Monday, December 31, 2012

The Sandman: Endless Nights by Neil Gaiman


The Sandman: Endless Nights by Neil Gaiman

Review by Lauren

Copy From: borrowed from a friend!

do not own any photos

Official Summary: Joined by a dream-team of artists from around the world, Neil Gaiman - the Hugo Award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of American Gods and the children's book Coraline - returned to the beloved characters he made famous for THE SANDMAN: ENDLESS NIGHTS, the comics event of 2003.Alternately haunting, bittersweet, erotic and nightmarish, the seven stories in this book - one for each of the Endless siblings, each illustrated by a different artist - reveal strange secrets and surprising truths.

Review: The Endless siblings are all things that are, well, endless. These include Death, Dream, Desire, Delirium, and more. About a year and a half ago, I took a class all on graphic novels and we read The Sandman: Season of Mists and I loved it. I'd been wanting to read more in the series, and actually start at the beginning, for awhile now. This past semester though, I was talking to a friend and she offered to let me borrow Endless Nights, because she said it's a great place to start when you aren't that familiar with this world.

Desire


Believe me, she is right. If you're intersted in The Sandman books, then I would suggest starting here (I haven't read the first book, but obviously starting there should be fine too). I liked Endless Nights though because each chapter focused on a sibling and it allowed me to get to know them better and figure out just what their role is in this series. While I loved Seasons of Mists, reading that first made me jump into a series midway, and I wouldn't recommend that. It's especially not good for those of you who aren't big graphic novel readers.

Actually reviewing Endless Nights is a bit difficult, though, since it's not a cohesive story. Each chapter is a moment in the siblings' lives as well, so those aren't even all full stories. It works, though, because it allowed me to learn about them and become even more curious to read the rest of the series.

Death


The Sandman novels are quite imaginative with some wonderful artwork. I love that the chapters were done by different artists. It gave each story and sibling their own personality. As for the writing, it's very well-done and reads a lot like a novel. To be honest, The Sandman novels are the only works I've read by Neil Gaiman (his others are own my TBR list, though!) but they are very well done and should not be passed aside as simple "comics" with very little substance. That is most definitely not the case!

I do want to warn those of you who aren't famililar with these works, though, that there are sexual moments in the stories and as a graphic novel, there is nudity. If that bothers you, you might want to skip this. However, in my opinion, it's not overdone and doesn't take away from the stories.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Interview with Lauren Baratz- Logsted



Interview with Lauren Baratz- Logsted, author of Pursuing the Times

Buy the e-book

Questions by Lauren Becker

Official Summary:
All that popular Chick-Lit author Mercury Lauren wants is to have one of her books reviewed by the New York Times Book Review - just one - and she'll do almost anything to get it. In this contemporary romantic comedy, with a nod toward Pride and Prejudice she crosses swords and hearts with the Editor-in-Chief of the NYTBR in a madcap adventure that takes her from her home in Westport to a yoga retreat to a golf course in Florida. Will she get what she wants and will she finally be happy if she does? Only one thing's for certain: nothing will stop her from Pursuing the Times.

 
Interview-
 
1. Your YA novel, Secrets of My Suburban Life, has a main character named Lauren, who goes by Ren. Your latest, Pursuing the Times, has an author named Mercury Lauren. Is there a reason you reference your own name in novels?
 
Because I can? Seriously, with 26 books published and more soon to come, I think I'm running out of names! OK, that's not serious either. Trying one last time: For the YA novel, Secrets of My Suburban Life, I thought Ren D'Arc was a cool name for a character - I think she's only rarely, if ever, referred to fully by other characters as Lauren in the book. As for Pursuing the Times, given a lot of things about her, Mercury Lauren is probably as close to an alter ego as I have in my fiction, but she's been more successful than I am, I'm pretty sure she's crazier than I am, and Lauren is only her last name. I do have a book for young readers coming out in which Lauren Baratz-Logsted is Mayor of Danbury, but that's another story.
 
2. As Mercury Lauren and yourself are both authors, did you also yearn for a book review from the New York Times (or do you still)?
 
