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 amazon.com
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

Kroger Friday Freebie: Gatorade Fuel Bars on 7-28-17

Sign up for an online account with kroger.com and get free stuff every Friday. Coming up next:
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Redeem by Sunday, August 13. Available in most stores.
Learn More About Free Friday

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Book Review: The Break Down by B. A. Paris

This is tough thriller to read. Not because the action is not believable or the writing is bad; but the book is tough to read because you want to help out Cass, the protagonist of this nail biter. 
One evening, Cass is driving home and passes a car with a woman inside. She does not stop and finds out the next day that the woman in the car has been murdered. Not only is Cass plagued by feelings of gilt for not stopping and possibly helping the woman, but the woman was also someone she knew, making the murder hitting so much closer to home.

This book definitely has some elements of Gaslight in it, the wonderful thriller from the black and white era with Ingrid Bergman and without giving too much away, the reader will likely feel sorry for Cass, who thinks she may be losing her mind. The book does an excellent job of describing the journey that Cass takes from the initial guilt over not stopping and helping the woman to thinking she may be going insane and not remembering basic things about her daily routine. Along the way, the reader is left wondering whether these events are part of Cass's imagination or whether someone is deliberately acting the background to possibly remove the only witness to the murder. This would also explain the strange calls Cass has been receiving lately.  


#ad #TheBreakdown - copyright Durhamonthecheap


This book is not for the faint of heart. Even though will probably make the reader to want to protect her against what is causing this journey into madness; Cass certainly has her flaws to and her inability to trust people around her brings her more and more into isolation and this leaves her ore vulnerable. This is definitely ranking as nail biter type of book that will leave the reader wanting to finish it in one sitting. I suggest though to take your time and read every sentence because the writing is well done and enjoyable. The author has managed to come up with interesting characters and even though Cass is not without her fault, the way her life throughout this book is described still elicits compassion among the readers. I frequently just wanted Cass to move and get away from it all, so she could be safe and enjoy her life. There are plenty of plot twists and the end left me gasping because it was so unexpected. Even though thinking through the storyline, the author prepped you for such an end and it still hit you out of nowhere. This is a book I would read again just to be able to focus on the hints that may be given away. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good thriller and see darkness in everyday life of seemingly normal people. 


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

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Crowdtap sampling: Curad first aid supplies, now with Arm & Hammer Baking soda

Thanks to Crowdtap I got a wonderful kit with a bunch of new products to speed up healing. Curad has a tradition of producing products for first aid and the bandages, gauze and tape that I received in my kit underscore that Curead is the name to trust. I love the fact that Curad now incorporates Arm and Hammer Baking Soda in their wound pads because baking soda helps with the bacterial odors that can be noticeable if a wound is oozing. They also made wound pads in different size and offer gauze that can be used in places where pads do not work well, especially knees and elbows. Too much movement can make it difficult to cover a wound, so the gauze is perfect in combination with the tape.
I badly scraped my knee last year and even though I did not need stitches, my knee still shows scarring and it took almost a month for the wound to heal. I remember all too well the bacterial odor as well as the pronounced oozing that I experienced for several weeks. Curad would not only helped with the odor, but also better handled the oozing because there are only natural ingredients in their pads that support a better healing and letting the wound breathe.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - again Target does not disappoint, Curad available here!
Having baking soda and minimizing the odor is also a big plus because even though I may have been more self-conscious that necessary, I felt that the odor was noticeable for the first couple of weeks when I was visiting clients to do some work. Overall, look in your neighborhood pharmacy or Target for Curad products. Especially minor scrapes that do not need stitching, but are deep and will take some time to heal are ideal to show off the advantages of Curad compared to other brands of first aid bandages and gauze. I am convinced and will now rely solely on Curad!
copyright Durhamonthecheap - great selection of products I received through Crowdtap




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.

