Friday, April 30, 2010

Beauty Product Review: Tresemme Dry Shampoo

By Denise Bertacchi

Product: Tresemme Fresh Start Dry Shampoo
Manufacturer: Tresemme
Retail Price: $4.50 to $5.50
Where to Get It: Target, Walmart, Drug Stores
Sizes/Specifications: 5.7 oz can
Product Description: Refreshes hair between shampoos
Recommended? Yes


Tresemme's new line of waterless shampoo products caught my eye the last time I was at the store, so I bought a can to try. I’m already a fan of their regular shampoo and hair spray, so I thought their Fresh Start dry shampoo could be worth experimentation.

I've heard dry shampoos praised in women’s magazines, but before now I could only find a no-name dry shampoo at the drug store. This plain label spray was shelved not with beauty products, but next to the lice remover, which didn’t do much to inspire consumer confidence. The can’s plain label said it was good to use while camping or for sick people who couldn't shower, not for regular use by normal people. Somehow, I couldn't see this as the product beauty advisors in a glossy magazine was telling me I just had to go buy.

Tresemme's Fresh Start line is, thankfully, not next to the lice remover, but shelved alongside other hair care products. Its suggested use is for freshening up between shampoos and for reducing the need to wash color treated hair. I've heard from hair care experts that it's actually good for hair to go two days between shampoos, but my pathetic hair gets immediately limp and oily after only 24 hours.

Does it work? Yes! You just spray the dry shampoo on your hair, aiming for the roots where hair is most oily. Allow it to soak in for a minute or two, then fluff and brush. The product is dry (it's made with mineral clay) and soaks up oil wonderfully. It left my hair dry, clean and nice smelling.

You’ll need to make sure you brush your hair thoroughly when you use the dry shampoo, otherwise it will leave behind a white dusting of powder in your hair. It's pretty easy to remove with a few good strokes of the brush.

Fresh Start dry shampoo is recommended for straight hair. Moms with curly hair should try Fresh Start waterless foam shampoo.

So why would busy moms need a dry shampoo? How about when your kid misses the morning school bus and now you have to drop him off at school? You might still be in your PJ’s but at least you don’t need to hide your hair under a ball cap. If you're trying to pamper a new color treatment by not washing your hair as much this dry shampoo can help you keep your hair out of the shower without feeling gross. Going camping? Yep, this will work if you can't manage more than a sponge bath in your tent. And I'm definitely taking this stuff with me the next time I pull a 16-hour car ride to Florida--maybe I can arrive at my destination not looking like a greaseball. My clothes might be wrinkled, but my hair will look great.
Photo from Tresemme
Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Child Toy Product Review: Moon Sand

By Kerrie McLoughlin
Product Review: Moon Sand
Sold at Toys R Us, Target and more
Price: $5-$40
Recommended: Yes, for ages 4 and up


Review:
Moon Sand is yet another product I wish I had come up with because I would be rich, rich, rich today! And I would feel good about being rich because this product is terrific for kids and isn’t too much of a headache for parents.

The best way I can describe the consistency of Moon Sand is that it’s like you took a gray eraser and erased the heck out of a page of pencil marks. You’d end up with that eraser residue stuff, only Moon Sand sticks together better than eraser gunk would.

If you are a neat freak, this may not be the product for your kids to be playing with because it will probably slop out of the little blow-up “pool” that may or may not be provided with your Moon Sand kit. And watch out when your kid molds something out of Moon Sand and then tries to carry it around the house because it doesn’t hold together nearly as tightly as something like Play-Doh.

My advice is not to worry about springing for the colored sand … the original gray stuff works just great, and the colored stuff just gets mixed together anyway. As for the molds, you can buy the ones that come in the kits, but you can also use stuff you have around the house. In this picture my boys used blocks from the game “Don’t Break the Ice” to make a wall out of Moon Sand.

Look, I have 5 kids and 4 of them play with Moon Sand all the time. Do I have to vacuum a little extra when they’re done playing? Sure. Is it easy to clean up? Yes. Is it worth it to have them happy for an hour so I can make dinner and do the dishes or have an actual conversation with my husband? Absolutely. I wouldn’t say the same about something like Floam, but that’s another story/review!

If I can answer any questions about Moon Sand for you, please leave a comment, and I’ll get back to you!
Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Book Review: 'Just Let Me Lie Down - Necessary Terms for the Half-Insane Working Mom'

By Pam Houghton

Title: Just Let Me Lie Down: Necessary Terms for the Half-Insane Working Mom
Author: Kristin van Ogtrop
Publisher and date: Little, Brown and Company, April 2010
Recommended: Yes

As a mom who worked away from home until a corporate restructuring eliminated my job a couple of summers ago, I am endlessly fascinated by moms who write books about work/family balance. I am also endlessly fascinated by writers who write books that are fun and fast to read.

Which this book is. The author, Kristin van Ogtrop, is the editor of Real Simple Magazine and the married mom of three boys: two teens and a toddler.

In her spare time (she has spare time?) she wrote this book that describes, in alphabetical order, the challenges and rewards of a working mom.

Each chapter begins with a letter of the alphabet and five or so dictionary-like terms and definitions of each in varying length.

Under the letter "M," van Ogtrop provides an example of "Magical thinking."

"If you yell at your son to try and get him out the door faster in the morning, that should do the trick."

Magical thinker that I was, I tried that for years and let me tell you, IT DOES NOT WORK. Nothing like beating your head against the wall as Van Ogtrop seems to suggest.

Another example is Accounting Error. Van Ogtrop writes, "When you accidently have one more child than you can handle." There's also Boredom Fantasy, when you remember back to "when you were a lot younger and had time to be bored."

The author does not really offer any advice on how to do everything better, faster, more efficiently all while making your family happy and well-adjusted. Which is just as well because I have a terrible time following advice.

Instead, she lists in humorous fashion the ups and downs working moms go through when they are nutty busy combining work and family. In the behavior defined as "Undercompensating," van Ogtrop describes working moms who over-rely on the stay-at-home moms to pull "more than their weight" for class parties while the SAHMs also collect teacher gift money and figure out if "the school lunch menu is nutritious enough."

She writes: "I've found that if you just write a yearly check to the PTA and sponsor some sort of ride at the annual school carnival, you can make yourself believe that you are participating."

As much as this book is a humorous and sometimes self-deprecating peek into working motherhood, stay-home moms will be able to identify with the emotional connections moms have with their children and the sacrifices required while raising them.

I give this book three stars for its entertainment value and engaging format. It's such a quick and easy read you could probably get through it in one or two sittings. For busy moms, that alone is likely worth four stars, right?
Monday, April 26, 2010

Pet Product Review: Guardian Anti-Bark Collar by PetSafe




Product: Guardian Anti-Bark Collar by PetSafe

Features: Mild Static Tingle- 6 Levels

Waterproof

Price: $39.97

Where to Get It: Walmart and Similar Stores

Recommended? Yes


Review:


We live in a neighborhood where if your dog barks, the neighbors are almost guaranteed to call the pound to your house. Of course, that means our puppy developed a barking problem. After about 3 months of trying to work with him to get him to stop barking, we had to break down and get him a bark collar.


