Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dark Light Book Review/Kindle Giveaway

There is nothing that makes me jump on the chance to promote something more than to hear that it is raising money for charity. What pulls even more on my heartstrings is when it is a children's charity. The Book Dark Light is a compilation of short horror stories. The 42 writers of the book have come together to raise money for The Ronald McDonald House. The Author who edited the book- Carl Hose- has had personal experience with the Ronald McDonald House when he daughter Ireland was born premature.

Here are some pictures of the Hose family during which they 
utilized the Ronald McDonald House charities personally-

Carl Hose's daughter Ireland.

Daddy & daughter.

The whole Hose familly!

Summary from the back cover of Dark Light-

Make no mistake, though. These are horror writers and the stories they’ve written are not pretty. Traditional and non-traditional horror, dark humor, ghosts, serial killers, alternate universes, magic, zombies, and other creatures of the night hide between these pages. Shadows move and dead fingers stroke unsuspecting flesh, razor sharp knives shimmer in the moonlight, and unknown things hide in closets and under the bed. The stories here are as varied as the writers themselves. If you’re a fan of horror, you will not be let down.

Despite the horrific nature of these tales, however, their very existence in Dark Light stands as proof there will always be a light at the end of every tunnel.

Turn the lights down low and enjoy the show.

My Review-

I really enjoyed this compilation. If you like the horror genre, you will probably enjoy this book full of short stories. There are some really good ones in here and to my delight there are a few stories full of dark humor sprinkled in. I like that Dark Light is packed full of short stories, this one will keep you reading for a while with over 500 pages, but it's nice since they are short stories so you can read just a few at a time if you want. I will warn that for those who are easily offended, there is some swearing throughout, but nothing too outrageous.  I am really impressed that so many authors would come together to compile this anthology and help raise money for the Ronald McDonald charity which is so near and dear to Carl Hoes's heart.

Stories I really enjoyed within the book:

Crasher by: Debbie Kuhn
Harbinger by: Carl Hose
Death Comes Calling by: Randy Chandler
After the Fall by: Paul Fry
Death Comes Calling by: Randy Chandler
Resurrecting Mindy by: Joe McKinney
The Bride of Frankenstein Dances with Celebrity by: Chris Hugh

Carl Hose online:
Connect with Carl Hose on Facebook    
Connect with Carl Hose on Twitter    

Enter via the rafflecopter below to win a Kindle!

a Rafflecopter giveaweay

*Disclaimer- I was provided a copy of Dark Light for the purposes of this review. All opinions stated are 100% my own.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Vegan Gourmet/Vegenaise Product Review

Although I have not been actively posting about it the last few weeks, at the end of May, I decided that for June, I was going to go vegetarian. I come from a meat eating family and I have been eating meat my entire life, but I have always felt the pangs of guilt doing so and for some reason the last year or so, it has become almost impossible to take a bite. Anyway, I also know there are health benefits to cutting out meat, so that helped steer me in this direction. A few days ago, I was at my mom's house and all she had were meat based products to eat, so I thought, well I'll be a vegetarian at home and eat meat in social situations. It did not go over well. Not only did I feel gross eating meat, I felt sick for the entire next day. I have not had any meat other than that one time. What was supposed to be a month long project looks like it will turn into something more than that.

That is why I am so glad to have discovered Follow Your Heart's products. One that you have probably heard of is Vegenaise. It is a substitute for mayonnaise that is soy based and doesn't contain egg. You can use Vegenaise for many purposes such as for a salad dressing, a condiment for a sandwich or like I did to replace the oil in a muffin recipe. I found a recipe on VegWeb for Chocolate Muffins. The only thing I changed was using Vegenaise in place of the vegetable oil. These muffins turned out wonderful. My husband could not get enough of them! I made them without cupcake liners and just sprayed the muffin tin with cooking oil. The next time I attempt these, I will use liners, they were hard to get out of the pan and most fell apart, but they were still delicious. I think they would have stayed together better in paper liners. I did take a little taste of the Veganaise as I made the cupcakes and to my surprise it tasted pretty much exactly like mayo. I am thinking my next adventure with it will either be something like a tomato basil sandwich or maybe even a pea salad or something of that sort!

Follow Your Heart  has a line of products called "Vegan Gourmet." These include dairy replacements such a " block cheese," "sour cream," and "cream cheese." None of these actually contain dairy, but are meant to replace dairy products of the same nature. I used Vegan Gourmet cream cheese to make a  vegetarian version of  this mini pot pie that I really like. Instead of using chicken stock, I used vegetable stock. To make it quicker, I used frozen organic vegetables and to give it a creamy texture I used the cream cheese replacement. It is really simple, you just preheat the oven to 350, spray a muffin tin with cooking spray, place the egg roll wrappers in, boil the frozen veggies until cooked, drain the water, add the Vegan Gourmet cream cheese and 1 cup of vegetable stock (or not chicken stock, which tastes like chicken but is vegetable based- I will probably do this next time) Add some onion powder, garlic powder and tarragon to taste and then add a little bit of cornstarch to thicken the base. Boil that in the pan really quickly for about a minute, then spoon the mixture into the egg roll wrappers and put the tops down so it will make a little bundle. Bake in the oven for around 20 minutes and you have a tasty ALMOST vegan pot pie...if only I could find a vegan egg roll wrapper! Give it a try and come back and let me know what you think. This is a simple recipe with very few ingredients! Hope you enjoy! Even my husband said he couldn't tell it was vegetarian!
Vegan Gourmet Cream Cheese
Ingredients used for the pot pie bundles.
Finished product. The one in the back is what it looks
 like before you cut it open.
Follow Your Heart products are all free of common allergens, which make them a good choice for people with major allergens or those who just want to eat healthier. A big win in my book is that ALL of their products are GMO free.

