• Peach Of A Pair

    A Peach of a Pair 2

    A Peach of a Pair

    About the Author

    Kim Boykin was raised in her South Carolina home with two girly sisters and great parents. She had a happy, boring childhood, which sucks if you’re a writer because you have to create your own crazy. PLUS after you’re published and you’re being interviewed, it’s very appealing when the author actually lived in Crazy Town or somewhere in the general vicinity.

    Almost everything she learned about writing, she learned from her grandpa, an oral storyteller, who was a master teacher of pacing and sensory detail. He held court under an old mimosa tree on the family farm, and people used to come from all around to hear him tell stories about growing up in rural Georgia and share his unique take on the world.

    As a stay-at-home mom, Kim started writing, grabbing snip-its of time in the car rider line or on the bleachers at swim practice. After her kids left the nest, she started submitting her work, sold her first novel at 53, and has been writing like crazy ever since.

    Thanks to the lessons she learned under that mimosa tree, her books are well reviewed and, according to RT Book Reviews, feel like they’re being told across a kitchen table. She is the author of A Peach of a Pair, Palmetto Moon and The Wisdom of Hair from Berkley/NAL/Penguin; Flirting with Forever, She’s the One, Just in Time for Christmas, Steal Me, Cowboy and Sweet Home Carolina from Tule. While her heart is always in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, she lives in Charlotte and has a heart for hairstylist, librarians, and book junkies like herself.

    About the Book:

    “Palmetto Moon” inspired “The Huffington Post” to rave, It is always nice to discover a new talented author and Kim Boykin is quite a find. Now, she delivers a novel of a woman picking up the pieces of her life with the help of two spirited, elderly sisters in South Carolina.

    April, 1953. Nettie Gilbert has cherished her time studying to be a music teacher at Columbia College in South Carolina, but as graduation approaches, she can’t wait to return to her family and her childhood sweetheart, Brooks, in Alabama. But just days before her senior recital, she gets a letter from her mama telling her that Brooks is getting married . . . to her own sister.

    Devastated, Nettie drops out of school and takes a job as live-in help for two old-maid sisters, Emily and Lurleen Eldridge. Emily is fiercely protective of the ailing Lurleen, but their sisterhood has weathered many storms. And as Nettie learns more about their lives on a trip to see a faith healer halfway across the country, she’ll discover that love and forgiveness will one day lead her home.

    Book Excerpt:

    “Dear Nettie,

    It might seem cruel to send this letter along with a proper invitation, but I couldn’t bring myself to call you, and I wasn’t given much notice regarding this matter. I also know you well enough to know you would have to see the invitation to truly believe it. Although I do regret not having enough time to have them engraved.

    I’m sorry to be the one to give you the news about Brooks and Sissy. I love you, Nettie, and I love your sister. I’m not condoning her behavior or the fact that she is in the family way, but you are blood. You are sisters. No man can break that bond, not even Brooks.

    There’s money and a bus ticket paper-clipped to the invitation. I’ve checked the schedules. You should be able to leave Columbia on Thursday the week of the wedding after your morning classes and get back by Sunday night. I know how you hate to miss class, and if you are also missing some wonderful end-of-the-year party, I’m sorry. So very sorry.

    But the milk has been spilled, Nettie. Come home and stand up with your sister. She needs you. She’s a wreck, and it makes me worry about the baby.

    Just come home.

    Love, Mother”

    My Thoughts

    Where to start on this amazing book. I loved all the relationships. Nettie and her classmates, the sisters, Nettie and each sister (both relationships were so very different), Nettie and her family, the sisters and the young doctor. They were all so very real. They were complex like all relationships.

    The book at times had me laughing out loud. The commentary between the sisters was perfect. It is exactly what and how sisters would say things to each other.

    There was love, romance, humor, heartbreak. Everything that is needed for a deep book was here. Not one to be missed.

