Sunday, September 30, 2012

Blog Update!

I have finally finished copying the few specific posts over from my old blog. It wasn't much, maybe ten of them. 5 of them were product reviews that I have done in the last couple months. I am starting new, but I didn't think I should have to completely forget about those. The rest had to do with my 101 challenge. Speaking of, I need to jump on that! A year has already passed and I have only checked off very few things.

Now I can get to what I intended this blog to be. As I'm just getting started, I can't guarantee that I'll post every day, or even every other day. I'm currently reading my first book to review! And I have about 5 more after that. So it shouldn't be to long before I actually have some "book content".

I haven't really started putting myself out there yet. I figured it best to build up some reviews and content before I start linking up anywhere. So if you just happen to stumble upon this blog, that is why I have no "following" yet. I hope that will change soon tho!

I'm really excited to get this going and meet all of the other great bloggers out there! And some authors too!

If you did happen here by chance, say hello! I'd love to hear from you! :)

PRODUCT REVIEW {unreal candy}

EDIT: These images are from my old blog. I can't seem to find the original pictures any longer so I'm unable to change my logo/watermark. Apologies!

I was given the opportunity to try Unreal candy for free through BzzAgent. The following is my own opinions based on my experience trying this product. I am not being paid in any way other than a free candy product.

At first I was skeptical. I mean a lot of healthy or good for you snacks taste like cardboard. I was hesitant to even accept this campaign offer from BzzAgent. But, considering it was my very first offer ever, I figured I probably should take it. Well, I am happy to report that I was wrong. I am now glad that I tried Unreal candy. It was really good! And that means something coming from a girl who doesn't care much for chocolate or sweets. 

Let's just say these are the healthier version of M&Ms. My pictures are a little less than drool worthy. My candy melted before it made it home. I put them in the freezer for a couple hours and well.. I got that. Looks aside, this candy was good. Marc and I split the bag and even he thought that it was pretty awesome. I love the fact that they used natural ingredients for the coloring. (BEETROOT JUICE, TURMERIC ROOT EXTRACT, PURPLE CABBAGE JUICE) Which explains why they aren't bright like M&Ms. All in all, I would definitely buy these again! 

I am and probably will always be a Reese's fan. They are the best. After trying these I still think they are the best. But .. these are good. A really close second. I like that the chocolate doesn't taste funny. I've tried plenty of cheaper versions of peanut butter cups and some of them are pretty disgusting. These are pretty good. I can't say that I'll never eat another Reese's again but I can say that I will eat these too! Again, pictures are not so hot. But the taste was yummy! It's nice to know that you can get the yumminess of a peanut butter cup without all the junk. 

The above photo is Hershey's face while we were eating our candies. It was to cute to not post. He's wishing for a dog friendly version! Overall, I am very impressed with Unreal candies. I suggest you all go out and try some for yourself! You might just be as pleasantly surprised as I was at how good they are!

PRODUCT REVIEW {5 hour energy}

I received 2 bottles of 5 Hour Energy from Smiley360.com for free. I am not being paid to write this post. These are my honest opinions, good or bad, on my own personal experience testing this product. If you are interested in more information on Smiley360, then jump over to there website {here} and sign up for free! You could be testing out products next!
Finding the energy for work and family responsibilities is hard enough. Throw in a second job, go back to school, or simply have a sleepless night and you’re bound to hit the wall. So what do you do when that afternoon lull strikes? Run for more coffee? Grab a soda? But how long does that last before you need a refill? Try this instead – take one 5-hour ENERGY®. It’s the quick, simple way for hard working people to feel alert and energized for hours
The key ingredients in 5-hour ENERGY® are also available in every day foods. It contains zero sugar, zero herbal stimulants, and four calories. It also contains about as much caffeine as a cup of the leading premium coffee.
Believe it or not, this was my first time trying 5 Hour Energy. Of course I've seen these around for years, I've just never had one. I've had other energy drinks in the past and well, I've always thought plain old coffee was more effective. And to be honest, I still do.

The Berry Flavor. The first sip gave me shivers. It didn't really taste that great. But after a couple more sips, it wasn't so bad. I don't think I could handle drinking it if it wasn't a "shot". I decided to try this flavor 5 Hour Energy around mid afternoon. And while I did manage to finish up my house cleaning, I don't believe it was due to this energy boost. I really didn't feel anything. The bottle says, "Feel it in minutes!" I'm not sure what I was supposed to feel, but I didn't notice anything different. But I didn't give up.

10 reasons to try 5-hour ENERGY®:
Groggy mornings
The afternoon lull
Long hours on your feet
Shift work
Long drives
Busy weekends
Action-packed vacations
                      Business travel

The Pomegranate Flavor. This flavor was... not so good. Normally I love pomegranate but mixed with that "energy drink" taste, not so much. I would definitely prefer the berry flavor over this one. As before, I didn't feel much of anything with this one. I think energy drinks are just a lost cause with me. I guess I'll have to stick with my plain ol' coffee.

