Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Review: Edward Scissorhands Volume 2: Whole Again

Edward Scissorhands Volume 2: Whole Again

by Kate Leth & Drew Rausch
Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.
Release Date: November 5th, 2015
Graphic Novel, Nostalgia, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Print (148 pages, IDW)
After settling in with Megs and her family, Edward becomes curious about a television "miracle doctor" named April Wells, and enlists the help of friends and townspeople to send her a homemade audition tape. While Megs struggles with her uncertainty about the whole situation, Edward has a quiet hope that, maybe, she could help him.

I am loving this comic! (5 stars)

I really enjoyed the first Edward Scissorhands gaphic novel so I was hoping the second would be on par. I'd dare say I liked it even better. It's really great to see the Burton easter eggs hidden in the illustrations and I feel like the art overall fits the tone of the film even more closely than before. I love the new characters and while I feel like Edward was almost a secondary character this time around I can't help but give this a very strong recommendation. I can hardly stand the wait for the next volume!

While you would benefit from reading Volume 1 first so you'll know the characters and time frame, you could certainly jump in here and still enjoy the story for what it is. Just be sure to jump back later so you know why this story is happening.

Can't get enough Edward? Find more Edward Scissorhands goodies:

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Master the Farmer's Market With This Book

Fresh Made Simple: A Naturally Delicious Way to Eat: Look, Cook, and Savor

by Lauren Keiper Stein (Author), Katie Eberts (Illustrator)
Release Date: October 20th, 2015
Cookbook, Farmer's Market, Vegetarian
Print (200 pages, STOREY PUBLISHING)
Each of the 75 recipes in Fresh Made Simple is a charming full-page illustration showing, rather than telling, how to make the dish described. Each meal or snack begins with one delicious ingredient, and the cook builds around that to make a simple yet elegant creation. An avocado, seasoned with lime and salt, elevates a fried egg on toast; fresh-picked blueberries and a leftover ear of corn add sweetness and texture to standard pancakes. From pineapple cilantro salsa and asparagus apple salad to a kale egg scramble, tortilla soup, and crostini, these simple recipes celebrate the unbeatable flavors of fresh ingredients.

Finally, I can conquer the Farmer's Market! (5 stars)

If you don't like to play with food don't even bother with this book. I wouldn't say it's for an experienced cook but well, you need to be someone who has a firm grasp on the basics and not need detailed directions. As someone who has grown to love being a mad scientist in the kitchen with ingredients and methods I found this an exciting and vivid book full of inspiration.

As someone who wants to work with fresh food more, in particular during the summer and fall when our local farmer's market is bountiful, I think this is a fantastic book. I love Eberts' beautiful illustrations and coupled with Stein's playful approach and sometimes unexpected combinations it's a visual delight. It's also a great resource for vegetarians who are in need of some boredom busters in their cooking repertoire. I think Fresh Made Simple would make a great gift for your favorite cook.

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

You might also want to check out:

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Review: Oleavine Health Therapeutic Foot & Body Wash