I really didn't want to resort to a bark collar but we couldn't have the pound fining us. After doing much research I got the Guardian Anti-Bark Collar because it uses a mild static to train the dog not to bark excessively. If they continue to bark, the static will increase to six levels. If they still continue to bark, the collar will then shut off completely for 15 minutes.


We have been using the collar for about 2 weeks now. I am the majority of the way pleased with the collar. While it hasn't stopped him from barking completely, it has stopped him from barking loudly and excessively. I'm still not thrilled with the fact we are using the bark collar but it seems to be working. It seems to work quickly too. He has only zapped himself maybe 5 times in the two weeks (that I have noticed) and they were on the lowest setting.


The only thing I do not like about the collar is the battery compartment. He has somehow managed to get the batteries out twice- by scratching I think. I'm worried I won't notice he has taken the batteries out and eat them. That's the only feature I would change about the collar so far.


I don't recommended you using this collar if you are looking to stop your dog from barking completely. But, if you're looking to trim back on the barking, than yes I do recommend it. I feel it is very effective for the price.
Sunday, April 25, 2010

Beauty Product Review: InColor Lip Glosses by Jordana


Product Review: InColor Lip Glosses by Jordana
Sold at Walgreen’s
Price: 3 for $4 on sale; normally about $2 each
Recommended: Yes

Review:
1. Squeeze n’ Shine Super Shiny Tasty Lip Gloss in Honey Luau — This stuff is just as great as the Cover Girl lip gloss I spend $6 on. From their web site, "Tasty & fruity flavors. Moisturizing transparent tints & shimmers. Tube with slanted applicator tip."

2. LipShine Shimmer Glaze in Strawberry — This one really does taste like strawberries. To apply, first turn the bottom of the container until it clicks a few times and gets the brush moist with glaze. As you smoosh your lips together to rub in the color, you’ll feel tiny granules that help smooth your lips. From their web site, "Easy to use click pen brush-on gloss. Hint of flavor & splash of color. Vitamin E to protect lips, Aloe for added moisture."

3. Pretty Shine Luxury Gloss in Gorgeous — The velvety applicator and non-sticky gloss made me want to apply this gloss over and over just because it felt good and not because it was necessary. From their web site, "Glistening super-shine formula. Contains Jojoba Oil to lock in moisture. Lavish, rich, divine color. Ultra glossy finish."

All of the above come in many different colors, and they are so affordable you could buy all the different varieties in every color without breaking the bank. I also have sensitive lips, and many products (cheap and expensive alike) make my lips itch or burn. I was worried these products would do the same since they are so inexpensive, but they feel so great that I wear them instead of Chapstick all the time now.
Saturday, April 24, 2010

Book Review: 'The Dance of Anger:A Woman's Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships'

By D.E. Moore

Title: The Dance of Anger: A Woman's Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships
Author: Harriet Lerner, Ph.D.
Publisher: Harper & Row Publishers, Inc. 1985, Reprinted in Quill in 2001
Recommended? YES!


My Review


This book really hit home with me! It's written specifically for women and has real references to the types of relationships that I see around me every day and have had personal experience with.


Dr. Lerner says "Anger is a signal, and one worth listening to."


She makes a valid point that women are traditionally discouraged from expressing anger or even acknowledging it in some cases. She makes no excuses for anger, just that it is what it is and the problems we get into are a result of ineffective expressions of our anger, not the emotion itself.


There are explanations of why "nice ladies" are preferable in our culture to "angry women" and what a circular dance it becomes as we live our lives. I'm sure there are other women out there who feel as I often do…not very good at being angry, but incredibly talented at feeling guilty!


Dr. Lerner sees our guilt as a way to keep from being aware of our anger and gives practical tools to overcome this tendency.


The book lists several reasons why we might be dancing with our anger in relationships of every type, from husbands, mothers, fathers, children and friends. The author gently, but firmly guides us through the dance and gives incentive to change the circular pattern and improve ourselves from the inside out, which in turn will improve our relationships and how we perceive life itself.


I highly recommend this book to any woman who questions why her life "just isn't working" and wants to DO something about it!
Friday, April 23, 2010

Cell Phone Review: Motorola Droid

By Angela Atkinson

Product Name: Motorola Droid
Retail Price: $560 ($199 with contract)
Where to Get It: Verizon Wireless
Networks: CDMA dual band (800/1900 MHz); CDMA2000 1xRTT/1xEV-DO rev.0/1xEV-DO rev.A Display: 3.7-inch screen with 854×480 (16:9 widescreen) capacitive touchscreen
Camera: 5 megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash and video recording
Operating system: Google Android 2.0 OS
Input: QWERTY keyboard, touchscreen
CPU: 600 MHz ARM Cortex A8 Processor
Memory: 256 MB RAM / 512 MB ROM
Memory card: microSD/microSDHC
Connectivity: GPS, Wi-Fi, 3.5mm HeadPhone Jack
Misc: AMR-NB/WB, MP3, PCM / WAV, AAC, AAC +, eAAC +, WMA
Media: MPEG-4, H263, H264, WMV
Battery: 1400mAh Li-ion
Talk Time: 420 minutes
Standby Time: 450 hours
Dimensions: 60.00 x 115.80 x 13.70 mm
Weight: 169g
Recommended? Absolutely.


My Review

My husband is a techie, and I'll have to admit it's rubbed off on me a little. So when I learned that Verizon had the Motorola Droid on sale for $199.99--AND that I could get two for that price with a recent BOGO promotion, I couldn't help myself.

The Pros

I am in love with this phone. I have to be honest--it's so much more than a phone. It has countless apps available in the Droid Marketplace, which you can access directly from the Droid. Many of the apps are completely free, but some are available for nominal charges (usually between 99 cents and five dollars.)

Some of the apps are made just to show off the phone--like the one I have called "Steamy Window," which simply "fogs" up your phone's display and allows you to wipe it off with your finger (or doodle.) The coolest part of this particular app is that when you blow on the phone, the fog comes back. Other apps are more functional, like the grocery shopping organizer and the Weight Watcher's points diary (complete with weight tracker and points calculator.) You can get free ringtones, wallpapers, icon packs and themes. To date, I've only paid for one app, which was an alternate "home" system. I spent a whopping five bucks on it.

Then there are the Google goodies, like the Google Goggles, which allow you to take a photo of anything and search the net for it automatically. And the Google Sky app, which turns your phone into a virtual sky map. Another app I have will tell me where the nearest anything is--it determines your location and tells you what's near--businesses, restaurants, movie theaters, churches, etc. Turns you into a "local" wherever you go.