7 reasons to trust 5-hour ENERGY®:

People choose 5-hour ENERGY® over 9 million times a week

Key ingredients are available in everyday food

Packed with B-vitamins and nutrients

Contains about as much caffeine as a cup of the leading premium coffee
Manufactured and bottled in the USA
Complies with the provisions of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act as regulated by the FDA
5-hour ENERGY® is in its 8th year of helping hard working people feel alert and energized.

So, overall, I'm not that impressed with 5 Hour Energy. But maybe I'm just one of those weird people who doesn't profit from energy boosters. Next time my husband and I take a road trip, I might give this another shot. Maybe in a different situation, it may effect me differently. I always get super sleepy on car rides, so that would be the perfect 2nd test. I have tons of friends that swear by this stuff. I would definitely recommend it to someone who is interesting in finding something to give them a boost! Maybe it will work for you! 

*Visit Smiley360.com to read about their program. For a free signup, you can qualify to test out products and give honest feedback! What are you waiting for?! Go, Go, Go!

PRODUCT REVIEW {sally hansen magnetic nail polish}

I was given the opportunity to try the Sally Hansen Magnetic Nail Color for free. It came inside my Influenster Summer Beauty VoxBox 2012. I was not paid for this review. The following is my honest opinion based on my own experience from using this product.

I think the idea behind the whole magnetic nail polish craze is pretty cool. It's neat to play around with this stuff. I was pretty happy that I received the color Silver Elements. It comes is several other colors, but the silver is most appealing to me. I have used this a few times already and I know it will become a staple in my nail painting.

It is super easy to apply. Just like normal nail polish, you apply one thin coat and let it completely dry. Then you go back and, one finger at a time, apply a thick coat. Immediately place the magnet (which is found on top of the lid) over your nail for 10 seconds. I found that it helps to kind of roll it side to side. This way the design isn't just in the middle of your nail, but all over. It's a little tricky at first to do this without touching your nail and messing up the color. It didn't take long to get the hang of it tho.

It's a nice, thick polish. It goes on really smooth. No clumping, or brush strokes. I am totally impressed with this product Sally Hansen! I do think that $10 is a little steep for nail color but given how this stands out from normal polish, I'd say it's worth it.

I can see myself using this all the time. I especially like the idea of making this your accent nail design. 4 clean, simple colored nails and then 1 really snazzy nail. The ideas are endless!

PRODUCT REVIEW {hawaiian tropic silk hydration lotion}

With its ultra-luxurious hydrating silk ribbons, Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration™ lotion sunscreen nourishes and pampers skin while providing broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection, and 12-hour moisturization when out in the sun. Also available in SPF 12, 30, 50! You can find Hawaiian Tropic products at most major retailers.
Suggested retail price: $8.99 for a 6oz bottle. (taken from the Influenster Product Review page)

I received the Summer Beauty VoxBox a few weeks ago. Inside was a trial size of the Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Lotion/Sunscreen. Influenster is a free service that sends out sample boxes of products for you to try out and review. If you are interested in signing up yourself, then click here! It's absolutely free! 

I haven't been able to use this product as much as I'd love to because it seems as tho we've had rain for weeks now. But from what I have gotten to try, I love. This stuff is seriously so, so good! Let me break it down a little bit:

The Protection: I am a super pale skinned person. I burn easily and it seems that I hardly keep any color. I tend to stay away from sunscreens, just because I haven't found one that I like yet. Yes, I'd rather burn than wear something on my skin that feels kinda icky. But, no more. This is amazing SPF protection without all that heavy feeling. And with it being available in 3 different SPF's, there's the perfect protection for every skin type!

The feeling: The ribbons of lotion in this stuff is awesome. It truly feels like your putting on lotion. It's moisturizing and creamy. It leaves your skin feeling hydrated and soft, not greasy. Honestly, I almost want to just switch out my normal lotion with this! It's that good!

The scent: Smells like summer. I am a huge fan of fruity scents. This one has a blend of coconut and floral. I'm not a lover of floral scents, but this blends so nicely with the coconut. If they could bottle this scent into a body spray, my summer would be complete!

So, my overall opinion of the Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration is fantastic. If you haven't gotten to try this product yet, do it! Go out right now and get some! You won't be sorry, I swear it! Bring on the sun!

PRODUCT REVIEW {neosporin eczema essentials}

 First, let me start off by saying that I was not paid for this review. I was sent a free trial pack bySmiley360 for me to try out and share my opinions. The following are my honest thoughts on this product from my own personal experience, good or bad. If you would like to know more about Smiley360 and how you can get your own missions to test out products, then read my previous post here. Ok, let's get to it.

