Tag Archive for product review

Belle

A couple weeks ago now I had the pleasure of sneaking away on a Thursday evening to go see a movie. Just me. I cannot recall the last time I did something like that alone. These days our activities are usually toddler-focused & my me-time is minimal to none.

So it was a treat. A treat made even sweeter with the discovery that the old school theater served beer & had just popped fresh popcorn for us. Cheers!

I went into the theater knowing little about the film I was going to watch. And I came out a huge Belle fan ~ of the actors, their portrayal of these historical characters, of the set designers & the gorgeous dresses the ladies wore. I loved that Belle is based on true events.

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And I also realized I actually was aware of the court case that acts as a main issue for the movie thanks to a mix of my love of history & my working in insurance.

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If you have the chance to go see Belle, do! It opened in Raleigh at the end of May & it is still running nationwide. The film was excellent & I do expect to hear more & more buzz on it during film awards season!

Blended

Confession. Jason & I had not been on a date night since before Lucy & Zach were born two years ago. We’ve done a few lunches out while my parents were in town. But a proper, kids-in-bed-let’s-go-out hadn’t been accomplished for two years.

We can blame high maintenance getting to bed babes, or extended breastfeeding, or not having babysitters lined up or even just laziness on our part. So to say, we were due for a movie night out just us is putting it mildly!

The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon has become a DVR’d favorite for us. And we loved the show where Adam Sandler & Drew Barrymore were on together recently talking about their upcoming movie Blended. Then we’d seen a few trailers of Blended & both thought it looked pretty cute too.

So when an email popped up inviting me & a guest to watch Blended, I called my aunt to confirm she was free to watch TV & read while L & Z {hopefully} slept, clued the husband in & replied YES!

Blended

It was a rainy, rainy night, one perfect for pjs, but instead we went to the movies! Admittedly, I don’t get out to the movies often. So being out after dark, holding the husband’s hand & a bowl of popcorn was a treat, but I really enjoyed this movie.

Suz's Treats Blended date night

Our phones had both died at movies so this is best selfie we could manage once we got home. Yay for date night!

Blended was a hit for us ~ a cute combination of favorite actors, sweet story line & the perfect amount of romance & comedic laughs. My husband loved Shaq’s appearance in the film & my fellow movie goes & I all laughed out loud with the actor who will always be known as the Old Spice guy’s silly singing antics.

We went to see Blended for a fun, adult night out, yet this film could be family hit also as the children/teen actors do a great job & keep the laughs & poignant moments rolling too. As a mom, I might’ve had tears twice. The scenes between

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Jim {Adam Sandler’s character} & his daughters’ pulled on my heart strings.

Were we shocked by the ending, no. But I didn’t come to see if for a stressful, suspense that’d leave me with nightmares. Instead I left with a smile on my face & a further appreciation of my sweet husband & family.

If you haven’t seen the movie trailer yet, jump over to www.blendedmovie.com. And if you’re looking for a fun date night movie, go check out Blended, opening in theaters today!

Merino Kids Toddler Sleep Sack

I think all toddlers thrive on routines. I know mine do. And thus our bedtime routine goes like this almost without exceptions ~ after giving hugs & kisses all around, J & Zach go back to our room for his final pre-bed sippy cup of milk. Lucy & I hang out in the den to get her prepped for bed.

After one last book, L will say “sleep sack” & “mommy time”. Those are her code words for it’s time for her sleep sack & nursing with me. L gets her sack on & she knows it’s almost bedtime. She’s also begun asking for “sippy” cup of milk in between “side” {her word for wanting to nurse on the other breast}.

I’ve talked before {toddler must haves} {Halo sleepsack review} about our love for sleep sacks. And that hasn’t changed even as Lucy’s on the verge of being 2. Daycare does blankets for nap & L has asked for a blanket a time or two during weekend naps, but overnight, we do sleep sacks. While I have loved a fuzzy one for winter in the past, I was thrilled when I was recently contacted by Merino Kids in regards to trying out one of their organic cotton & merino wool toddler sleep sacks.
Merino Kids sleep sack packaging

I chose {& quickly received} their gorgeously packaged sleep sack in Honey Oat. This sleep sack is by far the softest & most luxurious one I’ve ever felt. The light brown is very gender neutral, so if Lucy will share it, Zach will be able to enjoy it too. The weight has been great for winter temps & yet will be light & cool enough to easily take us through spring & summer.

Bedtime Lucy Merino Kids sleep sack

Merino Kids sleep sack on, sippy in hand & paci/baby/bunny close by, Lucy was *ready* for bed!

I ordered the toddler size 2-4 years, so they could grow into this sleep sack. And as you can see, Lucy does have quite a bit of growing room! At this point, it’s a bit hard for her to walk in, but I typically carry my sleepy girl into her crib as well as pick her up and carry her into the den in the mornings as well. The length makes sure she has room to kick & roll in her crib as much as she wants at night.
Morning Lucy Merino Kids sleep sack

The Merino Kids sleep sack design has the zipper going from under the arm to the bottom of the sack all along the side. I really like the way you don’t have to be tugging at a zipper under the babe’s neck for a late night or early morning diaper change.