copyright Durhamonthecheap -

Crowdtap sampling: RXBAR for kids

Through Crowdtap I was introduced to a new kind of protein bar. RXBAR are made in formulations specific for kids and adults. We received three samples for kids, which the adults in our family, not so surprisingly, had to test first to make sure they were good enough for the kids. So after splitting the bars between adults and kids, we are the newest fans of RXBAR. We absolutely love the fruit-flavored kinds, especially the berry flavor for kids and the blueberry flavor for adults. They are very high in protein and relatively low in sugar and they are so filling. I some times add them to the lunch box as a dessert and afternoon snack all in one and for me, the adult bars serve well to tie me over if work is hectic and there is no time for a sit down lunch. Grab a protein rich RXBAR and you can continue to work and have lunch later in the afternoon. The price is acceptable for a good protein bar and we love that in addition to the endless stream of chocolate and peanut butter flavors, we now have the option of fruit-flavored bars that my family prefers.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - great selection of RXBAR products at my Target
They are available at Target and a box runs around $6. They are well worth the price and in addition to the taste, the ingredients are minimal (egg whites, fruit, nuts, dates) and in a world where the ingredient list is too often a page out of an analytical chemistry book, I love the fact that RXBAR is sticking to healthy, minimally processed ingredients and keeps the flavor as close to nature as possible.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - picked up two fruit-flavored bars, love them both!

copyright Durhamonthecheap - mom looking forward to getting some bluebrry RXBAR, her favorite flavor.




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: Collateral Damage by Dr. J. T. Chiban

Every person that starts thinking about marriage, family and kids always has the hope that every thing will turn out for the best. No one starts thinking about divorce at the beginning of this journey. Even signing a prenup is more done with the hope to never have to use it. Yet despite best intentions, a large number of marriages end in divorce. Such a large number that often couples do not even marry, yet still start a family and eventually also drift apart. What often is overlooked, despite the best intentions by the parents, are the children and how to get them through the breakup of the family.
Dr. Chiban has come up with a well structured, clearly written book that summarizes extensive research on the effect of divorce on children. The structure of the book hits on the main points of his guidance:

  • Before You Begin: Your Child and Your Divorce
  • Part 1: Guiding and Protecting Your Children
  • Chapter 1: Attune to Your Child
  • Chapter 2: Manage Emotions and Stormy Situations
  • Chapter 3: Sustain Your Parental Role
  • Chapter 4: Provide Stability Through Nurturance
  • Part 2: Navigating Divorce for Parents
  • Chapter 5: Regain Control—Reclaim Yourself
  • Chapter 6: Realign Your Relationships
  • Chapter 7: Redefine Parenting
  • Chapter 8: Retain Your Parenthood in a Blended Family
  • Chapter 9: Preserve Loving Relationships
  • A Final Word: Redirecting Your Divorce Through Spiritual Life
     In the end, simply because a marriage fails, does not mean that the family fails. We talk to a lot of people in amicable ways and before and after a marriage spent time with friends. Most of us spent a lot of time at work with colleagues. All of these show healthy relationships that many times exist over years without a bond such as marriage. While ideally a divorce never happens, what Dr. Chiban shows is that keeping a relationship with your child is something both parents need to do because of the consequences if they don't. Often children going through a divorce bear deep emotional scars and have a tendency to seek solace in alcohol, criminal acts and show mental instability in later life. Managing the divorce in a way that minimizes the impact on a child is important and maintaining a healthy relationship despite a divorce is important and Dr Chiban's book is an excellent guideline for any parent who faces a divorce, but wants to minimize its impact on their child. 
    available 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.

    Tuesday, July 11, 2017

    Book Review: Real Artists Don't Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age by Jeff Goins

    This is the second book by Goins that I am reading and I like his approach to life and work in general; this book being no exception. We hear too much about artists not making any money and that being artist somehow excludes actually making a comfortable living. Nothing could be further from the truth. Artists an live in inspiration alone or they can, and that is what Goins suggests, approach making art like you approach a real job. You study, prepare and work hard at it to make it a success and make money in the process. While I am not an artist in real life, my family has had business based on crafts that combine artistry with making money and made a good living that way. That may be the reason why I agree with most of what Goins states in this book. As an artist you need to be good at what you do and form a little, as we call it in German, Ich-AG. A company focused on and run by you. You need to market yourself and your ideas and work.
    I think this book does a good job of convincing anyone who wants to make a living in an artistic field, whether as a painter, author or even a blogger, full-time or part-time that the hours spent on the art do not mean poverty, but can be money makers if done correctly. To me as a part-time blogger they reinforced me in my goal to think of my blog and my part-time social networking activity as a creative outlet that still allows me to make money. This is a reassuring book for anyone that thinks starting a creative career means no money and poverty and instead contains good advice and some tools to get you start on making art a career by approaching it like a business.


