Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Relaxing with...The Village Company (Giveaway)


The Village Company Giveaway



The Village Company has a lot of awesome products for sale. They have some great stuff for adults and kids, which is great if you're looking for some fun products for the children and something nice for mommy as well. Or maybe you don't have kids yet and want to just pamper yourself. Nothing wrong with that.

I personally think, for the young ones, that the sesame street products look super cute. They have some bubble bath, hand soap, and even more to keep your kids nice and clean!
Do you want to win something? Of course you do!

Giveaway-

To Enter: Leave a comment with why you want to try something from The Village Company...you can mention a certain product you want to try for example.

Open To: U.S. only

Prize: One winner can pick 3 items from the website!

Ends: October 12th

Extra-

+1 you follow (leave a new comment)
+1 spread the word (leave a new comment)
+1 leave a comment on the following post (and leave a new comment here saying you did)

Interview: Namely Newborns


Interview with Namely Newborns

By: Lauren



1.Who is behind the site Namely Newborns? Tell us a bit about yourself and why started the shop!

Denise Glasser and Roz Stuzin are two savvy grannies who have nine grandchildren between them including two sets of baby girl twins. When our first grandchildren were born 7 years ago we could not find exactly what we wanted so we started Namelynewborns so that moms ,grandmoms and friends can get exactly the color and design tht they want for their baby gifts. We both have a back ground in education and design. Denise was the founder of the Miami Children's Museum and I am a licensed interior designer. We feel we have a handle on what babies need and what Moms want.

2. Do you feel your site offers any unique offers, specials, etc?

We offer free personalization on most of our baby blankets. This includes up to two names and a birthdate which is a $20 value. We offer free shipping on all orders over $100 and a flat rate of $6.95 on everything under $100.

3. What is one of your favorite items from the store to suggest to people?

Our favorite items for a deluxe gift are our Victoria Kids hand crocheted baby blankets in pink or blue Our most popular mid priced blanket is our Bearington Bear Posh Dot blankets in brown & blue or brown & pink. which sells for $49.95.

4. As the name is stated towards newborns, how many pounds or what age does everything go up too?

We have over 100 blankets and quilts to choose from for the new baby. We have a wide selection of towels for the newborn baby up to 1 year as well as oversized toddler towels in bright colors and animal designs for kids up to three years old Kids up to three years old will enjoy our plush toys and books. For the older sibling we offer to beach towels, back packs, tote bags and tutus..

5. Do you have kids of your own? Do they wear or use anything from the site?

We love sharing our beautiful gifts with our grandchildren. This summer my two year old twins found our favorite Bearington Bear posh dot brown and pink blankets in their cribs when they visited. The girls dragged those soft blankets around the entire vacation and held on for dear life when their mommy tried to pull them away so she could pack them for the trip home We discontineued one of our hooded towel lines that I had given to my newbor n twins, when I saw how they washed. We like to have our daughters and daughter-in-laws critique our merchandise and suggest what they want. We started carrying an amazing eco friendly swaddling blanket when Denise' daughter -in-law was looking for a soft light weight coverup with suv protection for breast feeding. her newborn twins.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

(Review) Charmed, I'm Sure...


Charm-It Review
By: Lauren
First off, I want to say that this site carries a few bracelets and necklaces designed for boys, some dance accessories, hair items, and even some other jewelry for the girls. It's definitely got more of a younger feel...so if you're shopping for a daughter, a niece, a friend's child, or anyone who might be a tween or younger...this would be a good place to look!

When making a charm bracelet from the site, you first hit Accessories under the title "Charm It!" and you can pick the type of bracelet that you want. They have some like the photo above where you get all cupcakes, rainbow peace signs, safety pins, and more. There are, of course, some plain colors that you can go with: a silver chain, blue, pink, etc. As for me, I was sent the purple bracelet. It's a pretty light color so nothing too distracting. Purple is my favorite color so I think it's really pretty.

Once you have the bracelet, now you need the charms! Look in the right sidebar again under "Charm It!" and click charms. There are 135 charm ideas you can go with which is amazing. You're sure to find a few ideas for that special little girl in your life. I didn't pick my charms, but they sent me one with five different ones. I got:

A heart-shaped locket you can open that has a cupcake on it
A rainbow-colored peace sign
A pink heart with different colored gems on it
A shiny pink guitar
A flower that has different colored stones for the petals and center

Obviously, these are only a few of the ideas you can go with but some others that might be fun would be a gumball machine charm, dog house charm, treasure chest charm, music note charm, tons of Hello Kitty charms, just disney Pooh charm, and even some Hannah Montana charms.

As for the sizing of the bracelet, I can't really say but the bracelet they sent for review fits me and I'm a teenager. Again though, these are mainly for younger kids so just keep that in mind. I'm sure you could have someone help you with the sizing before you buy anything too though.


Finally, I want to talk about the package it comes in. The bracelet is sealed in a tiny little bag and put in a box that opens on both sides. They are sealed tight though, as each side bends inwards so that it seems like a half moon was carved into the sides. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but I just basically want you to know that the bracelet will be kept safe and it's a great place to put it when it's not being used either. It also has a pink ribbon on top so that the whole thing is like a tiny purse/bag.


The colored bracelets (pink, blue, purple) are all $8.00. The prices vary on the other bracelet types.

All of the charms seem to be $6.00 each though.

(Review) My Lip Stuff is Great for Authors and Events


My Lip Stuff review
By: Lauren

As you can see from the card above, My Lip Stuff is a chapstick that is a "skin, earth, and animal friendly product." They come in all kinds of "flavors" if you will. You can choose from over 500 choices which is amazing if you're looking for something in particular for yourself, an occasion, or someone you know. The ones I recieved for review:

Bubblegum
Strawberry Shortcake
Pink Cake
Sex on the Beach
Peace of Mind
Vanilla Ice Cream

I think these chapsticks are really good quality. They go on smooth and keep your lips really moist. All of the colors are a white-ish color, but they all seemingly have a different scent to them of course. I really liked the smell of the Strawberry Shortcake.

My favorite to wear is definitely Peace of Mind, especially with the weather getting colder. I tried it when my lips were a bit chapped and hurting and they really did seem to help it. It left a tingly kind of feel on my lips. It's a lot like a cough drop on your lips if that makes sense. It's not a bad thing though, of course. It really did make my lips feel nice when they were upset.

One of the things that I think is great about these chapsticks is that you can personalize them. If you're having a wedding, a birthday, or celebrating a holiday, you can find some way to make it fit your idea. I love anything that you can personalize, so this is great.

I think it would be PERFEFCT for authors. I know some have magnets, bookmarks, and more...so why not some chapstick? Especially if you have some girly-girls in the novel, it takes place in the winter, or you find a flavor that fits a character or the overall theme. It would be perfect! Hand them out in contests, give them to friends and family...you could even pass some out at signings if you wish. It's a small and fun way to promote your novel over and over and over...so why not? Try it out!

Authors: Do you think this sounds like a good idea?

Readers: Would you like to recieve a chapstick that fits a book?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

(3 Winners) The Perfect Baby Handbook


Give It Away-

There is a quiz below for you all to read and answer (feel free to leave your answers in the comments, but please try not to cheat!) in order to try and win The Perfect Baby Handbook. We have three copies so you have a few chances to win. More details will be below. As for the quiz, these answers can all be found by reading the interview we did with the author last week.

Interview: http://shootingstarsmag.blogspot.com/2009/09/perfect-baby-handbook-interview.html


1. The illustrator of The Perfect Baby Handbook is Kagan McLeod. Where are they from?

2. Some of the advice in the book is based off of real-life experiences that the author had heard about from family and friends. What is one of these stories?

3. Is the author named:

A. Bill Clinton
B. Dale Hrabi
C. Dale Hale
D. Madonna

4. Does the author have any kids and if so, how many?

5. I heard the author wasn't too fond of all the illustrations in the book, but likes most of them. True or false?

6. The author's shooting star wish was what?

A. a child
B. time
C. lots of money
D. to be on the New York Times Bestselling List.


Details on Contest-Read Carefully or you might miss points!

Open To: U.S. and Canada

Ends: Oct. 1

How to Enter: Answer the above questions!

Prize: THREE copies of The Perfect Baby Handbook

Extra Ways-

+1 if you follow (leave a new comment saying this)

+1 if you post this somewhere (leave a new comment saying this)

+2 if you posted on the interview BEFORE this was posted (leave TWO comments letting me know)

+1 if you post a comment on the interview NOW (leave a new comment saying this)

+1 if you post a comment on the review, which is forthcoming.

Friday, September 25, 2009

(Review) A Beautiful Piece of Art

Accent Furniture Direct Review
Written By: Lauren

Photos: If you click on them, they will appear much larger on your screen for a close-up look!