I don't know an author, no matter how successful, who wouldn't like critical validation by The Paper Of Record. Exhibit A: Jennifer Weiner. Exhibit B: Jodi Picoult. But I'm not willing to go to the lengths Mercury Lauren does to get it. I mean, golf - really? That said, here's a curious thing: many times, The New York Times has selected letters I've written to the editor for publication. So, obviously, someone there thinks I can write, if only a few sentences at a time.
 
3. The book summary says it is a nod toward Pride and Prejudice. Is there any particular ways it does so (that you can tell us now)?
 
Given that the novel opens, "It is a publishing truth, universally acknowledged, that anyone professionally involved in the pursuit of 'Lit-e-ra-ture,' must, by definition, despise Chick-Lit," it might be easier to list the ways it's not a nod. Here's just one difference: I'm fairly certain that Jane Austen never wrote a scene in which a grown man and woman have to resort to calling Room Service for condoms because they've arrived at a naked moment in time woefully unprepared and are "too stupid to live."

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Guilt Trip + This is 40

do not own

The Guilt Trip

Mini review by Lauren

IMDB Summary: As inventor Andy Brewster is about to embark on the road trip of a lifetime, a quick stop at his mom's house turns into an unexpected cross-country voyage with her along for the ride.

At some point in the movie, this song entered my head, so I feel like you should listen to it while reading the review. It's called "Barbra Streisand" by Duck Sauce (if you're a Glee fan, you might recognize it from that!)



Review: My family almost always sees a movie on Christmas Day, so this year we figured The Guilt Trip would be a good pick, mainly because we can all usually agree on seeing a comedy. But this wasn't that much of a comedy. Yes, there were some funny moments, but I would call it more of a drama with comedy elements.

That said, I didn't hate it. It's not a bad movie and I did like the actors. I wish some of them had a larger role (like Colin Hanks, who appears for one scene) but as a road trip movie, it makes sense that you see someone for a bit and then they're gone.

It was nice to see Seth Rogen in something a bit more serious, and you could really tell he loved his mom, even when she is butting into his life. So that was sweet.

The end was also a nice surprise. I kept expecting certain things to happen and then when they didn't, it's kind of a let down, but it's also something I appreciated. I feel like so many movies (and even certain books) are too predictable about where they are leading, and this one wasn't. At least not overall.

All in all, not a bad film. Not quite what I was expecting, so I'd say rent it!

do not own

This is 40

Mini Review by Lauren

IMDB Summary: A look at the lives of Pete and Debbie a few years after the events of Knocked Up.

Review: To be honest, I've never seen the entirety of Knocked Up, but I still wanted to see this one because of the people in it (I'm a big fan of Paul Rudd and I really like Leslie Mann). Plus, it looked to be more of a comedy...so I went and saw it late last night. And it was funny, and funny throughout. I had heard it was a bit boring and long, but I didn't really find that. Yes, it was kind of long...and it might be too long for some, but I found it enjoyable and engaging the whole time.

I think everyone did a great job and I loved that they gave a real look at marriage once the couple are older, with children. They argue, they don't always like each other, but they do care about each other and ultimately don't want to let the other down.

I love that this was written/directed by Judd Apatow, Leslie Mann is his wife, and the two daughers in the film are their children. Some might find it weird or even wrong that the parents would allow their kids to be in such a movie, but I don't really mind it. It adds a sense of realism, even though I don't think it's meant to be autobiographical in any way.

Overall, I'm glad I saw this one. I think it was worth seeing in theaters and I liked the random cameo from Billie Joe Armstrong (singer of Green Day) that was actually more than a passing moment (he has some lines)!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Oscar Wilde and a Game Called Murder by Gyles Brandreth


Oscar Wilde and a Game Called Murder by Gyles Brandreth

Review by Lauren

Copy from- I bought this myself

Official Summary: It's 1892, and Wilde is the toast of London, riding high on the success of his play Lady Windemere's Fan. While celebrating with friends at a dinner party he conjures up a game called "murder" that poses the question: Who would you most like to kill? Wilde and friends -- including Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker, and poet Robert Sherard (the novel's narrator) -- write the names of their "victims" on pieces of paper and choose them one by one. After leaving the party, Wilde scoffs at the suggestion that he may have instigated a very dangerous game indeed....
The very next day, the game takes an all-too- sinister turn when the first "victim" turns up dead. Soon Wilde and his band of amateur detectives must travel through the realms of politics, theatre, and even boxing to unearth whose misguided passions have the potential to become deadly poisons...not only for the perpetrator of the seemingly perfect crimes but also for the trio of detectives investigating them.