*Disclaimer- I was provided complimentary products for this review. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

$100 ModaXpress Online Gift Card Giveaway

$100 ModaXpress Gift Card Giveaway

Giveaway Runs from June 21 - July 4 @ 11:59 pm

Complete outfit $45

I think ModaXpress clothes are perfect for the tredsetting junior, but I also think that they are wearable for the fashionable adult. They have plenty of dresses I would be more than willing to wear myself. 

ModaXpress is a junior clothing online store offering the latest fashion in discount teen clothing and trendy juniors clothing. Whether you need casual junior tops, dressy teen tops, a pair of comfortable juniors jeans, or a sexy junior outfit. If you are all about fashion forward and trendsetting styles look no further. Read the complete review done by A Thrifty Diva Surviving Mommy Hood HERE.

Complete Outfit $45

Giveaway Time a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 22, 2012

Conscious Box Giveaway! (Win July's box!)

Back in April I wrote a review about a wonderful subscription box that I really love to support- Conscious Box. I really like Conscious Box because all of their products are green, all natural and they respect the environment by only including sustainable items. You can read my Conscious Box review here. I highly recommend this subscription box to anybody who is interested in going green, making healthier choices or who just enjoys discovering new products.

The kind people at Conscious box want to give one lucky reader a chance to check out what they are all about. One reader will win the July Conscious Box! Enter via the Rafflecopter below. There is one easy entry.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 18, 2012

Day Three- Perfume Oil Review

In May, I wrote a review about some awesome products from Day Three . Not only do they make the most fabulous smelling all natural bath and body products, they are a company that is based entirely in their Christian faith. Learn all about Day Three and some of their other products by reading my review of their soaps and scrubs!

Today I am going to tell you all about their perfume oil! I was sent a perfume oil in Anointed. It is a lovely, light, clean scent. It isn't too feminine, but isn't overly masculine either, which makes it the perfect oil blend to be used by either men or women. I would say I would learn more toward women wearing it, but I think that is just because I have been the one wearing it. Anointed could definitely be worn by a man who might prefer a light scent. You really don't have to apply a ton to get a nice smell, just hit all of the pulse points (wrists, neck, behind the ears) and you are good to go. The Day Three perfume oils come in a glass roller ball container which makes them convenient to throw in your purse in case the need of a touch up arises.

Day Three perfume oils are also available in the following scents:

Milk & Honey
Coconut & sweet lime
Black raspberry & vanilla
Pear & Pomegranate
Cherry Almond
Good Tidings
Brown Sugar Fig
Agape Female
Agape Male
Valor for men

As you can see there are plenty of choices for both women AND men! I like that many of the fruit scents are ones that you can't find anywhere else and I love that many of the names of these perfume oils are Biblically based. I don't think there is one on the list that I wouldn't mind giving a try (except of course, the ones for men- but I wouldn't mind smelling those on Adam!)

I was impressed! These little roller balls will last quite some time since you don't need to use a ton of the perfume at once. I think they are a steal at $8 each! These perfume oils would also make a wonderful gift. You could even get two or three scents so that the recipient would have a few to choose from or mix and match with other Day Three Products for the perfect gift basket!

*Disclaimer- I was sent a complimentary perfume oil for the purposes of this review, however all opinions stated above are 100% my own.

Bridgeworld by Travis McBee- Book Review

William Haynes has it easy. He is smart, a star athlete and can have his pick of girls. He has the perfect life. A life any middle school aged boy would dream of. But something is missing. That is, until a strange man begins to follow him and he learns his parents have been keeping an enormous secret from  him- they are actually from another planet! William is offered the opportunity to attend school on Broglio at Bridgeworld, his parents alma mater. At Bridgeworld he will finally be challenged- academically and athletically- and finally feel that he is where he belongs.

I thought Bridgeworld was a pretty good read. I really enjoyed the prologue with Will's parents background story and how they ended up on Earth. It was also refreshing that although it was a fantasy novel, there were no super powers or magic going on and that the residents of "Broglio" look the same as the humans of Earth. I thought it was an original story and I really enjoyed that about it. I would say though, that this story is definitely meant for young boys. It is written from a young teen boy's view and I think they have the most to gain from reading Bridgeworld. I also think they would get the most enjoyment out of it and be able to relate to it on every level. I don't think that girls wouldn't enjoy it, there is a touch of a love story in it, not enough to gross out guys, but maybe just enough to satisfy a young girl. I would say overall though, this is a story that boys would specifically enjoy.

