Daily Goodie Box · Free Samples · Friday Fun · Unboxing · Uncategorized

Unboxing my Daily Goodie Box

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I love free samples! I mean, who doesn’t? Am I right?

 

Besides the whole “it’s free factor”, I really enjoy learning about and trying new products before purchasing them.

Money can be tight for me, so I want to know I’m going to love a product before spending hard earned cash on it. I”m sure many of you can relate.

 

So when Daily Goodie Box was looking for bloggers to receive a Goodie Box and write a blog post about it, I jumped at the chance. I’ve already tried and reviewed products from them with my personal account. I’m super excited to share this month’s unboxing with you!

 

 

Daily Goodie Box sends out boxes of free samples to it’s members for them to review. The products can be samples sized or even full sized. Let me be clear: shipping is free, no credit card required, and it’s very easy to sign up.

 

Each month there are different products to try out and review. I received October’s Box. These are all the samples I received and my thoughts about them!

 

* I have various food intolerances, so for some of the food products I had someone else in my household try them. A blogger with a tummy ache is not a happy blogger. For transparency purposes, I will indicate which products I personally didn’t try and the other person’s thoughts.

 

Susan Brown’s Baby – Foaming Shampoo

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Since there aren’t any babies in the household, I tried it out myself. Taking one for the team! It’s super easy to use, definitely smells like typical baby shampoo, gentle, and leaves my hair feeling really soft. It seems like it would be really good for babies or toddlers. 

 

Nightfood – Midnight Chocolate Crunch Bars

My dad tried it and enjoyed the taste. I like the concept: a healthier version of a typically super processed junk food chocolate bar. The product would be great for people who want to indulge and satisfy their cravings but still be mindful of their healthy eating habits. 

 

Ethical Bean – Classic Medium Roast

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It smells amazing! If it was decaf I could have tried it, but I keep smelling it. Oh my goodness, yum!!!

 

Gear Beast – Universal Smartphone Wallet

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Such a cool concept for people on the go who don’t want to carry around a lot of extra items. Just your smartphone, a few credit cards, ID, and cash. Total honesty: I didn’t try it out on my phone since it’s over 4 years old. I was afraid that if I took off my current phone case I might not be able to get it back on without breaking. 

 

Coral LLC – Coral White Toothpaste Tea Tree

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It’s different than traditional toothpaste. I tend to stick with the traditional toothpaste, because I haven’t found a natural one that I really love. I can definitely taste the cinnamon and tea tree oils in it, which isn’t bad but takes some getting used to. The coral gives it a bit of a different feel, which I think might whiten my teeth nicely. I haven’t used it enough to know for sure, but fingers crossed. 

 

Pure Chimp – Matcha Green Tea

I’ve never tried matcha before, but I really like green tea so I was super excited to try it. I loved it! And have been drinking it every morning since then. The smell is a little strong, but the taste is smooth and delicious. 

 

Chosen Foods – Vegan Mayo on the Go

I’ve never tried vegan mayo before, so it was another new experience for me. Fairly good taste though. 

 

Karma Nuts – Peri Peri Roasted Cashews

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My dad tried these and enjoyed them. A bit spicy for him, but he does not like spicy food at all. A great healthy protein packed snack with a ton of flavor.

 

Veroni – Iron Energy

No one I know drinks energy drinks, so I couldn’t test out this product. Too much caffeine for me! But it seems like a fairly standard energy drink.

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I had so much fun trying and reviewing these products. I even discovered that I definitely love matcha! Who knew?

 

If you like a product, click on the link for more information. Maybe you’ll find something you like as much as I did. 

Also if you want to try and review products like me, sign up for Daily Goodie Box and start sampling!

 

And remember,

Daily Goodie Box

It’s more than just Free Samples!

DailyGoodieBox.com

 

* This post is not sponsored. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review. I did receive a free Goodie Box for the purposes of reviewing the products for this blog post. I do not receive any financial compensation if you click on the links. They’re simply so you can get more information on products that may interest you.

