Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Sweet Smell of Magnolias and Memories by Celeste Fletcher McHale

This is a great romantic love story, in the tradition of the love stories that our parents and grandparents read. So it may be old fashioned, but it also makes you feel all warm and fuzzy.
The story begins during a flood that is threatening the lives of Jacey and Colin. The are stuck together on a roof for several days until they finally are rescued.
Each goes their own life afterwards and Jacey does not really think she will ever meet Colin again. To her surprise, a year later she recognizes Colin as the priest that is officiating the wedding, for which she serves as a member of the wedding party Her feelings for him come back, but nothing good in life ever comes easy. And so the path for both Jacey and Colin is difficulty and takes his number of twists and turns. Memories of her time with Colin on the roof, during which she fell in love with him, are also mixed emotions of joy and sadness.
The author, as I indicated earlier, wrote what I would describe as a good old-fashioned love story. But it is a sweet one and it is an entertaining read. Some aspects seems far fetched at times, but this book is one of these feel good stories that we all need from time to time to block out the difficulties we face in our real lives. Like the fairly tales as children made us believe that everything will turn out well in the end, this book makes its adult audience believe that wonderful things can happen, even if the way to them is dark and filled with stones.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - available at amazon.com
Disclaimer: The opinion expressed in this post is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Stand up for accurate labeling - this is important!

Most women and their daughters know that talking about periods can be squeamish for some, but there is helpful info to be shared.

I just found out that there is no federal law which requires disclosure of ingredients in tampons and pads. This means women are left in the dark about what ingredients they are putting on some of the most sensitive and absorptive tissue on their body. To make a change in this important area of health for all women, Women's Voices for the Earth and Seventh Generation want to let you know that Representative Grace Meng is planning to re-introduce a bill to require disclosure of the ingredients used in feminine products. In support of this bill on May 23, women from all over the USA will gather on Capitol Hill to tell Congress: It’s time to care about feminine care. Period.

We know that vaginal tissue is very sensitive and we should be extra careful about what’s coming into contact with it. In fact, there is considerable interest in vaginal drug delivery systems because the vagina is such an effective site to transfer drugs directly into the blood without being metabolized first. One study found that a vaginally applied dose of estradiol (an estrogen proxy) resulted in systemic estradiol levels in the body 10 to 80 times greater compared to the same dose given orally. So, you should really know what the heck is in the products you use around the vagina.

That is why it is so important to know that companies will only tell you a little bit about what’s in their products, in particular those that manufacture tampon and pads. Many do include some basic information on their packages about the ingredients — unless they use fragrance. A ‘fragrance’ can be made up of 50-200 different ingredients, many of which have not been adequately tested for safety; this means that women may expose their body to dangerous substances.

A few, forward-thinking companies are already doing the right thing by voluntarily disclosing the ingredients used in their products. Seventh Generation as a leader is taking the extra step to advocate for transparency industry-wide by co-sponsoring a rally in May.

So let's hope that on May 23, news organizations will cover the effort by women concerned about their health to tell Congress that we have the right to know what’s in the products we use so intimately. Congress can do their part by enacting a very simple, common-sense law.

Disclaimer: The opinion expressed in this blog is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Product Review: New NESTEA Iced Tea - Peach flavor

 Through MyMagazine Sharing Network I received two coupons for free bottles of Nestea Iced Tea and the first bottle had to be peach tea. The tea comes in three types, peach, lemon and slightly sweet black tea. I will probably sample the sweet black tea next because living in the South you need to have a taste of Nestea's version of Sweet Tea. But what I have tasted so far in the peach variety is very promising. The peach flavor is a nice balance between the sweet peach flavor and the slightly bitter/tart black tea flavor. The peach tea is refreshing, but also a treat because it tastes sooooo good.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - love peach for a refreshing break in the North Carolina heat
 It is available locally at Kroger. So if you are in the mood for a refreshing bottle of iced tea and even want to treat yourself to some fruit flavor - go for the #New NESTEA flavors in peach or lemon. I can certainly highly recommend the iced tea by Nestea!

copyright Durhamonthecheap - three great flavors to choose from, peach is my favorite!