Oleavine Health Therapeutic Foot & Body Wash

Company Site: website
Product Details: Oleavine Therapeutic Foot and Body Soap helps wash away and defend against stubborn fungus, bacteria and yeast from the skin surface responsible for Body Odor, Athletes Foot, Ringworm, Jock Itch, Acne, Toenail Fungus, Yeast, and other Common Foot and Skin Irritation Infections.
Our 100% Natural Plant Based Cleanser is Made Using Traditional European Techniques from Premium Organic and Natural Botanicals Rich in Skin Conditioning Omegas 3, 6, 7 & 9 Essential Fatty Acids.
Powerful Broad Spectrum Actives Include Tea Tree Essential Oil, a proprietary blend of Therapeutic Essential Oils, and Botanicals such as Neem Oil that are known to have antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties.
Who is Oleavine Therapeutic Anti-Fungal Soap Right For?
-People who are suffering from embarrassing bacteria related foot and body odor, acne, and skin rashes caused by sweating.
-People who are active in team sports that use or share equipment which can breed bacteria. (football, lacrosse, wrestling, etc.)
-People who are active in soccer, basketball, crossfit, martial arts, running, cycling, yoga, pilates, MMA (mixed martial arts), boxing, or workout regularly at the gym.
-Athletes or Active Individuals at high risk of being in contact with other individuals or where infection can easily be picked up from gym equipment, mats, locker rooms, and public showers.
-People looking to support and protect healthy skin, feet, and nails. Gentle enough to be used daily for your shower, bath, or foot bath.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Water, Saponified Organic Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Organic Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Organic Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Oil, Organic Simmondia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Organic Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Organic Cocao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Oil, Organic Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Seed Oil, Plukenetia Volubilis (Sachi Inchi) Oil, Organic Linum Usitatissimum (Flax Seed) Oil, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Seabuckthorn) Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Azadirachta Indica (Neem) Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil, Natural Mixed Mentha (Mint), Thymol (Extract from Thyme), Origanum Vulgare (Oregano) Leaf Oil, Cinnamomum Cassia (Cinnamon) Bark Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Hydrastis Canadensis (Goldenseal) Extract, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract.

If you workout this rocks! (5 Stars)

If you hate the smell of tea tree oil don't even bother with this product. Some people just can't get over the smell and that's okay but this definitely smells strong. As someone who loves the smell of tea tree oil I loved this!

Over the summer I got back into a POPPilates routine and between the hot weather and regularly working out I've been crazy sweaty. In the past I found that combo would give me the occasional chest breakout so I thought I'd try this wash during my post-workout showers to see if it didn't curb it. I have yet to get a blemish. It also feels great thanks to the coolness of the mint so it's just a fantastic product for athletes and folks who go to the gym.

I would definitely recommend this for fitness enthusiast but also for anyone who has trouble with body acne or stinky feet. It has high quality ingredients and didn't leave my sensitive skin dry or irritated. Two big thumbs up.

Notes: I received a complimentary product in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Book Review: Mercy Thompson: Hopcross Jilly

Mercy Thompson: Hopcross Jilly

by Patricia Briggs, Rik Hoskin, & Tom Garcia
Urban Fantasy, Supernatural, Werewolves, Fae
Mercy is a shapeshifting coyote and honorary member of the Tri-Cities werewolf pack. When the pack stumbles upon the buried bones of numerous dead children, she shapeshifts into a mystery of the legendary fae - a mystery that draws Mercy's stepdaughter Jesse into the fray! The supernatural romance series Mercy Thompson continues in this all-new, original story by New York Times bestselling author, Patricia Briggs, exclusively created for the comic book medium! Collects the six-issue Mercy Thompson comic book series from 2014-2015, a story set in official continuity.

A nice addition to the novels. (4 stars)

Since the Mercy Thomson series of novels first came out I've been a huge fan. I remember the the excitement I felt when I picked up the first book at the store at random and found a map of my hometown inside. I've not been as avid of a fan of the comics but mostly just due to time constraints. I'm glad I took the time to sit down and devour this one though. Garcia did an excellent job of capturing the region while also bringing the characters to vivid life.

It's not my favorite Mercy story but it was spooky and impressively not completely predictable. The story hinged much more on Jesse than Mercy which was also a nice change of pace. On a totally gratuitous note... hello crazy hot Zee. lol

If you've enjoyed the other comics/graphic novels I think you'll dig this one too. If you've a fan of the novels this actually fits into the series continuity so that's a huge plus. Definitely check it out.

