Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Disney Descendants Gift Ideas Reviewed

Gifts For The Under Twelve Kids

maleficent descendants
Disney's Maleficent Sculpture courtesy of Pixabay.com
Children under twelve, especially the girls, are most probably huge fans of the Disney Descendants movies. I know one of my granddaughters absolutely loves the characters and stories. She has asked for some items for both her birthday and Christmas. 

If you are not familiar with this very popular Disney story line, let me give you a brief little synopsis. When the Beast and Belle (Beauty and the Beast) marry they unite all of the kingdoms into the United States of Auradon. It is an idyllic place hidden away where the "good" characters of Disney tales reside. The villains of those same stories are imprisoned on the Isle of the Lost with their sidekicks and various accomplices in evil. Some time has passed and those characters that we all grew up with have children of their own, the Descendants. 

Prince Ben who is the son of Beast and Belle is about to become King of Auradon. He feels that it would be beneficial to invite four of the troubled teens from the Isle of the Lost to come be educated at Auradon Prep and to live among the residents of the peaceful kingdom of his father and mother. He chooses Carlos (son of Cruella de Ville),  Jay (son of Jafar), Evie (daughter of The Evil Queen) and Mal (daughter of Maleficent). So the first movie is about the transition of those teens into the Auradon realm. 

A sequel was released in 2017 called Descendants 2. It continues with the plot of the Villain Kids trying to fit in. Mal becomes frustrated with the expectation that she be Royally Perfect and returns to the Isle of The Lost. New characters are introduced with Uma (daughter of Ursula), Harry (son of Captain Hook) and Gil (son of Gaston). Uma is resentful of not being chosen by Prince Ben and is the self proclaimed leader of the Villain Kids on the island. She isn't real happy about Mal returning, as you might imagine. 

So, if you have a child on your gift list who loves Disney; I would imagine that they are quite familiar with these two movies. There are all sorts of gift ideas for these little fans. Of course, there are action dolls that they can collect and play with. If they do not already have one, a DVD of each of the movies is a great idea. There are all sorts of activity books to color and create with and there are even costumes for the various characters of the movies. They can carry their items to and from school in a Descendants backpack and they can wear socks and other clothing with this theme. As with all Disney brands, there are many items that will make a child happy to have.

This brand is not going to go away anytime soon as a Descendants 3 is scheduled to be released in 2019. You might ask your little one which of the characters they love the best and start to stock up for gifts. My little one loves Uma. I wonder which one your little one loves. 



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Monday, July 30, 2018

Reviewing Northern Lights by Nora Roberts

Reviewing Northern Lights by Nora Roberts
I enjoy books written by Nora Roberts, specifically the romantic suspense books that she writes. Northern Lights is at the top of my list of my favorite books. Recently, I've been so tired that it has been difficult to concentrate on new material and find myself stuck reading the same paragraphs night after night. I decided to read something familiar and that wouldn't require so much concentration but couldn't find my print copy of Northern Lights. I looked to the internet for a digital copy. Because Nora Roberts is a prolific writer, with well over 200 titles published, I found that this book may be lost among them so I decided to highlight one of my favorite stories by this author.


Northern Lights in Lunacy, Alaska


Ignatious Burke (Nate) is a Baltimore cop who accepts a job in Lunacy, Alaska. The baggage he brings, that doesn't fit in his carry-on bags, includes the trauma of watching his partner die on the street in Baltimore. Nate can't shake those feelings of guilt. So he accepts a job in a tiny, remote Alaskan town. So remote that he arrives by small plane.


"Strapped into the quivering soup can laughingly called a plane, bouncing his way on the pummeling air through the stingy window of light that was winter, through the gaps and breaks in snow-sheathed mountains toward a town called Lunacy, Ignatious Burke had an epiphany.
He wasn't nearly as prepared to die as he had believed." - excerpt from Northern Lights 

As you would expect, in Lunacy, there is a cast of eccentric characters. To be expected as the 500+ residents of Lunacy refer to themselves as Lunatics. Nate's job duties include, but are not limited to, Moose versus vehicle incidents, taking care of drunks, and watching over his quiet little town. Quiet until the remains of a body - clearly murdered - is found preserved in an ice cave.

The murder victim is Meg's father. 

Meg was born and raised in Lunacy, is a bush pilot, and is quite able to fend for herself. She lives with her dogs, outside of town. Meg is described by some reviewers as unlikable and cold. I describe her as efficient. She is not needy or clingy. Meg begins in a casual physical relationship with Nate but over time it begins to become a more meaningful connection. 