The ending was definitely leading into another story, Bridgeworld is definitely intended to be a series. I think those are the best types of young adult novels because then you really have time to connect with the characters and watch them grow! The 2nd installment in the Bridgeworld series will be available sometime in July.

Bridgeworld on
Bridgeworld on

*Disclaimer- I was provided a copy of Bridgeworld by Hydra Publications for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review. All thoughts stated above are 100% my own.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

FREE Retail Me Not Iphone App!

If you like a good deal, you have probably heard of It is a website that compiles all of the current coupons codes from thousands of retailers and restaurants.

Now Retail Me Not is making saving money even easier, with their new FREE App for the iPhone! The new app will help you find the best coupons so you can save online or in store at your favorite retail spots!

The Retail Me Not app will provide you with the best online coupons from thousands of merchants, and more than 1600 in-store redeemable coupons.

Retail Me Not's iPhone app is super easy to use. The simple drag and drop allows easy, online coupon redemption. You even have the option to save coupons for later! Browse all of your favorite stores and find coupons to save you money!

Download the Retail Me Not App on iTunes

RetailMeNot Coupons app for iPhone from RetailMeNot on Vimeo.

This is a sponsored post on behalf of One2One Network for RetailMeNot. All opinions stated are my own.

Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore- Book Review/Blog Tour

Summary of Angel Eyes-

Once you've seen, you can't unsee. Everything changes when you've seen the world through...
Angel Eyes

Brielle went to the city to chase her dreams and found tragedy instead. She comes home to shabby little Stratus, Oregon, to live with her grief and guilt...and the incredible, numbing cold she can't seem to shake.

Jake's the new guy at school. The boy next door with the burning hands and an unbelievable gift that Targets him for corruption.

Something more than fate has brought them together. An evil bigger than both of them lurks in the shadows nearby, hiding in plain sight. Two angels stand guard, unsure what's going to happen. And a beauty brighter than Jake or Brielle have ever seen  is calling them to join the battle in a realm where all human choices start.

A realm that only angels and demons- and Brielle can perceive.

About the Author-

Shannon is a wife and mother. A sister. A daughter. A friend. She was raised in Northern California by her parents-pastors of their local church and constant figures of inspiration.

As a youth, Shannon traveled with an award-winning performing arts team, excelling on stage and in the classroom. As a young adult, she attended Portland Bible College, continued acting, and worked with an outreach team targeting inner-city kids in the Portland-Metropolitan area.

It was in Portland that she met her husband, Matt. They were married in 2002. Soon after, they took the reigns of the youth ministry at Living Way Community Church in Roseville, California where they continue to serve in that capacity. In 2004, their son, Justus was born, followed by their daughter Jazlyn, born in 2008.

My Thoughts:

I absolutely loved Angel Eyes. It is a book in the Young Adult genre, which I particularly enjoy and seems to be very popular with many readers at the moment. (Think The Hunger Games or Twilight but with a message of faith) I was very relieved to see a book about the super natural that WAS NOT about vampires...or werewolves. This book is about angels and demons, about good and evil. I really enjoyed getting to know both Jake and Brielle in this story. I love Dittemore's writing style, she had me turning page after page to see what would happen next, I just couldn't put this book down. I quite enjoyed the other "realm" where Jake and Brielle discover that they both have different gifts and that realm also changes how they see the world and the people in it. I loved the action packed ending. Angel Eyes was full of action, suspense and just the right amount of romance.

This is a debut novel, one of the best I have read in a while. I am so excited that this is the first in a trilogy. I can not wait to read the next two! I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys, Christian fiction, paranormal fiction, romance or the YA genre.

WIN a Nook Color from Shannon Dittemore (@ShanDitty)! "Angel Eyes" Giveaway and Facebook Party {6/26} Celebrate with Shannon by entering her "Angel Eyes" Giveaway and connecting with her during the Author Chat Party on 6/26!

Find out what readers are saying here.

One "angelic" winner will receive:

  • A Brand New Nook Color
  • A copy of Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends at noon on June 25th. Winner will be announced at the "Angel Eyes" Author Chat Facebook Party on 6/26. Shannon will be hosting a book chat, testing your trivia skills and giving away some great prizes!

So grab your copy of Angel Eyes and join Shannon on the evening of the June 26th for a chance to meet Shannon and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 26th!

*Disclaimer- I received a complimentary copy of Angel Eyes through LitFuse Publicity for the purposes of this review/blog tour. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated above are 100% my own. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

KLUTCHclub Health & Fitness Subscription box review & giveaway!!

I am a huge fan of the subscription box craze currently going on. I don't know why nobody had thought of this splendid idea until now. Basically, subscription boxes are filled with 4-6 products, sometimes samples, sometimes full size products, for a flat rate each month. The idea is that you get to try things you might not normally get to try for a discounted price to give it a try and companies get their products out to masses of people. It is definitely a win/win situation! There are many subscription boxes out there that are kind of the same, so I always jump on the opportunity when a new and different one comes along.

