Friday, September 22, 2017

Book Review: Coloring Christmas Devotions by Lizzie Preston, Claire McElfatrick , and Suzanne Khushi

My mother has been totally hit by the coloring craze and she loves to collect also books with proverbs, quotes and sayings that she can use to add to cards and personalize them. So when I came across this book, I figured this would be perfect for her. I was right, she absolutely loves it and her goal is to finish it before Christmas.
I should caution people that have visual issues and need magnifying glasses or use books with large print that some images in this book contain very detailed images that require decent eyesight. The images used as a nice mix of abstract art, stylistic representations of flowers and simple shapes. But there are also very nice nature scenes with animals and the three wise men. This book is perfect for all ages, although little kids will have problems staying in the lines. I would say that 12 years is probably a good starting age for this book to both read and color. That being said, the stories included a good to read to younger kids and fully colored, the book is a nice book to go through with younger kids and discuss the holiday and the meaning of it for Christians.
I should also point out that the book is a perfect size to carry in a purse. it is not too big and can be easily carried in a satchel, no huge tote required.
So if you are looking for a book that the whole family can use and multiple generations can enjoy, this book may be it for the Christmas season. We plan to have my mother color it and then during the holiday read it and enjoy it as a family.

available at

A sample image that can be used to color; the book is a nice mix of abstract art and nature scenes

Disclaimer: I received free products in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Product Review: Unilever Sampel box from Crowdtap

Through Crowdtap, I recently received a box full of samples from Unilever and they were full-size samples. Loved it! Firt of all, full size samples really give you a chance to try out a product. How much can you really tell about a hair product if the sample is good for one use. I prefer to use a sample at least a couple or three times to make sure there is no irritation and the effect can be consistent.
I was lucky enough to get samples that my family can easily use. I even got mom into the game because any hairspray can help her keep a do with her thin hair is something that I hate to steal from her.
I got the following products:
  • Suave Professionals Firm Control Sculpting Gel
  • Suave Body Lotion Silkening with Baby Oil
  • Dove Advanced Care Antiperspirant Deodorant Rebalance
  • Dove Advanced Care Clear Tone Sheer Touch
  • Suave Extreme Hold 10 Hairspray
 While all products worked great, my favorite was the Dove Advanced Care Antiperspirant Deodorant Rebalance. That scent just screamed essence of summer and it made my skin feel soft and lasted with protection from morning until evening. As I already said, my mom is now a huge fan of the Suave Extreme Hold 10 Hairspray, finally a hairspray at lasts all day and still can be brushed out in the evening. The same can be said for the Suave Professionals Firm Control Sculpting Gel; my thick hair will actually hold waves now and looks like I spent some time on it in the morning to give it some shape. What can be said about Suave Body Lotion Silkening with Baby Oil? Who does not love the scent of baby oil and we all know how well it serves us to keep our skin moist and soft. Now with Suave Body Lotion Silkening with Baby Oil we have it in a body lotion and I love it. Last but certainly not least, Dove Advanced Care Clear Tone Sheer Touch is something truly unique among deos in my opinion. It can last up to 48 hours, although I still apply it daily, but without alcohol, it really is excellent for sensitive skin, just like after you shave and the thought of applying deo already gives you bumps. Now with Dove Advanced Care Clear Tone Sheer Touch, I can actually apply deo right after having and my skin is still soft. Magic? Maybe not, but certainly close it it. Like I said, Crowdtap and Unilever product a great selection of products for me and my family. We can and will use everything in this box and some products like the deo Rebalance and the hairspray as well as the Sculpting Gel were really things we discovered through the box and wondered why did we never try out this product before.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - love my Unilever samples, in particular the Dove Deodorant Rebalance!
Disclaimer: I received free products in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Book Review: The Potential Principle: A Proven System for Closing the Gap Between How Good You Are and How Good You Could Be by Mark Sanborn

Do you ever feel that your job or your supervisor is holding you back? That, if given the right circumstances, you could be and do so much more than you are presently able to achieve? If this may apply to you, I highly recommend this book. In The Potential Principle Mark Sanborn touches on the subject to maxing out your possibilities. Giving as much as you can during your life and not leaving a bunch of what ifs and the best ideas and plans behind.
I do believe that the fact that Mark works as a leadership expert helps with him not only noticing untapped potential in people, but also providing a workable solution that you can live without relying on others to enable you. In easy to understand language and clearly organized chapters, Mark Sanborn provides an how to for the reader who strives to up his or her game in life and be more successful at work or life in general. Keys to improving your performance are not just learning, but how to apply and use it to further your career and maxing your performance at work is not just work harder, but working smarter. Working more effectively and efficiently with tools that Mark Sonborn provides to the reader in this book go a long way in ensuring that the lessons from this book can be easily applied and translate in a better and more successful human being.
I highly recommend this book to any reader that feels that more is in them, but have a hard time showing to themselves and others. Mark Sanborn's advice can be applied all or just selectively, but will improve your life no matter what by bringing out your potential. 
available on
 Disclaimer: I received a free advance copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Crowdtap Sampling: Born Sweet Zing Organic Stevia Sweetener