Disclaimer: I received something for free. The opinion expressed in this post is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Book review: The Seven Money Types: Discover How God Wired You To Handle Money by Tommy Brown

When we say that some people just can't handle money no matter how many courses about financial management they take we may be closer to the truth than we know. This books looks not as providing guidance for handling money and securing your retirement, but rather at how different people have differing relationships to money and how they handle money as consequence of their innate money personality.
Understanding why you handle money a certain way compared to others will be the first step to improve your money relationship. Aligning with God and Christian Faith your financial behavior will benefit you in the long run and provide you with a good guide to develop a healthy relationship with your finances. At the same time, this book will also help you understand how other people handle money and struggle with finances. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking to improve their finances and especially those that have taken financial management courses in the past. This book will reshape your attitude towards money from the ground up and create a long-lasting change in how you handle money. The author does not instruct as much as patiently guide you through the book. He shows compassion for financial troubles and the people that struggle with money. Reading this book will help you, but without admonishing or making you feel bad.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - available now at amazon.com


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, May 5, 2017

Book review: An Outlaw and a Lady: A Memoir of Music, Life with Waylon, and the Faith that Brought Me Home by Jessi Colter

 I have to admit, despite growing up outside of the USA, I am big fan of traditional country. None of the crossover stuff for me, give me some Waylon, Willie or Johnny and I am good. So this book hit right home with me, a book written by the wife of Waylon about their lives together. Jessi grew up in a religious household, but I guess she had a wild streak in her somewhere because early on she decided to pursue a career and ended up marrying Duane Eddy. Now I had no idea about this relationship because Duane Eddy's guitar tunes are a favorite of mine and so this insight into his life was an added bonus of this book.

Jessi eventually divorced Duane and ended up marrying Waylon. And if marrying a rock musician such as Duane was not wild enough, life with Waylon certainly was. He was well known for his demons, among them a long standing addiction. While Jessi was mild compared to Waylon, she certainly drifted far away from her religious roots and ended up leading a fairly wild life, but eventually found to her faith again and maintained her faith.

This is one angle of the book and I feel that for some people this will be the focus, but I preferred to focus on the biographical aspects and the knowledge that despite his demons, Waylon was a good person at heart. I also think that the biographical aspects of this book made it really unique, a first-hand look into the lives of rock musicians that were groundbreaking and country musicians that were legendary. That aspect of the book should be the primary focus and religion figures into it and at times, such as when Jessi relies on her faith for strength when times are difficult, can be important. But the book overall should be seen as a biography and a very good one at that! I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves the music history of the US from the 50 through modern times because you get an interesting, unique look at some of your idols. I loved this book and Jessi has a captivating style that brings the people she met to life in her book.

available through amazon.com
Disclaimer: I received a free book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced by any third party.

Looking for the perfect gift for BFFs who love wine or just enjoy having fun - DuVIno Wine Glasses

 I was excited to try out a novelty wine glass by DuVino. The glass is really sturdy, but still looks like an elegant wine glass. With a capacity of 12.75oz and a solid stem and base, the glass is the perfect gift for the BFF that loves to drink a wine after dinner. With witty and funny prints on each glass, I certain laughed out loud when I got my glass with the perfect description of what a mother it.

 
copyright Durhamonthecheap - the perfect combination, a good wine and a witty glass!

The glass came in a sturdy box, perfect for just wrapping up as a gift and giving to your friend. As a novelty gift, these glasses are a bargain with an ARV of $19.99. They are sure to last because the print is dishwasher safe and made to last. The glasses are designed and made in the USA, so you do not have to worry about really using the glass to drink wine out of.

copyright Durhamonthecheap- any this witty glass is just one of the DuVino glasses available

For your convenience, the glasses are available at amazon.com or directly through DuVino, which uses an Amazon cart for security. The website is located at https://vinoduvino.com/ and in addition to the mother design, they got some awesome additional designs, all of them funny.  

copyright Durhamonthecheap - what's not to like about this? Order your own version at amazon
Disclaimer: I received a free sample in exchange for my review. The opinion expressed in this post is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.
 

