Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Doctor Who: The Drosten's Curse

“I shall make you the jewel at the heart of the universe.”

"Something distinctly odd is going on in Arbroath. It could be to do with golfers being dragged down into the bunkers at the Fetch Brothers’ Golf Spa Hotel, never to be seen again. It might be related to the strange twin grandchildren of the equally strange Mrs Fetch–owner of the hotel and fascinated with octopuses. It could be the fact that people in the surrounding area suddenly know what others are thinking, without anyone saying a word."

The Fourth Doctor is in for some trouble in The Drosten's Curse by A.L. Kennedy. Then again, when isn't The Doctor in trouble. I'm not a big fan of the older Doctor Who episodes (mostly because old special effects make me roll my eyes) but I love the Fourth Doctor and his long wonderful scarf in this book. This had that creepy, wild adventure feel that a great Doctor Who episode has. While some times the pace of the story wasn't consistent, I really enjoyed the plot. There is a lot going on in the book so it never gets dull. Mind reading, creepy children, weird old lady, ancient being...what more could you ask for..  His companions for this adventure are funny and likable. And of course the TARDIS herself is the best. 

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves Doctor Who and the Fourth Doctor. :)

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. But all opinions are mine and mine alone*

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Q&A a Day for Creatives

Q&A a Day for Creatives by Potter Style is one of the most fun books I've had the chance to review from Blogging For Books.  This book is like the other Q&A a day Journals except you draw daily instead of writing. It has 365 different prompts and four spaces for each prompt.

Some of the prompts are a bit silly but I've been having fun drawing something new every day. I think it is going to be interesting to see how my drawings differ from year to year and hopefully I will be able to see lots of improvement. The paper  is only really thick enough for pencil drawings. I think mediums such as water color would go right through the paper.  I also think the book should have had a spiral spine instead of a bound spine so it would be easier to draw in all the boxes.

A Day for Creatives is 9 1/2 inches by 7 1/2 inches. Each square is almost 4 inches by 4 inches. Plenty of space for a daily sketch.  So if you love to sketch this book would be a great journal to have. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Realism Challenge



The Realism Challenge: Drawing and Painting Secrets from a Modern Master of Hyperrealism by Mark Crilley is a step by step guide to helping artists, such as myself, learn how to draw real items. 

Is this book going to teach you how to draw? No. It is my opinion that you should have some kind of artistic ability before picking  up this book. I am good at drawing but I kind of suck at drawing real world stuff so I found this book very informative and helpful. Is it going to turn me into an artist that creates $20,000 masterpieces? Nope, but I think it will help me better understand how to really make a drawing look great by starting with just a basic drawing of an item and building on to it to create something worth looking at.

The draws are very well done in this book and I like how each step is shown to get to the completed drawing. I'm hoping to use this book to add on to my skill and teach myself to draw draw more accurately and realistic.

I would definitely recommend this book (and his Youtube videos) to anyone that has an interest in hyperrealistc art and drawing. Thanks for reading this review.

 *I received this book for free from Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions in this blog are 100% mine* 

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Fold by Peter Clines


 Anytime someone tells you something is perfectly safe, you should run in the other direction as quick as you can. When someone says they have invented a way to travel long distances in the blink of an eye, you should run even faster.

In "The Fold"  Mike Erikson, a teacher with a unique gift for remembering everything is called in to evaluate a top secret teleportation device. The Door allows a person to travel long distance in a blink of an eye just by stepping through the doorway. The scientists swear it is safe but they won't tell anyone how it works. Once Mike learns the secret behind it all, its a race to save the day.

The Fold by Peter Clines is a fun science fiction novel. I read it in less than two days. I found the characters to be likeable and humorous. While I am not a scientist, the science behind how The Door actually works made me cringe a little. I am a big science fiction fan so it didn't seem possible to me, even for fake science. That aside, the story was enjoyable and kept me turning the page dying to see how it would all play out. I will definitely be reading more of Peter Clines' works. 

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes science fiction. 

*I received this book free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my review."

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Folgers Iced Café™ Coffee Review

The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup...

I am not even sure if that is used in commercials anymore, but it fits for my house. Folgers is the brand of coffee drank in my house so getting picked for the Crowdtap Folgers Iced Cafe  Coffee Concentrate Sample and Review was perfect.

