Thursday, October 27, 2011

Blast From the Past - "Curious Critters"

Due to a technical issue, earlier posts on this blog were deleted. These posts are being re-shared with readers on a daily basis. This blog post was originally published on October 27, 2011
Children are naturally inquisitive.  Each day is a new day to learn and the more they are exposed to, the more they will absorb.

Curious Critters, a children's book by David Fitzsimmons, enhances a child's love for nature - featured throughout this beautiful and wonderous picture book are clear, crisp and life-like photographs of everyday and exotic animals with a fun, playful summary on each page

In his children’s picture book CURIOUS CRITTERS (November 7, 2011, Wild Iris Publishing, hardcover) photographer David FitzSimmons turns his camera on a variety of animals common throughout North America. CURIOUS CRITTERS presents stunning images of everyday animals, including a red flat bark beetle, an Eastern spiny softshell turtle, a spotted salamander, and many other intriguing creatures. Each Curious Critter is photographed against a white backdrop, showcasing the animals’ colors, textures, and shapes with precision and clarity. 

Your child will also learn from reading this book - some examples:
  • What turtles and humans have in common 
  • Why black swallowtail butterflies impersonates their toxic cousins 
  • How Eastern box turtles can live longer than humans (over 150 years!) 
  • If squirrels can fly 
  • Why crayfish grow new legs 
  • How bats find food 
  • Why frogs sing (kids love trying their hand at singing like a bullfrog!) 
  • How jumping spiders jump and why they never have to look over their shoulders

The white background really does enhance the photo and brings the page to life.  This is a great book for a young child or emerging reader.  My daughter immediately gravitated to this book and I noticed she later pulled out a few more nature books as well :)

Visit the Curious Critters website for more information, fun and games, order the book directly and more!  With the holidays upon us, this is a great gift for a young nature lover!

Disclosure:  I received a copy for review purposes.  I was not required to write a positive review nor did I receive compensation.  For more information on this blog and on my posting practices, please refer to the disclosure policy at the bottom of the page.

Blast From the Past - "Carmex Healing Lotions and Creams - Review and Giveaway" (ended)

Due to a technical issue, earlier posts on this blog were deleted. These posts are being re-shared with readers on a daily basis. This blog post was originally published on October 27, 2011

As part of the Carmex Blogger Squad, I get to try and share new products with our readers.  The newest addition to the Carmex family is a fabulous  line of Healing Lotions and Creams!

I was able to review the following:
1 Carmex Healing Lotion
1 Carmex Healing Cream
1 Travel size Carmex Healing Lotion
1 Travel size Carmex Healing Cream 

For over 70 years people have come to love the healing power of Carmex® lip balms. Finally, Carmex® Skin Care is here with a new solution to heal, soothe and moisturize your dry skin. 

CARMEX® HEALING LOTION Carmex® Healing Lotion is made using a patent pending process that delivers healing and moisturization without a greasy feel. 

  • Use anywhere skin feels dry; 
  • available in tube or NEW pump 
  • Daily use will help protect skin and keep dryness away 
  • Rich healing ingredients, including Aloe and Vitamin E, nourish and moisturize skin Absorbs fast for a non-greasy feel; 
  • has a light, pleasant scent 

CARMEX® HEALING CREAM Carmex® Healing Cream is made using a patent pending process that delivers concentrated healing and moisturizing for your driest, roughest skin. 

  • Use on your driest skin— especially hands, feet, elbows and knees; 
  • available in tube or NEW handy little tin 
  • 9 healing ingredients penetrate and help repair your very dry, rough or cracked skin Concentrated—use a small amount 
  • Absorbs fast for a non-greasy feel; has a light, pleasant scent

Both my husband and I love, love, love the scent.  It is a fresh, sweet but not overpowering scent with a hint of the scent of Carmex.  Even though it is sweet, it is appropriate for use by men or women.  Both products smell the same - the main difference is the cream is a heavier concentration than the lotion.  Both are absorbed into the skin quickly.  I think that this is my favorite Carmex Product so far (in addition to the original lip balm).

My hands get soooo dry in the winter so I will be keeping a small tube of the cream in my purse and a larger tube in the kitchen for the entire family to use.  My husband is taking a travel sized tube of the lotion to work with him as well.