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

Get your Mercy Thompson collection started:

Thursday, July 23, 2015

4 Reasons You Need This Beautiful Flower Crown from Valdler

If you follow me on social media you might have seen the horror we spent the end of June and beginning of July dealing with. Head lice. *shudder* Of course, this was when I had just received this stunning floral head wreath with an eagerness to review it. Much facepalming was had as I made the decision not to risk getting them on the wreath and postponed my review. Then we had rain and more rain and vicious high winds. Finally we had some sun and a perfect day for some photos outdoors. ☺ Please enjoy the review and check out Valdler's products on Amazon, I am VERY impressed! -- Rhi

Superior quality at an affordable price. (5 Stars)

If you're looking for a beautiful, well-made floral head wreath I cannot recommend this stunning piece of Valdler enough. Each flower is handmade and lovely. They're tightly bunched unlike other low priced options I've found in stores and online. The ribbons are long enough that you have a lot of adjustability for both the crown and the wristband. For my daughter we chose to have her wear the wristband as an anklet to adorable effect but I'd dare say the same could be done for an adult too. Overall this is a striking pair that would be wonderful for a child, teen, or grown woman equally. 

I have a few ideas for ways I would use this that I wanted to specifically share for this blog post:

This would make a fantastic photographer's prop both for portraits and editorial projects. Because it's well made it can handle a lot of adjustment and wear by children!

Cosplay, renfaire, and music festivals! The high quality of this piece make it a great choice because it can hold up to all day wear and hot weather and the flowers look more real than many of the other options out there.

Weddings and special events. This one is pretty obvious, it's inexpensive so it won't break your budget and if you're crafty you could easily add netting, ribbons, rhinestones, feathers, or other accents to individualize it to your tastes. Perhaps this pink version for the flower girl and the white version for the bride?

A dress-up box item. We turned an old dresser into a really great costume closet for our daughter a couple of Christmases ago and filled it with clearanced Halloween costumes. But we've since added nicer pieces (now that she's older and doesn't damage everything) like this and some costume jewelry that make her feel really special when she plays. Perfect for a older child who loves to dressup.

If you're convinced you need it find it on Amazon:

Valdler Flower Crown with Floral Wrist Band
Product Details: Material: Paper and foam (petals) and polyester (leaves)
Diameter: 16-18 cm (floral hair wreath), 6.5 cm (floral wrist band)
Adjustable size with the ribbon, fits most heads and comfortable to wear
Beautiful for bridal, bridesmaids or flower girls in the wedding, festivals, photography, etc.
It is normal for 1 or 2 pieces of petals falling off as the floral wreath is handmade and can be easily glued without having effect on the overall outlook

Notes: I received a complimentary product in exchange for this honest review. 
Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above in exchange for review from Giveaway Service website. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. Reference ID: pm654dd74cfe6a0767d67ad0ef76f8eeea

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

3 Reasons the Diamond Menstrual Cup Didn't Work for Me but Might Work for You

Diamond Menstrual Cup
Product Details: MENSTRUAL CUPS with a CAUSE. For every diamond menstrual cup purchased, our company supports Feminine Hygiene Education & Kits for women & girls in third world countries who miss school or are shamed due to their period. We are proud to support these Causes. These cups are HYPOALLERGENIC FDA APPROVED MEDICAL GRADE SILICONE. Latex free, manufactured in USA. High quality with women's safety and health in mind
DID YOU KNOW? The average woman will spend $2400 & use 11,000 tampons in her lifetime? Save money and time with the eco-friendly safe Diamond cup. Reusable for up to 15 years.
WHAT SIZE DO YOU NEED? Size Small/A made for women who have not given birth or had a Cesarean. Size Large/B designed for women post-childbirth.
NO LEAKS OR ACCIDENTS! No leaks, accidents or odor when properly used and inserted. Easy to insert and detailed directions and helpful video link is provided with every purchase.
FREEDOM FROM YOUR PERIOD!. Safe to wear during sporting, exercise, swimming and virtually all daytime activities. Effective for eliminating nighttime leaks and bulky pad wear. Forget you are even on your period!

Every Body is Different. Here's my review of the Diamond...

If you are always looking for ways to save money and be more kind of our planet chances are you've heard of menstrual cups. But they are an up front investment that makes dropping the cash for one a good reason to read reviews and be sure you've found the one that sounds most likely to work well with your body.

