Thursday, December 16, 2010

Spike Seasoning- Review and Giveaway

As one who likes to dabble with cooking from time to time, I absolutely love the flavor of Spike Seasonings. These spice blends range in several different varieties, including vegetable (that was delicious on salad), original (a good way to replace standard salt and pepper with something a little more vivacious), and hot 'n spicy (which my husband, a self-diagnosed red pepper flake addict, loves on everything). Try Spike on meats, pasta, even popcorn... I guarantee you'll enjoy it as much as I do! You can purchase the product at various retailers online or in many nutrition stores, or you can learn more and buy at their website

Right now, the makers of Spike seasoning would like to offer one of my lucky readers a set of five gourmet, natural seasoning blends, “Vege-Sal,” “Vegit,” “Salt Free Magic,” “Original,” and “Hot 'n Spicy,” a fifteen dollar value!
To enter this giveaway, become a member of this site via Google Friend Connect, then comment below and include your email address. I look forward to hearing from you!

This giveaway ends on Thursday, December 23, at 11:59 pm, eastern standard time.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 Promo Code

I learned WAY too much about the cost of many household items last January, when a pipe in our kitchen exploded and flooded EVERYTHING. The floor, countertops, and many of the small appliances were ruined, but were thankfully covered by our homeowners policy, though we needed to be cautious about spending, as not to go over-budget.
This is what we came home to after a pleasant dinner at my in-laws (notice the untouched bowl- doesn't it just look ridiculous?)

A good thing did come out of the whole escapade, however; while redoing the counters, we were able to extend them out, creating a peninsula on one side that greatly added to the counter-space. As one who likes to experiment with cooking, I definitely appreciated the extra room!

Why am I going on and on about this? Well, when we extended the counter, we wanted to put a couple of stools underneath on which to sit. I searched every possible internet site, looking for the most attractive ones that were not over-priced (a feat that, I came to find out, was nearly impossible).


They had exactly what I was looking for (see pic), and the shipping was only $3- it's always is that cost, regardless of the size of your purchase!
New counter stools- I sit on them all the time!

So... Overstock has decided to give my readers and I a little incentive (as if we needed any!) to make some of our holiday purchases at this fantastic site- 10% off! Just use the promo code 121728 at checkout. Additionally, the promo code for free shipping on all electronics is 202234.

Some great ideas for your shopping list this year- jewelry, both classic pendants and handmade, golf equipment, pretty mirrors, digital cameras, and more... the list goes on and on.
Love this snowflake pendant!

Addicted to the “Black Friday” deals that so many stores offer, but hate the mad rush? Overstock has taken care of that too, offering exclusive sales for members who sign up.

This is definitely the way to go: shop everyone on your list, get them the perfect gift for the right price, and all from the comfort of your own home- shop today!

All the ideas and opinions expressed are my own. No monetary compensation was received for doing this post, however, I was provided with a discount code.

Friday, November 12, 2010

KBL Sunglasses

Everyone has (or should have) at least one article of clothing or accessory that they feel amazing in. Maybe it's a fancy dress (bridal gown, perhaps?), a special coat that magically enhances your figure, or a pair of gorgeous earrings that you've been complimented on over and over.

For me, this piece is a pair of sunglasses.

The perfect mix of classic and trendy, my aviators make me feel fabulous, even in sweats and sans makeup. They come from KBL- a glasses design shop that features super-stylish aviators like mine, chic classics, and an eyeglass division that is just being launched.

With the holidays approaching, you should definitely try them out- you will be so glad you did!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Clinique's "All About Eyes"

I'm a crier.

I cry during commercials, movies, and television shows. I cry while reading sad books and when finding out very happy news. It's a complete embarrassment when my eyes fill up with tears at a rather inappropriate time, but the worst is the next day when my eyes are so red and puffy that I can hardly see out of them, and everyone asks, "Wow- are you sick?  Did you get any sleep last night?"  Ugh!

That was until a couple of years ago when a friend of mine recommended a brilliant product to me: Clinique's “All About Eyes.” Creamy, yet light, I have used it now every night before bed, and it has made a world of difference.

