Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!!

From one annoyed cuddly Santa to your family.  Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Gift Ideas for Shoe Lovers!

The countdown has begun... the holidays will be here before you know it!  Below are some ideas for the shoe-lover left on your list.  Each shoe is unique in its own way.  Which one will you add to your list?

Women

TOMS Desert Wedge
A very comfortable wedge with a good message - Every time you purchase a pair of TOMS shoes they donate a pair. One-for-One.  Featured in Black Suede.

Madden Girl Gavin
Extremely versatile, a unique light brown color and super cute on everyone!

Frye Veronica Slouch
A gorgeous, long lasting boot that every girl will love.

Pikolinos Verona in Brandy
This stunning boot turns heads, fits like a dream and they're super comfortable!


Men

Olukai Moloa in Henna/Toffee
These are the ultimate slip on shoe.  With a collapsible heel, this shoe is super easy to slip on but looks sharp with khaki pants and shorts in the Summer!  And guys, it is the softest shoe ever!

BedStu Revolution in Charcoal
These incredible boots look good on every man.  They fit well, are comfortable and look sharp!


TOMS Brogues
From dressy/casual business to jeans and a t-shirt, this shoe always looks incredible! Don't forget the One-for-One too!

Sperry Oxfords in Burnished
The most comfortable men's Sperry to ever exist.  The epitome of comfort with style.  These incredible shoes look very sharp on every guy no matter what age you are.

All of these styles can be found at your local Tradehome Shoes.  Have you gotten your shopping done yet?  Happy Holidays!!

**All pictures shown are from the brand's website or taken in my store.**

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Review Day: Snow White Must Die

Today I have a guest review written by the amazing people at Sainsburys Ebooks!  Enjoy!
Review: Snow White Must Die
Title: Snow White Must Die
Author: Nele Neuhaus
My Rating: 4 stars
Book Blurb:
Snow White Must Die is the fourth in a German crime novel series, but the first to be translated into English, but don’t let that put you off, this is a great standalone mystery thriller, and is no fairytale!
On a wet November day two detectives, Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein, are summoned to a crime scene; a woman, Rita, has fallen from a bridge onto a vehicle below, a witness claims she has been pushed. The investigation takes them to a village near Frankfurt, where they encounter the victim’s son Tobias.
Eleven years earlier, on a September evening, two seventeen-year-old girls vanished from the very same small village, Altenhain, leaving no trace. Rita’s son, Tobias, finds himself at the centre of a flimsy trial for the murder of the two girls – his girlfriend and childhood friend – a crime which he vehemently denied. While he is in prison the villagers turn on his family, driving them out of business and treating them as pariahs.
When Tobias returns to his home village years later after serving his prison sentence, the village is again disturbed by the events of the past. Then, after Tobias’ family are subjected to attacks, detectives Kirchhoff and Bodenstein are sent to monitor the goings on in the tiny village, was his return linked to the death of his mother. The atmosphere is tense and the detectives find the village community puts up a wall of silence.
Then, when the past repeats itself and another girl goes missing, the two detectives are thrust into a race against time to solve the mystery before the villagers take the law into their own hands and act on their suspicions.
About the Author: 
Nele Neuhaus is a 46-year-old German mystery author who has just had this, her first book, published in English despite selling millions in her native tongue. She started writing at a very early age, creating stories about horse and other animals by hand in her exercise books. She first began selling her books from the offices of her ex-husband’s meat packing factory where she also worked; she would offer customers who had come to buy meat and sausages her works until eventually people would come just for her books. In 2005 she published her first book, Swimming with Sharks and since then has enjoyed great literary success with her crime series from which Snow White Must Die is taken.
My Review:
This is a great, atmospheric, dark and thrilling mystery novel which examines small town communities. It is the tale of a tight knit village where gossip, power and influence reign supreme and mob mentality prevails. The novel has all the suspense and tension of a Scandi-crime novel and creepy scenes given lots of colour and some rather unhinged characters make for a gripping read. The author really takes the time to develop the characters, good and bad, and this creates a great chilling atmosphere, this coupled by the snowballing vindictive villagers makes a thrilling page-turner.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy some cuddle time with your fur friends on Thanksgiving!

Happy Stuff Your Face Turkey Day Everyone!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Welcome to the Hive. :)

For those of you coming here from Tradehome - WELCOME!  If anyone would like to contribute to posts or would like to send me post ideas, feel free to email me at Hilary(dot)Lesch(at)gmail(dot)com.  I'm open to anything shoe, book, cooking or general geeky-ness related!  

Check out my post on How to Clean your TOMS using sandal life!

Visit your local Tradehome by finding a store near you!

Happy Tradehome Day!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Combat Boots!!!

As many of you know, I sell shoes for Tradehome Shoes.  Right now is my favorite time of year, boot weather!!  This is the best time of the year to have cute shoes that can be personalized so easily.  The easiest boots to customize are combat boots.  Since the Hunger Games movies made this style so popular this year, combat boots are the style to have.  You don't want to look like everyone else right?  So here are several different ways to wear your combat boots all using just one boot.

