Thursday, September 29, 2011

Create Your Own Perfume - Scent Natural Review


Scent Natural Personal Perfume Review

By: Lauren and Chris

Website: Create Your Own Perfume!

I heard about Scent Natural for the first time in the blog world, which just goes to show you how much I appreciate reviews and/or giveaways online. They do show you some great products. Yes, yes, I was sent a free bottle for review...however, this is something I'd keep in mind for future gifts I buy myself because it's such a unique gift idea.

You see, Scent Natural allows you to create your very own perfume. You can choose up to five scents to add to your perfume, but don't worry. If you aren't sure what works well together, you can pick one scent off their full list and they will give you a few choices of options. This way allows you to pick the main scent and then they add the other scents that can go with the mix.

For example, my mom and I chose Vanilla and they gave us this list: Vanilla, Honeydew, Pear, and Cucumber...so we chose it, and those are our scents!

Then you go and pick the type of bottle you want, the color the perfume will be in the bottle (you can pick pink, blue, clear or yellow), and then you actually name it!

We went with a rounded bottle and silver cap on top with a yellow color. Actually naming the perfume was much harder...but we finally decided to go with Blessed. You can actually upload an image to go on the bottle, but we just stuck with using a simple name. And of course, our perfume smelled quite lovely...not too strong!

Each bottle is about $50 plus $6 or so for shipping. I know it sounds like a lot, but this is still a wonderful gift. If you have a budget around this much, this is all you need for that person. It's perfume that's fun and will last awhile, plus it's way more personalized than most items.

However, if you want perfume for party gifts, wedding favors, or even for a book launch...you can get each bottle at $18 if you buy at least 10. The price gets lower as you buy more bottles in bulk. Nice, huh?!

Now, here are my mom's own thoughts (AKA Chris): A fun idea and unique gift. It's also easy to do. I like that you can make your own scent or they give you suggestions to help. The packaging (the bottle came in a silky, drawstring bag the color of our perfume) was a really nice touch. I'm very happy with the quality of the product.


Do not own picture above. It just shows you the possible perfume colors and some bottle designs.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to NOT Reading by Tommy Greenwald


Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to NOT Reading by Tommy Greenwald

Review by: Lauren

Copy from: Tommy Greenwald (Thanks!)

Official Summary: Charlie Joe Jackson may be the most reluctant reader ever born. And so far, he’s managed to get through life without ever reading an entire book from cover to cover. But now that he’s in middle school, avoiding reading isn’t as easy as it used to be. And when his friend Timmy McGibney decides that he’s tired of covering for him, Charlie Joe finds himself resorting to desperate measures to keep his perfect record intact.This is the hilarious story of an avid non-reader and the extreme lengths to which he’ll go to get out of reading a book.

Review: Okay, I must apologize to anyone out there that magically knew I was reading this book and then did not review it right away. I'm sorry, okay? I've been pretty sucky when it comes to reviewing books. I'm hoping to get some more posted faster. That doesn't mean I'm not reading. I am. And some good stuff. So I gotta tell you right? Well, Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to NOT Reading is a really fun book. I'm a huge fan of reading, and I know if you're reading this you might be too, but that doesn't mean you can't relate to having to do something but wishing you didn't...whether it's a class in school, chores, or hanging with the grandparents.

Charlie has a set way of reading, which includes reading as little as possible and getting other people to do more of the work. It's going along nicely until the whole plan unravels around him. Instead of sucking it up and reading the book for school (that would be easy, right?) Charlie comes up with a big, complicated mess of a scheme to have someone else read his books...he's even willing to let another boy date the girl he really likes!! You gotta admit...that's dedication.

I was surprised by the slight twist near the end of the book. Maybe people will know it from the beginning or see it coming, but I think it's pretty clever and sneaks up on you. It's fun though and I really enjoyed the book. It's a pretty quick read, and it's great for readers and non-readers alike...as well as people of all ages. It's a middle school book...but that doesn't mean Charlie can't speak to all of our inner rebels!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Another Dent in the Wall!