Gone are the days of next-day-puffy-eye-syndrome caused by a Sunday evening marathon of “Grey's Anatomy” reruns on TBS. Gone are even the slightest crinkles and wrinkles that tend to appear after a slightly stressful week. Gone are any insecurities I've ever had about my eyes showing to much age.

If you've never experienced an eye-cream product that has worked in all of these ways, definitely recommend that visit Clinique's website and order this product immediately- you won't be disappointed! 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Mid-Way Appraisal: Catch-22, by Joseph Heller

So, I've only read about 1/3 of this novel so far, but I thought I'd give an update.

With so many characters right from the very beginning, I was feeling a little confused. Is it imperative that I be aware of EVERYONE that makes an appearance in this book? Who is the MAIN character, the protagonist, the person in the story with whom I should be relating? Will there be a quiz?

Despite my myriad questions, I trudged onward through the reading, hoping it would all come together for me in time.

It didn't. But it's awesome.

Silly does not even remotely describe the ridiculous antics that go on in this book, Monty-Python-style, and I LOVE it! I can almost hear my high school English teacher describing Catch-22 as one of the foremost satires of the time, but that makes the novel seem, well, educational. That is not how I would describe it, though. Slapstick at times, asinine at others, hilarious always: Catch-22 (so far) is a great choice!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Sunday Philosophy Club, by Alexander McCall Smith

Being philosophical ain't easy...

For a book with this particular title I noticed a lack of, well, philosophy, let alone a club devoted to the subject. I don't even believe that McCall Smith referenced Sundays at all- or even sundaes (yum!). That said, however, this novel was an absolute pleasure to read and kept me entertained the whole time.

Though the setting was modern-day Edinburgh, Scotland, it seemed the story could take place anywhere- it was easy to follow, despite the fact that it is a place I've never been (hint, hint, Kyle).

The main character, a middle-aged single woman named Isabel, is surprisingly relatable (although I'm neither of those things). A very curious woman by nature, she sets out to investigate the falling death of a handsome young man, with whom she felt a “connection” with as he dropped from the highest balcony at the symphony. Since Isabel was the last person he saw in life, she felt a moral obligation to find out the truth about his accident, suicide, or murder.

The real draw of this novel, however, is McCall Smith's ability to develop the relationships between his characters. They're just so... real.

I would definitely give this book an A (wait, is that the scale I'm using? I better go back to some earlier posts. Okay- good enough. A.).

Has anyone else read this or is planning to? I'd love to hear your opinions!

The next book I'll be reading is Catch-22, by Joseph Heller, so if you'd like to join me in reading it please do so. If you've read it in the past and want to discuss it at all, then just know that I'll finish... eventually. Be patient- it takes effort to carve out some time to read amid mommy-ing and committing to the new fall television schedule.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Cabinet of Curiosities, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

What's in your cabinet?

In the nineteenth century, New Yorkers assembled at what was known as “Cabinets of Curiosity” to view abnormal and grotesque marvels from around the world. These cabinets were considered the first museums, though judging by their description, they seemed more like freak-shows.

This novel actually takes place in modern-day New York, where a woman named Nora (beautiful, brilliant, perfect in every way- this book was definitely written by men) works at the Museum of Natural History. Her boyfriend, Bill, is a reporter for the Times. When old bones are discovered in the basement of a building that is being excavated, the two, along with Detective Prendergast (apparently the authors have written several books that include this character) are thrown into the midst of a 100-year-old mystery and a recent serial killing spree (fun!).

Okay- my thoughts: if you haven't read this book and are looking for a decent mystery, it's worth it. This book will not change you life (unless, of course, you're researching the different methods to undergo your serial killing).

The novel is a good enough read, but it takes itself way too seriously, making the characters seem a bit pretentious.

“Smithback loved this restaurant more than any other in New York City. It was decidedly untrendy, old-fashioned, with superb food. You didn't get the bridge and tunnel crowd here like you did at Le Cirque 2000...”

It goes on to describe Bill Smithback's new Armani suit with the paisley, silk pocket square, then describes his rare steak au poivre. We get it. He's classy.

If you can get over that level of pomposity in your reading, the plot-line of the story is pretty worthy.

I recommend reading this novel, but not buying it. Go to the library and pick up a copy (that's that place on the corner that you always pass on your way to Barnes and Noble- they have all the same stuff, but it's free!). Or, you can borrow my copy!


