Posted in Pets, Product Reviews

“Howl-o-Ween” Treats From Big Heart Pet Brands

dscf0583_720>> Although Halloween has usually been considered a children’s holiday, these days increasing numbers of “furry kids” are getting in on the fun.
>> 44% of NY pet parents have dressed their dog in costume versus 28% of California pet parents
>> 38% of NY pet parents have greeted trick-or-treaters with their dog while 18% of pet parents in California have
>> 18% of Texas pet parents have given their dog extra treats for Halloween and 16% have taken their dog trick-or-treating.
While we didn’t go trick-or-treating, we did have a fabulous Mommy/Buster Day at Petco. Our grooming specialist, Brittany, not only used Pumpkin scented products for his bath, but gifted Buster with an awesome bandana decorated with skulls!

>> Big dogs like Dobermans and Great Danes prefer “real meat treats”, while most small ones (Pomeranians and Pugs) choose “soft and chewy” snacks – like Pup-Peroni
>> Soft and chewy treats are also the all-time favorites of terriers (58%), and toy dogs (59%)
>> Biscuits and crunchy treats (like Milk-Bone) are the clear favorites of hounds (53%), herding dogs (56%), and sporting dogs (57%)
Buster still favors the original Milk-Bone Biscuits. However, he was intrigued with Milo’s Kitchen’s Homestyle Dog Treats: Grilled Burger Bites. They are adorable! I couldn’t help but chuckle at these mini-hamburgers.

I love that as a pet-parent, I can trust Big Heart Pet Brands to always provide quality, made in the USA products. He loves the taste & with the tremendous variety of flavors they offer, he never gets bored.

Because dogs are the ultimate tricksters, Milo’s Kitchen brand dog treats wanted to uncover, for the first time, which tricks dogs are best able to perform. The nation’s most popular doggy tricks are:
#1: Sit (77% of dogs can do this on command)
#2: Shake paws (58%)
#3: Lay down (57%)
#4: Stay (50%)
#5: Give a kiss (44%)
#6: Beg (31%)
#7: Roll over (27%)
#8: Speak or bark (26%)
#9: Spin (14%)
#10: Play dead (10%)
He’s still young & learning tricks. But, he will give you his paw & I’ll gotten him to roll over. Most often, he’d rather just play with his favorite toy- his rubber chicken.20151015_081936

For wacky DIY doggie costumes, ideas on how to treat your pet, or for downloadable decorations to show your neighbors you’re celebrating with your pup, please visit this special Howl-o-ween website, from Big Heart Pet brands’ Milk-Bone, Pup-Peroni, Canine Carry Outs and Milo’s Kitchen:
>> For a chance to see your dog’s Halloween photo in the Milk-Bone Halloween website and social channels, tag it on FB, Instagram or Twitter with #TreatsForAll.
>> How can pet parents show they are celebrate Halloween with their pup? Download special pup decorations to show your neighbors you’re celebrating with your dog at
>> TWITTER: @milkbone

*Pics belong to Big Heart Pet Brands. We were blessed to receive the aforementioned products in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine (& Buster’s).

Posted in Book Reviews

The Lion and the Rose: Riccardo Bruni

Venice in the 1500s is not a pleasant place to live. Politicians fight against the Pope. Nationalities are at war with one another. No one is truly safe. Expressing one’s opinion against either Church or State can quickly become a death sentence.
Mathias Munster is a monk with too many opinions. Occasionally, those opinions boil over & he voices them. An instance such as this causes him to be suspended indefinitely from his teaching position in Padua. For awhile. he’s longed to return to Venice. However, he’s both pleased & disturbed when the Doge’s men arrive with a written request for his presence in Venice immediately.
Requests from the Doge aren’t brushed aside. What Mathias doesn’t know, is that he’ll be playing detective in Venice. Over the course of several weeks, three bodies, mutilated beyond recognition, have been found floating in the canal. Each was nailed to a plank & severely tortured. Feeling that Mathias is the ony man he can trust, the Doge turns to him. Residents of Venice believe a demon has escaped Hell to punish them. More secular theories are that someone is making a political statement. The Doge has many enemies, many opponents, & very little time.
As his rivals jockey for coups, wars, & one-upmanship, people are dying & no one can explain it. All Mathias has to work with is the feeling that someone has unleashed this demon/man to wreak havoc on Venice. The question is why?

