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My Toes are Ready for Summer: Kiss Nail Dress Review

Look at my toes!!!

My Toes: 3/19

Influenster and Kiss sent me some Nail Dresses to try out and review. I have to admit, when I first saw them I was a bit apprehensive. There was no way I was going to put leopard print on my nails. And then I remembered I have other nails – my toe nails!!

These things are incredibly easy to use – they’re basically nail-shaped stickers that you apply and then file down to size. I actually cut all of mine in half because they’re pretty long (and my toe nails are pretty short.) There’s no dry time – so they’re perfect for busy moms who never know when the kids are going to call out for help.

I was worried that they’d either fall off right away or that I’d never be able to get them off. Boy was I wrong on both counts! I wore these with sandals (during that crazy 80 degree weather at the end of March) and then with socks and shoes (when the weather went back to typical Spring weather) and the Nail Dresses didn’t budge. And yes, my kids even stepped on my toes during that time! When it came time to take them off, all I had to do was pick up an edge and lift. SO.EASY!!

Kiss claims they’ll last for 10 days. I took them off after 16 days had gone by – but only because I was worried about what I’d find under them or that I’d have a tough time getting them off – not because they were starting to look shabby.

My Toes 4/4

I’m definitely going to be using these again. Perhaps in a different pattern next time (although, I have to admit, I kind of got used to the flirty leopard print! *grin* )

_______________________________

Official Stuff from the Web Site

Kiss Nail Dress

Fashion That Sticks

Introducing Kiss Nail Dress, ultimate nail fashion for tips and toes! Just peel, apply, and shape for a manicure that lasts up to 10 days. On in minutes, off in seconds without remover. Nail Dress is available in 18 different styles, many of them featuring 3-dimensional jeweled designs. Check out Peplum, a deep black with multi-colored gems for a pop of color, or Babydoll, for a golden and glamorous jeweled look. Skip the topcoat, Nail Dress has it built in.

With 28 strips in each package, you can cut up your extras to create designs that can be used on top of polished or artificial nails. Nail Dress doesn’t dry out the way other polish strips can, so you can save them to use on your next DIY mani. A nail design booklet is included in each package, just in case you need a little inspiration.

And don’t forget about your feet! Nail Dress looks awesome on toes, too – just use the square side of the sticker for a perfect fit.

Where to Buy

Nail Dress’ suggested retail is $6.99 and is available in all major drug chains and mass retailers like WalMart, CVS and Walgreens.

Visit KissNailDress.com to learn more!

Book Review: The Help

I just finished reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett. In a word: Wow. This book is so well written that I couldn’t put it down. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

When I first started reading it, I had thought to myself, “okay, it’s about black nannies and housekeepers…it’s set in the early 1900s or so.” Ya…not so. I know in my head when all these things happened, (and I know that this is fiction) but it totally blew my mind that all this was set in the ’60s!! That doesn’t seem that long ago – and I just can’t wrap my brain around the fact that people treated others like this not-so-long-ago (Although, I suppose some still do…)

I loved the way that there were a few chapters at a time dedicated to the various main characters. You weren’t bouncing around too much, but you got to see how the minds of each character worked. One white lady, Skeeter; and two main “Help” ladies, Aibileen and Minny. I also loved the way that one chapter wasn’t from the point of view of any of them so we could see the entire dance scene from ALL of their points of view.

*SEMI SPOILER* I may be slow, but it took me until about 1/2 way through the book to realize that THIS book is supposed to be THAT book – the one they’re writing! I’m not sure why it took so long, or exactly when the Ka-Thunk happened, but I was tickled to my toes when I realized it…again knowing it’s all fiction, but it’s still fun to think that these events were as they happened because this book is about the book in the book. LOL
*END SEMI SPOILER*

One of the things I will never forget – even though it didn’t really have anything to do with the storyline, was when Aibileen was just randomly thinking away one day about how she was now breathing in the air someone from Chicago was breathing out 3 days before…and it made her wonder if she was thinking about Sears and Roebuck or Shake ‘n Bake because that person had been while he was breathing out. Crazy thoughts that I would think myself 🙂

I would recommend this book highly to anyone who will listen to me. Have you read it? What did you think?

