The Mediterranean Table w/ Over 150 recipes by Sonoma Press

It’s no secret that in this country, we’re overwhelmingly unhealthy thanks to our diets. The food that’s most readily available, easiest to prepare and (usually) the most affordable is some of the most unhealthy food in the history of this planet. Loaded with salt, sugar, refined and processed ingredients, saturated fats and empty carbs, a steady diet of these types of foods will make your life miserable and most likely put you in an early grave. In my house, we eat fresh, prepare every meal from (almost) scratch and don’t eat fast food. This book, The Mediterranean Table, will help you replace bad eating habits with better ones, and gently guide you to a healthier, c51FE+IyEhXL._SX403_BO1,204,203,200_leaner, more balanced lifestyle. And while the advice on it’s face certainly won’t be cheap, with some careful substituting and shopping weekly sales, the diet plan in here is doable, affordable, and an excellent roadmap to making lasting, permanent and health changes in you lifestyle and diet that will lead to a lifetime of benefits.

The recipes in this book are simple, easy to follow, and use ingredients that can be mostly found at the local supermarket for about what you’d pay for the prepared junk that sits in the deli case. It makes abundant use of simple, unrefined ingredients, olive oil, vegetables and herbs. There’s cheeses for the cheese lovers, meats for the meat lovers, breads for the bread lovers…There’s really something for everyone. What I would have liked to see is a
“substitutions” list on the recipes for harder to find or unusual ingredients. Some can be very seasonal and some are just not easy to find due to geography, but overall I found the recipes to be easy to follow, and simple to adjust for availability of ingredients. There’s soups, dinners, deserts, sauces, toppings, sides…and even an online resource list that can help you find some of the more exotic additions. Plus separate reciepe and ingredient indices for quick reference.

Overall I liked this book, and it’s recipes, and found something that both Hubby and I are greatly looking forward to trying. There’s heartier meals for colder weather, and lighter fare for the summers. I can see myself pulling this book out all year round for inspiration, and if you’re looking to start eating and living healthier and better, this book would be a great starting point.

I received the above product(s) free of charge from TVM.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Being Excellent at Etsy

It might come as a bit of a shock to most people, but Etsy is a large, thriving marketplace, and a bustling e-commerce site with a large, active community and a outlet for millions of people’s creativity. I’ve known this for a while, and been a fan of Etsy for some time, far more so than places like eBay, but I’d never given much thought to what it takes to be a successful seller on Etsy. Until I read through this eBook and got so much insight, not only from the writer, but from actual sellers on Etsy who took time out of their day to provide
point-by-point instructionals to what it takes for you to be successful on Etsy too.

Every step, every option, every variable is covered in this book. And lest you think it’s good for Etsy only, almost every data point is applicable to all manner of online sales, from eBay to Amazon. I’ve been an eBay and Amazon seller for almost 20 years and I learned quite a bit from this book. I learned the difference between just selling and thriving with online sales. SEO, keywords, and tags, descriptions, prices and pictures, and so much more, is covered here. Everyone who’s every sold online, be it once a year or multiple sales a day, could learn from this book. I learned how important it is be efficient and affordable in creating your goods, having ample inventory to meet demand, and how important it customer service is. Have you ever been on social media? Facebook? Twitter? Did you know the best and most affordable way to advertise for your business, while reaching thousands, if not tens of thousands, is using your social media account? Well, you do now!

Another important point made by this book is mindset. You’re no longer John or Jane Doe selling leftover stuff in your garage, you’re a small business owner, an entrepreneur, you’re a startup. I hadn’t thoght of it that way until I read this book. Joining Etsy is joining a bustling e-commerce site that is different that other sites. It’s small an intimate while being vast and diverse. There’s things for everyone, from guys and gals to kids and seniors. And you need to decide which niche you’re going to fill, and this book will help you, steer you, point you in the direction that leads you to success. I’m glad I got to read this book and I recommend it highly to anyone who sells anything online anywhere. There’s so much information, even as a buyer I learned a lot. You could too.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge for the purpose of review. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

The Absolute Best Dump Dinners, A Review

Okay, wow. That’s a title that grabs you right from jump street. And I’m not sure if it’s in a good way, either. But more on that later. For now, let’s just go over the book, how it’s written, and most importantly, the content. With the exception of the unfortunate title, this book is the goods. It’s got some amazingly simple and satisfying recipes, and some real no-nonsense, smart advice. You like veggies? There’s a recipe in here for you. Like meats? You’re covered. Want cheesy goodness? Check, check and check.