Reading historical fiction always requires the modern readers to forget DNA evidence & everything else we’ve learned from CSI. Mathias has zilch as far as clues go & word of mouth can be bought for a few ducats. With this frame of mind, we realize how drastically difficult investigating a crime would be. Mathias is beyond intelligent with both an analytical mind & as a good judge of character. It will also serve readers to bear in mind how much influence the Pope wielded during this era. With Pope’s such as our modern Francis, it’s difficult to reconcile a heavy-handed Pope such as the one in our story.
Much as changed in our world for sure. Regardless, the mystery aspect of the novel was fantastic. Unique references that I’ve not encountered before plus the use of an under-used setting definitely played in the book’s favor. Mathias is a flawed, unlikely type of hero. He’s surrounded by a large cast of characters that make one want to cheer or slap them depending on the scene. My first complaint is in regards to the character names. Everyone had a similar name except Mathias. Surely there’s not that big a shortage in Italian names to use? It became confusing. While I understand the need to titles etc., it became a cyclone of confusion.
I did appreciate that while some of the torture is described, I believed it to be only in a necessary way to further the story. Some sensitive readers will be surprised by the inclusion on a number of sexual scenes. Complaint #2: there was no need for the sex scenes. All it did was add too many more pages to a book that was already close to 400 pages. In fact, the book came very close to being too long. It seemed to just drag along in parts. While historical explanations were certainly necessary to understand the entire plot, there were many that were non-essential.
A more condensed version, centering ONLY on Mathias & his mystery, would have been an easy 5 star book. Sadly, all the hoopla included knocks it down to 3.

Posted in 2015 Holiday Gift Guide, Beauty, Product Reviews

2015 Holiday Gift Guide: Amazingly Beautiful from Trusted Health Products


Two things go along way with holiday gift-giving: 1.) Being unique & 2.) Personalization. Both say you care & put time into finding the gift. Trusted Health Products combines both schools of thought. Their signature line, Amazingly Beautiful provides all-natural facial and body moisturizers/revitalizers for men and women.
Each set contains A.M. & P.M. serums. Amazingly Beautiful is a combination of fruit, nut & plant extracts. There are no chemicals! In order to promote beautiful & hydrated skin, Amazingly Beautiful is 100% live skin care. Strictly for the face, it contains almond, orange, lemon, avocado, evening primrose, olive and apricot. Sounds almost good enough to eat, doesn’t it? The scent is fantastic, too. I love that it is free of the ‘extras’ that we all worry about like parabens, preservatives, GMOs, synthetic chemicals, artificial colors & additives. We all try to eat all-natural foods so why put something unnatural on our faces?
My skin is very finicky, but I had no issues with either the A.M. or P.M. I assume it’s due to the use of only natural ingredients.


If you’re looking for a product with anti-aging benefits, Amazingly Beautiful has that area covered. It firms & tones while reducing the appearance of aging. Whether you have dry or oily skin, Amazingly Beautiful will work for you.


Not only can you gift a quality, all natural product for the holidays, but each bottle is personalized. How cute! Every recipient will know how much consideration you put into their gift. Be honest: we all love to see our names in print. It just makes us feel special.

To go the extra mile, add the Amazingly Beautiful Body Collection. Both the Amazingly Beautiful Body Moisturizer and Revitalizer moisturize while they firm and tone. “It is 100% pure and natural, live cold pressed botanical oils of almond, orange, lime, lemon, olive and avocado and contains no preservatives, parabens, petroleum-based oils, GMOs, synthetic chemicals, artificial fragrances, colorings or additives of any kind.” This collection: “smoothes the appearance of rough and scaly areas, reduces the appearance of age spots, discoloration and sun spots, and decreases the appearance of blemishes and spider veins. It can also be used as an underarm deodorant.

Looking for a personalized gift for the men on your gift list? Trusted Health Products offers a men’s line too. The Man Collection consists of:

The Man – Facial A.M. day face oil serum and P.M. evening face oil serum

The Man – Body moisturizing body serum

Full product & ordering info is available through:
Visit Trusted Health on Social Media:

*ALL PICS BELONG TO TRUSTED HEALTH. I received the aforementioned products in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.

Posted in Giveaways

Hurricane Professional Spin Mop W/Dolly System Giveaway

Start Time/Date: 12:00 AM (EST) 10/27/15

End Time/Date: 12:00 AM (EST) 11/20/15

This giveaway will be valid only in the Continental United States only and entrants must be
18+ years of age to enter.

Hosted By:

Holiday Contest and Sweeps

Co-Hosted By:

Simply Sherryl

Beautiful Touches

Michigan Savings and More

Everyday Southwest

Davids DIY

Presents The:


 Hurricane Professional Spin Mop w. Dolly System

1 – Winner

Holiday Contest and Sweeps is pleased to team up with Viatek Consumer Products

to bring you the “Hurricane Professional Spin Mop with Dolly System” Giveaway for

one lucky reader to win.


