Friday, January 30, 2015

Product Review: For your special occasions bouquet - use Bloominous and do it yourself!

Occasionally you may want to have a really nice table, such as for a Christmas party or a family dinner to celebrate a special occasion. If you are like me, you prefer flowers as your centerpieces and then will struggle to make the flowers look special enough and not just some flowers put in a vase.

Now there is relief in sight thanks to Bloominous, a company that sends you DIY  flower kits. That is right! You can select a floral bouquet to your liking from their website and then the flowers are shipped in perfect condition to your house. With easy instructions on how to make your own centerpiece, the special table setting can now be perfected with a fresh centerpiece and at a portion of the cost compared to going to a florist.

To help you make your own flower arrangements, they even have a youtube channel that shows how to make centerpieces using either carnations only or multiple types of flowers. All looks very easy and you can get an idea of what flowers are available and get inspired to do your very own project soon.

Their proprietary packaging allows you now to receive fresh flowers at home that match what you can cut in your garden and ensure that the special bouquet for your event will not be a disappointment. Who wants to a bride scrambling for a replacement bouquet or looking sad when wilted flowers await her on the morning of the wedding? Bloominous ensures that flowers are arriving in perfect condition and their shipping page have specific recommendations for timelines to ensure that on the special day, the bouquet will look its best.

With Bloominous, you can now get beautiful flowers, in perfect condition, mailed to your house that you can transform into the perfect table centerpiece or weeding bouquet based on which DIY kit you select to order. All designs comes from floral designers have on average more than 10 years of experience in design and so they are up to date on the current trends for weddings. So you can be assured that Bloominous will have current trends incorporated into their catalog and you can get a design that looks like it was made by a professional at a bargain rate and only you will be able to know that you saved 30 to 50% on the price.

To ensure that the designs turn out just the way to expect based on the Bloominous catalog, each kit comes with step-by-step photo instructions for easy assembling within 10 to 20 minutes per piece, as well as flower care products and design tips

Disclaimer: I received financial compensation for the blogpost in exchange for providing a review of the service. The opinion expressed in this blogpost is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Book Review: Fierce Opinions by Karen Swallow Prior

 In this book, the author, who is also a professor for English at Liberty University, introduces the reader to the life and work of Hannah More. While I am familiar with the major players in abolitionist history, I have never heard of Hannah More before reading this book. Hannah More lived in England; she died there in 1833. Maybe it is the fact that she lived and acted in England that I have never heard of her before the book, but Hannah More belonged to the Clapham Sect of abolitionist. This group included several reform-minded people belonging to the Church of England, all living in relative wealth and bound by shared political views, in particular their opposition to slavery.

But back to Hannah More, who was also an accomplished playwright and started a school for women. To this day, you may find Hannah More schools throughout the US that are named after Hannah More in part because of her philanthropic activity.

I loved learning about an abolitionist that lived in England because you can tell that not experiencing slavery first hand, I believe, gives Hannah More a slightly different angle in the abolitionist struggle. Her arguments seem more intellectually inspired. I find them more like a religious discourse that tries to convince you through reason and by making you think, which is interesting. I view the American abolitionist often as more emotional, and so to me the Hannah More approach was just an interesting new take on how to convince others about a social wrong. Both approaches proved successful in the end and Hannah More was definitely ahead of her time in some of the social thinking she showe.d Despite her upper class standing, which came through in some of the opinions, she was convinced that education for all is good and maybe an extension of that attitude was her desire to ensure freedom for all, which made her one of the abolitionists in England.

If you are interested in history, in particular women's history, this book will provide a good example of how women, even if they cannot be termed revolutionary, can bring about change in their own way. Hannah More founded schools and tried to convince others that slavery is wrong. To me, this book provided a new and existing aspect of the abolitionist fight against slavery and I am glad I was able to read this book.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book through for review. The opinion expressed is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Book review: No Greater Valor by Jerome Corsi

This is a thorough and comprehensive take on the Battle of Bastogne by an author that has carefully researched the history of the battle and its main actors. The author augments the history of the battle by including brief profiles of some of the major actors in the battle to provide additional background to the reader. The mini profiles helped me understand better the action of the armies based on the personality of their generals.