They've even got apps for the kids. I have a "Toddler Lock" app that turns the phone into a toy for my two year old--it even blocks the functions of the phone so that she can't break or damage it (unless, of course she throws it.) My boys love all the games, all of which I've picked up for free.

The browser is the fastest I've ever seen on a phone. My previous smart phone was a Palm Centro, and while I thought it was cool that I could access the internet from it, it was so slow that it wasn't useful. The Droid browser is nearly as fast as my laptop.

The slide out keyboard feature is nice, as is the rather roomy and easy to use touch screen. The recent update gave us the ability to "pinch to zoom" among other things. The fact that I can watch movies and Youtube videos makes it so much better. I even heard that they're getting ready to release a Hulu app.

The Droid is completely customizable on every level. I honestly tell people that it's ruined me for all other phones, and I'm not joking when I say this. I highly recommend it.

The Cons

I don't have too many complaints about this awesome little phone, but I will say that sometimes when I'm on a call, my face accidentally mutes the phone and I can't unmute without hanging up and calling back. That can be pretty annoying, especially when you're on a business call. Also, it annoys me that I have to pay for a $30 data package each month (per Droid) on top of my regular bill. And, on rare occasion, apps will "force close" if they don't work right--but it doesn't seem to slow the Droid down. I'm usually able to reopen the app immediately.
Thursday, April 22, 2010

Product Review: Barnes and Noble Membership


By Denise Bertacchi
Product Name: Barnes and Noble Membership
Price: $25 for one year
Where to Get It: Online and in stores at Barnes and Noble
Product Description: Membership card that grants the user various discounts on purchases.
Recommended? No, unless you read a lot of New York Times bestsellers.

My Review:

Bookseller Barnes and Noble (B&N) offers a “membership” card that guarantees the user discounts on books and other products they sell. The catch? Membership costs $25 per year.

Signing up for a B&N membership is the only way to get really good coupons from B&N, so at first it might sound like a good deal. If a new hardback book goes for around $20, a 40% discount will save you $8 bucks! What a deal, right? You would only need to buy 3 or 4 hardback books to cover the cost of the annual membership.

How does it work? B&N sells membership cards for $25, which grants the user a discount of 40% off hardcover bestsellers, 20% off adult hardcovers, and 10% off “most anything else.” They also send out coupons via email every week. Sometimes the email has a great deal, like a recent offer of 50% off certain gifts for Mother’s Day, but more often they are coupons for 10% off the discount you normally receive when you show your card, or for 30% off particular titles they want to promote. Once a month you might receive a really good coupon for 30% off any title (which combines with your membership to be 40% off anything or 70% off a hardcover bestseller).

My problem with the membership is that the discounts are limited to what they want to sell you. Children’s bestsellers do not count for the normal 40% “everyday” discount—despite the fact that they are just as expensive and popular as adult titles. If you’re a parent who normally buys books for your kids, but have little time to read on your own, tough luck. If you like to read paperback sci-fi or romance novels, sorry—unless it’s a hardbound New York Times bestseller, you’re not going to get a big discount. Are you a writer looking for reference books? 10% off is all you’re likely to see.

I like books, but I don’t have a lot of time to read, so mostly I’m buying them for my kids. 10% off children’s titles doesn’t cover much more than the tax. I figure I would have to buy $250 dollars worth of children’s books to recoup the cost of membership. Waiting for usable coupons to show up in the email is frustrating, especially when you have a child burning through books like wildfire--and just has to have the latest release from their favorite author NOW!

If you do happen to read--and read a lot--of grown up hardcover titles off the New York Times Bestseller list, then this membership might be worth the price. But remember, you're not going to actually save any money until after you purchase that fourth bestseller.

If you want a good, reliable source of coupons for new books, you’re better off signing up for Border’s membership. It’s free.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Book Review: 'Pinkalicious'

By Christina Newman

Title: Pinkalicious

Author: Victoria Kann & Elizabeth Kann, Illustrated by: Victoria Kann
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers
Recommended? Yes

Review


Pinkalicious tells the story of a little girl who absolutely, positively loves pink! She does not have the best manners and does not want to listen to her parents. She eats too many pink cupcakes and turns into the beautiful color of pink. Thinking it is the best thing to ever happen she can't wait to eat more pink cupcakes, though the doctor has told her no more pink food, only green. She eats just one too many cupcakes and winds up the color red. She does not like red and goes on a mission to only eat green food. She learns in the end she does not want to be pink or red, only herself and that she is beautiful.



My daughter is a princess and she loves this story. She will sit and read it to herself, to me and to anyone else who will listen. It really drew her in and found something she relates too, a love of all things PINK!


Pinkalicious allows my daughter live in a land where all things can be pink and that thrills my little girl to no end. She will twirl around the house with her tiara firmly on her head, wand in hand and tutu on her butt. She loves for us to call her Pinkalicious and to dance around with her. This story gave her a new friend.


Pinkalicious is full of beautiful pictures and well written words. I will say that it is a good story, nothing spectacular. I do enjoy children's books that contain a moral of some kind which this book does deliver. This story teaches children that things are okay in moderation and to be happy with who they are.


My bottom line, I will continue to read this story. No it is nothing special but as long has my children enjoy it we will read it. We will also continue to read and purchase future publications by this author.



Victoria Kann & Elizabeth Kann have captured the imagination of children across the globe with this beautiful book. They went on to co-author Purplicious and both have separate publications.
Monday, April 19, 2010

Movie Review: Frost/Nixon (2008)

Movie Review by Stacey Celaya

Title: Frost/Nixon (2008)
Genre: Drama, History
Run Time: 122 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Ron Howard
Writer: Peter Morgan
Cast: Frank Langella (Nixon), Michael Sheen (David Frost), Kevin Bacon, Oliver Platt
Recommended: Absolutely

Synopsis:

This movie is based on the 1977 interview series between David Frost and Richard Nixon after Nixon's impeachment. These were the first interviews granted by Nixon post impeachment. Nixon was looking to repair the American public opinion of him and David Frost wanted to legitimize his journalistic career.

Frost believes that he can give the American people the thing that they wanted most from Nixon at the time: a confession of wrong doing. While Frost is concerned with the money and fame that these interviews will give him, his research team is concerned that Nixon will use these interviews to exonerate himself.

Interviews 1-3 consist of Nixon taking control and keeping control throughout. Frost is unable to gain control of the interviews and regardless of the questions asked Nixon answers in a very presidential manner and is clearly swaying popular opinion.

The negotiations between Richard Nixon and David Frost stipulated that the Watergate scandal would be discussed only in the last interview. The evening before the taping of the last interview Nixon has a couple of drinks and makes a phone call to David Frost basically telling him to be prepared for a fight to the death. This gives Frost a wake up call and he dives into research and prepares to enter the ring with Nixon and come out the winner.