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In one episode, Brick shares Sue's room where they accidently knock a hole in her wall, they try to fix it but only make it worse. They attempt to cover it up by putting a poster over it but it doesn't work. Have you ever been in that situation with your sibling or good friend? Did you try and cover it up or did you just admit it?

I haven't actually done this! I know it seems to happen often in TV shows. My dad's knocked a couple dents in the wall though...we haven't covered them up, of course, because he's old enough to admit something like that! haha! It is kind of amusing though. As I sit, I can see a tiny dent in my living room.

I know this isn't a very interesting note...but I honestly don't have a story to share regarding this. How about you though?

Have you ever been in a situation similar to Brick and Sue's? See how the Hecks brilliantly true-to-life kids cover up their accident on The Second Season of The Middle on DVD, currently available for pre-order (http://bit.ly/qliHr2) and hitting shelves on 9/27/11!

I have been hired by Warner Bros. WBWord division to promote The Middle Season Two on DVD.

Friday, September 23, 2011

New Show - About Abby (Episode One and Two Reviews)



About Abby is a web show that you can currently view on their website or subscribe via youtube. The entire first season is online now, but they need more support and awareness to get the second season out. So how about watching the episodes with me? I have mini reviews for the first two episodes below. If you go and watch, leave your thoughts in the comments. Feel free to comment before you watch too if you wish. I'll keep posting reviews for the rest of the season as well...and then I'm going to do an interview with Sassy Mohen, the director. If you have questions about the show, leave them in any of the review posts and I'll be sure to ask for the interview.

-Lauren

Episode One –About Abby and the Aussie

I really found myself enjoying this show. For one thing, none of the episodes go past 10 minutes so it’s perfect to watch at pretty much any given time. That’s not to say it’s totally appropriate for work, as this first episode does contain sex. Don’t worry; nothing graphic and nothing out of place or added for gratuity sake. That’s when it bothers me. However, this is a really fun first episode. I’m already a fan of Abby’s slightly sweet and naïve nature and the love of her best friends, Micah and Caroline, who is particularly fun. She definitely seems to be the wild, more experienced, and quite amusing best girl friend.


Episode Two- About Abby and the Ex

Another fun episode, but this time with a deeper message attached. Abby hates the idea of anyone cheating, and she vows never to be “the other girl.” When she finds out news about Micah, she’s a bit disappointed…but in the end, she might know how he feels. This was another shorter episode, not even reaching 10 minutes, but again, it’s perfect. I like that you can fit in episodes quicker than most shows. I can definitely see the Friends/Sex in the City vibe, but having never really been interested in those shows (nor watched them), I like About Abby. I like that they are relatively younger, that there are three central friends to get connected to, and that the stories and characters in general make me think of my friends and the people I know.
Trailer for the First Season- Click Here

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lying in The Middle

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Early in the second season, Brick discovers what a little white lie is from his parents, realizing they only did it to protect him from the reality. When was the last time you told your kids, or your family a little white lie? Did they ever find the truth out? 

I think everyone uses white lies. To be honest, these are normally the lies that people don't find out. I mean, it's usually "you look nice" or "i like that top" when it's the exact opposite. Just little things that keep people happy. Simple too, which is why they aren't usually found out about unless the white lie is kind of bigger...but those aren't really the type I use as often. I can't say I've been caught in a white lie per se. Maybe one of those "I don't really feel good" to get out of doing something and people eventually realize you were fine, or you could have gone.

I'm not the type of person to lie all that often. I try and tell the truth as much as I can, but sometimes it just happens.

Have your kids/family ever caught you in a lie? See how Frankie, the loving wife and mother of three from ABC's The Middle handles her white lies when her youngest son becomes the wiser. Available for pre-order! http://bit.ly/qliHr2

I have been hired by Warner Bros. WBWord division to promote The Middle Season Two on DVD.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cupcake Envy Interview + Giveaway


Cupcake Envy is run by Amy Eilert. She makes mini cakes in all sorts of fabulous designs. In this post, you can learn more about the shop and even win something fun at the end. I will include photos throughout of some her work. These were taken from the site and I do not own them.