I couldn't be more excited about KLUTCHclub. It is all about health and fitness, and we could always use a little bit more of both in our lives! I love discovering products in these categories, so this box is just right up my alley! I like that there are different options as far as your subscription to fit your budget! You can get a one time box for $18, a 3 month subscription with each month's cost being $17 or you can get a year subscription where each box is $16. I like that you have the option to get a single box to try things out and see how you are going to like it. You can also purchase any of the subscription options as a gift! I like that the gift option is available because I think subscription boxes make awesome presents!

I was sent the May KLUTCHclub box for this review! It was full of some pretty awesome goodies!

When I slid the box out, this is what it looked like:

Here is what was in the box!

KLUTCHclub water bottle

O.N.E Coconut Water. A great drink to
hydrate or for recovery after a  workout!

Hydroxatone InstantEFFECT-90 Second Wrinkle Reducer!
It does work and super fast!

$25 off a $26 or more purchase at
 One for you, one for you to share! 

2 think Thin bars. These are a VERY filling snack! I had one
at around 1 and was not hungry AT ALL until at least 7.
They are very tasty too!

One free download (up to $10) at
I downloaded a 60 minute yoga class! Can't wait to try it!
 As you can tell just from the Yoga Download and Moving Comforts alone, this box more than paid for itself. KLUTCHclub guarantees over $50 worth of health and fitness products each month for as little as $16 and at the most $18. I would say my favorite products from this box are the think Thin bars and the free download! I absolutely recommend this box, whether you are a health and fitness novice or expert, or fall somewhere in between. This box is sure to satisfy everyone interested in health and fitness products!

KLUTCHclub wants to give one lucky reader the chance to get their own KLUTCHclub box for FREE! Enter via the rafflecopter below for your chance to win!!

KLUTCHclub was also generous enough to offer a special offer for Cristi's Reviews readers who don't win the giveaway. When you purchase ANY subscription of KLUTCHclub, and enter the code LUCKY when you get to the shopping cart, you will receive a free month of KLUTCHclub!

Want ANOTHER chance to win a KLUTCHclub box?? My friend Crystal over at Trying New Products is also currently giving a box away! Go to Trying New Things to try and win the April Klutchclub box!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclaimer- I was provided a complimentary KLUTCHclub box in exchange for an honest review. All opinions stated above are 100% my own. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hylunia Skin Care Review

One of the biggest concerns for women is their skin and in particular their face. Many of us put a lot of effort into a daily regimen devoted to keeping our face looking young and healthy. Unfortunately, a lot of skin care products have harmful chemicals in them that can do more harm than good. This is not the case with Hylunia skin care products.

Hylynia was born when a concerned father, who also happened to be a scientist, searched for safe skin care products to use on his then infant daughter, without much success. He decided to partner with a team of accomplished dermatoligists, scientists and physicians to create an irritant free product line that would use nature's healing power to keep skin safe, soft and radiant. So in 1988, Hylunia was born.

I was sent the normal/combination skin travel kit to try out. It included travel sized items of the facial cleansing gel, Colloidal Silver with lavender floral water spritz, super moisturizing facial day lotion, and super moisturizing night cream. I have been impressed with the overall regimen. The first day the cleansing gel did dry my face out a little bit, but I didn't notice that happening any other day. I do have dry skin though, so that could be why I ran into that problem, but like I said, it was only for the first day. The moisturizers were to do for. My face felt so hydrated after using them. And I was really happy to see colloidal silver used in this skin care kit. It's healing properties are amazing and have really helped minimize the eczema that I tend to get on my face.

Other product benefits listed on the Hylunia website of using this beauty regimen are-
* the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles
*repairs sun damaged, over treated, asphyxiated or dehydrated skin (my skin definitely feels less dehydrated!)
*deeply cleanses to minimize the appearance of blackhead formation and protects skin against microbial proliferation.

I was impressed with Hylunia without a doubt. I would recommend any of these products to anyone that likes to take an organic/natural approach to skin care. I also really love the fact that all items ship for free!

Connect with Hylunia on Facebook
Connect with Hylunia on Twitter

*Disclaimer- I was sent a travel size skincare kit to try for this review. All opinions stated in this post are 100% my own.

Sonos Father's Day Promotion at Target through June 16th!

Now through June 16th at Target, anyone who purchases a Play:3 Sonos HiFi System will receive a $30 Target gift card. A $40 Target gift card is being offered with the purchase of a Play:5 Sonos HiFi System. The Sonos systems would make a wonderful Father's day present for your dad or husband! Here are some more details on each system:


Compact, all-in-one Sonos player with 3 integrated speakers and 3 digital amps for big HiFi sound. Available in Black or White ($299)

Original, bigger room, all-in-one Sonos player with 5 integrated speakers and 5 digital amps for a powerhouse of HiFi sound. Available in Black or White ($399)

You can stream your music library, over 100,000 internet radio stations (and for free!) or use an online music service- without a computer. Sonos HiFi systems are sure to please the music lovers in your life!