Like small town life, the story line is in no rush. Other reviewers refer to the story line as a "gradual climb" and a "slow burn". I agree and I would add that it is comfortable. When Meg's father's body is found the story begins to become more tense and we begin to find reason take a closer and more suspicious look at the many eccentric residents of Lunacy.  

Who has killed Mr. Galloway - keeping the secret for all these years and walking the snowy streets with the unsuspecting Lunatics of Lunacy, Alaska? And now that the body has been found, who will the killer go after next in order to cover his/her/their tracks?


Additional things to consider about Northern Lights  


Because I am recommending a book that won't be everyone's cup of tea, I feel I should add a few side notes and warnings.  

  • There is a bit of "gore" (there's been a couple of murders after all - one in Alaska and one on Baltimore). 
  • There is profanity. 
  • There are a couple of sex scenes (4 sex scenes for a total of 10 pages is what another reviewer counted). 
  • This novel was written years ago, about a setting years before that (published in 2004, with a journal entry in the book dated February 12, 1988). It is not PC by some standards today.
  • There is also a review that reports a dislike for how the Alaskan residents are portrayed. 
This story will not be everyone's style. It is mine. I like gritty and a bit of gore. Swearing typically doesn't bother me. I tend to like my fiction slightly caricaturized - after all, why read a story if the character is as mundane and boring as I am? And finally, I am very familiar with people who talk, think, and behave just like the people of Lunacy. So this level of alleged political incorrectness was not shocking to me. But I have read a couple of reviews (out of hundreds) in which readers seemed to be significantly triggered so I felt I should give this bit of information in the interest of full disclosure.

If you are curious, but not sure about the story, Amazon provides a sizable "look inside" sample. If the story sounds intriguing but you aren't quite sure, take a peek at the Northern Lights free sample. 

I enjoyed this story, characters, and setting very much. I have read this book multiple times and have it downloaded to begin again. In my opinion, reading about snowy Alaska during the tired, heat-wave days of summer is a great escape. 




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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Egyptian Cotton Sheets Really Are THAT Awesome!

Photo by Funkthishouse.com - A Personal Review
100% Egyptian Cotton Sheets are Incredible to Sleep In

I've never been one to fuss about the quality of our bed sheets. If the sheet set was on sale, then it likely made it's way into our home.

However this past weekend my mother gifted me a set of 100% Egyptian Cotton Sheets and my husband and I are shocked at how amazingly comfortable they are.

The thread count on these sheets is quite high: If I had to guess I'd say approaching 1000tc.

If you've ever stayed in a quality hotel with those Hotel Bed Sheets, these sheets fall into the same category.

Mom purchased the sheets a few years ago, but because she didn't like the way they wrinkled after washing, she never used them. In fact, she had them dry cleaned and kept them hanging in her closet unused.

When I arrived home from my visit with Mom, I washed and dried the sheets, and yes they did wrinkle, but once on the bed, they were fine.

The wrinkles really don't bother me. Of course I googled how to get the wrinkles out, but have no intention of doing any of the suggestions. For my taste, they really don't wrinkle enough to worry about it.

Crisp and Cozy

That's how I'd describe these sheets. In my opinion they're worth every penny. 
Thread Spread True Luxury 100% Egyptian Cotton 1000 Thread Count 4 Piece Sheet Set Dark Grey QueenThread Spread True Luxury 100% Egyptian Cotton 1000 Thread Count 4 Piece Sheet Set Dark Grey Queen, King, & California King
The crisp feeling of the sheets make you want to stay in bed and never get out. Even my husband who could care less about bed sheets has been going on about how comfortable they are.

Apparently the sheets will get softer as they go through additional wash and dry cycles. However, I prefer their new and 'crisp' feeling on my skin. 

If you want to soften them quicker, you can always try these suggested tips from WikiHow.

Flannel and Jersey Bed Sheets - Also Awesome

Although we're not terribly fussy about our sheets (until the Egyptian Cotton Sheets!), we have always liked Flannel Sheets and Jersey Sheets for the winter months. 

There's nothing more comfy cozy than crawling into a bed with flannel sheets on a cold winters night.

Jersey sheets are similar to flannel, just a little thinner. Their bonus feature is how the fitted sheet easily stretches over the mattress ends. If you've never tried jersey sheets, you should, they're pretty awesome, and not that expensive.

So in summary, all the hype you've heard about 1000 Thread Count Egyptian Sheets, in my opinion, is justified; total comfort!