-Lauren


1. Without going into too much detail, how did Cupcake Envy first begin?

 Cupcake Envy started out in my kitchen as a hobby back in 2006.  Having 2 boys, I really enjoyed making individual treats for them that were artistic and fun.  My skills improved and the designs got crazier and before long, I launched Cupcake Envy specializing in custom miniature cakes we call Cakelets.


2. Do you have an actual shop or is it strictly online? And if the latter, do you think you'll ever open a store people can visit?

I share a commercial kitchen space when working on orders and I am traveling about once a month throughout the country teaching cakelet designs so I do not see a retail space in Cupcake Envy’s future at this time.



3. What are some of the most unique cakelets you've made?

 Gosh, there have been so many interesting design requests throughout the years.  The one that sticks out the most is from a young woman requesting a cakelet for her boyfriend.  She wanted a foot cakelet with the 2nd toe being extra long.  Apparently, he has a very long 2nd toe and they joke about it a lot.  Weird?  Yes.  Did I take the order?  Absolutely!


4. What is something you've never been asked to make, but would love to? Or what is something you've made only once or twice, that was a lot of fun?

 Sometimes I get a specific design in mind that I think would be really cool so I create it to add to my portfolio.  The Zombie Attack themed cakelets were one of those ideas I cakeletized and the response was amazing.  I like anything new and different….it’s no fun creating the same design over and over.



 5. If you could work with any TV show, movie, or book, to create a themed cakelet...what would it be and why?

There are many people in the media world that I admire and would love to make a cakelet for them.  The list is eclectic and so random so I will just leave it at I think everyone deserves a really cool cakelet design.



6. What else should people know about Cupcake Envy?

Cupcake Envy has a lot in the works right now that when the time comes, we will certainly announce. Right now, we continue to teach in the US, Canada and abroad as well as offering how to DVD’s and local cakelet workshops held in NC.   Most importantly, Cupcake Envy is a family affair.  I am a mom of 2 boys that had an idea and ran with it.  They’ve watched this business grow from our kitchen to where we are today.  I can only hope that I am modeling to them a good work ethic, the guts to take risks, celebrate the successes and overcoming failures, and most of all, to follow your passion.  It’s all about family.


Giveaway-

Prize: Decorating 101 DVD

Open to: International

To Enter: Visit the site and let me know what you would have made by Cupcake Envy?

Ends: Saturday, October 1

Extra Entries-

like Cupcake Envy on facebook (leave one new comment)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

In a Cell Phone Minute by Judy Reiser


In a Cell Phone Minute by Judy Reiser

Review by: Lauren

Copy from: I recieved a PDF of the book from the author, all opinions are my own


In a Cell Phone Minute is a really cute, and sometimes thought-provoking book. It's funny, it's a bit sad, and it's even poignant. It's all types of things in a tiny size. I didn't get the actual book to review, but I hear the cover is a flip cover...to act like a real cell phone, and I believe it's a relatively small book so it's easy to carry around. What a perfect stocking stuffer!! Know someone obsessed with their cell phone? (I can name a few right now...) This would be great for them, and it's never too soon to talk gifts!



This book is broken into sections like Where R U?, Lost & Found, and even 911. Cell phones are a huge part of our society these days, and you can't go anywhere without finding one person with a cell phone, and most likely out and in use somehow.



While each section of the book focuses on a different theme, one thing remains the same...the set up of the stories. They are all only about a page in length focusing on some way that their own cell phone or someone else's impacted their life. It could be something serious like a man getting voicemails that family members left him on 9/11...he worked in one of the Twin Towers...or something more fun like meeting a future girlfriend or boyfriend.



One of the humorous stories I read was about a woman who almost shipped her cell phone with a package. Luckily, someone called her as she was about to hand it over at the post office....she heard the ringing inside the box, unwrapped it to retrieve her phone, and then packed it back up! Who would have thought? All sorts of things can happen, I guess.



This is definitely a fast read, but it's fun. It reminds me of websites/books like Texts from Last Night and FML. It would make a perfect book turned site, instead of the opposite. Everyone seems to have some kind of cell story after all. Again, the book may be short...but I think it's a cute thing to have around and share with friends. Just read or re-read a story here and there to make you think, give you inspiration, or just make you laugh!



