Sunday, October 28, 2012

Last Chance to Enter the Caf-Lib and Cookies Contest!

Only a few days left to enter the October contest!
You can enter here if you haven't already.
And make sure to stop by in early November to find out if you're this month's winner and also for a BIG pre-holiday November contest announcement, you won't want to miss! And this upcoming November contest will be open to US and Canadian residents.
Good luck everyone! :<)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Spring Fever by Mary Kay Andrews

Do you ever crave a truly LOL funny novel to enjoy and finish in a day or two? I certainly do, on a regular basis actually. ;<) But these kinds of books are not always easy to find.
There's nothing like unwinding and de-stressing and being transported far, far away with memorable characters and an engaging and humorous story.
I recently read Spring Fever by Mary Kay Andrews, and it had all of the attributes I've mentioned above and then some. I read this book in a couple of days and I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish.
Set in the small town of Passcoe, North Carolina the story begins at the wedding of Mason Bayless and his soon to be second wife: Celia Wakefield. But fate lends a hand and the marriage is (literally) stopped just short of the altar, by Mason's  young daughter/flower girl Sophie, who is having issues of her own on that special day.
What follows is a hilarious, sometimes touching, always entertaining story that reveals the secrets of many of Passcoe's colorful residents including Mason's first wife: Annajane Hudgens and Pokie Bayless, her best friend and coincidentally, sister to her now ex-husband Mason.
From the Amazon product page:
"The New York Times bestselling author of Summer Rental delivers her delicious new escapist novel about small towns, old flames, and deep secrets.
Annajane Hudgens truly believes she is over her ex-husband, Mason Bayless. They’ve been divorced for four years, she’s engaged to a new, terrific guy, and she’s ready to leave the small town where she and Mason had so much history. She is so over Mason that she has absolutely no problem attending his wedding to the beautiful, intelligent, delightful Celia. But when fate intervenes and the wedding is called to a halt as the bride is literally walking down the aisle, Annajane begins to realize that maybe she’s been given a second chance. Maybe everything happens for a reason. And maybe, just maybe, she wants Mason back. But there are secrets afoot in this small southern town. On the peaceful surface of Hideaway Lake, Annajane discovers that the past is never really gone. Even if there are people determined to keep Annajane from getting what she wants, happiness might be hers for the taking, and the life she once had with Mason in this sleepy lake town might be in her future. "
I can't remember when I laughed so much recently, reading a novel. Mary Kay Andrews (click to visit her website) has a real gift for bringing characters to life. Her writing is first-rate. Fast-paced but with just enough detail to set the stage perfectly for each chapter to unfold. This was a page-turner at it's entertaining best. I hadn't been familiar with Ms. Andrews work before this but I will certainly be reading more of her books in the future.
If you are looking for a good "escape" novel with plenty of laughs, romance, small-town intrigue and some surprises along the way, do check this one out. I think you'll be glad you did. :<)
Spring Fever is available in book, ebook and audio formats.
Overall rating for this book: Excellent. 5 out of 5.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Simple Pleasures (various contributors)

I recently received this book as a gift.

In a nutshell, Simple Pleasures IS a simple pleasure!

As the sub-title says: "soothing suggestions and small comforts for living well year round".

I couldn't agree more!

This beautifully-designed book contains 200 + suggestions from various contributors, how to make the most of the simple, day-to-day pleasures in life. To stop and really "smell the roses".

Divided into the seasons of the year, this is the kind of book that will lift spirits on even the dreariest of days. And speaking of dreary, it's been cold and rainy here in Interior BC for weeks now! Reading a few suggestions from this book can always help me to forget the grey skies outside and focus on the good things in life, that really matter. That make up a life, well-lived and time, well-spent.

Some of the suggestions from the book include:

Spring: Keep an artist's journal.  Make a Bread and Butter Pudding (ultimate comfort food) recipe included. Joining a book club. Taking a walk in the rain...