Right before cameras start rolling for the last interview Frost mentions the drunk call the night before from Nixon who doesn't remember a thing and catches him completely off guard. The lights go on, the cameras start rolling and Frost goes in for the kill.

My Review:

Initially I watched this movie as an assignment for one of my classes and not because it looked appealing to me. I was pleasantly surprised and genuinely enjoyed it. It depicts a time in American history that was wrought with doubt and insecurity brought about because of the impeachment of our President, an event that had never occurred before.

While I was alive when this happened I was too young to know what was going on. Watching this movie created a desire in myself to research this historical event.

The dynamic between Frost and Nixon was illustrated beautifully in this movie and the power struggle that existed between them. The American public never saw the behind the scenes conversations that make this movie so interesting.

This movie blended a historical event, humor, suspense and intrigue to create
a very entertaining account of an unseen facet of the impeachment of President Nixon.

Bottom line - a great movie!
Saturday, April 17, 2010

Book Review: 'Enemies and Playmates'

By: Dawne Prochilo

Title: Enemies & Playmates
Author: Darcia Helle
Publisher: Createspace
Recommendation: Yes

Review:


Darcia Helle hits the thrill and love mark with her suspense romance Enemies and Playmates.

Lauren Covington, college student and obedient daughter of abusive and controlling father Alex, who finds love with Jesse Ryder, someone her father hired to 'take care of some business'.

This is a book about healing, family support, coping with a loved one addicted to drugs and the deep appreciation of love. Enemies and Playmates began as a sweet love romance and quickly turned a little darker side concealed by Alex Covington's need for power.

While Jesse, a private investigator, turns down Alex's offer for a job, he finds admiration and love with the sweet and dutiful Lauren. The duo start a budding romance which quickly turns into Jesse becoming protective and cautious of Lauren's well being.

Lauren remains silent about her home life until she learns her younger brother, Stephen, has turned to the world of drugs and eventually overdoses. She confides in Jesse about the truth behind her brother's death, which Alex uses his powerful influence to cover up the overdose.

Alex makes Jesse an ultimatum- take the 'job' he offered and leave Lauren alone. Jesse turns down both requests and continues to date Lauren while investigating Alex's dirty dealings.

Helle pulls you into the story with the dulcet romance and once you're hooked on love, she throws in a dash of overpowering anger that grips you twice as hard. Within moments of being introduced to Alex Covington, the reader will feel an animosity towards the man. He's the perfect antagonist while Jesse is ideally the honed in hero.

Follow Lauren through the heartbreak of losing Stephen, the support she gives her abused mother and the love she finds unequivocally with Jesse.




Enemies and Playmates and all of Helle's books are available on Amazon and on her website at www.quietfurybooks.com.
Friday, April 16, 2010

Book Review: 'Quaker Oats Old Fashioned Classic Recipes'




Title: Quaker Oats Old Fashioned Classic Recipes

Author: The Quaker Oats Company

Publisher: 2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Recommended: Yes


Review:


My grandmother recently gave me this cookbook because I kept purchasing Oatmeal thinking I was running out and now have a large supply of it. Plus, my youngest son is a natural vegetarian and is very picky about what he eats. He has a very adult taste for such a young child.


I was quite surprised by this cookbook. I'm not a fan of oatmeal but if a recipe looks good, I will certainly try it. Before this cookbook I thought oatmeal was a breakfast food and used in cookies on occasion. I didn't know just how much you could do with oatmeal.


The breakfast section of this book completely changed my perspective of oatmeal for breakfast. The breakfast sections consists of every thing from muffins to pancakes. All of which have simple and easy to understand recipes.


I can't get over how great the recipes in the main dish section look. I made the "Spicy Oat- Crusted Chicken with Sunshine Salsa" and oh my gosh, I will never look at oatmeal the same! There are so many main dishes that taste and look great that involve oatmeal.


The dessert section of the cookbook goes beyond the common oatmeal cookie. Although I haven't tried any of the dessert recipes yet, I am planning to very soon because they look amazing! There is even a cheesecake recipe!


There is also a snack section in this book, which the kids will love! I highly recommend this cookbook because the food tastes great- even with a picky 3 year old. Plus, the ingredients are cheap and simple and the recipes are short and easy to follow.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Service Review: Red Box

By Kerrie McLoughlin
Red Box
Retail Price: $1.00 per night per movie plus tax
Where to Get It: check here to find locations
Product Description: A big red box ... can't miss it!
Recommended? Yes

Have you seen the Red Box all over your town? If you have not tried the Red Box, you must!

I’m a cheapskate, so I usually put movies on hold at the library and get to keep them for a week. I almost NEVER go to Blockbuster, even with their new extended due dates, because they are so expensive. I joined Netflix recently, but signed up for the plan where I only get one movie at a time.

But I digress, as I like to do. So for only $1 plus tax you can rent a movie until 9 p.m. the next day. If you want to keep it another night or – God forbid – FORGET (like I’ve done), you just pay another $1 plus tax per night.

They have a lot of new releases and good kid movies. They also have some weird crap that never even made it to the movie theatres, so watch out. You just walk up to the Box, touch the screen and you’re on your way to Movieland. Your DVD is mechanically vended to you (doesn’t that sound professional?). When you want to return it, just pop it back into the machine.

So try the Red Box and let me know what you think. I own no stock in them (that I know of … don’t get me started on 401(k)s and who has the time to peruse theirs to make sure all their money is being invested in socially responsible companies?), so this is a purely neutral review.

A potential problem: You know how sometimes movies get too scratched to play? I put Post-it notes on DVDs so the library knows about it, but there needs to be a tiny man with a DVD polisher inside the Red Box.

Another good thing you may need to know: If you lose the case, you can buy another at the Red Box for $1.

Bottom line: Red Box gets 9 Dove chocolate hearts out of 10 for being so accessible and cheap.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Movie Review: The Business of Being Born

By Stacey Celaya

Title: The Business of Being Born
Genre: Documentary
Run Time: 89 minutes
MPAA Rating: NR
Director: Abby Epstein
Executive Producer: Ricki Lake
Recommended? Absolutely
Synopsis:

After Ricki Lake had her first child in a hospital with the usual medical interventions (pitocin, epidural, etc.) she felt as though she was missing something in the birth experience; that she was still searching for something. She teamed up with Abby Epstein to take a closer look at our country's way of birthing babies.

The documentary is a combination of interviews with both traditional OB/GYN's and Midwives and their stance on births attended by Midwives versus the typical hospital/physician birth. Various women are followed through their birth experience beginning with their search and decision to use Midwives instead of Physicians through their home births, birthing center births and hospital births.