I have one identical set to giveaway to one of my readers.  Enter below!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Blast From the Past - "American Horror Story"

Due to a technical issue, earlier posts on this blog were deleted. These posts are being re-shared with readers on a daily basis. This blog post was originally published on October 26, 2011

I am so glad a coworker mentioned how fabulous American Horror Story (AHS) was.  I discovered Entertainment on Demand on my DVR, quickly caught up and am already addicted.

A few online critics/commenters expressed concern that true horror fans will probably be turned off by the lack of gore.  Although I love psychological thrillers -  fantasy, suspense or paranormal -   I am NOT a fan of horror or violence.  As such, I actually found the gore to be very graphic and excessive so found it amusing that this was just simply not enough for some.  It was more than enough for me!

From the FOX website / Press Release:
American Horror Story revolves around the Harmons, a family of three who moved from Boston to Los Angeles as a means to reconcile past anguish. The all-star cast features Dylan McDermott as “Ben Harmon,” a psychiatrist; Connie Britton as “Vivien Harmon,” Ben’s wife; Taissa Farmiga as “Violet,” the Harmon’s teenage daughter; Jessica Lange in her first-ever regular series TV role as “Constance,” the Harmon’s neighbor; Evan Peters plays “Tate Langdon,” one of Ben’s patients; and Denis O’Hare as “Larry Harvey.” Guest stars for the series include Frances Conroy as the Harmon’s housekeeper; Alexandra Breckenridge as the Harmon’s housekeeper; and Jamie Brewer as Constance’s daughter. 

The pilot episode of American Horror Story, shot in Los Angeles, was written by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, and it was directed by Murphy. In addition to Murphy and Falchuk, Dante Di Loreto will also serve as Executive Producer of the series. American Horror Story is produced by Twentieth Century Fox Television.

The first thing AHS reminded me of was Carnivale. I googled "American Horror Story" AND "Carnivale" and quickly discovered that many other fans share the same sentiment.     American Horror Story (AHS) has the same creepy but intriguing quality of Carnivale.  Of course this is what will keep me obsessively coming back for more.......   Carnivale and LOST were, up until now at least, my favorite television shows.   Hopefully we will get a full run of AHS for several seasons and not a lackluster ending (LOST) or, worse, no ending at all (Carnivale). 

AHS is definitely more obvious with what the underlying "mystery" - aka "I see dead people -  compared to that of LOST, Carnivale, or other similar psychological, paranormal thrillers.  The more interesting mysteries of AHS are actually slowly revealed through the back stories of previous residents/visitors and in the "uncertainty" of what will ultimately happen to the newest residents of the Murder House.  I am fairly certain however that I can bury any notions of a fairy tale farewell at The End of THIS story.

WARNING- Most of what is featured on is family oriented.  This is an ADULT show and has a MA (mature audiences) rating due to implicit sexuality, violence and numerous other reasons.  It is not at all appropriate for children nor is it appropriate for any adults that are easily offended.  Please watch at your own discretion.


Friday, October 21, 2011

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston - Review and Press Release

When I was younger I could read a book in a couple of hours to a few hours, but definitely had many days of starting and finishing a novel within a 24 hour period.  Flash forward to the present - three kids, a full time job, a home, etc - I cannot remember the last time that has happened!

Today I ended up working from home because Miss N. was sick and had to stay home from school.  During the day I received "The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt" in the mail.  As a new scrapbooker and avid reader, I was looking forward to reading this novel.  I opened the package, thumbed through the book and could not wait to take a closer look.

After work I started to read the novel.  I took a break to pick up the groceries, came home, put the groceries away, unloaded the dishwasher and resumed reading a couple of hours later until I finished. I tore through this book in a couple of hours.

This novel is done in a scrapbook format.  Follow the life of Frankie Pratt from adolescence (1920) through early adulthood (1928) while being treated to a beautiful collection of vintage photographs, artwork, poetry, quotes from literature, and memorabilia of mementos from the period.

See sample pages here

The story itself was lovely.  Frankie is the only daughter from a family of five.  Her father passed away and her mother has been struggling financially to raise Frankie and her two brothers.  Through brief snippets of recollections, the reader follows Frankie as she ventures through many firsts - first dates, the first time away from home, first jobs, first loves, first failed friendships, first heartbreaks, first travels, etc.  These are shared through the use of a typewriter and a scrapbook one inherited and one a gift.  There was an obvious sweet and genuine flavor to the story but there were also an underlying humorous tone.

