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20 October 2014

{Out of the Box}: October 2014 Ipsy Glam Bag

Out of the Box is a feature I do to showcase and give a brief review of products in the subscription boxes that I receive.

Today's review is of my Ipsy makeup bag for the month.  Ipsy is a service where "each month, subscribers will receive a beautiful Glam Bag with deluxe samples and full-sized beauty products. Members can watch and play along with the stylists with the same products that they are using. All for only $10 a month. "  If you are interested, please click here to use my referral code and help me earn free bags.

October's theme is "Beauty Candy", and everything comes in this cute little teal bag.  I'm not a patent leather bag kind of person, and I never thought I'd like a teal one, but I LOVE this little bag.  It's so fancy!

And here is what I got:
*Albertini Warm Love Pumpkin Exfoliating Mask 
*Figs and Rouge Hand Cream in Mango Mandarin
*Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser
*Skone Cosmetics Tattooed Waterproof Eyeliner
*Starlooks Lipgloss

First off, can I just say how happy I am that I didn't get a mascara this month!  There were some months back in the beginning of the year where I hoped that one of my subscription boxes would send mascara, because I was running low, and it seems like since March or April, I've gotten at least one a month!  And now that I've said it, I'm sure I'll never get another...but that's ok, since I love my Mary Kay Ultimate Mascara.

What do you think of Ipsy?

10 October 2014

Goodbye, friend

I know that I've been a little flakey with the blog lately.  I haven't posted much, nor have I looked at other blogs or even gotten on twitter very much.  Things were hectic with the beginning of school, but that is no excuse.  Other teachers blog, I just don't want this to feel like work, too.

But anyway, I just wanted to share a big thing that happened recently as it's been pretty hard for me.  We recently had to make the hard decision to put our older dog, Skipper, to sleep.  He might have been a small, smelly, barky dog, but he was my small, smelly, barky dog.  

He's been on my mind lately, remembering both the good things and bad.  We got new cell phones the other day and I insisted that ALL my pictures and videos be transferred over, no matter how long it took, because there were some pictures of Skip that I didn't want to get rid of....

So, I may post about Luna, our other dog, but I might not.  It's still weird to think that it's only her now.  

13 September 2014

Review: The Luthier's Apprentice

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Yesterday, I had the opportunity to be part of the blog tour introduce The Luthier's Apprentice by Mayra Calvani to the world.  Today, because Royal Street Publishing was kind enough to send me a copy of the book, I'd like to give a brief review.  

(Please see yesterday's post for synopsis, etc).

I really enjoyed the premise of this book---male violinists were disappearing, and apparently had been for centuries.  Little bit of witchcraft, little bit of family drama and mystery.  It was something that I had never really read before.

That being said, I feel like, since it was only 180ish pages long, I didn't get enough backstory and the final wrap-up or explanation at the end was stilted.  I also felt like once we entered the magical realm, the author was like, "What other magical stuff can I add?  Weird violin guards, check.  Deals with the devil, check.  Stopping time, check.  Psychic abilities, which are actually telekinesis, check."  It was too much for me.  

Overall, it was an interesting book, and the premise was different enough to keep me satisfied.  However, I'm not sure if I will read the other books in the series.  

Thank you to Royal Street Publishing for sending me a copy to read.      

12 September 2014

Blog Tour: The Luthier's Apprentice by Mayra Calvani

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ROYAL ST:Logos:LOGO full banner.jpg
Book Synopsis:
Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840), one of the greatest violinists who ever lived and rumored to have made a pact with the devil, has somehow transferred unique powers to another…  

When violinists around the world mysteriously vanish, 16-year-old Emma Braun takes notice.  But when her beloved violin teacher disappears… Emma takes charge. With Sherlock Holmes fanatic, not to mention gorgeous Corey Fletcher, Emma discovers a parallel world ruled by an ex-violinist turned evil sorceress who wants to rule the music world on her own terms. 

But why are only men violinists captured and not women? What is the connection between Emma's family, the sorceress, and the infamous Niccolò Paganini?  

Emma must unravel the mystery in order to save her teacher from the fatal destiny that awaits him.  And undo the curse that torments her family—before evil wins and she becomes the next luthier's apprentice…

Genre: YA Fantasy/Mystery
Tag Line: When a psychopathic violinist starts kidnapping other violinists around the world, 16-year old Emma must hunt her down before her own beloved violin teacher is killed.
Release Date: May 15, 2014 ebook; August 15, 2014 print
Formats Available, e-book, Paperback, Hardback: ebook and paperback
Publisher Information or Self-Published: Twilight Times Books
ISBN Numbers:
*Print ISBN: 978-1-60619-029-6
*eBook ISBN: 978-1-60619-028-9
Prices of Each Format: ebook $2.99, paperback $15.95
 Author Information
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Author Name: Mayra Calvani
Email: mayra.calvani AT gmail DOT com

Thanks to Royal Street Publishing for contacting me about this book and tour, and for sending me a copy of The Luthier's Apprentice to read!  Tomorrow, I'll be posting my review.     

02 September 2014

Review: Planet Kindergarten by Sue Ganz-Schmitt

Planet Kindergarten 
Image and summary from Goodreads:
This clever picture book will prepare young explorers to boldly go where they have never gone before: Planet Kindergarten. Suit up for a daring adventure as our hero navigates the unknown reaches and alien inhabitants of this strange new world. Hilarious and confidence-boosting, this exciting story will have new kindergarteners ready for liftoff!

 This clever picture book helps prepare kiddos for kindergarten--but really, not just kindergarten kiddos, but rather anyone for the first day of school. 

