Friday Favorites: CAUSEBOX Spring 2020

My new subscription box came yesterday, and I was so excited to open it.  I have been stalking my front porch for days in anticipation of my box arriving.  Of course, shipping was a little slower than normal due to COVID-19. This is the second CAUSEBOX that I have received.  For those of you that don’t know, CAUSEBOX is a quarterly subscription box that is different than the ones you normally see all over social media. Everything that comes in a CAUSEBOX is a socially conscious brand and/or fair trade. They support artisan groups in other countries and support a number of charitable causes.  I am in love with this company and all that they are doing.  

My second CAUSEBOX did not disappoint! I absolutely loved everything that came in my first box, and I am so excited about all the things in my new box. I did have some options for customization of my box, which I really like. Check out all the things I got this time. 

Fosterie Layered Gem Necklace-designed exclusively for CAUSEBOX and ethically handmade in Columbia

Bentgo Stackable Bento Box-a to-go container with two compartments and built-in utensils that offers a sustainable replacement to single-use plastic and donates to Feed the Children

Artisan Direct Sustainable Grocery Starter Kit-set of 5 mesh and muslin bags to replace single use produce and grain bags; made by artisans in Jaipur, India 

Earth Harbor Reparative Eye Cream-a smoothing and firming, all-natural, iridescent eye-cream made of seaweed collagen, blue tansy, and plant oils to help restore the skin around the eyes

Cardea Auset CALM Mood Mist-an all-natural, aromatherapeutic mood mist that can be used to help with focus and sleep or simply as a body spray

Jenni Earle Wild + Free Bandana-a beautiful bandana designed to serve as a talisman for courage and adventure; ethically made by artisans in Jaipur, India

Pixie Mood Zoe Crossbody in Honey-an everyday crossbody with detachable and adjustable strap made from vegan leather, with the inside made from recycled plastic

I could not be more pleased with my decision to join CAUSEBOX.  I truly love what they stand for and the quality of the products I have received so far.  I am totally in love with the crossbody from this box and cannot wait to use it.  If you have been thinking about joining a subscription box, I highly recommend CAUSEBOX. You can be assured that your purchase will be making a difference in the world, and you are getting quality products that are ethically and sustainably made. To get $10 off a new subscription, click here

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Friday Favorites: Binge Worthy Shows

Last week I gave you a list of some of my favorite books that you could read while we are all stuck at home social distancing.  Today I thought I would give you a list of some shows that I think are binge worthy in case you are looking for something to watch. I tried to include a little bit of everything (drama, mystery, documentary, comedy, and reality tv). I watched several of these with my husband. Keep in mind that none of these are kid friendly, though, and some involve sensitive topics.  Cheer is the only one I watched along with my youngest daughter so that we could discuss some of the topics (depression, suicide) covered in the show together. I loved all of these shows, and I hope you can find one that you like to keep you busy.

*The descriptions of the shows are not my own. They are copied from the show’s home page on each streaming site.

Cheer-Netflix

This gripping docuseries follows the ups and downs of Navarro College’s competitive cheer squad as the work to win a coveted national title.

Outlander-Starz (Season 1-3 on Netflix)

This epic tale adapted from Diana Gabaldon’s popular series of fantasy-romance novels focuses on the drama of two time-crossed lovers.

Jack Ryan-Amazon

When CIA analyst Jack Ryan stumbles upon a suspicious series of bank transfers, his search for answers pulls him from the safety of his desk job and catapults him into a deadly game of cat and mouse throughout Europe and the Middle East, with a rising terrorist figurehead preparing for a massive attack against the US and her allies. 

Unbelievable-Netflix

After a young woman is accused of lying about a rape, two female detectives investigate a spate of eerily similar attacks. Inspired by true events.

The Handmaid’s Tale-Hulu

A woman forced into sexual servitude struggles to survive in a terrifying, totalitarian society. Based off the book by Margaret Atwood.

Killing Eve-BBC/Hulu

Villanelle is a psychopathic assassin, and Eve is the woman charged with hunting her down; the two fiercely intelligent women, equally obsessed with each other, go head to head in an epic game of cat and mouse.

The Sinner-USA/Netflix

When a chilling murder sends shockwaves through a small town, a haunted detective’s hunt for answers unravels a web of sinister secrets.