Summer: Adding edible flower petals to a seasonal salad. Preparing homemade herbal teas.Taking a long hike on a new trail. Baking bannock over a campfire.

Autumn: Making homemade herbal vinegars.Making scented notepaper (great for a gift too). Clean up the clutter that's accumulated in your home. Make some mincemeat cookies.

Winter: A walk on a winter's day in freshly-fallen snow. Making handmade bookmarks. Hosting a slumber party for your children's friends. Putting on flannel sheets.

These are just a few examples of the many, many simple pleasures shared in the lovely book. The cover of: Simple Pleasures truly does convey the tone and content of this entire book: soothing, serene, relaxing....and one to enjoy again and again.

An excellent gift idea too and appropriate for almost any occasion. Or for no occasion at all!

Overall rating for this book: Very Good. 4 out of 5.

Friday, October 12, 2012

One Skein by Leigh Radford

I've been knitting up a storm lately!
I'm also gravitating toward smaller projects like: socks, slippers, mittens, gloves....recently, as opposed to my usual choices of sweaters, shawls and throws. It's a lot of fun to complete a project in only a couple of days as opposed to (sometimes) the weeks required for larger projects.
One of the books I've been using for smaller knitting projects is: One Skein by Leigh Radford. 
Unlike many of the "one skein" smaller project books available that feature endless variations of scarves and baby hats....this book is filled with a 30 diverse and beautiful quick to knit and crochet projects, with something for everyone.
I just finished the Cabled Footies in this book and they turned out great, you can read more about that pattern/project here.  
Some of the other patterns in this book include:
-Unisex gloves (next on my list, will be my first attempt at "real" gloves) ;<)
-Tank top (this is so nice, with a unique pattern design)
-Candy wrapper sachets (would make great stocking stuffers)
-Baby Bolero (with a lovely "luck"motif added to the back of garment)
-Bath mitt and puffy (this set looks like a fun project)
There is also a section that includes patterns to use up combined, smaller quantities of stash yarns. And a detailed instruction section for all the basics at the back of the book, including the Kitchener Stitch. I appreciate that as it's something I still need instructions to refer to, when completing toes on socks!
This book is currently on sale at Amazon for less than $14. so it's a great time to buy one for yourself and perhaps for gifting too. I'm sure it would be a welcome gift for any knitter or crocheter on your list. While you're at Amazon, make sure to click inside the book to see some of the great patterns and gorgeous photos included and the complete index and table of contents too.
Overall rating for this book: Excellent. 5 out of 5.
Updated rating as of Oct. 16/12: Good. 3 out of 5 (see comment below)

Monday, October 8, 2012

So Nice for Coffee (non-dairy creamer)

 As any of my regular readers already know, I love Caf-Lib (see contest post directly below this one for a chance to win some great products from Caf-Lib) coffee, some teas...And in all of them, I like to add a "splash" of cream or even better, a non-dairy alternative to cream.
I tried So Nice for Coffee (Original) a few months ago and I loved the creamy and pleasant taste it added to all kinds of hot beverages.
 I must admit a long-ago weakness for sigh....Coffee Mate (click to read the bad news about that product) non-dairy creamer (the powder kind!)  which I did ditch many years ago, in spite of also loving the taste.I had used this Coffee Mate before ingredient lists were on most "food" products and having to cringe at what was actually in the jar. ;<)
So Nice for Coffee reminded me of Coffee Mate's smoothness and taste without all the guilt LOL.
But what I was curious about in regards to So Nice for Coffee was one of the ingredients in this creamer: Dipotassium Phosphate which I found out is an additive that keeps ingredients in a product from separating. A coagulant. Other than that, the list of ingredients was readable and had nothing else that raised any particular concerns.
I try to avoid food additives as much as possible these days and in spite of the article at Wikipedia listing this ingredient as generally considered safe, I thought it was worth contacting the company to see just how much of this ingredient is actually added to this product.
Here's my email from June, with the reply that I received promptly after that:
Sent: June-27-12 10:40 AM
To: EarthsOwn
Hi from BC,
I host a product review blog at:
I’m interested in reviewing your: So Nice for Coffee product.
I wanted to find out a bit more about the ingredient: dipotassium phosphate. Is there very much of this coagulant added to this creamer?
I’ve been checking around online and it seems to be ok in terms of being safe to consume. At the same time, if a person drinks 3-4 beverages in a day, with your creamer, would this be excessive?
Love the taste of this product but don’t want to recommend or review if it’s an issue re: this additive.
Thanks in advance,
Geraldine Hartman
My Real Life Reviews