Review: This is the second installment in the Oscar Wilde mysteries and one that I have been meaning to read for a long time. I actually read and reviewed the first book, Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance, back in 2008 and I talked about my enthusiasm for the sequel due out that fall. Wow, 2008 to 2012 and I'm just now moving on through the series. I wish I had read this one sooner; but that's why 2013 will hopefully allow me to read some of my own books more. After A Game Called Murder, there are four more books (six in all) so I really need to continue on quicker!

Back to the book I'm here to review. I feel like I've talked about this book to death (pun intended), but that's because it was the detective fiction novel I chose to read and present to my class in my detective fiction class. And I'm happy to show it off to you all now because it was an amazing novel.

There was a great mystery that kept me guessing and wondering- and I never did figure it out. Oscar Wilde is a fabulous character, and a great detective. The novel is filled with real Oscar Wilde quotes, and others that are probably Brandreth's creation, but sound exactly like you'd imagine Wilde would speak. Brandreth was actually lucky to speak to a man who knew Oscar Wilde in life, giving him a first-hand account of Wilde’s personality and conversation style. This gives an added sense of historical basis on the novel. Obviously, the book is fiction. You can’t go into it expecting to learn anything particularly profound about Oscar Wilde. It does include some real people, though, apart from Wilde.

The characters in this novel really add a sense of fun and amusement to readers. You get Arthur Conan Doyle (whose Sherlock Holmes is someone Wilde is often compared to), Robert Sherard (the narrator of these books and a real-life friend of Wilde), Bram Stoker (author of Dracula- a few vampire jokes to enjoy), and Lord Alfred Douglas (the cause of Wilde’s imprisonment, if you know anything about Wilde’s biography).

I don't want to go on too much, but just know, this is a wonderful book in a fantastic series and I cannot wait to get my hands on the third book!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Red Dawn + Silver Linings Playbook


Welcome back to your regularly scheduled programming on Shooting Stars Mag. Today, I bring to you two mini movie reviews (with a couple more to come in the next few days!)

Red Dawn

Review by Lauren

As some of you may be aware, Red Dawn was a remake of a 1980's film. I have not seen it so I can't tell you how it compares. This time, though, I can tell you that the enemy attacking the U.S. is North Korea. A group of young adults, led by Chris Hemsworth's character (who just came home from overseas) leads a revolt. To be honest, I actually enjoyed this one. I know it didn't get a lot of great reviews, and there were problems with it...mainly the plot line, I would say. Why is North Korea invading us exactly? I'm not too sure. I'm sure there are a lot of questions I'd have about the movie if I really tried to dig into it.

Sure, these are some major issues, but if you know me, you know by now that I love my characters (in books or otherwise) and Red Dawn had some great characters. I particularly enjoyed Josh Hutcherson and Josh Peck's performances. They made me feel for their situation. They were both loyal to those who they loved. They made it all seem real and emotional, I suppose you could say. It was really great seeing Josh Peck too, since I haven't seen him act in anything since he was young.


Silver Linings Playbook

Review by Lauren

I am a huge Jennifer Lawrence fan and she was phenomenal in this movie. If you only know her from The Hunger Games, you really need to check her out in something a bit more contemporary and realistic. She plays a young widow with a lot of issues, but one that recognizes her faults and finds solace in those parts of herself. Bradley Cooper plays a man who just came out of a mental hospital, finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He meets Lawrence again, finding out that her husband has recently died, and the two of them strike up a crazy, emotional, yet ultimately life-saving friendship.

If you haven't heard much about this movie yet, it might be a bit hard to explain. The overarching plot is that Lawrence pushes Cooper into doing a dance competition with her, since she doesn't have a partner. Cooper agrees, thinking it might help him win his wife back. This is not an easy relationship for either of them, but they push each other's buttons and they make it work.

It's emotional, frustrating, heartwarming, and real. See it now!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Blog Updates for New Year + Honeymoon Giveaway

Hope You All Had a Wonderful Christmas!!