Since I have decidedly begun this new blog here, I have joined a few bloghops to increase some traffic and get a few followers (can I follow my own blog?  Then I'll have 1!)
Please leve a comment if you stop by- I can't wait!

Weekend blog hop button

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon

Curiouser and curiouser...

Sometimes you just need to read something short and sweet- cue this novel (whose title is so long that I will not re-type it).

Though geared toward an audience of adolescent readers, this book is so different, so unusual, and so incredibly well done that I suggest everyone read it (plus the fact that at 150ish pages, it can be read as quickly as an issue of “Us Weekly”).

What makes this story so unique? The main character and narrator of the tale, Christopher, is a fifteen-year old autistic boy. Haddon is able to capture the complexities of this disorder so clearly; Christopher is gifted in many respects, yet cannot understand or convey emotions. Through his eyes, the reader embarks on an adventure to seek the murderer of his neighbor's dog. Because of his practical account of the events that transpire during his quest, the reader becomes aware of a much more significant occurrence that has come to take place, and affected the lives of Christopher's entire family.

I cried a little (but then again I usually tear up during Folgers commercials too).
Tell me what you thought and if you cried as well.

Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand

Who is John Galt?

Lest one thinks that I sit around all day and think about cooking and various other "mommy-type" things, I thought I'd bring a little culture into the mix.  As an avid book-lover, I thought I'd discuss my recent reads here.  I would love to here others' points of view as well, so if you've read, watched the movie of, contemplated reading, skimmed the chapter titles of, or looked at the last paragraph of any of the novels  (or non-fiction, I don't discriminate) discussed here, drop me a line!

To understand Rand's rather economically conservative stance (to put it mildly), it is important to look at her background. Born in the early 1900's, the writer escaped Soviet Russia after college in 1924. Under Communist rule, she saw her father's pharmacy confiscated and the near-starvation of her family. Needless to say, Ayn Rand was vehemently opposed to the Marxist ideology, “From each, according to his ability; to each according to his needs.”

In this political climate, I definitely thought it was important to explore this work of fiction that was the culmination of Rand's work as an author and her philosophy of “Objectivism.” Regardless of one's point of view- democrat, republican, conservative, liberal- this is a book that should be read and analyzed, whether or not one agrees with the tenets that are put forth.

Some things to point out...

  1. It's long. Like, really, really long: over 1,000 pages.

  1. Economical philosophies aside, the actual novel is pretty entertaining. The main character, Dagny, is the strong-willed VP of Taggart Transcontinental Railroad. She has a love affair with Hank Rearden, a successful industrialist in the field of steel-making. As the country's economic collapse unfolds, the brightest and most hard-working people begin to disappear. We come to find out that they're hiding out; lying in wait for the downfall of the country in order to return, unscathed, to rebuild.

  1.  After reading this book, I have to say that the words "but it's not fair" scare me most of all. It was an entire generation that was criticized for believing that all children deserved a trophy, that there should be no "winners" or "losers," that everyone should share- regardless of circumstances.  We have learned, as a people, that this doctrine should be discarded; it promotes whininess in children, and adults who do not see the value in working hard.  What is the point in working hard if everyone reaps the benefits? Perhaps it is "fair" that everyone is rewarded equally, but the system just does not work.

  1. If that is agreed upon, then we should discuss what an appropriate reward should be for a job well done: possibly a certificate that allows one to obtain items that he or she desires, or "money" as it is commonly called?  Rand believes strongly in being paid as a reward for hard work.  She believes in bonuses, raises, and commissions. After reading this novel, I can say with confidence that money is NOT the "root of all evil."

  1. At times, workers are recompensed for their hard work with a higher salary, or better benefits.  Perhaps they receive a more inclusive retirement package, a company car, a lollipop… The point is that if everyone acquires the same rewards, regardless of what they do, society no longer has a reason to "step up to the plate," and capitalism, as we know it, ceases to exist.  It may not be "fair," but it is a belief that America is built on.

  1. I completely understand that others may have different, and very valid, viewpoints. Believe me- I didn't agree with EVERYTHING that Ayn Rand said, however I did feel riled up after reading this book- and isn't that the point? I suggest that you go out and read it if you haven't already. I'm very interested in hearing what you have to say!