I was sent three flavors Hazelnut Latte, Original Latte, and Vanilla Latte. The vanilla latte was delicious. Hardly any of that annoying coffee aftertaste that keeps me from being a huge fan of coffee. My sister and my friend love iced coffee so I shared with them. My sister's boyfriend has already pretty much used it all up and she is going to be looking for it in the store. :) This product is simple to use. Just add a squirt or two of the Iced Cafe concentrate to milk and stir. And of course, add some ice because that is how true iced coffee is made.  

Would I recommend this product? Definitely. It is a great for people who love flavored iced coffee but don't want to spend lots of money on expensive bottled or fresh iced coffee from those coffee places that will not be named. :) So go out and pick up some Folgers Iced Café™ Coffee Concentrate today. You won't regret it.

*I received these products free from Crowdtap and Folgers for me to try and review. I was not paid for this review. All opinions on this blog are mine and mine alone.*

Friday, June 5, 2015

Johnsonville Grillers: Crowdtap Sample Share

It's that time of year again. The sun is shining, the cicadas are dying off after driving me crazy with their buzzing, and the grill is going. So what am I grilling this week? Johnsonville Grillers, free courtesy of Crowdtap and Johnsonville.

Johnsonville Grillers are pork patties with wonderful flavors added into them. I was sent the Cheddar Cheese and Bacon flavor grillers. They cooked up nice on the grill for being frozen patties. I wasn't sure if they were going to be tasty cause sometimes flavored patties just don't taste good. But these were good. They reminded me of these ham and cheese patties that my mom used to feed me when I was little, only these were better and a much higher quality.

Johnsonville Grillers come in a variety of different flavors such as Swiss Cheese and Mushroom, Steakhouse Onion, and Original Brat, to name a few. According to the website, they are available in frozen or fresh patty form. 

The only thing I don't really like about the Johnsonville Grillers that I was sent is the nutritional information. 740 mg of sodium per patty. 75 mg of cholesterol. 340 calories. Not exactly a healthy choice in meats, but I guess if you don't eat them all the time you are okay.

All in all, I would recommend the Johnsonville Grillers to anyone looking for a delicious pork patty to grill this summer.

*I received this product free from Crowdtap to sample, share, and review. All opinions in this blog are mine and mine alone.)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Aveeno Active Naturals® Crowdtap Campaign

I really like Aveeno products so I'm pleased to present my review of the Aveeno Active Naturals Daily Moisturizing Lotion: Sheer Hydration and Aveeno Active Naturals Protect and Hydrate Lotion. I received sample sizes of both these products from Crowdtap to try and review.

First up the AVEENO® Daily Moisturizing Sheer Hydration Lotion. This lotion is fragrance free. I'm not sure if that is a bonus or a negative. My little bottle didn't say fragrance free on it, but I guess you can only fit so much writing on the front of a bottle. I won't hold that against this product. The lotion goes on smooth and easily, without leaving a heavy residue behind. I am not a fan of lotion that reminds you have lotion on by feeling weird. Thankfully this is not one of those lotions. The only reminder is that your skin actually feels softer. The active natural ingredient for this product is oatmeal. Yay for oatmeal!

The second product I was given to try is the AVEENO PROTECT + HYDRATE® Lotion Sunscreen with Broad Spectrum SPF 30. If you are looking for a sunscreen that leaves you smelling like a tropical island, this is not the lotion for you. This lotion has a pleasant but not over bearing scent. It says it is sweat and water resistant for up to 80 minutes. Sorry to say but I can not test that claim. Even mowing the lawn, I am not sweating for 80 minutes. All I can say is this seems to be a nice broad spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen lotion that helps protect your from the sun's harmful rays while making your skin feel nice.

*I was given these products free to try from Crowdtap with the purpose of using and reviewing them.*

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Q&A a Day by Potter Style

Growing up I didn't usually keep a diary. Not because I didn't feel the need to but because I had sisters. Sisters who would (and had) brought my diary to school and showed other people. I've tried over the years to keep a journal but with no success because when I go back to read what I've wrote it sounds ridiculous to me.