For those not familiar with the history of the Battle of Bastogne, a brief background. As on may guess, this battle is one of the most famous battles in the later stages of the war in Western Europe and pitches the US Army under Generals such as Patton against German forces. Americans were at that point still badly supplied and had to dig in, literally dig holes in the forest floor, and fight against advancing German troops. It featured regiments such as 101st Airborne and the famous response to a German truce party by General McAucliffe "Nuts!". Needless to say, the battle story is not short on heroics and many soldiers showed exceedingly brave behavior. The author manages to capture the atmopshere of the battle, the mood of the soldiers and the toughness of the commanding officers with great detail and proving an in depth understanding of the history surrounding the battle.

I enjoyed reading this book because it had the right balance of the historical minutiae with its focus n battle details and then combined this with an ability to describe to the lay person the military aspects of the battle. Since this book was published by a Christian publisher, the author does note at times the role of faith in the battle, such as Patton sending a pamphlet with a prayer to his soldiers before a crucial stage in the battle. But overall, the Christian motifs are kept within reason and do not detract from the actual storyline, a comprehensive description of one of the decisive battles in the later stages of World War II in western Europe. 

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book through for review. The opinion expressed is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Product Review - courtesy of bzzagent and Kroger: EAS Sports Nutrition

Through bzzagent and Kroger I received a starter kit for EAS Sports Nutrition that contained the following items:
  • a branded protein shake bottle
  • two protein bars
  • three packages with powdered protein shakes
  • a coupon for a 4-pack of carb smart shakes
  • information on EAS
  • a coupon booklets with lots of high value coupons
copyright Durhamonthecheap - the complete package courtesy of EAS, bottle drink mixes and protein bars - YUM!
In the picture above you can see the content of my start kit. I was particularly happy about the variety of flavors that I can try out. The bars are Lean 15 Protein bar in the flavor of peanut butter chocolate, which I cannot wait to try out. The powdered shakes included were in vanilla flavor and with the coupon I selected a protein shake in strawberry flavor. 
copyright Durhamonthecheap - This should help with the New Year's Reolution. The vanilla shake is so good!

Disclaimer: Through bzzagent and Kroger I received a free product to try out and provide an honest review: The opinion expressed in the post is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Product Review + Sweepstakes: Purex Power Shot - super concentrated and easy to use

Through Purex Insiders, I received an early sample of Purex PowerShot, the new laundry detergent that takes the guessing out of measuring the right amount of detergent for your laundry. Purex® PowerShot comes in a no-spill detergent bottle, which is great for small apartments where you can easily knock over the detergent when trying to load the laundry. In addition Purex® PowerShot is an easy measure liquid detergent because the cap is also used as an automatic refill of the detergent needed for one load of laundry.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - great new product by Purex - PowerShot to make laundry easy and effective
As you can see in the picture below, the use of PowerShot is very easy. The lid basically holds enough detergent for one load, you simply flip the bottle and empty the bottle cap into the washing machine. The turn the bottle of detergent right side up and the lid will fill again with detergent that is either enough for another load or, if you have a large or very soiled load, the second PowerShot for your laundry load.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - yes, it is that easy. And the laundry will be clean because it is made by Purex
The people at Purex were nice enough to give me some coupons and I will raffle them off later on in February when the detergent is available in stores nationwide. I am very happy with the quality of the detergent and the use of PowerShot is so easy that my mom was able to use it by intuitively understanding what she had to do.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - and a coupon to giveaway to a lucky reader!
My mom, who usually liked to stick to her regular detergent, was really happy with PowerShot because it was so easy to use and she did not have to worry about spills or measuring her detergent for a laundry load. Simply using PowerShot, the bottle design did the work for her and she simply had to flip the bottle and pour. Afterwards, the lid filled itself again and the detergent was ready for the next load.

Purex has also ongoing sweepstakes to celebrate the release of Purex PowerShot. If you enter the sweepstakes, you get $1 off coupon to try out PowerShot and three grand prize winners will receive a Whirlpool washer & dryer set. Threehundred second-place winners will receive a bottle of PowerShot. For more information on PowerShot and other great products by Purex, visit their Facebook page.
Disclaimer: I was provided a free product in exchange for a sampling and an honest review. The opinion expressed in this blog is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Book review: Dashing Dish: 100 Simple and Delicious Recipes for Clean Eating by Katie Farrell

This is a great book if you are trying to find healthy, yet flavorful recipes. I have not been exposed to Katie before receiving this book and some of the recipes in my opinion use too much garlic, but overall, the recipes are lighter than the usual recipes you find in most cookbooks. I like the many high quality photographs, so that you can what the finished product is supposed to look like. And for recipes that have too much garlic, which I do not like to include in my cooking, I substitute garlic with either another spice or simply leave it out.

available on Amazon

The book is well organized and the recipes are fairly easy to follow. There are not many really exotic ingredients and so most cooks will have the required ingredients at home. This is another important point for me. I do not like cookbooks that require a visit to the grocery store for every recipe. I want a cookbook that I can pick up after getting home from work and find an interesting recipe that I can complete with a well-stocked pantry.