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Saturday, July 28, 2018

How To Make The Easiest Cuticle Oil Ever

How to make the easiest cuticle oil ever
Photo's by Lou16
Today I'm going to review how to make the easiest cuticle oil ever. Once you see how easy it is you'll wonder why you haven't always made your own DIY cuticle oil!

Don't use a cuticle oil? You're not alone, it's a step many people miss out when they do their nails at home. I must admit, but cuticles were in pretty bad shape and I would just rub my hand cream into them and think 'oh well, that's just my cuticles!'

This year I've decided to treat myself my getting my nails done once a month (well it's about every three weeks, but my husband thinks it's a monthly thing LOL!) and I do love it when they pop on the cuticle oil at the end. My cuticles are looking much better, but they would look even better if I used it a little bit more often.

Now I like the idea of using natural products and not having some of the additives that you find in some skincare/personal care products being present. I also know that lemon oil is great for softening cuticles, I just had to look for some cuticle oil recipes ...

There are so many recipes for DIY cuticle oil that they would make your head spin, but many of them used so many ingredients that it just seem such an effort. Using sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, vitamin E oil and about 5 different essential oils just seemed a lot for me to recommend to people, after all we don't have all these ingredients just lying around the house do we?

Well I found a recipe that used olive oil and just two essential oils and I changed the essential oils (based on my own aromatherapy knowledge, and on what I had on hand) and I've come up with the easiest cuticle oil ever -

How to make the easiest DIY cuticle oil ever - every thing ready to begin - olive oil, lemon oil, lavender oil, bottle and funnel

Easy DIY Cuticle Oil That Your Nails Will Love!


4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 drops pure lemon essential oil
2 drops pure lavender essential oil.

Simply mix the ingredients together and keep in a bottle, I recommend seeing if you can find a nail polish style of bottle with a nail polish brush to keep it in (they didn't have any at my local store) or even a roller bottle.

These type of bottles will made it easier to apply, but aren't essential.   As you can see from my photo I just used a test tube style bottle (as I had it on hand) and I use a Q-tip to add the oil around my nails. I will let you know, however, that I have some roller bottles on order.

Lemon oil is fantastic for softening hard skin which is why it's a perfect addition to a cuticle oil. Lavender oil is a very nourishing oil, softening and just great for skin. The combination of these two oils works fantastically to help keep your cuticles looking fabulous and as an added bonus, using a cuticle oil after a manicure actually helps it stay looking beautiful for longer something I've only just found out!

                                                                                                                                                              
EXTRA TIP - if you take vitamin E capsules then simple pierce one of them and squeeze the contents into the cuticle oil.  It will make the oil even more moisturizing and rich (a much cheaper alternative to adding vitamin E oil!).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
It's very important that you use pure essential oils and not synthetic ones when making your own skincare as each essential oil brings it's own benefits and fragrant oils don't have these benefits.

I love to use Arbonne's essential oils when available, if I'm after an oil that they don't have then I make sure that the one I buy is 100% pure essential oil.

Aromatherapy Isn't Just About DIY Skincare!


You can use essential oils for lots of different things, here's a few articles that you might find interesting ...

How Aromatherapy can Help StressHow Aromatherapy Can Help Stress
Aromatherapy has proven to be very successful at helping to relieve stress, simply by using certain essential oils stress and conditions caused by stress can be alleveiated.

Essential Oil Room Humidifier and DiffuserEssential Oil Room Humidifier and Diffuser
Using essential oils in a humidifier or diffuser can add a lovely atmosphere to a room as essential oils can really help to work on your emotions from relaxing you or making you more upbeat.

Reviewing Uses for Tea Tree OilReviewing Uses for Tea Tree Oil
The herbaceous fragrance of tea tree doesn't begin to hint at how many uses there are for this essential oil from medicinal to beauty to household uses this is one very versatile essential oil.


How to make the easiest cuticle oil with only 4 ingredients
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Friday, July 27, 2018

Ring Video Doorbell Pro Camera Reviewed

Ring Video Doorbell Pro Reviewed
Good News Homeowners!  You no longer have to be a mega-billion dollar company to have video surveillance of your home.   With Ring Video Doorbells and Ring Wi-Fi Security cameras, you can easily monitor your home.

Last fall my husband installed a Ring Video Doorbell Pro at our front door.  This is probably the best improvement we have made in our home in 20 years.  It is an instant view camera, video recorder, and has audio capabilities.  According to my husband, it was not hard to install.  He said you just follow the directions.  