  • Pre-Parenthood vs Real Parenthood- 5 Lies We Tell Ourselves and Others

    pre vs real

    How many of the things that you said you would never do before becoming a parent do you do now? What about after the first child? We all are guilty of saying things pre-parenthood, then once parenthood is in full swing, we find ourselves doing them. Or at least that was the case for me; and by daughter number three, everything went out the window. Here is my top list of things that I swore I would NEVER do once becoming a parent, and how they are today after three kids.

    • Number 1-
      • Pre-Parenthood- My kids will never watch TV.
      • Real Parenthood- Why is the house so quiet? Oh the TV is off, lets fix that.
    • Number 2
      • Pre-Parenthood- My kids will never eat sugar.
      • Real Parenthood- If you just eat three more bits of dinner, you can have a cookie.
    • Number 3
      • Pre-Parenthood- I will never ever bribe my kids.
      • Real Parenthood- Look back at number 2.
    • Number 4
      • Pre-Parenthood- My kids will eat all their dinner without complaint.
      • Real Parenthood- Look back at number 2.
    • Number 5
      • Pre-Parenthood- My kids will never sleep in my bed.
      • Real Parenthood- We wake up with at least one girl that has snuck into our bed. On the flip side, they are sleeping in.. Woo Hoo win for us.

    What about you guys, what were some of the thing that you swore you would never do or the things that you “knew” you kids would do?

  • The Hippie Hobby

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    Do you love subscription services? Lets be honest we all do. Whether it is magazines, beauty subscriptions, or even just a catalog. We all getting getting something fun in the mail. It’s like have a little present delivered straight to your door, just because you are awesome enough to get presents every month, or every other.

    I have been known to get my monthly magazines, and my beauty bags (see here for my latest Ipsy review). But I have never heard about crafting monthly boxes. Have you? Mind blown here. Well The Hippie Hobby was amazing enough to contact me about their new hobby/crafting subscription. (Be sure to check out their website here, and don’t just jump and run. There will be a coupon down below to use on your first box.)

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    They ship you the cutest box, everything is in a mossy green and cream colors. Which are so perfect with their brand. Absolutely everything that you will need for the craft come with it. No worries, that you will get this amazing box and not be able to complete it.

    Our box came with the craft “Hip Lips” Lip Balm. OMG, my house full of girls may have squealed a little bit when we opened this up. This is one of those crafts that we have wanted to do for a while, but lets be honest, it can get expensive to do. And trying to find all the parts is hard to do. Thanks to this amazing box we will be able to do it!! YEA!!!

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    What was included:

    • Sunflower Oil
    • Organic Shea Butter
    • Beeswax
    • Peppermint and Sweet Orange Essential Oil
    • 4- Lip Balm Tubes; 4 Lip Balm Pots
    • Hair Tie (I love that they included this, even though every house with girls has these)
    • Even labels to make your lip balms all cute
    • Step by Step directions on how to complete the craft.

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    I love that these directions not only have the steps to complete them, but pictures to go along with them. Even I was able to follow along and create an amazing lipgloss. (And I have posted about my Pinterest fails before, so you all know that these crafty things are not a natural thing for me).

    Okay so if all of this was not amazing enough. There is more. Are you ready for it? They also included a bonus craft!! Yup you read that right. In this box, there are two crafts to be done. How fun. AND… they included step by step directions to go along with it as well!

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    This is by far one of the best boxes that I have seen. They paid attention to every single detail. They went above and beyond on the craft (and the bonus craft). Their packaging is cute, practical and perfectly on par. Overall, I am beyond impressed with this subscription service. It is an every other service, making not be overwhelming for busy moms. And at only $23.95 every other month it is a total steal. This box along, if you would have gone to a craft store to buy all the parts, you would easily spend that or more; plus the time in the store with kiddos to entertain.

    Give this a try! And because they are awesome, here is a coupon just for you guys GIRLSNIGHT. Enter it when you check out for 10% off.

    What are your thoughts? Is this a box that you would enjoy? What are your thoughts on the price point? Let me know if you sign up and what your thoughts are.