Boot Pictured: Madden Girl Gavin in Cognac

Option 1: Full Lace

This style is ideal for skirts, shorter pants, long legs or as an edgier style.  It looks great on people with big calves (make them look smaller).  Add some tall patterned socks for a more feminine style or a bit of extra color.
Option 2: Half Lace with zipper up

This style looks great on everyone!  It's a little more casual.

Option 3: Half Lace with zipper down

This style looks great on people with wide calves.  It allows the boot to be slouchy and relaxed.  Definitely a casual style.

Option 4: Half Lace with tongue down

This style looks great with taller socks.  I recommend getting a sock that compliments both your boots and your outfit.  The boot pictured looks incredible with Wigwam Cream Cable Knit socks.

Option 5: Rolled sides with tongue down

This looks cute with knee length full dresses or skirts too!  Show off your legs with this style.  This style draws the emphasis down to your feet making your legs look longer and leaner.  Add some slouchy cable knit socks to complete the look.

Option 6: Ribbon Laces
(Not Pictured) Grab a thin satin ribbon that matches your boots, cut to the same length as the laces the boot came with.  Trim the edges to a V shape for easy use.  With a lighter (be extremely careful!! get someone to help you!) burn the edge of the ribbon a teeny bit.  I mean a teensy weensy bit, about 2-5 seconds is all it takes.  This will seal the end of the ribbon so it does not fray.  Use just like regular laces, but now you have a very cute, feminine and unique pair of boots!

If your boot is having trouble rolling down, try this technique to "train" the leather to stay.  Once you get the leather broken in, you can tie it without the extra wrap.  Ignore the background music/sound.  When I recorded this the children outside my store were screaming.  I'd just mute the video. hehe.

video

I hope this helps!  Enjoy creating your custom style with this gorgeous boot or something similar.  These ideas will work on most combat boots that are mid-calf height.  For more pictures of the boots and tying methods, go to my Photobucket.  Happy Tying!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Review Day: Maddie's Choice + Giveaway!

Title: Maddie's Choice
Author: Joyce Zeller
My Rating: 4 stars

Book Blurb:
Romance writer Maddie Taylor is fed up with New York City. She is getting nowhere with her latest manuscript and does not believe true love exists outside of her imagination. When a friend, Jonah Spartman, dies and wills her half of his Arkansas cattle ranch, she sees the chance for a new beginning. Jonah has also left behind two orphaned great-grandsons desperate for affection and an accounting book in the red.

The other half of the failing ranch belongs to Gideon Spartman, Jonah’s grandson, who believes all capacity for love was torn from him during his tour of duty in Afghanistan. Rugged and sexy, Gideon is the enthralling physical manifestation of the hero in Maddie’s current manuscript. He is far from happy to be sharing an inheritance that is rightfully his. As she senses the need behind Gideon’s rough and unwelcoming exterior, Maddie acknowledges her own yearning for love and family.

Jonah’s will requires Maddie to stay on the ranch for three months. When that time is up, will she return to her comfortable but emotionally barren existence or embrace the challenges of her new life, which include cattle rustlers and drug dealers? Maddie’s choice proves to be far from simple.

About the Author, Joyce Zeller:
Joyce Zeller has written articles for a magazine and a cooking column for a chain of suburban newspapers north of Chicago. She has written five books and published two, The Hidden History of Eureka Springs, and Accidental Alien, a work of science fiction, both available on Amazon. Her short story, “Love is a Seed,” is featured in Embrace: A Romance Collection, (2012 Goldmine Press). Joyce has served in the United States Army. As a professional perfumer (School of Perfumery, London, England) and an aroma-therapist, she made custom fragrances in her store. Her creation, Mountain Air, was declared the Arkansas Sesquicentennial Fragrance in 1965. Her latest achievement was getting elected as Alderman to the Eureka Springs City Council. Maddie’s Choice is a romance with her favorite theme, that being human is a lonely business, but for everyone there is somebody to love. It’s a matter of finding them. There will always be kids and animals in her books, and always, humor, “because life without humor is unthinkable.”

My Review:
Another incredible romance novel.  This one isn't a heavy romance novel - not a ridiculous amount of sex or lust, but there is still quite a bit.  I really enjoyed the overall story - a New York author inherits half a ranch.  When she goes to visit the ranch, she finds the love of her life in the form of a handsome rancher named Gideon.  But the question remains, will she stay or go back to New York?  I enjoyed the story very much!  It was sweet, passionate, a true "southern" life story, and chocked full of amazing characters.  It was a little predictable at times, but very good anyway.  I loved the characters.  Gideon, Mark, Fay, Abe, Maddie, Jonah, Randal, Genevra... every single character was well thought out and fit perfectly.  I can't wait to read the sequel!  This series could easily become a favorite of mine.  The only thing I wanted more of in the book was from Maddie's New York life.  What happened to her apartment?  What about her writing, did she finish the book?  Just a few small things that maybe I missed, but don't completely feel like they were answered.  Overall, I really liked this book and will definitely read the sequel.

WIN a $25 Amazon Gift Card to use on Maddie's Choice and so many other books! This giveaway is being hosted by Tribute Books!


Follow the rest of the tour or pick up a copy on Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes & Noble.  Happy Review Day! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

DRAGON!