Some of the story was predictable but definitely not to the extent that you could foresee the ending!  It is quite challenging to believe that Caroline Preston wrote this book and not the larger-than-life Frankie Pratt.

This is a beautiful book - more of a coffee table book than a novel.  It is a must have for anyone with a love of the 20's, a love of scrapbooking, a love of art,  a love of reading and a fondness for nostalgic vintage items.  (READ - Holiday gift!).  For more information visit the author's website, Harper Collins or your favorite book retailer.


 “Scrapbooking was never like this before. Author Caroline Preston, with three novels to her credit, has let ephemera do a lot of the talking in her first “scrapbook novel” telling the tales of Frankie Pratt a very smart young woman from Cornish Flats, New Hampshire who was given a scrapbook for her high school graduation in 1920. …The text, delivered by the old Corona, is sparse and terse, at times almost like Hemingway, but that’s to be expected when it’s images that fill most of the pages and add so much to the story. .. . It’s no wonder there are so many well-chosen illustrations. Caroline Preston knows her way around scrapbooks and ephemera as she has served as an archivist at both the Peabody/Essex Museum and Harvard’s Houghton Library.” ―The Ephemera Society of America Newsletter

 “In handsome, full-color pages, the memorabilia tell the story of Frankie, an aspiring writer who leaves her poor New England family to travel to Vassar, then to New York, then to Paris, where she becomes tangled in a romance with an older publisher with ties to her past. . . . . a nifty armchair tour of postwar literary culture.” ―Publishers Weekly 

 “When she graduates from high school in 1920, Frankie gets a scrapbook and her father’s old Corona, which keeps her busy at Vassar and thereafter, as she pursues a writing career and sails for France on the S.S. Mauritania. Her story is illustrated with various memorabilia appropriate to scrapbooking: vintage postcards, magazine ads, ticket stubs, fabric swatches, candy wrappers, menus, and more. Sounds charming, and Preston’s Jack by Josie did well; the 40,000-copy first printing and an eight-city tour to Asheville (NC), Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Charlottesville (VA), New York, Raleigh/Durham, Washington, D.C., and upon request are good news for this work.” ―Library Journal, 
(note - I may try to see the author during her visit here!  scroll to the bottom of the page for Triangle book tour dates)

Pre-pub alert “I’ve been enjoying Caroline Preston’s ingenious The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt, a novel made up entirely of vintage images. It’s nifty and fun—but the plot moves along, too!” ―Paris Review Blog

“ . . . .tore through THE SCRAPBOOK OF FRANKIE PRATT by Caroline Preston. I think a lot of readers are going to adore this novel told through collected ephemera, everything from 1930s advertising circulars to locks of hair and pieces of jewelry.” ―Friday Reads Blog “lovingly constructed with gorgeous 20s ephemera. . . .the bee's knees, the cat's meow.” ―The Roaring 20s Blog 

I would highly recommend Caroline Preston’s new book THE SCRAPBOOK OF FRANKIE PRATT: A NOVEL IN PICTURES (Ecco/HarperCollins Publishers; $25.99/$33.99 Can.; Hardcover; ISBN 13: 9780061966903; on-sale: October 25, 2011),

"a visually stunning, full-color novel told in the form of a scrapbook. Pulling from her own extraordinary collection of vintage ephemera and memorabilia, the author of the New York Times Notable Book Jackie by Josie, and two other acclaimed novels, Gatsby’s Girl and Lucy Crocker 2.0, creates the first ever scrapbook novel, transporting us back to the vibrant, burgeoning bohemian culture of the 1920s and introducing us to an unforgettable heroine, the spirited, ambitious, and lovely Frankie Pratt. In THE SCRAPBOOK OF FRANKIE PRATT we see an enticing array of flapper-era postcards, letters, magazine ads, ticket stubs, catalog pages, fabric swatches, candy wrappers, fashion spreads, menus, and other memorabilia featured on each and every page. Through these visuals, we meet and follow Frankie on her journey in search of success and love."

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Caroline Preston is the author of three previous novels, Jackie by Josie (a New York Times Notable Book), Lucy Crocker 2.0, and Gatsby’s Girl. She has collected antique scrapbooks since she was in high school, and has become an expert on the history of the scrapbook and the valentine in America. She has worked as an archivist at the Peabody/ Essex Museum and Harvard’s Houghton Library. She and her husband, the writer Christopher Tilghman, live in Charlottesville, Virginia.