From my viewpoint, it is fabulous!  I don't own a smartphone, but I do have an iPad.  I can see who is at my front door in an instant without leaving my chair whether they ring the doorbell or not.  If you happen to have a smartphone, you can see who is at your front door from anywhere, you don't even have to be home.  You can also talk to them, which is pretty awesome if you wish to request they simply leave something at the door.  Or, if you simply want a stranger to think you are at home.

Be the way, my husband uses his laptop to see through the Ring Doorbell Pro.  Therefore, no smartphone, no iPad and no Alexa is required to use the Ring Doorbell Pro, in spite of how it may sound when reading the product description.  We do not have it connected to Alexa, but that is an option.




Ring Video Doorbell Pro Camera Security

Ring Video Doorbell Pro Camera is a Crime Deterrent


What I have noticed since we installed the Ring video doorbell is that people recognize what it is.  One of the first things I heard a stranger say to his companion when ringing our doorbell was, "you're on video so don't say anything."  Guess who I didn't answer the door too!  

The fact that potential criminals or even solicitors will step away, or simply not approach your door, is worth the cost of the unit.


How the Ring Video Doorbell Pro Works


When someone rings my doorbell, my iPad chimes to let me know a guest is at my front door.  I can immediately see who is there.  Actually, we have our motion sensor set so motion approaching the front door will often make it chime first, so I can take a look.  The doorbell is video recording everything, including what they say.  

It also works at night!  The video camera has infrared night vision which is totally awesome.  I keep my iPad on the nightstand.  If the motion detector chimes, I reach out and grab it to take a look.  Usually, it is my friendly spider giving us a morning greeting, but sometimes it catches other guests unaware.



 

Ring Stores Your Videos


You may wonder how you are able to see the videos days, or even a month later if you wish.   For $30.00 a year (cost at the time of publishing this article) Ring will store your videos for you for 60 days.  The Basic Plan is free for 30 days with the purchase of the Ring Doorbell or any of the Ring devices.  You can download any video you need to save for longer to your own computer.


Rings Lifetime Guarantee


If your Ring device gets stolen, Ring will replace it for free. 


Other Ring Devices


We also have Ring Cameras installed around the exterior of our home.  They are pretty cool!  They work the same way as the doorbell with motion detection, except they are battery operated instead of installed with wires.  They have to be recharged regularly, in our case, about once a month.  However, they now have a solar panel available so you never have to take them down and recharge them again.

A "Ring Video Doorbell 2" that operates on batteries is also available if you don't want to hard-wire the unit.  It is perfect for a backdoor or other door that does not have an existing doorbell.

One thing to keep in mind, all ring devices are wi-fi and rely upon your internet connection.   When we installed the Ring Doorbell Pro at our front door, we found that we needed a wi-fi extender since our internet modem is in the far back corner of our home.  It was no problem to set-up and plug in the extender, but it may be something you will also need to consider.




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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Photographing Sunflowers

 Review of Photography Tips for Photographing Sunflowers

In Midwestern USA, July is the time that we have beautiful  sunflowers blooming.  Their beauty lasts just a short time, so if you have sunflowers near you be sure to take the opportunity to photograph them while they are in full bloom.


I saw some photos that friends had taken and posted online so I got directions to the sunflower field and was so glad that I did!  The flowers were beautiful.  I went just before sunset and was able to capture the beauty of the flowers as the sun went down.  This seemed like a perfect time and the setting sun seemed to light up the backs of the blooms.  Here are a couple of tips I have for you.
  • Look for fresh blooms.  Raggedy blooms don't show good on photos.
  • Turn your flash off.
  • Watch  you background.  A bright blue sky works well but I have also seen flowers against brick or wood that look great.
  • Choose your focus point.  Do you want everything in focus or just one flower?
  • Take some photos of the entire field and then zoom in to take that close up bloom.  You will be glad you got both.
Here are a few of my photos.




Sunflowers Come in a Variety of Colors

I always thought sunflowers were yellow, but did you know they come in a variety of colors.  My neighbor is growing some pretty maroon ones this year.  I took this photo in the early evening.
www.zazzle.com/mbgphoto
Maroon Beauty

Using People in your Photos

A sunflower field is a great place for family photos.  I took my granddaughter with me and here are a couple of the photos I took of her.  I love the look of the first photo.  The sun over the hill behind the field lit up the backs of the flowers and her hair.

Zazzle Products are Great Showcases for Sunflowers

Here are a few of the Zazzle products I have made from my sunflower photos.




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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Outstanding and Affordable Nordic Walking Poles, Fitness Made Easy!