This is why I really like the book I received from Blogging For Books. Q&A a Day by Potter Style is a wonderful little 5 year journal. 365 questions, 5 years.  You answer the same question on the same day for five years so you get to see how your life and thinking has changed. I found the questions in this book simple but thought provoking. Not really the "what is the meaning of life" questions but that's okay because that is not the type of thing I would want to journal about. It contains questions like "What are you sentimental about?" and "Who are you closest to?" It does have a few sillier questions like "How hungry are you right now?" but I think it will be amusing to read the answers later on in life.

The book itself is well made, with golden edged pages and an attractive cover. It is a small book but I find that to be...cute. I think it is a lovely looking book and it will look nice on the shelf. Some have complained that the space inside to write your answers to the questions is too small, but I have small hand writing so it works for me. All in all, I like this little book and can't wait to read my answers in the years to come.

*I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.*

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Zep Microwave Miracle Foaming Cleanser Review

I tend to be skeptical of any product that uses the word miracle in its name or advertising. To me that is right up there with magical. But I hate cleaning my microwave, so when I was given the chance by Crowdtap to test out and review Zep Microwave Miracle Foaming Cleanser I decided to go for it.

The instructions for the use of Zep Microwave Cleaner is simple. Thoroughly coat the turntable or bottom of microwave, activate microwave for 1-2 minutes. Allow product to cool and wipe away the mess. Rinse any areas that come in contact with food. I must say that I freaked for a minute at the thought of spraying a cleaner on the turntable and just using the microwave with that in it. So I stood near the microwave in case it didn't go so well.  But luckily there was no nuclear meltdown or explosions. After it cooled (though it probably should have cooled down more than what I allowed), I wiped up the food residue. And I do mean wipe. I didn't have to scrub at all. It was great. I just used a paper towel and everything wiped right off. I did wash my turntable after wiping the food off because I have a tendency to just set a biscuit or roll directly on it to warm up. But that was it. 

Here is a before picture with the product applied. I'm not sure if I used too much, too little, or just enough but it worked. Also I swear I let my microwave get this dirty so I could test the product. 
And after...

I go into testing a cleaner with one thought in my mind. It will either work or it won't. For me there is no "well it kinda worked". Sorry but when it comes to cleaning, it is either clean or it isn't. No middle ground for me. So I would have to say that Zep Microwave Miracle Foaming Cleanser worked for me.

*I was given this product free from Crowdtap to use and review. All opinions in this blog are mine and mine alone*

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The New American Herbal Review

If you had told me last year that I would be sitting here reviewing a book on herbs, I would have called you crazy. Me? Herbs? Nah. How things change. Last spring I planted some herbs in with my tomatoes. Just some normal kitchen herbs. I never would have imagined the pride I would have when using them in the kitchen to make some delicious meals. Anyway, growing the herbs got me interested in other herbs. So when I got the chance to review The New American Herbal by Stephen Orr through Blogging for Books, I jumped at it.

The New American Herbal is a great book for those interested in herbs and other plants. It is a huge book at 384 pages. It has recipes, a few projects, and some of the best information I've seen in a book like this. It contains information on usage, height, how to grow, whether the plant is safe or not. Plus the pictures are gorgeous. 

I like this book not only because it will help me pick herbs for my garden, but it also helps me identify plants in yard that may or may not be safe to have around my pet. 

I recommend this book to anyone wanting to know more about plants and herbs. It was a great read and so informative.

*I was given this book for free by Blogging for Books for this review.*
** Besides the free book, I was not compensated in any way for this review.**
***All opinions on this blog are mine and mine alone.***

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Brookside Crunchy Clusters

I'd like to introduce you to my new favorite chocolate snack.  Brookside Crunchy Clusters. 

I had never heard of Brookside before I got this product to sample from Crowdtap. I don't know where they have been hiding my whole life, but I have found them now and will never lose them again. 

I am usually not a big fan of dark chocolate because it tends to taste a little bitter to me. This is not the case with Brookside Dark Chocolate Crunch Clusters. The magical fruit flavors put inside the chocolate balance out the dark chocolate and make it delicious. How delicious? Well, lets just say this poor little bag only lasted about 2 days. In fact, my husband went and found them at our local Walmart and bought me another bag. Such a good husband. He also brought me home the Brookside Acai & Blueberry flavor to try. That is greatness as well. 