Hanna-Amazon

In equal parts high-concept thriller and coming-of-age drama, HANNA follows the journey of an extraordinary young girl raised in the forest, as she evades the relentless pursuit of an off-book CIA agent and tries to unearth the truth behind who she is.

Atypical-Netflix

When a teen on the autism spectrum decides to get a girlfriend, his bid for more independence puts his whole family on a path of self-discovery. 

The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez-Netflix

A boy’s brutal murder and the public trials of his guardians and social workers prompt questions about the system’s protection of vulnerable children. 

You-Netflix

A dangerously charming, intensely obsessive young man goes to extreme measures to insert himself into the lives of those he is transfixed by. 

The Crown-Netflix

This drama follows the political rivalries and romance of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign and the events that shaped the second half of the 20th century.

Love is Blind-Netflix

Nick and Vanessa Lachey host this social experiment where single men and women look for love and get engaged, all before meeting in person.

Chernobyl-HBO

Chernobyl, a five-part miniseries co-production from HBO and Sky, dramatizes the story of the 1986 nuclear accident, one of the worst man-made catastrophes in history—and of the sacrifices made to save Europe from unimaginable disaster.

Bosch-Amazon

Based on Michael Connelly’s best-selling novels, Harry Bosch, and LAPD homicide detective, stands trial for the fatal shooting of a serial murder suspect—just as a cold case involving the remains of a mission boy forces Bosch to confront his past.

The Good Doctor-ABC/Hulu

A young surgeon with autism and savant syndrome uses his extraordinary gifts to save lives and challenge skepticism. 

Happy watching! Stay well everyone!

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Friday Favorites: Books

With everything that is going on in the world right now with the Coronavirus, I decided to make a detour on what favorite thing I had planned to write about today.  Even if you haven’t been confined to your house yet, it seems that you most likely will be in the near future.  Schools are closing, events are being canceled, people are asked to telework, and everyone is being told to stay home.  Well, I don’t know about you, but the thought of having to stay confined to my house for an extended period of time has me fearing for my sanity.  I am certain that there will be a lot of binge watching and moving watching going on. However, you may start to feel like you want to stimulate your brain a little more, so I thought I would share some of my favorite books with you.  It is a great opportunity for you to dive into a good book.  If you prefer a real book to an ebook, I think that Amazon is still delivering (at least for now).  Becoming enthralled in a book can certainly help save your sanity.  I plan to do a lot of reading while I am stuck in the house.  Up first for me is my book club pick for March, When Time Stopped by Ariana Neuman, since I haven’t started it yet.  

I am a big fan of books in a series. I love the anticipation of the next book. My favorite author of all time is Karen Kingsbury.  I have read so many of her books and there has never been one that I didn’t love.  I also really like most books by Jodi Picoult and Kristen Hannah.  Check out 20 books/series that I have read over the years and loved. Some will be very familiar to you and others you may have never heard of.  

The Redemption Series by Karen Kingsbury

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

The Bronze Horseman Trilogy by Paulina Simons

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

A Child Called “It” by Dave Pelzer

The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff

Nightingale by Kristen Hannah

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Educated by Tara Westover

We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates

Room by Emma Donoghue

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Dive into a good book while you are stuck in your house in the coming weeks. Stay well everyone!

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*This post contains commissioned links. Should you choose to purchase items using these links, I may earn a small commission.

Friday Favorites: Brows

If you are anywhere near my age, you grew up plucking your eyebrows.  Some of us may have plucked some areas a little too much and are now suffering the consequences.  Whether you are a plucker, waxer, threader, or whatever other on-trend thing, we all have one thing in common…none of us wants big bushy eyebrows with stray hairs sticking every which way.  Right? I know thicker eyebrows are in and many influencers have these big drawn on brows.  I am not into that personally but to each their own.  What I am into is having tame, nicely shaped brows.  My brows are fairly thin these days but I still need something to help keep them clean looking and shaped the way I want them.  Well, a few months ago I saw an infomercial about Flawless Brows on TV.  I am sure you have all seen it and probably didn’t pay much attention or was skeptical like me.  I just happened to be strolling the aisles of Target one day and saw a display of Flawless Brows on the end of one of the rows.  Normally I wouldn’t give anything that said “As Seen on TV” any thought, but this little tool intrigued me. I picked it up, read the back of it, and decided to give it a try. It was only $20, and I figured that wouldn’t break the bank. I purchased the Finishing Touch Flawless Brow in Rose Gold. I wanted it for the little hairs that grow out of place that are too short to pluck.  I am not a fan of waxing and am too chicken to try anything else.  Anyway, I came home and tried out this little tool, and I was instantly hooked.  It works so well! It is painless, very easy to control, and glides smoothly over the unwanted hair. I don’t worry about catching hairs that I don’t want removed at all either.  It takes care of all the areas that I wanted it to and leaves me with nicely shaped brows.  It has a built-in light on it when you turn it on that is supposed to help you see the finest hairs, but I don’t really think that it does anything.  You don’t really need it, though, in my opinion.  I definitely recommend this product. It is affordable and easy to use.  Most of all, it works. I was pleasantly surprised and am very happy with this purchase. I may even look into some of their other hair removal products and give them a try.  They have several including one for facial hair that will remove peach fuzz and one for your legs that is a little more expensive. 