     

  • Stop The Diet.. I Want To Get Off

    Stop the Diet 2

    If you are looking for a book to help you eat healthier, then this is the book for you! This book is straight forward, easy to read, and best of all, contains a lot of common sense. It is written in a way that you can follow, and you can understand the reason behind her ideas. It debunks “fad-diets”, cause lets be honest, we all have tried at least one at one point in time. She explains why they don’t work.

    From the Back of the Book-

    “The Paleo. The Zone. The Gluten-free. Another day, another diet. We’re caught in a never-ending merry-go-round of weight loss plans, fueled by celebrity endorsers, TV doctors and companies angling for a piece of a $60 billion industry. But do these diets really work? And how healthy are they?

    Registered Dietitian Lisa Tillinger Johansen examines dozens of the most wildly popular diets based on medical facts, not hype. And along the way, she reveals tried-and-true weight loss strategies, relying on her years of hospital experience, weight-loss seminars and community outreach efforts. With insight and humor, Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off shows that the best answer is often not a trendy celebrity-endorsed diet, but easy-to-follow guidelines that are best for our health and our waistlines.”

    My Thoughts

    Once the book debunks all the fad diets, it goes into what is healthy. The only tips that I personally didn’t like is that it says to choose low fat/no fat options. While I get those have less fat and calories, they are not really a healthier option. Even with that, I loved how this book broke apart food labels. It finally explained it in a way where the lightbulb turned on, and I actually understood it. I love how she broke down calories, and really explained them in detail. It has tips for eating out, which is helpful for a busy family.

    It has a great section on exercise. I loved (and hated) how it showed examples of food, and that it would take to burn them off. My two slices of pepperoni pizza would cost me 2.5 hours of yoga. So not cool.

    The only item that I wish that it had; recipes. While I know that this is not a cook book, it would have been nice to have an example or two putting all these ideas together. But other then that, it really was a great reference point.

    Which fad-diets have you tried? Were you able to get any success from them? Did the success continue once you stopped? Do you read health books?

  • Time Conquers All

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    I honestly don’t even know where to start with this review. There is simply nothing not to love about this book, about the author, about her personal story, or the fact that she is another Arizonian. Everything is spot on, it is running on all cylinders, and all signs point to yes. Lets start with the book itself.

    From the Back of the Book

    “Time-travel romance based in the late 1500’s in the India region of the world. Epic romance with a warrior princess meeting the love of her life. Unfortunately, he’s an American soldier from the 1960’s and the king from a neighboring country. This is book one in the “time series.””

    Okay so the back of the book doesn’t give away much. You have Tamea, the princess; who also is the youngest warrior in her country. Then we have King Parker who shows up, but he may not be who he says he is. There is magic, there is romance, there is plot twists that you won’t see coming, there is time travel. There is nothing not to like.

    It is exceptionally well written. The characters unfold to perfection. You get to know each of them, know their strengths and weakness, each one of them you will get to know inside out. And just when you think that you know everything there is to know about them, you get a little zinger with new information. The setting is well laid out, she really does a great job of showing you where it all takes place. Yes there are a few historical inaccuracies, but come on, do you really know what life was like in the 1500’s? Nope, I didn’t think so.

    Let me put this out there, I am in no way a fan of sci-fi, I am not really into time travel; and this book was so amazing that I couldn’t get enough. And at the Kindle price of only $0.99 it is one that you should certainly read. Like now! Be prepared to curl up with a blanket, a cup of tea, and dive into this story.

    About the Author

    P.J. Hultstrand is a genuinely nice person. She is helpful, encouraging, and a wealth of information. That she is willing to pass on to newbie authors/bloggers like myself. After getting her book, and reading the preface, she is also an open book. I love how she explains how this book was started, what triggered it to be finished, and how her characters changed based on the changes that she was encountering in her personal life. Not only do we get to know the characters in her books; she opens up and lets us see who she is.

    Do you read sci-fi or time traveling books? So you like knowing about the author’s personal life or are you a dive into the story alone, type of reader? What are your thoughts about books that have modern day characters traveling back in time? Let me know.

