Saturday, March 26, 2016

Book review: Pressing Pause: 100 Quiet Moments for Moms to Meet with Jesus by K Ehman and R Schwenk

This book is more religious than the books I normally read, but the title and the make up of the book sounded interesting and so I decided that this would be a good book to go through. As the title states, the book is about taking a break from a hustle of every day life and contemplating life and your own role in it. The book will be particularly welcome by mothers who juggle work and family, often with small kids, and seem to never catch a break. While this book will work not work some miracle and will allow a mother to get housework done in the half the time, it is a book that may provide a break from life for a mother by providing her brief sayings intended to convey strength, but also provide some peace of mind.
available on
I found this book a good read. I also realized that there is a 30 day pressing pause challenge that provides regular emails over the course of a month intended to encourage the reader and provide some respite from the stress of normal life.
As I stated earlier, this book is particular helpful for women who juggle multiple priorities in life and never seem to catch a break. At times, when it seems like there is just too much going on, sitting down for 15 minutes and read one of the sayings will help. Not only do you need to focus on somethings besides all items on the to do list, but the reader is presented with very life-affirming and supportive quotes.
Each section is formatted in a similar fashion. The heading gives a thematic context in which the quote can be applied. For example Finding Solitude or Befriending the Bitter. This is followed by a brief write-up in which the authors cite a moment in their lives when the quote came to mind, followed up a brief list of guided question that allows the reader to focus on the quote. There are even some blank lines for the reader to jot down their notes when thinking about the situation and what the quote means to them. Even if reading a section takes only a couple of minutes, the example and guided question make the reader refocus on the subject and require the reader to "press pause" from the daily routine they were engaged in. I found that taking a break and looking at such a section gave me the break I needed to gather new energy and re-engage in my work much more focused afterwards.

Disclaimer: I received a free advanced copy of the book for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this post are my own and have not been influenced by any third parties.

Product Review: apparelnbags for less - affordable, yet quality clothing!

I was offered to review a new site (at least for me) that sells clothing and bags. The clothing sold is for kids and adults and it is truly affordable, yet still chic and modern. I opted to buy the Devon & Jones Ladies Perfect Fit Y-Placket Convertible Sleeve Knit Top, which looked like a perfect piece of clothing for Spring. I also selected the top in green (they have several colors available) because I like to wear green in the Spring and not just because we have St. Patrick's Day during that season.
available at apparelnbags

copyright Durhamonthecheap - color is very nice and the fabric is supersoft!

copyright Durhamonthecheap - I like the ability to adjust the lengths of the sleeves

copyright Durhamonthecheap - stitching is fine and the shirt is very light!
I received the item very quickly and it was individually wrapped in plastic and then together with a packing slip in a sturdy plastic bag. The garment itself was a t-shirt like fabric, not too warm for the season, yet still providing the long sleeves if it gets a little bit cooler in the evening.
Overall, apparelnbags is great new site for affordable clothing that is fashionable and well made. I am happy with the purchase, so I cannot speak for how easy a return would be.
Try out the site and see whether you don't find some nice new clothes!
Disclaimer: I received a free product in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed are solely my own and have not been influenced by any third parties.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Book review: How to Live in Fear: Mastering the Art of Freaking Out by Lance Hahn

I have never suffered from real anxiety attacks, but I know people that have issues with anxiety and can appreciate how debilitating this issue can be. So I was interested in reading this book because the author himself has suffered from anxiety issues and uses this book as a guide for others on how to deal with anxiety attacks.
While medication to treat anxiety issues will often work for sufferers, it is important, as stated by the author in this book, to not forget the other aspects of the environment that can help. Especially important are family and friends. No person suffering from anxiety issues should be embarrassed about this issue and be afraid to talk to others about the problem, especially talk to family and friends. Even if medication in the end is the solution, having a support network will help and can often lessen the frequency of the attacks.
In his case, the author was lucky and found that not only family and friends, but his church community (the author is a pastor in real life) supported him in his struggle with anxiety. Such support in the environment can help reduce the anxiety issues and make the person affected more stable and relaxed.
While there are some religious overtones in the book, overall, the book is not a religious book. It is a book with life lessons, in particular for people suffering from anxiety, but also people surrounding them. To me, the book provided some new insights into how anxiety sufferers see the world and made an informative introduction to how people suffering from anxiety see the world.
available on

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

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Crowdtap Party: Garnier Olia home hair dye solution - very easy and consistent results!

Through Crowdtap I was given the opportunity to host a party showcasing the Garnier Olia home coloring kits that are easy to use and also produce consistent results.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - the party kit, including kits, clips and a small token for favors!

copyright Durhamonthecheap - my mother is happy to regain her blond hair and considers this her kit!