Now, I mentioned that I may or may not have plucked my brows a little too much back in the day.  The ends of my brows are a little thin and need a little help.  I have tried many different brow products over the years from pencils to creams and finally found one that I really like.  I use a brow pomade from TARTE called Big Ego Frameworker Brow Pomade.  I use just a little bit of it with a brow brush to fill in the areas that are a little too thin. I use Medium Brown, but I believe it comes in 8 different shades.  You can easily find the one that matches your brows.  It is vegan, cruelty free and is waterproof and sweat proof.  I get mine at Ulta, but you can get it anywhere that TARTE products are sold. 

That’s a wrap on my two favorite brow products.  

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Friday FAvorites: CauseBox Winter 2020

Unless you have been living under a rock, you know all about the many different subscription boxes out there.  Some of the most popular ones include Stitch Fix (clothing), Ipsy (makeup), Birchbox (beauty products/makeup), FabFitFun (premium brand products), and there are many more. I have always been intrigued by these boxes and like watching unboxing videos.  The thought of getting this surprise box of cool things is exciting.  I have almost signed up for several different ones multiple times but just have never pulled the trigger until now. Since beginning my work with Trades of Hope, I have become more socially conscious and more aware of fair trade and the way products are manufactured. You know how Facebook tracks things you like and look up online and then magically puts ads in your feed based off of those things? Well, for about a year now, I have been getting ads for a different subscription box that I had never heard of before and would bet that many of you haven’t heard of either.  That is because it doesn’t include big name brands and flashy products, and it isn’t promoted by big name celebrities.  This box is called CAUSEBOX and it is a quarterly subscription.  I would say that it is similar to FabFitFun in the types of things in the box, but it is also way different because all the brands included the CAUSEBOX are socially conscious brands. Every item in the box is made ethically and sustainably. What is really cool is that, like Trades of Hope, they partner with artisan groups in other countries and in the US to promote job creation for women in at-risk areas. They also include products in each box that raise awareness for causes and charitable concerns. Each box comes with a magazine that tells the stories of the artisans and the causes they support.  It is all really cool.  

This is a company that I can get behind because they are doing great things and making a difference in the lives of women around the world.  I signed up just before Christmas when they were having a special on the price and could not wait to receive my first box.  I was able to select some of the products included in my box which was cool.  For example, one of my choices was between a beautiful hand-woven throw made by artisans in India or a vegan leather portfolio clutch.  I chose the clutch since I have a couple of throws already from India through Trades of Hope.  Honestly, it was hard to choose because I wanted every option! Anyway, I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of my first box, and it finally arrived on Wednesday. I was so excited to open it up.  I can say that I am super impressed by everything that I got.  It is all made with great care and quality. I don’t think there is anything in there that I don’t love or can’t wait to use.  Check out what I got in my box. 

Vitiv Daily Hair Vitamin-a vegan, cruelty free multitasking hair product that does the work of a mask, serum, and hot oil

Whitney Kerney Mugs-custom shaped mugs designed by Whitney Kerney with proceeds supporting victims of domestic violence

SOKO Petite Bow Earrings (choice of silver or gold)-a pair of delicate, minimal earrings handmade by artisans in Kenya

Wyld French Pink Clay Konjac Sponge-a gentle exfoliating facial sponge made from renewable plant root and French pink clay

SAMARA Luxe Jewelry Box-a vegan leather jewelry organizer that helps to provide solar backpacks to children in East Africa, Tajikistan, India, and Guatemala through The Souler Backpack Project and provided jobs for women in Kenya

