Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Summer Between Reviewed

Sometimes A Book Touches Your Soul

summer scene
Summer scene image courtesy of pixabay.com
A few days ago I finished reading The Summer Between by Amanda Linton. I wanted to share my review of it with you today. Amanda is pretty new to the YA genre of books. In fact, I believe this book may be her first. It doesn't read like a first book, though. 

I had put her book on my TBR (to be read) list after getting to know her in a group that I belong to on Instagram. Her book cover and the line on the cover grabbed my attention. The line reads "I'll see you at the line where the waves meet the clouds." That made me want to find out more about the story.

I think that many will relate with Cleo Porter the 17 year old main character in the book. As she enters into her senior year of high school, she hides behind her camera. She snaps glimpses of the world that she doesn't feel like she belongs in. Her relationship with her mother, touched me greatly because it was more than the usual teenage girl/mother strained existence so many experience. This went deeper and I knew it because I had a similar relationship with my mother. Always hoping for acceptance and never quite getting it. A very believable and touching part of Cleo's story.

Bebe Blattner comes bursting into Cleo's life as a new student at school. Bebe is loud, she is too tall and she lives each day as an adventure. Cleo has known Bebe since they were small because they went to the same church but never attended the same school until now. Bebe makes friends with everyone, the popular kids, the less popular and the ones in between. Cleo struggles with keeping the few friends that she has. They are just about as opposite as two girls can be.

This is a story of coming of age, of finding who you are and the bond of friendship. It is a story about family; the one that shares our DNA and the family we choose as our friends. The future may look bright but often fate walks into your life in a way that might break you. This is a story of one girl working through the pain of loss to try to become whole again. Will she be able to?

I absolutely loved this book! It touched me in so many ways and I look forward to Amanda's future works. She is an incredible writer weaving a believable story on each page. Even though this is considered a Young Adult book, I think that most woman will fall in love with the characters and the story. In many ways, we have all lived at least parts of it. Take a chance and give this new author the recognition that she deserves. You won't regret it!




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Monday, April 29, 2019

Reviewing the Basalt Birdbath by Stone Age Creations

My birdbath on a West Virginia ridge.
I have been eyeing these beautiful carved stone birdbaths for years. Only last week did I finally splurge on one. The Basalt stone bird bath by Stone Age Creations carried what I consider a hefty price tag but I think it is worth every penny.  This unique stone bath speaks to me, it is a perfect addition to my "yard", and it will be appreciated by the birds that visit me at The Shack for years to come.

Why Bird Baths are Important


Not only are bird baths wonderful lawn ornaments but they also provide water for the local birds. Birds need water; most birds drinking daily. And birds bathe in order to clean their feathers. Cornell Lab of Ornithology provides important information about proper upkeep of healthy bird baths and why birdbaths are useful. 

Birdbaths also attract a variety of birds to your yard. If you enjoy backyard bird watching and want to attract more birds, you'll love Mary Bath's gorgeous photographs and story about her own backyard birdbath. I always look forward to seeing her photography of her feathered visitors.

What is Basalt?


By looking at and touching the birdbaths at Sun Nursery (where I purchased my birdbath), I could guess that Basalt was some sort of stone. For the purpose of this article, I looked up more information.

Basalt - "the dark, dense igneous rock of a lava flow.... often displaying a columnar structure"  - dictionary.com 

Basalt is also described as
  • as heavy as granite, sometimes heavier
  • high in iron content
  • as durable as granite
  • aesthetically interesting due to the iron content
  • is a stone that has been used in architecture for centuries
  • in addition to landscaping and architecture, basalt is used as massage stones and as healing stones in jewelry
And an interesting bit of trivia is that some of the iconic "head" sculptures of Easter Island are carved from Basalt! I don't know very much about those Moai carvings but I have always thought they are made from beautiful stone. 


Easter Island Moai stone carvings
(photo credit: public domain courtesy of Aurbina)

A Basalt Birdbath at The Shack


I wanted this particular bird bath for several reasons. It is beautiful. The rustic stone exterior and super smooth interior portion of the dish is interesting in appearance and blends perfectly with the rugged ridge landscape.

It comes in two pieces. Each piece is still quite heavy, but the two pieces allowed me to haul it in the Jeep and carry it to it's spot under the apple tree.

My beautiful basalt birdbath
The bowl is quite shallow. During my next visit I am going to add a flat rock to the bowl - giving the smaller birds another spot to perch or use as a step. I really like that this bowl is flat-bottomed and Cornell Lab recommends shallow bird baths. 

The deer are into every single thing that is outside at The Shack. I am hoping that they are not able to knock this heavy birdbath over if they decide to help themselves. Also, the wind blows quite hard coming up and over that ridge. I am sure this bird bath will not blow over.

My land is at the top of the ridge. The terrain is rocky and dry. There is a creek somewhat nearby but it is at the bottom of the hill. I'm sure the birds will be appreciative of a convenient water source.

