum).
  • Buy 2 Get 1 FREE Lipton® (128fl oz)
  • Buy 1 Get 1 FREE Lipton® Tea (100ct)
  • Buy 1 Get 1 FREE Progresso™ 100% Natural Broth
  • 10 for $10 on Betty Crocker™ Potatoes (3.7 - 6.6oz)

My favorite part about this savings event is that it is going to save money on sandwiches for lunches! The Publix deli is seriously one of my favorite parts of Publix because they have such good deli meat and cheese! Plus, a little mayo to go with the meat leads to savings with this event! Win-win!

Another favorite from the list here is the Buy 1 and get 1 FREE on the Progresso broth. This can make some great soups which are great for this time of the year.

Before you go to the store, be sure to go online to and see your weekly local ad for extra savings or coupons you can use while there!

“Disclosure: The information and prize pack have been provided by General Mills through Platefull Co-Op.”

September 28, 2014

Cancel the Wedding by Carolyn Dingman

Cancel the Wedding by Carolyn Dingman is the fictional debut from the author. This is a story about a woman who goes on a journey to discover secrets of the past and how to confront one’s future.

Book Description
“A heartfelt fiction debut that will appeal to fans of Emily Giffin’s Southern charm and Jennifer Weiner’s compelling, emotionally resonant novels about the frustrations of blood ties, Cancel the Wedding follows one woman’s journey to discover the secrets of her mother’s hidden past—and confront her own uncertain future.

On the surface, Olivia has it all: a high-powered career, a loving family, and a handsome fiancé. She even seems to be coming to terms with her mother Jane’s premature death from cancer. But when Jane’s final wish is revealed, Olivia and her elder sister Georgia are mystified. Their mother rarely spoke of her rural Southern hometown, and never went back to visit—so why does she want them to return to Huntley, Georgia, to scatter her ashes?

Jane’s request offers Olivia a temporary escape from the reality she’s long been denying: she hates her “dream” job, and she’s not really sure she wants to marry her groom-to-be. With her 14-year-old niece, Logan, riding shotgun, she heads South on a summer road trip looking for answers about her mother.

As Olivia gets to know the town’s inhabitants, she begins to peel back the secrets of her mother’s early life—truths that force her to finally question her own future. But when Olivia is confronted with a tragedy and finds an opportunity to right a terrible wrong, will it give her the courage to accept her mother’s past—and say yes to her own desire to start over?” – Cancel the Wedding

My Thoughts
Cancel the Wedding is an easy to read novel that has likeable characters that I wanted to know the outcome of. The main character, Olivia, seems to have it all together, but anyone who seems the perfect on the outside rarely is ever holding it all together that well inside, right? Much like the story, more is under the surface than meets the eye, and this book takes you on a journey with her uncovering more about her family and herself than she ever would have thought.

Overall, I really liked the flow of the book, and the story was fun without being too cliché. If you are looking for a good book to read over the weekend or pack on a trip, this is definitely a good option! I highly recommend it.

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

The Right-Brain Business Plan by Jennifer Lee

The Right-Brain Business Plan by Jennifer Lee is a fun business book for those who think more in a “right-brain” way. If you are creative and just unsure how to do the actual planning and business aspects of all of your grand ideas, this is definitely a book you need to read!

Book Description
Turn Passionate Ideas into Profitable Enterprises

Do you dream of making a living doing what you love but find the process of creating a viable business plan like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole? Jennifer Lee knows what it’s like to make the entrepreneurial leap — and how to do it successfully. The key is using, rather than stifling, imagination and intuition. Lee’s illustrated, colorful worksheets and step-by-step instructions are playful yet practical, transforming drudgery into joy. They’ll enable you to define your vision and nail down plans for funding, marketing, networking, and long-term strategy.

