Friday, February 29, 2008

The Liar's Diary - Review and Giveaway

If you loved the movie Notes on a Scandal, you're going to love the new, intriguing book, The Liar's Diary by Patry Francis. It is scintillating, disturbingly creepy (in a good, bone-chilling way), mysterious and oh-so-good to read! (Be careful if you go to any of the links I list in this review, as some of them give away a good chunk of the plot).

There is murder and mystery, love and friendship, lies and deceit. What more could you ask for in such a spellbinding book?

It was an honor for me to take part in this review, which features more than 300 reviewers! From bestsellers, Emmy winners, movie makers, and publishing houses, this is a pretty significant tour!

As it should be. Some things transcend something as simple as a good read.
And this is one of those things.

You see, just as author Patry Francis saw her dreams come true, and her book finally published, she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. Talk about the epitome of bittersweet.

I loved this book for so many reasons, but that reason alone would make me give her my full support. It's like she took all the best that she had inside of her to give, and she gave it to us in this book. And now she is left to battle this insidious disease.

Life can be so unfair.

Be sure to read about the details here, read her blog here, and read a wonderful interview with Patry here. (Ironically, Algonkian is about twenty minutes from my house...that last interview link was to the Algonkian Writer's Conference interview...who knew so much was going on right in my own backyard?)

I promise you'll want to read this book for it's incredible plot, lyrical storytelling and edge-of-your-seat suspense. But above all, I want to show my support to this talented author who gave me night after night of entertaining reading. She deserves all the support she can get as she battles this cancer. My prayers are definitely with her.

I have one copy of The Liar's Diary to give away to one lucky reader! Simply comment here on this post and I will select a winner at random by using Deadline to enter is Friday, March 14 at 11:59 EST. Winner will be announced on Saturday, March 15.

Good luck and happy reading!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Clorox Green Works

Have you ever worried about what goes into your cleaning products? Just exactly how "clean" is your house after spraying chemicals around it?

This has always been a concern of mine so I was thrilled to discover the new environment-friendly line of products by Clorox, called "Clorox Greenworks." Over 99% natural, you can feel good that your house is clean AND toxin-free.

I was given two of the products in the new line to try out:

Green Works Natural All-Purpose Cleaner (99.93 percent natural) and...

Green Works Natural Glass & Surface Cleaner (99.84 percent natural).

The ingredients are plant-based and have such a fresh, clean scent. Have you ever found a line of cleaners with ingredients like these:
  • Green Works Natural All-Purpose Cleaner: Filtered water, coconut-based cleaning agent (alkyl polyglucoside), corn-based ethanol, glycerine, essential lemon oil, biodegradable preservative, colorant

  • Green Works Natural Glass & Surface Cleaner: Filtered water, coconut-based cleaning agent (alkyl polyglucoside), soda ash, corn-based ethanol, glycerine, and fragrance with essential lemon oil

If you're worried that natural doesn't equate into effective, consider a blind study with 200 consumers using Clorox Green Works and other leading brands over a two to four week period. The consumers were not told which products were which, or that any of them were natural. All five of the products in the Clorox Green Works line performed just as well, or better, than their competitors.

The ingredients are not only natural, they are also biodegradable. I don't know if that is the reason why it was so easy to wipe clean or not, but I LOVE that about these products. It left no filmy or soapy residue after I wiped it.

With other products, I have to practically house down my counter tops to get rid of all the suds. With Clorox Green Works Natural All-Purpose Cleaner, a few simple swipes of the sponge was all it took to have a clean surface. Something that's very important to me as a mom as little hands are constantly touching those surfaces.

The same was true for my mirrors. Clorox Green Works Glass & Surface Cleaner left my mirrors clear and streak-free. I sat and looked into the mirror for a bit, amazed at how much clearer everything looked. And again, the scent was fresh and clean.

Other products in this innovative line include:

  • Green Works Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner
  • Green Works Natural Dilutable Cleaner
  • Green Works Natural Bathroom Cleaner

Head on over to the Clorox Green Works website to learn more about the products, the story and science behind them, and where you can purchase these safe and earth-friendly products for your home. You'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Breakfast Breaks

This past weekend, I was rushing to get ready for church and had counted on my kids to have eaten their breakfast already. They'll usually grab a bowl of cereal, microwave some pancakes, etc. on their own (I know...lucky me!)

