Monday, July 21, 2014

Book Review: The Making of a Man: How Men and Boys Honor God and Live with Integrity by Tim Brown

And here is another book by an athlete and how he developed character traits that he is proud of and feels embody lessons that he wants to pass on to others. While this athlete too finds strong backing in his faith, the book is not overly religious and can be read by people who normally do not read books about Christian faith. This book is geared towards adults and provides lessons on how Mr. Brown led his life and what he perceives as important life lessons that can help others be successful in life. It should be noted that success in life does not necessarily mean making lots of money, but leading a good life as a person that others can look up to.

available on amazon.com here
 Not surprisingly, a lot of the chapters deal with lessons about family life and how to be a good husband. While a lot of the chapters focus on his time as a football player, several chapters deal with his life experiences outside of football as well and her we get to know the Tim Brown that is unknown to most of us.
I found this book a good read for young men that are unsure how to tackle the challenges of adulthood, being on their own and making their own decisions. Mistakes will be made and the important thing it to learn from your mistakes and to realize when to reach out for advice and help.


Disclaimer: I received a a free book through BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed in this post is solely my own and have not been influenced by any third party.

Book Review: Game Changer by Kirk Cousins

This is another example of a book written by a well known athlete, who feels that his faith is to some degree the basis of his success. As such the book is not novel or unique. What makes this book different and certainly a good read for fathers and sons alike is that this book is geared towards sons. Not only is it showing kids that it is okay to have faith, but it goes on to show kids and in particular boys that having faith is not wrong and can actually be pretty cool and help you succeed in life by giving you strength.

available on amazon.com here
 The book is written in plain English, which is a good thing. It is easy to understand for kids of a variety of ages, but mostly geared towards adolescents and teenagers. While written with boys in mind, the lessons portrayed and exemplified by Kirk Cousins in his life and now written down as simple lessons in this boook can also be useful for girls. Seek guidance in life, god is certainly one way to find such guidance. And with good guidance and role models, success will follow.  Believe in yourself and be strong, don't waiver at the first sign of opposition, being persistent will pay off in the end.

Disclaimer: I received a a free book through BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed in this post is solely my own and have not been influenced by any third party.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

weekly food roundup: Guglhupf, Cook Out, Dunkin DOnuts

So instead of doing several posts, just one post with a number of eating places that we visited over the last couple of weeks.
Guglhupf is a German-style bakery in southern Durham that serve awesome bread and great pastries. If you come early, you can snatch some 40% reduced items in the bakery store or you can just sit down for breakfast in side or enjoy the still cool summer morning on the outside terrace while munching on some European-style bread and sip delicious coffee. The Guglhupf website is located here and you can see they got an astonishing selection of pastries and breads.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - assorted pastries available at Guglhupf, prices run about $5, but these things are good!!
 Does that pastry shelf not look absolutely delicious? Even for someone like me who does not like a lot of sweet stuff, the pastries are just looking really pretty. But I usually stop by for some Guglhupf bread, especially their rye bread is similar to what I great up eating at home. So I grabbed two day old breads and then made a traditional German lunch with smoked ham and fried eggs, followed by a Zuckerbrot (sliced bread with margarine and sugar) - tasted just like I remember from Germany.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - settling on some day old bread with Prosciutto and fried egg - Strammer Max!
 So if you are looking for a great place to eat - either dessert or a European style bakery in general, make a point of stopping by Guglhupf in Southern Durham. Be prepared to find a really crowded place in the morning, with parking usually still available in the back and they have plenty of seating -which they definitely need on most morning, even during the week!
copyright Durhamonthecheap - then some sugar substitute on a buttered slice of bread for a sweet dessert!
Dunkin Donuts
Of course no week would be complete without a stop by Dunkin's and since I had several coupons, the haul was bigger than usual. I got my free coffee through the Dunkin Perks program, then a large ice coffee, a large iced latte and my trusted toasted coconut donut. Weekend was bliss afterwards and even the workweek started off well because I had a couple of the beverages left from my early Sunday morning trip to the neighbor caffeine haven. 
copyright Durhamonthecheap - great bargain at Dunkin Donuts total price was less than $4 and the donut as always delicious
 Cook Out
The last stop is Cook Out a relatively new burger chain to Southern Durham (near the old South Square Mall location). They have a nice combo that includes a choice of sandwiches or burgers, two sides and a large soda (or a for $1 more you can get their awesome milkshake). I of  course went with the milkshake and selected red cherry cheesecake - it was really good. Combined my burger with my favorite hushpuppies and then some onion rings and dinner was great! Perfect lead-in to a relaxed weekend. So if you are in Southern Durham, consider giving the combo from Cook Out a try and for less than $6 you get burger, two sides and a great milkshake!
copyright Durhamonthecheap - cook out combo, two sides, entree and for a $1 extra a phenomenal milkshake