Links You Should Know-

Main Site for your Furniture Needs: http://www.accent-furniture-direct.com/

Home Decor where this Item is Found: http://www.accent-furniture-direct.com/Home-Decor-C170064.html

The Review Item: http://www.accent-furniture-direct.com/Southern-Enterprises-GA1928-UT1535.html


Our Thoughts:

When I was offered to review an item, I knew already (from other blogs) that they had some awesome bookcases. However, I wanted to let my mom pick something out instead so we sat down to look at the site and finally decided on the Abstract Autumn Leaves Metal Wall Art. Yes, that's right...this piece is metal, but painted so that it looks like actual wood. I definitely think they did a great job making it seem realistic. Each panel has the same type of colors but they all look to have a different design that just adds to the beauty of it. As for the leaves, they are more obviously metal as they are painted a nice silver that really stands out against the dark background.


This pieces is so beautiful. You can't see in our photos, but we placed this in the living room right above the couch. Most of our furniture in that room is dark or wood so we thought it would blend it nicely, which it does. Before we got this wall art, we had a large framed painting in its place but we all feel this fits the feel of the room much better. It goes nicely with everything and looks really pretty. A few people who have come over and seen it agree that it's nice as well.

I have to say that I love how open it makes the wall look now that we've added it. It doesn't take up a ton of room, but it's just large enough to look right where it's placed. I think it would be a great gift to give yourself for your house or even to ask for as a Holiday gift. The obvious feel is very autumn, but I don't think it would look out of place at any other time of the year as long as it goes with the overall decor of your room. Like I said above, ours is full of wood and dark colors all the time, so it'll always match and blend in. We live in a fairly country area as well, so I think it's perfect for those type of homes.

We definitely give this one two thumbs up! The shipping came pretty fast and everything was in place. It was all secured nicely and we had no mishaps or broken parts. As soon as it arrived, it was basically ready to go up and be enjoyed.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Simply-Bags is More Than Simple - Recommended!!!


Simply-Bags Review
By: Lauren

I was sent the Patent Leather Handbag in Black to review. You can also get this in Red or Spice (which is a type of brown) if you so choose. The reason I went with black is because I figured it would go with pretty much any outfit and that's true. The initials I chose (first, last, and then middle) are my mom's because she needed a new purse and I'm more of the "over-the-body" kind of purse wearer so that I don't have to worry about carrying it around.

However, this purse is great for my mom and she loves it! It's a shiny outside that looks nice but makes it really easy to clean off if something happens to get on it. My mom said that it has plenty of room for all of her items and I must add that I felt it was pretty light with everything in the end which is great...who wants to lug around a sack of bricks?

The black outside is really pretty, and I love that when you get up closer, it's more of a deep red. The light even gives off some of the red color if it hits it. Some people might not like this idea, so it's worth mentioning, but I see it as a plus. It makes the bag more of a unique find and it still works with any outfit like I thought black would. My mom has switched all her items into this purse and uses it all the time.

Being able to personalize this bag with the initials is great! I love personalized items, and Simply Bags is full of them. You can find some items for the older women (like the handbag) but also some fun items for the whole family and younger girls looking for something cute and fun. You definitely get a lot of options when it comes to the type, the color, and what you want to put on it (some are initials only, some allow a name).

Overall, we are really happy with the purse. I think it's great and my mom loves using it. She's even gotten a few comments from friends and even on stranger when we went out to eat. They all thought it was super cute!

Finally, I want to mention the price. I think for what you get (a great purse and even personalization if you want it), it's well worth it. You can get bags or purses for the same amount in stores and you aren't able to fix it to your liking, so why not try an online shop this holiday season? Prices range mostly from the 20's and up!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dreaming Anastasia Quiz/Giveaway + My Full Review

Dreaming Anastasia- Joy Preble
By: Lauren


I had already posted my basic thoughts on the book, as well as the summary, last week but now I'm going to fill you in what I thought about it overall. First off, if you want the summary again:

Now, I think this is a really great historical fiction novel. I only knew a little bit about Anastasia Romanov, but I feel that Joy Preble wrote her story in such a way where I want to know more about the real girl and the events that surrounded her and her family's death. As for Dreaming Anastasia, it's a very unique and imaginative story that is sure to please many. I felt myself wondering what would happen all the way through...of course, parts are fairly obvious and would shock me greatly if they did not happen, but some things were surprising and I never truly knew how the end would be until it was there.

When it comes to the end, I loved it. I'm not always a huge fan of books' endings even if I loved the book as a whole, but I really felt that Joy Preble wrote it in a pleasing, yet realistic way. I hate when all books wrap up with a nice bow, unless it seems fitting, but this book does not and I'm very happy it's that way. I really do recommend people read this. I think it would be a great story to discuss in a book club as there is many parts you could talk about: history, fairy tales, and more.

Giveaway-

Joy was kind enough to write up an Anastasia Romanov Quiz for all of you to answer. If you win, you'll get your own copy of Dreaming Anastasia.

Open To: U.S. and Canada

Ends: October 1

To Enter: Take the quiz and email me the answers here: lauren51990 AT aol DOT com with the title Anastasia Entry and then your name. Got that?? By doing the quiz, you will be entered but only the ones with the MOST right answers will be put in the "pot to win." Feel free to look up the answers though! :) After you email, leave a comment here saying you sent it so I know and leave your thoughts on the overall quiz and the review if you wish.

Extra (LEAVE A NEW COMMENT FOR EACH PLEASE!

+1 if you follow
+1 if you post about this somewhere
+1 for each giveaway you enter on my site, so if you enter them all...that's a lot of extra entries!

QUIZ TIME!

How Well Do You the Real Anastasia Romanov?


In Dreaming Anastasia, Anastasia Romanov might not be quite as dead as the history books say. But how well do you know the real Anastasia? Check your knowledge with this quiz and email your answers to Shooting Star. The quizzes with the most right answers will be entered in a drawing for a swagilicious autographed copy of Dreaming Anastasia!

So let’s see how well you know this famous Russian princess!!

What was Anastasia’s actual royal title?

On her mother’s side, to what other royal families was Anastasia related?

What were the names of Anastasia’s sisters and her brother?

Anastasia’s father, Nicholas, held the title, ‘tsar.’ What is the etymology of that title?

When was Anastasia born?

The Romanov family was often gifted with amazingly beautiful decorative eggs at Easter. Which famous jewelry making family created these eggs?

From what very serious blood disorder did Anastasia’s brother suffer?

Anastasia’s mother trusted a particular holy man who some believed was evil. What was his name?

What was the name of the revolutionaries that overthrew the Romanov family?

Anastasia had a pet spaniel. What was his name?

(Review) Swami Baby...Not JUST for Babies!


Swami Baby Review
by: Lauren
Review- I love that this company, as a lot of other sites these days, is run by a mom who has kids of her own. It's great to see what these women (and sometimes men if they dad is involved) can come up with for their children and others. Swami Baby is all about allowing your child to teach you and being aware that they even can. After all, swami means "wise teacher."

This site isn't just for the littles ones though. They even have a section for the adults. I personally like the yoga pants and hoodies, but you can get some t-shirts and long-sleeve shirts as well. As for the kids though, they have a mix of toddler pants, onesies, t-shirts, and cute little infant caps.

I was sent the onesie with the little guy on the top. Above him read the saying "Constantly Changing." There are a few more options though such as "Just Breathe, Mom," and "So Far, So Good." Cute, right? And yet, so so true!

This whole section of baby items is in honor of my friend who was pregnant...but actually just had her baby last week, a little boy. We gave her the onesie I was sent and she thought it was really cute. I believe it was one of her favorites out of the other clothes options.

What I think you should know:

Onesie has long-sleeves so it's great for the fall and winter.

It's a soft, thick material...sure to keep your little one warm and comfy at the same time.

The design and message are both really sweet and it's sure to be unique compared to other options you see out and about.

I want to make a note that if you enter the giveaways, you might get an extra entry into ANOTHER giveaway and if you comment on these posts, it might allow you another entry into certain giveaways so keep following along and spread the word if you know someone who has a baby or is pregnant or simply has younger kids!

A VERY Important Note: Please Read

I got an email from Samantha of Harlequin Twilight's Book Blog about a possible "scam" or "virus" (we aren't sure) that says it's coming from me. I have no idea about this but she wanted you all to be warned so I copied her email below to see what she says about it:


Hey,
I just wanted to let you guys know that you may want to warn your readers. A few days ago I got an email from someone with the email Angela Buba (angela.buba AT yahoo dot com) and it turned out to be spam, but they are disguising their link with a Shooting Stars Mag link. It looks like a SSM link, until you click on it and it takes you to a website called Aviastar...which is a helicopter website (or so it says on google). I don't know why they would be doing this, but I just thought I would let your guys know. Thanks!