None of the above photos are mine. The book cover was given to me by the author to use, and all the other photos were found via google to highlight the funny about cell phones.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Giveaway: Want a Personal Visit from an Author?!

Interested in having author E. Van Lowe visit you and your friends personally? Yep, that can happen. But you have to help him out first. You see, his second YA novel Boyfriend from Hell is out now with an indie publisher and we want to show that they can still succeed! Are you with me? I hope so!

Here's what you do: If you have an in-person book club already, then awesome...but you can always form one for this giveaway. Grab some friends, family members, classmates, library patrons, or even nearby bloggers and enter away.

Rules-

-your "book club" must have at least 8 people buy Boyfriend from Hell, which can be in print or e-book.

-once you do, either email a picture or screenshot of your receipt (or the book, if you get the print version) to my email: lauren51990 AT aol DOT com

-all entries must be sent to me by November 1, 2011...so we can aim for the visit being that month. If you KNOW you're going to enter, but need more time, please email me in advance so we can try and work something out.

-all the "book clubs" that enter will be eligible for the grand prize. However, this is only open to those in the U.S., excluding Hawaii and Alaska (sorry!!)

-the grand prize, as stated above, is an in-person visit by E. Van Lowe (yes, he will fly to where you live). E. can then visit with you, answer questions about the book, sign books or bookplates, and generally enjoy time with some very loyal and generous fans.

-I'm currently working to try and arrange some runner-up prizes as well. Nothing as big as a personal visit, but I want to reward more than one "book club" for supporting the love of reading and making sure that Indie books have a shot too.


Fore more on E. Van Lowe and Boyfriend from Hell, visit his website!

Summary of Book-

Fifteen year-old Megan Barnett and her single mom, Suze, have a special relationship–they are friends, close friends, who do almost everything together.

“But come on, guys, she’s my mother…Can I really tell her that while we’re snuggled up on the sofa watching Spider Man Three, I’m secretly undressing James Franco with my eyes? Of course not…”
The special bond takes a turn for the worse when Suze decides to start dating again. She hasn’t had a man in her life since Megan’s father left ten years ago.

Enter two mysterious young men. Megan’s new classmate, sinfully attractive bad boy, Guy Matson, and the dangerously handsome art dealer, Armando. Before long Megan and Suze both wind up in steamy relationships. But neither of the handsome pair is quite what he seems. In fact, one of them is Satan, with his sights set on a new bride. Megan has precious little time to figure out how to stop him. If she doessn’t, either Megan or Suze are quite literally going to HELL.

Boyfriend From Hell is the first book in the Falling Angels Saga from the author of the gruesomely hilarious, Never Slow Dance With A Zombie.

Handling Activities in the Middle


The Heck's have their son Axl in football and daughter Sue in cross country. They try their best to attend their children's events but often disagree on which event they want to attend. Has this ever happened to you and your family, or have too many events and too little time? How did you resolve it?


I honestly can't remember a specific instance where too much was going on at the same time, but I'm sure it's happened. When I was younger, I used to play soccer, as well as my sister...and my brother played football and baseball (depending on the year). While I was only playing soccer, my sister did basketball, volleyball, softball, and cheerleading at some point in elementary school. The two of us also had ceramics on Saturday mornings, while I had a weekly Girl Scout meeting.

Obviously we didn't do ALL of these things at the same time...but I'm sure a few of them were always overlapping. Sometimes it comes down to when things are happening and making it all fit. Otherwise, we can switch who goes where. For example, my dad was usually with my brother...and my mom with my sister and me. We tried to always see all of each other's events though.

What about you? Have trouble balancing life's activities? How do YOU do it?



I have been hired by Warner Bros. WBWord division to promote The Middle Season Two on DVD.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cakes by Suzette Review + Discount Code!!