First off, I have some blog updates to share with you, and then another Modern Greetings honeymoon giveaway below.

As for the blog- thanks for allowing me to do the A to Z Gift Guide. I know there weren't as many reviews near the end, but I wanted to finish everything no later than Christmas. Now that I have, it's back to some more normal Shooting Stars Mag posts. In particular, some book and movie reviews that I've been waiting to post (as well as a couple author interviews).

I also wanted to let you know that in 2013, I want to mix up the types of books I review so it's not the same things you're seeing on other blogs. Basically, I won't accept as many titles so that I can read and review books that I was sent a long time ago, and yet somehow never got to, as well as focus on some more books that I personally bought or were gifted. What do you think?! Hopefullly it will make things a bit more exciting!

You can expect to find a new post or two up tomorrow!

And now...

Modern Greetings is hosting another fun second honeymoon giveaway! This time you need to use your tweeting skills!

Tweet Your Proposal Contest. This contest will run Dec. 28th – Jan. 3rd.

Contestants just need to tweet to @moderngreeting (no “s” at the end of the twitter handle) about how their significant other proposed to them and hashtag it with #MGTakeUsAway, then they must go to the Modern Greetings facebook page and complete the submission form.

 It’s important to note that you MUST also fill out the submission form on MG's Facebook page to be eligible to win. MG will then pick their favorite proposal story tweet and the winner will be awarded the Second Honeymoon Trip to the destination of their choice.

MG is also asking you to encourage your friends and family to retweet your proposal story tweet to increase your odds.

(I was gifted a coupon code to the site for posting!)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

X (Xanadu Charms), Y (YogaToes), and Z (Zephyr Designs)



X is for Xanadu Charms
 
do not own any images
 

I think a great gift for almost any girl is a charm bracelet. You can get one already made, or you can pick out a charm or two to start it and then allow them to add to it...or it gives you a go-to gift for future events!

 
Xanadu Charms sells some lovely items, from Pandora Style bracelets that have already been made to your choice of chains and charms to create your own. I don't know a lot about Pandora prices, but I do think Xanadau offers a better deal on their products, and they look just as nice!



Y is for YogaToes
 
do not own any images

I'm really into items that make good stocking stuffers, because that's what I hope to make for some of my friends next year. Yes, YogaToes are the perfect size, but they are a bit pricey for a stocking (unless you fill the rest up with cheaper items).

Basically, YogaToes are a beauty item that will help prevent or improve a variety of foot problems. This lovely little contraption does the following, according to the site:

  • By spreading, stretching and exercising toes.
  • Help correct and realign foot structure.
  • Strengthen and stretch foot muscles.
  • Helps improve circulation and appearance.
  • Balance the entire body and stimulate, improve posture.

  •  
     
     
    Z is for Zephyr Designs
     
    do not own any images

    One of my favorite items from this shop are their infinity bracelets. If you asked me what my favorite book was, I would probably answer with The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chboksy and one of the more famous quote from the book is "In that moment, we were infinite"so any type of infinity design makes me think of that quote and the book I love so much. Therefore, I'd love one of these bracelets and I know at least one of my friends would too!


    The above photo is a green leather I believe, but the shop sells other colors too!

    The other items that I love from the shop are their magnets. These really would make fun stocking stuffers, and I found a few different collections that would fit my various friends!

     
    One of my guy friends likes Pokemon, so I think he'd get a kick out of these. I have another friend that loves to play games and often hosts game nights with either friends or family, so these Game Night magnets would be great for her to have!
     
     
    There you have it, everyone! My A to Z gift guide. It went a bit longer than I'd planned, obviously, but I did get everthing posted by Christmas Day (which soon became my second goal). I have each page linked up under the A to Z Gift Guide Button...just look in my right hand column. I'll probably keep the link up for awhile so you can easily find the products I featured in case you want to bookmark them for future purchases!
     

    V is for Vosswinkel Cookies + W is for Wear Your Music (Giveaway)



     
    do not own any images
     
    Merry Christmas everyone! We are coming to the end of the A to Z Gift Guide. Thanks so much for following along and leaving your thoughts. I know this is a lot of information, but I do hope you'll keep track of the shops/items you found the most interesting for possible purchase or gift giving!
     