Merino Kids sleep sack Lucy & paci

check out this cool feature too ~ the Merino Kids sleep sacks are stroller & car seat friendly with the front & back flap for the latches!

I love this sack so much I’d put Lucy in our Merino Kids sleep sack every night if I didn’t occasionally have to wash it. :-P And speaking of washing, the instructions that came in the pretty package recommended against putting the sleep sack in the dryer. So that’s kinda a bummer as I don’t have a ton of hanging space in my laundry closet. But so far, not drying has meant that this sleep sack doesn’t have any of the unsightly {& itchy} piling that can come with drying cotton fibers.

You can order a Merino Kids sleep sack from their babysleepbags.com link or Amazon where you’ll see that the price is a bit on the higher side, but like many things in life, you pay for superior quality & comfort. And if yours are like my Lucy and wearing a sleep sack on a nightly basis, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth out of the Merino Kids sacks.

I was provided a Merino Kids sleep sack at no cost to us for purpose of this review. I was not otherwise compensated & my opinions expressed are solely my own

HALO SleepSacks {review & giveaway}

Ah fall & football are in the air! And with that I think of the cool nights & yet still gloriously warm days in NC. So while we’re still putting Lucy & Zach in cotton pjs at night, I’m afraid that’d be cool in their cribs without a SleepSack.

Yep, no blankets for them ever at home in their beds. We’re a SleepSack family. And as I mentioned in my toddler must haves post, HALO SleepSacks are our favorite. We loved the ease of the SleepSack Swaddles when they were itty bitty & have loved our HALO SleepSacks for our toddlers.

HALO SleepSack Logo

So I was thrilled when HALO recently reached out to me & my new lil walkers to see if we’d like to try & review their HALO Early Walker cotton Sleepsacks which are available in Early Walker & Big Kids in a new lightweight-knit fabric {what we now have in blue gecko & pink flower knit} as well as available in Micro-fleece and Comfort Mesh. You can find all of HALO’s SleepSacks available for purchase on amazon.com; y’all know I have my eye on the owl micro-fleece one too!

At 20.8 & 23 pounds, Zach & Lucy have a lot of room to grow into their size large Early Walkers which, per the size chart fit, 22-28 pounds & ages 12-18 months. I’ve seen other reviewers note these ran big, & I don’t disagree, but I wanted them big enough for us to have room to grow into.

Zach HALO SleepSack

Yes, he’s almost always this happy!

Now that Lucy {our little bedtime sleep fighter} has learned she can easily walk & run{!!} in these SleepSacks, she gets annoyed she can’t kick out her feet if we put her in our other HALO SleepSacks. It’s funny to see her look for her toes out of our other beloved HALOs.

Lucy was feeling camera shy while modelling her SleepSack, but look at those curls she's growing!

Lucy was feeling camera shy while modelling her SleepSack, but look at those curls she’s growing!

We’ve used these Early Walker SleepSacks for a couple weeks & washes, & I have noticed the cotton shows piling pretty quickly. It is soft though & a very comfortable weigh for late summer/fall over summer pjs. I think we will be able to move into winter using these with 2 piece footless pjs too.

Suz Zach & Lucy in HALO SleepSacks

All smiles in their Early Walker SleepSacks

HALO has generously offered to give one of my awesome readers 1 HALO SleepSack Early Walker or Big Kids!

Please leave a comment letting me know your favorite HALO style/fabric or a funny/cute SleepSack story.

For an additional entry, follow me {@suzstreats} & @HALOSleepSack on twitter & tweet something like “Enter to win a @HALOSleepSack for your Early Walker or Big Kid with @suzstreats http://suzstreats.com”. Comment back letting me know you tweeted.

You can also keep up with HALO on facebook & pinterest.

I’ll close the giveaway this Friday at midnight and let the winner know Saturday morning. What a way to hopefully start your weekend off

right!

Best of luck!

Reclaim my Heart {author interview}

After tackling the monster sized 11/22/63, I was ready for a happy break into a lighter hearted, quick read. I happily pulled Donna Fasano’s Reclaim my Heart up on my kindle & got lost in the characters.

After spending so much time reading books based in the past recently, it was refreshing to read a novel set in the present. Yet I found it so interesting that Donna juxtaposed busy, hectic Philadelphia city life with rural life in Pennsylvania too. It was the rural setting parts of Reclaim My Heart that I couldn’t put down.

The character of the busy mom who thinks she has it all together Tyne rang true for my current life. And I won’t forget the name of the troubled son in the story; Zach definitely sticks out for me. :)

You can just picture Mr. Lucas Silver Hawk perfectly by Donna’s great character development. He’s the perfect romantic book hero – big, browney, Native American, successful attorney & yet just flawed enough to draw you in.