Book Review: The Forgotten Garden

I read The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton for my book club and I have to say HANDS DOWN, one of the best mysteries I’ve read in a long time – if ever.

The first 3 chapter cover so many decades that it leaves your head spinning, but it sets it up for how the entire book reads. Each chapter is a different decade, told from a different character’s point of view. And it wasn’t always the same 3 characters, just one of the ones from that decade.

There are a few spots where I thought I had it all figured out, but then realized that there were other possible answers…answers that also made sense.

While reading, I found that I didn’t really relate to Nell (even though the whole story pretty much revolves around finding out who she is). I liked the story lines about Cassandra (two generations below Nell) and Eliza and Rose (a generation above Nell) – even though the story lines revolved around Nell anyway.

I loved that one of the characters is an author and you get to read a few of her stories. And it really does seem to change “authors” when you read them; they’re written totally different than the rest of the book.

I HIGHLY recommend reading this book!!

There’s a wonderful interview with Ms. Morton on Amazon that sheds some light on where she gets her ideas, as well as some insight to her as a person.

Reading to My Kids – Book Review: Magic Tree House Series

When we went to Vermont, my goal was to bring a Ramona book with us to read a chapter or so to the kids each night before bed. (They’re used to made-up stories from Mike…I’m just not that creative!)

I forgot to bring the book.

Step in Uncle Jason. He brought a book over (without knowing what my goal was) saying that Cousin Grey really likes the series, had we heard of it? I hadn’t, but I’m SO GLAD that he introduced us to it!

I’ve heard that The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne currently has about 45 books it it. (Yikes!) And I hear that she’s still writing. So we should be set for a while!

The first in the series is called Dinosaurs Before Dark. This one is the must-read since it sets up the whole series. In a nutshell: Annie and Jack find a magical tree house. It’s full of books that transport them to places when they make a wish on a picture in a book. For example, in the first book, Jack opens a book in the tree house and sees a dinosaur. He wishes he could see one in real life and Viola … he does.

We read this over 3 or 4 nights while in Vermont. Two to three chapters a night. And the kids couldn’t get enough. They begged for me to buy the book so we could have it at home – not realizing that there are more in the series and they could have new adventures with Annie and Jack. I hopped onto ebay and did my thing…we now have 15 of these books (mostly in order…)

We started reading the second one, The Knight at Dawn, a few days ago. Since we’re home now – and nothing compares to Daddy’s bed time stories – I’m reading to them before Daddy gets home from work…and they’re choosing another chapter over turning the TV on (be still my beating heart!)

Other than my kids really enjoying these books, the thing *I* like about them is that there’s an actual plot. It’s much better (for me) than reading the same silly little book over and over (not that there’s anything wrong with That’s Not My Princess…), and I’m finding that I want to know what’s going to happen next too!

Thank you, Ms. Osborne, for writing such wonderful stories for my whole family to enjoy!

Book Reviews: Blossom Street Bundle (Plus 2)

I read Debbie Macomber’s Twenty Wishes for my book club. While reading it, it seemed like she mentioned characters – in passing – that I should already be familiar with, so I guessed (correctly) that this book is part of a series. I found the Blossom Street Bundle (3 books) plus more that are a part of the series. So far, I’ve read 5 of the books. It looks like there are 2 that should have been a part of the bundle since they were written between two of the ones included (I was a little disappointed that these weren’t included! I like to read things in order). I’ll probably go back and read them, but since I’ve read 5 in a row now, I need to get some other reading done first. Also, while it’s great to get to know the recurring characters and see what’s going on with them, these books are actually really good stand-alone as well.