Not Mine



by: Lauren and Chris



My family was lucky enough to try some Cake O's from this wonderful company. We were sent the 6 Piece Assorted Sampler ($17) which gives you the chance to try a variety of Cake O's. I really enjoyed this instead of the other 6 piece set (50 cents less) because, with that, you must choose only two flavors. It's a lot more fun to try 6 different ones! The ones we were sent were:

Red Velvet
Mocha
Vanilla Chocolate
Chocolate Peanut Butter
Coconut
and Lemon

You can also get Chocolate Mint, Strawberry, Carrot Cake, or Brownie (I want to try this one for sure!!)

My mom (Chris at the top of this review) tried all of these, while I've only eaten a bit of the coconut. I love the idea of these and I'm definitely going to eat some of the others too, but she really wanted to help with the review...and I wanted to get this up so you all know to buy, buy, buy.

1. The prices are really good and each Cake O is a good size. They would make great gifts or party favors.

2. You get a lot of options, and there is sure to be something for EVERYONE. And if you want a gift for a couple, you can get the cheaper six pack and pick a flavor for ONE and another flavor for the OTHER. This way, they both get three.

3. As I said above, these are a perfect size. If you just want a little something sweet without feeling guilty, you should definitely check these out.

Now for the breakdown of the Cake O's we recieved (with my mom's thoughts):

Red Velvet: Very good

Mocha: Good, but there wasn't as strong of a mocha taste as she wanted. For those that want less, this is a good choice.

Vanilla Chocolate: Good, but she couldn't taste the vanilla as much as the chocolate. It seems to be less vanilla and more chocolate, instead of half and half as you might first think.

Chocolate Peanut Butter: Very good. With this, you can really taste the peanut butter.

Coconut: She loved this, definitely her favorite. Just the right amount of coconut.

Lemon: Good, a very tangy lemon taste, which she enjoyed.


Want to try your own Cake O's? Want a discount while you do? We got you covered with a special code for my readers!!

The code is good for 20% off on their 1st order with Cakes Suzette and the code will be good for the month of September. (That means, order soon so you don't miss out! I'm sure you won't regret it, and I'd love to know what OTHER people think of these!)

Code: SHOOTINGSTAR

The code is case sensitive. That means you MUST enter the above code in all caps. Copy and paste works best!!



Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson

The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson

Copy from: Publisher

Review by: Lauren

amazon associate: buy book from link, we get small percentage

Official Summary: Once there were three. Three friends who loved each other—Jenna, Locke, and Kara. And after a terrible accident destroyed their bodies, their three minds were kept alive, spinning in a digital netherworld. Even in that disembodied nightmare, they were still together. At least at first. When Jenna disappeared, Locke and Kara had to go on without her. Decades passed, and then centuries.

Two-hundred-and-sixty years later, they have been released at last. Given new, perfect bodies, Locke and Kara awaken to a world they know nothing about, where everyone they once knew and loved is long dead.

Everyone except Jenna Fox.

Review: Having loved The Adoration of Jenna Fox, I was really excited to read the next book. It's not exactly a sequel. It takes place many years later and the only characters you see again are Locke, Kara, and Jenna. But that's okay, because it is all about them. I wish I had the time to re-read Adoration, but I could still follow along with this book. Pearson made sure that this book could be a stand-alone. Yeah, it's nice to read both of them in the order they were intended, but it's not neccessary.

This book was narrated by Locke, instead of Jenna, which I enjoyed. As you read, it's obvious that the book would be very boring if it was just Jenna's point of view again, but I also just liked that you saw how Locke viewed everything. All of a sudden he's in a new world, trying to hold on to the past memories he had and the love he shared with both girls. It isn't always easy though. He's not a boy, he's not a man. He's not even completely human. But he has his mind, his memories. Where does that bring him?

As for Kara, you see her through Locke's eyes and he feels bad for failing her. He wants his love to be enough, but it can't be. Kara is vastly different from the girl she used to be. For 260 years, her mind was held in a black void...only Locke's voice to hold her together. The rest of the time she is left to live in her memories or withstand the darkness. When they are finally free, she is angry. She wants to make someone pay for what she went through. She wants a victim. Most of all, she wants to know where Jenna went when her voice left theirs in the dark...and why she didn't come back to save them too.

