Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fight like a girl blog hop winner!

My first blog hop was so much fun, but like all good things it has come to an end. Rafflecopter and have chosen a winner, and it is...

Katherine R! 
Congratulations Katherine! 

If I do not hear from her by 5pm PST on 10/31, a new winner will be chosen. 
Thank you so much to all who entered!
Be looking out soon for another great giveaway!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Fields of Blood By Karen Armstrong

Karen Armstrong, a former Roman Catholic nun, has written several renowned books on religion, including A History of God, The battle for God, and The Case for God. I read a History of God in high school, and have been a fan of her work ever since. In “Fields Of Blood” Karen Armstrong sets out to discover the truth about religion and violence in each of the world’s great traditions. In a modern world where religious self identification is on the decline, analysts have cited the perception that faith in general is a source of aggression, intolerance, and violence; something bad for society. 

For those who aren't already familiar with Armstrong's work and style of writing, I want to warn potential readers not to expect an easy read. This book is written by a scholar, and is incredibly detailed with extensive notes and references. But don't let that deter you, this is a book worth reading. It simply takes time to read and comprehend the information and details presented. 

The thesis of the book is simple, religion does not cause violence, but that religion and violence are often satisfying the same primal needs. Armstrong uses examples that span the whole of human history, to support her thesis. Her argument for the case that violence often has more to do with the culture and times, the economy, and the needs of the people than with any particular religion is a solid one. She begins and ends this work with a vivid scapegoat image, but resists the easy conclusion that religion is innately and inherently violent. 

We know that much of the violence of history; the French revolution, the Napoleonic wars, the American civil war, the opium wars, the first world war, the Armenian genocide, Stalin's great purge, the second world war and the Holocaust had little to do with religion. In reality, much of it was blatantly anti-religious. Yet we still have ended up with the idea that religion above all is to blame for human violence. Armstrong shows us how violence often erupts during times of great change. From when society changed from the nomadic to the settled, from the agrarian to the mercantile, from the mercantile to the industrial. But the link with religion is one of correlation, not causation. 

There is a lot of dense information provided in the book, and also, for me at least, a lot of heavy feelings when she delves into more recent history, including the events of September 11th, 2001. Despite this, because of this, if the history of religion or the correlation between religion and violence interests you I recommend this be a book you pick up. 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review and opinion. The opinion here is 100% real and 100% mine. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Salon Edge UV Lamp Review

I am a huge nail polish junkie. I have at least 40 shades. But I am hard on my hands, so I deal with no polish chipping frequestly, no matter what brand or top coat I use. Then along came gel nail polish that is durable, and lasts 2-3 weeks. I could not wait to try it out. But it's $25 a pop to get a gel manicure, and that can add up fast. That's where the Salon Edge UV lamp comes in! Salon Edge's gel curing UV lamp looks like a professional model. It's white, sleek looking, and large enough for a whole hand, but still lightweight. It uses four 36 Watt bulbs, that are included with the unit. It has 3 automatic settings, 90, 120, or 180 Seconds.

The unit comes with no instructions, but all you have to do is install the bulbs, so that is not a huge drawback. They do fail to mention not to touch the bulbs with your bare hands, but thankfully I knew that already. The bulbs have to be popped into their slots, and it takes a bit of force to do this. When the first one popped in I thought I broke it for a minute.

The Salon Edge is easy to use, simply paint and cure. (Follow the steps laid out by the polish you are using, some require special base and top coats) I know gel polish is pricier than regular drug store polish, but with one manicure lasting up to 2 weeks the polish lasts and lasts.

There is one drawback. UV rays can cause skin cancer. My solution to this is simple, but brilliant. I went to the dollar store, bought gloves, and cut the finger tips off so my nails are exposed but my hand and fingers are covered. Problem solved. So, if you are ready to ditch the pricey salon manicures and try the DIY gel mani, this is the lamp you want! The value and the product are exceptional. Head on over to amazon and order your Salon Edge UV lamp! This would also make an amazing gift for any one in your life who loves beauty and nail products! 

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using in exchange for my honest review. I never recommend products i don't like and use myself. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fast Acting Advil Review

 Thanks to Crowdtap i received 8 fast acting Advil samples, and 4 advil coupons. 7 samples to share, and 1 sample for me. I have used fast acting Advil before, so i knew everyone i shared it with was going to love it. This Advil is formulated with a unique Advil Ion Core™ Technology and an ultra thin shell to absorb quickly. Fast acting Advil Film coated is recommended to use for headaches, muscle aches, toothaches, menstrual cramps, back pain, and aches and pains associated with the common cold. Fast acting Advil Film-Coated leverages the rapid absorption properties of ibuprofen sodium, now available for the first time in the US.