Simply Straws Rose Gold Straw Kit-a set of three 18/8 grade stainless steel, rose gold finished reusable straws

Glass Ladder and Co. Megan Portfolio Clutch (choice of black or burgundy)-an exclusively designed vegan leather and suede portfolio clutch created by women for women

Isn’t it all so great? I couldn’t be happier with each item. I highly recommend this company and can’t wait to see what comes in my next box. If you have been thinking about joining a subscription box, CAUSEBOX is the one to go with.  Your purchase helps to make a difference in the world.  You can rest assured that you are getting quality products that are ethically and sustainably made and that your money is helping to change lives.  

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TOH Spring 2020 Collection

As you all know, I am super passionate about my work with Trades of Hope.  Having a small part in making a difference in the world is something that brings me joy and is what I feel like God is calling me to do.  Through my work with Trades of Hope, I am helping to give women the opportunity to rise up out of extreme poverty and human trafficking all around the world.  Mamas are able to keep their babies, women are given dignified employment, and families lives are changed.  I feel truly blessed to be a part of something so incredible.  All these women want is a chance to better their lives, and they are getting it through the gorgeous products they create.  We just launched our Spring 2020 “Jewels of India” Collection last week, and our artisans and designers have again knocked it out of the park.  There are so many gorgeous pieces inspired by the rich architecture in India including the Taj Mahal and the Pink Palace in Jaipur. Each piece is on trend and could come right off the top runways. There are so many beautiful pieces in this collection, but I have chosen five of my favorites to share with you today.  

Ellora Necklace

I think I have worn this piece from the new collection the most.  It is so versatile.  It comes with two separate strands featuring a brass plated coin and a freshwater pearl. You can wear them together, separate, or paired with another necklace. They are also adjustable in length.  These beautiful necklaces are helping to keep women out of sweatshops in India.  By creating and selling these necklaces they are provided with a fair wage, access to healthcare, and education for their children. 

Bella Earrings

These gorgeous earrings are made by artisans in North Asia who are breaking free from brothels and sex trafficking.  They now have a dignified way to provide for their families. Through Fair-Trade, they are also learning how to overcome the trauma they have experienced and how to design and create beautiful jewelry.  Wicker is used to make the circle ring, while acetate is used to create the multi-toned half-moon studs.  

Amie Bracelet

I adore this dainty charm bracelet made by artisans in Haiti. It is made from plated brass and features their signature paper beads in the Pantone colors for spring.  The purchase of this bracelet not only allows mamas to keep their babies but also to provide for them and the rest of their family.  Seriously, how cute is this bracelet?

Jali Handbag

This is one of two handbags that were released in this collection and is the one that I am swooning over.  This genuine leather bag comes with a removable crossbody strap and features this intricate cut out design. It also features a divided cotton liner with a deep zippered pocket.  The Jali Handbag is created by artisans in India who are breaking the cycle of poverty. 

Flora Basket

I just had to throw in this unique addition to our home décor line.  This basket is handwoven using native grasses by members of the Batwa conservation refuges in Uganda. The purchase of this basket offers women a sustainable income to prevent starvation and keeps families together.  Check out this video to see how this basket is made.

There are many more gorgeous pieces that are a part of this new line, and I love them all.  It was so hard to narrow it down to my 5 favorites. We have many more pieces of jewelry, another handbag, a block printed wristlet, a scarf, and an adorable elephant handbag charm. Click here to see the entire life-changing collection. Be a part of making a difference. Choose to shop purposefully for the hottest, ethically made, fair trade accessories that show off the beauty of fighting poverty!

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*This post contains commissioned links. Should you choose to purchase items using these links, I may earn a small commission. 

Friday Favorites: Top 5

TGIF! I am so glad that Friday is here.  It has been a long week trying to get back into the swing of things around here after our 3-week break. The 2 snow days we had this week did not help the situation at all.  I am happy to have the weekend to reset and get ready to be back to the real grind next week. Meanwhile, today I am sharing with you the top 5 things I am loving right now. Check them out!