Fitness and Exercise are a must for a healthy body and mind.  Nordic Walking Poles can make getting fit a little easier.  Let's Review these walking aids and see how they could fit into your life.

Growing older is not for wimps and those feint of heart, but it's something that everyone wants to do.  As you get older, it seems that keeping in shape and staying fit are harder and harder to do.  Unless you have always been an athlete, as we get older, we tend to slow down.  Not because of an innate desire to do nothing, but rather we might be having problems with arthritis, joint issues and more.  So while retirement and enjoying life is a great thing, if your mobility is not as great as it once was, you just might want to slow down or stop altogether!  

That is not the ideal way to spend your retirement years.  Activity keeps the mind and body stronger than just sitting around watching TV or playing cards.  Oh sure you can have some fun doing those things too, but don't let that become your life and your lifestyle.  Idleness is the devil's playground it is said! And the devil is Alzeimers or worse.  It has been proven that activity keeps the mind and the body in better shape than inactivity.  In the Canadian Government website regarding health of seniors it states, "Research shows that physical inactivity can cause premature death, chronic disease and disability. Health Canada encourages Canadians to integrate physical activity into their every day life; at home, at school, at work, at play and on the way ... that's active living!!"

So what is a person to do?  Well there are all kinds of "tools" available to help seniors keep active and healthy and one of these is Nordic Walking Poles.  These poles are just what they sound like, poles that you attach to your wrists to help you walk better and get exercise at the same time.  Better than just walking alone, these poles help you by encouraging you to walk easier and better.



Nordic Walking poles look something like ski poles, but they are made for walking on all kinds of terrain.  They are adjustable in height and have different tips on the bottoms of the poles to help you when walking on dirt roads, sidewalks and snow as well.  There is NO AGE LIMIT on who can use these walking poles. What I have found with them as I use them, is that it just adds a little bit of stability to every step I take.  Because of that added security, I tend to walk farther and faster too!  Walking is the number one way to keep fit, enjoy nature and the outdoors, and feel wonderful, without being exhausted at the end of the exercise time.  These are all bonuses to me.  Here's a great YouTube Video instruction for you to understand the differences between walking and Nordic Walking!



What makes using the Nordic Walking Poles so good is that used properly, you have turned a simple walk into a cardio exercise.  How is that possible?  Walking poles should be at a height that makes your arms rest at a 90 degree angle to your body.  When you walk,  you use alternating hands and feet to take the steps.  With arms swinging and your step lengthened, you are now working your heart as well as your legs and body.  It is almost like using an "Elliptical" machine in the gym, but your choice of where you walk can be much nicer than staring at a wall in a gym.

The added bonus is that you don't need to pay for a gym membership and the walking poles are very inexpensive.  You choose what time of day, where and how long you want to walk.  Take them with you on a Sunday afternoon stroll through your favorite park or "green space".  They are portable, lightweight and so easy to use. 

From all the reading I have done,  I know that Nordic Walking is a great exercise that can be done by just about everyone and it does not tire you out so much that you want to go home and drop into a chair never to move again.  It is an easy exercise that done 3 to 4 times a week, for at least 10 to 20  minutes, will keep you healthier and your body happier than just sitting around doing nothing!  Give it a try!  My thoughts are that once you start, you won't stop, and that is a good thing for sure. Just two more things that you might want to bring along for your walk and they are a good hat to keep the sun off your head and a water bottle to help you keep hydrated.  With these three items, you are good to go and I bet you will enjoy your walks so much more than before.  
Nordic Walking Sticks, Aerobic walking, fitness for seniors
          That's my "other half" checking out his fancy blue Nordic Walking Poles.  Mine are red!

P.S. as with any walking I am assuming that you will wear good walking shoes. (that's a given, right?)  




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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Dukes Real Mayonnaise Reviewed

Not just for sandwiches!

sandwich with mayonnaise
Sandwich with mayonnaise courtesy of Pixabay.com
My new favorite mayo is Dukes Real Mayonnaise! From what I can gather those of you who either live in the southern part of the United States or perhaps grew up there are very familiar with this condiment. Those of us from the northern regions and perhaps the western regions of this country most likely haven't tried it. Well, I'm here to tell you; we didn't know what we were missing!

Honestly, I have never been a big fan of mayonnaise. About the only time that I used it was when it was called for in a recipe. Since I have discovered Dukes mayonnaise, that has changed. Now, I eat it on sandwiches and use it in those recipes. Shoot, I'm even adding it to recipes that don't really call for it but I think it makes a nice addition. 