Crowdtap sampling - International Delight One Touch Latte creamer

I love coffee as does the rest of my family, mom included. So we are always game for trying new items and while sometimes a good cup of just plain black will be perfect, there are times when you want to boost some flavor and create something extra special. International Delight has come up with the perfect and convenient solution for those times  - their One Touch Latte comes in three flavors. You can choose vanilla, caramel, or mocha and within seconds you have perfect latte at home that you can enjoy on the sofa. My mother made the most of our recent sampling through Crowdtap, she volunteered for the caramel - actually she beat me to the first cup - and then used the opportunity to take her morning coffee break with some caramel latte. Even the dog was looking with some jealousy at her cup. but mom remained strong and emptied the cup on her own!
copyright Durhamonthecheap - me time and luxury of a latte at home

copyright Durhamonthecheap - add some cinnamon or cocoa and cookies = perfect latte at home
 I have now sampled some of the homemade latte too and with some ground cinnamon on top and chocolates and cookies to go with, I felt that despite having to wait a little bit longer I ended up with a pretty good bargain too. I have to say the caramel flavor is just right, not too strong or sweet and the latte really foams nicely and provides a latte like coffee in under 10 seconds. Very impressive!
The can retail for around $4 locally, so if you are in the mood for a latte, but scared off by the coffeehouse prices, International Delight One Touch Latte is a perfect reason to treat yourself to a latte at home - convenient and a bargain!


Disclaimer: I received a free sample in exchange for my review. The opinion exprssed in this post is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.
 

Crowdtap sampling: Dunkin’ Donuts Creamer

For those of you that follow my blog, you will be aware that I love coffee. It is an affordable, but also convenient way to bring a daily treat into my life. Whether I add a specific flavor of coffee, some coffee add-ons, such as syrups or whether I treat myself to my favorite coffeehouse coffee - medium regular cream and sugar from Dunkin Donuts - I love coffee.

copyright Durhamonthrecheap - my very own path to Dunkin Donuts happiness at home!
Now Dunkin Donuts has brought its creamers to the stores and I was happy to be selected for sampling the new Dunkin Donuts creamer for Crowdtap. Not only did I receive a coupon for a free creamer, but I also received a coupon for a free coffee. I selected the extra extra creamer, which means extra sugar and extra creamy  - now I can make my own Dunkin Donuts coffee at home! I love it. Together with ground coffee from Dunkin Donuts, they even sell decaf for my mom, at my neighborhood grocery store, there is nothing standing in the way of enjoying coffee at home that tastes like Dunkin Donuts medium regular cream and sugar.

So if you are like me and love Dunkin Donuts, but never quite managed to recreate that cream and sugar goodness at home, pick up the extra extra creamer at the store next time and try it out. Or you can select one of the other flavors they offer, like caramel, which also sounds good!

Disclaimer: I received a free sample in exchange for my review. The opinion exprssed in this post is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Crowdtap sampling: Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Honeysuckle Body Wash