Related Link: 

During my last trip to The Shack, it rained a lot. So much so that I didn't get much done. I wasn't able to prepare a spot so the bath sits level. But I did have an opportunity to take a hike. If you want to see the photos from that hike, click here

I have wanted this bird bath since discovering Sun Nursery years ago. Sun Nursery has a HUGE selection of plants and staff that are both helpful and knowledgeable. If you are near the Maryland and DC areas, Sun Nursery is well worth a visit. 

Stone Age Creations makes some gorgeous items. I am partial to their birdbaths, benches, and boulder owls. If there is not a distributor of their items in  your area, you can find some of their items on Amazon. 





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Sunday, April 28, 2019

How a Room's Color Can Affect Your Mood

Funk by Color
Did you know the colors you choose to decorate a space with will dictate the room's overall mood?

In a recent article we talked about the basic rules for choosing color when you decorate a space. That article also discusses 'Mood' as one of the pertinent considerations.

So let's review the Mood that each of the main colors evoke:

Red - Excitement

Red carries several meanings and all of them fall under the umbrella of excitement. Red represents rage just as much as it screams 'I love you'. In other words, if you need a room filled with emotion, red should be your go-to color. Splashes of red can make a room calming. However, if you plan to feature a whole wall of red and other red accessories, ensure the room is meant for social gatherings. You might even encourage intense discussions and debate in a red powered room.

Blue - Tranquility

Blue is the color of calmness and tranquility. However, if the room is entirely two colors such as blue and white, the space will feel cold more than calm. Three to four colors in a space along with your main choice color will achieve the intended affect of that main color (especially with blue). When you're seeking a peaceful, relaxing mood, combine light and dark blues together and soften the space with at least two other accessory colors.

Yellow - Uplifting

When you want a space to reflect a cheerful, happy, hopeful energy, choose yellow as the main color. We associate yellow with spring and summer so it's not a stretch to connect those seasons with an uplifting mood. Get ready for a little shock … did you know that yellow is also the color of intelligence? Yep, apparently intelligence has a color. Yellow is the color of the mind and it represents acquired knowledge. When you want to encourage learning, believe it or not, decorate with yellow.

Green - Renewal

The color of green represents two polar opposites. We typically think of nature, renewal, freshness and the environment when we decorate with green. However, green is also the color of money and can represent greed, jealousy and ambition. In home décor it's safe to say that a green themed room is normally chosen to create a fresh and harmonious environment. I mean, who decorates for greed, lol.

Orange - Enthusiasm

Orange is the color of creativity, social activity, determination and believe it or not, healthy eating. It's also an action color. Think of orange as the verb of colors. Most of us know the most popular 'buy button' online is orange. Makes sense right? After-all, orange is the verb of color. Orange is also ideal for a space where fun, interest, adventure and excitement are the primary mood goals. Go ahead, paint a wall in your kitchen orange! Orange is the social color that promotes healthy eating and conversation, making it ideal for the kitchen. Use various shades, or a softer shade if bright orange is too much. On a personal note, orange and yellow are my favorite colors :)

Purple - Wisdom

Purple is the color of royalty, luxury, power and spirituality. That's a fairly broad range, however indirectly each of these traits are connected to one another. If you're looking for a room that evokes grandeur with a bit of mystery, a purple themed room is the way to go. On a personal note, my young girl bedroom décor was purple, white, and pink. Without knowing, I must of been a mysteriously royal person who craved wisdom. :)

Did you read last weeks article on the color choices for spring and summer? You'll also get a quick tutorial on how to combine colors.

Have fun with color!


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Saturday, April 27, 2019

Two By Two – A Book Review

https://www.amazon.com/Two-Nicholas-Sparks/dp/1455520691/ref=as_li_ss_tl?keywords=two+by+two&qid=1556133987&s=gateway&sr=8-1&linkCode=ll1&tag=reviewthisblog02-20&linkId=4d2f356f9ebd858ccf22761a883e83a6&language=en_US
Two By Two by Nicholas Sparks
by Nicholas Sparks

I have been a fan of the books by Nicholas Sparks for many years. His romantic novels are wonderful.

I think what makes them especially interesting is that they focus on real-life situations.  There is romance and love, but love is not always perfect. Sparks' books describe times of absolute joy, as well as the daily love, disappointment, life journey changes and adjustments we all experience in our own lives. There is also always a touch of sadness just as we all experience from time to time. In other words, his love stories are realistic. Two By Two is no exception. 


Synopsis


Two By Two, published in 2016,  is about an ordinary guy – Russell Green – who has everything a man could want ~ a successful career as an advertising executive, a beautiful wife (Vivian) and an adorable six-year-old daughter, London. They live in Charlotte, North Carolina. Russ is living the Dream, or so he thought. Suddenly he finds that the life he took for granted has turned upside down. In just a few months Russ finds himself without a job, his wife leaves him for a new job and exciting life with a real estate billionaire,  and he has become a single dad to daughter London. 