Peanut Butter To Go (Creamy or Crunchy)

Apples are probably my favorite fruit and always have been.  I just love them.  I tend to like the ones that are sweeter and not the more bitter ones.  My favorites are Honey Crisp and McIntosh.  My favorite way to eat apples is with peanut butter.  It is two of my favorite things all wrapped into one. That is where these little cups of peanut butter come in.  I have loved them since they first came out years ago.  I keep them in stock in my pantry all the time.  Throwing an apple in your lunch box with one of these cups of peanut butter is the perfect portable snack for me.  Sometimes when I am not very hungry for lunch, I will just eat an apple with peanut butter.  These cups of peanut butter are also perfect for packing in my kids’ lunches too.  They like them with pretzels, carrots, apples, and crackers.  Honestly, peanut butter makes so many things taste better, and it is a great source of protein for my kid that doesn’t eat much of anything. These cups come in smooth and crunchy peanut butter.  

Apple Slicer

In addition to my love of apples and peanut butter, this apple slicer is a MUST. I am really weird about biting into things, so you will never catch me just biting into a whole apple.  It has to be cut up before I will even think about eating it.  Yes, I am weird.  That is where this apple slicer comes into play.  I got mine from Pamper Chef years ago, but you can get them just about anywhere now (Target or Walmart).  I use mine all the time.  It gives you the perfect slices of apple to dunk in your peanut butter and easily gets rid of the core.  When I was teaching and packing my lunch every day, I would throw in an apple, a cup of peanut butter, and my slicer almost every day.  It is even easy enough for my girls to use when they want to eat an apple.   It is definitely a necessity at my house. 

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

This was not a book that I chose for our book club but is one that I read while we were in the Bahamas.  It is the follow-up to Atwood’s best seller, The Handmaid’s Tale. If you haven’t read The Handmaid’s Tale, I highly recommend it.  It is dark and has some graphic scenes, but it is so good.  There is even a series by the same title on Hulu that is great too.  Anyway, I was very excited to read this follow up story, and it did not disappoint.  It was so good, and I couldn’t put it down.  If you have already read The Handmaid’s Tale, you should definitely read The Testaments.  It gives good closure to the original story by telling what happened in the years that followed while also giving insight to some of the things that lead up to the original story. It was really well done, and I liked it a lot. 

Wedge Boots

I got these boots a few weeks before Christmas with a gift card I had, and I am obsessed with them.  I have worn them a lot since I got them.  They are super comfortable and are so cute on.  I love wearing them with this pair of frayed edge jeans and a bulky sweater.  

C.C. Beanies

I have several C.C. Beanies in various colors and styles.  I love them. They are the perfect winter hat and will keep you very warm.  I think my favorite ones are the ones with the pom pom on top, but the ones without it are cute too.  They even have ones that have the hole for your ponytail.  My hair is just a little too short for those, but my oldest daughter has one that she uses. I love that there are so many options.  They even have some adorable animal print ones that I shared a few weeks ago on my gift giving list as they also make great gifts.

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*This post contains commissioned links.  Should you choose to purchase items using these links, I may earn a small commission. 

Book Club: The Other Daughter

My day has been totally thrown off.  My kids unexpectedly got the day off of school today for freezing rain.  Having them home completely messes up my normal routine.  On the plus side, though, they can now help me pack for our trips.  Anyway, let’s move on to today’s topic.  I am doing our December Book Club post a little early this month because this will be my last post for December.  This month I chose a short thriller by Shalini Boland entitled The Other Daughter.  This was a super quick read.  In fact, I read it in one day.  I have to say that I have mixed feelings about this book.  Initially, I really was into it, and I was totally surprised by the sudden turn of events at the end.  However, it changed so abruptly and ended so quickly after the twist was revealed that I was kind of thrown off.  I liked it, but I just think I needed a little more.  

The Other Daughter is a story of twists and turns.  It begins when a little girl named Holly is abducted from right under her mother Rachel’s nose.  The abduction caused Rachel to end up divorced and starting her life over again in a new town as a single mother to her younger daughter Jess.  Once she began her new life, she never spoke of her lost daughter again to anyone. She completely put it out of her mind.  She went on to have a serious boyfriend who she had a son with, and they lived a normal life as a family of 4 for several years. During the time they were together, she never told her boyfriend about Holly until one day when she came face to face with a young girl named Bella whose family had just moved to town.  Rachel’s heart stopped the moment she saw Bella.  She had a gut-wrenching feeling that Bella was her missing daughter that had been stolen from her all those years ago.  Rachel became obsessed with learning the truth to the point of lying to everyone and breaking into Bella’s house to obtain her DNA.  Rachel was losing control, but she was convinced that Bella was Holly.  She was beginning to lose everything that meant something to her in her quest to prove that Bella was her daughter.  