Through Crowdtap I was able to sample Mr Meyer's products in the past, like her fabulous Basil Hand Soap and Lotion. This time I was really lucky and  I got a sample of her scent Honeysuckle. Those who know will know that I love, love the scent of Honeysuckle and so this body wash by Mrs Meyer's is like a dream come true for me. Showering in the morning is now maybe taking a little bit longer, allright a add an extra 5 minutes just to soak up some more honeysuckle time. In addition to the all natural ingredients, Mrs. Meyer's body wash makes my skin feel soft and smooth and it gives me my daily honeysuckle treatment. What is not too like about that? That being said, although I find it heard to believe, I know some people do not like the scent of honeysuckle. If you happen to belong to that group, beware that the scent is strong. So maybe stick with some of the other scents from Mrs Meyer's like Lemon Verbena, another one of my favorites, or Basil. Actually, it is hard for me to think of a scent that I do not enjoy from Mrs. Meyers. If you are open to honeysuckle or like me enjoy the scent, then you need to try out this product! You will definitely enjoy the honeysuckle sweetness to get you started in the morning.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - available at amazon.com for around $8 for 16oz.
 Disclaimer: I received a free sample in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed are solely my own and have not been influenced by any third party.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Crowdtap Sample: Almay Healthy Glow Makeup + Gradual Self Tan!

Through Crowdtap I reeived a sample of Almay Healthy Glow Makeup + Gradual Self Tan, a product that acts as a make up with self-tan built in. You apply the product everyday and while normally removing it in the evening and wearing it during the day, within a week it shows its magic by giving you a tanned skin.
For people like me that have really sensitive skin in the face, wearing makeup is a must or on a windy day, the face will be red like a tomato from just exposure to sun and wind. The sensitive skin is also a problem when tanning since sunburn is happening easily and so the skin stay pale. But with Almay Healthy Glow Makeup + Gradual Self Tan, I can wear my usual makeup and then even get some color in my face. it is a win-win for me. I applied the Almay Healthy Glow Makeup + Gradual Self Tan every day for days, never noticing any irritation and after 7 days, I even had some color in my face. I love the product and the ability to now have a more healthy glow in my face.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - Almay Healthy Glow Makeup + Gradual Self Tan for a nice even color
Disclaimer: I received a free sample in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are solely my own and have not been influenced by any third party.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Crowdtap sampling: Revlon ColorStay makeup


Thanks to Crowdtap I received a whole makeup set from Revlon that included:
Revlon ColorStay™ 2-in-1 Angled Kajal Eyeliner
Revlon ColorStay™ Crème Eye Shadow
Revlon ColorStay™ Brow Pencil
and Revlon Super Length Mascara.
I was able to quickly come up with nice makeup for the eyes in my usual morning routine and the best part of it was, everything coordinated perfectly and the creme eye shadow was probably the real winner. it was really easy to apply, gave a nice neutral look to my eye and still was makeup that pulled my look together.  In the morning, I do not have a lot of time, so have everything together in one set was perfect and coming up with colors that are neutral and perfect for work was nice. 

copyright Durhamonthecheap - with full eye makeup, neutral colors are a real winner and perfect for work every day.

Copyright Durhamonthecheap - just brows and lashes, I have brows that are visible despite the bangs - totally new feeling
 So if your morning is as hectic as mine, get some of these Revlon Color Stay products and get ready to apply perfect looking eye makeup everyday in no time.

Disclaimer: I received a free sample in exchange for a review and trying out the product. The opinion expressed is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third parties.

Crowdtap Sampling: Silk NEW Protein Nutmilks

Through Crowdtap I was able to sample a new product (for me) from Silk which contained Almond milk. It was unsweetened and was not reduced in fat or sugar and certainly not in flavor.I used it over fresh strawberries, but also in smoothies because it tastes like regular milk, has more calcium and for someone who is often the only one drinking milk on a daily basis, has a long shelf-life. I picked my sample up in midApril and the self-life was until mid-June. Not that it would last that long in my household, but it is nice to know that it lasts a lot longer than other milk. It can be useful to know this long expiration period if you take milk to store in the fridge at work and a gallon is difficult to get through, Silk is a great alternative.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - original Almond Nutmilk by Silk - perfect for a smoothies.
Disclaimer: I received a free sample in exchange for a review and trying out the product. The opinion expressed is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third parties.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mr Mucus on his travels - keeping my family free of allergies and colds