Learn more about the Sonos Wireless HiFi System by watching the video below!

Disclaimer- I participated in this campaign as a member of the OnetoOneNetwork. The post makes me eligible for a prize drawing. All opinions stated in this post are 100% my own. Saving you money and helping give back!

I know many of you out there are college students or like me, your spouse is the one in school. Tuition can cost quite a bit on it's own and textbooks just add on to that. That's where comes in! You rent your books instead of buying them and that cuts down on the overall cost. Shipping both to you and back to after you are done is totally free!

For example, a very common class to take the first year or two of college is Anatomy & Physiology. So I decided to see how much an A & P book would cost. I typed Anatomy & Physiology into the search box and it showed me a few different options. I clicked on the first one. It tells me that the same book would be $155 to buy on, but through it is $31.41! That is a pretty great deal! With Campus Book Rentals you will save 40-90% off of your textbooks! And another big plus is you are even allowed to highlight in the books! As I mentioned before, shipping is free both ways (and will take the standard 7-14 business days to arrive), but if you need your books faster, there are reasonable rates for faster shipping.

If saving tons of money on your books wasn't enough, likes to give back. A portion of the profits from each Textbook rental goes to Operation Smile. This great charity helps kids that were born with cleft palates be able to get the surgery they need to eat, to smile. Campus Book Rentals has helped operation smile by donating over 1,000 life saving cleft lip surgeries this year!

I only wish we had heard of Campus Book Rentals sooner, my husband and I definitely plan to utilize this service for his last year of school that will begin in August and passing word along to all of our friends and family that are in school. After all, when you are in College, you can never save enough money!

Connect with  Campus Book Rentals on Facebook
Connect with  Operation Smile on Facebook

*Disclaimer- I will be receiving $50 credit toward textbooks for my husband for next semester in exchange for this host. All opinions stated here are 100% my own.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dallas (2012) on TNT- Series premiere review

I'll admit, I have never seen the original Dallas series. The show ran from 1978-1991, which means it started before I was born and ended when I was 9 years old. I have always heard plenty about it though, my mom was 18 in 1978 and I am pretty sure she watched the entire series. I also live near Dallas, so Southfork Ranch is kind of a big deal here! I have always wanted to go visit it...but I am getting off track...

I was lucky to receive the GREAT Klout perk to be one of the first to watch the series premiere of the Dallas tv series reboot. That's right,  there is an all new Dallas about to start and introduce a whole new audience (my generation) the the scheming of the Ewing family. The 2 hours season premiere of Dallas is set for tomorrow June 13th at 9pm Eastern time.

I thought at first that I might have trouble following what was going on since I hadn't watched the original series, but that doesn't seem to be the case at all. The beauty about the new Dallas, is that many of the original cast members like Patrick Duffy and Larry Hagman are back reprising their roles, which is a great incentive for fans of the original series to watch, but the actors playing their adult kids are some pretty awesome actors that I quite like, such as Jordana Brewster and Jesse Metcalfe- the ladder of whom many soap opera fans will recognize from the very popular soap opera Passions. I was glad to see him in this cast- almost enough incentive on it's own for me to watch, but there was so much more I enjoyed about it. I liked that right away, I had strong feelings for many characters- whether it be that I liked them or couldn't stand them. I was drawn so into it, that I feel like I should try to get my hands on the original series, or at least the most popular episodes, to familiarize myself with the characters-although I don't feel that is entirely necessary.

What I gathered from the series premiere is that there was a huge rivalry between JR Ewing (portrayed by Hagman) and Bobby Ewing (portrayed by Patrick Duffy) that is now surfacing between  JR's son John Ross (portrayed by Josh Henderson) and Bobby's son Christopher (portrayed by Metcalfe). It also seems that the old rivalry between Bobby and JR is also going to resurface soon, much to Bobby's chagrin. This is a rich Texas family that is involved in the Oil and Cattle industries.

I highly recommend tuning in whether you are an old fan or someone who has never seen the original series and you enjoy a good drama.

Don't forget to tune in tomorrow night!


Want to help me win an all expensive paid trip to visit Southfork Ranch? Give me +K in Dallas (TV Show) on Klout. I will happily return the favor in any category you chose! I am currently influencer number 69 (being in the top 100 got me this awesome perk) and I need to be in the top 10! If you are not on Klout yet, GET ON KLOUT, I can not tell you the massive amount of things I have received from them, just from being on there. It is free and lots of fun!


*Disclaimer- I received the early copy of the Dallas Premiere for being in the top 100 influencers in Dallas on Klout. I was in no way compensated or required to post a review of any kind.

Omni Mandalay Las Colinas, Texas- Hotel & Restaurant Review

My husband and I stay very busy. He has been going to school since before I met him and is still doing so nine years later. In addition to being in school, he also works the night shift in the ER four times a week. I don't have a clue how he does both. I stay at home with our 3 kids, and that is no cake walk either! We don't often get time alone because of our schedules and as a result when the opportunity presents itself, we go all out.