-- Samantha

http://harlequintwilightsbookblog.blogspot.com

Monday, September 21, 2009

Movie Review: The Last International Playboy

The Last International Playboy Review


Written By: Lauren


Summary (taken from imdb.com and it has who wrote it)-

Jack Frost's playboy lifestyle in New York City is rocked by the news that his childhood love is engaged. Amidst his friendships with Scotch Evans, a ribald nightlife correspondent; Ozzy, a troubled but loving heroin addict; and Kate Hardwick, a bewitching, quick-witted reporter, Jack sinks deeper into depression. Haunted by lost-love and his mother's suicide, Jack plunges into whiskey and self-destruction . . . until his eleven-year-old neighbor, Sophie, an unlikely mother figure, leads Jack back into himself, and out of the nostalgia and excess that consumed him. Written by http://www.imdb.com/SearchPlotWriters?frost@virtualism.net

Review-

I really like the summary above as it does show you a lot of what this film is about. It starts off with a lot of naked girls prancing around an apartment, but soon switches to Jack seven years later in bed with just one girl. You might think that he really is just some playboy, but he's far from that. Jack uses drinking and partying and women as a way of escaping his everyday life. He's still upset and grieving over his mother who took her own life and wishes desperately to be his best friend's boyfriend, but when that doesn't work out, will he go the way of his late mother?
One of my favorite characters in this film is Sophie, the little girl who lives near Jack, because she's wise beyond her years and yet she sees more to Jack than even his closest friends can see. She knows he's worth saving and wants to help. One of her personal thoughts on him is that he's "broken, not empty" and you'll definitely see this. He cares about people. He takes care of Sophie when her parents are working all the time, he loves Ozzy in his own way and wants to get her help, he knows Scotch isn't the greatest catch but he's his friend, and in the end, he truly just wants Carolina to be happy.

I definitely would recommend this to those that like thoughtful indie films. Great characters, great acting. It's well-worth a watch.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Spa Time Baby Interview + Giveaway WINNER ANNOUNCED


Interview with Leslie from Spa Time Baby
By: Lauren

Site:
http://www.spatimebaby.com/


1. One of your products is the very cool tummy tub that is meant to save water and space and create a bath experience that will feel like the womb to the baby. I have to say it's very ingenious idea. What has the feedback been about the tubs so far? Is there a set weight/age limit for them?

The TummyTub is sweeping the nation with its unique function and design. The TummyTub is by far a favorite of moms because baby is extremely calm and relaxed. Why? The TummyTub simulates a reassuring, womb-like experience for baby--nearly as nice as mommy's tummy! This is for birth-2 years.

2. The cape is an amazing product that will help moms and dads bathe their children without the worry of having half the bath upended on their clothes. Where did this idea come from and are all capes personalized with a name?


All good ideas and inventions sprout from necessity. Looking for a safe, convenient and cozy way to bathe and dry her baby daughter Grace, Spa Time Baby's Co-Founder Debra Medina, took to putting her terrycloth bathrobe on backwards like a smock. One day she thought a terry cloth cape would be perfect for this task and began searching for one on the internet. After not finding one, Debra designed and invented the Spa Time Baby Cape. All Spa Time Baby Capes are available for monogramming.

3. I'm a huge reader so I think it's great that you sell some bath books for children to enjoy in the tub and out of it. Do you have a favorite story out of the set available?

All the Spa Time Baby books are absolutely delightful with a squeaky toy attached on a string for extra playtime fun for baby. However, our favorite is the silly Flip, Flap, Flop because the penguins wobble around on the ice and slide on their tummies. How adorably cute is that! Can we expect any new ones to be released any time soon? Yes, as a matter of fact, Spa Time Baby has recently added The Jolly Pirate to the Baby's First Bath Books collection. The Jolly Pirate is a fun and simple story about a pirate following a treasure map. The Jolly Pirate includes a squeaky toy parrot for extra fun!

4. Do you have any children of your own, and if so, what products do you believe work best for your family from the site?


Leslie has a four year old daughter, and Debra has a three year old daughter. It has always been very important for Leslie's family to use organic & all natural products, and Leslie uses Spa Time Baby's All Natural Soaps with her daughter--the Sweet Lavender is her favorite! Debra started using the Spa Time Baby Cape with her daughter when she was a tiny infant, and she continues to use the cape in various ways as her daughter gets older--the waterproof panel sure comes in handy! Debra also uses the Spa Time Baby Mat with her daughter right after bath time for massage. Debra loves the mat because of the waterproof layer and her favorite print, Chic Baby.

5. If you could wish on a real shooting star what would you wish for and why?


We wish for all babies and toddlers everywhere to feel nurtured and pampered. We think you'll agree....Everyone deserves a little Spa Time!



Giveaway and Coupon Code if You Want To Buy-

Code: 35% discount by entering the code STB2 at checkout

Giveaway:

Prize-

Any one Spa Time Baby product (excluding tub & stool sets, gift sets, spa sets & monogramming).

Open to-

U.S. Only

Ends-

October 1

To Enter-

Why would you like to win? What did you like about the interview?

Extra Extra (leave a NEW COMMENT FOR EACH)-

+ 1 if you follow

+1 if you post about this somewhere

+1 if you sign up for the Spa Time Baby newsletter on the site

+1 if you follow Spa Time Baby on twitter: http://twitter.com/spatimebaby

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Perfect Baby Handbook: An Interview

Interview with Dale Hrabi
by: Lauren

Site: http://www.perfectbabyhandbook.com/

Read this interview and then scroll down for details on a future giveaway and the rest of September!

1. I love the idea behind The Perfect Baby Handbook. Where did it first come from? As for the illustrations in the book, they are great and some are definitely humorous. Who was the mastermind behind these?

I wrote The Perfect Baby Handbook for two reasons:

1) Two close friends of mine in New York City became pregnant at the same time and I watched them grow increasingly anxious as they started reading childrearing manuals full of conflicting advice; these books’ emphasis on developmental milestones and developmental stimulation seemed designed to make any would-be parent paranoid that his or her offspring would grow up sluggish and ill-equipped to compete in an ever-competitive world. My friends obviously needed some comic relief, so I would make jokes to cheer them up.


2) As a writer who’s often analyzed subcultures, I found the broader world of modern parenting fascinating. There is/was so much emphasis on genius-ifying your kid, so much pressure to spend crazy amounts for the most strategic gear/toys/clothing. Especially in certain urban, prosperous communities, parents have seemingly lost all perspective and allowed their lives to become baby-centric: “Nothing matters but parenting success,” seemed to be the philosophy. It all seem ed ripe for satire.

So I wrote a mock-manual that both empathized with the pressures parents face, and lightly satirized the extremes to which they find themselves going.As for the illustrations, I would think up the ideas and then a talented Toronto-based illustrator named Kagan McLeod would execute them in Adobe Illustrator. Often he and I went through several stages of revision until the illustration satisfied me. It was an involved, but v. rewarding process. Coincidentally, he and his wife had a baby about halfway through the process and he used his pregnant wife and newborn child as models for several of the images. I love the illustrations.


2. Most people know that soon-to-be parents can get a little out of control when it comes to raising the best baby possible: reading science books to their stomach and/or playing Mozart while pregnant. Are there any specific parts of the book that came from a real story you heard?


Yes, many of the specifics in the book were inspired directly or indirectly by real parents’ experiences. A few examples:

• One of my friends wanted her baby to have a “faux-hawk” hairdo but was frustrated by his lack of actual hair. That was the jumping off point for a hairstyles section (p. 120)

• “A Parent’s Guide to Surveillance” (p. 72) grew directly out of my friend Melinda’s account of her annoyance when a stranger on an airplane wouldn’t=2 0smile back at her baby.

• “Advanced Slumber Strategies” (p. 40) was also inspired by Melinda’s baby, who defied every known method for inducing sleep. Melinda had tried recreating the sounds of the womb with blow-dryers and washing machines (this turned into the third strategy: “Churn butter doggedly”).

• The fetal-stimulation belt on page 8-9 is a satirical take on the controversial BabyPlus system, which appears to be a scam- product backed by pseudo-science. A friend of mine had fallen for the sales pitch and spent 150 bucks or so on this device, only to decide she’d been ripped off. (babyplus.com)

• Another friend had read a newspaper story advising her to throw away all her expensive baby toys and let her daughter play with a cardboard box instead. This led me to research “back-to-basic” toys and write the piece on p. 105.