copyright Durhamonthecheap - my Born Sweet Zing sweetener

copyright Durhamonthecheap - perfect for sweetening my hibiscus herbal tea
Through Crowdtap I was able to sample Born Sweet Zing Organic Stevia Sweetener, a totally organic sweetener that comes in little packets and is perfect to sweeten your iced tea or other summer drinks. I now hae a few packets in my purse and use it at restaurants because it is still hard to find places that stock an organic sweetener and I hate to use sugar substitute that comes with its own warnings.
In my house, we drink a lot of iced tea, especially hibiscus-flavored tea is our go to product and now we can brew it as usual, but rather than add sugar to taste, I put a bowl with Born Sweet Zing Organic Stevia Sweetener on the table and we each can add as many packets as we need. But to be honest,  we feel that one packet is enough to sweeten our drinks. The sweetener is just as strong as sugar and best of all, no artificial scent or taste, just plain good old sweetness and the iced tea is now also lower in calories and better for your health. What is not to like about that? So if you are looking for a new brand of sweetener that is organic, tastes just like sugar and is perfect for on the go, Born Sweet Zing Organic Stevia Sweetener is one brand I can highly recommend.

Disclaimer: I received free products in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Book Review: Citizen Newt: The Making of a Reagan Conservative by Craig Shirley

Many of us will remember the Republican revolution that brought GOP majorities to the house for years. Newt Gingrich back then was considered the author of this revolution and a celebrated house speaker. Private affairs, but also a temperament that did offend likely one too many people in the GOP spelled an early end to his career in DC. Now Newt is more affiliated with the Trump campaign than seen as a thought leader of the GOP.

So when Shirley's book is promising a biography of "one of the most important, provocative, and visionary political figures of our time", it summarizing the lasting image of Newt Gingrich to many voters in the USA. In his second book focused on Gingrich, Shirley writes a comprehensive biography of this political phenom that is Gingrich. He starts at his childhood in Pennsylvania that despite not being political still laid the groundwork for his later foray into politics as well as his approach to winning votes and majorities, culminating in the Contract with America. This contract, even though many bills never made it into law, was characterized by a belief in a Reagan brand of conservatism and Gingrich was considered at the time its most vocal proponent. Very few people remember that other politicians, such as Dick Armey, contributed to the proposal. This was Gingrich's proposal and the subsequent Republican majority in the House became his victory. As such, Shirley does not question the leadership of Gingrich, something I would have like to have seen in this book.

This book is a comprehensive biography that follows the life of a still controversial, but also influential figure in American politics from his childhood to an academic career that ended up with a relatively quick rise in politics. After a quick fall, Gingrich is now gaining importance again as a spokesperson for the new administration, an early follower that has so far stayed away from official DC roles, he is nevertheless still influential and, by his own account, traces his roots back to the GOP of Reagan. It is fitting that Shirley, who also covered Reagan in his books, is now depicting Gingrich as yet another important, but also divisive figure in US politics, but also within the GOP itself.

available on
Disclaimer: I received a free sample of the book in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Book Review: Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life by Jen Hatmaker

I fell in love with this book on the first few pages because it speaks to all women who are independent, do not question why life is some times no fair and persevere. Jen makes it finally okay to have doubts, but then to wake up another day and figure this day is another chance at making things right. Forget about what happened yesterday and what may not have worked out perfectly (or possibly turned into a seemingly total disaster). Another day and another go at making life fun and proving your worth as a person. Because while the book is directed at women, Jen underscores that women are no different than man in making mistakes and succeeding and trying again and being themselves. What makes women often different is the belief that we have to be perfect and if make a mistake or something does not work out - women tend to have more doubts and fear more the trying again. Jen shows in this book that women are sometimes their own worst enemy. The fear of failure and mistakes is holding us more back than society or our own abilities.

available at
Early on, my parents used to tell me after a bad grade that in the future, 5 years down the road, no one will remember this one grade. To me the grade was horrible and a total embarrassment and I focused so much on the grade that I forgot to live for a few days and simply focused on studying; in order to avoid such an embarrassment in the future. Looking back at these times, my parents were right. Everyone has a bad day and one bad grade overall did not matter and I really moved on to other things. It really was not worth it to worry about the one grade. Life is an opportunity and an opportunity to do things better next time. Forget not to live your life and enjoy it and realize that failure is part of life and overcoming failure is the reason we should look forward to each new day.
In this book, Jen provides examples to women about how to enjoy life, how to succeed and how to understand that worrying is often more about us feeling insecure than about an actual problem for the rest of society. If I get one lesson from this book, it is that life should be lived with all its ups and downs. And women have the right, if not the duty, to be themselves because we are all unique characters that deserve a space on this earth. In her usual way, Jen teaches these profound lessons through laughter, tears and thoughts that speak to her reader on a variety of levels. This is one book that I had a hard time putting down and stopping to read. I keep it in my office because sometimes the stories by Jen are the perfect pick me up during work or a nice break when I need to gather my thoughts before a meeting.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Kroger Bargain today only: General Mills Cereal, or Nature Valley or Fiber One Bars, just 99¢

Download your coupon July 19-22 for this hot price on General Mills Cereal, or Nature Valley or Fiber One Bars, just 99¢ each with Card! 


 Download Coupon