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

    Thursday, July 6, 2017

    #RightToKnow: DIsclose full ingredients on product labels of cleaning products

    So far, you are buying cleaning products and you never know what these products actually contain. Right now, no regulation or law requires that ingredients in cleaning products are disclosure, but there is hope. Currently, three different legislative bills have been introduced to force a change to this and of course Seventh Generation has been fighting the good fight for Ingredient Disclosure for quite some time. They are leading the cleaning industry by example and want everyone to #comeclean!

    Below is a summary of a few points that struck me as particularly important when it comes to ingredient disclosure in the cleaning industry:



    Q: Why should consumers care what’s in their cleaning products?

    A: Cleaning product exposure can cause certain health conditions, such as asthma, due to the chemicals contained in cleaning products.

    Q: Who is at most risk from these adverse effects? 
    A: The sad news is that everyone with regular exposure to such products, in particular janitors or maids, are at risk, but also moms, who do the most cleaning for the family. 

    Q: Why put ingredient information on a label? Will consumers really know what to do with it?
    A: How are you supposed to make an informed decision about which product to purchase if you do not know what is contained in the product. Why is one product more expensive than another? It could be due to more risky ingredients, known to pose a health hazard, that the bargain brand is able to be on sale permanently, while a carefully crafted product that stay within safe concentrations is more expensive. But can you really put a price on the health of your family? I do not believe so and have been switching to a lot more natural products, like Seventh Generation, to make the house clean for my family.Consumer already have gotten used to reading labels for calories and food ingredients, why not let the consumers be adult about cleaning products as well ans enable them to read these labels too?

    Disclaimer: I received something for free in exchange for this post, but all opinions expressed in this post are my own and have not been influenced by any third party.


    Saturday, July 1, 2017

    Product Review: Arm & Hammer Baking Soda as a great affordable cleaner in the house

    Through Simple Solutions I received a kit for Arm and Hammer Baking Soda that included a handy sprinkler bottle and a booklet to show some uses for baking soda around the house. I had received a shaker bottle before from Arm and Hammer and so the latest one has been donated to mom, who is now happily shaking baking soda on rugs and upholstery to make her spring cleaning even more productive.
    I have continued to use my baking soda sprinkler around the house, but the booklet gave me some new ideas. Since we are now a one dog household, even though at times it seems like a hoard of wild beasts are making their home in our house, we have plenty of chew toys. After buying a new toy every week initially, we have now settled on a squirrel called Squeeky and a duck called Ducky, both looking rather disheveled and smelling accordingly.
    I do the same with the toys as with rugs, I take my sprinkler bottle, add some baking soda to the fabric and then vacuum the rug or carpet and brush out the toy. My puppy may not really be sure about what happened with the toy, but I can appreciate the fresh smell and the cleaner appearance of the toys and also the rugs.
    I love that baking soda is safe to use around kids and animals and that the price is so affordable. So far, no one has had any reactions to baking soda, the fabrics are not negatively impacted and the smell is just a nice, clean smell that indicates that the house is clean.

    copyright Durhamonthecheap - the nifty shaker bottle to sprinkle baking soda on rugs and toys etc.

    copyright Durhamonthecheap - easy to fill and easy to use + very effective in cleaning and deodorizing
    I showing the bottle in more detail in this video and also a rug that I got cheap secondhand and revived with the use of baking soda. It looks great now and the colors were revived thanks to Arm and Hammer Baking Soda. No more grayish dusty colors and musty smells, now the rug is a nice dark blue and smells just nice and clean.


    Disclaimer: I received something for free in exchange for this post, but all opinions expressed in this post are my own and have not been influenced by any third party.

    Stockpile - a new way to invest in the stock market!