The Professional System Hurricane Spin Mop, built to handle large office spaces, schools, restaurants, retail stores, hotels, and more.

To use the Hurricane Spin Mop Professional System, first submerge the mop in the bucket. Next, place the mop into the basket and pump the handle to spin the mop at over 1000 rotations per minute. Centrifugal force removes moisture, dirt and debris, cleaning the head and allowing you to control the level of moisture in the mop. Then simply lock the handle and begin mopping.

The machine-washable Hurricane Spin Mop head has thousands of microfiber strands that trap dirt, grime, and liquids without drips or leaks. It is also effective as a dry mop, attracting dust, hair, and other debris.

Built-in centrifugal spinner spins away dirt and debris!The Professional Spin Mop Head is 50% larger than the Consumer Spin Mop Head!

• Trusted Hurricane® Brand

• Rubber Coated Mop Handle

• Adjustable Aluminum Alloy Mop Handle

• Extra Large Bucket with Dolly

• Heavy-Duty Removable Microfiber Mop Head

For More Amazing Products Visit The Viatek Website: 

Follow The Hurricane Mop on Social Media On These Sites:


A Big Thank You To Our Sponsor

Viatek Consumer Products

 Follow Viatek Social Media’s Links 

Facebook , Twitter ,Pinterest ,You Tube , Google +

This giveaway is in no way endorsed, associated or affiliated with Facebook, Twitter

or any other Social Media Networking Site. This giveaway is valid in the Continental

United States only. Entrants must be 18+ years of age to enter. This giveaway will

end at 12:00 AM (EST) 11/20/15

 Holiday Contest and Sweeps did not receive any form of compensation for this

Giveaway. Viatek will be responsible for awarding and the shipping

of the prizes directly to the winners.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Posted in 2015 Holiday Gift Guide, Product Reviews, Product Reviews- DVDs

2015 Holiday Gift Guide: “Max”



A precision-trained military dog, Max serves on the frontlines in Afghanistan alongside his handler, U.S. Marine Kyle Wincott. But when things go terribly wrong on maneuvers, Kyle is mortally wounded and Max, traumatized by the loss of his best friend, is unable to remain in service. Sent stateside, the only human he seems willing to connect with is Kyle’s teenage brother, Justin, so Max is saved when he is adopted by Kyle’s family. But Justin has issues of his own, including living up to his father’s expectations, and he isn’t interested in taking responsibility for his brother’s troubled dog. However, Max may be Justin’s only chance to discover what really happened to his brother that day on the front, and with the help of Carmen, a tough-talking young teen who has a way with dogs, Justin begins to appreciate his canine companion. Justin’s growing trust in Max helps the four-legged veteran revert back to his heroic self, and as the pair race to unravel the mystery, they find more excitement—and danger—than they bargained for. But they each might also find an unlikely new best friend…in each other.

I LOVE FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT! I was thrilled to be able to sit down as a family & watch a quality movie with worrying about content. This movie is 5 huge stars all the way. Military service dogs don’t get nearly enough credit for all they do. Throughout the story, there were countless teachable moments where we were able to discuss both military issues & dogs’ roles in them.
If you are a military family, this movie will uplift you & give you a much needed break from all the media on television nowadays. ‘Max’ is being released tomorrow, just in time for the Holidays. You won’t regret gifting this movie especially to tweens & teens.


“Max” Blu-ray Combo Pack contains the following special features:
•Working with Max: Meet the dogs that play “Max” and see inside tricks of the trade!

· Hero Dogs: A Journey – Get a behind-the-scenes look at amazing military trained K9s.

“Max” Standard Definition DVD contains the following special features:
•Working with Max: Meet the dogs that play “Max” and see inside tricks of the trade!


On October 13, “Max” will be available for streaming and download to watch anywhere in high definition and standard definition on their favorite devices from select digital retailers including Amazon, CinemaNow, Flixster, iTunes, PlayStation, Vudu, Xbox and others. “Max” will also be available digitally on Video On Demand services from cable and satellite providers, and on select gaming consoles.


*Digital HD with UltraViolet allows fans to watch a digital version of their movie or TV show anywhere, on their favorite devices. Digital HD with UltraViolet is included with the purchase of specially marked Blu-ray discs. Digital HD with UltraViolet allows consumers to instantly stream and download movies and TV shows to TVs, computers, tablets and smartphones through UltraViolet retail services like CinemaNow, Flixster, VUDU and more. For more information on compatible devices go to Consult an UltraViolet Retailer for details and requirements and for a list of HD-compatible devices.