The story takes place over the space of a year which shows Russ struggling to adapt to a baffling new reality.  Trying to launch his own business while coping with the demise of his marriage, his days revolve around his daughter whom he tries to shelter from the consequences of these changes. His close relationship with his wise older sister, Marge and her partner, Liz, and his loving parents help sustain him during the emotional roller-coaster he finds himself on.


Source: Pixabay


“Friendship isn’t about how long you know someone. It’s about who walks into your life, says ‘I’m here for you,’ and then proves it.”
  ~Nicholas Sparks, Two By Two


Throughout the story are short sections of memories of Russ' childhood and his close friendship with his sister, plus memories from collage days when a foolish one-night stand costs him the girl (Emily) he was in love with. 

When a chance encounter with an old flame tempts him to take a second chance on love he finally learns that unconditional love is a treasure to be bestowed, never earned. 


Pillow Cover by pure_soul on Zazzle


“Happiness isn’t something someone can deliver. It comes from within.”
~Nicholas Sparks, Two By Two



Author Nicholas Sparks

Nicholas Sparks, Author

Nicholas Sparks is a romance novelist with 20 (to date) novels to his credit and two non-fiction books. He is also a screen writer. Several of his novels have become international best sellers and 11 of these stories have become films.  Probably his best known are “Message in a Bottle” and “The Notebook”. Almost all his stories are placed in a North Carolina setting, many of them along the coastal areas. Nicholas lives in North Carolina. 

His latest book just published in 2018 is Every Breath



Available on Amazon



For more book reviews, go to 




(c) Wednesday Elf 4/27/2019




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Friday, April 26, 2019

The Puzzle of Talking Rock: Roni Rainer Mysteries Book Reviewed

The Puzzle of Talking Rock Book Reviewed The Puzzle of Talking Rock
(Roni Rainer Mysteries Book 3) 


When you discover a fabulous new author, you can hardly wait for their next book to be released! That is definitely the case with Beverly Owens and her Roni Rainer Mysteries.

I downloaded The Puzzle of Talking Rock the very minute I heard it had been published.   Unfortunately, I had to wait a few days to start reading it because I was in the middle of another book.  Admittedly, I think I raced through the book I was reading so I could start reading the latest in the Roni Rainer Mystery series.

In the first two books, Death Takes A Spin: An Up-cycling Mystery Reviewed and Illegal Harvest: An Up-cycling Mystery Reviewed, readers were introduced to Roni and her fun, yet somewhat eccentric, employees, friends and family. 
  

Main Characters in the Roni Rainer Series Include:

Veronica (Roni) Rainer - up-cycler store owner, divorced mother of 2 (Melanie & Madison) 
Kitchi - insightful friend & confidante, more like a grandfather to Roni
Mitch Denton - boyfriend and detective
Clay - delightfully animated and fun employee
Charlotte - employee with artistic eye for up-cycling
Valerie - best friend & lawyer
 


The Puzzle of Talking Rock Synopsis


 The Puzzle of Talking Rock: Roni Rainer MysteriesCheck PriceThe book opens with Roni hiking up the mountain to her favorite refuse from the world, Talking Rock.  However, peace and serenity are not going to be her companions today.  Unfortunately, when she reaches her destination, she immediately senses something is not right.  Then she discovers the body of the communities gentle giant, Calvin Yorke.  It is clearly a murder since the taser prongs are still connected to his chest.  Whether the murder was accidental or premeditated is not immediately clear.  Roni calls the sheriffs office to report the death, then waits for Mitch and his fellow officers to respond. 

All the normal questions follow during the investigation to find the who, what & why of the murder.  Neither Roni nor Mitch can fathom any reason why someone would want to kill such an easygoing, well liked, kind man.  Was it personal or related to his occupation?  Known mostly for his gentle nature and love of rocks, Calvin doesn't have any bad habits or suspicious behaviors that would make him a likely candidate for murder.  

As the investigation continues, we find out there are witnesses.  One very unlikely "witness" has seen the murder and can identify the killer(s), but she doesn't understand the meaning or recognize the people revealed to her in a dream.  Without her help, it is doubtful the crime would have been solved.

Of course, I now know all of the answers to who & why, but you will need to read the book yourself to find out what happened to Calvin Yorke.



 



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House of Sylvestermouse







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Thursday, April 25, 2019

Review of Texturing Technique in Photoshop


A favorite technique of mine in Adobe Photoshop is texturing.  The photo above shows a photo of a flower with a textured background.  This photo is actually a combination of two different photographs that I shot.  The foreground is the daisy flower and the textured background is a photograph of my windshield with ice on it.  On this post I will review some of the steps needed to create this photo and then show some other photographs I created using this procedure.


Creating a Textured Background

There are many places online that you can buy textured backgrounds, but I like to create my own using parts of photographs that I have taken.  Here are a few from my library.  They include a couple of sky images, a brick wall, fire (from my fireplace) and the icy windshield that I used in the introductory photo.