    Alright, we have some other cookies, but these are of a different sort! I've actually known about this company for awhile now, and I am still dying to get my hands on some of these. Hopefully sometime in 2013! They really do look like little pieces of artwork- or actual fruit!

    If you visit this link, you'll see what types of fruits and veggie cookies you can order and how the flavor matches up to the look. For example, a Strawberry is a Strawberry Cream Flavor and the Eggplant is the Eggnog flavor.


    Christmas might be happening today, but you can still have fun with these snow tins all throughout January (and maybe even into February, depending on your weather situation).

    I have no idea what these cookies taste like, but they have such a unique look and the company offers a ton of different flavors...so I'm more than willing to check them out. What about you?



    W is for Wear Your Music
     
    do not own any images

    To be honest, I was given a guitar string bracelet for review and giveaway awhile ago...and I even did a giveaway for one of them, but never found a winner. My faultiness on this is your gain because I'm finally going to hold a giveaway and find a winner!

    But back to Wear Your Music, who make some awesome bracelets made from actual guitar strings. How cool is that?! This would be a perfect stocking stuffer for that musical fashionista, or even just a music lover, in your life!

    If you don't like bracelets, you can also purchase rings or even a unique gift idea with the record bowl!



    Besides the bracelets, one of my other favorite items from the shop is their Guitar Neck Jewelry Stand. Seriously, you know you want one of these! And it's only $14.95, which is awesome!

    You know what the best part of Wear Your Music is? You can actually buy bracelets made from guitar strings of your favorite artists!

    The site says:
     
    Each guitar string bracelet is hand crafted from recycled fine silver and guitar strings used and donated by the artist you select. The bracelets must slip over your hand unless a custom clasp is added: please size accordingly. Bracelets are packaged in DVD cases with certificates of authenticity. Profits are donated to charities selected by the artists. Each bracelet is custom made upon order and production time can take up to three weeks before item ships.

    You can get something from Dennis Casey of Flogging Molly, Kris Allen (winner of American Idol), Aaron Fink of Breaking Benjamin, Foster the People, and more! These are obviously much more expensive...around $100 or more, but an awesome, very unique gift for a true fan!

    And now...giveaway (for a simple, silver guitar string bracelet)!!

     Leave one comment below with what you like about Wear Your Music.

    Leave another comment below if you like Wear Your Music on facebook.

    Leave another comment below if you follow my blog in any way (let me know how)

    This is open to International entries (Merry Christmas and all that!) and will end on Friday, January 4th at 11:59 p.m. EST.

    Monday, December 24, 2012

    T is for TSCookies + U is for Unicorn Empire


     
     
    all images from their site
     
    One thing I love about ordering online is that there are so many options of the edible variety! TSCookies, or Truly Scrumptious Cookies, have some wonderful options for all of your holiday, birthday, and other occasion needs! I have not worked with this site so I cannot test to the taste, but the artwork is beautiful and I'd definitely be willing to give them a try some day!
     
     
     
    The link I posted above is to their website, but I actually found TSCookies on etsy first, so that's always an option for ordering as well.
     
     
    TSCookies also offer photo cookies, which is wonderful because you can really get creative and unique! This would be perfect for a graduation or wedding, for example.
     
    U is for Unicorn Empire
     
    all images from their site
     
    Don't you just love their name? It screams originality and fun, I think!
     
     
     
    The shop categorizes themselves as: Art, T-shirts, notebooks and gifts inspired by Doctor Who, Teen Wolf, Supernatural, Sherlock and more!
     
    I know a few people that love Doctor Who, so that wall clock above would make a very suitable gift, indeed. Personally, I'm a huge Sherlock fan these days, so anything regarding him is interesting to me.
     
     
    According to the site-
     
    Inspired primarily by two songs; "Autoclave" by the Mountain Goats and "One Day Robots Will Cry" by Shiny Toy Guns- it's much more about the feeling that both songs give off than specific lyrics.

    Anyway, all symbolism is pretty basic for any BBC Sherlock fan. We've got Sherlock hiding in his own little world that he made, he's got his skull and is of course miserable and alone. John's got his trusty jumper, an arrow through the heart/shoulder and army duds, and the dunes in the backgrounds are for his time in Afghanistan.