3. Your website has a few promotional videos for the book (such as Finding Hidden Meaning in Your Baby's Poop). Why did you decide to put together this representation of the book? Who is behind the animation and voice of said videos?

I felt that since the book was so visual, creating some “book trailers” by animating some of the illustrations might help me interest would-be readers in the Perfect Baby Handbook, and quickly convey its concept and attitude. These were done very cheaply. I wrote the scripts. That is my voice you20hear. (An acquaintance who is an advertising creative director offered to record and edit the voice-tracks in his home studio) A former magazine colleague who is trying to break into the animation world undertook the task of bringing the illos to life.


4. Do you have any children of your own? Whether you do or don't, what is one thing you actually would do to enhance your baby's learning or abilities that might seem a bit odd?

I don’t have children of my own, at least not yet. I’m sure, if I did, that I would be highly vulnerable to the notion that some device or strategy would “improve” my kid’s mind, and I would probably spend too much time, money, and effort testing these notions out. After writing the book, though, I believe, though, that the best way to stimulate your child is the old-fashioned way: Talking to her, playing with blocks together, allowing her time to stare into space or stare at a flower versus sitting her down alone in front of an educationsal DVD, scheduling every moment, or pressuring her to learn to read prematurely.


5. Your website boasts some products that will soon be available from onesies to tote bags. Anything you can tell us about these items and when they might be available (or if they will be already when this posts in September)?

There were some technical difficulties and I’ve since taken on a demanding, full-time media job. I’m still hoping to make a limited number of products available…not sure when.


6. And finally, our must-have question. If you had to wish on a shooting star, what would you wish for and why?

More time. Our world is too speeded-up, and our lives are going by so fast. I have much I’d like to achieve, but I’d also like to spend more time with loved ones, friends, nature, books. I love to laugh, but in the drive to get through the day, the need to laugh is often back-burnered. I’m sure this is something many parents can relate to, and I wrote the book to encourage people to pause, try to regain some perspective, and hopefully laugh.


Giveaway Notice-

You better read this because there will be a test! Alright, maybe just a tiny quiz. Next week, it will go up (all the answers can be found from this interview) and you must answer the quiz to be entered into a giveaway for a copy of this book, The Perfect Baby Handbook. It's humorous and fun...perfect for anyone with a new baby in their life whether it's yours or not, and even for those that just like amusing novels and happen to like babies! :)

If you comment on this post now though you'll get some extra entries into the giveaway so I would if I were you...you might not get the points later...I'm not sure yet. Look out for the book review as well! More baby, kid, and parent posts to come: guests are coming, interviews are done, and we have giveaways giveaways and oh yeah, giveaways!!! Spread the word please. If anyone wants to make a quick button for this, please do!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

finesse won Evemore...need email ASAP

I didn't mean to post this but I can't find a way to get in touch and I wanted to at least try and get ahold of them. So if you have the username finesse please get in touch in the next 48 hours to claim Evermore. I need your address info to send over to Alyson. Thanks for entering!!!

(Review) Evil? by Timothy Carter + WINNERS!


Evil? by Timothy Carter
Review by: Lauren

Summary-


Book of Stuart, Chapter 1:10.


10 And, yea verily, Stuart did commit the Sin of Onan in the shower. And this was witnessed by his own brother who did cry out unto their mother. And there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth.


11 And the townspeople rose up against him and all Onaners, calling upon one another to tear the youthful sinners limb from unclean limb. And there was much pants wetting.


12 And lo, Stuart did join forces with the demon, Fon Pyre, and together they did set forth to discover the cause of the town's trouble.


13 And, hark! A pair of fallen angels would plant seeds of hatred unto the townspeople. And on the seventh day, Stuart did vow to rip the fallen angels a new one and layeth upon them an epic smacketh-down.

Review-

Evil? interested me right away because of how original the summary sounded. A teen boy who is caught masturbating in the shower by his little brother is suddenly thrust into a horrific situation where the people of his town are out for his very life practically. This confuses Stuart of course as he doesn't feel he's done any wrong, and after all, the town pretty much accepted his being gay, so what's the deal now? However, the priest believes that Stuart didn't do anything wrong and agrees to help him figure out what's going on. It isn't until Stuart confronts the demon, Fon Pyre, who he'd been summoning for awhile in order to get some of his questions about good and evil, heaven and hell, answered.

Fon Pyre reveals to them that it's a fallen angel who has caused the town's madness. His quest to stop people from "spilling" has made the hatred overflow, but if it gets any worse, the demons are going to be able to crack through the thin line and atttack the people of the town.

So why is an angel of all people so set on punishing Stuart and others like him? Is Fon Pyre a truly evil being or can there be a fine late between good and evil?

Evil? is definitely a fun and amusing novel. It's a fast read that keeps you flipping the pages. I loved that Stuart seemed like a real person who had his own thoughts about things. However, that does't mean that he won't learn something in the overall scheme of things...after all, how could you not really? I liked that the paranormal aspect involved angels and demons but was very unique in its own right. It's nice to find something a bit different, a bit odd, but it just works! I'd definitely recommend giving it a read. It might not be your thing, but then again, you just might like it. What's the harm to try?

Giveaway WINNERS!!

The winners of the giveaway have been chosen, so here you all are. I am going to email the winner's of all the other giveaways that ended last Friday, but if you see your name here please EMAIL ME as I might not get to you and I'm announcing it on the blog since I had to post the review anyway. Understand?

You Won Evil?

Sweeter the Berry

Kristen (email was bittahsweetharmony I believe)

You Won Epoch

Erica

Alexa (lovinfitch)



Remember, email me if you are on this list!!! Everyone else who entered the other giveaways...if you win, you'll get an email today. You all have 48 hours to get in touch!!!

My Friend had a Baby, so Now It's Time To...


...PARTYYY!!!

That's right. She just had her first baby, a little boy. I've been planning a month of baby/toddler/parent posts for a few months now but as you know, I got a bit behind on things so this is starting kind of late. However, if you have a little one or know someone who does or is pregnant, definitely keep checking back (all giveaways should be ending on October 1 so hurry) and enter the giveaways, read the interviews and guest posts, and learn about some cool products.

Some of these posts are not JUST for kids/parents either, so no matter who you are, you really should keep an eye out for what's up and see if it interests you!

Again, I'm sorry for the lateness of this but I hope it'll still be fun. Go and spread the word!!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Look at Dreaming Anastasia + Song!


Summary:

Sixteen year old Anne thinks her life is pretty ordinary – until she smacks into handsome, mysterious, and okay, annoying Ethan on her way to chemistry class. Now Anne has powers she doesn’t understand, a history altering mission she may not want, and a growing attraction to this blue-eyed stranger. And Ethan- who at eighteen made some choices he’s starting to regret – realizes that Anne is the girl for whom he’s been searching – for a very, very long time. Stir in doomed Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia – who is definitely not quite as dead as the history books say – and Baba Yaga, the legendary witch from Russian folklore, and you’ve got DREAMING ANASTASIA, a contemporary YA fantasy that alternates between the voices of Anne, Ethan, and Anastasia as Anne and Ethan join forces to battle the bad guys and save Anastasia. Only problem is – no one’s quite sure who’s really bad and who’s good. And everyone has some secrets.

My Thoughts-

I started talking to Joy a bit ago and we planned to do something in honor of her novel Dreaming Anastasia. However, I was later asked to take part in her blog tour and I couldn't pass that up. My reading, on the other hand, has been slowed a bit lately and I still have about 100 pages left of this book. I do intend to try and finish this by next Tuesday as that will most likely be when Joy will "stop by" if you will with a fun giveaway and I can then have my full review.

As for now, I have to say that I'm loving this. It's a fairly fast read and I find it really interesting. I didn't know much about Anastasia Romanov but I really want to learn more now and I think this book would be awesome for historical fans...but for others as well. It has some slight romance (so far), it has magic and the supernatural with fairy tales come to life and men who haven't aged in over 100 years, and more. It's a tale of friendship and family and, quite honestly, the ties that bind us to these special people in our lives.

I think people should definitely give this one a look whether in the bookstore or in the library. I can't wait to have my final review up in a week or so.

Cover Talk-

I don't always talk about the book's cover like Alicia does with her reviews, but since this isn't an official review yet and I just feel like it...I will. I love the girl on the cover and think she's posed nicely for the story. Her dress is super cute. I wish I had one just like it! The picture above is the one I have on my copy but I haven't seen the final version and I've seen another photo where the boy with the blue eyes is missing. Admittedly, I like the one where it's just Anne, but the addition of the man (Ethan for those that want to know his name) isn't too bad. I just feel it's in a bit of an odd spot and doesn't fit in with the overall look of the rest of the scene. Overall though? I'd say it's pretty nice!