Is there something on my head?

There is most definitely something on my head...

GET IT OFF!

(sigh) Moms decided it was cute to dress me up as a dragon.  I don't agree.  I think she's gone crazy (again).  Happy Pre-Halloween Day!


Sunday, October 20, 2013

BIY: Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Heaven

After my last post, I had some extra cream cheese frosting.  Soo.... I mixed it with some peanut butter and came up with this amazing frosting/fudge/topping/filling/PB buckeye mix.  I LOVE it!!  Try it out and let me know what you use it for.  The possibilities are endless!

Recipe:

Two 8oz Pkgs of Cream Cheese (softened)
1 bag (32oz) of Confectioner's Sugar (Powdered Sugar)
2 sticks of butter (softened)
Milk
Vanilla
Peanut Butter

1. Mix Cream Cheese, Butter and 2 cups powdered sugar together.
2. Add in vanilla and a small amount of milk.
3. Mix in remaining powdered sugar, adding milk as needed for moisture.
4. Add in peanut butter (use desired amount; I used 1.5 cups)
5. Refrigerate and serve!  Store in an air tight container for up to one week.

The possibilities list....
Quick, soft, creamy PB fudge
Quick, creamy PB frosting
Cake filling
PB Buckeyes
Cupcake filling
Truffle filling
Apple Pizza (with sugar cookie crust!)
Apple/Fruit topping
Ice Cream topping
Swirled brownies
Cookie filling

See? That's only a few!  Definitely book mark this recipe and keep it on hand for something quick, easy and OMG delicious!  Happy Baking!

Friday, October 18, 2013

BIY: Easy Pumpkin Cupcakes

Here's a quick recipe to spice up your Fall!  This recipe is so quick and easy, I highly recommend it for bake sales, dinner guests or just a treat for your family, friends, neighbors or coworkers.  Enjoy!

Easy Pumpkin Cupcakes

1 box Yellow Cake Mix (I like Betty Crocker)
One 8oz can of Pumpkin Puree
Cake Spice from Penzey's Spice Shop OR Pumpkin Pie Spice

1. Mix cake according to the directions.
2. Add in the pumpkin.
3. Mix in about 1-2 Tsp of Cake Spice OR 2-3 Tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
4. Pour into cupcake liners and bake until cake springs back when touch in the center
5. Cool

Cream Cheese Frosting:
Two 8oz Cream Cheese Package (softened)
Butter (softened)
1 bag of Confectioner's Sugar (Powdered Sugar)
1 Tsp Vanilla
1 Tbsp Milk

1. Put Cream Cheese into electric stand mixer.  Beat for about 30 seconds.
2. Add in vanilla and 1 cup of powdered sugar
3. Add in a teeny bit of milk
4. Mix in 1/2 cup of softened butter
5. Add more powdered sugar; continue to add until the entire bag is mixed in.
6. Add a little milk as needed to make as soft or stiff as you desire
7. Top cupcakes with frosting; seal and refrigerate after using

These easy cupcakes are a HUGE hit!  Try them and let me know how it goes! Happy Baking!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

BOOK TWO IS HERE!!!! Society of Feathers

Eyrie:
Society of Feathers #2

Somewhere between falling and flying...you will find the truth.

The truth is being unveiled and Iris’ past is unlike anything she ever could have guessed. For Stryx, finding your missing half doesn’t always mean finding your mate. Iris has been missing a part of herself for so long that no one is sure she will be able to put the pieces back together and her ever reliable dreams may be forcing her astray. Coping with the death of someone she loved, she is forced to face the truth and break free from the lies that have caged her.


Excerpt

Iris lost herself in Falcon's arms, feeling the world drift away again as her lips melted against his stronger, larger ones. The warmth spreading through her body felt like electricity filling very part of her, pooling at the tips of her fingers where she touched his shoulders then traced along his arms. The tension that had worked its way up her back and through her own shoulders released as his hand brushed lightly down the length of her spine, sending sparks through every nerve.

"Please," she whispered softly, centimeters from his lips as they breathed in each other's warm breath. She felt herself lean towards him, this time not holding back as she moved his arm to her waist, making him wrap both arms around her fully. His secure hold on her was the only thing keeping her upright.

"Anything," he whispered into her ear a few moments later after she had caught her breath.

"Be the one beside me when I enter the masquerade. Be the one by my side when I change it all. I know I can do it on my own or with Nestor but...I don't want to. I want you both there with me,” Iris said.

The look on Falcon's face, the light in his eyes, showed her the joy he found in her invitation. "I was waiting for you to ask. Waiting for you to want to need me, even if you never will. It would be my pleasure, Izzy. I will always be there for you. Nothing could pull me away." He didn't say the words but they still hung silently between them, the knowledge that anyone who tried to pull him away from her would die trying. She knew she should be afraid, but somehow he was the only person she knew she could trust, the only one her heart was perfectly sure about, like a tether tied them together, connecting their lives.

"I do need you. Even if I don't, I still need you." She whispered and kissed him harder, forgetting the world outside their doors, ready to explore the man that the boy she had known had become. The man who felt like such a part of her now that she had accepted him. She didn't know what she’d do if she ever lost him. She had never felt a connection this powerful, this all consuming.