    I received a giftcard to try out a new site to stock trading and general investing in the stockmarket. Stockpile tries to bring investing into stocks to the people and in my opinion they have succeeded. I got with my starter kit not only the giftcard, but a fun, easy to understand booklet that provided guidance to me about the basic principles for investing into stocks and how to buy stocks.
    Now we all know that investing in stocks does not guarantee a return, but it also historically has proven to be the best way to accumulate money.



    I found the page easy to navigate and they even allow you to buy a percentage of stock. So rather than invest several hundred dollars to buy one stock in a company such as Apple, you can use $100 and buy a portion of one stock and still benefit from Apple doing well with their latest gadgets, whether it is Iphone or Ipad. This to me was a serious advantage of using Stockpile. As a mother, money is tight and kids come first. But saving on everyday expenses with coupons, a little money can be saved and I loved how I could use some money to invest in Stockpile.
    So if you want to try out and invest in stocks, go ahead and sign up at Stockpile. Here is a link that you can use for an additional $5 as a gift when you sign up and start trading at Stockpile.

    http://bit.ly/2q3twI1

    Available stocks include Amazon, Facebook, Google, Apple, Ford and a lot of other major companies that trade for well in excess of $100 a share and would be hard to get into with just some saved up coupon money. So for moms and other new investors, Stockpile is a great option to get into the stock market early, learn about how it works and make some money possibly as well. There is nothing standing in the way of you becoming an #Investor and with the ability to buy giftcard, you can #GiveStockpile and #GiveStock to your kids that are now off to college. #HappyInvesting y'all

      Disclaimer : In exchange for my honest and unbiased review, I received a $25 gift card to try out Stockpile. This post contains a referral link. I am not a market professional and not responsible for gains or losses that you may experience. I am not affiliated with or own an investment in any company or brand mentioned, and have no plans to do so. Securities products are not FDIC insured. Not bank guaranteed. May lose value.

      Book review: As Southern As It Gets: 1,071 Reasons to Never Leave the South by H. Jackson Brown

      Having lived in the South for almost half my life and the majority of my time in the USA, this European transplant can certainly appreciate someone listing a few more reasons why I would not consider moving away from the South every again. Having lived in several states outside of the South and having traveled to the majority of the lower 48, there is a certain charm about the South that does not end with good food and the people that prepare it. There is something to be sad about having home-cooked meals at restaurants, listening to music that everyone seems to know and adhering to a lifestyle that takes things just a little bit slower than people in other places.
      H Jackson Brown manages to outdo me in reasons why the South is his favorite place to stay, but many items would make my list as well. Including the multitude of food listings, including pimento. An acquired taste for many outside of the South, good pimento cheese is here cherished at every get-together and, while giblet gravy is not my favorite to make, a good gravy will elevate any cook when served over nice biscuits and with some sweet tea. Add a coonhound at your feet, Patsy Cline on the radio and there is nothing better to life.
      So if you want to learn why Southerners like there lifestyle, this book will give you more than a 1000 reasons and if you happen to live in the South already, especially as a transplant, this book will give you a more things to explore.

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

      Saturday, June 17, 2017

      Book Review: Giving It All Away…and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously by David Green

      A lot of of people know Hobby Lobby as a successful business and may have heard about the Supreme Court decision a couple of years ago involving the Affordable Care Act and its mandate to cover certain contraceptive methods. But this book will tell you the whole story about the company and its founder David Green. Starting from humble beginnings with a lot of borrowed money and a "store" that was limited to a room in his house, David Green maintained his integrity throughout his career and never wavered. No matter how much other objected and how much criticism he faced. 
      David Green stresses the importance of staying true to yourself, even when it may not be easy. This is emphasized throughout the book and ties in not just with David's generation, but having been passed along by prior generations, especially David's mother. And this same approach is still being maintained at Hobby Lobby.
      The title also underscores that no matter how much money you may have, and most readers will have less money than Mr. Green, you can still do good and give back to your community. It may not be based on money donations, but spending time supporting local causes or helping your neighbor who may be elderly. Giving back is not just often the right thing to do, but it may also end up giving back to you in ways you do not expect and that makes your life richer for all the right reasons. Mr. Green underscores that most of the people in the US have a blessed life compared to people in many other countries and people should appreciate that fortune, but trying to give back to their community and to others. 
      This book offers plenty of advice for people running their own business and feel that they are not able to mix Christian believes with commercial success. In addition, it will provide incentive for everyone to give back to the community and ensure that the world around is better because of us, no matter how small the impact may be.
      available on amazon.com

      Disclaimer: I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed are solely my own and have not been influenced by any third party.