My Review:

This was an incredible documentary. As a woman that has had four children - three without so much as a Tylenol and one with both an induction and an epidural I have the personal perspective of having been through both experiences. As just a regular Mom I was quickly able to see how much more difficult my labor and delivery were with unnecessary interventions compared to my other three. As a nursing student who has spent the last semester in the Labor and Delivery floor for my clinical experience I was able to see how unusual it is for a woman to come into the hospital in "natural" labor and deliver without any medical interventions at all.
While this film is definitely pro-natural labor, it does show the perspective of a couple of OB/GYN's which was interesting. Being able to see the whole home birth process through the actual delivery of several babies to include one home birth that did not quite go as planned; ending in cesarean was fascinating.

So I would definitely recommend this documentary if you are interested in woman's health care in the United States and if you don't mind the natural process of birth because there is a lot of live real life births up close and personal.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Book Review: 'Little Earthquakes'

By Christina Newman

Title: Little Earthquakes, A Novel

Author: Jennifer Weiner

Publisher: Washington Square Press

Recommended? YES!

My Review:

This lovely story is about four very different women who are bound together by one simple thing, motherhood! They go through the trials of marriage, career changes, family and motherhood. In truth it is a story of friendship.

I must admit that when I pick this book up I was not a fan of so called "chick lit". I was 16 years old just trying to find something to read for the flight from Tampa, Florida to Las Vegas, Nevada. I found it on a book stand at the airport and thought, "what the hey, I'll give it a try".

Chapter one..I was hooked. I fell in love with the characters right away and never looked back. They are funny, charming, brilliant women. Everything that I wanted to be when I grew up and strive for everyday since.

This story tells of motherhood from four different points of view.

Lia is trying to move forward from losing a child. She has run home to the mother she thought never wanted her only to find that she was always loved.

Becky is an overweight chef who loves who she is but not how she looks. She is dealing with a mother in-law from hell who will not let go of controlling her son.

Ayinde is a biracial woman who is married to a famous basketball player and must deal with his indiscretions as well as her own issues with her mother and her failing career.

Kelly is married to a man that does not seem to be in an hurry to work after being laid off. Possessions mean a great deal to her after not having anything she desired as a child.

Each woman comes to find that some things might not mean as much in the end as you thought they would. You learn to accept what you can't change and enjoy what you have. This really touched me at that point in my life. Being a mother is different for everyone but I truly feel that everyone will take something away from this novel.

I keep this book on my nightstand. I read it year after year taking something different from it each time. As I grow older I find a new appreciation for the women and the story they have to tell. It is so much more than a novel to me, it has become part of who I am and who I want to be.









Jennifer Weiner is fabulously funny, insightful and intelligent. She tells you the truths that come with parenting while finding the humor in everyday life. I highly recommend this book to all women, not just mothers!
Monday, April 12, 2010

Fundraiser Review: Fresh Cut Fundraising Flowers

By Denise Bertacchi


Product: Fresh Cut Fundraising Flowers
Manufacturer: Mrs. Bloom’s Direct
Wholesale Price: $15 per bouquet
Where to Get It: Online only at Mrs. Bloom’s Direct
Sizes/Specifications: Bouquets of One Dozen Flowers
Product Description: Fresh flowers to sell for fundraisers: roses or mixed flowers.
Recommended? Yes, with proper organization


My Review:

If you’re tired of fundraisers where you’re asked to sell candy, candles, magazines, or wrapping paper for your kid’s school, youth group or even your own organization, give Mrs. Bloom’s Direct a try.

Mrs. Bloom’s Direct is a fresh flower wholesaler that specializes in fundraisers. Groups take orders for the bouquets from customers and then place their orders online. The flowers are sent via FedEx to a central location for distribution by the group.

Organizations of any type can sign up with Mrs. Bloom’s to sell the fresh flowers. Groups are given flyers with pictures of sample bouquets (as PDFs) to use as selling tools. Groups are asked to select one or two types of bouquets to sell from a large selection of seasonal offerings.

The flowers cost a flat $15 per bouquet, which includes shipping to a central location.

Mrs. Bloom’s recommends adding $5 dollars profit to the wholesale price. A group that sells 100 bouquets would make $500 profit, making a flower sale highly profitable for relatively little effort.

These flowers would probably sell well before a holiday where people normally buy flowers: Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day or Easter. Flowers can be sold at any time of the year.

One drawback to using Mrs. Bloom’s is that the company controls what is in the actual bouquet. You can select a certain theme, like “autumn mixed bouquet” or “St. Patrick’s Day Mixed bouquet,” but you can’t choose the variety of flower in the mix. This is probably how Mrs. Bloom’s controls cost—by only selling the flowers that are in season at their growers. However, they sell flowers from around the world, so beautiful flowers will always be in season!

Roses can be ordered in various colors, but do not include greenery. Each bouquet holds one dozen roses with the flowers still closed.

A group that chooses to sell flowers for a fundraiser would need to be highly organized. The price of the flowers includes shipping to ONE location. The group will need to be able to distribute the flowers quickly or have access to a large walk in refrigerator. Flowers arrive in a heavy cardboard box without water.

For more information on selling fresh bouquets of flowers, and to see photos of bouquet themes, check out their website: Mrs. Bloom's Direct. You can also reach them by email at fundraising@mrsblooms.com or call them at phone 888-579-3668. The main office is located at 175 Clearbrook Rd. in Elmsford, New York.

I was given two bouquets by Mrs. Bloom’s PR representative to review for this article. The flowers arrived at 8:30am via FedEx in a sturdy box. The stems were dry, and the flowers were wrapped in the same kind of plastic wrap and rubber bands that grocery store florists use. The blooms looked very fresh and the larger flowers (some sort of lily and orchid) were closed. One bouquet was kept in my dining room to review and photograph, the other bouquet was shared with a friend.

Both bouquets were a random assortment of California mixed flowers. I had no idea what some of them were, but there were at least a dozen flower stems: lilies, orchids, gladiolas, some sort of mum and a weird dark blue flower that defied identification. The bouquet also includes lots of greenery to make an eye pleasing arrangement. (Roses don’t come with greenery.)

The pink gladiolas that looked a little crushed perked up in water and closed buds began to pop open after two days. Lilies continued to pop open for 12 days, allowing the bouquet to look great for two weeks. Some flowers were discarded as they died off, but the whole arrangement looked great for 8 or 9 days, and not too bad for the remaining 6 days when the last bloom wilted.

The product reviewed in this post was provided free to the
reviewer by a representative of the manufacturer. The
opinions expressed here are those of the blogger and not influenced in
any way by the manufacturer.