Instead, as I told them, "Let's go!" Natalie (my 7-year-old) announced that she hadn't eaten yet. And I had plans to run errands after church.

If only I had remembered to purchase Breakfast Breaks at the grocery store! I would've saved myself from having to get some fast food on the road. It is now on this week's list for sure.

We were given the opportunity to try Breakfast Breaks a couple of weeks ago, and they are a perfect solution for both kids and parents on the go! Not only are the prepackaged meals convenient, they're also very nutritious.

Natalie's pack came with Honey Nut Cheerios cereal, an apple and cinnamon Fruit & Grain Bar, Minute Maid apple juice box, spoon, napkin, and moist towelette.

Matthew's pack had Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, a strawberry Fruit & Grain bar, Minute Maid apple juice box, spoon, napkin and moist towelette.

The cereal comes in a disposable bowl and can be eaten with or without milk (milk not included). The packs can be stored in your pantry or refrigerator, but I recommend the refrigerator so the juice will be cold upon serving it.

I jokingly suggested that Natalie's "forgetting" to eat on Sunday was a ploy to get me to buy more Breakfast Breaks. Not that I needed any encouragement. I absolutely LOVE the idea myself.

And my kids? They raved endlessly about them and constantly beg me to buy them more(which is why I'm amazed that I forgot them on my last trip).

Had I remembered, Natalie would've been able to eat a complete, nutritious breakfast in the van on the way to church.

Be sure to check out the Breakfast Breaks website to find out where you can purchase these ingenious packs for your kids!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Baby Jamz Winner

Thanks to everyone who entered the Baby Jamz giveaway! The lucky winner of the Baby Jamz toy of their choice is....

"angelaandconnor" from PRIZE-A-TRON! Congrats! You'll be hearing from me soon about claiming your prize.

If you didn't win, don't be discouraged. There is always a fabulous giveaway going on here so be sure to check back often and enter!

Many thanks to Child's Play Communications and Music World Entertainment for making this review and giveaway possible.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

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The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the bloggers' own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question. This blog does contain content which might present a conflict of interest. This content will always be identified.

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So A Blonde Walks Into A Review

Monday, February 18, 2008

Body Surfing - Review and Giveaway

There is nothing more I love in a book than a character who has bigger problems than I do. I love seeing how the character handles the situations most of all.

So when I read Body Surfing by Anita Shreve, I was enthralled to say the least. Sydney, the main character, encounters so many different personality types and I kept thinking about how I personally would've reacted to each one. Not as well as Sydney I have to admit!

Through Sydney, we get an inside look into the inner dynamics and workings of a family that she begins to work for. It's like getting to be a fly on the wall in this oh-so-interesting household. The biggest twist being that the two brothers fall for Sydney. I can't say more without giving the whole book away, but I promise you do NOT want to miss this one!

I was already a big fan of Anita Shreve. (Have you read her book The Weight of Water? It's one of my favorites.)

I love her writing flows so easily. She has a way of composing her words so that you forget you're reading a story. It sucks you in and keeps you turning page after page. Read an excerpt here from Body Surfing for yourself to see what I mean.

This is one of those books that I couldn't wait to lay in bed and read every night. I looked forward to seeing what would befall Sydney next, and, as I said, how she would handle it all.

Want to get lost in Body Surfing yourself? I am giving away one copy of the novel to one lucky reader, courtesy of Hachette Book Group USA! All you have to do is leave a comment here on this post. For a double entry, simply post a link to this contest and to Body Surfing on your own site.

Deadline to enter is 11:59 p.m. EST, Monday, March 3. Winner will be selected at random using and announced on March 4. Good luck and happy reading!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Being the Best You, Naturally

Ask any woman if she feels tired, run-down, and overwhelmed, and most will probably answer yes. Today's woman has so much on her plate and is pulled in all different directions.

While stress can be a big contributor toward such exhaustion, our own bodies may be to blame as well. The Natural Superwoman by Uzzi Reiss, M.D., Ob/Gyn and Yfat Reiss Gendell, explains how to naturally cure whatever is ailing your body. (Catch the author's interview with CBS News here.

As the subtitle of the book states, it's "The Scientifically Backed Program for Feeling Great, Looking Younger, and Enjoying Amazing Energy at Any Age." The self-help book, published by Penguin Group, is a valuable resource for women and is great to have at your fingertips if you're experiencing a particular problem.