      Monday, June 12, 2017

      Book review: Launch Your Dream: A 30-Day Plan for Turning Your Passion into Your Profession by Dale Partridge

      If you ever dreamed about opening your own business and had no idea how to go about it, in particular getting funding, learning how to run a business - this book is for you. Written by Mr. Partridge, who has founded several successful businesses in his life, this book will provide the reader with the main points about how to living the dream of your own business. Normally taught as an extensive course by the author, the book shares his course teaching in easy to grasp sections that can be used as an how to guide by anyone with a dream.
      Without saying, the focus is on building a strong online presence and as a blogger, I found these lessons helpful to people like me as well that may not want to run a business, but have a strong online presence to bring a message across. Really anyone, from an experienced MBA to a mom-blogger like me that has some ideas about products or services to commercialize will find useful hints and tips and guides in this book. Will it still take effort and time and luck, yes- but reading this book is a good first step to see what is involved in building a business today.
      I particular found the lesson on branding to be important - you do want to stand out for the right reasons and not be one of a large number of would-be owners that sell a product. In addition, what really assured me about giving the online presence of a business a try and expanding form just running a blog for reviewing products was his statement that running your own business can be ore stable than working for someone else. A lot people feel that running your business is unstable and insecure, but really working for someone else, especially in at-will states without union protection will make you employed at the will of someone else and you have very little stability.



      available on amazon.com

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

      Sunday, June 4, 2017

      Crowdtap sampling: The Revlon Youth Fx line of anti-aging products


       Through Crowdtap I received the full set of Revlon Youth FX line of products, which takes anti-aging to a whole new level and you can actually see an effect after just one use. The set consists of the following products:

      • Revlon Youth Fx Fill + Blur Primer, Forehead
      • Revlon Youth Fx Fill + Blur Concealer in a variety of skin tones to match your tone perfectly
      • Revlon Youth Fx Fill + Blur Foundation again available to perfectly match your skin tone
      • Revlon Youth Fx Fill + Blur Primer, Face/Neck
      The components include the latest in anti-aging science, such as the Face/Neck Primer that is specifically formulated for the face and the neck. It contains micro-spheres and optical diffusers as part of Revlon Youth FX's innovative, age corrective technology.
      copyright Durhamonthecheap - Love how my skin tone has improved!
      I used it once and could also feel that my skin felt tighter and overall had a younger look to it. And to make sure that you can have a natural look, the products come in a range of skin colors, such as the Concealer, which is available in six different skin colors.

      copyright Durhamonthecheap- problems be gone thanks to Revlon YouthFx
      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.

      Saturday, June 3, 2017

      Book review: Let's Be Real: Living life as an open and honest you by Natasha Bure


      This is a great book that parents can give their pre-teen and teen kids, in particular their teenage daughters, who may think that the world is a less than perfect place (which it is). Reading this book can help your teenagers to understand that we all have problems, they are not alone with their problems and life goes on. Even if some youtube celebrity or daughter of a TV star like Natasha Bure may have the seemingly perfect life, she still struggles with the same issues that any young woman or girl struggles with. There are pimples, boyfriend breakups and plenty of self-doubt. But life goes on and tomorrow is a new day that brings new opportunity make things better and see something positive. It is that positive attitude that I really enjoyed in this book and I found so refreshing as a message for teenagers.
      While Natasha is certainly benefiting from a financially stable upbringing and parents that can provide her with a lot - not just time, but also material things. She still manages to write a book that I find in the language used and the issues tackled to be good for teenagers. I think parents should discuss with their kids that the material benefits that Natasha enjoyed set her apart from most kids in the US and the rest of the world, but that material things are not what happiness is about and the reader should focus on a message of a positive attitude towards tomorrow.

      available on amazon.com


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

      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.