I really like fast acting Advil because it works quickly, and it is gentle on your stomach. The last thing you want when you're in pain is a medicine that makes you feel sick. You take 1 Advil every 4-6 hours as needed. Please remember Advil is not intended for use in children 12 and under. You can check out the Advil website to learn more, and while you're there print out a $3 off coupon. I hope you find as much relief with fast acting Advil as i did! 

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using in exchange for my honest opinion and review. I never recommend products i don't personally approve of.

Friday, October 17, 2014

ChapStick Hydration Lock Moisturize & Renew Dual End Stick

  Thanks to smiley360 I got to try the new ChapStick Hydration lock Moisturize and Renew dual end stick. One side is ultra moisturizing, the other is a renewal chapstick for chapped, rough lips. The Moisturize side includes antioxidant CoQ10 and Hyaluronic Spheres. This formula is specially designed for long-lasting hydration to help give lips a fuller and smoother appearance. The Renew side is made from natural butters such as Shea and Mango, and softens, conditions and revitalizes lips. Both sides of the new dual-ended Hydration Lock are clinically proven for healthier looking lips. 

I can't say that i noticed a difference in the way either side made my lips feel. Both sides left my lips feeling smooth, soft and moisturized. Even with the few cold, wet days we've had the past 2 weeks my lips haven't chapped or cracked. Chapstick has always been a brand i liked and trusted, and now they have a new product for me to love. They also make a dual end night and day chapstick. You can check that one out, and find out more about this one, on the chapstick website. If your lips tend to get dry, i recommend picking this up! 

I got this product for free in return for my honest review. The opinions here are 100% real and 100% mine. 

Smokey Pumpkin Mac & Cheese

 I have a confession. I love pumpkin. All things pumpkin. I am the girl they joke about as being basic and making fall all about pumpkin flavored everything. I am completely okay with that, LOL. So when i found a pumpkin mac & cheese recipe on pinterest, i knew i had to make it my own.

1 box of pasta(I like penne for my mac & cheese, the ridges on it hold the cheese sauce well)
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 a yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 small container plain greek yogurt
1 cup of chicken or vegetable broth or stock
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (i use a tad more, i love paprika!)
2 cups of grated smoked gouda
1/2 cup of grated smoked gruyere
1/4 cup of flour
Heavy cream to taste, about 1/4 cup
1/2 grated cheddar
1/4-1/2 cup breadcrumbs or panko (i like the crunch of panko)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Start by cooking the pasta to al dente, drain and set aside.
In the same pot, heat the oil. Add the garlic and onion and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the pumpkin and the greek yogurt, stir until smooth, cooking for 2 minutes. Turn the heat to medium low and add the stock and the paprika, stir until smooth, cooking for 3 or 4 minutes.

In a bowl toss the gouda and gruyere with the flour. Then slowly add the cheese to the sauce, stiring until smooth and melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Once the cheese is melted, add in the pasta, tossing gently to combine. Make sure to get all the cheese sauce coating the pasta. If the sauce looks to thick, stir in some heavy cream, I use about 1/4 cup. (I eyeball it so i'm not sure on the exact measure) Pour the pasta into a baking dish, i use a 9x13 casserole dish. Top with the cheddar and the breadcrumbs. Bake for 12-18 minutes, till the cheese on top is melted.

It comes out of the oven bubbly and cheesy and delicious.
The pumpkin flavor is not overpowering, the smokey cheeses are great with the paprika. It's a delicious, grown up mac & cheese. Move over kraft, this is the real deal!

If you try this recipe let me know what you think!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Tazo Chai Tea

Thanks to smiley360 i got a chance to try out Tazo Chai. My kit came with 3 sample tea bags, and 3 coupons for free Tazo Chai Latte or Tazo Chai tea bags. 

Tazo Chai is made with a mixture of  classic spices such as ginger, pepper and cardamom for a deliciously distinct taste. Then flavors are added for their selections like vanilla caramel, chocolate and pumpkin varieties. My current favorite is the Tazo Chai chocolate latte. It's made with black tea, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, ginger and cocoa powder for a spicy chocolate flavor. You mix equal parts latte mix and milk, served hot or iced. I prefer it hot. I also really enjoy the vanilla caramel. Served hot the taste reminds me of Christmas 

If you have never tried Chai, I recommend a visit to the Tazo website before you buy. They have a tasting guide that will help you identify which flavors you will like best based on the kinds of tea you like. (Spicy sweet, fruity, ect.) You can also look into all the products they offer and find out what stores near you carry them. They also have a great section that tells you about how and why they make the tea's they make. Tazo is a brand i already loved, so it was great to get to try new flavors. Tazo uses high quality ingredients and makes a lot of great flavors. If you haven't tried Tazo Chai, i recommend you pick some up soon! 