Discover how to:
• Develop a financial plan with fun and flair
• Select your circle of support to get the work done
• Clarify your business values and goals
• Paint a picture of your business landscape
• Understand your competition and what makes you stand out from the crowd
• Identify your perfect customers and create a marketing plan to reach them
• Map out concrete action steps to bring your Right-Brain Business Plan to life” – The Right-Brain Business Plan

My Thoughts
The Right-Brain Business Plan is a dare I say it, FUN way to go about starting or working your business? It is truly written for a right-brain person who is creative and has a lot of great ideas, but sometimes get lost in the actual process of day to day business operations.

The author writes in a way that seems more like you are learning from her in person rather than reading a book, which is helpful and makes you want to keep reading a book about business, right? She also offers a lot of very helpful ideas and examples of things you can do to improve your business, no matter what business it is that you are in.

I highly recommend this book and also the author’s “Building Your Business the Right-Brain Way” for anyone who is starting a business, who already has a business, or anyone who is a right-brain person that wants to make some money from a hobby they enjoy doing.

* Thank you to the publisher of The Right-Brain Business Plan, New World Library, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

September 27, 2014

Season of the Dragonflies by Sarah Creech

Season of the Dragonflies is the debut novel by Sarah Creech that takes place in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It has magical elements and is a story of sisters, family, and how even those with special gifts don’t always foresee things happening in their own lives.

Book Description
“As beguiling as the novels of Alice Hoffman, Adriana Trigiani, Aimee Bender, and Sarah Addison Allen,Season of the Dragonflies is a story of flowers, sisters, practical magic, old secrets, and new love, set in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

For generations, the Lenore women have manufactured a perfume unlike any other, and guarded the unique and mysterious ingredients. Their perfumery, hidden in the quiet rolling hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, creates one special elixir that secretly sells for millions of dollars to the world’s most powerful—movie stars, politicians, artists, and CEOs. The Lenore’s signature perfume is actually the key to their success.

Willow, the coolly elegant Lenore family matriarch, is the brains behind the company. Her gorgeous, golden-haired daughter Mya is its heart. Like her foremothers, she can “read” scents and envision their power. Willow’s younger daughter, dark-haired, soulful Lucia, claims no magical touch, nor does she want any part of the family business. She left the mountains years ago to make her own way. But trouble is brewing. Willow is experiencing strange spells of forgetfulness. Mya is plotting a coup. A client is threatening blackmail. And most ominously, the unique flowers used in their perfume are dying.

Whoever can save the company will inherit it. Though Mya is the obvious choice, Lucia has begun showing signs of her own special abilities. And her return to the mountains—heralded by a swarm of blue dragonflies—may be the answer they all need.” – Season of the Dragonflies

My Thoughts
Season of the Dragonflies is a good read. It offers a rather interesting storyline and the characters are fitting for the story. However, I didn’t exactly like any of them, which makes it hard as a reader to care much about the outcome of the story. The Lenore women all seemed a bit boring to me, and only Lucia really stood out to me at all, and it wasn’t that much.

I didn’t hate the book by any means. I just didn’t love it, and I really wanted to because it seemed like such a cool idea for a book! Maybe I came in with too high of expectations, because after I read it, my Mom read it, and absolutely loved it. So, don’t just go off of my review on it.

Overall, this is a good debut novel. It offers the reader a fun escape as a good travel or vacation book. It offers a magical realism that I enjoyed, but it was not quite on par with other similar books I have read. I think that as the author grows as a writer, her works will reach that level, so she is definitely one I’d like to read more from in the future.

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

September 17, 2014

Paint & Praise

I was actually able to do something fun and creative last night! I went to my first Paint and Praise class that a local church offers, and I really enjoyed it! I also quite liked the church and ladies who went, so I may just start going back to church again. I’ve been wanting to find one that I liked, and this may be it! 

Publix Flavor Excursion Sales Event

My family and I love homemade Mexican inspired meals. Not only are most of the ingredients gluten-free (which is a mandatory deal for one of us), they are also delicious and don’t break the bank when it comes to meal planning.

I love, love, love chicken quesadillas. I just have to be sure to get the corn flour ones (they are a little bit smaller, but I cannot eat the larger “flour” ones made from wheat). I also enjoy homemade tacos with chicken, ground beef, or ground turkey. Leftover meat is also saved and thrown on some nachos for the next day, and all of it is…. gluten free! I love it!

