Thursday, November 9, 2017

Book review: ReSYNC Your Life: 28 Days to a Stronger, Leaner, Smarter, Happier You by Samir Becic

I have to admit that I had never heard of Mr. Becic before this book, but the title sounded interesting and with the New Years resolutions coming up, it was the perfect time to read up on fitness and lifestyle changes.
This book is about making healthy changes in your life and making changes that stick - this latter part is really important to me because as a busy working family, we do not have time to waste on fads that promise everything and deliver nothing.
Mr Becic promises that one month, 28 days, is all that you need to turn your life around and not make your healthier, but also happier overall. He clearly believes in a holistic approach to life and does include the mind and not just the body. With minimum equipment and using the body as its workout machine, this book can be used by people like me that travel and people that cannot afford gym membership. It does take discipline and does take commitment, but focusing on the mind in addition to the body, the approach is simple and is fitting into any schedule.
I am impressed with the approach because I used to do Pilates regularly and got into a good shape very quickly using no equipment and training about one hour a week combined with a healthy lifestyle. Back then, I was recovering from a serious illness and considering how bad I felt early on, the use of focused body-based workouts was amazing to me. The new components that I picked up in this book are the time for meditation, something I have never done before but I have heard from many people that meditation not just helps with fitness, but also general stress relief. And who does not need stress relief over the holidays with a house full of relatives?
I am excited to start on this routine and can now feel good about my me time since with a combination of work out, meditation and mind improvement, I can get 2018 off to a great start.


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

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Book Review: Never Look at the Empty Seats: A Memoir by Charlie Daniels

Anyone who has lived in the US and listens to the radio regularly will know Charlie Daniels and his song about the Devil that went down to Georgia. Charlie has been around the US music scene for decades and has outlived and outplayed many of his early contemporaries such as Elvis Presley. It is amazing to consider what legends this man has known, played music with and just met on a regular basis.
This book is my first direct introduction into the world of country music. I have seen movies and read stories, but I never before took the time and read a book by someone who has been associated with country music and the Southern US music scene for this many years. I am glad I made the decision to read this book. It reads like a crash course on music history of the Southern US and country music from the 1940s on. And despite being a crash course on music history, you get the feeling that Charlie Daniels never really wrote a book, but sat down and talked to someone who shared his interest in music. The book reads like a collection of stories that your old and wise grandfather is sharing with you. Written like a collection of stories in the tradition of the storytellers from the Appalachian Mountains, the book provides valuable life lessons in the form of stories. The reader can draw their own conclusions about what is important in life and people may make different observations in these stories, but anyone of the stories speaks of the experiences of Charlie Daniels from years on the road as a performer. Whether it is never being afraid of failure, doing what you love doing and doing it well or there is some form of reward at the end for hard work, the stories may be focused on Charlie Daniels' life as a performer, but deep down they are stories about people working and living and trying to be good at something.
There may be disappointments and there are maybe few highlights in your life, but you can still be satisfied with any achievement. I recommend this book to any fan of country music, Southern US culture and people just looking for a collection of good stories.
available at

Disclaimer: I received a free 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, October 28, 2017

Book review: Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff by Chip Gaines

Most of us have heard of Fixer Upper, if not been addicted to the show that followed Chip and Joanna Gaines around Texas fixing up old homes and showing how old can become fantastically new. This book is to my knowledge the first attempt by Chip to author a book about something other than fixing up homes and I enjoyed reading the book as a lesson learned that famous people can stumble. What I took away from this book is that the problem are not making mistakes, but making a mistake and neither learning from it nor moving forward from it. 
I had no idea that Chips tried his luck at ventures other than home remodeling, but apparently he always had the drive to do something now and be his own boss. So he tried running a laundromat or opening a lawn care business in his earlier years to mixed results. Clearly the drive was there, but success did not always follow. This book is Chip's way of telling his readers, especially his younger readers that are at the beginning of a career that failure is part of the game and learning from it will pay in the end. Chips does not shy away from pointing out that he too was naive and inexperienced at times and yet that did not hold him back from trying.
In Fixer Upper Chip comes away to me as somewhat of a big kid and this book confirms that impression of him. Not that he he does not know what is important in life or that he shies away from hard work, but he does expect failure and can live with it. If that surprised some viewers, this book will reveal that Chip failed in life before he became a TV star and maybe that is the reason why some projects on the TV show that did not quite work out or proved more challenging than expected were just little stumbling blocks that he easily overcame.
I recommend this book to people that are just starting their career and may not have yet found the job they like or anyone who wants to start their own business and finds this a daunting undertaking because they may fail. This book will teach you that failure is part of the game, what you make out of it counts in the end. Keep on working hard, do not let failure bring you down and move forward.