I received the products mentioned for free from smiley360 in exchange for my honest review. The opinions in my post are truthful and are mine. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Fight like a girl blog hop

This month I am taking part of an amazing blog hop giveaway. Enter to win my prize, then click any of the links to win one of the other amazing prizes! 

Welcome to the first annual "Fight Like a Girl" Blog hop
Brought to you by
Blogging, Freebies & Giveaways
Up All Night Blogging

We are a community of bloggers that love throwing giveaways and bringing you amazing prizes! Each blogger on the list below has a minimum value of $10 but most giveaways exceed that limit! Be sure to "hop" along to each blog and enter to win some amazing prizes there is no limit to how many prizes you can win! please don't forget sharing is caring! Let your friends in on the fun!
Thank you for stopping by and Good luck!

My prize is:
-Batherapy Bath Salts-Helps relieve tension and fatigue
-Pencils for hope, Pink and white pencils with ribbons for Breast Cancer Awareness
-Wet-n-wild Polish in Dream Poppy, a pretty pink shade
-NYC Liquid Lipshine gloss in Prospect Pink & Fashion Ave Fushsia, light and dark shades of pink
-Cherry Carmex lip balm
-Maybelline New York 3 shade eye shadow pallet in Crown Jewels,2 pinks and a purple shade
-Revlon mini cube shadow in Peacock, a very pretty pearlescent blue
-1 bag of Riesen Chewy Chocolate Caramels, because at the end of a hard day of fighting like a girl, a girl needs some chocolate 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Easy one pan BBQ Bacon Chicken Pasta

I am a huge fan of easy to make meals. Life is hectic, a home cooked meal that doesn't  take a lot of time and work makes me happy, and makes me feel like i'm still doing a good job as a mom. I also am a fan of anything with bacon. Bacon is delicious and should be used more in my opinion. Both of those are reasons i love BBQ bacon chicken pasta. It takes maybe a half an hour to make and even my picky son loves it.

5 Slices of diced bacon
1 package of chicken breasts, cut into chunks
2-3 cloves of minced garlic (i use 3 but i also love garlic)
1/2 an onion, diced
1 can of chicken broth
1/4 cup tomato sauce (My friend makes hers with a small can of drained, diced ttomatoes I have a thing about the texture of tomato's so i use tomato sauce)
1/2 cup of milk
3 cups of rotini pasta
Salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes or chili powder to taste
1/4 cup of BBQ sauce
1 cup shredded cheese

Heat a large pot on medium till it's hot, then add the diced bacon and cook until crispy. Drain the bacon and set aside, leaving half the fat in the pan, then add the chicken and cook until brown, 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and onions and cook for 3-4 more minutes, taking care not to burn the garlic and make it become bitter.

Stir in the chicken broth, milk, tomato sauce or tomato's, salt, pepper, red pepper, pasta and bacon. Bring to a boil, cover, then reduce heat to medium low. Cook until the pasta is done and most of the liquid is absorbed, 12-15 minutes. (I know it looks weird in the picture, but trust me, it's amazing!) Stir in the BBQ sauce and the cheese until heated through, maybe 3 minutes. Serve it while it's hot.

This is super easy meal to make, and one of our go to meals. My son is picky, so anything he enjoys gets a thumbs up from me. I hope you all enjoy it too!

Walmart Beauty Box

A few weeks ago i signed up for the walmart beauty box. It's a subscription beauty box sent out 4 times per year, once each season. The box contains items chosen based on season, and age range. The box itself is free, you only pay $5 for shipping per box. It's a actually a pretty cool set up, and a great way to start out with beauty subscription boxes. Now, let me tell you what i got! 

Secret Clinical Strength Deodorant

Secret Clinical strength clear gel is formulated to provide superior odor and wetness protection, with no white marks. I'll be honest here, i've never really bought into the whole "clinical strength" deodorant thing. Most of the "clinical" formula's only contain 1-5% more of the active ingredient than non-clinical formula's but cost much more. That being said, this deodorant actually does work very well. It goes on clear and cool, it feels very refreshing. The scent is pleasant but not very strong, which i like. This retails for around $7.99.

L'oreal Paris Glossy Balm
Mine came in the color "Petite Plum." It's a rich, deep red/plum shade that i find very pretty. The glossy balm is highly pigmented, has great shine, and makes lips feel soft and smooth. It also wears well, lasting for hours.  It retails for around $7.99 and i think it's worth the price!

Covergirl Glossy Days Glosstinis 
Mine came in the color "Get Glowing." I love these little polishes. The bottles are tiny, great for being able to carry it with you for touch ups on the go. It comes in 18 shades, some of which are special edition. The color wears well and doesn't chip easily, which you would expect from Covergirl. These cute little polishes retail for around $3.99.