Note on photos: all photos were taken of the SAME BOUQUET as it was reviewed. The flowers lasted 15 days.
Sunday, April 11, 2010

Pet Product Review: PetSafe Simply Clean Continuous- Clean Litter Box



by D.E. Moore


Product Name: Petsafe Simply Clean Continuous-Clean Litter Box

Manufactured: Inotek


Retail Price: $130.00 from Inotek, but can be found for around $99 elsewhere


Where to Get It: directly from Inotek's website, Amazon.com, Petco, most big pet stores


Product Description: A
self-cleaning litter box which is both economically and environmentally friendly. No additional accessories needed to maintain the PetSafe Simply Clean Litter Box System. Just use recycled grocery bags to line the waste receptacle for a fast and easy cleanup.


Recommended: Definitely!



About one month ago, I purchased the Petsafe Simply Clean Continuous-Cleaning Litter Box to see if my son's cat, Gracie, would accept it as a substitute for the LitterMaid that she was used to. Her litter pan was wearing out and since the LitterMaid is very noisy and difficult to keep clean, the Petsafe Litter Box "read" like a viable option. It took a few weeks for Gracie to make the shift to a round versus oblong litter pan, but the rest of the cats in our household took to it almost right away! This unit is a quiet dynamo!


The Petsafe takes about an hour to make one cycle, and the slight humming noise the unit makes hasn't bothered me or any of the cats. The cycle causes the round litter pan to rotate VERY slowly and a stationary metal-tonged conveyor picks up the clumped waste, which then travels up to the top of the conveyor and drops off into the plastic receptacle (lined with a plastic grocery bag) at the edge of the litter pan. The conveyor is safely covered with a plastic cap and nothing shows to entice the cat to reach underneath, when the litter is kept to the recommended fill line. Occasionally, you will hear a "thump" when a clump of litter falls into the receptacle after being scooped up, otherwise the Petsafe is very quiet. The only part that actually moves is the round pan itself. I use a natural wheat-based clumping litter, which works great with no big chunks left behind or wet litter gumming up the conveyor's forks. The company makes the perfectly reasonable claim that ANY clumping litter will work with this unit, I just prefer the wheat-based.


The best thing about this unit is that you can use any plastic bag in the container where the waste is deposited. You could just dump the plastic container into a plastic bag when it gets full, but then you'd have to keep cleaning the container to keep it from getting smelly. I just use regular plastic bags from the grocery store. When the container is taken out of the Petsafe unit, the cycle automatically stops then turns back on when the container is slid back into place.


The drawback of this unit is that it is not very deep and it's extremely easy for an adult cat to kick litter out of the pan. I would like to see a model with higher sides. Petsafe does sell a dome to cover the unit and prevent some litter scatter, but since Gracie will not use a covered litter pan, I've just lined the floor around it with easy to clean vinyl runner and then just vacumn or sweep up the kicked litter.


Just like any litter pan, the unit needs to be kept clean and litter will start to stick after some time goes by. I suggest taking it apart and cleaning it thoroughly about once per month, depending on how many cats you have using it.


If you are tired of constantly checking the litter pan and scooping it out, this unit will absolutely enhance life with your kitties!


Suggested Links:

http://www.amazon.com/Petsafe-Simply-Clean-Continuous-Clean-Litter/dp/B000GF0X38

Friday, April 9, 2010

Book Review: 'Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay'


By Kerrie McLoughlin

Title: Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay
Author: Stefanie Wilder-Taylor
Publisher: Published by Simon & Schuster
Recommended? Yes

Review:
When I found Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay (and other things I had to learn as a new mom) by Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, I could already tell that I would not be reading some sappy, run-of-the-mill parenting advice book. I sailed through this book in one night … it was hilarious and an easy read.

The author is a friend of Chelsea Handler’s, which right away makes her OK in my book (is that a play on words or a pun or what?). I love how she makes fun of something I’ve done for nine years: attachment parenting (“I’m sorry, but if you’re holding your baby 24/7, that’s not a baby, that’s a tumor.”). She also tackles subjects like the dorkiness of Mommy & Me classes, postpartum depression (she got it), how breastfeeding didn’t work out for her, social life with kids (playdates – ugh!), etc.

Even though the author and I have very different parenting styles, she writes in such a down-to-earth and honest fashion that I couldn’t help but feel compassion for her, and even for other moms. For instance, because of Stefanie Wailder-Taylor’s book, I will now offer help to new moms instead of noticing their possible “baby blues” and saying to myself, “She should really just snap out of it.”

I’m curious to know which kind of mom YOU are (pp. 118-26). I’m the Safety Patrol Mom turning Burnout Mom.

Bottom line: I give it 8 Dove chocolate hearts out of 10 (my own personal rating system) for hitting on the head how we’ve gone from almost neglectful to stifling of our children here in the good old USA
Thursday, April 8, 2010

Book Review: 'A Thousand Splendid Suns'


By Alyssa Ast


Title: A Thousand Splendid Suns

Author: Khaled Hossenini

Publisher: Riverhead Books, New York 2007

Recommended: Yes


A Thousand Splendid Suns is a very eye opening book. It gives a detailed history lesson of the pains and cruelties the people of Afghanistan have endured during the past few decades. With the accurate and vivid details the author, Khaled Hosseini, paints you can truly step into the characters shoes and get a taste of life in a different culture. It truly is eye opening to just how different cultures really are. The author makes you actually feel the presence of the setting in the story, really allowing you to "live" in that time period.


When I began reading this novel I was a little skeptical I would enjoy it because it's not my first pick of books to read. However, by the 4th chapter of the book I was completely engrossed in the story. The book is broken into four parts. Each section is told by two women. The first section, told by Miriam, I loved. I really felt like I knew her by the end of the section.


Section 2, however, I was not very impressed. It seemed really slow and I didn't feel the same connection with the character that I had in the second part. It was so slow and kind of boring to the point I almost gave up. While I did skim over large portions of the second section I am very pleased I stuck with the book.


Section 3 and 4 were full of action. There were many unexpected twists and turns in the second half of the book. I then understood why many of the details were included in the second section. I ended up going back to reread the second portion to truly gain a firm understanding of the remaining story.