"I love you." He whispered, his eyes gazing into hers, their intensity only pulling her further into the joy of just being close to him, just letting herself forget the world she wanted so desperately to help, to change. "I want to do something for you."

"What is it?" Iris almost pulled back, not wanting to lose the moment between them but instead she leaned the side of her face against his chest so that she could hear his heart beating.

"I want to show you what it’s like to run without hesitation, without taking away the one part of running that makes it so magical̶the freedom. I want to show you that freedom." He bent and traced his fingers along the back of her legs. They buckled but he lifted her, taking it as an invitation.

She smiled and leaned against his chest. This time he wasn't carrying her because something was wrong. It was like when they were kids and he wanted to show her he was strong enough to support her, that he could be that person who would pick her up even if she hadn't fallen. He walked to the door and she turned the doorknob for him. They found Autumn in the hallway.

"Wanna go for a run?" Falcon asked Autumn, his voice a conspiratory whisper.

"Sure!" She said and smiled lightly when she realized what Falcon was planning. "Every girl should get to feel the aves inside of her come alive."

Iris smiled feeling like she had her team. They were the people she needed and wanted by her side. They were the ones who kept her human and kind, protecting her at all costs. Nestor was upstairs with Nathaniel preparing for his duties in their upcoming plans. The rest of her family was downstairs. As they jogged by, they passed Jarem on the way, heading up to meet Diana. "We’re going running, wanna come?" Falcon offered and Iris laughed.

"If you invite everyone we may as well all go." Iris giggled and smiled widely, looking forward to it, not caring who decided to come. Iris knew that no matter how people surrounded her and Falcon, somehow they were always alone. They were the only two people in on the secret. That was their unusual type of love. It would only grow with time and trust as long as it was never betrayed.

"Sure, why not." Jarem said and smiled. He opened the door to Diana's room and hollered, "We’re going running with Falcon, wanna come?"

"Absolutely!" They heard Diana yell back. She joined them even though she was wearing a short dress. Not bothering to change, she threw a pair of high-tops on with it.

As they jogged through the house David joined them, leaving the fort to Neal, Garah and Griffin so as not to disturb Nathaniel and Nestor. When they went out the door, Diana led them to the back of the house, going through the garden to a strange trail beyond it. "Is this the fairy trail?" Jarem asked. When Diana nodded, he smiled and looked at Iris. "It's perfect."

"Wooooo!" Diana shouted, crying out like a hawk soaring through the sky. Jarem and even Autumn joined in and Iris realized it was for her and Falcon, egging them on. Falcon set her on her feet and knelt down the way he once had to offer her a ride on his back. She blushed feeling like that same little girl for one beautiful moment, attaching herself to his back and holding onto him tightly.

The bird calls got louder and louder until Falcon got ready and whispered, "You ready?"

"Yes." She whispered next to his ear and then looked straight ahead realizing, she really did need him. Falcon knew what she needed even before she did. As he started running, she shifted her weight and realized, she fit so well against his back, like they had been molded for just this moment, for him to give her the freedom that her body robbed her of. Suddenly her grudges against her body for being made the way it was disappeared as the wind whipped her hair away from her face. She arched her back ever so slightly to get the full effect and to keep her weight manageable for Falcon as he ran faster and faster. Her heart felt like it was soaring for the very first time. There was nothing like it, the faster he went the more amazing it felt. All she could feel was the earth around her and the link to her aves.

She couldn't help but giggle with glee as she watched Diana pass them, holding her arms out at her sides like wings. The wind was pushing her arms behind her, and her face was lifted toward the sunlight shining through the trees. Jarem sped to catch up with her and they started to race each other, getting competitive each time one of them would pass the other.

Autumn was at Falcon’s side as she called out, "Oh come on, go for it. She'll love it!"

"Faster!" Iris squealed like a little kid, the sheer joy of movement giving her a rush she had never felt before. As she leaned her face against Falcon's, she could feel that he was smiling as he gained speed. He wrapped his arms behind her, entwining his fingers at her back like he was stretching as his position formed a brace for her. She leaned into it and as he went faster and faster. She slowly let go of his shoulders and held her arms out at her sides like Diana. The sun beat down on her face and arms. As she closed her eyes, she felt like she was flying, really and truly flying.


Author Emma Michaels

Emma Michaels is a multi-talented bookish girl. Not only is she the designer of beautiful covers, but she has many other accomplishments under her belt. She started book blogging in 2009 and was first published in 2010 (The Thirteenth Chime). She started The Writers Voice in 2011 as a way to help readers get to know authors on another level.

She moved to Washington at seventeen to be with the man that she loves, who asked her what she secretly wanted to be when she grew up. Naturally, she told him that she wanted to be an author, but at the time she thought "it was a pipe dream." He encouraged her to pursue her dreams and taught her that "sometimes reaching for the impossible can make a world of difference in your life." Now she is published and reaching well beyond what most people can imagine.



Book 1 is now 99 cents on Kindle!



Add Book 3 to your Goodreads list!
coming October 13, 2014






a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 10, 2013

That was WHAT!?