Like I said, I read Twenty Wishes first, and I haven’t read them all (yet) but the order of the books is:

The Shop on Blossom Street
A Good Yarn
Christmas Letters*
Susannah’s Garden*
Back on Blossom Street
Twenty Wishes
Summer on Blossom Street
Hannah’s List*

*Haven’t read yet.

Obviously, I enjoyed Twenty Wishes enough to check out the other books. The main character in most of the books is Lydia, the yarn shop owner on Blossom Street, and most of the books revolve around the people who take knitting classes in her shop. The exception (so far) is with Twenty Wishes. The main character in this book is Anne Marie, the book shop owner on Blossom Street. She’s recently widowed and forms a group for widows in her book shop. They come up with the idea to create a list of 20 wishes and the book revolves around Anne Marie and the widows.

Each book has about 4 characters you follow. The nice thing – that actually bugged me at first – is that you get a little bit of a recap for each character when their chapter comes up. It bugged me at first because I was like, “I KNOW!!” …but then I realized, “Wait, I recall.” I’m not sure I would have remembered who was who and what was going on without the little bit of recap. Especially if I’d put the book down for a day or two (right…like THAT would happen 😉 ) The little recap worked between books as well – you got a taste of what had happened previously.

I call myself a “trashy romance novel reader” …but that’s not entirely true now. I’ve come to realize that I actually enjoy the romantic parts of book, but I don’t necessarily need the trashy parts… THAT’S where these books are absolutely wonderful. The story is there, but you’re not bombarded with pages upon pages of graphic descriptions. Perfect.

The stories themselves are wonderfully predictable. (C’mon, they’re romance novels, of course they’re predictable!) While you know what the ending is going to be (usually), the journey to get there is the wonderful part. And Ms. Macomber’s writing is such that she doesn’t draw things out. If she writes that two (nervous) characters are meeting up for a date, you don’t have to wait 10 or more pages for that date to actually happen. LOVE it!

One thing I noticed about the books with Lydia in them as the main character is that the chapters that are written from Lydia’s point of view are all in the 1st person while the rest of the chapters with the other characters are written in the 3rd person. I thought that was kind of neat.

An added bonus to reading these books? I’ve started knitting. The books with Lydia as the main character include knitting patterns!

And while I’ll read a book or two by another author before them, I’m looking forward to picking up the other books in the series.

Random Reviews: Water, Food, Make-up, and Hair Care

I’ve been meaning to write about each of these for a little while now…so I figured I’d just lump ’em all together into one big post. Hold onto your hats – it’s gonna be a long one…I’ve put links in to get you to where you want to go: Water, Food, Make-up, Hair Care.

Water

A few months ago, Maureen from Callanan & Klein Communications sent me a bottle of water. The water is called Native Water (from the Berkshires)…while the water itself isn’t all that fascinating, it’s the bottle that grabbed my attention. It’s made out of 25% recycled plastic, and it’s biodegradable. How cool is that?! I’m a huge water snob…I have my brand that I like (and I’m even picky enough that it’s got to have a sports bottle top…I know, shoosh!), so I was apprehensive at first. The water is actually pretty good! It’s 100% natural spring water – not that filtered water crap that some companies try to pass off as good bottled water. And while it’s not available in most of the places I shop, if I ran across it, I’d wouldn’t hesitate to get some more.

(I do have to add one comment though – apparently, the bottlers don’t know how to spell biodegradable … they’ve added an extra E in the middle!)

Here’s the official stuff:

Native Water is bottled in ENSO Bottles, a biodegradable and recyclable PET plastic bottle.  Made from 25% recycled plastic the bottles are produced with Ecopure™, an organic compound added to the plastic manufacturing process that allows the bottles to be metabolized and neutralized on a microbial level, completely breaking down the plastic. ENSO bottles maintain the same physical properties and strengths as existing PET plastic bottles yet provide a more shelf stable and practical solution than starch-based PLA materials and oxo-degradable plastics.  The bottles are biodegradable in both anaerobic and aerobic environments and can also be successfully mixed with standard PET plastic recycling.