Steps to Create Textured Photo Composite

The steps below are the ones I used to create my textured background images.  There are several different ways to do different procedures in PS(Photoshop) but these are the ones I find easiest for me.  I have never taken a class on PS, but rather have taught myself through the use of the tutorials on PS (great for the basics) and YouTube tutorials you can find online for many different specialty techniques.  Here then are the steps used to create the photo like the one at the top of this post.
  •   I first Open a background photo in PS. I used my icy windshield background for the photo at the top of this post. I also always make a duplicate copy of the background photo.
  • Next I click on file and then Place Embedded to select the photo that I want in the forefront.  In this case my daisy photo. The new photo will come in on top of the background photo and I will then stretch or reduce it to make it the same size as the background photo.
  • The next step is to pick out the area of the photo that you want to highlight.  In the case of the daisy photo I use the Quick Selection tool to outline the main daisy.  I then click the  button at the top that says Select and Mask.
  • This will open a new window that will give you the opportunity to use sliders to bring in as much of the background texture as you want.  Play with the sliders till you get the desired effect and click done.
  •   This will bring you back to the main screen where you will now click the little square at the bottom of the layers column that adds the layer mask.(when I first started I always got hung up because I forgot this important step.)
  • Next you will tweak the sliders for the layer mask to get exactly the effect you desire.
  • Now you just save your work and you have created a beautiful photo with a textured background.
  • This took a lot of practice for me to get all the steps right so don't get discouraged if at first you don't succeed.

    Samples of my Textured Background Photos

    Daisy  with Brick Wall Texture

    Bluebirds with Sky Texture Background

    Candle in Crystal Ball with Fire textured background

    Photoshop Texture Book on Amazon



                                                               

 Zazzle Card with Textured Photo





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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Can I Give Him My Eyes Book Review

Can I Give Him My Eyes Book Review
Can I Give Him My Eyes is a biographical book that was written by Richard Moore with the assistance of his long-time friend and supporter, Don Mullan. It tells the story of a ten-year old boy who loses his eyesight on May 4, 1972, on the way home from school when he is shot by a soldier during The Troubles in Ireland.

According to Moore’s book, he was just passing by when he was shot. The rubber bullets were supposed to be used to control crowds and riots but to this day Moore does not know why he was shot.

In any case, those rubber bullets, which were thought to be a relatively safe way of controlling riots, turned out to be more dangerous than anticipated. Moore survived being; other children did not.

If you would like a look at The Troubles in Ireland, this book will be a good education. I learned of it while on a trip to Ireland in 2018 during which I visited both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Of course, 2018 was a safe year to visit, unlike the years of the Northern Ireland Conflict, which spanned approximately 1968 to 1998. During those years there were riots, shootings and bombings almost every day. In the end, the conflict killed almost four thousand people and of course it also left many victims behind. The antagonism between the Irish Catholic population and the British army and especially the events of Bloody Sunday caused fear and hatred of the army from the people and no doubt fear and hatred in return. The tense atmosphere was likely the reason that Moore was shot despite the fact that he was a child passing by and not participating in a riot or public gathering.

Can I Give Him My Eyes is not just about the loss of Moore’s eyes. The catastrophe happens early on in the book, which is also about his journey in life, about how he learned to cope as a blind person, about the upheaval it caused his family and about how it changed and set the direction of his life.

Moore manages to accept the fact of his blindness almost right away. He carried forward no bitterness or anger, which he attributes to his parents who were peaceful and never spoke bitter or angry words. The Dalai Lama, who Moore eventually met and who Moore considers to be both a hero and a friend, once said and Moore agrees that, “Forgiveness is a gift to yourself.” Moore could have been bogged down by the event and the reality of being blinded but instead he moved on and let his situation propel him forward to experiences that he might not otherwise have ever had.

He has a university degree, has had two businesses, is a musician and, as a peace and reconciliation worker, started an organization called Children in Crossfire to help children in troubled situations around the world have opportunities that they might not otherwise have. He had lots of support and kindness as a child and as an adult and he wants to make sure that others in difficulty do, too.

Interestingly, Moore eventually goes on to meet the soldier who shot the rifle that injured him. They have become friends and they have even worked together. On the cover of Can I Give Him My Eyes, His Holiness the Dalia Lama, says, “I encourage people across the world to read what Richard has to say. Despite his own loss, he has found freedom through forgiveness.”

This book is RECOMMENDED by me. Not as a page turner but rather as a look at the troubled times in Ireland and at one man’s lifetime journey because of his injury. You can find your copy on Amazon by clicking right here.

See you
at the bookstore!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

Quick Links:

Richard Moore’s website.
In the Name of the Father, Irish movie review.
My Left Foot, Irish movie review.






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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Angels of the Arch Book One Reviewed

When Angels Are Among Us 

Archangel Gabriel image courtesy of pixabay.com
A review of the book Angels of the Arch: The Unwanted Gift is what I will be sharing with you today. It is a relatively new book published about one year ago and is written by Lion Key who is probably a new name to you as an author. 