This mayo is so creamy! It also has a different taste to it. Personally, the brand that I used previously didn't have much of a flavor to it at all but not so with Dukes. I don't know how to explain it other than there is a bit of a zippiness to the flavor. It is really very tasty! So, now I actually like mayonnaise on a sandwich.

One of my favorite things to have for lunch is an egg salad sandwich. Making my recipe using Dukes makes it even more enjoyable than it was before!

Bev's Egg Salad Recipe


8 hard boiled eggs that have been chopped after peeled
1/2 cup Dukes Mayonnaise
1 tsp yellow mustard
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/4 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the ingredients with the chopped eggs until mixed well. Spread on bread, bun or crackers.

For those of you who are health conscious enough that you don't use mayo; Dukes is healthier than most brands. There is no sugar added and the cholesterol is lower than most brands. 

If you haven't tried Dukes or perhaps you are not able to get it near you; it can be purchased at Amazon and shipped right to your door. It doesn't get much easier than that folks! I love this stuff so much that I am finding ways to use it that I would have not done in the past with the former brand. Last night, I fixed homemade baked macaroni and cheese and decided to add about a 1/2 cup to my recipe. Oh my goodness! I love my mac n' cheese anyway; adding Dukes just made it even better! 

How about you? Have you tried this brand of mayo? What do you think?




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Monday, July 23, 2018

Reviewing Younique Lip BonBons

My LipBonBons: chocolate truffle.
I am not much of a make-up wearer. Mascara is a necessity. And some sort of lip balm is a must-have. Otherwise, I'm not interested in make-up.  I have recently discovered Younique products. Their Lip BonBons tinted lip gloss is awesome. I've used it every day since I received it and I recommend it to others who don't like lipstick, who do like lip balm, and who would like to have a bit of tint on their lips.


Lip BonBons Tinted Lip Balm by Younique


Younique describes their moisturizing, tinted lip balm as:


"....a creamy, smooth, and extra-nourishing balm. With a mild vanilla fragrance, fruit extracts and five natural oils, all you need is just a touch throughout the day to add a subtle hint of color while moisturizing and pampering your lips" - Younique

I decided to review BonBons tinted lip balm because I am excited about my first order from Younique and their quality products.

There are four colors to choose from and one clear.
The colors of Younique Lip BonBons

I do not like a waxy feel on my lips, which is why I historically don't like lipsticks. Lip BonBons are not waxy. The consistency, to me, is mid way between a Chapstick (which is close to waxy) and Blistex (not at all waxy).

I like the barely there tint. This tint adds just the slightest hint of color - which is what I like. Lipstick (to me) is too BAM! I prefer subtle and this is very subtle.

Lip BonBons are moisturizing. Years ago I bought a lip tint with a color I really, really liked. But the product was more dry and the best way I can describe it is that it "flaked" off through the day. Lip BonBons don't flake. 

I really like the packaging. The tube is a fat, metal tube. The lid screws on. That makes the tube easy to find in the bottom of my bag... and no messy surprises from a cap that has popped off!

If you are ready to shop for Younique Lip BonBons, you can click here


Younique Brand and My Presenter Liz


I wrote quite a bit last week about the brand and about Liz, the person I made my purchase from. I also wrote about the amazing Moodstruck Epic Mascara. I encourage you to take a quick peek at that review and information here.

I rarely take selfies, but I was so excited that first morning I wore the mascara and lip tint that I took a couple of photos.


LOOK!  I have eyelashes and lips for a change. 

For more information, live tutorials, giveaways, and easy online ordering, use the links below. 

Liz's Enhance Beautiful You  FB page (live demonstrations can be found here)

Her Enhance Beautiful You VIP FB group page (a place to post your questions, join weekly giveaways, etc)

Liz's personal Younique company page - the place to make online orders.


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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Choosing Flowers for an East West Facing Home

A Popular Easy to Maintain Full Sun Flower Basket
featuring Bell Flowers, Petunias, and Verbena
A Review of Flowers for a House Where the Afternoon Sun is in the Front Yard and the Morning Sun is in the Backyard
Or the reverse.

Our home faces directly East-West and over twenty years ago when we purchased our home, I wasn't experienced enough with flower planting to understand how the sun floated around our home to keep the poor things alive for an extended period of time.

I'm not a gardening or flower expert by any stretch of the imagination, however I have, via trial and error, found some easy to choose flowers that will survive the daily trip around the sun.


Climbing Rose Bush in Front Island

Our Front Yard is Fully Treed - Easy Care, However Not Flower Friendly

Ha! That solves it. Little room for flower errors.