Blu-ray Combo Pack $35.99

DVD Amaray (WS) $28.98

Standard Street Date: October 27, 2015

Digital HD Street Date: October 13, 2015

DVD Languages: English, Latin Spanish, Canadian French

BD Languages: English, Latin Spanish, Canadian French, Brazilian Portuguese

DVD Subtitles: English SDH, Latin Spanish, Parisian French

BD Subtitles: English, Latin Spanish, Canadian French, Brazilian Portuguese

Running Time: 111 minutes

Rating Rated PG for action violence, peril, brief language and some thematic elements


The Credits

About Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer is a leading entertainment company focused on the production and global distribution of film and television content. The company owns one of the world’s deepest libraries of premium film and television content. In addition, MGM has investments in domestic and international television channels and is the majority owner of and distributor for United Artists Media Group (UAMG). For more information, visit

About Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Inc.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) brings together Warner Bros. Entertainment’s home video, digital distribution and interactive entertainment businesses in order to maximize current and next-generation distribution scenarios. An industry leader since its inception, WBHE oversees the global distribution of content through packaged goods (Blu-ray Disc™ and DVD) and digital media in the form of electronic sell-through and video-on-demand via cable, satellite, online and mobile channels, and is a significant developer and publisher for console and online video game titles worldwide. WBHE distributes its product through third party retail partners and licensees.

*We received a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.

Posted in Pets

Halloween Fun For Dogs

spa-halloween_1_720Do you dress up your dog for Halloween? This is our first Halloween with Buster. If we’d been fortunate to have him in our lives when the kids were small, I know he would’ve accompanied them during trick or treating. Perhaps you’ve seen Gwen, a hilariously funny pug, who’s Instagram famous for her costumes. If not, you can see her here. She makes my day!
Our Buster would rather not wear a costume. Bandanas are about as far as he’ll go. That’s fine with us. I just want him to be himself. However, he did receive a special pumpkin-scented spritz from the groomer. At least he’ll smell seasonal!20151003_105127olivia-jennifer_brent-_mabelboolivia
Costume or not, all our pets deserve treats (in moderation, of course). Buster has received Milk Bone treats from his first day with us. Like our human kids, I want him to eat quality products. We know not to give him chocolate or grapes because of how dangerous they are to dog health. But, he’ll never feel deprived of the good stuff with all the awesome treats Milk Bone offers.

These treats are part of the Big Heart Pet Brands along with Milo’s Kitchen, Pup-Peroni, and Canine Carry Outs. There is something for every taste & every breed of dog.
Right now, they have some amazing articles available on throwing a dog-friendly Howl-o-ween Party & even DIY costume ideas. Have some fun and as long as your dog is enjoying him or herself, then it’ll be a good time for all!Brand Logos

Posted in Beauty, Product Reviews

Beauty Box 5: Your Link to Pink

Pink may not be a typical color for Autumn, but it has become the color for October. As you may well know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Like most women, it’s a very important cause for me, not just as a woman, but as someone who has numerous family members that have been effected. My mother-in-law & multiple aunts have all survived this monster health issue.
To celebrate survivors everywhere, Beauty Box 5 is in a Pink State of Mind! Now, I need to point out that due to postal issues, I didn’t receive my box until the 22nd, but it couldn’t be helped. Regardless, there’s enough of October left to enjoy our Beauty Box!

As you may have guessed, every item included is pink! First up, we have the neatest looking Kabuki brush I’ve seen. Ferro Cosmetics brings us the ‘Pink Rhinestone Kabuki Brush’. So soft that you’ll want to cuddle it, this brush works very well with Mineral Foundation. It holds the powder well & evenly distributes it. Although it has an MSRP of $25, for the quality of the brush, I’d say it is easily worth the money. Plus, with its unique color theme, it’s simply cool to use.

20151021_130742Happy Hands has included their Makeup Cleansing Cloth. With just water, it wipes impurities such as your make-up away. I’ll agree that it is gentle to the skin. I did have a bit of a hard time removing darker eye makeup without leaving behind a ‘shadow’ of it. It comes with an MSRP of $3.99 which is pretty close to the amount one would spend on makeup removal cloths from other manufactures which are disposable & supply more than one cloth.

20151021_130811Styli-Style’s ‘Perfect Pout Long Lasting Lip Balm’ definitely goes on smoothly. I’d call the color ‘vibrant’, for sure. A little too vibrant for me. Perhaps it was the particular shade of pink. It looked very 1980’s on me. Hopefully, not everyone would have the same experience. It’s competitive with an MSRP of $4.99. As for its long-lasting claim, it lasted as long as the majority of balms of tried which is, it stayed put until I ate or drank.