I've had two vaginal births and I'm pretty comfortable with my body so my earliest forays into the world of menstrual cups seemed fairly straight forward. I saved up my pennies and plunked them down on one of the most well known brands. I purchased the size intended for women who are older and who have had babies. Unfortunately, try though I might I never could get comfortable with it. Placement was near impossible. I had literally once got it lodged sideways and that was excruciatingly painful and difficult to remove. For three months I tried to make it work. I crawled Pinterest seeking advice and suggestions, different folds and more reviews. I finally decided maybe it was the size.

Enter the Diamond Cup. It's nearly identical to the Lunette but this time I got the smaller size. I wanted to see if it was a size issue for me and the Diamond is much less expensive. I'm sad to report though that once again it didn't work for me but it might be a great option for you and here are my reasons why:

Not everyone's bodies are the same size and shape. I'm glad I went with the small on this because its shorter length was much more comfortable for me. I also found that the width was a good fit as well. If you know your body pretty well I think you should be the judge on which cup size is more likely to suit you. Ultimately for me the size still wasn't a great fit. I could still feel the stem and if you've tried cups before you know that the stem can cause major irritation. The Diamond was better than the Lunette this way but not perfect. If you generally like cups in this style but have found the stem uncomfortable this one is a great option.

If you have to wear backup protection it kinda defeats the purpose. You're welcome to debate whether my issue was user error or a matter of my body functions but every time I used the Diamond I had some leakage. Never a lot, but enough that it was necessary to wear a pantiliner with it. If that's no biggie to you then drive on sister, personally I would prefer not to.

When it all boils down, it's got to do it's job without causing pain. What ultimately made me decide I couldn't keep using the Diamond was that no matter that I had it properly placed or that it was working alright I couldn't stand or sit while using it. I found the silicone was too stiff and hard to be comfortable. Laying down wasn't as bad but it put so much painful pressure against my insides that by the second day of usage I had to stop. It just hurt so much it's all I could think about. For some women menstrual cups that sit lower in the vaginal canal are just not comfortable but if you like them and are in need of a new one I think the Diamond is an affordable option that's very comparable to the Lunette and similar cups.

After using the Diamond I went back to using the reusable Softcup. It's not as economical but it's the only menstrual cup option I've found that works well and doesn't hurt. Keep in mind that this has just been my personal experience with it and that your body and it's needs are unique to you. If you're a first timer be sure and do your homework! Read loads of reviews and decide which one sounds right for you and be ready to have to buy a few before you find the perfect one for you. I think the Diamond is a good cup that will last for years and that if it's a good fit for your body you will absolutely love it. It just wasn't for me.

Notes: I received a complimentary product in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Review: Zaca Recovery Chewable

Zaca Recovery Chewable (Mixed Berry, 4 Packs - 16 Tablets)

Company Site: website
Product Details: FEATURING JAPANESE RAISIN (contains Dihydromyricetin - DHM). Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for over a millennium as a detoxifying agent for alcohol. It also helps to cool the body which helps to combat the heat alcohol creates, and it has anti-fatigue effects.
AID ELECTROLYTES AND HYDRATION. L-Alanyl-L-Glutamine (Sustamine®) alone helps helps the body replace lost electrolytes and fluids, and refill the body's energy stores.
EASY TO USE. Take on-the-go with no water needed & perfect travel companion.
NATURAL INGREDIENTS. Non-Gmo, Sugar Free (using Xylitol & Stevia), Gluten Free, Whole Food & Fermented Based Ingredients, No Artificial Flavors or Preservatives
MULTIFUNCTIONAL WHETHER WEEKEND WARRIOR, ENDURANCE ATHLETE OR BUSINESS TRAVELER. Because of so many benefits in the formulation, in addition to partying the chewables are great to use for exercise, work, travel & altitude.

I like them for workout recovery. (4 Stars)

Having used Zaca's patches for hangovers in the past I thought the chewables would make a great option for workout recovery. With the summer heat and the HIIT workouts I've been doing on occasion I find that sometimes water and a protein filled snack aren't enough. I still feel drained and wind up so fatigued that I have a hard time getting a solid workout the next day.