Yosuke killed his toy.  Take a guess as to what it used to be.   It's not a mass of blue spaghetti.


Hint: It's made of yarn/strings!  Sorry it's sideways squished.  Photobucket didn't want to let me direct link with my changes. (sigh)  Stupid program.  Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Swords, Magic and Giants!

I've been addicted to the game Skylanders since it came out.  I've been collecting the characters and absolutely love beating the game.  I've played the first game several times through (five, I think...) and now the second one (Skylanders Giants) three times.

BUT!!! It's official!! I have ALL of the characters from BOTH games!!  My Mom surprised me with the final character I was missing, and never thought I would find.

My new favorite character.  
A magic, purple, knife wielding giant!  
A genie.  

NINJINI!!!!

Ooo... Scary, but sooo pretty!!!

She's the best Giant in my opinion.  I love playing this character.  Then again, if I can have elements or magic in some way... I'm a happy person!  Is anyone else still addicted to this game?  Happy Gaming!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Coconut Oil Days 3-5 and Final Thoughts

Welcome back!  During the last three days, I simply continued to use the coconut oil in the same way.  If you haven't read Day 1+2 yet, check it out!  Below are my results for days 3-5 and my final thoughts.

Day 3:
I used the oil as a face, leg and arm lotion.  It took a while to soak in and my legs dried out severely within a few hours.  My skin was so dry and looked like I've never used lotion in my life!  Not sure if I over-applied the oil or if my skin really was just that dry that day.  We'll try again tomorrow.

I also used it to remove my makeup again.  I've noticed a huge difference in my eyelashes.  They are softer and less weighed down.  They hold a curl better and just in general look better.  I definitely love this oil for a makeup remover!  After I remove the makeup, I apply a tiny bit to my eye area as an eye cream.  I've also noticed in just three days a big difference.  My eyes don't look as tired or puffy after applying.  Great use!

Day 4:
Applied all over again as a lotion.  Today was a bit better as I applied less of the oil.  My skin needed more lotion at the end of the day, not after just a few hours, but that is probably because I was inside with the heat on all day.

Used as a makeup remover and eye cream again.  Still love these uses.  I also applied a tiny bit to the ends of my hair at night to see if overnight it would soak in okay.  I'm hoping it will hydrate the ends of my hair a bit more.

Day 5:
Used as a lotion again, but only on my face and hands.  I don't think I like it for my legs too much.  It doesn't soak into my skin fast enough.

Used as a makeup remover and eye cream again.  Definitely my fav use for the oil.  The oil I applied in my hair last night did help.  It felt so soft in the morning and didn't look greasy.  I think instead of the intense hair mask, I'll use a tiny bit on my hair at night just for a quick hydration.

Final Thoughts:
5 Stars!!!
The Viva Labs Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil is great!  I really enjoyed testing the oil for so many different uses to find what worked best for me.  I absolutely love using this oil as an eye cream, makeup remover and face moisturizer.  My face looks and feels incredible!  I also enjoyed using it as a night-time hair "serum."  I apply a small amount to the bottom 1/3 of my hair and wash it in the morning.  It feels so soft, silky and looks shiny.  The oil does a great job for hair masks, but was simply too much for my hair to handle.  I highly recommend trying out this coconut oil as part of your beauty/skin care routine.  This should be an essential oil every girl has in her cabinet! This inexpensive oil is taking Amazon by storm!  Grab a jar before they run out!  Happy Review Day!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Many Uses for Coconut Oil: Day 1+2

I was contacted by a representative from Viva Labs.  They carry/make extra-virgin coconut oil on Amazon.  They asked if I would like to review their product for Amazon, and I said yes!  I've decided to try out a bunch of different uses for the oil to see what works best.

There are SO many uses for coconut oil - beauty/skin care, health supplements, cooking and baking.  I've chosen a few (all beauty/skin care related) to test out.  Here are my first results.

It comes in a little plastic container (15 fl oz) and is solid.  However, it melts at a very low temperature (76*F) so it really isn't solid for long.  It smells incredible - like toasted coconut shavings.  I love the smell and taste of coconut!  So relaxing and yummy. (insert giant happy face)

Day 1:

First, I applied the mask per the directions - enough to make my hair look wet/greasy from roots to ends on dry hair.  While the mask was soaking in, I used the oil as a shaving cream.  This I was super skeptical of.  I first tested it on a small section of my leg to see if it hurt or turned red.  Nothing, so on to my full legs.  I applied it in small sections then shaved.  It worked really well actually!  I lightly rinsed off my legs afterwards then rubbed the oil into my skin.  It was actually faster than my normal routine too.  No razor burn, no red bumps, no burning, no itching.. all good!  Think I'll start using this weekly as a replacement for my shaving cream.

After 40 minutes, I washed out the oil (two washes with my regular TRESemme shampoo).   Results? OIL SLICK!  I don't think my hair was ready for that much moisture.  After it dried completely my hair looked and felt greasy the rest of the night.

Day 2:

I washed my hair two times again this morning, felt "dry" in the shower.  Not oily anymore.  So I put a tiny bit of conditioner on the ends of my hair like always and rinsed.  My hair looked incredible! Super shiny and soft.  I think I simply over applied the oil when I used it.  Next time, I'll use less.  I definitely won't use this treatment very often.