The first item is the Neosporin Daily Body Wash. I have been using this for the past week and while I do really like it, there is one thing I don't like. After using this, I have that "squeaky" feeling on my skin. Does that make sense? It only lasts for maybe 10 minutes after my shower, but that is one of my worst feelings. I tend to stay away from body washes that give me that sensation. I do, however, really love the fact that this is unscented. It is also very moisturizing. It has a thin, creamy feeling when your lathering it on. I do notice that my skin feels much softer since I've started using this. I'm not sure if I will continue to use this regularly, just because of the squeak. But I definitely recommend this product for anyone who loves a good moisturizing body wash! (I would give this 3 stars!) 

Next up is the Neosporin Daily Moisturizing Cream. Love, Love, Love! This is good stuff. It is a thick, creamy lotion that really locks in the moisture. I've used this all over, but especially on my feet where my skin gets the driest. I really lathered it on and then put some socks on before bed at night. It is ridiculous the difference it has made on my heels! And we all know that is a must for the summer. Who wants dry, cracked heels showing in your cute flip flops?! Recently, I managed to get major sunburn on my chest and shoulders. Before receiving this, I used another type of lotion in the hopes that I wouldn't start to peel. No such luck. Once I had this guy, I started using it where I was peeling... Amazing. At first there was a slight sting, probably from the fresh new skin, but it really helped! Instead of looking like a scaly lizard, it took it all away! Just for this fact alone, I will definitely be putting this on my summer must haves! (I would give this 5 stars!) 

Finally we have the Neosporin Moisturizing Anti-Itch Cream. Honestly, I have yet to use this one. I just haven't had a dry, itchy spot to test it out on yet. I do frequently get dry spots that look sort of like a round ring on my skin. The first few times this happened, I had crazy panic attacks that I had ringworm. LOL. Yes, I'm one of those people. Finally, with much convincing, my husband made me see that it was just dry skin. I know it won't be long before another one of these "spots" pops up again and this time I will be ready! I can't wait to try this out because nothing I've used before has helped. (I would give this no stars, but hopefully that will change soon!)

Now, after reading all that, if you are dying to try one (or all!) of these products out, I have something to share with you. Neosporin is offering a $3 off coupon for anyone who wants to purchase these products. All you have to do is CLICK HERE and download the coupon and print it out! Easy Peazy. You can also sign up through that same link to receive emails on future offers, news and skin advice! Also, don't forget to check out Smiley360 and join in on the fun. Soon you could be the one testing out a new product!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

101 CHALLENGE {16. get a new cell phone}

EDIT: HinWblog was my old blog. I don't seem to have these original pictures any longer so I can't update my logo.

I actually got this phone for my birthday back in January. Yeah, I'm a little behind on updating my list. But #16 on my 101in1001 list was to get a new phone. I can now check that one off! I got the HTC Inspire 4G from ATT. I love it. This is my first smartphone and I couldn't be more addicted. The one thing I love most about this phone is that the camera is 8mp. That is equal to my digital Samsung camera. Plus with the auto focus and settings, it works much, much better! M has had an iphone and now an atrix, so I've played with smartphones for years, just never had one of my own. I have officially joined the bandwagon.

I know. There's nothing to exciting about this post. Just me updating my list a bit. So I thought that maybe I'd share some of my favorite apps with you! If you guys have any of these as well, feel free to follow me/add me!

  • INSTAGRAM - I am obsessed with IG. I use it multiple times a day. My user name is: hollyinwonderland. I'm always looking for new friends to follow!
  • RELAX & SLEEP - This one I downloaded a while ago but just recently started to use it. It has a list of sounds (a LOT of sounds) that you can play at night as your falling asleep. I'm one of those people who can't sleep if it's too quiet. It has a timer on it, so that after a certain time it will shut itself off. I use this every single night now!
  • DRAW SOMETHING - Super fun! I don't play as much as I used to. I tend to go through phases where I'll play something obsessively for a while and then not touch it for a while. I usually log into this through my facebook account, but I believe my username is hollymade if you want to play me!
  • AIR HID - M and I both have this one. It allows us to be even more lazy! :) We hook our laptop up to the television almost daily, so that we can watch our tv shows on a bigger screen. Well this lets you have a mouse on your phone. So you don't have to get up and walk over to the computer to change something. You also have to download an app for your computer, but it's free and we love it!
I've tried multiple photo editing apps and camera's but just recently went through and deleted almost all of them. I'll try to do another post sometime if I find some more apps that I just can't live without! Do you have a favorite app? Let me know so I can check it out!