     

    Sunday, December 23, 2012

    S is for Stoic Design

     
    S is for Stoic Design

    Interview with Tia from Stoic Design

    Questions by Lauren

    all images from their etsy shop

    1. The work I first noticed in your shop were your canvas pieces. Can you explain to my readers what these all entail?

    Our canvases are our main seller right now. We use either vintage maps, book pages, or sheet music for the background, and then put a quote or lyric over top. Then we seal it, and the finished product is a unique, one of a kind piece of art. Our most popular canvases right now are the "And I think to myself what a wonderful world" on sheet music, and the "Please don't go I'll eat you up I love you so" on vintage map pieces.


    2. Since your canvases feature so many quotes, what are some of your favorite quotes (whether you have used them in your work or not)?
     
    My favorite quote is "and those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Which we haven't used because its so long! My favorite quote that is currently in our shop is "I'm the hero of the story, don't need to be saved" from the Regina Spektor song.
     

    3. You also sell some totes and clutches. Are you looking to expand these sections, or add anything else to the shop, in the new year?
     
    While I really love sewing, I haven't had much time lately to focus on it. We have 4 year old and 7 month old boys, so we don't have a lot of free time! In the next year we plan to introduce greeting cards and prints as new product lines, and hopefully I will also get some time to sew a little!
     
     
    Thanks to Tia for answering my questions. I love her canvases and would love to own so many of them, especially the ones that use vintage books and lyrics. Some of these would make wonderful wedding and baby shower gifts, not to mention birthdays and holidays!
     

    Saturday, December 22, 2012

    R is for Recycled Album Art




    Interview with Recycled Album Art

    Questions by Lauren

    all images from their site. They are currently having a Santa Sale, hence the prices on top of the photos



    1. Your shop is all about coasters, which you make from recycled album covers. How did you decide on coasters?

    The idea for coasters evolved around the love of music and woodworking. We decided to laminate the cover to a piece of 12x12 inch piece of wood. Then to cut the piece into 9 squares. We struggled with what to call our creation. Finally we decided that they were more like a coaster than anything else.

    2. Since you work with so many albums, do you have a personal favorite album, and has it been made into a set of coasters yet?

    We have so many personal favorites. We have some that have super graphics while another is a favorite because of the music. Recently we sold a Jimmy Buffet album that had the most attractive cover. It was like a portrait painting of Jimmy. I had a hard time selling it.

    3. Are your customers allowed to request custom coasters, and how should they go about doing so?

    We accept special requests. The best way to get a special request started is by emailing us. We need the artist name and album title. If we have one available from our inventory we will start working on it. We have been known to order the album from ebay or Amazon. We also will accept an album that is sent to us by the person requesting the coaster set. From the date we receive the album it will take close to 30 days for the set to be completed.

    Q is for Quirky Sews



    Q is for Quirky Sews

    I know a lot of my gift guide picks come from Etsy shops, but I just love Etsy! You get some wonderful quality items, often handmade by wonderful people around the world (so you know you're supporting a 'good cause' if you will). As for all you UK readers, this a UK shop, which means shipping is cheaper for you instead of more expensive!!

    The first photo above is the Cheeky Bitten Gingerbread Man ornament. Isn't it too adorable?! I figured since it's still the holiday season, we might as well start with a christmas item! My plan is to do stockings for some of my friends next year, so I can put a variety of fun gifts in it for them to enjoy, and this would make a wonderful addition to many of theirs! If the bitten gingerbread man is a bit too upsetting for you, don't worry! There is a Cheeky Whole Gingerbread Man too!



    Another shop I featured had mustache mugs, so I thought it would be fun to show you that Quirky Sews also offers their own mustache goodies, in the form of these Metallic Embroidered Lace Moustache Necklaces. The above is listed for a grey necklace, but there are other color options too. Check out the link to see a picture of a dog sporting this necklace! It's too funny!


    Finally, the shop holds some fun tissue holders. One of my favorites is the above Punk Birdies Embroidered Tissue Holder. Click the link to see more pictures/angles of this product! The site, however, says:

    The birds have some cool punk hairdo's and are sitting on barbed wire.