For Triangle Residents, here are the dates Caroline will be visiting during her book tour:

720 9th Street
Durham, North Carolina 27705
Main Phone: 919-286-2700

752 MLK Junior Boulevard
Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514

220 Market Street
Fearrington Village
Pittsboro, North Carolina 27312

Disclosure:  I received a copy of The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt for review purposes.  I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review.  For more information on this blog and my posting practices,. please refer to the disclosure policy posted at the bottom of this page.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Death by Alcohol and Seafood

I remember when I was in my 2nd year of college I went out with a long term ex-boyfriend, his best friend and his girlfriend.  (Ironically my ex ended up marrying that girl but that is a different story).  We decided to go out for a fancy lobster dinner and even though we were underage, for some reason we were able to order wine and beer with dinner.

Afterward we went to a movie and I was fine until about half way in when I started experiencing the worst stomach ache of my life - I cannot even describe the pain other than it was sudden, it was intense and I felt like I wanted to die.

After the movie I convinced the others to drive me home while I listened to my ex say how I always "ruin everything".  (Yes, I am glad I was not the one to marry him!).   Of course at the time that made me feel even worse but I also felt so bad I just wanted to get home and head to bed.  Once I was dropped off, that is exactly what I did.

The next day I was fine and just chalked it up to a strange experience.  I really just thought I caught a touch of something and did not think much more about it.  Flash forward  2 years to just after college - I was out having a seafood dinner with a friend, this time crab legs with beer.  After a great dinner I experienced very similar symptoms to when I had the reaction after the lobster dinner.  Cramping.  Feeling sick to my stomach.  Feeling like I want to die

I started to piece together that I had both reactions after a seafood dinner but was puzzled because there were other times I had seafood and did NOT have the same reaction.  I finally figured out that the difference was when I had the reaction when I ate certain shellfish and had a drink.  I could eat shellfish alone (I think) or drink alcohol with other foods and be fine.  Only when I paired the two did I have the reaction.  What I had was a seafood allergy.  But only with beer, wine or liquor.

I found this thread that has accounts for others who experience the same adverse reaction when mixing seafood and alcohol.  I was glad to find others that have the same reaction.  When I tell people about my allergy they usually give me a strange look so it was a relief to find others with the same allergy.  Most reactions were even more severe than mine.

I can eat Shrimp with no problems, even paired with  alcohol.  My reaction to the lobster and crab was so severe however I am afraid to test it out.  I am not sure why I can have shrimp but not lobster or crabs.  Now I have inadvertently had a bite of crab dip or a sip of Lobster Bisque with no reaction but that is a very, very small amount.  To think about actually sitting and eating lobster tail or a plate full of crab legs puts the fear of god into me.

Ironically my husband found out he was allergic to oysters.  I made oyster stew one time and he got sick (no alcohol involved)....    He said he must have had a "bad oyster" as he became ill, but no one else did.  The "bad oyster" theory was not sitting well with me because it was a stew that all the ingredients had simmered together for a while - basically we ALL ate the same meal.

A couple of years later we were in Seattle and went out for seafood.  He had a plate of Oysters.  We get home and he was in bed or in the bathroom for 4 days.  He will never eat oysters again.

I would be really interested to see if anyone else has the same reaction or something similar.  If so please feel free to comment!  I would love to hear your story

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Lego KidsFest and a homegrown birthday celebration

Monochromatic Lego Zone

This weekend was definitely one for the kids.  Friday night we went to Lego KidsFest.  The girls really enjoyed it and so did we.  Ryan, Miss E., Miss N, and I had fun building, taking pictures and playing.  

Outside of the convention center we passed a bunch of kids.  Miss N. and I wondered why there were all wearing white with neon accents.  Ryan said it was a Rave. He ran into a friend of his on the force who was not happy to be working and was expecting a long night.  On our way in we saw the line and on our way out we heard the music and saw a bunch of kids who were high, drunk or both, acting goofy but having a good time.

Saturday morning Miss N. had a soccer game and the older girls(Miss C. and a friend) as well as Miss E. hosted a garage sale.  After they were set up and running I ran to Sams to buy groceries and a cake.  We came home cleaned, did laundry, etc.  From 4 - 6 we hosted a birthday party at home.  You can see the Balloon Time decorations pictures as well as cake and opening presents. 

Today I obviously caught up on blogging, but here are pictures of the birthday party and the LegoLand event.   