As I said, I have mixed feelings about this story.  I think overall, I liked it though.  I was totally not expecting the twist at the end which is always a good thing.  I generally like it when I can’t predict what is coming.  I just feel like it happened so fast that I was left wanting more.  I guess I felt like the ending could have been more developed. I can’t quite put my finger on what more I really wanted, and I understand that probably was the author’s strategy.  I know that she was going for the shock factor, and she definitely got it from me.  I guess I just felt like it was too fast and the story was too short.  I was all into it trying to figure it all out, and then out of nowhere it was over.  I would love to know what you thought if you read along with me and if you were surprised by the ending as well.  

My pick for January is by New York Bestselling author, Lisa Jewel.  It is her latest thriller called, The Family Upstairs.  It is the story of three families, unknowingly intertwined, who find themselves living in a house with deeply buried, dark secrets.  Here is what Apple Books had to say about this novel.

“The past is never far behind us. In Lisa Jewell’s tense phycological thriller, it’s right in front of us, too, ready to reveal some very alarming things. When Libby unexpectedly inherits her family’s London mansion, she’s pulled in by a history of family dysfunction, a mysterious stranger, and several deaths. The tension keeps building—and secrets keep being revealed—right up to the final page. If you feel like you’ve seen it all in contemporary thrillers, trust us, you won’t know what hit you. 

Will you come along and read with me?

Anchored in a Good Book,

Friday Favorites: imPress Nails

I love painted nails. However, painted nails don’t like me.  I guess I am too rough on my hands or something, but they never last more than one or two days.  Even if I get them done at a nail salon, they only last maybe one or two more days.  It feels like a waste of money and time even though I do it anyway.  I have never been one to go for acrylic or fake nails because my own nails are pretty good.  They are strong and they grow nicely so I figure why not just paint what I’ve got? Well, that never works.  I end up removing the polish and repainting them every couple of days.  I just don’t have the time or energy for that anymore. I started looking into other options.  I really didn’t want to spend the money to get them done all the time.  I kept seeing people talk about imPress Nails online.  They were saying how great they are and that they are way more affordable than getting acrylic nails.  My first thought was of the Lee Press on Nails from the 80’s and thought there was no way they would last.  I kept seeing them online, though, so I figured I had nothing to lose.  I decided to give them a try.  I went to Target and easily found them in the cosmetic area.  Make sure you get the ones that say imPress Nails, not the ones that say Kiss. They look similar, but they are not the same. They had several different shades to choose from, and they even come with accent nails if that is something you like.  So far my favorite shades have been Kiss & TellNight Fever, Bright as a Feather (not available online), and So Unexpected. There are more shades online, and they seem to have different shades at different stores. I saw some holiday ones online at Walmart that were pretty cute. Some of the nails have oval tips, but most of them are the typical square tips.  I did get one of each, but I did not like the oval tip ones on me.  They just looked weird to me.  Yes, these are press on nails, but there is no glue or adhesive that you have to apply.  The adhesive is already built into the nail.  All you have to do is figure out which size you need for each nail (there are multiple size options), use the enclosed prep pad to clean your nails, peel the backing off, and then stick them to your nail.  They key is to firmly press them down across the whole nail. Pretty simple, right? Again, I was thinking that there is no way that they would last, but I was going to give it a solid effort.  It turns out that I was pleasantly surprised.  Not only did they look great, but they also lasted over a week.  They would have lasted a few more days, but one of them was starting to come loose so I took them all off.  If I could have fixed that one, I think they would have likely lasted for 2 full weeks because all of the other nails were still firmly attached.  They lasted through hair washing, dish washing, folding laundry, typing, and all my normal activities with no problems.  I was very impressed. Since that first time, I have had them last about 2 weeks each time. 

Kiss & Tell

Now, my other concern with using these nails was what kind of damage they would do to my own nails.  I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised again.  My nails were perfectly fine when I took the imPress ones off.  Some of them were still stuck on pretty good, and I had to tug hard to get a few of them off. I was worried that it might tear my nails because I was pulling so hard, but it didn’t.  They do recommend using a little nail polish remover around the edges if they are hard to get off, but I did not use any. I didn’t feel like it was really necessary. I have not had any issues with my own nails since I started using the imPress Nails, which has been great.  I have now used them more than once and have been very happy with them. I do give my nails a break in between pairs just to ensure that my natural nails stay healthy.  I don’t know if that is really necessary, but it makes me feel better. 