I really enjoyed the setting. It's a future America with Bots and all sorts of new folk. Some things haven't changed but a lot of technology has definitely "improved" or changed, however you want to look at it.

This book gives you a lot to think about, which is nice. That's not to say it's a hard book to read, but it's not fluff!

Giveaway!!

Prize: Audiobook of The Fox Inheritance from Macmillan Audio

Open To: U.S. Only!!

Ends: Saturday, September 24

To Enter: If you could appear on Earth in 260 years, what would you like to see finally exist?

Extra Points

+2 (leave two new comments) if you enter my other giveaway. Link at top of blog.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Behind the Scenes of Gossip Girl

The complete fourth season of Gossip Girl not only has 22 episodes filled with love, betrayal, friendship and scandal, but also never-before-seen features such as unaired scenes and gag reels! And if you want some features that nobody has seen before, then make sure you look for Bisoux a Paris (an inside look at Serene and Blair's summer in the City of Lights), The Art of Making an Episode (an in-depth look at how Gossip Girl stories build from page to screen) and unaired scenes!

In this sesason, you get to see Blair intern at W magazine which is kind of cool. I used to imagine working at a magazine at some point. I wonder if the extra footagle will give us a look behind the scenes of this? I couldn't say for sure, but it would be uber fascinating!

However, I love seeing a cast have fun and a DVD with a gag reel? I can't really say no! You want to know that the people you're watching on the screen can relax, have fun, and not take everything so seriously...especially with a show like Gossip Girl. It's full of drama and craziness...and even fab traveling, like Blair and Serena's trip to Paris...so a backstage laugh here and there? Nice!




I have been hired by Warner Bros. WBWord division to promote Gossip Girl Season Four on DVD.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Guest Review: The Magic of Recluce by L.E. Modesitt, JR.


The Magic of Recluse by L.E. Modesitt Jr (Special 20th Anniversary Edition)

Guest Review by: Megan B.

Copy from: Publisher

Official Summary: The Magic of Recluce is a carefully-plotted fantasy novel of character about the growth and education of a young magician. In it, Modesitt confronts real moral issues with gripping force, builds atmosphere slowly and convincingly and gives his central character, Lerris, real intellectual challenges. This is the kind of highly-rationalized fantasy that Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson write when they write fantasy, colorful and detailed.

He is given the standard two options: permanent exile from Recluce or the dangergeld, a complex, rule-laden wanderjahr in the lands beyond Recluce with the aim of learning how the world works and what his place in it might be. Many do not survive. He chooses dangergeld.

Though magic is rarely discussed openly in Recluce, it becomes clear, when Lerris is sent into intensive training for his quest, that he has a natural talent for it during his weapons lessons. And he will need magic in the lands beyond, where the power of the Chaos Wizards reigns unchecked. He must learn to use his powers in an orderly way or fall prey to Chaos.

Lerris may resent order, but he has no difficulty choosing good over evil. As he begins his lonely journey, he falls into the company of a gray magician, once of Recluce, who tutors him in the use of magic and shows him some of the devastation caused by the Chaos Wizards in the great wars between Chaos and Order of past times.

Lerris pursues a quest for knowledge and power that leads him across strange lands, through the ghostly ruins of the old capitol of Chaos, down the white roads of the Chaos Wizards to a final battle with the archenemy of Order, discovering in the end true control of magic, true love, and the beginning of true wisdom. An epic adventure, The Magic of Recluce0, is a triumph of fantasy.

The Magic of Recluce is the first book of the saga of Recluce.


Review: After reading L.E. Modesitt Jr.’s The Magic of Recluse, I could understand how it spawned a sixteen book long saga. It’s a fresh interpretation of the stereotypical fantasy novel. There were a few things that bothered me though. First, the story starts off rather slowly and left me as bored as the protagonist. The story didn’t really pick up until Chapter 6.

 The other nuisance I had with the book was the protagonist’s ogling of every female he met. Minor problems with the book aside, The Magic of Recluse is rather fascinating in its unusual take on magic and its compelling plot. This book is a good choice if you’re bored with generic fantasies and want something a little different.

Recommended for ages 14+.