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

Friday, October 20, 2017

Book Review: Boundaries Updated and Expanded Edition: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life Hardcover by H. Cloud & J. Townsend

We all have times when we feel that everyone seems to step on us and use us. Especially women as caretakers are often in a position of having to say, but struggle to do so. This book is all about setting up boundaries and taking of the me as a person. Avoid getting trampled on and create a safe, livable environment for yourself. While most of the recommendations are easy to implement, decide how far you will go into lending someone money until you say no more. Other scenarios deal with more significant problems and come into the area of life safety.
I was struggling with the thought that a book can provide sufficient guidance in that situation. Who thinks that a woman in an abusive relationship can really read a book and solve such a complex situation on her own? i do not believe that this approach is safe. I would highly recommend to use this approach about setting boundaries for situations that do not involve life safety and are limited to the usual nuisances of life, such as a friend of likes to invite herself too often, or a neighbor that keeps borrowing too much or the no good ex that stops by whenever he needs someone to talk to and maybe some money. But if you feel in any way threatened or believe that your life may be in danger, go to the police or call 911. Setting up boundaries will not be enough. To me that approach just seems naive.

available on

Disclaimer: I received a free 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.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Taste and Tell Harris Teeter = Free OUI yogurt HT VIC account required!

Go to the Taste & Tell sign up link and hurry, full address and VIC number are required. That yogurt is soooo good!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Book Review: Saving a Sick America: A Prescription for Moral and Cultural Transformation by Michael L. Brown

Do we like the America we live in today? While most will agree that even as a deeply divided nation, the US is still preferable to many other countries, many also do not condone how the US currently presents itself to others and to its citizens. Even though Dr. Brown is a conservative and leaves no doubt about the fact he preferred a GOP win over a win by Mrs. Clinton, he is also open about the fact that he does not condone everything that is currently happening in the US. While posts critical of Twitter as a political platform may be well known, Dr. Brown uses this book to explain America must find back its roots, if it wants to be the leading pillar of democracy and good in this world.

The last election may have been a protest vote in more than one way, a vote against the establishment in DC, a vote against politicians, but was it also a vote against the America as we know it? Possibly! Talk about radical changes or even revolution as something that must happen sooner rather than later are worrisome. And Dr. Brown acknowledges this dangerous time we are in as a nation and proposes that in order to find back to our roots, Christian religion should guide us. His revolution is a revolution back to the roots of this country. While this change will also be significant, it forces the church to acknowledge that it too has made mistakes by changing and adapting to a society that is not guided by religion and religious principles anymore. The church must find its way back to its core message and principles; the word of Christ as written in the Bible.

Some may find this book to be overly religious and not applicable to people outside of the church. While I agree that this book is a message to Christians to take back the US and return its to Christian principles. What many of these critiques forget is that the US was founded on Christian principles, people from many Christian religions banded together and created this country. I would further argue that this movement is not a fight against people from other religion since Christianity does teach tolerance towards people of other believes. What I feel Dr. Brown is arguing for is a culture in which families stay together, kids can be kids and not mini-adults before they graduate high-school and effort and work ethic are expected in school.

 This is certainly a thought-provoking book that Christians should read to determine whether there are changes that they can make in their lives and their families to bring back some of the values that Dr. Brown argues we have lost as a society.

available on

Disclaimer: I received a free 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.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Crowdtap sampling - Unilever Round 3 - loved everything from Degree and Suave

Through Crowdtap, I have recently the luck of being involved in several Unilever product test. I would get a sample box with about 5 full-size samples, usually some haircare, deodorant and maybe a body lotion etc. All great products so far and I have been happy every time we received such a box. Thanks Crowdtap!

I got another Unilever sample box this week and love the shampoo and conditioner that is included. But who does not need deodorant and was happy they included a spray deodorant this time. I have not used spray deodorants since leaving Germany many years ago and was happy to see that the quality of spray deodorants has improved significantly since I first used them many years ago. were full-size samples. Again, all samples were full-size, which gives you plenty of opportunity to try out the products and also share them with family members and have them try out products. This time, I decided to use them all for me because I do color my hair from time to time and the shampoo and conditioner are specific for color-treated hair.

I got the following products
  • Degree Women Clinical Antiperspirant Deodorant - Stress Control
  • Degree Women MotionSense Dry Spray Antiperspirant - Stress Control
  • Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion Color Care Conditioner
  • Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion Color Care Shampoo
  • Degree Women Dry Protection Antiperspirant Deodorant - Fresh
copyright Durhamonthecheap - Love my new Unilever product samples. So happy with the Suave shampoo!
The Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion Color Care line of products is specifically formulated for color-treated hair and infused with Moroccan argan oil/ Used together as shampoo and conditioner, regular washing of hair ensures that the color stays vibrant and  the hair looks shiny and healthy.I can attest to that, my hair feels smooth and healthy with Suave and the I absolutely love the mild scent of the products.
Unilever and Crowdtap again Thanks for the samples!

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.