I also tested the oil out as an eye cream and makeup remover today.  BEST idea EVER!  These were definitely my favorite uses so far.  As an eye cream - it was light weight, soaked in well and made my eye area feel super soft.  At night, I used it to remove my Maybelline The Rocket waterproof mascara.  This mascara in waterproof is extremely difficult to remove and I have never been successful (with any product I've tried) removing it fully the first time.  Guess what!?  The oil took it off perfectly!  I gently massaged the oil on my lashes then used a damp cotton pad to wipe it off.  It hydrated my lashes and took off all the makeup.

What I recommend so far:
Definitely use it as a lotion/moisturizer, eye cream and makeup remover.  This is going to be my new "holy grail" product for those uses.  My skin is incredibly soft AND feels better.  If you have very dry hair, use this as a mask.  It will be great for the harsh Winter months.

So far I really like this product!  This is the first coconut oil I've used, but it is very good.  Other reviewers had the same results (many used other brands first).  One of the best things about this oil?  It's 100% organic, inexpensive and has an incredible amount of uses.  I'm very impressed!  Happy Coconut Days!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Yosuke's Snacks: Fav Frozen Peanut Banana Treat!

I had a few extra ingredients laying around and thought I would make Yosuke a treat.  He loves frozen treats!  This time I changed the recipe and it was a HUGE success!  This is a cost effective way to give your dog (or puppy) a healthy treat with little to no preservatives!

Recipe:
2 Tbsp Natural Peanut Butter
1 Ripe Organic Banana (right before they go bad so they are extra soft and strong)
1/4 C rolled oats
5-10 pieces of Crispix cereal (no-sugar or sodium added variety)

Directions:
1. Peel the banana; Cut up 2/3 of it and put into a small bowl (I used his food dish); Eat the remaining 1/3
2. Add oats and peanut butter; Stir with spoon until they combine into a gooey mixture
3. Smooth out mixture until smooth on top, filling the entire bottom of the bowl.
4. Sprinkle the top with Crispix cereal pieces
5. Freeze for 30-60 minutes (we did 45 since he loves it to be mostly frozen, but not completely)
6. Serve the treat to your pup while you eat dinner or just as a snack.

You can split up the recipe in little ice cube trays as well (I recommend a silicon tray) for smaller quick treats.  Sub in any type of nut butter that your dog might like, just use the natural/less processed versions as much as possible.  The recipe can be double or cut in half easily for different portion sizes.  This was a "special" treat and Yosuke didn't have a treat of any other kind (crazy right?!) for a whole week.  I do not recommend this recipe if your dog has any allergies.  If you are watching their weight or helping them lose weight, take out the Peanut Butter OR give them smaller portions.

Yosuke went CRAZY for this treat.  It combines all of his favorite foods and it's healthy for him!  No more preservatives or fake frozen treats for this little guy.  Spoiled?  Definitely.  Worth it?  Definitely - and it's cheaper!  I see this being a new fast and easy treat combo for in those hot months or just as a fun little snack whenever.  Happy Treat Day!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

New Ebook RAVE! - The Li5t of Five!

GUYS!  You have to check out the newest ebook on Amazon called "The Li5t of Five."  My dear friend Jason (J.Scott Sharp), you know him as one of the mini-bees, has written a mystery/thriller story of epic proportions.  I was given the privilege of beta-reading, and love how far the book has come.  Please, check it out!
Purchase a copy on OR read a sample on...

FIVE BAZILLION STARS for this title!
The title just became available for purchase on September 29!

Book Blurb:
Young teen Richie Lyons is having an uneventful summer, playing games with his friends. He even has a birthday on the way. However, his uneventful life is shattered when he wakes up, on the morning of his thirteenth birthday, with a list of names pounding through his brain. A list that contains the names of those he cares about most. As if that wasn’t enough, he keeps having a recurring waking dream of a fire that is threatening to take the life of his mom and sister.

Richie must fight to understand this recurring list and the visions he is having. Are they prophetic, foretelling an actual occurrence, or a waking nightmare threatening his sanity? In addition, what does the list have to do with the newest local ministry and the strange pastor who came to Richie’s door?
The more Richie discovers, the less he understands.

When Richie finally begins to understand, it may be too late for himself and everyone else that he cares about. (end)

Review/Rave:
This book is well worth your time and $1.99 (great price!!).  I highly recommend it to people who want a mystery/thriller/suspense novel that keeps you guessing until the VERY last page.  I never truly figured it out until the very last page.  It's gripping, incredible and keeps your attention for the entire book.  I'm not the only one who thinks that either.  Mini-bee Zach also read it and LOVED it.  He's not much of a reader, but moved very quickly through this book.  Other book bloggers, a book club and the other beta-readers just loved it too.  Seriously, if you buy one book this year... buy this one!!!  Happy New Title Rave Day!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Collar Obsession Begins!