So far I've found that 2 tablets about 20 minutes after I finish followed by some water works well for me. Normally I avoid stevia like the plague because it majorly upsets my stomach and overall digestion but I've found that not only do I not taste it (ugh I hate that sickly sweet taste it has) I haven't had the tummy trouble. They even taste good and not weird or medicine like as many of them do.

If you're looking for an easy to carry recovery option for your gym bag I would definitely recommend checking them out. I honestly haven't had a drink in a long time so I can't say if these work as well as the patches for a hangover but I think they'd be even better based on how they've helped with my hardest workouts.

Notes: I received a complimentary product in exchange for an honest review.

Struggling to Stretch Your Grocery Budget? This Book Might Help.

Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day by Leanne Brown

Cookbook, Economics, Budgeting
Ebook/Print (208 pages, WORKMAN)
A perfect and irresistible idea: A cookbook filled with delicious, healthful recipes created for everyone on a tight budget—and a cookbook with a strong charitable component: With every copy of Good and Cheap purchased, a second copy will be given to a person or family in need.
While studying food policy as a master’s candidate at NYU, Leanne Brown asked a simple yet critical question: How well can a person eat on the $4 a day given by SNAP, the U.S. government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program informally known as food stamps? The answer is surprisingly well: Broiled Tilapia with Lime, Spicy Pulled Pork, Green Chile and Cheddar Quesadillas, Vegetable Jambalaya, Beet and Chickpea Salad—even desserts like Coconut Chocolate Cookies and Peach Coffee Cake. In addition to creating nutritious recipes that maximize every ingredient and use economical cooking methods, Ms. Brown gives tips on shopping; on creating pantry basics; on mastering certain staples—pizza dough, flour tortillas—and saucy extras that make everything taste better, like spice oil and tzatziki; and how to make fundamentally smart, healthful food choices.
The idea for Good and Cheap is already proving itself. The author launched a Kickstarter campaign to self-publish and fund the buy one/give one model. Hundreds of thousands of viewers watched her video and donated $145,000, and national media are paying attention. Even high-profile chefs and food writers have taken note—like Mark Bittman, who retweeted the link to the campaign; Francis Lam, who called it “Terrific!”; and Michael Pollan, who cited it as a “cool kickstarter.” In the same way that TOMS turned inexpensive, stylish shoes into a larger do-good movement, Good and Cheap is poised to become a cookbook that every food lover with a conscience will embrace.

A Generalized, Useful Resource (4 stars)

I grew up quite poor. I remember watching my mother slice the moldy parts off of 'government' cheese for sandwiches while things like chips and snack cakes were luxuries I only saw in the lunchboxes of my peers. But if there's one thing growing up mostly in poverty will teach you, it is how to be resourceful and grateful for what you do have... because there is always someone who has much less or does not have the skills to make do with what they do have. With this in mind I was quite eager to see what Brown had put together.

GOOD AND CHEAP has a lot of fantastic information about not just how to prepare food, but when and how to buy it to maximize your budget. Whether you're receiving SNAP benefits or just living on a tight budget as a single-income family there are recipes and information here that will help you eat well and even quite healthfully.

The one area it doesn't seem to hit on that I felt would have been of great use is food allergies. Having discovered earlier this year that my partner is allergic to wheat, rice, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, and a host of other inexpensive staples I struggled for several months with horrifying grocery bills trying to find ways to avoid allergens while on a very tight budget. I'd have liked to see some budgeting advice for those who are struggling with food allergies or celiac disease because those conditions affect low income families just as much as those of wealth and alternative foods can be costly.

Overall, while I feel that some of the recipes and ingredients were still a bit unreasonable to expect someone of limited means to get on board with, GOOD AND CHEAP is still a fantastic general resource for anyone who wants to eat well with limited funds. This would make a terrific gift for young adults new to living on their own.

Notes: Review copy received via NetGalley.
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