Our wedding anniversary is June 10. This year marks 6 years for us. We were lucky that my aunt and uncle were willing to take the kiddos for us, so that we could have a staycation here in the metroplex.

We chose the Omni Mandalay hotel in Las Colinas as our destination, we have heard such great things about it and read such wonderful reviews online through We emailed the hotel ahead of time about a question we had and mentioned it was our anniversary and I am so glad did. :)

When we got to the hotel and checked in, we found out our room was on the 28th floor, the top floor at the Mandalay. We thought it was pretty cool that we were staying right next to the presidential suite. Ah, to be near a room you can only dream of staying in. But when we stepped in our room, we were not disappointed. Our expectations were exceeded. We noticed right when we walked in that there was a card with our name on it accompanied by chocolate covered strawberries and chilled sparkling wine.

We didn't at all expect that and thought it was a wonderful gesture! We opened the card to a personal message to us:

We were already beyond thrilled! We went to check out the rest of the room. Not only was there plenty of space, there was an amazing view of the downtown Dallas Skyline and Lake Carolyn, which is adjacent to the hotel.

Since we arrived pretty late, we decided to eat dinner at the hotel's restaurant- Trevi's. We made a reservation at around 5:30 for 7:30 that night, so we changed our clothes really quickly and headed downstairs to make it there in time. We thought Trevi's was gorgeous! The ambiance was great. We loved that it was quiet and dimly lit, perfect for an anniversary dinner. We were also impressed that they bottle the water on site and in glass. And it was tasty. We also thought the bread was really good and we both have a haunch that it is also probably made in the restaurant. It was very thick and creamy. Adam got a steak and truffle mashed potatoes and I got the primavera pasta which was loaded with tons of vegetables and tossed in a white wine sauce. We both really enjoyed what we got to eat and would recommend the restaurant to anyone going out for a special occasion in the DFW area.

After dinner we decided to go take a walk outside near Lake Carolyn. We briefly considered taking a Gondola ride, but we were unsure if reservations were required and we just decided we'd rather just continue our walk and then sit on one of the many benches and take in the scenery. It was a nice cool night, but even if it wasn't, I think the big shade trees coupled with the lake would've kept us cool.

To conclude our evening, we went back to our room to enjoy our strawberries and sparkling wine and just spend some uninterrupted time together!

We really enjoyed every aspect about our stay at the Omni Mandalay! We would both highly recommend this hotel to anyone staying in the area, or who like us, needs to just get away from the daily grind. Adam and I both look forward to checking out the many other Omni Hotels.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Telefora Giveaway-4 winners, $50 gift certificates each!

Father’s Day is June 17th. This year treat dad with gifts that are as special as he is.

Bath and Body Works has some great products for men. They are formulated specifically for men and smell really good if I do say so myself. I don't mind snuggling with my husband when he smells this good! ;)
Every man needs options! This Shower Gel Sampler includes three full-size Signature Shower Gels in Ocean, Noir and Twilight Woods, 10 oz. each, perfectly packaged in a Dopp case. Dopp case is easily wiped clean.
Price: $25
Where to buy: Bath & Body Works and
This gift pack contains three of our hottest products for men: Bay Rum Hair & Body Wash, Bay Rum Aftershave and a 1.7 oz tube of our famous Premium Shave Cream.
Price: $35
Where to buy: C.O. Bigelow &

Teleflora is offering a great take on a boquet but for men! Look at this awesome ceramic replica of the classic Jeep Wrangler!
Put the petal to the metal for Dad on his special day with bright flowers in a ceramic replica of the classic Jeep® Wrangler. He’ll get a kick out of this delightful keepsake and keep it on his desk to give his spirits a lift all year long.
Price: $46.95
Where to buy:

The Crossing by Serita Ann Jakes- Book Review

I was excited to come across The Crossing by Serita Ann Jakes. I knew when I read the summary of the book, that it would be something I would enjoy. The book is about a shooting that takes place on a school bus 10 years prior injuring a star football player, Casio Hightower, killing head cheeleading coach BJ Remington and forever changing the life of Claudia, a student and cheerleader that had a very close relationship with Remington. The story is set ten years later where Claudia's husband, who happens to be a lawyer, re-opens the case in hopes of giving his wife some closure and Casio Hightower, who is now a police officer, seems to be dealing with post traumatic stress disorder. The Crossing is a great portrayal of what life might be like for the victims of such a tragedy, even ten years later. I thought Jakes did a great job of not trying to sugar coat things. Sometimes life just doesn't always have a happy ending. This is a great read for someone who enjoys a good drama with a little bit of suspense.

Take a peek- Read the first chapter of The Crossing
About the author- Serita Ann Jakes

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*Disclaimer- I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Filippo Berio Olive Oil Review

I was pretty excited to be invited to the Filippo Berio Olive Oil campaign through Bzzagent. As I have mentioned on this blog a few times (okay- more than a few!) I started really trying to cook and eat healthy in 2007 after I became pregnant with my first baby. One of the very first things I did, was start using olive oil as my main oil.