Yosuke has decided he needs to wear his collar at all times.  Just in case.  No more nakedness for this pup!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cover Reveal: The List of Five

I finally get to introduce the final cover for The List of Five by J.Scott Sharp.  Jason asked me to beta-read for this book and I can't wait for everyone else to read it!  Enjoy!

Book Blurb:

Young teen Richie Lyons is having an uneventful summer, playing games with his friends. He even has a birthday on the way. However, his uneventful life is shattered when he wakes up, on the morning of his thirteenth  birthday, with a list of names pounding through his brain. A list that contains the names of those he cares about most. As if that wasn’t enough, he keeps having a recurring waking dream of a fire that is threatening to take the life of his mom and sister. 

Richie must fight to understand this recurring list and the visions he is having. Are they prophetic, foretelling an actual occurrence, or a waking nightmare threatening his sanity? In addition, what does the list have to do with the newest local ministry and the strange pastor who came to Richie’s door?

The more Richie discovers, the less he understands. 

When Richie finally begins to understand, it may be too late for himself and everyone else that he cares about. 

There is one thing Richie knows for certain.

He may have to grow up much faster than he ever wanted to grow, because there is something very wrong with his visions, and there is something frightening about the list of five.

The Li5t of Five will release on September 29th!
Author Bio
J. Scott Sharp has been writing for much of his considerable life, but only just now decided to take it seriously at 47. This makes him a little crazy. At least his wife Marti and his two dogs, Sumo and Tnur think so.

He has his Associates degree in psychology, which qualifies him for nothing except understanding what you're thinking. At least he likes to think so. He also thinks he understands what you're feeling, but that's a whole other problem.

He lives in Arizona where he splits his time between watching TV on DVD, working, and writing. His hobbies include stage and close-up magic and reading until his eyes won't stay open. Closed eyes make it harder to do stage magic, but he tries.

He is the author of short stories Not Even There, Three Blackbirds, and Cold-blooded

The List of Five is his first novella.

You can reach out to J. Scott Sharp at:


Happy Cover Reveal Day!!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Diamond Candle Giveaway Winner!

Hello friends!  The winner of my Diamond Candle giveaway is..............

Lora Ward!

YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Congratulations Lora!!!!!!!!!! I have sent you an email with the instructions on how to get your free candle.

To everyone who entered... THANK YOU! I will be having more giveaways.  Check out the Diamond Candles Ring Swap group for coupons, more giveaways, a place to purchase candles people didn't like (at a discounted price) or purchase DC rings.  It's a great group! Happy Results Day!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Mischief Monday: Cat in the Shower?!

I went into the bathroom this morning to find this....

Cat. In. Shower.
What in the world!? She's not only IN the shower but behind the curtain!  My cat!  The one who hides if the water even turns on in the same room that she is in.  I was shocked.  And she stayed long enough for me to snap some pictures. hahahaha!

Hi?
According to Zach, this is at least the third time she has been caught in the shower.  I still can't figure out what she is doing in there.  She has plenty of water, so not that.  She's clean, so not that.  She has her own area fenced off from Yosuke, so not that.... hm...

After a few pics she decided it was best to come out of hiding.  She had been caught wet-pawed.

 What are your pets up to?  Happy Monday!

Friday, September 13, 2013

How To: Clean Your TOMS

Hey guys!  The number one most asked question I get at work is how do I clean my TOMS?  Well.... it's pretty easy!  According to TOMS you should only hand wash your shoes.  Never ever ever put your shoes into the washing machine unless they are super old or super dirty and beyond normal wear.

What you will need: one 16 oz bottle with screw cap; small nail or something sharp and pointed; Sandal Life cleaner (can be purchased at any Tradehome Shoes); warm water

  1. Clean out the bottle thoroughly - use soapy water if the bottle contained anything except water.
  2. With the clean and dry bottle, put the screw cap back on.  Poke a small hole in the lid just big enough for water to come out.  Remove cap and set aside.
  3. Pour in 1/3 of the cleaner into the bottle, fill with warm tap water until the bottle is 3/4 full.  Replace cap.  Shake well with finger over the hole.
  4. Grab your dirty pair of TOMS.  Take the bottle and pour the solution all over the shoe - inside and out.  Make sure it soaks all the way through the fabric.
  5. Using a toothbrush or the brush that comes with the cleaner, scrub your TOMS.
  6. Rinse thoroughly and let air dry overnight in a warm area (or outside in the sun).
Your TOMS are now clean!  Store the solution at room temperature.  Reuse anytime your TOMS start to smell or are getting dirty.  I use this solution at least twice a month on light colors and once a month on darker colors.  Happy Cleaning!

Friday, September 6, 2013

BIY: Snickerdoodles!

I made snickerdoodles last week and I've had tons of requests for the recipe.  My coworkers and BF loved them!!  Below is the recipe I used but also tweeked.  Enjoy!