Reclaim my Heart was a quick read. Perfect for beach reading, a study break, or wanting to pass the time while traveling {or pumping as in my case}.

Since she was so kind in our email conversations, I asked Donna if she didn’t mind doing a short author interview with me. I tried not to ask questions that would give spoilers!

A little background to get us started if you’re new like I was to getting to know her. USA TODAY bestselling author Donna Fasano is a three time winner of the HOLT Medallion, a CataRomance Reviewers Choice Award winner for Best Single Title, a Desert Rose Golden Quill Award finalist, and a Golden Heart finalist. Her books have sold nearly 4 million copies worldwide and have been published in nearly two dozen languages. Her books have made the Kindle Top 100 Paid List numerous times, climbing as high as #9.

I read in the remarks at the end of the novel how you were writing during the death of your parent, stopped, then picked back up again. What made you pick it back up? Did you change any major plot points based on your family situation?

I had to finish Tyne and Lucas’ story because the characters seemed to take on a life of their own. They kept hounding me until I finished the book. My family situation didn’t affect any of the book’s major plot points. I wouldn’t have set it aside at all if I hadn’t been so exhausted and dejected with my dad’s terminal diagnosis. It was a sad time for me and all my family members.

I connected with Reclaim my Heart from page one loving the name of the son – Zachary as that’s my little boy’s name. Deciding on that was hard for us! How do you come up with character names?

I’ve been writing for about 25 years. I’ve learned that, if I spend a little time “chatting with” my characters, they’ll reveal a lot about themselves. If my characters don’t tell me their names, I’ll search through my book of baby names until I find one that fits. A name has to fit the character, if you know what I mean.

I’m not familiar to the Pennsylvania area that served as a great back-drop for Reclaim my Heart. Sounds like a beautiful part of the country. Is that where you’re from? Or how did you decide to choose that setting?

Although I was born in Maryland, I’ve spent plenty of time in Pennsylvania. I’ve always been intrigued by the Lancaster, PA Amish community. I knew I wanted to included an Amish character in the book, so Pennsylvania seemed like the best location for the story setting.

So far, this is the first novel of yours I’ve read. I liked Reclaim my Heart a lot! What of yours would you recommend next?

Well, it depends on how you’re feeling. If you want a light-hearted, funny romance, I would suggest The Merry-Go-Round. If you want a heart-wrenching read, I’d suggest An Accidental Family. If you’re looking for a romance with a little bit of suspense, I’d suggest The Single Daddy Club: Reece (that’s book 3 of The Single Daddy Club). All of my books are character-driven stories. I like to give my characters plenty of flaws and lots of baggage that needs to be worked through as each story progresses.

What are your favorite authors & books? Do you spend so much time writing that you don’t read much or does your love for writing & reading go hand in hand?

I love many big name authors: Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Barbara Kingsolver, Jonathan Kellerman, Harper Lee, Tony Hillerman, Margaret Atwood, too many to name because my reading tastes are so eclectic. However, I also read some authors that readers might not have heard about before: Hugh Howey, MA Comley, Linda Prather, MD McDonald, Beth Orsoff, William LK, Vicki Tyley, and a slew of other authors. I LOVE to read. Each new book is a brand new adventure.

I noticed you offered the book to me in kindle form. What do you think about the rise in digital media/reading? Are you more of a kindle reader or do you still like to physically hold books?

I held off buying an ereader for a long time, thinking I would never get used to holding a device. I love the feel of a paperback book in my hands. But I was selling lots of ebooks, so I decided I’d better buy and ereader. I finally settled on a Kindle, and I have to admit that I love it. I really enjoy being able to carry around hundreds of books wherever I go.

Kids today love gadgets and technology, so if ereaders encourage them to read, I am all for it! I love the fact that I can download an iBook on to my phone. Or download a Nook book, or a Kobo book, onto my laptop. I think the fact that all the online bookstores–Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and iBooks–offer free reading apps is just wonderful.

If you have other questions/statements you think my readers would enjoy, feel free to add other thoughts!

I’d love to let your readers know that Reclaim My Heart made the USA Today Bestsellers List, and a week later I was contacted by Montlake Publishers and they’re going to publish the book on 11/12/13. I believe that after that date the book will only be available for Kindle, so if there are readers out there who own a Nook, a Kobo, or an Apple reading device, they should download the book before Nov 1st.

Donna loves to keep in touch with her readers. She has a blog of her own at www.DonnaFasano.com where you can sign up for e-mail updates & be the first to hear about new releases. She’s on Twitter as @DonnaFaz & you can find Donna on facebook at www.Facebook.com/DonnaFasanoAuthor.

I was gifted my copy of Reclaim my Heart in exchange for my review. My opinions noted are my own honest thoughts.