Crowdtap sampling - Hill's Science Diet Ideal Balance Dog Food

Through Crowdtap.com I received a great sampling package for a newHill's Science Diet Dog Food. The food line is called Ideal Balance Dog Food and is made up of only natural ingredients to create recipes with optimal levels of over 50 nutrients. These foods provide for our friends the perfect balance of nutrition for their health. In my package I got the following:
  • 1 bag Grain Free Natural Chicken and Potato Recipe Dry Food
  • 1 can Grain Free Braised Salmon Recipe Wet Food
  • 1 bag Soft-Baked Naturals with Duck & Pumpkin Treats
  • 1 Coupon Booklet with $20 in Savings
  • 1 Hill’s Ideal Balance Retractable Leash
copyright Durhamonthecheap - great sample package and so many coupons included as well!
I shared the food with a couple of my colleagues and also distributed the coupons among my colleagues. Below, you see pictures of two of the puppies that were lucky enough to get to sample the food. Dry food bag had to be kept at a safe distance since someone is digging in with a vengeance.
The Pomy is a little bit better behaved, probably still in show from the summer haircut he had received that same day. But the owner told me that duck and pumpkin treats are a big hit and he really likes the  raised Salmon wet food as well. So two out of two clients agree, Hill's Science Diet Ideal Balance dog food is a hit!
copyright Durhamonthecheap - keeping the bag a safe distance from the bowl, food is tasty!
copyright Durhamonthecheap - digging into Ideal Balance dog food, no convincing needed

copyright Durhamonthecheap - one pretty picture with new haircut and still closed samples - later on digging the treats!
 Disclaimer: I received a sampling package from Crowdtap containing products from the Hill's Ideal Balance Dog Food line in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this post are solely my own and have not been influenced by Crowdtap or any third party.

Crowdtap sampling: Cottonelle’s Summer Clean Care

Crowdtap Sampling Event: Cottonelle Toilet Paper and Flushable Wipes

I am an avid follower and fan of Crowdtap because I got to sample lots of products and you can also win gift cards each months to stores such as amazon or Walmart!  This month, I took part in my second Cottonelle promotion. I love Cottonelle products because they make quality products and ever so often Cottonelle also comes up with great new product like Fresh Care Flushable Cleansing Cloths. In my latest sampling package I got a great selection and enough to share with friends: 
  • Cottonelle Clean Care 4 Pack
  • Cottonelle Fresh Care Flushable Cleansing Cloths Dispenser
  • Cottonelle Fresh Care Flushable Cleansing Cloths Portable Soft Pack
  • Save $1.00 Coupon on any ONE (1) dispenser or refill of Cottonelle Flushable Cleansing Cloths (42 ct. or larger)
  • FOR YOUR FRIENDS:
  • (2) Cottonelle Fresh Care Flushable Cleansing Cloths Portable Soft Packs
  • (2) Save $1.00 Coupon on any ONE (1) dispenser or refill of Cottonelle Flushable Cleansing Cloths (42 ct. or larger) 
I was really impressed by how generous Cottonelle proved yet again when sharing their products with us Tappers!

copyright Durhamonthecheap - love being an advocate for Cottonelle, such generous sampling packages!
I shared the coupons and cloths samples with people locally and solicited their feedback. Everyone loved the convenience of the package and the fact that they are small enough to carry in a purse or put into the glove compartment of the car for summer travels.

For more information on the Clean Care line of products from Cottonelle, check out their description on amazon.com  here. I can vouch for the fact that the Cottonelle Clean Care Toilet Paper is strong and effective with extra-absorbent ripples. And the flushable wipes come with bagged refills available at local stores, so I can reuse the dispenser and the only trash products is the plastic wrapping! Great for the environment too.

Again, love Crowdtap and love the continued association with Cottonelle. I think the products by Cottonelle are great and they do come up not just with quality products, but also innovative products like the flushable wipes.