Song-

The following song is from the Disney movie Anastasia. I personally love it (and others from the film) but I wanted to share this one as it does make me think of the book, Dreaming Anastasia.


"Once Upon a December"

Funny&Fun T-Shirt Review + Giveaway

Crazy Dog T-Shirts and Nacho Mama Tees Review and Giveaway
by: Lauren

Sites-

http://www.crazydogtshirts.com/servlet/StoreFront

http://www.nachomamatees.com/servlet/StoreFront

Review-

I was able to look around both sites and find one shirt from each to do a review on. I got the "Pluto was Framed" shirt (picture at the top) from Crazy Dog T-Shirts and a blue one that has "That's What She Said" on it from Nacho Mama Tees.

I picked the "That's What She Said" one because a friend of mine says that all the time...and she's a girl. Her birthday is coming up so I figured I'd let her have it as part of her gift and see what she thought of the shirts as well. She put it on right away and loved it. She commented that it would probably become her new favorite t-shirt and that it's super comfy on.

The "Pluto was Framed" one is mine and I absolutely love it and am so happy that I got to add it to my t-shirt collection. It's not only super adorable (just look at poor Pluto's face) and quite amusing, it's also really comfortable like my friend had stated and I always want to wear it. As a matter of fact, I actually had it on earlier today and wore it to one of my classes. I've had it for a couple weeks now I believe and I've definitely worn it at least four days since then. It's insane, but that just shows you that I really do love this shirt and I know my t-shirts. Some aren't as comfortable or nice as others.

When it comes to washing, as I've obviously done, it's great. The shirt didn't shrink and it remained comfortable and nice to wear. I definitely recommend checking out the two sites and getting something. Again, the holidays are coming up (I'll keep mentioning this) and these t-shirts are perfect for those people that love humorous things, already have everything, love t-shirts, or just to give them something to make them smile. Boys and girls. It doesn't matter. There is something for everyone, so check out the sites and get to shopping!!!

Prices: They vary. I saw a shirt as low as nine dollars and I've seen some that go up to 22 dollars. In between prices are 12 to 17 to 19. It all just depends! Not too bad though in my opinion since most shirts (of any kind) are slightly higher priced these days.


Giveaway-

To Enter: Check out one of the sites and leave a comment about a shirt you liked!

Open To: U.S. and Canada!

Prize: 2 people will each get a $15 gift certificate to use on an item. I'm not sure if this is good for one of the sites or both, but you'll find out if you win!

Ends: Tuesday, September 22 (you have ONE week)


Extra-

+1 if you follow (leave a NEW comment)

+1 for every place you post this about (leave a NEW comment for each and leave a link if you can)

+1 if you leave a comment on the below post. You have to come back and leave a NEW comment here that you did though or it might be missed and I don't want that.

http://shootingstarsmag.blogspot.com/2009/09/bran-hambric-fairfield-curse-by-kaleb.html

Monday, September 14, 2009

Alicia Says: Lili St. Crow and Richelle Mead Signing + Giveaway






Lili St. Crow and Richelle Mead signing!!

So over a week ago, I met Richelle Mead and Lili St. Crow for their Not Your Mother’s Book Club event. It was at Books Inc. in Palo Alto. Right before the event I met Nancy (The Ravenous Reader) and Heidi R Kling (author of SEA-comes out next year -, and a tenner!) I gav e them both Sprinkles cupcakes. Side note: they are the best cupcakes ever!! Seriously, you should tell me if you go to the events because I’ll get you one too.

There were around 130 people there I think. When Richelle and Lili walked in, some girls started screaming, which was nice, but mainly annoying. Surprisingly, there was also a whole group of guys there. I barely ever see guys at signings, so I was shocked. They were also very enthusiastic and I’m pretty sure they had a crush on Richelle. They both read from a section of their books. Richelle read from around the end of chapter 1 to some of chapter 2 and Lili read from somewhere in the middle. I don’t remember what it was because I kinda forgot, and never wrote down any notes to remind myself. After they read—I think they both read for about 10 mins, I could be wrong—there was a q&a. the questions were mainly for Richelle, but there were also some for Lili.

After that was the signing. Luckily Nancy and her friends sat in the front, so when they got in line, I went with them. I got all of my Vampire Academy books signed by Richelle. Lili signed Strange Angels and The Eternal Kiss (she had a short story in it). After that we left and got something to eat.

Random things:

Apparently when Lili gets drunk she starts talking in a British accent.
Once Lili went to a party at Richelle’s house (think that’s what they said) and had too much to drink, so she talked with a British accent and then walked around with someone’s baby.
Richelle and Lili are both funny.
Richelle seemed shy, while Lili seemed more outgoing.
There was a question about whether Victor Dashkov would be in the next V.A. book, and Richelle said if you read the book you would know.
Both of them didn’t base their characters on anyone they knew.

--uhhh, can’t remember the other questions—

I talked to Lili more than Richelle.

When I got to Richelle I was kinda star struck, so I didn’t really talk (embarrassing).
Lili said there are two versions of the short story in The Eternal Kiss—the other one is not out.
There should be 6 Strange Angel books. (I think—I might be wrong, so don’t quote me!)
The romance in Lili’s books will start up; the story just needs to get to a certain place first.
Richelle said that Spirit Bound was actually the last book, but she split it in half.

The cover for S.B. is totally gorgeous according to Richelle.

She hated the covers for the V.A. series, and was glad they were changed.

I think that’s it. Knowing me I left something out. The event was super fun and I loved meeting the authors and Heidi and Nancy.

-Alicia

Contest time!!

I have ONE signed copy of Blood Promise: Richelle Mead and ONE signed copy of Strange Angels: Lili St. Crow. The books also come with a postcard for the book and there are V.A. tattoos.

To enter—leave a comment about your favorite supernatural being. Also pick which book you prefer.

Open—U.S. only, sorry everyone else.

Ends—October 1

Prize- Two winners!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

It's a Bad Boy Lit Fest: Win Win Win!!

You know you want it, so why not try and win at the same time?


BAD BOY BONANZA!

Question: Are you ready to SWOON?

Answer: "OMG - YES!" *Fanning*

Here's your chance at an opportunity to win some great reads where these Bad Boys are off the charts!

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick is among these great reads with an irresistible Bad Boy by the name of Patch Cipriano. He's every girl’s fantasy of the ultimate bad boy!

Hush, Hush will have sparks flying off the pages ultimately leaving you begging for more!

In honor of this fabulous book, Kim (The Book Butterfly) and I thought it would be a great idea to support Becca’s book by throwing a contest were readers pre-order/order Hush, Hush in order to be eligible to enter the contest.

As you may or might not know, Becca informed readers on her blog that the ending to Hush, Hush was changed. Well, you know what that means? For those of us that love Hush, Hush we’ll be pre-ordering the book. Take a good luck @ Bad Boy Bonanza's prize bucket that these AWESOME Bloggers & Authors donated to help support Becca!

1. Becca Fitzpatrick (Blog) - The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Reese Brennan, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (October one with Bella & Edward’s favorite book), signed book plates

2. Bree Despain (Blog) – The Dark Divine (ARC) by Bree Despain

3. Eleni @ LaFemme Readers– Twilight Poster

4. Harmony @ Harmony Book Reviews – As You Wish by Jackson Pearce

5. Jacqueline @ The Eclectic Book Lover - Candor by Pam Bachortz, $20 Amazon Gift Card

6. Jessica @ Book Reviews by Jess - Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

7. Jo @ Ink and Paper Specials - Tin Grin by Catherine Robinson

8. Kim @ The Book Butterfly – Love is Hell (Anthology), Prom Dates from Hell (Anthology), Stealing Death (ARC) by Janet Lee Carey

9. Kimberly Derting (Blog) – signed bookmarks (The Body Finder) & Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr

10. Lauren @ Shooting Stars Mag – Hush, Hush (ARC) by Becca Fitzpatrick

11. Laurie Stolarz (Website) – Project 17 by Laurie Stolarz

12. Lenore @ Presenting Lenore – Swoon by Nina Malkin

13. Nicole @ Word For Teens – Blood Promise by Richelle Mead

14. Regie from The Undercover Book Lover – The Sound of Munich (S.A.S.S.) by Suzanne Nelson

15. Shalonda @ Shalonda’s Blog- Monster by Walter Dean Myers

16. Shelly @ Write for a Reader - $10 Gift Card online book store

17. Tina @ Fantastic Book Review– Blue Moon by Alyson Noel, Eternal Kiss (Anthology), City of Glass by Cassandra Clare, Invisible Touch by Kelly Parra

You have to pre-order/order Hush, Hush to be eligible to enter the contest.