I have tried a couple of recipes from the book so far, one being a dessert bread and the other being a slow cooker meat dish - both of them were easy and turned out tasty, despite being allegedly lighter. I say allegedly because I usually do not count calories in recipes, but I do not like a lot of heavy sauces or fat in my dishes, so my usual recipes are already fairly light compared to standard restaurant fare.
This book is great for cooks of all experience levels and should provide good instructions for people that want to try out lighter fare without giving up traditional recipes that their families love, such as mac and cheese.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book for review. The opinion expressed is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Productv Review: Crowdtap sampling of Brookside Dark Chocolate Crunchy Clusters

 Through Crowdtap I received a free bag of Brookside's latest creation called Dark Chocolate Crunchy Clusters, which is basically dark chocolate wrapped around dried fruit. This is a great combo in itself and I found it is a perfect healthy afternoon snack when paired with some iced tea a quick pick me up.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - if you are chocolate addict, resistance will be futile to this snack!

copyright Durhamonthecheap - look delicious and tastes even better, these clusters are full of flavor!

copyright Durhamonthecheap - perfect for an afternoon snack, iced tea and Brookside Crunchy Clusters!

The clusters are big and with the dark chocolate and dried fruit center very flavorful. I have had chocolate-covered fruit before, but in those instances the fruit was rarely as flavorful as with Brookside Crunchy Clusters. These snacks are exquisite and will definitely be something I keep in stock as a treat.

Disclaimer: I received a free product of Brookside Dark Chocolate Crunchy Clusters through Crowdtap in exchange for a sampling and an honest review. The opinion expressed is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third parties.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Book Review:A Cry from the Dust (A Gwen Marcey Novel Book 1) by Carrie Stuart Parks

This is a debut novel by Carrie Stuart Park, who describes a mystery dealing with a combination of long ago ritual murder and present day kidnapping and threats to keep the old mystery surrounding the murder hidden.

Forensic artist Gwen Marcey is working on a large project, in which she reconstructs the faces of several victims from the Mountain Meadows Massacre. In this event, 140 men, women and children were murdered in the 1850 by Mormon extremists. What she finds as part of the project is that the massacre includes at least one body that was murdered as part of a ritualistic sacrifice. More importantly, the reasons for this cover up are still important enough to some people today that they shy away from nothing, not kidnapping nor murder, to keep it hidden to this day.

The book is currently available on in paperback and kindle editions!

So Gwen, rather than being able to focus on the project and enjoying her escape from a not too pleasant reality that includes a recent health scare, family troubles and a nasty divorce, must now focus on solving this historical mystery. Will Gwen succeed in solving the mystery behind a more than 150 year old ritual murder before a present murder occurs?

This story will keep you entertained, turning pages to determine what happens to Gwen and what happened so long ago. This book is great for a vacation ready, but do not fear if you have only a weekend. I went through this book in a couple of days, determined to figure out what happened at the massacre site that some people were determined to keep hidden until today. For a debut novel, this is an outstanding effort!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book through booksneeze in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed is solely my own and has nos been been influenced by third parties.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Crowdtap sampling: Poise pantyliner

Through I was given a nice sampling kit for Poise Pantyliner. These are not the LBL products of yesterday, these are nice, slim, barely noticeable products that can be worn year-round and are basically undetectable.

Poise send me three kits, one to keep and two for sharing. I did share two kits and people were pleasantly surprised how thin LBL products are these days and how compact, so they can easily be carried in a small purse.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - Crowdtap Poise sampling kit
copyright Durhamonthecheap - everyone can use some Poise!
Disclaimer: I received the samples through in exchange for an honest review. As always, the opinions expressed in this post are solely my own and have not been influenced by Crowdtap or any other third party.