Gabrielle Crowe is a 15 year old girl living in Alaska surrounded by the Unnoticed who inhabit the planet Earth. Her life seems pretty typical of a teenager; she feels the angst of her age like any other young person. She loves her friends even though they annoy her often. Her grumpy Grandmother has raised her since she was an infant. Gabrielle is a normal teenager or is she?

Strange things begin to happen to Gabrielle that she finds difficult to explain or even talk about with her best friend Amy. Leo, a new boy in her school, befriends her before he eventually takes her to a different world or dimension. It is revealed to her that she has been given a gift; she is to be the new Archangel of Water. There is a price to pay if she accepts the new responsibility, though. Gabrielle feels the price is too high for her; she doesn't want the gift, not at that cost. What happens if she doesn't take it?

The regular readers of Review This know that I do not like to give away too many spoilers in any of the books that I review. I will tell you this; if you read this wonderful book you will find out who the unnoticed are, who inhabits the dimension or world where she is taken and what the cost to Gabrielle is if she accepts her new position. Does she or doesn't she accept the responsibility?

I thoroughly enjoyed this first book by Lion Key. He has done a really good job of portraying a contemporary teenage girl; making her believable throughout the story. I loved the tiny bit of mystery along with the action scenes that occur in Alaska and the place where Leo takes her. The paranormal abilities of some of the characters were pretty neat, too. Overall it was a very good book and I look forward to the next one...I want to find out what happens next with Gabrielle!

If I were to find any fault at all in the book it would be that I couldn't figure out what season of the year the story takes place. I found it confusing during a few of the descriptive scenes of Gabrielle's surroundings. For me, it was a minor distraction and did not take away from the story that unfolded. It really is a very good story that kept me turning the pages until the wee hours of the morning.

Lion Key also works to support Independent Authors (like myself) with a team of others at Indie Author Central. It is a growing network of authors, artists, editors who support and promote each others work in a fun and exciting way to remind the world that #indiesareworthit. 

So, bottom line, I recommend this book as one to read if you like YA (young adult) type stories with paranormal fantasy mixed in. I sincerely do not think that you will be disappointed; I was not.



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Monday, April 22, 2019

Mother's Day Gifts Reviewed on Review This Reviews

Treasures from the Archives of Review This Reviews!


 Mothers Day Gifts Reviewed on Review This Reviews On Mother's Day, we celebrate our moms.  We take this one day each year to express our love to our mothers and to give them a gift of appreciation.

As a mother myself, I know the size or expense of the gift doesn't matter.  A card with an expression of love, signed by my precious child, touches my heart deeply.  I keep and cherish those cards more than just about any other gift.  It takes only a moment to write "I love you" and sign the card, but this is a treasured gift that I will keep all of my life.  

As a child, I enjoy finding a unique gift that my mom will keep and enjoy displaying or using.  Because Mother's Day is separate from other gift giving holidays, I embrace being able to focus just on one important person in my life.  

Many of us are blessed with wonderful mothers.  We need to always remember that our moms are truly a gift to us.  Remembering them on Mother's Day, is really very little to give back.

Select a gift that easily fits into your own budget.  I know for a fact, no loving mother wants their child struggling to pay for a gift.  If a $4 card is what your budget will allow, give the card.  If you don't have $4 to spare, write "I love you" on a piece of paper, sigh it and give it to her.  That card or slip of paper, regardless of price, will be among her most valued treasures.

If you wish to send a larger gift along with the card, the contributors of Review This Reviews offer suggestions based on their own experiences.  We write about gifts that we have received and loved, as well as gifts that we have given that have been greatly appreciated.  Please refer to the Pinterest board below to see the gifts reviewed and recommend by our Contributors.  

Every family situation is different.  Choose what works best for you and your mother.  Just remember her on Mother's Day!  That is what matters most.   




A Preview of our Pinterest Board - Mother's Day Gifts Reviewed 

 There are over 100 Mother's Day Gift Reviews 
from the Contributors of Review This Reviews! 
This small board features the 30 most recent reviews. 





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Sunday, April 21, 2019

Decorating Color Schemes for Spring and Summer 2019

Funk by Color
If you haven't had a chance to read about Pantone's color of the year for 2019, you can learn a little about it here.

Pantone not only designates a color choice for the year, it also establishes color groupings for the seasons during that year.

For 2019, Pantone has created suggested palettes that reflect uplifting energy:

1. Embracing Nature - Freshness with Blues, Greens and Zesty Limes
2. Joyful - Radiant with Pink, Purple, Blueberry and White
3. Color Play - Fruity and Bright Mango, Mystical Violet and Watery Pastels
4. Innocence - Light, Life and Hopefulness with Soft Pink, Blueberry and Soft Blues

You can take a peek at Pantone's color schemes for each of the above four moods here.

Innocence by Pantone

Here's a simple example of how to incorporate the colors of 'Innocence' into a decorating theme. You can feature any of the colors in pieces you find yourself drawn to. If a blueberry couch isn't your thing, then choose a soft pale blue or blush pink sofa then introduce blueberry via the rugs, drapes or accessories.