  • MakeUp Monday: July Ipsy Review

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    Holy cow, it is October and I am just now getting to my July Ipsy review. Can you believe that it is already October? And to blow your mind a bit more, next week is Halloween. Wait…. What?? Where has this year gone. One day I will get these up the same month, but that is not today.

    In case you have missed it, Ipsy is an amazing monthly beauty subscription. You receive four to five samples (and a lot of time these samples are full sized products) of different beauty products. They can be makeup, skin care, hair care, or accessories. What I love about Ipsy that sets it apart, in my book, then the other beauty subscription services, is that you also receive a reusable makeup bag. Which we end up using for EVERYTHING at my house. Plus it is only $10 a month, so way less then a lot of other subscriptions.

    So this month’s loot was amazing! And valued way over the $10.

    • Eau Thermale Avene-
      • LOVED this cleanser. It claims to be soapless, therefore it is suppose to be non-drying, non-harsh, yet still very effective. It totally lives up to the hype. It left my face super clean, but not dry or tight. It came in a travel size sample, think hotel size.
    • Octavio La Playa-
      • The verdict is a bit out on this. It gave me some texture, but on my thin fine hair it gave me no, and I mean no, volume. In fact it kinda did the opposite. So maybe if I used it with some moose or something. But alone, I would not be buying this product again.
    • City Color HD Powder-
      • If you like HD powder then you will like this. It is really really fine, doesn’t leave a white shadow (so no looking like you just dipped your face in baby powder), and leaves a great matte finish. However, it has a tendency to settle into the fine lines around my eyes and some reviews say it leaves a white mark in photos. Use with cation would be my advice.
    • Be A Bombshell Chapstick-
      • This was amazing chapstick!!! I got the color French Kiss color which is what I was so hoping for. It is a very sheer wash of light pink. The chapstick aspect works amazing well, leaving your lips soft and pretty. Plus it was a full size sample! A win in my bag this month.
    • Tarte Bronzer-
      • Also another full sized product in one of my favorite brands. Tarte is one of those brands that always lives up to its name. This bronzer was in their classic shade of Park Avenue Princess. It does have a slight sheen to the bronzer. So not completely matte.
    • Bag-
      • While the bags are always nice to have, this particular one was not my cup of tea. I am just not huge on the Aztec themes. But as always it will come in very handy.

    Overall I was beyond pleased with this month’s bag. Have you guys tried Ipsy? What did you think about it? If you are not an Ipster what would you want to see to sway you to sign up?

  • Capture The Moment

    Capture the Moment

    What a beautiful book. Every page is beautifully laid out. There is a great mix of black and white, as well as, colored photos. There are pictures of children, of details, of shadows, of non-living things, basically there are pictures of everything. It really inspires you to grab your camera and get snapping.

    From Back of Book

    “This modern guide to photography pairs big, bold images with short, focused tips for translating everyday life into stunning works of art. Featuring contributions by the members of Clickin Moms, the photography industry’s largest social network of female photographers, this guide captures the beauty of family life—whether it’s a child’s unfinished bowl of cereal or a sunlit trip to the lake. With tips progressing from elementary to advanced, this book is perfect for amateurs and professionals alike, covering equipment, composition, posing, low light, natural light, black and white, still life, and lifestyle photography. Assignments for experimenting with lighting and shooting locations round out the chapters, providing photographers with both the inspiration and skills they need to document those unforgettable, frame-worthy moments in time.”

    Overall Thoughts

    While this book is beautiful, and perfectly priced at only $21.99, I felt like it was missing the boat a bit. If you are already an amateur photographer then this is perfect for you. It will give you a fantastic platform to jump off of and grow your ability. However, if you are like me, then this book is slightly out of your grasp. While it has an amazing tips and ideas, it doesn’t tell you how to actually achieve these photos. It does a great job of getting the inspiration flowing, without the knowledge of how to configure the shot, your photos still are a bit flat. Even with that said, I would recommend this book for your coffee table. It is a lovely art book, beautifully bound, with a heavy hardback cover.

    Do you buy books for your coffee table? Do you like photography books that assume you know something about composition and cameras? Or do you prefer one that starts at the beginning?

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