After filling our yard with greenery, it became difficult to get annual flowers to grow. So other than a few select potted plants, there are few flowers to care for in the front.

As you can see in the featured photo, we have a small front island, however, after trying and retrying a variety of flowers in it, nothing seemed to grow. So we placed easy to grow juniper as ground filler to contrast with the stepping stones, and stuck with one climbing rose bush.

However, it's not just a rose bush, it has a spiritual connection.

A friend of our family was sadly diagnosed with cancer, and before he passed away we were able to purchase this rose bush from his store, and it's thrived for about twenty years now.

More freakishly, these are the ONLY perennial flowers to have survived our front yard for over twenty years. Divine intervention? We think of him every time we look at the rose bush, so we like to think so.


Begonias on the Table - They Like the Shade
Backyard Flowers - Morning Sun that Floats Away from the House by 11:00am and Finally Leaves the Yard by 5:00pm

I've essentially stayed with three or four types of flowers.

The flowers closest to the house that only feel sun til 11:00am, are 'Sun Impatiens' also known as New Guinea Impatiens.

Unlike regular shade impatiens, New Guinea Impatiens can tolerate about a half a day of sun. Morning sun is best.

To add color to the patio table, we used Begonias. They like the shade, and since the umbrella is up most of the time, they work in that spot.

For the flower planter which gets sun all day, we selected a mixed arrangement featuring three of my favorite flowers, Verbena, Bellflowers (Campanula family), and Petunias. However, skip the Petunias for a mostly maintenance free bouquet.

Popular New Guinea Impatiens - Easy to Care For
they can handle about 3 or 4 hours of a sun a day,
morning sun is best

The Complete Story of How We Landscaped this Challenging Yard, More Here:




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Saturday, July 21, 2018

How to Conquer Clutter by Stephanie Culp – Book Review

The 'clutter' shown in these photos is my house at the present time. My house does not normally look like this ~ this is the result of weeks of sorting and packing to make a major move.  But if your house frequently assume a look such as this, you might be ready for this book by Stephanie Culp titled “How to Conquer Clutter”


Clut`ter To fill with scattered or disordered things that restrict movement or efficiency.  A collection of things lying about in an untidy mass.

Or, as the author says, “all that stuff you've got all over the place that everybody keeps telling you to get rid of." 


Normal Clutter Invasions



(c) Wednesday Elf Sorting & Packing to Move

We all deal with some form of clutter from time to time, no where near as bad as my current chaotic "moving mess". 


  • The children scatter their toys throughout the living room because they want to play where their special adults are instead of in the playroom or their bedrooms. 
  • We get out a project and the dining room table stays cluttered while we are working on it.
  • You get interrupted in the middle of a long-term desk or computer project and would lose your place if you put it away before you were finished with it. 
  • You have a sewing or crafting project that will take several days to complete and putting it away before you are done would be wasted effort. 


The clutter referred to in this, and similar, books refers to the stuff that starts as a small problem and, over time, becomes a very large and overwhelming situation. By that time, we make excuses for not dealing with it. Now the 'clutterbug' handles it by saying “I'll just put it over here 'for now'. But soon 'for now' becomes forever and here  comes that clutter crisis.


Author Stephanie Culp


Stephanie Culp is an organization and time management consultant who has written several books on getting organized. Her organization firm has helped people and small businesses get – and stay – organized since 1982. 


How to Conquer Clutter


Source: Pixabay

In How to Conquer Clutter, Stephanie helps you get yourself organized and reduce or eliminate the clutter that has taken over your life. This book is informative and humorous and will give you simple ways to take back control of your stuff. 


Pack Rat – A large, busy-tailed rodent from the Rocky Mountains that collects and stores food and miscellaneous objects. Just like you!

Available on Amazon
Stephanie includes a “Pack Rat's Excuse Almanac to help you deal with the mess in your life, a 'clutter quiz' to help identify problem areas and 19 'Clutter Checklists” to provide practical ideas for storing everything you cannot live without. She deals with each area of clutter from A to Z, from addresses to ziplock bags and everything in between.  Included are areas inside the house, outside the house and under the house! Culp even tells you how to use this book by defining the worst area of clutter in your life and identifying specific problem areas so you will know where to begin. 

How to Conquer Clutter is a helpful guide to get control of and 'conquer' your clutter!  Having read this book myself (which helped me especially with my admittedly biggest clutter problem area ~ dealing with paper - filing, purging, processing, etc), I am now passing my copy of the book on to my daughter, who is an admitted  'pack rat' just like her dad. 