Disclaimer: I received free products from Cottonelle in exchange for an honest opinion and sharing products with others. The opinion expressed in this blog post are solely my own and have not been influenced by Crowdtap or any other third party.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Purex Insider Product Review: Spellbinders Celebrations kit

Spellbinders is a great company that makes crafting and scrapbooking easy. Spellbinders will provide you with a collection of supplies from sturdy paper in many colors to pre-cut ornaments or stamps that you can use for your scrapbooks or to make small craft projects such as cards or goodie bags for teacher appreciation day. The new Collection called Celebrations was designed by Richard Garay to make crafting supplies in bright colors and of high quality available for crafters of any skill level. The complete line includes paper set in one specific color or a set of colors. Celebrations also includes die and stamp sets as well as inks ad embossing folders.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - the total package from Purex Insiders, two kits and a stamp collecrtion

I was provided with two kits, one for a goodie bag and the other kit was for a card. While the kits came with supplies to allow me to recreate the intended products, I like to be creative and make my own designs. So I used the individual components in the  kits and mixed and matched to generate my own designs. The kits came with illustrated instructions that were east to follow and the results were great. It only took me about 5 minutes for each finished design and besides scissors and glue I did not need any additional supplies.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - the goodie bag with decorations and fancy labels

copyright Durhamonthecheap - label is done, love the color combination of orange, purple and neoongreen
 The goodie bag was really easy to make. The kit came with a little paper bag and a number of supplies for a nice colorful label and a little piece of string to tie the bag. I got creative with the label, not wanting to just stick to the guidelines. It was more fun this way and the finished product allows me to write a little personal message on the bag of the label, while doing the official addressing on the front.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - I decided to improvise and add the purple label to be able to use both sides for a message

copyright Durhamonthecheap - how much fun is this card with all the fancy supplies, even a little paper flower!
This card looked like fun from the moment I saw it because it had so many things going for it - paper flower, yellow had and blue card stock with a little "Celebrate" flag and additional paper stock for a three-dimensional card.The cone shaped paper is actually easy to make if you buy the respective die from Spellbinder and I can envision the cone shaped paper to serve as a treat bag, a faux ice cream cone and cute table decoration at a children's birthday party, where it can serve as a name tag and party hat all in one.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - the finished card, allowing me to improvise I made the color in a more neutral color scheme
Again, I got more creative and changed the color scheme around a bit to avoid too much pink on the front. The resulting card fits my style better and that is one thing I like about Spellbinders because with so many products available on their website here, you can really get creative in your style.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - the stamp kit, love the variety of words that I can use to design cards!
The best part of the package, in my opinion, were the stamps that can be used for a large variety of designs and occasions. I love the 3-D feel of the gel words and will definitely use them to create some unique cards. Spellbinder Celebrations is a great line of products and in case you feel that these sample kits are not allowing you to maximize your creativity because they only include material for one finished product, let me assure you that the actual designer line of products sold by Spellbinders contain enough material to meet your crafting wishes. Just look at the great set of paper collections that you can purchase under Spellbinders here. The sample kits that I was provided clearly do not justice to the overall Spellbinders line of products and the great starting material they provide to beginning or experienced crafting fan. I will definitely need to consider Spellbinders in the future when I need to stock up on my cards.

Overall, the supplies provided did limit me in  term of how creative I could be with card creating. But I felt that the quality of the supplies was good and the company website certainly indicates that Spellbinders wants to create supplies for crafting that allow a person of any skill set to get creative. I would say that this was nice introduction to the company and their new Celebrations line, but it clearly generated my appetite for more supplies by Spellbinders Celebration line of products.

Disclaimer: I received the supplies for scrapbooking and card-making as well as the stamp set through Purex Insiders in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this post are solely my own and have not been influenced by Purex or any third party.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Book Review: Sidelined: Overcoming Odds through Unity, Passion, and Perseverance by Chuck Pagano et al.

 Life will only test you as much as you can handle, so when finally landing your dream job and you feel that you have achieved everything that you wanted, a cancer diagnosis is not just throwing a wrench into your plans, but it is putting your whole life at risk and turning everything upside down. But just that happened to Chuck Pagano, the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

 I picked this book because even though I do not watch football games all the time, I had heard of Chuck Pagano's illness and the Chuckstrong movement. I remember listening to updates about his health and how happy everyone, including opposing team members were, when Chuck returned to his coaching job. So this book to me presented a unique insight into fighting cancer very publicly, while still trying to allow the focus be on the team.
available on amazon.com here.
 I have had too many people close to me affected by cancer, some recovered, too many died. No battle was easy and even if someone recovered, it was a draining experience to say the least. Too have to undergo that fight in public, affiliated with a team that makes national headlines every week, in my opinion makes the fight even tougher.

This book does not sugarcoat anything, cancer sucks and there are many depressing, hard days to overcome. Chuck Pagano was lucky to beat the cancer, but like most other people, it left him changed and in some ways scarred as well. But what cancer could not affect was the fighter that Chuck Pagano was and will always be and in that sense, this book is immensely life affirming and provides maybe a deeper insight into what makes Chuck Pagano successful as a human and a coach than any lecture on coaching philosophy will.

Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy of this book by Booklook in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed in this post have not been influenced by any third party.