While it is a little depressing and slow in parts, it is definitely worth the read. I recommend this book to anyone. In fact, I enjoyed the book so much, I will be looking to purchase first novel from this author, The Kite Runner.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cell Phone Review: Rumor by LG

By Christina Newman

Product Name: Rumor by LG
Retail Price: Approx $279.99
Where to Get It: Sprint, Amazon, etc..
Product Specifications:
  • Carrier: Sprint
  • Form Factor Slide
  • Camera 1.3 Megapixel Camera & Camcorder
  • Music Player Media Player (supports MP3, AAC, AAC+, M4A, MID, AMR, QCP, MP4, 3G2, 3GPP, M4V, PMD)*
  • Qwerty QWERTY Keyboard for Easy Messaging
  • Speaker Phone One-Touch Speakerphone
  • Bluetooth Version: 2.0
  • Web Mobile Web†
  • HAC Hearing Aid Compatible (M3/T3-Rating)
  • Technology CDMA
  • Frequency 1.9 GHz CDMA PCS, 800 MHz CDMA (Digital Dual-Band)
  • DataTransmission 1xRTT Voice & Data Capable†
  • Dimensions 4.30" (H) x 2.00" (W) x 0.70" (D)
  • Weight 4.13 oz.
  • Display 262K Color TFT, 176 x 220 Pixels, 2.00"
  • Battery 950 mAh Li-Polymer
  • UsageTime Up to 4 Hours & 30 Minutes*
Recommended? No

My Review:

My kid sister came home to visit a little over a year ago and was showing off her new phone. I was instantly in love. The sleek design accompanied with the functions of the phone made it perfect for me. I am a very busy mother and being able to stay connected while on the go is important. I could email, text and check my Facebook all in the palm of my hand. I was so excited the day I brought it home and immediately got to work putting my whole world inside this amazing product.
The keyboard was my favorite feature. After getting comfortable with how it was set up it was no problem at all to type very quickly. I did have to buy a memory card for the phone because the storage capacity left something to be desired. Accessing the Internet was fairly easy but manuvering it proved to be difficult. The screen is on the small side which makes for limited viewing of web pages.


I have had two Rumors by LG over the past year. I am currently looking around for a new phone after much frustration. While the style and design of the phone are appealing I quickly realized my love was unrequited. This phone did not love me back, in fact it hated me.

After only three months the screen started going out. After five the screen died completely and the buttons stopped working. It would connect to the Internet as is pleased and shut off on it's own. I went to my local Sprint store only to find out that it was a software problem and there was nothing they could do but order a new phone.

My second Rumor, the screen became all fuzzy after two months. The words were distorted and unreadable. It would work when it wanted to and that was not often. The buttons on the keyboard worked on and off as well as the buttons on the side. Eventually the screen just stopped displaying anything and became snow.

Bottom line, don't purchase this phone.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Book Review: 'All Things at Once'


By Pam Houghton

Title: All Things at Once
Author: Mika Brzezinski
Publisher: Weinstein Books
Recommended: Yes
Where to get it: Most major bookstores and online retailers including Amazon.com

I was watching the Joy Behar show on CNN one evening when a woman I'd only seen a couple of times as co-host of MSNBC's Morning Joe came on. She was there to promote All Things at Once, a book about her life as a working mother.

As a mom who worked away from home while my children were babies and through their early teen years, I was curious to read her take on the balancing act.

Ms. Brzezinski is the daughter of former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski during the Carter administration. As a result, she had a rather unconventional upbringing. One of the more unconventional characters in her life was her mother, Emilie, a passionate artist unmoved by social convention.

Unsure what to serve their socialite guests for dinner one evening, Emilie made a last minute decision to cook venison. After many compliments, Emilie surprised her pillar-of-society visitors by admitting she found the deer in the middle of the road earlier that day.

"I gutted the thing right there, and skinned it, and brought the best part home for my guests."

Emilie put her career on hold for four years while her husband, with whom she seemed to have a true partnership, served as national security adviser. As soon as his position ended, she wasted no time returning to her true love as a sculptor in the studio her husband had built for her.

This early life experience seemed to condition Ms. Brzezinski to a less conventional family life later on. Married in her mid-20s to Jim Hoffer, also an aspiring television journalist, Ms. Brzezinski quickly gave birth to two daughters. Supportive of each others' aspirations, they juggled demanding careers while trying to find a balance between family and work.

While covering the aftermath of 9/11 for CBS, she rarely saw her daughters in the weeks that followed. Other times she missed out on (though mightily tried to be present for) events such as school plays and parent/teacher conferences.

However, like Ms. Brzezinski - conditioned in her childhood to a life with few social conventions - her daughters seemed to have an intuitive understanding that their mom loved them very much, and treated her occasional long absences with spirited resiliency.

At times, her absences played out with offbeat humor. During her first year working on the Morning Joe show, she and her husband mocked her "long hours and constant travel" by switching her out with a replacement mom on their annual Christmas card.

Not that all was rosy and balanced and working perfectly well as evidenced by a scary tumble down a flight of stairs while holding her infant daughter after a stressful period at work. And that's the point of the book: how she careened back and forth between meeting the demands of a challenging career, managing the stress and pressure that goes along with that, and finding, when she could, a workable balance with her family.

Ms. Brzezinski writes with honesty and humor. All Things at Once is a fast read that working moms will appreciate for its' candor and the inevitability of combining motherhood and career; a nice touch in an age when so much of modern motherhood revolves around guilt.

Three bookmarks out of four.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Computer Hardware Review: Asus - Eee PC Netbook with Intel® Atom™ Processor

By Angela Atkinson

Product Name: Eee PC Netbook with Intel® Atom™ Processor
Retail Price: Approx $329.99
Where to Get It: Best Buy, Amazon.com, Target, etc.
Product Features:
  • * Intel® Atom™ processor N450
  • Features a 667MHz system bus, 512KB L2 cache and 1.66GHz processor speed.
  • * 1GB DDR2 memory
  • For multitasking power, expandable to 2GB.
  • * Note: Optical drive not included
  • Compatible with optional external recordable CD/DVD drives (not included).
  • * 10.1" LED WXGA widescreen display
  • With a 1024 x 600 resolution showcases movies, games and other images.
  • * 250GB Serial ATA hard drive (5400 rpm)
  • Offers spacious storage and fast read/write times.
  • * Intel® UMA graphics
  • Features 384MB of video memory for lush images. Built-in stereo speakers.
  • * Built-in 0.3MP webcam
  • Makes it easy to video chat with family and friends.
  • * 3-in-1 media reader
  • Supports MultiMediaCard, Secure Digital and Secure Digital High Capacity formats.
  • * 3 high-speed USB 2.0 ports
  • For fast digital video, audio and data transfer.
  • * Built-in wireless LAN (802.11b/g/n)
  • Wirelessly connect to the Internet.
  • * Built-in 10/100 Mbps Fast Ethernet LAN
  • With RJ-45 connector for quick and easy wired Web connection.
  • * Weighs only 2.9 lbs. and measures just 1.4" thin
  • For lightweight portability.
  • * Extended battery life
  • Of up to 9 hours and 42 minutes to give you more time away from an outlet.
  • * Microsoft Windows 7 Starter Edition operating system preinstalled
  • Provides a stable computing platform.
  • * Software package included
  • With Adobe Acrobat Reader, Microsoft Works and more.
  • * ENERGY STAR qualified
  • Designed to use less energy and meets strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy.
  • * Intel, Pentium, Celeron, Centrino, Core, Viiv, Intel Inside and the Intel Inside logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries.
Recommended? Definitely!