I really liked the taste and quality of Filippo Berio. I love that it comes in a glass bottle. Being in glass seems to preserve the full flavor of the oil, at least to me, as opposed to using a plastic bottle. On top of that, you don't have to worry about BPA (bisphenol a) with glass. And it's more environmentally friendly.

Olive oil is very versatile. You can use it for everything- from sauteing to oven frying chicken to using it as a drizzle for veggies or a base for a salad dressing. You can even use it as a substitute for butter!

I would absolutely recommend Filippo Berio to anyone who uses olive oil or who is interested in starting.  You can get more information at There is even a great section full of awesome recipes!

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Disclaimer- I received free Filippo Berio olive oil through Bzzagent in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Getting Healthy in June Days 6 +7

Well, the last few days have been nuts and I have slipped up a few times and not done my workouts. My 4 year old has all of the sudden decided that sleeping is something that she doesn't require pretty much at all. I usually do my workouts after all of the kids are in bed, but she keeps staying awake until almost 11! I am going to just start doing them as soon as I put the boys to sleep. I did manage to fit in a 15 minutes Pilates workout. I did that while they were all awake. It was funny because Miles was trying to do the workout with me, it was super cute. I think I have decided I like Pilates much better than Yoga, but maybe one day Pilates will make me flexible enough to actually get better at Yoga. I am decent at it, but not as good as I like. I won a yoga prize package a while back at a Gaiam TV twitter party that included yoga blocks, I need to remember to utilize them. :) Anyway, I know that I probably won't have time for any workout tomorrow because I have my cousins graduation at 11 AM, then her party at 3 PM and then Adam and I are going to start our anniversary celebration. We have been married for 6 years on Sunday! Time flies when you're having fun (or you have 3 kids and your husband is constantly in school ;)) Well, I will try to wake up early and fit in a workout. And I will definitely be doing the Shred tonight! No excuses! The exact same thing happened the last time I did this workout. I did a terrible job the first week and then stuck to my guns and did it for 30 days after the first week was out of the way, looks like that is how it is going to be again. So I guess it's now turned into the 37 day shred. lol

I have really been good about eating vegetarian, minus the whole eating eggs thing. Any Vegetarians/Vegans out there have any tips for that? In fact, it has got to a point that the thought of eating meat makes me feel sick. That has always been, but now even more so. I might be sticking to this for good. I won't make my family, unless they just want to, but I have been trying to cut meat out of my diet for so long and I am glad that I have finally been successful! And it really hasn't been that difficult. I do need to start keeping up with my food diary on Myftitnesspal so that I make sure I stay within my calorie allowance. I have made one exception to eating vegetarian (besides the eggs) and that is to continue to take Krill oil. The benefits have just been so great for me.

Well, I probably won't write journal entry about this again until Monday, so see ya then!

Little Black Bag Review- Update

Hi everyone! I just wanted to take the time to post an update about my missing item from Little Black Bag. You can see my original Little Black Bag review here. Anyway, yesterday when I had a pizza delivered, I noticed a box from Little Black Bag and hadn't ordered anything, so I was hoping that maybe they found the necklace I didn't receive. I was thrilled to open the box and find that necklace there! Yay! Now I do have 3 perfect Christmas gifts. :)

Thank you to Little Black Bag for making this great effort to make sure I got my missing item!

Connect with Little Black Bag on Facebook
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Little Black Bag is a whole new way to shop. You get to pick one item from many upscale brands. Once you purchase that item, LBB will add 2-3 more items that are guaranteed to be worth at least $100 total. If you don't like the items you received, you have a week to trade with other members until you get the box you want. The box is $49.95 or a one time box or gift box for $59.95.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Getting Healthy in June Day 4 + Day 5

Well Day 4 did not go at all well. Actually, that is not totally true. I did pretty well eating throughout the day. Yesterday was the first day my husband was off in four days. Sounds like very little, but since he is a nurse, he works 12 hour shifts, so we rarely see each other. Anyway, my daughter goes to dance class with my mother in law on Monday afternoon, so we decided to go to Target with our two year old boys and ended up at Golden Corral for dinner. I am proud to say I stuck with the vegetarian plan. I had a baked potato, about 1/2  a cup of peas, some rice with mixed veggies and then I had a few things to dip in the chocolate fountain.

The problem was, when my mother in law brought my daughter home, she also brought Adam's cousin who is visiting from San Jose, California. Don't get me wrong, I was very happy to see her and I have loved getting to know her, but I didn't think ahead and do my workout in the morning and I was beat by the time all of the kids got in bed.

Day 5 went pretty decent. I didn't keep up with Myfitnesspal today and that is always an issue for me, but I did manage to do Level 2 of the 30 Day Shred and my memory was correct. Even though it was more intense than level 1, it is just a more comfortable routine for me. I will stick with it, unless I feel like I can do level 3 at some point!