Please email receipt to Tina @ fantasticbookreview(at)gmail(dot)com or Kim @ bookbutterfly9(at)gmail(dot)com

Rules: 8 Winners - 3 prizes each! - Pick your top 8 Choices (Guarantee you get one of your choices) Random Generator will pick other 2 prizes!

+1 Comment: Please comment that you have sent your pre-order/order receipt to Tina @ Fantastic Book Review or Kim @ The Book Butterfly

+1 Comment: Who's your favorite Bad Boy/Fictional Crush?

+1 Comment: Pick top 8 prizes

+1 Follow or Friend the Prize Bucket Participant's Blogs for a total of 17 entries

Total = 20 entries

Contest ends @ midnight (CST) October 30, 2009. U.S. & Canada Residents Only!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Review: Totally Texty is Totally...What?!


Totally Texty Review

Written by: Lauren

Totally Texty is a new shampoo and conditioner for tweens and teens, though that's not to say that an adult wouldn't enjoy the product either! The girl's shampoo and conditioner is titled DDG, which is the text speak for "Drop Dead Gorgeous" and the boy's is just the shampoo named YTMN or "You're the Man Now."

I tested out the girl's shampoo (and my mom did as well) while I sent the boy's off to my brother. I'm a teen, so I hit the target age range but my mom, of course, doesn't and my brother is in his mid-twenties. However, we all liked it for the most part.
totally texty shampoo Pictures, Images and Photos

Thoughts?

Me (Lauren) and Mom: My mom and I both had the same thoughts for the most part. The smell is really nice and we didn't have any problems with greasy hair or it not cleaning well enough. It all worked great. However, it's a bit thick when it comes out so it's best to note that you'll probably have to mix it up with some water in your hands before you lather your hair so it will spread further. If you do that, you shouldn't have a problem. I think the shape and design of the bottles are super cute and it seems to hold enough so you won't run out too quick.

Brother: When I opened the bottle, I loved the smell of the guy's shampoo, and my brother had to agree after he used it. He did mention, like I said above, that it was a bit thick and he was worried it might not come out easily when he washed his hair, but it did, and no problems!

Overall, I'd say it was a hit in the family. Shampoo is mostly just shampoo to me, but I think this new product is fun and would be worth a shot if you are looking for something new or want to check out a new scent. Also, I know that a lot of tweens and teens hate washing their hair or taking showers...I think it's just a phase a lot of them go through, though I'm not sure why...but this is something that they hope will make kids more eager to actually get clean every day since it's marketed just for them!!!

Prices:

Boy's and Girl's Shampoo (a bottle alone): $15
All three (boy's shampoo & girl's shampoo and conditioner): $39.00
Girl's Conditioner alone: $15
Girl's Conditioner and Shampoo set: $27.00


Perfect For...

I'm on a Christmas kick at the moment...meaning I'm already figuring out gifts for everyone and collecting what I can now so I'm not rushed once the holidays get too close...after all, they are already pretty close. I think this product would be great to test out either for yourself or a tween/teen you know this holiday season, since we know not all christmas gifts are games; some are quite practical. So check it out, stick it in a stocking, voila! It would be perfect!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ruined Giveaway: Five Winners!




RUINED
ONLINE BOOK GIVEAWAY

Prize-
Five (5) Winners receive a copy of Ruined



BOOK TRAILER






SYNOPSIS


When Rebecca Brown goes to New Orleans to stay with her voodoo-obsessed aunt, she finds the beautiful city haunted by the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Rebecca is also startled to discover a haunting of a different kind: near a graveyard one night, amid the Spanish moss and beneath the moonlight, she meets a ghost girl named Lisette, who has been dead for 150 years. Lisette helps Rebecca unearth an ancient mystery in her aunt’s house, along with some troubling historical truths. Meanwhile, Rebecca must juggle adjusting to her snooty new prep school, developing a serious crush on a handsome boy, and dealing with an elite group of popular girls who may be linked to the ghostly mystery themselves.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Paula Morris has published a short story collection and several novels for adults in her native New Zealand. She's lived in a number of cities around the world, moving to New Orleans the year before Hurricane Katrina. She teaches creative writing at Tulane University.


Giveaway (five copies of Ruined, five winners!)



Open to-The Ruined book promotion is open to participants with a United States mailing address only (international readers can enter if you have a friend in the States who can accept your prizes by mail!). Entrants under age 13 must have parent or guardian permission to enter.



Ends- September 30th



To Enter- If you could talk to the ghost of anyone, who would it be and why?



EXTRA (NEW ENTRY for each, otherwise it might not count)



+1 follow



+1 post about this somewhere else

Bran Hambric Review + Kaleb Nation Interview



Bran Hambric: The Fairfield Curse by Kaleb Nation

Review and Interview by: Lauren


http://www.kalebnation.com/

The Book is out Sept. 9, 2009 (9-9-09)

Summary-

In a bustling metropolis where magic is outlawed, a six-year-old child is found inside a locked bank vault. A scrap of paper reveals his name: Bran Hambric. The child remembers nothing of his life before the vault. Only magic could have done this. But why would any mage risk breaking the law to place a child in a bank vault?

Eight years later the City of Dunce has forgotten about Bran. Even his foster parents don't seem to know he exists. But there are those who have been watching, biding their time, waiting to strike, people who know where Bran came from and why he was sent away. And they will do anything to get Bran back, dead or alive…

Welcome to a world unlike any other where the adventure of a lifetime is just beginning.

Review-

I was asked to review Bran Hambric as part of Kaleb Nation's blog tour. I have to say, that I'm glad I could take part, as I'm loving the book and it might have taken me longer to get to it if I hadn't been able to review a copy. Now, you might have noticed that I said "loving" and not "loved" because I'm almost finished, yet not quite there. I'll try and re-update when I do, but for the most part...here is my review (with an interview below, so please read that as well!)

Bran Hambric starts off reminding me a lot of Harry Potter and I don't just say that because it's about magic (after all, in this book, magic is illegal) or that Bran is an orphan. It has a few other similarities, yet nothing that should keep you from seeing this as its own story. I know some people hate picking up books that sound familiar, but I can tell you now that this is definitely a book all its own and I think a lot of people would love it, Harry Potter fan or not.

Bran is a pretty wise soul with a great sense of humor and thirst for knowledge. I couldn't help but feel his emotions throughout the story and I really related to him as a character, which is something that I love about books.

A first in the series, I'm definitely excited to see where Nation takes this story as I'm definitely hooked and was so from the very beginning. Magic is illegal and Bran's mother is a criminal? What does that have to do with Bran then? It's a mystery alright and it's only partly why you'll want to flip through the pages as fast you can. This might seem like a rather long book at first glance, but like other good stories, it goes by quickly and a lot of people will want to slow down and savor the moments.

One of the things that I thought of while reading Bran Hambric however is that it's very amusing. I mentioned before that Bran has a great sense of humor and is sure to make most chuckle, but he's not the only one. Sewey, the man who found Bran and therefore must raise him as his own, is probably the most ridiculous, yet hilarious character in the book. He's always spouting off crazy ideas and making up lies to get out of speeding tickets. This isn't to mention his wife, Mabel, who takes more pills than a pharmacy can hold in order to ward off all sorts of bugs and diseases. If you're a fan or have read anything by Roal Dahl, you might see some similarities in Nation's debut novel. The humor, the crazy made-up words. It's filled with it and I can't help but love it! This novel is like a children's comedic bedtime story mixed in with an adult's mystery tale. It's perfect for many ages and any gender!

Overall, this is a great first novel and I think the series will only get better. I can't wait to finish this one and see how it ends, only to be left wondering...what next? And really, in a series, that's all you can wish for is that your readers will end with that very question. But don't worry, I'll update you when I'm finished, but for now, why don't you go out and buy yourself a copy so I can hear what you think? It's out tomorrow, September 9, 2009. Get your hands on a copy...pronto!

Interview (with a few comments from moi):

1. It took you a few years to finish the first book in the Bran Hambric series. When you were writing it then, did you always plan to try to get it published or was it just a fun thing to do at the time?

I think it has always been a bit of both. I started writing the book as another story that was just a lot of fun to do, and even though I wanted to be published, in the beginning I didn't know that Bran Hambric was THE story that would make it. As I wrote, I stuck with it because I enjoyed the characters and the world that had grown around them, and by the time I was finished I was a bit surprised that I had just spent nearly a third of my life on one project!

2. You've gotten some great blurbs from other authors such as Kim Harrison and D.J. MacHale. It's very impressive for a first novel! If you were able to have one author blurb your book who would you pick and why would it mean so much?

My dream blurb would be from John Green. He's one of my writing idols.

Love him. Love him. -Lauren

3. The idea for your series came to you on 3-3-03 and now the first book is being released on 9-9-09. Was the release date made to go along with the theme and how did that whole idea first come about?