Ms. E. actually has 2 cakes - this one was from her family birthday party.  My parents took her to Baskin Robbins and she selected an Oreo ice cream cake:

Ryan actually did the decorating!  Balloon Time Decorations - Ryan loved these because he did not have to worry about transporting inflated balloons from the party store to our house - 1) overlooking family room, 2) kitchen and 3) mailbox:

Opening gifts (in our living room which has been converted into a craft room):

LegoLand Pictures:


My personal favorite - Hermione, Hagrid and Harry:

Building in the Free Zone:

Ninja Warrior:

The Museum of Natural Sciences:

Miss E. "petting" a Hissing Madagascar Cockroach (EWWW!)

Which Dino is the real one?

 Until next time!....

Blast From the Past - "Freschetta is going Pink!"

Due to a technical issue, earlier posts on this blog were deleted. These posts are being re-shared with readers on a daily basis. This blog post was originally published on October 9, 2011

For October Freschetta wants everyone to know that they are proud to support Pink
When you purchase specially-marked FRESCHETTA® products, you’re helping reach the goal of donating $50,000 to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Enter your code at and we will be $1 closer to finding a cure. 

Each week, Freschetta will be giving away an iPod shuffle®* to 50 lucky winners. You can earn extra entries in the sweepstakes by sharing PROUD TO SUPPORT PINK® with your friends and family.  Click HERE to find out more.  In addition you can read survivor stories or share your own. 

If you have not yet tried Freschetta you are missing out.  Freschetta offers many unique, gourmet flavors.  If you have not tried yet, now is an opportune time.  You will be getting a great pizza and helping a great cause.

One Momanthology reader will win a Pink Prize Pack:
- Coupon for Freschetta pizza (12 oz or larger)
- 2 pairs of Freschetta Proud to Support Pink Earbuds (1 for you and one for a friend)

I received a prize pack from Freschetta and was able to share with my readers.  I did not receive any compensation for this post.  


Blast From the Past - "Keri Review and Giveaway " (ended)

Due to a technical issue, earlier posts on this blog were deleted. These posts are being re-shared with readers on a daily basis.  This blog post was originally published on October 9, 2011

Keri is so very.....

That is the slogan I remember from the 80's.   Well Keri is very much still around with a new mantra of "All day soft, All day smooth" .  Keri is relaunching their high quality lotions that have been around for generations.  In celebration of their 50th anniversary Keri has updated their packaging for a more fresh and modern look but brings the same lotions that have been loved for years.

On Keri's website you can view and select products that are best for you. 

Keri® Original Daily Dry Skin Therapy – Enhanced with five essential moisturizers, this product is for daily dry skin therapy for smooth, healthy looking skin.

Keri® Advanced Fast Absorbing Lotion – This non-greasy, lightweight formula is fast absorbing for silky, soft skin.

Keri® Shea Butter Conditioning Therapy – Provides a conditioning therapy that penetrates deep into skin to nourish with naturally rich Shea Butter.

Keri® Basic Essentials Hypoallergenic Fragrance Free Lotion – Made with Aloe Vera and Vitamin E for a lightweight formula that provides optimal hydration.

Keri® Luxurious Deliciously Scented Nourishing Lotion – A total indulgence for the skin, with a light apple scent and Vitamins A, C and E.

My review:
I have tried Keri in the past and was looking forward to getting re-introduced.  I actually opted to review the Shea Butter formula.  In our home we suffer from dry skin in the cooler months.  My daughter is already starting to display some of the signs.  I also suffer from dry skin on my hands when cleaning and washing dishes.  Yesterday we cleaned the house and my hands were irritated towards the end of the day.  I used the Keri and it quickly moisturized and soothed my skin.  I noticed that it absorbed immediately and left just the hint if a nice, light and fresh scent - not overpowering at all and appropriate for men or women.  I have the bottle conveniently sitting in the entrance to the kitchen so we can all use it.

Please refer to the FAQs posted on their site about best uses and suggested practices.

You can purchase Keri at national retailers - see HERE for a listing of stores.  One lucky reader will have a chance to win as well.  Please see the Rafflecopter form for details,  rules and to enter.  EASY ENTRY.



Disclosure:  I received the opportunity to review this product and provide a prize to one of my readers through the Family Review Network.  I did not receive any compensation for my initial review or for this giveaway.  For more information on this blog or on my posting practices, please refer to the disclosure policy at the bottom of this page

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