Bright as a Feather

One drawback for me initially was that the nails are a little longer than I typically wear my natural nails.  That took some getting used to.   They do say that you can file them after you have applied them, but I found them hard to file.  After a day or two, though, the length didn’t really bother me, and I had no issue with them.  Now I love the length.  Another thing that was a little annoying was that the adhesive covers the span of the nail.  Since these are longer than my natural nail, the back of the tips was still sticky from the adhesive. Things like dirt and hair would get stuck to it.  After reading some reviews, I learned to use clear nail polish over the adhesive that was exposed, and that worked like a charm.  Overall, I am in love with these nails.  They look great, work great, and are more affordable than getting a manicure.  I really like them and will continue to use them.  I highly recommend them for you to try. Let me know what you think.

Anchored,

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Book Club: Redemption Road

It is Book Club day! I am doing it a week early this month due to the holiday next week.  I hope you all read our November book with me because it was such a great read.  Our book for November was Redemption Road by John Hart.  This book was a change of pace from the books I had been choosing.  This one was more of a psychological thriller, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. I was totally wrapped up in the storyline and characters.  I really could not put it down.  The twists and turns throughout the story kept me guessing on the edge of my seat.  My only complaint is that I didn’t really love the ending.  I felt like it left me wanting more.  I can’t quite put my finger on exactly what more I needed out of the ending, though. I just know that it felt a little unfinished to me.  Maybe it was just that I didn’t want it to end.  I’m not sure.  Despite that, I really enjoyed this book.  I loved the mystery and the thrill of it.  I spent most of the time reading it trying to predict what was going to happen. John Hart certainly did a great job of keeping me guessing up until the end.  I definitely recommend this book if you haven’t already read it. I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Redemption Road is a story that revolves around four characters whose lives become intertwined in the aftermath of murder and mystery.  It all began thirteen years ago when a police officer, Adrian Wall, was convicted of murdering the mother of a young boy named Gideon.  Elizabeth Black, a fellow police officer, was the first on the scene. Because of that, she developed a very close relationship with Gideon.  She became his protector and took on a motherly role with him in the years that followed.  It turned out that Elizabeth’s path had crossed with Adrian’s a few years before the murder, and that incident had altered the course of her life. As a result, she did not believe that Adrian was capable of such a crime.  She had an unshakeable belief that he was wrongly convicted and was one of only two people that supported his claim of innocence leading up to his conviction.  

Thirteen years after the murder of Gideon’s mother and Adrian’s conviction, Elizabeth was caught up in another case when eighteen year old, Channing, was kidnapped.  Elizabeth was put on suspension from the police force and faced criminal chargers after admitting to shooting the two men who had kidnapped, tortured and raped Channing.  She had allegedly shot the two men 18 times.  Elizabeth again developed a strong connection with the teen and took on a protective roll with her after the ordeal.  In the days following Elizabeth’s suspension, Adrian was released from prison on parole. His time in prison had not been kind to him as he had suffered through abuse and torture at the hands of the warden.  The day Adrian was released put him on a collision course with Elizabeth, Gideon, and Channing.  Little did the four know that they would be thrown into a wild ride together mixed with more murder, mystery, obsession, and ghosts from their past. Their stories intertwined and eventually led all four of them down the road to redemption. 

It was a beautifully written story filled with intrigue and mystery.  I really did not see the ending coming.  Again, I highly recommend this story especially if you like psychological thrillers and murder mysteries.  It reminded me of stories like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, which I loved. I will definitely be reading more books by John Hart in the future.  

My next pick for our Book Club is another psychological thriller that is said to be addictive with a jaw-dropping twist.  It was just released this month and is already making waves.  My pick for December is The Other Daughter by Shalini Boland.  It is about a mother whose 2-year-old daughter is kidnapped right under her nose. That little girl makes a return to her mother’s life 9 years later.  Here is what the publisher has to say about this book.

“From the million-copy-bestselling author of The Secret Mother and The Perfect Family, this utterly gripping psychological thriller will have you up all night reading. If you loved Gone GirlThe Girl on the Train and The Sister this book is for you.”

Will you come along and read with me?

Anchored in a Good Book,

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