Embracing Nature by Pantone

Below are pieces you can include into a decor theme that focus on the freshness of nature. The color scheme outlined for this theme focuses on blues, greens and limes. Of course you don't have to stop there. Pops of wheat and soft ice can be used to further lighten the overall look.


Color Reflects You

Most of us tend toward neutral décor. More often we choose neutral because we're unsure how to mix and match colors. It takes a little extra knowledge to learn about color and how to mix them together. Below is a brief explanation of the color wheel to help you with your next decorating project.

Understanding the Basics of the Color Wheel



  1.  Complementary Colors: Two colors opposite each other on the wheel
  2.  Split Complementary Colors: Uses three colors. One color matched to two colors adjacent to it's complementary color (example, blue with yellow-orange and red-orange)
  3.  Analogous Colors: Three colors next to each other on the wheel
  4.  Triadic Colors: Three colors equally apart on the wheel
  5.  Tetradic Colors: Four colors in two sets of complementary colors (pink, green & blue, yellow)
Have fun with color this spring, even if you only add it with flowers!



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Saturday, April 20, 2019

Reviewing the Green Ogre Drink

The Green Ogre Drink - a healthy alternative to your morning coffee
The Green Ogre, photo via LouannesNation
I came across a variation of this drink towards the end of 2018 beginning of 2019.  I adapted the recipe using products I was able to get here in Australia (where I live) and so was 'born' the Green Ogre Drink.   I should also mention that these products are also available in the US, Canada, UK, NZ & Poland as well.

If you follow me on instagram you would have seen me regularly post about this drink as I have it every day.

I would like to have everybody in the world replace their morning coffee with this drink for 30 days.  I think everyone would benefit from it.

Why Should I The Drink Green Ogre Drink?


I should mention here that I am not a doctor or a medical professional, but I believe it can do a lot of things for you such as -

What's the three ingredients in the Green Ogre Drink
  • increased energy
  • increased focus and concentration
  • improved skin
  • and it could even lead you to both time and financial freedom!
Let me break it down for you ...

The Green Ogre drink uses 3 different Arbonne products (this means it's cruelty-free, vegan, gluten free, kosher & non-GMO), the products are - Greens Balance, Mind Health & Fizz Sticks.

We've talked about Greens Balance before as a good way to get more fruit and veg into your diet.   Imagine being able to get 2 servings of your fruit & veg in place of your morning coffee!   Last year I was following a couple of people on Instagram as they did a shot of Greens Balance every day for their skin health and they were really happy with the results.  This was obviously not a controlled scientific experiment, but it does make sense that taking a supplement that includes 37 different fruit and vegetables would help make your skin clearer doesn't it?

Mind Health includes phosphatidylserine & vitamin B12 both of which helps improve your focus and concentration which is the reason so many people feel the need for a coffee in the morning.

Fizz Sticks are the third ingredient and they contain caffeine to give you a boost of energy along with B vitamins which also helps boost your energy levels.

Fizz Sticks also contain chromium which helps to balance your blood sugar levels.  If your blood sugars are balanced then it's easier to keep your energy levels balanced.

Not All Caffeine is Equal


Now some people say, but hang on why take another caffeine drink to replace one that I know I like?  This seems like a fair question, but not all caffeine is created equal.

Let me explain the differences and why you should be substituting the Green Ogre drink for your first coffee of the day (note I'm not saying give up coffee completely, it tastes delicious after all!)

When you drink coffee the caffeine you're ingesting is acidic which can lead to inflammation in your body (not a good thing), the caffeine also causes you to crash after a while which is often when you grab for another coffee or a hit of sugar, or both!

The caffeine in the fizz sticks is derived from both green tea and guarana and the difference is that it is a more alkalized version of caffeine aka it won't cause inflammation in your body.   I've also noticed that it sustains your energy levels much more effectively so that you don't get that 'crash' that has you reaching for another caffeine hit.

I can't speak for you personally, but I've found that I don't need a drink mid-morning to keep me going when I have a green ogre drink.   I do take a fizz stick in water in the afternoon however, usually between 2.30 & 3.30pm which is a long time after my 8.30 - 9.00 am Green Ogre fix!

Are You Up for the Green Ogre Drink Challenge?


I'd love to hear from anyone who's up for swapping out their morning coffee for a Green Ogre Drink for 30 days - I would love to cheer you on and listen to your thoughts.

I do have to close with a warning though - after 30 days you may find you don't want to go back to your morning coffee, I've found I just don't want to live without my Green Ogre drink in the morning!



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Friday, April 19, 2019

Meet Margaret Schindel, Review This Roving Contributor

I’m delighted to be joining the Review This! team, pinch-hitting for our regular weekly and bi-weekly contributors as needed.