101 CHALLENGE {12. cut my hair short}

About a week ago I got my hair cut. Normally, not a big deal. Except this time I got 12 inches chopped off! Kind of a big deal. (yes, I donated it!) For the past, uh forever, I've had really bad headaches. My mom insisted if I cut my hair it would help. I always thought since my hair is so thin and fine that it wouldn't. Well it's been over a week and I haven't had one headache. I hate admitting my mother was right! I figured I'd show a little before and after. The best before picture I could find was from my wedding. And the new ones I snapped with my phone so they aren't the best quality, but it shows what it needs to show.


With a little curl!

Without a little curl!

I have no idea what kind of disease is under my eye in this one. 

I love it. It's so much easier to brush, wash, style. And going from having a borderline migraine about 4 days a week to having none is amazing! Also, the sweater came from Belk and I wear it with everything. Seriously.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

101 CHALLENGE {#4. Get a Pool}

I have finally started realizing that I've been neglecting my 101 things challenge. I scanned through the list a week or so ago and noticed that I could actually mark some things off! I have got to buckle down! I wanted to have a coordinating post to go with each task that is completed. So the first thing going down the list is #4. Get a pool for the backyard.

We got extremely luck at the end of last summer. Marc was surfing CraigsList like normal and noticed an add for a free pool. "If you come take it apart and move it, you can have it." So of course he emailed the guy. Someone beat us to it and was supposed to come get it that weekend. We gave up hope. No use in building yourself up over something that isn't going to happen. So we moved on. Two weeks later, out of the blue, Marc gets an email. The guy who beat us never showed up to claim the pool so it was now ours if we still wanted it. Um, of course! We loaded up my dad's trailer the next day and went and got that pool! It was a slow process cleaning up the backyard to prepare for it. The day after Thanksgiving we rented a small excavator and Marc dug out a level surface. Bought some cement blocks for all the poles to stand on and filled it all in with sand.

The putting up of the pool was the issue. Marc's friend C came out to help. There were several mishaps. We laughed, Marc cussed, we laughed some more. Finally we got the outer wall up. Once we tried to put in the liner, more mishaps. Turns out once a liner has been drained, it shrinks and can never be used again. No one told us this. So $400 later, we have a new liner. Then we filled and filled and filled with water. Then the pump, oh the pump. It didn't work right. We had to replace the top mechanism thngy. So $100 later, we have a working pump. Now it's up and running and we love it. The water is still a little chilly, but it's getting there. We've also started expanding our deck to reach half way around the pool. I can't wait to spend long summer days outside, relaxing by the pool! And for the $500 or so dollars we did have to put into this thing, we still got a heck of a deal! (Did I mention it's 27 feet round and 52" high?)

Fresh and Clean..

First post. Fresh start. I'm not new to blogging. Years ago, on LiveJournal, I found my love of writing. I'm not a professional by any means. I had another blog that I've used for the last couple of years. In that time, I hadn't posted regularly or really even built up a very big following. But I found that I was getting all mixed up in the things I wanted to blog about. I am a lover of many things but there are 3 things that stand out to me more than others. Books, Product Reviews & Crafting.

I know that the normal is to have a "niche" for your blog and you stick to that specific thing. Well, I'm breaking the mold. I want to write about all 3, so that's what I'm going to do. In this blog you will find book reviews, product reviews and the progress on our home remodeling. I'm way to flaky to keep up with multiple blogs so why not combine them? If you can handle the mash-up then I'm happy to have you!

I'm new to book blogging. The next few weeks (months) I will work on building up some content. Bear with me. I currently have 7 books that I've received to review. After those are posted, I will start adding some random books that I've recently read.

I love to review products. The last few months I've joined several sites that send you out products to review. Once again, I'm just getting started in this as well. I also really enjoy getting freebies and samples in the mail. On my old blog I had a "freebie friday" post to share the things I've received during the week. I may continue that here. Or I may only post these on my Facebook page. I haven't decided how to share these yet. Ideas?

As for the home remodeling, I just want a place to document our progress and all the projects that we complete. About 5 years ago, my husband and I bought a mobile home. We are working on improving our credit (so a house wasn't an option) and we didn't want to rent an apartment. So we went the mobile home route. So far we are installing hardwood floors, completely remodeling our kitchen and repainting. I'd love for you all to follow along with our process!

I have plans to open an online shop in the future. I love to sew, paint and refurbish old, ugly things. Once this happens, you can expect some posts on this too. :)

For those of you who've stumbled upon my new blog, Welcome! I hope that you choose to stick around. I'd love to hear from you as well. Tips, ideas and feedback are invited.

EDIT: I'm currently in the process of transferring a few select posts from my old blog to this one. Bear with me if a couple links are wonky for a while. While I want a fresh start, a few of my old posts correspond with my 101 challenge. Aside from that and a few product reviews, all content on this blog will be fresh and new!

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