To add to the sustainability of the bottled water, Native Waters sources all water locally in the Berkshire Mountains in Western Massachusetts.   The water is naturally filtered through layers of sand, clay, gravel and rocks before reaching the surface source.  Native Waters then uses local distributors to send the product throughout New England, eliminating long trucking routes and minimizing the carbon footprint of the bottled water.

Native Water is available in both 500 ml and 700 ml sizes. The product is available at select retail stores, restaurants and colleges throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont and New Hampshire.  Native Water is distributed by Sysco, ghousen of Brattleboro, VT, Nasiff Fruit Company of Fall River, Mass., Great State Beverages of Hooksett, NH, Blue Coast Beverages of Mattapoisett, and Thomsen Food Service of Providence, RI.   For more information on where you can find Native Water,  email info@earthfriendlybottle.com.

Native Waters, LLC

Native Waters, LLC, was founded in 2009 by Steven Nasiff and Rodger Cohen.  The company was founded to provide sustainable product solutions for the beverage industry using the latest technology and a local approach towards improving the environment for current and future generations.  To learn more about Native Water in the ENSO biodegradable bottle,  call 877.228.0711.  Native Waters can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nativewaters.

About ENSO Bottles

ENSO Bottles, LLC, of Phoenix, Arizona is an environmental company dedicated to creating “Bottles for a Healthier Earth”.  ENSO bottles are an environmental solution designed to biodegrade in anaerobic or aerobic environments leaving behind biogases and humus. ENSO bottles with EcoPure™ have been 3rd party tested and validated for biodegradability and recyclability using ASTM standards. To learn more about how you can help to reduce plastic pollution and improve our environment visit ENSO on facebook, www.facebook.com/ensobottles or contact ENSO Bottles at www.ensobottles.com or call 866.936.3676

Disclaimer: I received this bottle of water from Callanan & Klein Communications specifically to write a review.

Food

I received a coupon for 2 free Alexia® Select Sides™. I’d never heard of Alexia before, but when I got to the freezer section, the bags did look a little familiar. I got the Onion Rings and the Olive Oil, Rosemary & Garlic Oven Fries. OMG. SOOOOO good!! The onion rings – baked in the oven – were perfect. Crispy on the outside with actual cooked onions on the inside (instead of raw or partially cooked like you sometimes get). And the Oven Fries were so flavorful! I really need to try some of the other flavors (like the Olive Oil, Parmesan & Roasted Garlic). Check out what they have to offer at http://www.alexiafoods.com/

My only complaint is that the bags are somewhat small. Like, small enough that Mike and I can go through an entire bag for one meal. (I suppose that’s because I’m used to Costco-sized stuff though…) I highly recommend picking up a few of these bags for your next meal.

Disclaimer: I’m a BzzAgent so I received samples and coupons for the above items.

Make-Up

I’m not much of a make-up person. My typical day is to throw some eye-liner on and run out the door. Add some chapstick and I’m good to go. This Bzz is from COVERGIRL. Since it’s a brand I recognize (c’mon, who wouldn’t?) I figured I’d give the ShineBlast lipgloss and the SmokyShadowBlast eye shadow a try. (I mostly wanted to try the lipgloss…)

The lipgloss is really nice! It’s not what I remember from my early days of using make-up (you know, the kind that makes your lips stick together? ya. not that at all!) And it lasts for quite a while.

The eye shadow worried me for a bit. It’s a stick … with colors on each end. The rounded end is used for all over color and then the tapered end is used to define. (I only know this because there are instructions on the packaging – thank goodness! I hope I never lose that LOL!) Actually, they were nice enough to point me to the following 1 minute video for how to use the stuff:

Easy, right? Mostly. I mean…I put it on and I think I did okay…but “smoky eyes” just isn’t my thing for working from home 😉 Also, I figure after it gets used for a bit, that tapered tip isn’t going to be so tapered any more…and how do I “sharpen” it? Or maybe it’s so short that by the time it’s not tapered any more, it’ll be gone anyway. I haven’t gotten that far yet.

