25 April 2014

Book Review: I Dated This Guy Once...

I was given the opportunity to review I Dated This guy Once... by Toni Rae through the website 20 Something Bloggers.  Here is a synopsis of the book:

In a book that is part-Eat, Pray, Love and part-Sex and the City, once young woman takes readers on her adventures in 21st century dating and shares all that she has learned along the way with plenty of laughter, wisdom, and points to ponder for the modern woman. 
After being laid-off from her job for the third time, Toni Rae found herself with a lot of extra time on her hands. Hungry for a new environment and potential adventures, she accepted a position teaching English in South Korea. Sitting by the ocean, thousands of miles away from all that she knew and loved, and with eight years’ worth of memorable dating experiences to her name, she began to write about these past relationships, and every inch of heartache and joy she had experienced, since the age of 18. The result is the wise, heart-warming and ever-so-relatable book, I Dated This Guy Once…., a story of life, love, traveling and spirituality, from a woman who has been through it all.

I wanted to like this book.  I really did.  I enjoy reading about others' life experiences, which is why I like to read blogs and lifestyle magazines, and why I blog myself.  But even more than the importance of the content I am reading is the quality of the writing itself.  Toni Rae's writing style in I Dated This Guy Once... did not work for me.  Her writing style was too colloquial for book; it would be better off read as a blog, and in short increments at a time.  In short, while I was amused by the stories she was telling, I didn't have any reason to care about reading hundreds of pages of them all at once.

However, the individual stories themselves, or "episodes" as they are referred to in the book, were entertaining.  Any young adult can see pieces of herself in the stories of others, so even though I could not relate on the relationship front, I did relate to the messages the stories tried to convey- the trying to figure out who you are, the desire for freedom but also some stability...those are all things young adults are trying to figure out, so those aspects resonated with me.

I think that for anyone who is thinking of reading I Dated This Guy Once... should plan to read it in short bursts and not sit down expecting to finish it in a couple of days like I tried to.  That being said, the messages were ones that any young adult can relate to and so I would recommend this book to other young women who enjoy reading lifestyle blogs or the like in general.  For more information, visit the book's website!

FTC Disclaimer:  I received this book for free in exchange for my review.  All opinions expressed are my own, and not influenced in any way by the author or the receipt of the item for free.

14 April 2014

Book Review~ Falling Into Place: A Memoir of Overcoming

I was privileged to receive a copy of Falling into Place:  A Memoir of Overcoming, by Hattie Kauffman, for review.  It was released in paperback on April 1, 2014.  Hattie Kauffman was the first Native American to file a report on a national evening news broadcast, and went on to be a news anchor for ABC and the CBS.  She wrote this book while dealing with the emotions of going through a divorce, and explores how those feelings mirror ones she felt as a child, growing up poor and frightened and hungry.  The book is told in alternating passages from Hattie's childhood and her present day life.  Each chapter explores one theme or emotion, and the passages from each portion of her life reflect the parallels she sees.  These themes include reconciliation, home, overcoming, divorce, and faith.

Faith was a very prominent theme in this book, as through her divorce, Hattie explores religion and ultimately becomes a Christian.  Although it took her until late in life to really explore religion, there still were parallels with her childhood as she had an aunt who tried to teach her about Christianity.  While I found her story and journey interesting, this aspect of the book was also one that I had the most problem with.  The way that religion is written into the book increases dramatically at one point, and I had trouble following the story through all of the specifically religious things that punctuated (and ultimately overwhelmed) the text.  My perspective on this is as a non-Christian who is interested in learning about other religions; that is why I accepted this book for review.  But ultimately I felt as though this book was directed only at other Christians, and not at a broad audience like I was expecting.

Hattie does have a very interesting story and I think that certain parts of it will resonate with nearly any reader.  For example, the early part of her faith journey is something that I can relate to:  the sense of exploration and questions and discovery.  But there are so many components to her life that anyone can find something in this text that they also have experienced, whether it be family instability, divorce, friendships, hunger, or something else.  Hattie has not had an easy life- and that makes for both a compelling read, and a story that is very relatable.

Overall, I would say that the book is very well structured and written, but the content may turn off some readers who are not Christian due to the sheer amount of religious texts and analogies that are a large part of the last third of the book.

FTC Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher.  All opinions expressed are my own, and have not been influenced in any way.

03 January 2014

Influenster Jolly Vox Box review

I was lucky enough to receive the Jolly Vox Box from Influenster!

Let's start from the beginning, in case you didn't understand that sentence ;-)  Jolly Vox Box?  Influenster?