I haven't lost but a few ounces so far, but I can definitely feel my body changing shape again and that is always nice! I remember how great my clothes fit after I lost a few pounds the last time I did The Shred and then they all got two big for me! This time, I am aiming to stay that way for good! The goal right now is to lose at least 5 pounds by June 23rd, we have two weddings to go to that day and it would be lovely to feel comfortable and cute in my fancy clothes. :)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Cravebox "Taste of the Tropics" Twitter Party 6/5- Chat and Win Great Prizes!!

After a month of no Cravebox while they transitioned into a stand alone company, I was so thrilled to get my May "taste of the tropics" box. Maybe you are one of the lucky ones that got in on the beta Cravebox or one of the ones that got in during the last round of subcriptions or maybe you haven't had the chance to get a Cravebox yet. Regardless, you should join @cravebox tomorrow June 5th on Twitter at 9PM ET for a fun party full of prize giveaways every ten minutes!

You can RSVP for the Twitter party by leaving a comment on the Cravebox blog.

The great prizes to be given away include:

Sunsweet Gift Baskets
Lipton prize pack
Something from Tree Hut
Skinteresction prize pack
Guylian party pack

and the GRAND PRIZE- Belgian Chocolate Truffles & Pol Rogers champagne tasting party basket- Featuring Winston Churchill's champagne of choice, Pol Rogers, the extra Cuvee de Reserve which provides a luxurious indulgent when paired with Guylian luxuriously rich and creamy Belgian chocolate truffles. Over $120 value!

I actually discovered Cravebox by hearing about their first Twitter party through SheSpeaks and happened to win a box that first time, so I highly recommend for everyone to attend these parties!! :)

Win a chance to visit the set of "Safe Haven" & help support a great cause!

Hey everyone! I just wanted to share with you a great opportunity to support a great cause, The Nicholas Sparks Foundation. As a bonus, if you donate at least $10 by June 30, 2012 you will be entered for a chance to visit the set of the newest movie adaptation of a Sparks book- Save Haven, Starring Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough in July!

The prize will include-

*Visit to the movie set of Safe Haven
*Airfare, hotel and transportation
*Meet Nicholas Sparks on set!
*Meet Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough
*Signed copy of Safe Haven

Okay, they had me at airfare, hotel and transportation included, but getting to meet Nicholas Sparks? Now that would be a trip! I love everything about this contest and above all that it's entrants will help support such a great cause!

From the Safe Haven Fundraiser webpage-

"The Nicholas Sparks Foundation is a nonprofit committed to improving cultural and international understanding through global education experiences for students of all ages, as well as support of global organizations dedicated to helping communities and people in need."

"Donations to the Safe Haven fundraiser will go directly to Hope for the Warriors and The Epiphany School."

Donate Today!

More information on The Nicholas Sparks Foundation
More information on Hope For the Warriors
More information on The Epiphany School

And if you happen to win, please come back and share the details with us! If I win, I will be sure to do the same. 

Oh and if you haven't read Safe Haven, well...get to it! It is one of Sparks' best novels, in my very humble opinion. :)

May 2012 "Taste of the Tropics" Cravebox Review

I was very happy to receive my Cravebox this month! Well, I am always happy to get it, but since there wasn't a box in April, it was double exciting! It even comes in a bigger box, which I thought was awesome! I like the new box and it's presentation. This is what it looked like when I opened it-

I love the colorful raffia paper. And look at all of that product- all just for $10!

Here is a look at each item individually-

Sunsweet Plum Amazins'- two 1oz bags

I have seen these in the store and have been meaning to try them, but didn't want to buy a whole container in case no one in our house liked them. It seems I had nothing to worry about. We had them straight out of the bag and we all liked them. In fact, I have already bought a container at the store that I actually plan to add into some trail mix after I finish this blog post! This is what I love about Cravebox, the opportunity to try something you are hesitant about or that you might not have thought of to begin with! These are 1 oz bags. There was also a coupon in the box for 55 cents off and two recipes to use the Plum Amazins' in!

This Guylian sample box had 6 pieces of chocolate in it!

I love chocolate and by that I mean I love really good chocolate. I am already familiar with Guylian, but it was a nice treat for it to appear in the box. These Belgian chocolates are creamy and delicious.

Lipton Tea & Honey To-Go Sample in Mango Pineapple

This was a sample of one of those little drink packets you can put in your water. This is Green Tea with honey and available in several other flavors. There is also a coupon for 50 cents off of a box of Lipton Tea & Honey To-Go or Pitcher size box.

Tree Hut Shea Sugar Body Scrub in Coconut Lime

This Tree Hut Scrub is a full size product! It is 18 oz and retails for around $7.50! I haven't got the chance to use it yet, but it smells AMAZING, so I can't wait!

Skintersection Intense Repair Cream- 2oz

The Skintersection intense repair cream was by far my favorite product in  the May Cravebox! Not only does it truly work wonders on very dry skin (believe me, mine is super dry!) It is a full sized product and worth more than the entire Cravebox cost. This product retails for $17.95!

I would say that this month's Cravebox was a box full of great products! I've really enjoyed all of them!

Don't have a subscription to Cravebox yet? Come to their Twitter party tonight to learn more and to win prizes! Don't forget to RSVP!