The Real Deal

Have You Ever Wondered... Is that certain book really good? Does that product really work? So have I. From Indie authors and musicians to local products or nationally advertised, I can't tell you the countless products I've bought as seen on TV only to find out that they don't work at my house, the book was really a bunch of hype, the music was not what I had hoped for or a movie was a yawn. If you want an honest opinion, you will find it here. Although I do lots of book reviews, I also check out lots of other products and let you know if they really live up to their ads or their hype. Stay tuned, and check in often. You never know what I'm going to talk about next.


Mocktail Hour? It's Appletini Time!

I have been a fan of Crystal Light products for years. The mocktail line provides another tasty treat to delight your tastebuds.Everyone I shared it with thought it was delicious and made an impressive mocktail.
This vibrant green, pleasantly apple-flavored drink dissolves quickly and easily in water and can be ready to party in under five minutes. Once your friends try it you'll be lucky if a pitcher of it lasts that long.


Let This Pro Dryer Blow You Away

I was tired of my hairstyle and went to an expensive salon to get a new cut: Something fresh and hip. While the stylist cut, thinned and trimmed, she graciously explained to me how to get the most volume by using a blow dryer. A what? I gave up my hair styling practices when I moved to a climate that caused my hair to rebel. It lays on my head like 3 day old road kill.

Maybe, it was time to try again. That's when I saw Volume Boost, Infiniti Pro by Conair. I am not particularly patient, and with 1875 Watts of power, which for me, means quick-dry. Pro means without ruining it.
The handle was easy to grip and the dryer itself felt balanced in the hand. It seemed a little ungainly
At first, but with a little practice, it seemed pretty comfortable.
With in minutes, my hair is dry with enough body to keep me fantastic-looking through most of my workday. It's hot enough to dry thick or coarse hair, and gentle enough not to fry fine locks. The cold shot button took a few seconds to chill, but it worked. The dryer has two switches that control heat and airflow. It has something else: a removable filter. Which means that you can clean all that lint off the back of the unit and prevent premature burnout.
It comes with two attachments: one a volumizing pic with fingers and a shield for directed air flow to the roots where the hair must be dried (upside down is easiest) to give lift, and a concentrator for focused styling. I love it. It included an instruction and styling guide, and a four year warranty.
Little plusses: there's a soft plastic loop to hang the dryer, and a ground fault circuit interrupt plug with a reset button. The attachments lock in place and can be switched out or rotated with the pinch buttons on either side of the nozzle. It `s packed with good value and for the price, well made, sturdy and should last for many years to come.


Become a WORD HERO

Available on Amazon October 4th!  I originally had intended to keep this book on the down low, as my secret weapon. And after I and my words had become famous, gone viral or I was rolling in the deep, I would give a nod to Jay Heinrichs and his book WORD HERO and thank him for producing such a brilliant book that equipped me with an enormous advantage every time I sat down to write. Once I began reading it and studying the process, I knew I couldn’t keep it all to myself.
Jay breaks his guide into 5 parts: Word Apprentice, Word Novice, Word Artist, Word Wizard and Word Hero. Part one begins with relatively easy exercises, explanations and examples. Sound layers, word play and the invention of words. Inside you will find tons of tropes (and an explanation) stupendous similes and harmonic homonyms. From analogies to Yogisms, this book is a treasure trove of higher wisdom and esily learned tricks for those who love words.
 The lessons were thought provoking and refreshing. If you haven't been trained to think in this way, you might fine his exercises at the last part of each chapter fun, delivering unexpected results. With our writer’s retreat coming up. these chapters would be great writing prompts to jump start writing processes, or inspire on breaks.
I will be recommending WORD HERO to all my writing friends.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Amazon Vine program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255


An Unlikely Trio

When I was a little kid, I used to secretly think my dad was a spy. He tromped off every morning with a silver lunch pail for a place called work. It didn’t take me long to realize, my dad was just a working Joe trying to earn a living and support his ever growing family. Ian Morgan Cron’s title grabbed me right away.