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If you have finicky eaters, or a family that’s sometimes tough to please, or you just don’t have the time for something that you saw featured last night on the Food Network, you might want to pick this book up. And let’s be honest, we could all stand to eat a little fresher, a little healthier, and this book will help you in both categories. It teaches you the importance of eating fresher, buying in bulk, using less salt, dating you leftovers (you have no idea how much this will help you keep things fresh and rotated, and not waste your leftovers!), and what kitchen tools you’ll soon find you can’t live without. Here’s a little hint: Your slow cooker will soon be your best friend. If you want to start cooking at home more but don’t know where to start, then this book is for you!

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Overall, I enjoyed this book, and even with as much as I cook and bake I learned a couple of things and took scans 0f more than a few recipes to add tot he rotation. Now, some things that bothered me is painting everything with too broad of a brush. Sometimes, you don’t want to throw everything together in a pot (or “dump” them as the book constantly references). Next would be the so, so offputting title. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot! I get that everyone needs a catch, a hook, or a gimmick. But we tend to make snap decisions based on first impressions, and a ho-hum picture with an awfully worded title generally means you’ll pass this book right by with nary a second glance. And that would be a loss, because there is some awesome content here. There is, quite literally something for everyone, as long as you get past the title.

I received the above product(s) free of charge for the purpose of review.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

Amazon Kindle Fire HD6 Review

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I am no stranger to tech. Even though it isn’t featured much on my blog, tech tools have been invaluable to me in almost every facet of what you see on here. So when I was offered a chance to review an Amazon Fire HD6 tablet from Third Voice Marketing, I said “You betcha!”. I’m always on the lookout for things to make my life a little easier, and a multi-tasker like a tablet is a sure fire way to get many things done, even on the go.

I may have been spoiled by hubby’s Nexus devices. While only sporting 7″ screens, they make the most of the real estate and have fabulous visuals and specs to boot. Sadly, the Fire HD6 fails to meet my lofty expectations. From the start, it feels thicker, clunkier and heavier (though it is lighter!) than the larger Nexus 7. The screen almost looks to be set further into the device. It’s resolution is 1280 x 800 (252ppi), which is a far cry from the 1920 x 1200 (323ppi) I’m used to. For a stand alone reader that would be fine. When a major selling point is full access to Amazon Prime features like the HD VOD service, that isn’t so fine. More on that later. Both sport Corning Gorilla Glass, both have front and rear cameras, both have quad-core processors,wi-fi, bluetooth and access to a wide array of apps. So, since one is more expensive than the other, you’d be inclined to forgive the screen issues and focus on what Amazon got right. Right?
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What amazon got right was the price. Sold for as low as $84 recently, you’d be hard-pressed to find a quad-core device of equal build quality for less. and with 1GB of RAM, it should handle light mobile games, email and some light web browsing with aplomb. But when you get to the software, that’s where things go off the rails for me. Amazon skinned over the lovely Android Kit Kat OS with their own proprietary features, much to the detriment of the user experience. Perhaps it’s because I’m used to a pure Android experience, but the devices seems seriously hamstrung by the Fire OS. You lose access to the Google Play store, you lose access to a synced Chrome (and all it’s bookmarks with no way to import them), you lose access to the device synchronicity you’re accustomed to, and you’re forced into an ecosystem that is geared towards Amazon consumption at the cost of being truly user friendly.
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I found myself constantly frustrated by trying to do what I’ve been doing with my Android devices for years now, only have to try to learn Amazon’s way of doing it instead. Yuck. What’s worse is when you get into heavy web browsing, downloading, or typing, you get so much lag you want to fling the thing into the nearest wall. All the ports are at the top of the device, the single rear speaker is absolutely awful, and the camera, at 2MP, is positively anemic. Though it does sport an HDR mode and a wide array of editing tools, the pictures will never be anything to write home about, especially in low ligIMAG2381ht conditions. The screen size is frustrating for me tapping and touching with normal sized fingers, and Hubby couldn’t do squat with his much bigger Hubby paws. Amazon does sport it’s own app store, but more than a few of the versions of the apps available, while seemingly identical to their Google App and Apple App Store cousins, are usually a few versions behind. Because, let’s face it, there are two big dogsIMAG2382 on the app block, and it doesn’t make sense to spend a bundle on development for the two little dogs with very little market penetration, Amazon and Windows. Amazon has also locked the bootloader, which means no third party development is available, which is another huge upside for normal Android devices, and a liability for Kindles.
I like having access to my Amazon Prime benefits. I like being able to stream my free video and audio benefits seamIMAG2380lessly. I like the Kindle features that go above and beyond the Kindle apps available for all my other devices. I like that it is small enough to drop in my purse and not know it’s there. It seems to be very sturdily built with unobtrusive buttons that don’t get hit accidentally. And I like the price. Aside from that, there is also plenty to make me say that I doubt I’d buy a Kindle on my own any time soon. The proprietary, frustrating nature of the OS. The ads on the lock screen. The focus on the “Amazon experience” and not the customer experience. The lack of synchronicity. The screen. And some personal experience. The memory on my first device was corrupted, and the charging port was borked. Amazon sent a replacement next-day air. But after several rounds with their “customer service” chat to figure out how to connect the device to my TV for a true HD video experience (6 different chats got me 6 different failed methods), I eventually gave up and resigned myself to a 6″ sub-HD screen for the foreseeable future. I also don’t know how I only have 3.5 GB of space on a 8GB device when it arrives. Too small to download a movie, and very little space for apps, media, or really, anything.
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I’ve used Samsung Galaxy Devices, LG devices, Asus devices, and Nexus devices. Kindle is dead last in my user experience.I wanted to like my Kindle. I wanted one for some time. Amazon shot for the moon with their Kindle devices and instead, for me, shot themselves in the foot. Perhaps I expected too much. As I stated, for a reader, it’s awesome. If you don’t mind the screen or speaker, the access to Amazon’s Instant Video and Music is phenomenal. And Amazon gives a you a 30-day, 100% satisfaction guarantee, but return shipping is at your cost. If it’s for youngsters, you have a relatively well built, relatively inexpensive device that they can stream the occasional video, play a few games, and read a few books. For a grown up, you’re better off buying a grown up device.
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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Third Voice Marketing.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