 I won a Mr Mucus doll from the Mucus Fighters Community and we enjoy taking him along on our travels. Even though our puppy, see image below, does not quite know what to make of this green figure, we take Mr Mucus along to calm some nerves. This is us sitting in a car before 8Am as we were arriving at our doctor's office for a 8AM visit. Talk about a not ideal start to the week. Getting out of the house early on a Monday to see a doctor. But with Mr Mucus, nerves are calm and we manage to smile. Because, let's face it, who does not love a rotund green middle-aged looking guy who is constantly seemingly asking what am I doing here? Well, Mr Mucus, you calm our nerves and make us smile. So thanks for that!
copyright Durhamonthecheap - Floppy thinking -  who is that guy?
So Thanks Mucinex, not just for the lovely Mr Mucus. But most of all for Mucinex keeping our allergies at bay and no colds this winter! Spring is enjoyed in the garden, getting the flower beds ready and no pollen is holding this family back!

copyright Durhamonthecheap - Mr Mucus is also going to the doctor!

Disclaimer: #ad I won a Mr. Mucus Doll from the Mucus Fighters Community! Join now! #AdventureWithMrMucus http://bit.ly/2hUJ532

Monday, March 20, 2017

Arm and Hammer Baking soda - useful cleaning agent in the house

copyright Durhamonthecheap - love the sprinkler for the baking soda, makes cleaning so much easier.
I am in the middle of spring cleaning and with Arm and Hammer Baking Soda my rugs and carpets get the treatment to deodorize. I am particularly happy because with this handy shaker bottle I can sprinkle Arm and Hammer Baking Soda easily on rugs and carpets. I am using this cheap, but effective cleaning regimen a lot this year because we have a puppy and I still want my rugs and carpets to smell as if we had no puppy in the house. All you do is sprinkle some Arm and Hammer Baking Soda on the rug or carpet, let it sit for a few minutes and then vacuum over it. Smell is gone, colors are more bright and the carpet/rug looks like new again and it smells great!

copyright Durhamonthecheap - sprinkle some Arm and Hammer on the carpet and then vacuum for a fresh scent
Disclaimer: I received a free product through the Arm + Hammer Simple Solutions Community. All opinion expressed are my own and have not been influenced by any third party.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Crowdtap Sampling: Mrs. Meyer's Hand Soap and Lotion in Basil Scent

copyright Durhamonthecheap - my great samples from Mrs. Meyers, love the basil scent.
Through Crowdtap, I was given an opportunity to sample Mrs. Meyer's hand soap and lotion in Basil scent. I was at first surprised that basil was considered as a scent for hand soap, but having used it now for a few days, it makes sense because the herbal scent just makes my hand appear very clean and it actually a definitely neutral scent that works for both men and women (and kids of all ages).
copyright Durhamonthecheap - nice addition of Mrs Meyers to the guest bath
 I have used Mrs. Meyers a couple of times in the past and have always been impressed by the quality of the products and how well they work and are tolerated by my often sensitive skin. I looked at the soap selection on the website and noticed that Mrs. Meyers has really expanded the scent selection, Lemon Verbena is still my all -time favorite, but now orange glove and other scents have been added and I am even more impressed with Mrs/ Meyers. Unique scents, high quality products and all natural - if you are looking for a housewarming or hostess gift, these hand soaps are an excellent choice. So give Mrs. Meyers a try.

Disclaimer: I received samples in exchange for a review through Crowdtap. All opinion expressed are my own and have not been influenced by any third party.

Crowdtap sampling: Dijon mustard by French's

 Through Crowdtap I was provided with a sample of French's Dijon mustard. That's right, the company famous for their yellow mustard, now has a Dijon mustard in their offering made with real Chardonnay wine. We sampled it and are in love. The mustard just has the right amount of bite to make it a nice addition and add some umph to meals, but is not really spicy like some brown mustard. I like a snack of pretzels with some Dijon or we add it to ham sandwiches. There are tons of uses for this product. Next on our list is eggs with mustard sauce - I cannot wait to reinvent this meal from my grandmother and give it a modern twist.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - a little of bit of Dijon on ham and asparagus for a light and healthy snack

copyright Durhamonthecheap - who says eating with French's Dijon cannot be fun?
 So if you are looking for a high quality and very tasty addition to your mustard or condiment offering, give this Dion a try. We loved it at our house and will continue to use it.