3 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · memoir · non fiction · Self Help

New Release | A Year of Living Kindly by Donna Cameron

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A Year of Living Kindly by Donna Cameron

Published: September 25, 2018

Publisher: She Writes Press

Pages: 256

Genres: self help, non fiction, memoir

Rating: 3 stars

Recommend to fans of: ways to be kinder to others, other people’s inspirational journeys, improving society as a whole

Foodie Vibes: homemade chocolate chip cookies and conversation to share with a neighbor

 

Synopsis:

Being kind is something most of us do when it’s easy and when it suits us. Being kind when we don’t feel like it, or when all of our buttons are being pushed, is hard. But that’s also when it’s most needed; that’s when it can defuse anger and even violence, when it can restore civility in our personal and virtual interactions. Kindness has the power to profoundly change our relationships with other people and with ourselves. It can, in fact, change the world.

In A Year of Living Kindly—using stories, observation, humor, and summaries of expert research—Donna Cameron shares her experience committing to 365 days of practicing kindness. She presents compelling research into the myriad benefits of kindness, including health, wealth, longevity, improved relationships, and personal and business success. She explores what a kind life entails, and what gets in the way of it. And she provides practical and experiential suggestions for how each of us can strengthen our kindness muscle so choosing a life of kindness becomes ever easier and more natural. An inspiring, practical guide that can help any reader make a commitment to kindness, A Year of Living Kindly shines a light on how we can create a better, safer, and more just world—and how you can be part of that transformation.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, She Writes Press and Donna Cameron for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Donna Cameron set off on a year long commitment to live more kindly. After realizing she was consistently nice but not always kind, she wanted to change that behavior within herself. First she started a blog about her journey and then she wrote this book.

To clarify, nice is benign, easy, passive, safe. Kind is going above and beyond to truly connect with another person on a human level, even if only for a few minutes.

I enjoyed the book and overall concept. We definitely need more kindness in the world. There were many examples of ways to be kind in all areas of life. If one doesn’t know where to start, it’s easy to take the author’s examples and mimic them until you find your own way. She inspired me to jot down little quotes or encouragement on post its to leave for family and friends, to make sure they know they are seen and appreciated. I definitely wouldn’t have done this if not for reading the book. I also liked the benefits listed for living more kindly. I wrote down a lot of relevant information for myself. 

However, I wish there was a bigger focus on kindness to oneself. She states it’s the most important type of kindness, but doesn’t focus on it much. Also there are many chapters about kindness and raising children. For someone who doesn’t have kids, this isn’t particularly relevant. 

A Year of Living Kindly is good but has a lot of information to take in. Perhaps a book to reread and possibly even discuss in a book club if you participate in one. 

 

How can you act kindly today?

Share your ideas in the comments, to help give others some great ideas!

3.5 Star Books · Book Reviews · contemporary romance · romance

ARC Review | Challenging the Doctor by Patricia Fischer

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Challenging the Doctor by Patricia Fischer

Published: September 6, 2018

Publisher: Tule Publishing

Pages: 224

Genres: contemporary romance, romance

Recommend to fans of: medical romances, the author Candace Calvert, contemporary romance, happily ever afters

Foodie Vibes: homemade chocolate delicacies from the local shop

 

Synopsis:

After a near-career ending event, ER doctor Edmund Davidson relocates to Marietta, Montana, hoping it’s the fresh start he needs. Edmund settles in quickly to life in a small town and thrives in his role as the new ER doc. He especially enjoys sparing with the gorgeous, smart, and headstrong nurse practitioner. Jade intrigues him like no women he’s ever met, but he can’t help feel that she’s burdened by a dark secret.

Jade Phillips wants to reboot her life after losing out on a promotion to head the ER to a newcomer, Edmund’s sister, Lucy. As Jade attempts to focus on selling her father’s place and close a painful chapter of her life, she discovers evidence of a dark secret. Jade finds herself in trapped between family loyalty and personal devastation. She knows her attraction to Edmund and her secrets could put them both in jeopardy, but when Edmund saves her brother’s life, she realizes she has to trust someone.

Edmund soon realizes he’s emotionally in too deep with Jade. He wants to protect her, but he’s professionally on thin ice already. If he doesn’t reveal her secret, their separate pasts can destroy both of their careers. But can he betray the woman he loves to protect himself? Or will he risk it all, even his heart?

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGaley, Tule Publishing and Patricia Fischer for an ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

My actual rating is 3.5 stars, but since there aren’t half star ratings I always round up.

Challenging the Doctor is a contemporary romance set in a small town with a medical backdrop. Medical books, romance or not, are always a hit with me, so add in the feel good romance with a happily ever after. That’s going to make me a happy lady.

Edmund is the main love interest. He’s new to town, a doctor, and an honest to goodness good guy. The romance is also quite steamy. A perfect mix of passion and sweetness.