I don't exactly know why the idea came to me on such a strange day as 3/3/03, but it certainly added a bit of magic to its history! I was really just in bed, on the top bunk in the room I shared with my brother, staring at the ceiling, and thinking of another story, when I just imagined a boy and a banker on a roof waiting for a burglar. Years later, when my publishers told me they wanted to release the book in Fall of 2009, I knew I absolutely had to have it out on 9/9/09, because it was just too epic to pass up. Thankfully, they liked the idea!

4. Most of the people who know your name these days are because of your life as The Twilight Guy. This is obviously great publicity to launch your first novel and I think it's fantastic, but do you ever hear any criticism about this? Do you worry about the reaction some fans might have when the book is finally released?

One of the things that I worry about is people getting my own story mixed up. Despite what some people think, we had already sold the book before I started TwilightGuy.com, and the website's popularity did not get me the deal. In fact, Stephenie and I started writing our books within a few months of each other (she just finished Twilight much faster!). My book has not been influenced by Twilight in any way, because it was entirely written before I'd ever read Stephenie's books. Writing for TwilightGuy has been an enormously wonderful experience though, and I've learned a lot about how to be an author from watching Stephenie at her events.

5. Having a name like Kaleb Nation pretty much screams "fame" or "celebrity" but if you had to come up with a better pseudonym, what would you want to use and why?

When I was a radio DJ, I went under the name Kaleb Krew. It seemed dashing and adventurous, in an amusing sort of way.

6. Obviously, you have a huge following all over the web from Twitter to your blog to youtube, but how do your friends and family in your everyday life deal with this? What's it like to be an internet sensation, yet a regular college student at the same time? Does any of the people in your classes, as far as you know, ever happen to recognize your name before meeting you?

When I meet people, I don't usually tell them about my internet popularity, because to me being popular on the internet isn't real fame. It does become somewhat of a struggle when you have creepy people who dig around on the web for family photos/my parent's house/who my prom date was, but it's one of those things that just comes with having your photo and name all across the internet! And it's certainly fun being recognized at the mall or events by people who enjoy what I do.

7. While I'm writing this, your website says you are currently reading the book If I Stay by Gayle Forman. I read that one not too long ago and loved it. Gayle is also a great person and I'm definitely wishing her a lot of success with the novel and film. As for you, what did you think of the book? Any thoughts on who should be Mia?

(I actually haven't finished this book, so I'm not sure how to answer this question)

I say he'll love it, right guys??- Lauren

8. We have to ask this, as it's one of our staple questions. If you could wish on a real shooting star, what would you wish for and why? (It can be serious...or not...)

Right now I think I would wish for an easy and painless move to California! It's my first time living out of Texas, so it's scary and exciting at the same time.

9. Any word on what the second book in this series will be called? How many books will the entire thing include?

I can't exactly say what the title of the second book is yet, but its code name is BRAN HAMBRIC: T S K. I have six books planned out, unless the last one is too long, and I have to chop it into a seventh.

10. And finally...what do you wish people would stop asking you (such as "OMG! Do you like know Rob Pattinson?!") ?

"CAN U PLEEZ GIV ME ROBERT PATTINSONS NUMBR?" I get something similar to this about a dozen times a day!


hahahahahhahahahah I mean, poor guy....don't do this people!!-Lauren




And finally, if you want to see more reviews/interviews/possible giveaways, head over to Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf to see all the tour stops:

http://laurenscrammedbookshelf.blogspot.com/2009/09/bran-hambric-blog-tour-stops.html

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Beauty Shop: CeraVe + Duri Nail Polish Reviews

Hello everyone. I have quite a few posts that I really need to start posting, but it's the holiday weekend...so I hope you'll take the time to sit down and read through some of these because you might find something you are interested in! I have interviews and reviews and a ton of BABY/KID reviews/interviews/giveaways!!! You don't want to miss out. The Holidays are approaching...get some gift ideas why don't you? And I will be figuring out the winner's of the contests that have ended ASAP!



The Beauty Shop


By: Lauren






CeraVe- This packet is a mix of Hydrating Cleanser, Moistorizing Lotion, and Moisturizing Cream. I actually had my mom try this out for me as she's the one who uses the most lotion and products of this nature. She said that she didn't mind it, and it worked well, but she did have on complaint....the smell. Now you see, these are supposed to not have a smell but my mom detected a bad one. I'm not saying this will be the same outcome for everyone, as it might have been the product on her skin. This happens.

If you want to learn more: http://www.cerave.com/products.htm

Duri Nail Polish- The color that I recieved to review was Lily of the Valley. I wasn't a huge fan of the color for the time of year, as it's fairly light and pretty. It would be perfect, however, for the Spring and especially the Easter holidays. The actual nail polish was great though. We put two coats on and that was perfect for it to cover my nails and look thick enough. I've been wearing it for about a week or so now and it's only chipped a tiny bit, so it seems to hold up really well. I'd definitely recommend giving the brand a look and see if there is a color you would like.

More? http://www.duri.com/





Saturday, September 5, 2009

Legally Blondes: Milly and Becky Rosso Interview

Interview with Becky and Milly Rosso, who star in the new film, Legally Blondes. I meant to put this up a long time ago when it premiered on ABC Family, but I'm a bit late...however, for some of you, it's on tonight on the Disney Channel and it will also be on tomorrow at Noon EST I believe so check it out. These girls have a very interesting story as well...so read on!!! Oh, and I got a chance to ask them a lot of questions as we had time and very few participants so I hope you enjoy.



Moderator:Our first question comes from the line of Jamie Ruby with Media Boulevard. Please go ahead.

J. Ruby: Hello, thank you so much for talking to us today.

B. Rosso: Hello, how are you doing?

J. Ruby: Good. So I heard or I read that the two of you were just pulled out of the audience when you were watching Zack and Cody. What was that like and can you tell us about that?

B. Rosso: Yes, we went to a live taping of the show, which was open for the public and the executive producer saw that we were twins. So he asked if we would audition and after a few months of acting lessons we got on seven episodes.

J. Ruby: So were you interested in acting before that happened?

M. Rosso: Well, we love acting and singing and dancing, but we’d never pursued it because our mum always told us it was a hard business to get into and that there was a lot of competition. But when we were discovered, it felt like it was a dream come true because we only saw that happens in movies.

J. Ruby: Yes, it’s surprising. That would be a great thing to have happen.


Jamie: So now that you’ve this, if you could have a dream role of anything, what would that be?

B. Rosso: This is Becky. We would love to have our own show. Right now we have a script in development so we’re hoping everything goes well. It would be a dream come true to have our own series. We love doing comedy.

J. Ruby: So what was your favorite part about working on the movie?

M. Rosso: I remember on the first day filming, I was quite nervous. But when I got to my trailer, there were lots of flowers and producers and crew members and we even got a big box of cookies and a nice note from Reese Witherspoon. It was really encouraging and made us feel less nervous.

B. Rosso: A memorable moment on the set for me was when we filmed one scene where there was supposed to be a party and half way through the scene, it started to rain, so everyone had to hurry up and try to get through the scene. We had to hold umbrellas in between takes. We saw our hair getting flatter and flatter by the minute. By the time we finished the scene, our hair was just poking out, but that was a great day for me.

J. Ruby: Okay, thank you very much, both of you.

B. Rosso: Thank you.

M. Rosso: Thank you.

Moderator: The next question comes from the line of Sarah Fulghum with Totallyher.com. Please go ahead.

S. Fulghum: Hello, thanks for talking with me today.

B. Rosso: Hello, thank you.

S. Fulghum: How were you two chosen for the movie Legally Blondes? Did you audition?

M. Rosso: We actually had a meeting with MGM because they saw us in The Suite Life and they wanted to do a project with us. They brought the parts from Legally Blondes, so we ended up doing the third Legally Blonde movie because the first is one of our favorite films. So it was very exciting for us.

S. Fulghum: What was the most challenging thing about starring in Legally Blondes?

B. Rosso: Since this was our first movie, obviously, we were a bit nervous. One of the things that was challenging was that we had so many lines and we to memorize them and then sometimes they would change the lines right before we had to film it. I feel confident in my acting when I have time to prepare, so that was quite challenging. But at the same time, I grew and I learned something and I think I’ll be even better on the set in my next film.

S. Fulghum: The clothes were really cute in the movie. Did you two get to have any input in the wardrobe?

M. Rosso: We love clothes, we love things, so it was a fun film. But before we started filming, we met with Cathryn who we’ve actually worked with before in The Suite Life. We were surprised to see they had so many pink clothes and shoes and accessories, so they must have been working really hard. We were really lucky that we liked all the clothes that were in the movie.