(c) 2018 by Wednesday Elf












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Friday, July 20, 2018

Review of The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

Review of The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers
The Masterpiece is Francine River's most recently published book. Like all of her books, The Masterpiece isn't a typical cookie-cutter Christian fiction where everything is perfect after salvation. It is a story about people with very real issues in life.  

Rivers doesn't write about fairy-tale versions of life as a Christian.  She writes about down to earth people who have been hurt or are struggling with life and in some cases, struggling with God.  Her books are not meant to malign Christians.  Rather to assure us that we are not alone and that it is not abnormal for a Christian to hurt, suffer, or even fail.  

She also doesn't steer clear of difficult subjects like adultery, divorce, abortion, pregnancy outside of wedlock, prostitution, separation from loved ones, or even going to hell, quite literally.

For nearly two decades, Francine Rivers has been my favorite author.  Ever since I picked up her series, Mark of the Lion.  I have read and reread that series several times.  I originally purchased it in hardback since Kindles were nonexistent.  But, it was one of the first sets of books I added to my Kindle when one was gifted to me.

It may seem odd to you that I read some books several times.  I do that when I want to read something I know I will love.  It is like watching the same movie over and over again because it touches something deep inside of you.

Even though most of my current day book purchases are made in Kindle version, I collect Francine Rivers' books in hardback copies too.  I never want to be without them.


Plot of The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers


 The MasterpieceCheck PriceWhen Grace Moore's father kills her mother and then commits suicide, Grace is found hiding in the closet.  Already she has seen and experienced too much for her young mind to comprehend.  She will be scared by the murder-suicide of her parents for the rest of her life.  

Grace is sent to live with a grieving single aunt she does not know.  Aunt Elizabeth has no idea how to truly care for a 7 year old child, nor does she want to learn.  Every time she looks at Grace, she is reminded of the man that killed her beloved sister.  It doesn't help that Grace looks like him.    

Having been raised in a loveless home, Grace doesn't really know or remember what love looks like.  It is no surprise that she ends up marrying a man who uses his charm to get what he wants from Grace, but who doesn't love her.  Because she believes her husband's education should come first, she drops out of college and goes to work full time to support them both and pay his tuition.  She is devastated when she comes home early from work one day and finds him with another woman.  Adulthood doesn't look anything like what she wanted, needed or expected.  She must get away and start over.  Even though she is a Christian, her problems are far from over.  

Seeking to find love in all the wrong places, she leaves a bar with a man she just met.  The decision to cast caution to the wind will change her life forever.  She ends up being a single mother torn, trying to choose what is best for her child.  She had planned to give her baby up for adoption.  Now, she wants to keep him, but the parents she had chosen to adopt her child, still want him too.

Elsewhere, Roman Velasco is a wealthy artist who has lived under the shadow of evil his entire life.  He never knew his father, and his mother died of an overdose when he was a child.  Roman moved from one foster home to another where the parents either gave up on him, or only wanted the money for taking in a foster child.  He joined a gang just so he could have a place where he fit in.  Selling drugs did not appeal to him, but he found his niche within the gang by painting graffiti on buildings.  After he is caught and arrested, he is sent to Masterson Ranch.  An isolated ranch that makes running away impossible.   However, the Mastersons and his teacher encourage him to develop his artistic abilities.  

As an adult, he changed his name from Bobby Ray Dean to Roman Velasco, and found a place where he, or at least his art, was wanted.  He became a workaholic and spent every day drawing or painting, often forgetting to eat.  He needed a personal assistant to take care of his daily tasks like grocery shopping, laundry, paying bills, answering the phone, etc.   Things a wife might do, if he had one.  But the last thing Roman wanted was a wife and he certainly did not want another personal assistant who wanted to be his wife or his girlfriend.

When Grace is sent by a temp agency to be Roman Velasco's personal assistant, she is not really impressed with him.  He is demanding, yet distant.  However, the distant part is much preferred by Grace.  So much so, that she ends up moving into the cottage on his property for convenience and going to work for him permanently.  


Conclusion


You may think from the description above that you can guess what is going to happen and to some extent, you might be right.  However, expect the unexpected.  Grace is a Christian, but Roman is not, so it is hardly a relationship made in heaven.  

It is what happens to Roman when he suffers a heart attack that I found most gripping.  I have heard people describe going to heaven when they die, or even seeing the white light, but reading River's description of what going to hell might look like, sent chills down my spine.  Frankly, it isn't as far fetched as I would like for it to be.

While this may not be my all-time favorite book by Francine Rivers, I would definitely recommend it.  




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