My Review:

My husband is an IT guy, and awhile back, one of his friends asked him to fix a Dell netbook. I thought it was adorable, not to mention handy, so I told hubs I'd like to get one for my birthday. As a writer, I thought it would be great to have something so small (just 10 inches) to carry around for writing on the go.

Since we like to be educated consumers, we did our research. We checked out reviews and we talked to friends and acquaintances about their experiences with netbooks. Since we'd recently had a negative experience with Dell (in which my husband ordered an $1800 Alienware computer that Dell took nearly three months to deliver and which no customer service rep could explain to our satisfaction), we knew we didn't want a Dell.

One friend recommended Asus, and though I'd never heard of it, my husband knew that they provided lower-priced computers that actually did the job. I checked out the company and its' products a little more, delving deeper into the reviews and talking to people who owned the products, and we settled on the Asus netbook.

Mine is a cute little red one, which we purchased at Best Buy. After selecting a cheap case, external DVD drive and USB mouse, we spent around $450.00.

This little thing is amazing. It's even faster than my laptop, and has enough memory to hold everything I want. My husband tells me it's not a gaming machine, but since I use it primarily for writing, email and web surfing, it works perfectly for me.

I can also remote control my desktop computer, which makes it super handy for me.

The battery life is impressive, lasting 9 to 11 hours of active usage time (which, for me, is several days' worth). I've even used it to charge my Droid in a pinch, with positive results.

It came pre-loaded with Window 7 Starter, which works well. I wasn't thrilled that I can't change the wallpaper and that a lot of the usual Windows 7 features weren't included, but it's not a significant issue.

It's lightweight and easy to handle. The keyboard is surprisingly easy to use, not as small as I expected. I do miss the number pad, but my laptop doesn't boast one of those either--and if you're working at home, it's easy to connect a USB keyboard. The touch pad is easy to use, and once you learn all the tricks (pinch to zoom, etc) it's more convenient than attaching a USB mouse.

It also features a built-in webcam, which I've never owned before. I've played with it some, and the picture quality is only OK, and I haven't figured out how to make it more than about 2" tall--but like I said, I don't have much to compare it to.

Overall, I love the Asus netbook and would highly recommend it to friends. The reasonable price and the easy out-of-the-box usefulness was perfect for me.
Saturday, April 3, 2010

Welcome to the WM Review Connection!

Hello and welcome to the WM Review Connection!

The WM Review Connection is another site included within the WM Network. The WM Review Connection is unique from all other sites included within the WM Network because the variety of bloggers contributing to the site has increased. The mission of the WM Review Connection is to inform our readers with well written reviews. Reviews will consists of everything and anything, from books to vacuum cleaners- and everything in between.

Review Services
The WM Review Connection welcomes products and services to be reviewed. And, you can even pick which blogger you would like to have review that product or service. Once you've arranged for your preferred blogger to receive a sample of your product or service, or a review copy of your book or movie, we'll publish an honest and detailed review, along with the links you would like included in the article. We'll include photos and personal accounts, as well as any facts and figures that need to be noted. You can find more information about this service on our Get Reviewed page.

Meet the Bloggers
The WM Review Connection is currently composed of 9 bloggers, but we are always seeking more. To learn how you can become a part of the WM Review Connection please contact Angela Atkinson or Alyssa Ast. Please take a moment to get to know our current bloggers:

Angela Atkinson
Angela Atkinson is a freelance writer, editor and researcher. In addition to writing and editing for websites and corporate clients, she is the co-founder of the WM Network, which currently includes The WM Freelance Connection, The WM Parenting Connection, The WM Pet Connection and The WM Review Connection. She's also the author of an award-winning inspirational blog called In Pursuit of Fulfillment. Angela is happily married and has three beautiful children, two boys, ages 12 and 6, and a girl, age 2.

Alyssa Ast
Alyssa Ast works as a freelance writer from home. Visit her website at AlyssaAst.com. Alyssa is also the co-founder of the WM Network, which includes The WM Freelance Connection, The WM Parenting Connection, The WM Pet Connection and The WM Review Connection. Follow her journey through writing on The Writer's Block. Visit her personal blog at Random Thoughts of a Tangled Mind. Alyssa is the mother of two busy boys, ages 3 and 4, and is having her third boy in June.

Pam Houghton
Pam Houghton is a freelance writer focusing on website content, marketing and employee communications, personal essays and travel articles. Her work has appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, Metro Parent and Strut Magazine. She is also the author of an online column for working moms and author of a blog called The Working Mom's Guide to Staying Home. Pam is married with two children.

Kerrie McLoughlin
Kerrie is a work-from-home freelance writer and the author of an e-book called “Get Published in Regional Parenting Magazines." She's a homeschooling mom of 5. Check out her fun blog The Kerrie Show.

Stacey Celaya
Stacey Celaya is a 38 year young full-time student finishing her Bachelor's Degree in Nursing at Washington State University, Tri-Cities and plans to get her Masters Degree in Nurse Midwifery. She writes for The WM Parenting Connection and is the mother of four fabulous children, 2 daughters ages 18 and 16; and two sons ages 14 and 15. She is also the very proud wife of a United States Marine. She resides with her husband and children in Pasco, Washington.

Denise Bertacchi
Denise Bertacchi is a freelance writer, blogger and suburban stay-at-home mom to two boys, 11 and 3. She has a small scruffy poodle, whom her husband secretly wishes were a bigger dog. Denise finds time to freelance between bike rides, Boy Scouts and preschool play dates. She writes for magazines, newspapers and online as the St. Louis Motherhood Examiner.

Dawn Bininger
Dawn Bininger is a freelance writer and blogger. Dawn has a compelling weight loss blog and writes articles online, including her most recent at Ratebeer.com. Dawn is a fan of sports, traveling, food, craft beer, photography, animals, fitness and things covered in cheese! Dawn is happily divorced, currently single, and resides in Central Ohio with her two dogs Bode and Zoe. During the day she works in the exciting corporate world of Payroll and Human Resources. By night, she is the darling diva of the keyboard.

Christina Newman
Christina Newman is a freelance writer and blogger. She is a proud mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend and most importantly a woman! Each day she pushes herself to grow as a person. Christina enjoys writing, cooking, painting, reading, movies, music, culture and travel.

Debbie Morre
Debbie Moore is a writer and illustrator who published her first book in 2009, "MauMau At The Rainbow Bridge", written as a form of grief therapy for herself and others who have lost a beloved pet. More info about the book is available at www.attherainbowbridgesite.com. Debbie is also a professional pet groomer, specializing in cats and difficult to handle dogs.


Dawne Prochilo
Dawne Prochilo is a romance author with two ebooks published in 2009. She just finished her third novel. She is currently changing my genre to erotica and lovin' every minute of it. Dawne is loving life and working on optimism and spontaneity.

Please join use Monday, April 5th as we launch the WM Review Connection. We look forward to seeing you here!

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