Disclaimer: I’m a BzzAgent so I received samples and coupons for the above items.

Hair Care

And finally, I received a sample (and coupons) for göt2b® smooth operator hair smoother. WOW! I’m a frizz head, and had serious doubts about how well this would tame the mane without making it look greasy, flat, or like…I was one of those playdough barber shop heads. This product is amazing. My hair was completely tame and I looked like *gasp* a grown-up! The best part? No crunchies and no looking like a grease-ball. And best of all, while not my best next-day hair, using it one day and then having “next-day-hair” the following day is an option! (Not always the case when you use product in your hair.)

I’m so looking forward to trying out more göt2b® products!

Disclaimer: I’m a BzzAgent so I received samples and coupons for the above items.

Book Review: The Middle Place

I just finished reading The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan. I LOVE her writing style! She’s so refreshingly honest and incredibly real.

Ms. Corrigan does a mix of flash-back type chapters and current time chapters which go together really well. The flash-back chapters are still told from the view of “adult” Kelly, so your brain doesn’t have to do that ka-thunk that sometimes happens when too many different points of view are in the same book.

I loved reading about times when she knew she was being unreasonable, but she just couldn’t help it – who hasn’t been there? And how she works through things like being jealous of her husband’s relationship with his parents – even though she has her own very strong one.

The dynamics of Kelly and her siblings rang incredibly true as well – both in the flash-backs and the present day chapters. The love-hate relationships that were actually mostly love with a dab of frustration mixed in 🙂

The Middle Place is a fun, fast read that will make you laugh and make you cry. I’d highly recommend it!

Book Review: The Shack

I just finished reading The Shack by William P. Young. Wow. This is the type of book that keeps you thinking long after you’ve finished it.

Mr. Young tells the story of how Mack finds his way to God. Mack has gone through a huge (unimaginable) tragedy and – understandably – turns away from God. This is the story of how he journeys back.

The way Mr. Young describes God, Jesus, and everyone else involved is – in a round-about way – how I have pictured God…without really knowing it. I mean…if I were able to write this well and put my thoughts together, THIS is how I think God is. (I can’t really explain any more without giving too much of the book away…)

The emotions you go through while reading this book are just incredible. More than once I had tears just streaming down my face…and not always because I was sad.

Once you’ve finished the story, I highly recommend going back and reading the Forward again. It makes a lot more sense the second time around and I think it pulls the entire story together.

I found myself fairly emotional while sitting in church today…choking up while trying to sing songs about Jesus. It’s happened before – just getting overwhelmed by what you’re singing or hearing…but it seemed even more deep than before since I was reflecting on the things I’d read. I also think I was moved more than normal because this book was recommended to me by my brother … someone I’d never really thought to label “religious.” (Not that I would now either…)

The Missy Project was created to help get the word out about this incredible book. I’m more than happy to link up.

Review: ORGANICALLY GROWN Toddler Clothing

Emily from Organically Grown sent a super cute outfit to Logan. They recently added Organic Toddler Clothing to their collection and wanted a few moms to try it out.

We received a two-piece outfit: a blue shirt with Nature Boy written on it and Khaki colored shorts. Oh my GOODNESS they’re so incredibly soft!!

Since I put this on Logan on a 90 degree day, the outfit took quite the beating. He was outside for most of the day playing in sand, water, dirt, grass, chalk, everything! At one point, I looked at the outfit and thought, “well, it was good while it lasted…there’s no way it’s going to get clean!” Boy was I wrong. Everything came right out – perfectly clean and still as soft as when we received it.

I’m told that at some point in the near future, I’ll receive some coupons for Organically Grown. Stay tuned because I’ll be passing some along to you! I’d highly recommend the Organic Clothing!!