The medical settings and small town vibe also add to the appeal. The upscale diner food sounds amazing. The vibe is a bit like Candace Calvert’s books except more sexy times and less religion. Bonus points for Fred the dog, who is so dang cute? Also Edmund has social anxiety, so that’s some nice representation. It would have been better if they went more in depth in his struggles. However, it’s a romance novel, so I get why it wasn’t a main focus.

The let downs in the book include the classic eye rolling line about how most women aren’t like her. Problematic for so many reasons that I’m not going to go into right now. Also some of the other tropes felt a little old and overused. Fro example her in trouble with the law brother to stir up drama. But yet the guy likes her anyways, despite her worries.

Overall, an enjoyable read that’s perfect for taking your mind off the stresses of life.

 

Which setting is your favorite for a romance novel?

4 Star Books · biology · Book Reviews · non fiction · psychology

The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in the Brain Drives Love, Sex and Creativity – – and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race by Daniel Z. Lieberman, Michael E. Long

 

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The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in the Brain Drives Love, Sex and Creativity – – and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race by Daniel Z. Lieberman, Michael E. Long

Published: August 14, 2018

Publisher: BenBella Books

Pages: 240

Genres: non fiction, biology, psychology

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: learning about psychology and biology, figuring out how things work, human behavior

Foodie Vibes: chocolate to light up those dopamine centers in your brain

 

Synopsis: 

Why are we obsessed with the things we want only to be bored when we get them?

Why is addiction perfectly logical to an addict?

Why does love change so quickly from passion to indifference?

Why are some people die-hard liberals and others hardcore conservatives?

Why are we always hopeful for solutions even in the darkest times—and so good at figuring them out?

The answer is found in a single chemical in your brain: dopamine. Dopamine ensured the survival of early man. Thousands of years later, it is the source of our most basic behaviors and cultural ideas—and progress itself.

Dopamine is the chemical of desire that always asks for more—more stuff, more stimulation, and more surprises. In pursuit of these things, it is undeterred by emotion, fear, or morality. Dopamine is the source of our every urge, that little bit of biology that makes an ambitious business professional sacrifice everything in pursuit of success, or that drives a satisfied spouse to risk it all for the thrill of someone new. Simply put, it is why we seek and succeed; it is why we discover and prosper. Yet, at the same time, it’s why we gamble and squander.

From dopamine’s point of view, it’s not the having that matters. It’s getting something—anything—that’s new. From this understanding—the difference between possessing something versus anticipating it—we can understand in a revolutionary new way why we behave as we do in love, business, addiction, politics, religion—and we can even predict those behaviors in ourselves and others.

In The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity—and will Determine the Fate of the Human Race, George Washington University professor and psychiatrist Daniel Z. Lieberman, MD, and Georgetown University lecturer Michael E. Long present a potentially life-changing proposal: Much of human life has an unconsidered component that explains an array of behaviors previously thought to be unrelated, including why winners cheat, why geniuses often suffer with mental illness, why nearly all diets fail, and why the brains of liberals and conservatives really are different.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, BenBella Books, Daniel Z. Lieberman and Michael E. Long for an ebook copy for review. As always, an honest review from me.

I learned so much from this book. It was absolutely fascinating!

We’ve all heard about dopamine. It interacts with the reward centers in the brain and explains why we keep seeking more and more. Even when we’re already happy. I learned even more about dopamine and the role it plays in so many more experience than I realized. From solving problems and dreaming, struggles in relationships, political affiliations, and even from an evolutionary standpoint.

The beginning was more an explanation of how dopamine functions and the role in the brain. It was a necessary foundation, but not particularly fascinating. The rest of the chapters were much more interesting. However I didn’t completely agree with everything. Neurotransmitters definitely play a role in human behavior. The studies even prove it. But there is some element of human choice that the book doesn’t discuss. We’re human beings and not just a bunch of chemicals and electrical activity.

Overall, a fascinating look at the role dopamine has on human behavior. Learned a lot and even found myself stopping to read aloud interesting passages to the people around me. 

 

Who else likes to read about psychology?

What are your fav

4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · contemporary romance · mystery

ARC Book Review | Ghosted by Rosie Walsh

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Shoutout to my wonderful mom who grows these gorgeous flowers featured in the photo. Thanks Mom!