I call this product a chocolate snack because to call it candy is mean. It tastes so much better than candy. Move over M&M's, I've found a new chocolate to call my own. :)

I highly recommend this product to everyone that loves chocolate. Give it a try. I don't think you will be disappointed.

*I received this product for free from Crowdtap to sample and review. All opinions in this post are mine and mine alone.*

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Campbell's Tasters Sample and Share

Ah, first blog post of the year and it is for a great sample and share that I got from Crowdtap and Campbell's. I was sent tons of full size Campbell's products to use and share with others. This campaign was a blast. I had so much creating some very yummy dishes with these products.

Let's start with the simple products, the soups. 

The SpaghettiO's Micros was just what you would expect from spaghettio's. Only difference is it came in a microwavable container. I would actually prefer just buying it in a can and heating it in a bowl because I had difficulties removing the plastic covering. Otherwise, this is still a great product, just different packaging.

The Slow Kettle Style Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup was pretty very tasty. I like chicken soup and this was a good version of it. Great for a warm day. There is however quite a bit of sodium in it which I don't like, but I have come to expect that with prepared soups. Based on the sodium content I would probably not buy this again.

The only great thing I can say about Campbell's Chunky Soup in the Beer-n-Cheese with Beef & Bacon flavor is that I didn't spend any money on it. An overwhelming smell of beer hit me when I opened the can. That almost turned me off from trying it. But I heated it up and tried it anyway. The name definitely fits the soup. I'm not even really sure what the rest of the flavors tasted like because all I really tasted was beer and a cheese like flavor. Not only did the taste put me off but the amount of sodium in this soup is ridiculous. 790 mg of sodium per serving. FYI, there are two servings in this can.  This is definitely NOT a soup I will be buying in the future.

Now on to the fun products. I love to cook so I had a good time using this products.

First up is the Skillet Sauces Creamy Parmesan Chicken.  This was tasty. Not exactly blow my socks off good, but for a packaged sauce it was decent. If you don't know how to make your own creamy sauces, than this is a good product to buy.

I actually know how to make alfredo sauce from scratch so I don't buy it in a jar. But if you don't know how to make it, Prego's Light Homestyle Alfredo is the alfredo sauce you want to buy. It was delicious for a jarred sauce. My husband doesn't eat alfredo so I actually made two meals with this sauce. I made just plain ole chicken alfredo. I also made pasta with the alfredo sauce and baked pork chops. Man it was yummy.

This next product surprised me.  Campbell's Condensed Creamy Poblano & Queso Soup.  I decided to make the Creamy Poblano Mac and Cheese recipe that came in my little recipe booklet with the food. I left out quite a few of the ingredients because I didn't have them on hand but the basics were there...cheese, milk, pasta.  I didn't think my husband was going to like it so I even made some boxed stuffing for him.  Surprisingly the stuffing wasn't touched. The macaroni was delicious. Definitely a repeat dish.

And lastly on my Campbell's sample tour is the Swanson Traditional Cream Starter. This is perhaps my favorite product of all that I tried. From the moment I got this product I knew what it was going to make...Potato Soup. What is better than Potato soup on a rainy day? The answer is more potato soup. Once again I kind of followed the recipe in the booklet. I used garlic and onion powder instead of fresh and no green onions where to be found in my kitchen. I also topped my soup with some sour cream. It was amazing.  My only disappointment was that the soup vanished far too quickly. I bought two more boxes of the cream starter when I went shopping so I can make more. This product is awesome. It is convenient and works great.

I was also sent a Campbell's Soups for Easy Cooking in Savory Portobello Mushroom flavor and a coupon for one V8 Vegetable Juice Cocktail. Neither my husband nor I are fond of mushrooms so I am going to share that product with my mom. And I forgot to buy the Vegetable Juice Cocktail. So no reviews on them.

All in all, this was the best sample share I have ever participated in. The products were great,easy to use, and filled my belly. :) Thanks Campbell's and Crowdtap!!!

*I received these products for free from Crowdtap. I was not paid for these reviews and all opinions in this blog are mine and mine alone*