Need some inspiration? Check this out….

Publix Flavor Excursion Sales Event

In-Store Savings
Coupons available in-store, look for the Flavor Excursion display with products at your local Publix. Display will be available in most stores between 9/11 and 9/24. Savings available with coupons:
·         Make Spicy Roasted Soft Vegetable Tacos and save! Save $2 off Produce (minimum $2 purchase) when you buy Any Four (4) participating products*. Participating products: Old El Paso™ Seasoning Mixes, Enchilada Sauce, Refried Beans, Taco Shells, Ro*Tel® (10oz or larger), Hunt’s® Diced Tomatoes (14.5oz or larger), KRAFT Natural Shredded Cheese (6-8oz
·         You can also save on an Italian inspired recipe, Sautéed Italian Chicken and Beans! Save $2 off Publix® Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts when you buy Any Four (4) participating products. Participating products: Progresso™ Bread Crumbs, 100% Natural Broths, Beans,KRAFT Salad Dressing (16oz), Natural Shredded Cheese (6-8oz), Hunt’s® Diced Tomatoes (14.5oz or larger).

Coupons available in-store, look for the Flavor Excursion recipe and coupon standee display at your local Publix. Display will be available in most stores between 9/11 and 9/24. Savings available with coupons:
·         Save $1.00 off Any Five (5) Ro*Tel® Tomatoes (10oz)
·         Save $2.00 off Any Two (2) KRAFT Natural Chunk Cheese 7-8 oz
·         Save $1.00 off Any Five (5) Hunt’s® Tomatoes 14.5oz
·         Save $1.00 off Any One (1) Bisquick™ 40oz
·         Save $1.00 off Any One (1) Old El Paso™ Frozen Entrée
·         Save $2.00 off Any Two (2) KRAFT Natural Shredded Cheese 6-8oz
Looking for a new twist on dessert? Try another Flavor Excursion recipe, Crème Brulèe Cheesecake Bars. Find the recipe and a $1.50 off any two Betty Crocker pouch Cookie Mixes coupon on the Betty Crocker display in-store.
Plus… find these items on sale this week. No coupon necessary, available at Publix:
·         Green Giant Frozen Bag Steamers 11-12oz on BOGO
·         Pillsbury Crescents and Pizza 3 for $6

Printable Coupons
Want more savings to make your favorite Flavor Excursion recipes? Visit to print your coupons. Available while supplies last.
·         Save $1 when you buy FOUR Progresso™ products
·         Save $1 when you buy THREE Old El Paso™ products
·         Save 75¢ when you buy ONE BOX Old El Paso® Bold Nacho Cheese Flavored Stand 'N Stuff® Taco Shells OR Dinner Kit
·         Save $0.50 when you buy ONE 20 OZ. OR LARGER Original Bisquick® OR Bisquick Heart Smart® Baking Mix
·         Save $0.60 when you buy THREE any variety Green Giant® Seasoned Steamers™ or Valley Fresh Steamers® Frozen Vegetables.
·         Save $0.40 when you buy any TWO Pillsbury® Crescent Dinner Rolls
·         Save $0.40 when you buy THREE CANS any size/variety Pillsbury® Refrigerated Grands!® or Grands! Jr.® Biscuits
·         Save $1 when you buy any flavor or variety of Old el Paso™ Froze Entrees
Digital Coupons
Visit,, to find and instantly select digital coupons. Including the following from ConAgra. Available while supplies last.
·         Save $0.40 off any TWO (2) ROTEL® products
·         Save $1 on any FOUR (4) Chef Boyardee® canned pasta or microwave cup
·         Save $1 on any ONE (1) Orville Redenbacher’s® Gourmet® Popping Corn (6-pk or larger)
·         Save $0.50 on any ONE (1) Super Snack Pack® 6 pack

Disclosure: The information and prize pack have been provided by General Mills through Platefull Co-Op.