 

Ghosted by Rosie Walsh

Published: July 24, 2018

Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books

Pages: 352

Genres: contemporary fiction, contemporary romance, mystery

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: contemporary romance with a twist, complicated characters

Read with food: chocolate cake and tea

 

Synopsis: 

Seven perfect days. Then he disappeared. A love story with a secret at its heart.

When Sarah meets Eddie, they connect instantly and fall in love. To Sarah, it seems as though her life has finally begun. And it’s mutual: It’s as though Eddie has been waiting for her, too. Sarah has never been so certain of anything. So when Eddie leaves for a long-booked vacation and promises to call from the airport, she has no cause to doubt him. But he doesn’t call.

Sarah’s friends tell her to forget about him, but she can’t. She knows something’s happened–there must be an explanation.

Minutes, days, weeks go by as Sarah becomes increasingly worried. But then she discovers she’s right. There is a reason for Eddie’s disappearance, and it’s the one thing they didn’t share with each other: the truth.

Review:

I won this book for free through a Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to the author and publisher as well. As always, an honest review.

I was a bit unsure about Ghosted before I started reading. Contemporary romance books have to wow me for me to enjoy them. And wow me, it did!

Sarah and Eddie meet along a countryside road one day, immediately feel a spark, and spend the next week together. They know they have something special. Eddie goes off on his previously planned vacation. Sarah never hears from him again. And this is where the mystery begins.

The premise drew me in and captivated my attention throughout the entire read. As with many contemporary novels, it was a quick, easy and enjoyable read. Ghosted brought up so many relatable questions. Do you trust your heart? Your instincts? What other people are telling you? Logic and reasoning? Or hold out for hope that the best will happen?

I really liked that a lot of the writing was in the form of letters – both formal and informal. Eddie writing to Sarah. Sarah writing to Eddie. Both of them writing to other people. Except, most of the letters go unread or at least without a response. The unsent letters form a sort of journal of their mental processes through all of this. The writing style works really well and is quite enjoyable to read.
I can’t say too much more without spoiling the book. I will say this, when you get to a certain unforeseen twist, everything will make perfect sense.

There was very little I didn’t enjoy. However when Sarah was moping around about missing Eddie, it became a bit redundant and annoying at times.

Ghosted has a little something for everyone. Romance, heartbreak, hardship, caregiving, and mystery. Give it a read!

 

Random Question of the Review:

Where’s your favorite place to read?

3.5 Star Books · Book Reviews · Chick Lit · contemporary fiction · fiction · Uncategorized · Women's Fiction

Book Review: The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty

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The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty

Published by Penguin Adult HC/TR on June 14, 2012

Pages: 432

Genres: contemporary fiction, chick lit, fiction

Recommend to fans of: Liane Moriarty, chick lit

Read with food: chocolates ~ lots of them in assorted flavors

 

Synopsis: 

From the author of critically acclaimed What Alice Forgot comes a wonderfully fun, insightful novel about the crazy things we do for love.

Ellen O’Farrell is a bit unusual. She’s a hypnotherapist. She’s never met her father. And she can’t seem to keep a relationship going (okay, that’s more normal that we want to admit). When Ellen meets Patrick, she’s hopeful nevertheless. But when he says he needs to tell her something, she fears the worst. However, when Patrick reveals that his ex-girlfriend is stalking him, Ellen thinks, Is that all? Actually, that’s kind of neat. She’s more intrigued than frightened. What makes a supposedly smart, professional woman behave this way? She’d love to meet her. What she doesn’t know is that she already has.

Review:

After reading some of Liane Moriarty’s other best selling novels such as Big Little Lies and the Husband’s Secret, I was expecting another phenomenal read. However, I was a bit disappointed.

Ellen and Patrick are a couple. Patrick used to go out with Saskia, and now Saskia is stalking Patrick. Ellen is a hypnotist, who has a client named Deborah. Deborah and Saskia are the same person. The premise was intriguing enough to make me read the book and keep me interested overall. There were parts of the story that slowed for a bit and became almost boring, but then something dramatic would happen to make me forget all about it. 

For a book about a stalker, it was not scary or what I would consider a psychological thriller. Saskia just seemed sad and a bit pathetic. As with all of Liane Moriarty’s books, the focus is on the romantic and family relationships. I’m glad I read The Hypnotist’s Love Story, but if you’re new to Liane Moriarty’s books, might I suggest starting with a different one?

 

For fans of Liane Moriarty:

What’s your favorite book of hers?