S. Fulghum: How fun! One more question, how have your lives changed since becoming actors?

M. Rosso: Everywhere we go where there are lots of children, people come up to us and say they liked The Suite Life or they liked Legally Blondes. And they take photos of us, which didn’t happen before until we started acting. But it’s always really nice when they come up because they’re always really sweet and we find it fun to get recognized. When we’re walking around, people see that we’re twins and then realize we were in The Suite Life or Legally Blondes, so lots of people come up to us when we go to events and stuff.

S. Fulghum: Thank you for answering my questions. I really enjoyed the movie.

M. Rosso: Thank you very much. I’m glad you liked it.

Moderator: Your next question is going to come from the line of Lauren Becker with Shooting Stars Magazine. Please go ahead.

L. Becker: Hello, girls, thanks for talking to us.

M. Rosso: Hello, how are you doing?

L. Becker: Good. My first question is when you first said that you had gotten a note from Reese Witherspoon, I was wondering if she gave you any advice throughout the movie or if you even got to meet her in person and what that was like.

B. Rosso: Yes, before we started filming, we had lunch with her and we were not disappointed when we met her because she’s so friendly and happy, and a really kind and caring person. We think she’s an amazing actress, so to get to work with her is such an honor. She sent us cookies and a note to our trailer on the first day of filming. She wrote about taking on projects that we believe in and to be prepared and professional on the set and really enjoy the whole experience.

L. Becker: Awesome. Dylan and Cole were obviously twins on The Suite Life and they’ve been acting ever since they were little. So I was wondering if they helped you along or gave you any advice for acting or what it was like working with two brothers, since you’re two sisters.

M. Rosso: Yes, they’ve been acting for a while. They were really encouraging and welcoming to us when we did The Suite Life because it was our first professional acting. They were really funny and then we used to hang out with them in the dressing rooms at lunch, but at the same time, they’re always being professional and good on set. So it was a lot of fun working with them and it was cool that we got to work with twins.

L. Becker: That’s awesome. My last question for you is, obviously you’ve been working together ever since you started acting. But in the future, would you want to work separately or are you into the same kind of movies and TV shows, or do you have different aspirations?

B. Rosso: Right now, it’s so much fun to work together. But in the future, we might want to work on different projects, but we’d love to mix it up. We like most of the same things and we have similar personalities, so we do compete for the same roles, so that will be interesting.

L. Becker: Awesome, thanks for talking.

M. Rosso: Thank you.

B. Rosso: Thank you.

Moderator: Our next question is a follow-up question from the line of Jamie Ruby with Media Boulevard. Please go ahead.

J. Ruby: Hello, again. So where do you draw your inspiration from in the movie?

M. Rosso: We definitely know we’re excited to have the mean girls in the movie, because we’ve been in several schools and we did have mean girls. We won’t name any names, but we did come home in tears for a while. But luckily everything turned out okay, so we were able to draw from that, too. We were very lucky to have each other.

J. Ruby: Did you use any materials from the other movies when you worked on your parts or did you try to make it different?

B. Rosso: The Legally Blonde movies are some of our favorite films, so we had watched them loads of times before. Before we started the filming, we watched them and we tried look at some of Elle’s mannerisms.

J. Ruby: Okay, now you’ve done a movie and you’ve done television. What do you like most about each of them? Do you prefer one over the other?

M. Rosso :We really like both because with The Suite Life, we love filming in front of a live audience, because the energy is always really great. But then at the same time, when we’re working on a movie, you get to film in different locations…..Malibu and on the Queen Mary, so that was also really fun. So I don’t know. I think we both want to see more of each in the future.

J. Ruby: Would you ever be interested in directing or writing in the future as well?

B. Rosso: We haven’t really thought about that. That would way into the future, but right now, we’re enjoying acting and being actors in the film. We’ll leave the writing to the professionals.

J. Ruby: Okay, thank you very much.

Moderator: Our next question is a follow-up from the line of Lauren Becker with Shooting Stars Magazine. Please go ahead.

L. Becker: Hello, again. You mentioned you always like to sing and dance as well as act. I was wondering if that you’ve decided to do that for fun, or if you would actually like to use that in the future for a play or a movie or anything like that.

B. Rosso: We grew up singing and dancing with our sisters. There are three other sisters, five girls in total. We used to pretend to be the Spice Girls and put on performances and stuff like that. So we’d definitely love to do something with singing and dancing in the future. We actually recorded a song for Legally Blondes and it comes on at the end of the movie called “Lucky Girl.” Right now we’re just taking lots of lessons, so we’d love to do something with singing in the future.

L. Becker: Sounds good. Since you have so many sisters, what do they think about your acting? Do they enjoy it themselves and want to do it, or are they just happy for you and what you’re doing?

M. Rosso: They all love it. Our 18 year old sister also really likes acting. She wants to be an actor as well. When we found out that we were going to be doing Legally Blonde, we were all jumping up and down, screaming. My sister was so happy and luckily there was no one underneath our apartment because we really made a lot of noise. But, yes, they’re very supportive and they’re always very excited for us when they see us on the television.

L. Becker: I’m really happy to hear that. My last question was you mentioned how it’s kind of in the works for a new series. I was wondering if there was any actual storyline that they have and if you could share anything that show.

B. Rosso: It’s still in development. Right now they’re working on a script, but we know it’s about twins. We can’t really say any more than that and we don’t know ourselves much more than that.

L. Becker: Well, we’ll just have to keep a look out. I hope everything works out.

Moderator: Our question is a follow-up from the line of Jamie Ruby with Media Boulevard. Please go ahead.

J. Ruby: Is there any part, like a scene, that you filmed for the movie that they took out that you would like to see in it or you would have like to have seen in it?

B. Rosso: We filmed a scene on the Queen Mary, and they did keep some of it in the film when we get humiliated; but there was an extended version of the scene where I’m trying to get out of a situation and make a long speech. They cut out the time, but we did make a DVD and it will be at the end of the movie when the credits are rolling.

J. Ruby: So if this hadn’t happened and you weren’t acting, what do you think you would be doing now?

M. Rosso: I think if I wasn’t acting, I’d to lik to be a tennis player or a dog trainer.

J. Ruby: Last question, when you were done with he movie, did you watch it back? I know some actors don’t like to watch themselves act. Others do. Do you watch yourself?

B. Rosso: Yes, we watched the whole time. Our thing is ….we cringe when we watch ourselves on the television. Even though our sisters and our mom and dad are really proud, we get rather embarrassed when we see ourselves on the television.

J. Ruby: Thank you so much. You have great accents, by the way, too.

B. Rosso: Oh, we like the American accent.

Moderator: Our next question comes from the line of Jamie Ruby with Media Boulevard. Please go ahead.

J. Ruby: I figured I could do a couple more. So can you run us through a typical day on the set of the movie?

M. Rosso: Most days, we get up really early, which we’re not really big fans of because we’re not morning people. We get up really early and then go to hair and makeup and then we run our lines and we would do three hours of school, as much as we could at school. And then we’d start rehearsing for a scene and basically start forming it. And that took a while and then we have lunch and that was always really fun. We hang out with our costars. Then we’d probably do a bit more school and then more filming scenes and then we go to sleep.

J. Ruby: Is it hard doing the school in between? I know you have to do it, but.

B. Rosso: We had a really nice set teacher. Education is really important, so we didn’t mind. We just focus on our school when we have to and then we do our acting. But it was funny because we realized that some of the things our characters are learning in the movie, we were learning in school.

J. Ruby: When you played the roles, did you ever just offer any advice or input? Is there anything, like you say, hey, I think the character should do this?

M. Rosso: If we had any questions, we would ask the director and he was so nice and made us feel comfortable. If we didn’t think some of the words that were in the script would be something we’d actually say in England, then we’d tell him, so we felt very comfortable.

J. Ruby: Thank you very much.

Moderator: Our next question comes from the line of Lauren Becker with Shooting Star Magazine. Please go ahead.

L. Becker: I was wondering if now that you guys are acting, if you live full time in America or you and your family still live in England and you just travel for your work.

B. Rosso: We live in California now. We live in Los Angeles. We’ve been living here for about four years and we love it here. Everyone seems so friendly here and the weather is amazing, so much better than England. But we do miss our family and friends in England sometimes and we go back every time that we can.

L. Becker: My final question was just your typical question of what you guys are interested in nowadays from music to books to movies from a personal standpoint.

Milly: We love Taylor Swift and also Gwen Stefani and we love watching Project Runway and American Idol and the new episodes on ABC Family. We recently just started watching “10 Things I Hate About You” and “Make It or Break It,” and we love those.

L. Becker: Thank you very much.