There are quizzes interspersed throughout the book to help you understand different issues better, and the one most interesting to me was the quiz (and the chapter) on stress.

After taking the quiz and realizing that I definitely fit into this category, I read about natural ways to treat tension such as visualization and deep breathing. The rest of the chapter deals with the affects of stress on the body, like adrenal exhaustion, and how to go about being tested for such effects.

The authors give very specific advice on natural treatments for dozens of issues, from insomnia to depression to memory and more.

No one knows your body better than you do, so why not make sure you are doing all you can to protect yourself against illness and disease? The Natural Superwoman is one step toward doing just that.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Free Yoplait Kids Yogurt

My kids love yummy food. But adorably packaged food? Double the pleasure. For me, I like cute, yummy AND healthy combined, which I found in Yoplait's new yogurt line for little ones, Yoplait Kids.

With characters such as Dora, Diego, Blue and The Backyardigans, the packages are eye-catching and entertaining. The real treat lies inside, where kids will find delicious, smooth and healthy yogurt in flavors such as strawberry banana (Natalie's favorite), peach, strawberry vanilla, mixed berry and more.

Some of the benefits of Yoplait Kids yogurt include:

  • Smooth texture which is safer for little ones. No chunks = no choking hazard.

  • "Spoon hugging texture" makes for less messy eating.

  • The drinkable yogurt comes in small bottles for little hands with a design that's easy to grasp.

  • 25% less sugar than other leading yogurt brands.

  • DHA for healthy brain development.

Choose from packages of smooth, spoonable yogurt in a cup, or drinkable yogurt in a bottle.

Right now, Yoplait is offering a free coupon (click on the "free coupon icon" on the page) so your kids can discover this delicious treat for themselves. Hurry on over and get yours today!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Zazou - European Flair for Kids

I was given the opportunity to review a product from Zazou, a chic European boutique for children.

They sent me an oh-so-comfy and VERY stylish shirt from their Most Wanted Shirt line for Natalie:

Natalie LOVES this shirt! And she loves bragging to her friends that it "came from a boutique in Europe." :)

As you can see, the shirt appropriately says, "Sister." The material is soooo soft, and it looks as good as it feels. Rather than just an ordinary t-shirt, the sleeves are made to look "inside out" with a sort of reversal of the inside seam. It's totally adorable!

In fact, Zazou specializes in "kids' fashion with a twist." Check out this ultra-retro, vintage 70's, leather scrap skirt:

Don't you just love the colors?

New summer merchandise is coming out in March, and according to Zazou, it's going to be hot! And that means that you have the chance now to get ultra-savings on their winter line! Prices are being lowered up to 50%! (The "Sister" shirt is one of the sale items, so snatch it up while you can!)

Here's another skirt I love from their Petit Louie line, marked down from its original price:

Zazou offers a no-fuss return policy. If you're not completely satisfied, you can return your purchase for a full refund. You can't beat that!

Check out their blog while you're at it, too, and be sure to subscribe to their newsletter so you don't miss out on any good deals!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Baby Jamz Giveaway - Hip-Hop for Little Ones

Note: Be sure you don't miss out on your chance to get Free Yoplait Kids yogurt, and check out the deals at the stylish and hip Zazou boutique!

What would happen if you took old fashioned nursery rhymes, mixed in a little fun, and pulled it all together with a soulful voice? That's exactly what the creators of Baby Jamz have done.

This new line of hip-hop toys, sold exclusively at Wal-Mart, was created by Mathew Knowles, father of Beyonce. Solange Knowles, Beyonce's sister, sings all of the nursery ryhmes on most of the toys, and she does it with flair (all toys come with a CD of nursery rhymes sung by her as well).

Mr. Knowles made it a top priority to create and release "child-friendly" music content over the past year with his Kid's Rap Radio series, and has now extended that goal by creating this line of innovative, educational and musically stimulating toys.

"Baby Jamz allows children to have toys that they can identify with and enjoy. Many children love music and dancing to hip-hop, so we have creatively combined great toys with the hip-hop versions of popular nursery rhymes," said Mr. Knowles, president and CEO of Music World Entertainment.