Knotty Hair Ties are simply adorable! They give that youthful feel without making you look like you tried too hard. Very feminine with their ‘Think Pink’ theme, they don’t snag or knot. My hair is beyond ‘fine’ & they stayed put for me. I’d say they’re a perfect stocking stuffer for the girls in your life. With an MSRP of $4, they’re affordable & comfortable- two of my favorite qualities!

Nubar finishes up our Pink box with a Nail Polish Mini. Again, the color was simply not for me, but Nubar does produce quality polishes in general. I would recommend it for a Breast Cancer event such as a mani/pedi session for chemotherapy patients. It’s also feminine & easy to apply. It’s MSRP is $4.99, making it an affordable way to show support.

Beauty Box 5, a monthly subscription service, provides a box of 5 products, delivered via USPS. For $12 a month, each month brings a fabulous surprise directly to you. No driving. No fuss. In October’s box alone, there are 4 FULL sized products. Add it all up. You’d have paid way over $12 to try these products.

With the holidays approaching, a subscription would make a terrific gift. Visit You’ll find full product info as well as how to order your own.

I received the aforementioned products in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.


Posted in Offers & Deals

October is National Bullying Prevention Month

Nowadays, you’d be hard pressed to find a family not impact by bullying. Whether or not your child has been directly impacted, they no doubt know someone who has been bullied.
I’ve spoken more then once about the bullying that both my youngest son & I experienced. Start early to teach kids that it is not okay to bully and if you are the one being bullied, don’t be silent! We have to lose the mentality that it’s just a part of childhood or kids being kids.
To their credit, two specific companies are doing their part to education & support anti-bullying efforts.
Mother Trucker & Co. – 10% of all limited edition Anti-Bullying hat purchases (“Don’t Be a Richard” and #bekind) in October will be donated to

Move over boys! There’s finally a truckin’ hat with just the right cheeky attitude for those high-spirited women on your holiday list! Taking a totally new spin on trucker hats, the Mother Truckers ( are cool must-have accessories with lively, sassy and fun-loving messages befitting any proud woman wearing them.

Baby’s Brilliant – A portion of all in-app proceeds during the month of October will benefit Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center in honor of National Anti Bullying Month. Their new book, It’s Alright to Look Different, is a perfect fit for any anti-bullying features you’re working on. The Baby’s Brilliant App offers a variety of educational and entertaining videos and music for the parent on the go. Created by a busy mother of three, the app introduces babies to the world around them in an enriching and playful way, teaching them concepts like letters, numbers, colors and relaxing them at nap time and bedtime. Invest in your children and a good cause at the same time.

*All info on the companies was provided by their PR.

Posted in Book Reviews

Where the Wild Roses Grow: Willow Rose

Emma Frost #10
Best-selling author Emma Frost takes a much needed vacation, to Ireland, with her long-time boyfriend, Morten. Checking into a quaint bed & breakfast, the two believe they’ll have time to themselves, child-free. Despite the beauty of the town of Enniskerry, Emma & Morten will not have a relaxing vacation.

During a leisurely walk, Emma & Morten discover a body. Found floating in the water, one could easily discern it to be a typical drowning, most likely accidental. But, in Emma’s world, things are rarely as they appear. Closer inspection reveals that the corpse is carrying a unique item. Between her teeth is a single, red rose.

For whatever reason, Emma feels compelled to delay her relaxation & find justice for this young woman. No one seems to know anything &, honestly, no one seems to care too much. So when a second body turns up that mirrors the death of the first young lady, Emma decides it’s up to her & Morten to figure it out.

Under the guise that she’s simply writing a book about the deaths, they dive in headfirst. What they didn’t count on was the depth to which the town of Enniskerry will go to in order to hide its secrets. Residents are determined to protect things that aren’t known to the general public. Justice in this case will require Emma to go head-to-head with a shady Police Inspector, grieving families, & even the local Church. Is she in too deep this time?

I was thrilled with this installment of the Emma Frost series. Mystery & suspense take center stage in this one. I also appreciate that Willow Rose utilized a very unique plot that was based on actual events. After readers finish the novel, they’ll be equally stunned by that fact. Willow Rose has also toned down on the sex & violence quite a bit in this work. Previously, these two elements came close to overshadowing her talent. Thankfully, the true value of her writing abilities are evident in ‘Roses’.

An enjoyable read, I give it a full 5 star rating.