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION:

Organically Grown recently added Organic Toddler Clothing to their collection. The collection is comprised of adorable two-piece outfits for boys and girls in sizes 12-24 months, and 2T-4T. With the cute and eco friendly slogans on each of the sets’ t-shirts, your toddler can wear their heart on their sleeve with a new message every day of the week!

INFANT: Also, be sure to check out our Infant Collection! Some of their best sellers include three-piece sets with baby gowns, body suits, jackets, pants, blankets and hats, all on padded hangers and priced between $12-38.

WHY ORGANIC?

As the awareness of the effect that pesticides and toxins have on the environment and individual health grows, more and more families are realizing the importance of choosing organic products. Making this choice is not only good for our earth; it is good for all of us. With your help, organic textile production will increase, becoming more of a standard in the clothing industry.

If you haven’t already, now is the time to choose organic fabrics for you and your family. Organic cotton has all the high quality, soft and cuddly texture with none of the harsh chemicals to irritate your child’s delicate skin. Organically Grown’s products are not only breathable and cuddly; they are also recyclable, renewable, and biodegradable. With products by Organically Grown, there is no need to compromise between your budget and your conscience. As well as being ECO-FRIENDLY, their clothes are AFFORDABLE and STYLISH.

Nature Boy

Makes My Monday: Free Stuff!

This is actually a product review for the Calphalon Removable Plate Grill.

Because I’m a member of BigTent (for my mom’s of twins group), I received an email a few weeks ago asking me to join another BigTent group and I’d receive a free Calphalon product in exchange for an honest review put up on their site. Thinking “ya, right…I’ll see THAT product.” I joined anyway. What could it hurt? BigTent already has all of the information that this new group wanted. On Saturday, my Removable Plate Grill showed up at the door. Can you say Happy Dance? 🙂

Oh, come on – you have to admit receiving free stuff would Make your Monday as well 🙂

Cheryl over at Twinfatuation hosts this one. Head on over to see what else makes people’s Mondays (there are always some really good ones!)

Below is the review I put up on their site … with a few extra pictures, and a few extra links.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Calphalon
Removable Plate Grill

As a member of a family that grills outside year-round, I was skeptical about this product at first. Until I read the Panini tips in the user guide. Panini! Of course! The Removable Plate grill is *perfect* for creating delicious paninis.

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Just to test it out, I grilled some chicken on it – marinated in Italian dressing – and those turned out nice and juicy. The burgers weren’t a great hit with my kids, but they’re used to the charcoal flavor, so that might have had something to do with it. The hot dogs were well received though.

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The grill itself is wonderful! I have owned two George Foreman grills in the past, and this one far out-reaches either of those. The grill is HUGE – perfect for a family of 5.

I love that the grill plates are removable – and SUPER easy to clean off. It’s nice that they go in the dishwasher, but if you’re grilling anything messy, it’s just easier to wash them up in the sink.

It’s wonderful that there’s an up-end storage option … just remember to clean out the internal drip tray first! (Luckily, the folks at Calphalon put a permanent reminder on the bottom grill plate.) The drip tray is great for scraping scraps into before a second round of grilling as well.

My only complaints are that the arrows on the temperature and timer dials are VERY hard to see. If these arrows were black, or outlined in black, it’d be much easier to tell which end indicated the correct temp/time.

And it’s nice that there is a height selector (although, I didn’t actually use it since I like the squishy grill marks on my food), but it seems rather cheap. Every time I move it and close the lid, I’m afraid it’s going to break! (It hasn’t yet though, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed.) …this is actually the reason for the 4 stars instead of 5…

The first time I used it there was a LOT of smoke. I was afraid that this would be the case every time, but it was simply a matter of getting all that “newness” out. There was little-to-no smoke the second time I used it.

Overall, a GREAT product. If we didn’t grill outside year-round, I’m sure we’d use this all winter for burgers and stuff. We’ll just have to use it year-round for paninis instead!

Disclaimer: Calphalon sent me this grill for free to review for *their* website. I’m just putting it up over here too.