Dove Advanced Oxygen Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner
My beauty box also came with 1oz samples of Dove shampoo and conditioner. The product information for them is "Oxygen Moisture Shampoo is made with Oxyfusion Technology, a new generation of moisture. With lightweight, oxygen-fused conditioning ingredients, the formula rapidly disperses on your hair. It gently cleanses & moisturizes, breathing life into fine, flat hair." Oxygen Moisture Conditioner is made with Oxyfusion Technology, a new generation of moisture. With lightweight, oxygen-fused conditioning ingredients, the formula rapidly disperses on your hair. It delicately smooths hair without weighing it down." I love Dove shampoo's and conditioners, in fact i already had them in my shower. These i LOVE. The scent is light, hard to pin down what it smells like but it's pleasant. It leaves hair clean, soft and manageable. They retail for around $4.99 each. 

Neutrogena Nourishing long wear makeup
My beauty box also came with a sample card of Neutrogena Nourishing long wear makeup, in 8 shades. It goes on evenly, and does not feel cakey like some foundations. It's formulated with anti-oxidant rich soy, to help smooth and refine age spots and discolorations, Vitamins A,C & E, to help nourish skin and brighten skin tone, and light diffusing powders, to help camouflage imperfections and mask fine lines. The formula is lightweight and wears for up to 12 hours. It's heat and humidity resistant, and best of all, has an SPF of 20. It retails for around $15.99.

L'oreal Paris Youthcode Pore Vanisher
My beautybox also came with a sample of L'oreal Paris Youthcode Pore Vanisher. I have not tested it at this time, so i will just give you some information on the product from the L'oreal website. Pore Vanisher is a fresh, airy cream that instantly minimizes the look of pores and shrinks actual pore size in 1 month.  Pore Vanisher works on three dimensions to shrink pores:depth, number and size. Instantly pores appear virtually vanished and skin feels hydrated. Perlite absorbs excess oil for an all day, shine free, smooth finish. In one day LHA micro-exfoliates to visibly smooth skin's surface. In one month pores begin to snap back into shape as our highest concentration of Perline-P strengthens and tightens pore walls to shrink actual pore size. It retails for around $24.99.

Pink Friday by Nicki Minaj eau de parfum
My beauty box also came with a sample of Pink Friday by Nicki Minaj perfume. It's not a scent i have ever smelled, or would have thought i would like. The bottle is shaped like Nicki herself, and is a little...gaudy for my tastes. But the scent is actually very pleasant. It has fruit notes, pink flower petals, creamy vanilla, musk and wood. It is designed to embody the alluring appeal and energy of the rap sensation herself. The scent is a little strong for me, because of my allergies. It retails for $19.99 for .5 fl oz. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

‘The Psychopath Whisperer’ by Kent A. Kiehl

Thanks to Blogging for books i got to read and review "The Psychopath Whisperer" by Kent A. Kiehl for free in exchange for my honest review. I choose this book because i am fascinated, as are many others, but the mindset behind what makes someone a psychopath and why they do what they do. It is my hope to someday work as a therapist, though not with psychopaths, so anything that delves into the "why" of human behavior interests me. 

Here is a summary of the book, "One of the leading experts on psychopaths, Kent Kiehl takes the reader on a comprehensive study of psychopaths. He discusses his personal experiences with psychopaths as well as a more academic approach, discussing the Psychopath Checklist and the science behind psychopathy." 

I want to start by saying i had high expectations for the book, that in the end were only halfway met. The book is more his experiences and often his bragging(he spends to much time and seems more than happy to share the high salary he was offered for his first job), than it is science. From the title i was assuming he would lead us down a road of explaining pyscopathy, which he does very well, and then showing us some idea's for a "cure" or a treatment, for lack of a better term. It is not until the end of the book that he even brings up a group in Wisconsin that has come up with some treatment options. His experiences with fMRI and the brain activity of the numerous psychopath's he see's in prison's is interesting, but that's about all that is interesting. 

The book itself has some structural issues that i found distracted me while i was reading it. There are several places where several sentences in a row all begin with the same words or wording. There are many places, such as when he describes the negotiations with three competing MRI machine suppliers but spends a great amount of time detailing what the office looked like. It adds nothing to the story he is recounting. Most of the nonfiction books like “The Psychopath Whisperer” that I’ve ever read have included a concluding section that sums up what’s been covered and nudges the discussion forward, beyond the contents of the book. The final chapter of this book is two paragraphs and is followed by an epilogue of less than a page, which i found to be a very unsatisfying wrap up. 

I started, stopped, then restarted this book to get through it. I found myself glad that it ended, and though it was hard to get through for me, i would still recommend that anyone who truly has a deep interest in this area, or who are going to work in the legal system with these kinds of serious criminals, read it.