SheSpeaks: The Fast Metabolism Diet Book by Haylie Pomroy

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We gals are suckers for diets, and SheSpeaks must know this. I know I’ve tried a few in my time, and there’s a new one every week, on TV, in the news…it gets to be too much.  So when I got offered Haylie Pomroy’s book, “The Fast Metabolism Diet”, I was more than a little suspicious, especially when it makes claims like “Lose 20 pounds in 28 days” and “Eat more food and lose more weight”.  But The proof is in the pudding (mmmm….pudding), so let’s dig in and see what’s happening here.

So, Ms. Pomroy is quick to point out she’s not a dietitian, but instead a “Body Mechanic”.  She even goes a step further by labeling herself a “Metabolism Whisperer”. Oh….kay.  But then it starts getting interesting.

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She teaches you how to Unwind stress, Unlock fat, and Unleash your metabolism.  She schools us about bad foods and the toxic environment we’ve all created for ourselves.  How stress affects your metabolism.  Hmm…this is starting to make a lot of sense and I’m getting veeery interested.  There’s a good deal of common sense here, and more than a few uncommon tips that do seem to me like they could be very useful.  Okay. I’m hooked.

The book goes on to talk about how to not be a serial dieter, and to make peace with your food, since it’s not the enemy here.  Haylie lists the 5 major players in your metabolism, and gives you very comprehensive food lists that will be appealing to almost any palette. Yes, we’re now on a first name basis.  She espouses the benefits of whole natural, and whenever possible, organic foods.  She lists 10 easy “do’s” and “don’t” of her diet plan, as well as menus, maps, recipes and plans, and you can even keep track right in the book!  Cool!

Lest you be worried that she thinks we’re all superhuman diet machines, there’s also splurge secrets and a “Fast Metabolism 911” that details emergency plans should our resolve dissolve, or our strength slip.  After all, we’re not machines!

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with the book, and surprised that I could pretty seamlessly and harmlessly integrate her plans into my regular rotation.  I think a lot of us would benefit greatly from this, and I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to not just eat, but live healthier.

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For more information on the book and/or author, please visit the following sites:

Website: http://www.fastmetabolismdiet.com/
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/hayliepomroy
Twitter: https://twitter.com/hayliepomroy
Program Hashtag: #FastMetabolismDiet

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I received the above book free of charge from SheSpeaks.  I am not obligated in providing a positive/favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product, which may differ from yours.

 

 

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