My professional writing experience dates back to the 1980s and spans a wide range of topics and formats, from executive speeches to corporate video scripts, training materials, blog posts, white papers and articles. My career began in fashion retailing in New York City, where I started out as an assistant buyer and later took over the company’s executive training program. I have been involved with the Internet since the mid-1990s, when I worked for IBM on their first e-business and e-commerce initiatives not long after Jeff Bezos launched Amazon. Back then, nearly everyone who’d actually heard of the internet was sure it was a flash in the pan, a fad that would last a few years at most. It was the Wild West days of the web – exciting times! I’ve also worked at marketing and public relations agencies.

Designing and making one-of-a-kind jewelry is one of my passions. My favorite jewelry making materials include vintage beads, gemstone beads, Swarovski crystals, polymer clay and silver. I create many of my jewelry pieces using metal clay, a unique form of silver, gold, bronze, copper or steel that can be manipulated in ways that traditional milled metal cannot. I was not only a contributor but also the senior editor and technical editor of Metal Clay Artist magazine.

A lifelong “foodie,” I love cooking and baking (and eating!) and enjoy developing and adapting recipes. I love music and sang in clubs in my late teens and early 20s. My favorite author is the brilliant, witty and prolific British satirist Terry Pratchett, whose hilarious and thought-provoking Discworld fantasy novels have brought me countless hours of reading and listening pleasure in both print and audiobook formats. My husband and I are also big fans of Hayao Miyazaki’s beautiful movies.

Most of all, I enjoy sharing my special finds, from my favorite cookbooks to my favorite jewelry making tools – with others. I’m looking forward to sharing them with you here on Review This! You can also find my articles on HubPages and its sister sites, FeltMagnet and Delishably.


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Thursday, April 18, 2019

On Call in the Arctic - Book Review

On Call in the Arctic
I have been on a medical memoir jag lately, and On Call in the Arctic: A Doctor's Pursuit of Life, Love, and Miracles in the Alaskan Frontier, has certainly whetted my appetite for more.  Part Northern Exposure, part MacGyver, this is the perfect read for anyone who enjoys the kind of adventures that can only take place off the beaten path.  Though the story takes place in the Alaskan frontier of the 1970's, its themes of cultural divides, and racism, along with an undercurrent of hostility, make this a very timely book.

As Dr. Thomas Sims is about to enter his pediatric surgical residency, his status suddenly changes overnight when he is informed that he is about to be sent overseas to serve within a M.A.S.H. unit in Vietnam.  With a wife nine-months pregnant, and a two-year-old daughter, Sims is relieved to be given an alternative.  He can choose to accept a plum military placement as a U.S. Public Health Service physician in Anchorage, Alaska.  Not only does that mean that Dr. Sims can keep his family together, and be stateside for the impending birth of his son, but Sims is also offered the position of his dreams—Chief of Pediatric Surgery in a well-equipped urban hospital.

Perfect, right?  Well, not so fast.  Upon arriving with his family in Anchorage, Sims is shocked to receive new orders to report to Nome, Alaska, where he will be the only doctor in a very isolated setting.  Not only will Dr. Sims serve the remote outpost of Nome, but he will also be responsible for the medical needs of thirteen outlying Eskimo villages. 

This is where things get mighty interesting.  Imagine the shock, if you have been trained in state-of-the-art medicine, to enter a medical world without adequate facilities, with very few supplies, and almost no support.  Not only that, but a major scandal which occurred during the previous physician's tour of service has created the kind of mistrust and prejudice that will make relationship-building almost impossible.

The most fascinating element of this memoir involves the stories of frightening, and yet exhilarating, medical emergencies.  How do you save the life of a patient whose appendix is about to explode when you don't have an operating room, the right supplies, or a surgical team?  How do you deliver a huge baby in distress when a C-section isn't an option?  This is where Dr. Sims has to use a combination of intuition and MacGyver-like ingenuity to save the day.

I can't help but believe his time in the Alaskan bush made Thomas Sims a better doctor.  Medical training in perfect conditions is one thing.  Learning to improvise in the heat of a life-or-death emergency is another.  To be able to master both the art and science of medical service requires a rare gift.  The beauty of this story is in watching that gift emerge.

From harrowing medical procedures, to death-defying bush plane and snowmachine travel in wicked weather conditions, this book has it all.  Though the harsh conditions and interpersonal divides take their toll, On Call in the Arctic is a book that dwells in the miracles that can happen in the midst of hardship, misunderstandings, and the messiness of living outside your comfort zone.

I recommend this memoir to anyone who enjoys living, or living vicariously, the kind of life that takes one to the wilder side of existence.  There is something essential to be gained when we leave the safe confines of a predictable way of life.  Somewhere out there are brave new worlds to be found and explored.

Reading this book is one way to step into a world where the past may inform the future, especially given the common threads between our current societal struggles and those with which Dr. Sims wrestled.  Here's to finding our way to a brave new tomorrow. 





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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Bats, the Good, the Great and Why You Want Them!

April 17, 2019 has been designated as "Bat Appreciation Day" by those wonderful folks at the Days of the Year!  So let's do a review on Bats and why you would encourage them to become part of your backyard and garden areas!