    Isn't that just too clever? If the punk birds aren't your thing, though, there are some other adorable options that might be!


    I found this shop on etsy, and I decided to do a spotlight of the items you can purchase from them. I have not personally worked with the shop, however, so all opinions are my own.

    Friday, December 21, 2012

    P is for P.S. I Love You Letters (plus a personal story)

     

    This is actually a post that has been a long time coming. I first started working with P.S. I Love You Letters last year. They were kind enough to send me a three letter kit in exchange for helping to spread the word about their amazing product. I began to send emails to whoever I could think of that might be interested. I got some feedback; not as much as I would have liked, or this company deserves. I am going to continue my quest to spread the word though and this is another shot at doing that.

    The main reason, I suppose, that I stopped really pushing this company is because the person I wanted to have my box of letters passed away before I could give them to her to fill out.

    Let's back track. P.S. I Love You Letters, no way affiliated with the book/movie, but if you know those, you'll have some idea of what the company is all about. You buy a kit (with either 3 or 5 letters) and it comes filled with everything you need. You write letters to your loved ones and then, as the site says:
     
    When you have finished writing your letters, simply seal your envelopes with the provided wax seals and complete the corresponding Addressee Cards which contain the delivery instructions.

    As for how these letters will get to their recipient, they are only sent out upon either your passing or a designated date:

    It is important to understand, complete, and safely store the Notification Card included with your kit. This is the key to unlocking your account for delivery of your stored letters. We recommend storing the Notification Card with your estate or financial planning documents. You can also give it to a trusted friend or family member who you know will find it and carry out your wishes.

    Finally, you must get your letters back to P.S. I Love You Letters, so they may store them in safe keeping until the time you wish for them to be mailed:

    Once you've completed your letters and corresponding Addressee Cards, enclose them in the mailing envelope and return to P.S. I Love You Letters for secure storage. Here they are cataloged in your personal archive where they will remain until we receive your Notification Card.
     
    Each Addressee Card allows you to specify the delivery time or occasion of your letter. Letters can be delivered immediately or at any time up to five years after we receive your Notification Card. For example, on Christmas, two years after we receive your Notification Card.


    If you want to read the full instructions, then please visit the website.



    Basically, you write letters to a loved one (or more) and then send them back to the company to keep them safe. You have a notification card that you either hold on to yourself, keep with a loved one, or put in your important documents (this all depends on when you want the letters mailed out). If you want to send the letters as a fun gift (like a First Anniversary gift between you and your spouse), then have one of you keep the card to send in and tell the company you want your letters mailed out in a year, or up to five years from now.

    However, if you want to use these letters in the event of your passing, the notification card needs to be in a safe place, so someone can send it in to have the letters either mailed immediately or perhaps even in a year's time as a final gift. This is a particulary good idea for anyone that is in the military, especially if they go overseas. It's a nice way to tell your loved ones goodbye one last time, in the event anything happens.

    Now that I've explained about the letters--back to my personal story. There is a woman who I grew up around my whole life; she was like a second mom when I was little, and then like an aunt. Definitely family. I consider her two children to be brother and sister. Anyway, she had breast cancer, and when I had these letters, I figured it would be wonderful to give them to her to write something to each of her children in the event of her passing away. However, the day I visited with my mom and sister (my mom holding on to the letters to give to her) she was not doing very well, and we left with the letters still with us. That friday, we got a call telling us she had passed away. It's still surreal that she's no longer with us and I'll always miss her...and I really hate that we didn't get the letters to her sooner so she could have written something for her kids. They know she loves them, though, and that's the main thing.

    I still have the letters. I might give them to my brother, who is in the army and will be deployed next year. He has a wife and two kids...and my letter set has three letters. His kids are young; they couldn't read the letter themselves, but god forbid if anything happens to him, they would surely love having the letters as a token of their dad's love when they are old enough.

    I know this isn't a particulary happy post, especially so close to Christmas, but it's always important to think of what could happen...so I think P.S. I Love You Letters would be a wonderful gift for anyone. It's not just in the event of someone's death, either, like I mentioned before...so don't be afraid to give this as a wedding or anniversary gift.