Disclaimer: I was provided with free products to host a gathering of friends and talk about hair coloring. The opinion expressed in this post is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Crowdtap sampling: Amopé Pedi Perfect Wet and Dry Rechargeable Foot File!

 I received this product thanks to Crowdtap and was very excited to try it out since summer means sandals and I would like to show off my feet as well taken care of. I have to admit that I was also a little bit apprehensive at first since I could see skin and toes flying off my feet, having never used such a product before. But my fears, as usual, were not based on reality and I am now a fan of Amope Pedi Perfect because it is easy to use and totally, absolutely safe.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - the product fresh out of the box. Looks nice and does not look at scary!

copyright Durhamonthecheap -feels surprisingly lightweight and the texture of the handle is comfortable

copyright Durhamonthecheap -instructions and yes, I did read them just to be sure!

copyright Durhamonthecheap -tool, stand and power supply. you need to fully the Pedi Perfect before the first use

copyright Durhamonthecheap -ready for use - green light is on and not blinking anymore!
copyright Durhamonthecheap - left foot not treated, right one after Amope - skin is lighter and smoother

Disclaimer: I received a free product to try out and review. The opinion expressed in this post is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Crowdtap sampling: Garnier Whole Blends

Through Crowdtap and Garnier I received a selection of samples from their new Whole Blends series of products. Garnier states on their website that whole blends are intended to take care of hair in a healthy way and that they carefully crafted a signature natural blend of select ingredients to care for hair. Select ingredients and unique fragrances are blended into each of the Whole Blends formulas to restore the health and natural beauty of your hair. I have to agree because the Coconut Water and Vanilla Milk Whole Blend not only smelled great, but left my hair feeling healthy after only a couple of uses.
copyright Durhamonthecheap -  Garnier Whole Blends making my hair look and feel beautiful

copyright Durhamonthecheap -  my mother loved her sample of Garnier Whole Blends
My mother used the Honey Treasures Whole Blend mix and her hair, as promised by the product description,  felt stronger and looked less damaged than with her usual hair treatment. The Honey Treasures product has a scent composed of royal jelly, honey and propolis, which is very light, but the shampoo is certainly powerful to restore healthy hair.
Overall, the product works great, leaving hair relaxed and healthy. The scents are pleasant and the hair is left manageable and looking healthy. It has shine and can be style with ease. 

Disclaimer: I received a selection of samples to try out and review. The opinion expressed in this post is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Crowdtap sampling: Secret Clinical Strength

Through Crowdtap I received a sample of  Secret Clinical Strength, which is a deodorant described as providing "Clinical Strength Deodorant Protection". I have to say that at first I was worried about possible skin irritation because a lot of the strong deodorants come with chemicals that may affect your skin health, but I should not have worried. This product went on smooth and left my skin feeling smooth and fresh. The variety was called light and fresh and this was a fitting description. I put it on in the morning and it left me protected all day long. The scent was pleasant and my skin was not irritated, even after applying the product several days in a row. Overall, the product worked well for me.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - my sample from Crowdtap and Secret

copyright Durhamonthecheap = smooth, quite solid deodorant that smells very nice.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - fresh scent and dries quickly on the skin

Disclaimer: I received a free product 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.

Book Review: VIP: How to Influence with Vision, Integrity, and Purpose by O. S. Hawkins

I was curious about this book because the title hits on three terms that I expect to be embodied by a strong leader. I had never heard of the author, so I was curious who Mr. Hawkins was. It turns out that Mr. Hawkins served churches in the Fort Lauderdale and in Dallas for more than twenty years and us currently the president of GuideStone Financial Resources, which serves two hundred thousand pastors, church staff, missionaries, and workers of various Christian organizations with their retirement needs.
Based on this information, I had high hopes for the book because Mr. Hawkins seemed to embody the leader that his book promised and while reading the book, it became clear that even though Mr. Hawkins is very much guided by his religion, the book nevertheless has lessons that anyone can build upon on their path to become a leader or a VIP as the title suggests.
Mr.  Hawkins wants to enable his readers to establish a life of Influence that embodies vision, integrity, and purpose. He uses stories derived from the bible or aligned with religious beliefs as well as examples of challenges encountered to show the reader how to become a better person and, more importantly, an inspirational leader. 
I found this book to be a good read when focusing on what is important in seeking to build a career or how to reinvent a career. The book may strike some readers as being oriented too much along the bible, but I found the bible references to be hooks for a story rather than the focus. The lessons summarized by Mr. Hawkins are generally applicable and important for anyone that wants to pursue a meaningful career and not just a job. 

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