Bats have had a bad reputation for many years and much of it comes from not understanding this mammal and all of it's wonderful attributes.  Halloween, scary stories, murder mysteries and more have used scenarios with bats as a harbinger of bad things to come.  Stories of bats becoming entangled in people's hair and attacking at night have added to the fear many people have when it comes to this animal.  Vampires and other "horror" scenes have reinforced the idea that bats are "bad news". I'm here to set the record straight!


Let's start with what we know about bats!

Bats are found almost everywhere where people are.  If there is a food source around, there will be bats as well.  The only place where bats have not been found is in Antarctica!  

Bat are mammals that hibernate like bears in the winter months.  Once the weather starts to warm up and the bugs come out of the ground, you will if you are lucky, start to see bats as well.  

Bats feed on bugs, fruit, beetles, and insects and there are a few species that will drink blood too  (this is where their bad reputation comes from)!  None of these blood suckers make their home in North America, so don't worry.

Bats eat up to 50% of their body weight in bugs every evening.  Yes, you should re-read that statement.  Bats eat up to 50% of their body weight in bugs every evening.  





Bats are the only flying mammal with great eyesight and the ability to echolocate their food!  No bats don't fly into your hair accidentally.  They have food to locate and eat.  Bat's are evening creatures that do most of their living while we are sleeping.  As morning comes Bats just want to go into a dark place to sleep.


Bat's with their voracious appetite help our farmers cut down on the need to use pesticides!  That is a GOOD thing.  

Unfortunately, Bats are in trouble!  They need our help.  Many bats have been dying because of a disease that is called  "White Mold Disease" and it attacks the bats as they are hibernating.  When they come out of hibernation they are sick and quickly die.  There are many efforts being made to help the bats through this debilitating disease and providing them with clean and safe places to hibernate, is one of these initiatives.

Of all the animals that you can have in the garden (and all of them have a job to do), I would be encouraging bats to find me.  Having a bat box ready for them is step #1.  These are easy to build and can be fastened to a nice cozy dry spot.  Just under the eaves is a great place. 


Here are some books that you can share with your children and get them on board to helping Mother Nature take care of her bats!  You can also build your own Bat Box and see if they will come!  Sitting on the patio in the cool evenings will be a lot nicer for you and your family when there are bats around to take care of all those nasty mosquitos.  It's a win-win situation.




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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Notre-Dame de Paris Reflections

Mourning The Loss Of History

notre-dame de paris
Notre-Dame de Paris image courtesy of pixabay.com
Today I will be reviewing some history of Notre-Dame de Paris with you. The world watched in horror and shock yesterday, 04/15/2019, as this beautiful historical landmark of Paris burned. Whether you are a member of the Catholic Church or not, the loss of this beautiful cathedral that had survived wars and rebellions for over 800 years was devastating to see. This icon of the city of Paris and the country of France will never be the same. 

Our Lady Of Paris, the English translation of Notre-Dame de Paris, was commissioned to be built in 1160 by Bishop Maurice de Sully. He would never see his dream fulfilled of the French Gothic structure because it took almost 200 years for the church to be completed. It does not appear that the Bishop randomly chose a site for the cathedral to be constructed. He must have felt that there was something sacred about the land, at least I feel that way. A religious structure of one kind or another had been on that piece of ground since the days of the Roman Empire. A Gallo-Roman temple dedicated to Jupiter was the first known structure. Four churches would eventually replace the temple before Notre-Dame began to be built. A 4th Century basilica dedicated to Saint Stephen was the first. In the 7th Century the basilica was replaced with a cathedral for Childebert I who I happen to be a descendant of. Two renovations of the Romanesque style churches followed. The Bishop of Paris, Maurice de Sully, opted to demolish the existing building but did recycle many of the materials for what would become the most popular tourist attraction of France and the city of Paris.

As I watched the soaring red flames lighting the sky of Paris yesterday, one of the factoids by a reporter caught my attention. Something like 52 acres of wood had been used to construct the portion of Notre Dame that burned. It was often referred to as The Forest. No wonder it seemed to be consumed by fire so quickly! The timber had been drying for over 800 years. 

You might have assumed as I had that this historical cathedral belongs to the Vatican and the Catholic Church. The statement of President Macron that Notre-Dame de Paris would be re-built baffled me at first. Why would he be so committed to re-building when the French Government feels so strongly about the separation of church and state? Wouldn't it be up to the Pope to decide on what to do? Well, a little searching on my part revealed the answer. A law in 1905 made the famous cathedral the property of the French state. The Catholic Church is the designated beneficiary with the exclusive right to use the building for religious purposes. The paying of employees, the maintenance of the building, the utilities, security and other expenses are the responsibility of the Archdiocese. The Catholic Church does not receive any subsidies from the French Government. I found that fascinating to say the least.

If you would like to find out more about the history and architecture of the cathedral, there is a wonderful book that you can purchase. 

 They may be able to build a new structure but it can never be what stood before. There are not artisans today like the ones who built the original. The amazing craftsmanship of the past would be very difficult to replicate. 



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