Solange's son Julez was the inspiration behind the toys and his face is featured on all of the products: Baby Jamz Cell Phone, Baby Jamz Dance Mat, Baby Jamz Key Chain, Baby Jamz Boom Box Shape Sorter, and Baby Jamz Mix Master Chair.

I was able to review two of the products, the Mix Master Chair and the Dance Mat. My product tester was my cousin's two-year-old stepson Cory, who was in awe as soon as he opened up the packages! He loves both of them equally and has had so much fun with them.

The Mix Master Chair is so adorable:

It has been labeled as the "hero" item in the Baby Jamz line and I can see why. Cory got to be a DJ in his own chair. How fun is that? As soon as he sits in the chair, a yellow note-shaped button is activated, which makes the buttons on the arms of the chair come to life.

He creates his own music by pressing the various buttons, some with the cool-sounding nursery rhymes, and others that add in different sounds.

Equally stimulating is the Dance Mat:

Think Dance, Dance Revolution for little ones. What better way to promote creative thinking, exercise and play! The mat plays 36 seconds of songs such as "Bingo," "Mary Had a Little Lamb," and "This Old Man," in hip-hop tempo. There are seven different spots on the mat for kids to step on, which is perfect for little feet, and children can create their own remixes of song with each step they take.

Solange's voice can be heard on the songs on both of these toys, and I can't tell you enough how beautiful it is. No more boring nursery rhymes for Cory! He's having so much fun dancing to the hip-hop beat on his toys now!

Want to win one of these innovative toys for a child in your life?

Simply leave a comment here letting me know which Baby Jamz toy you'd love to win and why (you can always change your mind if you are selected as the winner).

You'll receive a bonus entry if you post a link to this contest on your site, as well as a link to Baby Jamz.

Deadline to enter is 11:59 p.m., EST, Wednesday, February 20. Winner will be announced on February 21.

Good luck!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Peternity Winner

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest for $75 toward any purchase at Peternity.

This is one contest where I really want to give everyone a prize. It's a good thing I'm using, because otherwise it would be impossible to pick just one of you on my own.

Congratulations to Naomi from superdumb supervillain. Naomi blogged about the loss of her precious cats here.

Reading each of your entries really touched my heart. Thank you for sharing your stories with me and may each of you who have lost a pet be comforted in your memories of him/her.

Much thanks to Peternity for sponsoring this wonderful contest!

Friday, February 1, 2008

I Am Not My Breast Cancer - A Review

I've stated here before how cancer has affected my life. I lost my aunt to breast cancer several years ago, and then my uncle to lung cancer (which left my cousins without both of their parents).

I am nearing the one year anniversary of my (step)father-in-law's death from lung cancer at the end of this month.

I think almost everyone has been affected by cancer in one way or another. I myself had a scare when two tumors were in each of my breasts. Fortunately for me, they were benign, but it was very traumatizing waiting for word that I was cancer-free.

I Am Not My Breast Cancer, a self-help book compiled by Ruth Peltason and published by Harper Collins, helps women who have gotten that dreadful diagnosis. The book deals with every issue you can think of as the subtitle states:
"Women talk openly about love & sex, hair loss & weight gain, mothers & daughters, and being a woman with breast cancer."

"I Am Not My Breast Cancer" contains short, easy-to-read, letters from women who have been touched by breast cancer. Whether you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, or know someone that has, there is something for you to learn in this book.

I think I was most surprised to learn that the term "survivor" is not always enjoyed by those who have overcome breast cancer. As one woman put it:
"I dislike the survivor label because I think of the women who have not survived. What does that make them - failures?" -Kellyk01

There are real, raw, honest and gut-renching testimonies that both tear at your heart strings and inspire you at the same time. You will not want to miss out on what these courageous women have to tell you.

For me, I believe the lessons learned are far-reaching and a lot of them apply to anything in life. I took away some very strong messages that I plan to use in my life in general, such as, "Fear is an emotion, faith is a choice." Very powerful.

For more information on the book, check out this review by Publisher's Weekly, or head on over to the book's listing at

And to read the original notes from women that were compiled for the book, head on over to First Person Plural. You'll find a wealth of information and support there.


Love Notes Earrings Giveaway at From Dates to Diapers

Christine over at From Dates to Diapers is having a fabulous giveaway, where you can win a pair of gorgeous Love Note earrings from Cherry Creek Designs.

Contest ends 9pm (PST), February 4th so hurry on over and enter!
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