Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Book Review - Vera Bradley Coloring Books

Disclosure: I received copies of these books for review. I only accept copies of books for review that look like something I would normally buy or check out at library.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I was super excited to be approached to review these books!  Not only am I a huge Vera Bradley fan, but honestly this is a logical fit for the brand.  They have a goldmine of patterns to choose from which are like familiar friends and you can either color them like they made them or color them your own way.  I received two books, "Paisley Patterns" and "Floral Patterns".  Aren't they pretty?

Now these aren't just coloring books, each has a great full color section in the beginning about color, supplies you might need, techniques you might want to use and a very handy gallery of patterns in their original colorways (for reference).  It's really well done and helpful.  It makes the book a little more special in my opinion.

 As you can see the pages are detailed and some include inspiring quotes.  In the very back are pretty gift cards and tags you can color then pop out to use.  A nice extra!

Overall, I was super impressed by these books, the details and layouts are really nice. These aren't the only ones they have, see more here.  I would totally recommend them if you are a Vera Bradley fan or if you know someone who is, they would be a great gift idea!  

Monday, April 17, 2017

Book Review - "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" by Lisa See (#1 - 2017)


This takes place in nineteenth century China in a remote county.  The main character is a woman named Lily.  It's the story of her life.  When she is seven she is paired with another girl (Snow Flower) in another village, this will be a emotional match to last a lifetime.  It covers their friendship and their lives through Lily's eyes.  It's a great story, but let's be honest, it's depressing.  Life for women during that time in China was not good.  Food binding is described (awful), arranged marriages are negotiated (cringe) and the reiteration that girls/women aren't worth much is non-stop.  Hey, that was how it was.  But it was still depressing for me (especially Snow Flower's life).  Anyway, I love how Lisa See tells a story and this one is worth your time.

My other reviews of Lisa See books:

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See - First of all I want to let you know that this book has a sequel.  I say this so that if you read it, you won't get to the end and be all like "Hey, wait.  Lisa don't leave me hanging like this!"  Because the end certainly sets things up nicely for a sequel.  That being said this is a sweeping novel about two sisters and their lives beginning in 1937 Shanghai and following them through some harrowing, gut wrenching, challenging times as they eventually make their way and establish themselves in Los Angeles finishing in 1957.  Not easy, breezy reading that's for sure, there's some deep stuff in here.  That being said I finished the book in less than a week.  I really enjoyed the historical perspective and I'm getting ready to dig into the sequel.

Dreams of Joy by Lisa See - The sequel to Shanghai Girls.  A sobering Mad Men.  When you read this, compare the it to the show Mad Men and you actually will shake your head at how completely insane that feels that they take place in the same period of time in history.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Review - Hello Fresh

Though I do make and plan almost all our meals at home (we usually get takeout only once a week), sometimes I get in a rut and just want some new ideas as well as trying new ingredients that I might not use/think about.  That's where a meal delivery box comes in handy.  So I decided to try out Hello Fresh when a coupon crossed my path (see bottom of this post for a coupon code for you to use if interested).  The box arrives the cold stuff is on the bottom with cold packs and the rest of the ingredients are in individual boxes for each recipe along with recipe cards. I just put it all in the refrigerator.

Here's what was in my first box:
Italian Ciabatta Burgers with Sweet-and-Tangy Salad

A peek inside the box once opened.

Everything all spread out

The finished product!  This was soooo good, in fact I've made it again.

The next recipe was Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Lemony Potato and Zucchini Hash.  This one was pretty good, I'm not a huge pork tenderloin fan, but the hash was so good.

From another box a chicken, green bean and rice meal that was delicious!



If you are interested in trying out Hello Fresh for yourself, use this link and my code BZ7S52 to get $40 off your first box!  It's a great deal!

This post wasn't sponsored or anything, I just wanted to share my honest experience and impression.
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