What you will need: stand mixer, spatula, 2-3 cookie sheets, non-stick baking spray or non-stick pans, air tight container

1 1/2 C. sugar

1 C. shortening
2 eggs
2 3/4 C. unbleached flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 C. sugar

1/2 C. Cinnamon Sugar (see below)
  • 3 Tbsp. Cinnamon (I used a mix of Indonesian Cinnamon from Penzy's Spice Shop and Premiere Select Cinnamon from Kroger)
  • Sugar
  • In a 1 cup dry measuring cup - add cinnamon and enough sugar to fill the cup 3/4 full.  Stir until combined.  Add more cinnamon if desired.
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400*F
  2. Combine in mixer sugar and shortening just until mixed. Add eggs one at a time until incorporated.
  3. Add flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt; Mix until incorporated; Scrape down bowl and mix for about 30 seconds.
  4. Roll dough into walnut-sized balls.  Roll in cinnamon sugar then place on lightly greased cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 8-9 minutes on 400*F
  6. Remove and let cool on cookie sheet.
  7. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.
As always, don't forget to share pictures with me on Facebook or Twitter!  Happy Baking!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Cover Reveal for "The Making of Nebraska Brown by Louise Caiola



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The last thing eighteen-year-old Ann Leigh remembers is running from her boyfriend in a thick Nebraska cornfield. This morning she’s staring down a cool Italian sunrise, an entire continent from the life she once knew. The events of the eighteen months in between have inexplicably gone missing from her memory.
All at once she’s living with Tommy, an attractive, young foreigner asking for her continued love. Though he’s vaguely familiar, she recalls a boy named Shane in America who she reluctantly agreed to marry. Juggling a new world while her old one is still M.I.A is difficult enough without the terrifying movie scenes spinning a dizzy loop in her mind: glimpses of a devastating house fire, a romance gone wrong, an unplanned pregnancy, and a fractured family – each claiming to be part of who she once was – a girl and a past somehow discarded.
Ann Leigh must collect the pieces of herself to become whole again, but she doesn’t know who to trust especially when Tommy’s lies become too obvious to ignore.  And above all, her heart aches to discover what became of the child she may or may not have given birth to.
 
The Making of Nebraska Brown tells the story of one girl’s coming apart from the inside and the great lengths she’ll go to reclaim herself and find her way home.

About the Author:
Writer, author, blogger, mom – giving life to the characters and plots that somehow wind up inside my head, of their own accord. See WISHLESS, the novel. Others soon to follow. Stay glued and giddy.
Find our more:

Friday, August 30, 2013

Diamond Candles - Review and Giveaway!! (Closed)



Diamond Candles is a soy candle company that is family owned and operated.  Read their story of how they got started here.
The company that cares uses soy instead of paraffin wax for their candles to make them more environmentally friendly.  The soy based candles are healthy as well - people prone to headaches, sneezing or just simply sensitive to scents will love these candles!  The scent is strong, but not heavy; lasts a long time, but isn't overwhelming.  These candles burn for months.  You read that right.  Months.  This is my second (ever) Diamond Candles candle.  My first one took me over 6 months to burn - even though we used it four to five times a week!  These incredible candles are not just a gimmick.  They really are worth it!

We picked out the Honeydew Melon scent this time.  It's sweet, refreshing, summer-y and so yummy.  I really did want to run to the store and get Honeydew to eat!

As an added bonus, each candle comes with a ring inside the wax.  You burn the wax down to where the ring is, and remove it.  The ring can be worth anywhere between $10 and $5,000!  The suspense of waiting for the ring to be ready to come out is so exciting.  Luckily this candle's ring was almost on the surface.  After about four hours of burning, I was able to take out the ring.  My previous candle took almost a week to get to the ring.  Check out the video below to see my ring.  Sorry for the terrible quality.  My webcam wasn't working right for some reason.


Now to determine how much it is worth... It doesn't have a stamp on the band, so it is definitely worth more than $10 according to the Ring Swap crew!  So excited to get it appraised.  I'm guessing the $100 mark, but who knows.  It could be more!

My ring!
 I give Diamond Candles 5 stars!! There candles are not only amazing but you get a ring inside too!  The surprise of the ring is just an extra incentive.  I will continue to buy these candles just for the candle itself (although the ring is still super exciting).
 
This giveaway is CLOSED.  Thank you everyone for entering!!
GUESS WHAT!  DC is so nice they gave me a candle to giveaway!!  Enter the giveaway below using the Rafflecopter form.

The prize is one candle, you pick the scent, for free!  One winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter.  Leave a comment below - which candle will you pick if you win?  Don't forget to follow my blog for more reviews, giveaways, recipes and cute pictures of animals!
Disclaimer: Diamond Candles sent me this candle for an honest review.  This did not sway my opinion.  They also provided the giveaway prize.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Exciting News!!

We're moving!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Zach and I are going to be moving from Kentucky to Ohio over the next two weeks.  Because of this, expect only a couple posts and for me to be MIA.  I promise to be back soon and have some fun stories of our newest adventure.

Why such a big move?  I work for a shoe company called Tradehome.  I was recently promoted from being an assistant manager to a store manager (GM).  This means leaving my current store to "take over" my own store.  I accepted a position in Ohio because the location is incredible and the store is gorgeous.  I can't wait to start this new chapter in our lives.

Hang in there with me while the move happens and I promise you won't be disappointed.  I'll have a giveaway coming up soon for a non-book item that smells SO good.  Plus, I'll be having a "cleaning off my shelf" giveaway soon as well.  Happy Moving Day!