Disclaimer: I received samples in exchange for a review through Crowdtap. All opinion expressed are my own and have not been influenced by any third party.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

new opinion site and possible free products for Arm and Hammer

I love Arm and Hammer baking soda - I use it for a lot of different things around the house, certainly not just for cooking or baking.

If you have followed my blog, you will know that it does serve you well to have some baking soda at home for carpet cleaning - safe for kids and pets. I still use my fancy sprinkle machine that I got through Arm and Hammer a couple of years ago to clean my rugs and carpets. See the action shot below!

So if you are interested, consider joining the ARM and HAMMER Simple Solutions Community. 
copyright Durhamonthecheal - baking soda will clean and deodorize carpets
Disclaimer; I may have received something for free in exchange for this posting, but the opinion is my own.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Free sample Betty Crocker = Hurry - going fast = Nature Valley Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola Cups

Go to their membership site, fill out a form (membership required) for a free sample of
Nature Valley Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola Cups
Whole grain granola cups filled with creamy peanut butter, dipped into chocolatey goodness and topped with peanuts. Crunchy, creamy, delicious. 
 
http://www.bettycrocker.com/Coupons-Promotions/free-samples
 
 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Crowdtap sampling: Luvsome dog food to keep your puppy healthy!

Through Crowdtap I was able to give Floppy my lab springer mix, some great food courtesy of Luvsome. They also included a nice toy and some healthy cranberry pumpkin treats. Floppy has happily accepted the toy, playing catch with it almost every day and really gets excited, as you can see below, when he gets the pumpkin treat.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - happy puppy makes for a happy owner!

copyright Durhamonthecheap - Floppy enjoying the Luvsome dry dog food!

copyright Durhamonthecheap - Floppy will be very nice if you promise him a tasty Luvsome treat.
 I found Luvsome food at the local Kroger in S. Durham and the pricing is very reasonable. Floppy really enjoys the dry food, we mix it with some wet food, but leave a little bit of dry food in his bowl that he can snack on during the day. Usually, the snack is gone within an hour and he still gets excited when we fill his bowl. I also noticed that he is still very active and loves to jump around in the yard.
So if you are looking for healthy dog food that has high quality ingredients and that your dog will love, give Luvsome a try.



Disclaimer: I received a free sample in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed are solely my own and have been influenced by any third party.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

#pureleafhomebrew moment! - great new home brew flavors from Pure Leaf


Through Influenster and Pure Leaf I received two samples for home brew from Pure Leaf. They came in iced tea and regular hot tea. I love both of them, while I have to admit to prefer the iced tea because you know in North Carolina that's what we do. I like that I can brew the tea as long as I want and can add some sweetener to make my green iced tea and pretend like a true Southerner that the citrus makes the sweet concoction almost healthy. I let the tea bag sit in a large glass of hot water for 30 minutes, then add two teaspoons of sweetenter (I use Splenda) and then split the tea into two glasses and lastly add ice cubes. You end up with a wonderful iced tea that you do not have to feel guilty about.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - two great flavors, regular black tea with vanilla and green iced tea with Citrus - love them!

copyright Durhamonthecheap -the green tea with citrus is very light and refreshing

copyright Durhamonthecheap - have to get some more from the store soon, love the flavor combination.
 So if you are used to Pure Leaf Iced Tea and would like to have the tea flavor and quality, but would rather not haul around bottles of the addictive good tea - try to homebrew options from Pure Leaf now and enjoy either black or green teas at home. Each "bottle" comes with 16 pyramid bags that make 16 enjoyable, high quality teas in the privacy of your home or the office!



Disclaimer: I received these products courtesy of Pure Leaf & Influenster for sampling purposes.