    Finally, here is what's included in a three letter kit-

  • Beautifully Designed Handmade Keepsake Box
  • Letterpressed Italian Linen Archival Stationery - 15 sheets
  • Letterpressed Italian Linen Archival Envelopes - 3
  • Custom Made Branded Wax Seals - 3
  • Return Envelope
  • Welcome Letter with Kit Registration Key
  • Beginner's Guide with Complete Instructions

  • Thursday, December 20, 2012

    O is for Out of Print Clothing

     


    Out of Print. Books on shirts. Shirts on a mission.

    Out of Print makes the world's most bookish apparel and accessories. Each super soft t-shirt features original book cover art that is treated to feel and look like a vintage book. There are over 60 covers to choose from and sizes for men, women and kids. As part of their mission each Out of Print item sold donates one book to a community in need.



    I love Out of Print clothing! I actually own their Outsiders t-shirt already; a christmas gift last year from my parents. That is one of my all-time favorite books and it's such fun to wear the original cover around!

    Luckily, I was given the chance to try out another item from their shop for review, and I gave a short list of possible items I would love to own. Most of them were t-shirts, but I did place one sweatshirt on the list and that's the one I was lucky to recieve, which is great for me and you! Me because these products are great and I now own two (and will definitely be buying more in the future) and you because I can tell you that their t-shirts and sweatshirts are both so great and wonderful quality!


    As you can hopefully see, I got the A Clockwork Orange hoodie from Out of Print for my review! This is seriously my new favorite sweatshirt. For one thing, it has no hood, which I actually like. I love hoodies as much as the next person, but sometimes it's nice not to have a bulky hood to deal with (especially in the winter months when I want to put a coat on over it for outside).

    Next, it's super soft. Seriously, I put this sweatshirt on and I feel really cozy (I'm actually wearing it right now as I do this review). A Clockwork Orange is a book that I haven't read as much as The Outsiders--it's actually only been once--but it's one I enjoyed and it means a lot to me because it's a book my old online book club read together. Having this sweatshirt makes me want to read it again, so hey, it promotes even more reading on my part!

    I'm so thankful for Out of Print clothing for allowing me to try their sweatshirts so I can share it with you all---and it's one item I'd love to recieve as a gift, so definitely think about picking something up for your favorite book nerd!

    Honestly, my one and only complaint is that they don't currently sell anything Oscar Wilde. I'd snatch that up in a heartbeat, so I hope it's a new addition soon!



    You can get shirts, sweatshirts, ebook jackets, notebooks, journals, coasters, and more...so you're bound to find something that suits your price range and interests!

    So tell me...what from this shop would you like to own?


    Wednesday, December 19, 2012

    N is for Nostalgic Candy


     
    N is for Nostalgic Candy
     
    Who wouldn't love some yummy candy for an upcoming event or celebration? I know I would be stoked! Nostalgic Candy is wonderful because they offer many different options. You can get a lot of candy, or just a little bit, and there is sure to be something for everyone!



    One of my favorite options are the Decade Boxes. You can choose the 50's, the 60's, or the 70's. Know someone born in that decade? Awesome birthday gift! Know someone like just likes vintage items, or a particular decade? Awesome birthday (or whenever) gift!


    Know any car AND candy fans? This is a 1955 Chevy Bel Air replica, filled with some yummy candy! The website says:

    This cardboard gift box is a replica of a 1955 Chevy Bel Air, and is filled with lots of classic candy, including flying saucers, candy buttons, hot dog bubble gum, candy cigarettes, Pixy Stix, wax lips, Sugar Daddy sucker and Fun Dip!

    The candy is wrapped in a cellophane bag inside the car and then topped with colorful matching ribbon.

    A great gift idea for someone who loves classic cars, classic candy - or both!


    Each car is about 11 inches long and 5 inches wide.


    Cars come unassembled so they do not crush during shipping.


    Be prepared- these next days leading up to Christmas will probably include a lot of A to Z gift guide options, so I can get everything posted in time! Obviously, these are all things to keep in mind for after the holiday season, either for yourself with any cash you might recieve or as a future gift in the new year! If you're reading along, thank you, and be sure to scroll down so you don't miss a letter. After Christmas, I will go back to having a lot more reviews!