Influenster is a fantastic website that allows users to share their opinion on products and brands that they use every day.  You can find out more here.  One of their trademarks is the Vox Box, which is a complementary (yes, free!) box of items- or sometimes, just one item- that they send to users to sample and review.  Often, the boxes are themed, so all of the products will relate to a holiday (such as Christmas or Valentine's Day), or a particular group of people (such as Moms or college students), or even other creative themes.  The Jolly Vox Box, as you might now imagine, was their winter holiday/Christmas-themed box and I am so happy to have received it because there were many great products inside that I'm sure will now always be found in my apartment.

If this has intrigued you, check out the Influenster site.  If you decide to join, come back here and comment or e-mail me with your e-mail address, and I will send you an invite!  I have 5 invites available, first come first served.  :)

The following products were in the Jolly Vox Box:
  • Rimmel London Show Off Lip Lacquer, in 101 Celestial
  • NYC New York Color HD Color Trio Eye Shadow, in 781 Long Beach Sands
  • Ducklings Mini Rolls, in Paint Splatter
  • Puffs To Go
  • Skinny Cow Candy, Divine Filled Chocolates in Peanut Butter Creme
I'll review each of them separately below.  The headers link to a product page on each item, where you can find out more about availability, pricing, and other colors/designs/flavors available for each item.

Rimmel London Show Off Lip Lacquer, in 101 Celestial

This is a fairly bright pink colored lip color.  As Rimmel states, it's a cross between a lip gloss and a lipstick as the color is much more intense than a lip gloss would be, but the shine of the product is much closer to a lip gloss.  I didn't need much to achieve the look I wanted.  I wear makeup often but don't like it to be overwhelming, and one swipe noticeably colored my lips.  That being said, the color is great and long-lasting!  I've worn it twice so far- once for New Year's Eve and once on just a regular day- and I've been happy with it both times.  It's definitely a versatile product for any day use.

NYC New York Color HD Color Trio Eye Shadow, in 781 Long Beach Sands

To be honest, I had much higher hopes for this product than what was delivered.  I have brown eyes so all of my eyeshadows are in either the purple or brown/golden color families.  The Long Beach Sands palate contains a nude/pinkish shadow, a medium brown shadow, and a light brown shadow- colors that are close to what I typically wear.  However, these colors were not nearly as intense as I had hoped for and even after applying copious amounts of eye shadow, it was difficult to tell that I had applied any!  My skin is pretty fair, so this was somewhat of an accomplishment- though obviously not what I had hoped for.  I may continue to wear this eyeshadow on days when I want a light makeup application, but overall I'll probably stick to my usual eyeshadows instead of buying this again.

Ducklings Mini Rolls, in Paint Splatter

I haven't really tried this product yet, because I'm waiting to figure out exactly what to use it for.  That being said, I love the pattern of the tape I got.  It's cute and fun and as soon as I decide what I want to make or decorate with it, I will.  (I'm open to suggestions!)  I'm also sure that my little sister, who is super crafty, would love these and with her birthday coming up at the end of the month, I think a few Ducklings Mini Rolls would be a perfect component of her birthday present!  This product would be great for any crafty person.  For students who are looking to spice up their locker, notebooks, or backpack, I think this product would do a great job.  There are lots of designs to choose from!

Puffs To Go

I have a perpetual runny nose this winter (luckily it hasn't turned into a full-blown cold yet) and I've been carrying tissues with me everywhere!  Before I got these Puffs To Go, I'd just been folding up some tissues from a larger box and stuffing them into my purse, but that's always a pain because they get dusty or ripped or stuck in the zipper.  Also, I'm not brand-conscious about many things, but I am about tissues- I always use Puffs.  So I was very very happy to discover that this product combined two things that are important to me:  portability, and Puffs. There are only 10 tissues in each pack, which is the only downside to me, but I still plan on stocking up on more Puffs To Go the next time I'm at the store.

Skinny Cow Candy, Divine Filled Chocolates in Peanut Butter Creme

Yum!  That's the first word that comes to mind when I think about these candies.  Peanut butter and chocolate is one of my favorite candy combinations.  And what's even better?  There are six individual serving size packs in each box, and each pack contains 3 pieces of candy...and each pack is only 130 calories!  It's the one candy that makes me not feel guilty about snacking, and unlike most healthy foods, it still tastes delicious!  I didn't feel like I was missing anything compared to the normal peanut butter and chocolate candies I eat, and I know that it's better for me to eat the Skinny Cow Candy compared to those.  I also like the individual serving size packs because once it's gone I know I've eaten one serving and I'm not going to eat any more.

So overall, I was happy with 4/5 products from the Jolly Vox Box- not bad!  It was fun to try them all out.  With it being the new year, I'm definitely looking for new products to add into my routine, and the Jolly Vox Box helped me find a few!

I've been so happy with this Vox Box that I've been all over social media with it, too- check out my Jolly Vox Box Pinterest board, and my Instagram for some photos and videos of Jolly Vox Box products (with more on the way!).

Disclaimer:  I received these products free for review from Influenster.  All opinions expressed are 100% my own!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...