 There are some memoirs that read like school book reports and are as dull and as 25 year old house paint, and then there are refreshing, literary chronicles like Cron’s. Imagine if Lee Child wrote a memoir with the bold-faced honesty of Marr Carr. His unique metaphors will be stolen by writers for years to come. He writes about his infatuation with the rituals of the Catholic Church so vividly, I could smell the incense, see the stained glass and feel my knees hurting.
He writes about the anguish of enduring his father’s alcoholism with biting clarity that will sear your eyes. Ian’s brilliant account is both tragic and insightful. A must-read for anyone trying to walk the razor-thin edge of faith and fate.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Amazon Vine program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255


Chique Secrets of Dolce Vita

“La vita e bella, life is beautiful and the most amazing wonders of this world often hide in the simplest things.” This opening sentence  neatly explains what Chique Secrets of Dolce Vita by Barbara Conelli, is about. As I read it, I felt as if I had wandered into the middle of a coffee break listening to a friend telling me the story of a strange, new, magical land. Every chapter presented little golden nuggets of where to go in the alluring fashion capital of Italy, Milan.   
This is a book written by a woman, for women who don’t mind having a companion around but aren’t afraid to fly solo. Barbara Conelli describes each town in vivid detail, with humor and passion. She describes towns and villages, drinks and dinners carefully casting you into an Italian story where you are the adventure tourist. Black and white illustrations punctuate each chapter, the style reminiscent of fashion designers.

Each chapter evokes images of the old country, the calm easy-going life style of Milanese women. The street cafes, the colorful, fragrant flowers, the savory meals sound enticing enough for me to think about an all girl vacation in Milan. The food she described made my mouth water and the tidbits of history gave each location a distinct and separate personality. The way she raves about the people, it sounds like she’s known them all her life. Barbara invites you to a feast for the senses, body, mind and soul.

Check in to this book if you want to have a sweet experience. She invites you to go where charming people are waiting to address your every need and pamper you with their offerings. Whether you’re into camping or dancing, galleries or bakeries, vineyards or yachting, Barbara Canelli  shares her secrets on a place of interest for you.


LIVE! From Your Computer to the World

Recently, a friend of mine asked me if I'd ever used Skype. At that point, I hadn't and didn't have much of an interest in being on camera. I think of myself as less than photogenic. My friend only lived across town, we could pick up the phone at any time. We didn't, and he isn't much on text messages either.

When I stumbled upon  LIVE! CAM, I thought, why not? The webcams on most computers and laptops are adequate for Skype, but I managed to get a laptop that didn't have one.  Truth is, I have relatives all over the country in different time zones and I rarely ever call any of them. LIVE! CAM came with a bit of software that allows users to easily share recorded videos on Facebook and YouTube all in HD quality.  Movie Creator, Touch Screen ready, and Visual/Voice affects, and you can create an avatar or add backgrounds to your video calls (I may surprise them with next time.)

If you have at least a dual-core processor, 2GB RAM, you will be able to video chat in HD 720p quality with most major instant messaging services. I decided to test it on Skype, but have plans to check into YouTube soon.

Installing the webcam was easy, I just followed the instructions as they came up on the monitor. Although the adjustable bracket seems to have been designed for a specific model of computer monitor, I secured it to mine with a little electrical tape. The wide-angle lens delivers amazingly clear image quality and, according to the box, captures 25% more in the frame. Even in low- light, my image is bright.

My friend commented on the microphone (extremely sensitive let him hear dogs barking in the neighborhood) and we couldn't get over the image quality. With one little lamp in the room, my image looked highly illuminated. He, on the other hand, had a lamp on right next to him and still looked like he was Skyping by firelight in a cave.

I move around a lot when I talk and gesture with my hands and every so often the camera would seem to blur. And then, the image would sharpen automatically. It took a few seconds for it to adjust, but the image became crystal clear. With a click of the button, you can also take stills.
While, I consider the many ways I can make use of this camera and software package, my friend is so impressed, he's going to get one too.