And today, on my first day of school, I'm so happy to share it with you.  

I really enjoyed how every aspect of a school day is explored and explained in astronaut terms.  

Honestly though, it is too hard for my kindergarteners to enjoy and understand, but I think upper grade students (2nd/3rd) would really enjoy it.   
I'd like to thank Chronicle Books for sending me a copy for review.  If you'd like to own your own copy, you can find it on Amazon (here) or your local bookstore.


24 August 2014

Fireworks by Lindsey Gray Trailer Reveal!

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Release Date: June 20th, 2013

Genre: Contemporary Adult Romance

Sophie McKibbin finds herself back in Sam Crawford’s life after

ten years. Unfortunately, Sam is dating Lola, Sophie’s high school

nemesis. Lola dumps Sam the day before he was supposed to

introduce his mystery girlfriend to his family over the Fourth of July

holiday. With the looming fear of disappointing his mother once again

and his long held feelings for Sophie, he asks her to take Lola’s

place. With family feuds, an old flame, and feelings that have been

locked away for a decade, there is bound to be some fireworks.




Barnes & Noble



Trailer URL:

Special thanks to NJ Cole for acting as producer on this project.

Thanks to RE Hargrave, MB Feeney, Ali’s Bookshelf, and Offbeat

Vagabond for taking the time to read and review Fireworks. Your

thoughts make me happy. Last but not least, thanks to the creators

of the perfect song, Happy by Secrets in the Stereo. The first time I

heard the song, I knew it would be perfect for the trailer.

Displaying Lindsey Gray.jpg

About the Author

Lindsey Gray dreamed of being several different things as a child

such as a doctor, an actress, and a chef, but none held her attention

like putting pen to paper and creating her own world through

words.  She has written three full-length novels and one short story

for The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House and is now taking the

self-publishing leap with her novella, "Fireworks".

A mid-west native, Lindsey enjoys spending time with her husband

and two children, reading almost anything she can get her hands on,

and making life interesting at each and every turn.

Find Lindsey






Listen to Lindsey's Radio Show, Gray Matters, Tuesdays at 7pm EST


The TMV Cafe or the TuneIn app.

20 August 2014

{Out of the Box}: August 2014 Ipsy Glam Bag

Out of the Box is a feature I do to showcase and give a brief review of products in the subscription boxes that I receive.

Today's review is of my Ipsy makeup bag for the month.  Ipsy is a service where "each month, subscribers will receive a beautiful Glam Bag with deluxe samples and full-sized beauty products. Members can watch and play along with the stylists with the same products that they are using. All for only $10 a month. "  If you are interested, please click here to use my referral code and help me earn free bags.

This month's theme is "Beauty Schooled", and all the cute little sneak peaks were school themed (they dress their samples up and "pose" them in scenarios that fit the theme).
(image via

I love my glam bags, and Ipsy is probably my favorite subscription box.  The quality of products and variety is pretty great.  My only "complaint" is that their shipping notifications kind of stink.  Last month, I got the bag before I got the email saying it had been shipped!  They also don't post the tracking code online.

This month, I received:

*Dr. Brandt Pores No More Pore Refiner Primer (.25oz)--$40 for 1 oz
     I really liked my Dr. Brandt Microderm abraision scrub I got in a past bag, so I'm sure this will be amazing!  I really like how it made my face matte, rather than dewy.  I know dewy is "the look", but it makes me feel oily.  It seems that a little big goes a long way.

*Urban Decay Perversion Mascara (sample size)--$22 for regular size
     MORE MASCARA!  I finally find a mascara I love (Mary Kay Ultimate Mascara) and since then, I get a mascara from either Ipsy or PopSugar!  That being said, I am excited to try Urban Decay Perversion Mascara.  I really like Urban Decay products, so being able to try it before I buy it is very nice.  This is better than the Be a Bombshell from the June GlamBag, but still, does not compare to my Mary Kay! 

*J.Cat Beauty Flying Solo Eye Shadow in Half Naked (2.5g/0.09oz)--$2.99
    This is a great neutral color.  It looks like a mix of gold and orange, but don't let that scare you, it goes on great and just looks like a nice almost champagne-colored shimmer.  Right now, I'm wearing it alone, but I could see using it as a base or a highlighter 

*Jersey Shore Sun Mongongo Lip Conditioner (regular sized chapstick)--$5.50
     I'm picky with my chapsticks, I hate those that make my lips tingle.  So, time will tell with this one.  I am happy that it's USDA certified organic.  This goes on very nice, doesn't have an overwhelming smell, nor does it make my lips tingle!  WIN!  I used it overtop the Tints and Sass lip and cheek stain from last month and it looks AMAZING! 

*Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk (50mL / 1.06oz)--$19.50 for 3.2 oz
    I'm trying to go "low-poo" (shampoo less, and use sulfate and paraben free shampoo and conditioner), so this will be great on the days I don't wash my hair.  (For a brief period of time, I tried "no-poo" and that just didn't work for me.  I realize I was still in transition and my hair was getting used to it, but unfortunately, I was not.  I felt like a dirty greaseball.)  This does have parabens, so technically, not "no-poo", but if you can't/don't wash one day and you need something, this would be a good go-to, in my opinion!

I'll be honest, when I got my bag, I was a little disappointed as there wasn't anything that was WOW, and the quality of the bag it came in seemed a little cheap, but then when I used the products, I really like all of them.  The bag still seems a little plastic-y and cheap, but I'll take it to school as a pencil bag, put it in my prize box, or use it to hold student iPad earbuds.  Good job, yet again, Ipsy!