Good Afternoon Geraldine
I will check with our R & D team and get back to you as soon as I can.
So Nice Regards!

   Well Dorothy, it's 3 months later and I'm still waiting for a reply!
I think it's SO important for companies of all kinds to follow- up with consumers, when they write with product questions or concerns. I love the taste of this product but I've decided not to use it anymore, given my concerns for this additive included in the ingredients.
I'm actually trying to wean myself off any creamers in coffee etc, and hopefully I'll eventually like hot beverages served "black" just as much. It's too bad that this didn't prove to be a viable alternative to dairy cream for me as I did love the taste.
Overall rating for this product: Fair. 2 out of 5.


Monday, October 1, 2012

MRLR October Caf-Lib and Cookies Contest and September Winner!

This month's contest at My Real Life Reviews is a yummy one! :<)
I've got two wonderful gift packages that one lucky winner will win.
As pictured above, CafLib/I-D Foods is generously providing an assortment of their fine beverage products in a lovely, reusable gift basket, valued at over $50.
Here's what's in the Caf-Lib basket:
1 jar of Caf-Lib original
1 jar of Caf-Lib dark roast
1 jar of Caf-Lib organic
1 box of Caf-Lib tea original
1 box of Caf-Lib rooibos cranberry
1 box of Caf-Lib earl grey
1 box of Caf-Lib rooibos chai
1 pack of Caf-Lib filter grind original
1 pack of Caf-Lib filter grind moka
1 pack of Caf-Lib filter grind vanilla
To go with all these wonderful beverage choices, I-D Foods is also providing an assortment of their gourmet cookies, valued at over $50!
One lucky winner will win all these delicious treats.

Total prize value over $100!
This Month's Contest details:

-To enter, leave a comment below including what your favorite cookie is.
-Contest is open to Canadian residents. Sorry US readers but the upcoming November contest is a biggie and that one will be open to US and Canada residents.Exceptions: void in Quebec you can read why here. I've had to add this to my contests. Provincial laws in Quebec regarding contests are hard to understand but I'm not able to by-pass these restrictions.
-No anonymous comments please. Please sign in with a valid blog account, if at all possible.

-Winner picked by a random system and will have 2 weeks to claim their prize. If prize package not claimed within two weeks, an alternate winner will be chosen.
Optional: If you'd like to have an additional entry, subscribe to My Real Life Reviews (see right sidebar for subscription link) and mention that you have subscribed in your comment. My stats continue to go up every month, but the subscriptions haven't. ;<)
Contest closes October 31st. Stop by the first week in November to see if you're the winner.
If you haven't tried Caf-Lib's fine line of beverages yet, you can read my reviews about Caf-Lib Organic and also Caf-Lib OriginalI'm hooked on Caf-Lib!!! ;<)
If you haven't enjoyed their products already, you're in for a real treat. Wonderful, flavourful hot beverage choices and so much healthier than all that coffee or tea!
And to go with a hot, satisfying cup of Caf-Lib, there's a whole lot of great cookies in this prize package too. I can't think of a better combo!
And the lucky winner of the September Yarn Lover's Contest is: Christy Pinheiro 
Congrats Christy! You have two weeks to claim your prizes.
Email: MRLR at myway dot com and include your full mailing address and I'll get your yarn goodies sent out.
Good luck everyone!

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