Wednesday, October 28, 2009

“Once in a Blue Moon” by Eileen Goudge - Book Review

I recently finished “Once in a Blue Moon” by Eileen Goudge. From the book's description:

"Lindsay and Kerrie Ann are sisters who have known hardship from an early age. Without guidance from their neglectful mother, their only aid came from an unlikely source, a retired exotic dancer by the name of Miss Honi Love. When the girls’ mother was sent to prison, Miss Honi tried unsuccessfully to save them from being separated and sent into foster care.

Thirty years later, Lindsay is still trying to reconnect with her sister. The owner of a bookstore in the sleepy California seaside town of Blue Moon Bay, she was lucky enough to have been adopted by a loving couple. Unbeknownst to her, Kerrie Ann has suffered a very different life. Bounced from one foster home to the next, she ran away as a teenager before becoming a drug-addicted single mother. Now, newly sober, Kerrie Ann is fighting to regain custody of the little girl who was taken from her.

Neither sister’s expectations are met when they’re finally reunited. But as the two sisters engage in the fiercest battles of their lives, they are at last drawn together despite their differences, restoring belief in the unshakable bond of family."

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters were engaging and the story took several interesting (although slightly predictable turns). The setting in a small town on the Pacific shore and Ms. Goudge’s descriptions of them supported the story well. My main criticism of the book is that I think it would have been stronger if the story was told only from the point of view of the two main characters, the recently reunited sisters. Several chapters were told from the viewpoint of their love interests and this seemed to detract from the cohesiveness of the book. Since I enjoyed this book, I'm now going to read out Eileen Goudge's Woman in Red - I hope it's just as good!

DISCLOSURE: This book was provided to me at no charge by the One2One Network.

Hasbro Customer Service Experience Update

Last week I posted about my great experience with Hasbro customer service. I just wanted to report that the replacement toy came already yesterday! That was quick turnaround.

On a related topic, there is a toy sale going on at with lots of toys on clearance and also the opportunity to get $10 back on any purchase of $25 or more of toys. See the details on the deal HERE.

Wordless Wednesday - Just Call Us Joey & Chandler

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance - What do You Think?

So, what do you think of the new season of "So You Think You Can Dance"? I haven't seen much of the audition episodes, I usually don't enjoy those as much as the "real" competition once they get down to the top 20.

Tonight was GREAT! I am really impressed with the quality of dancers this season. It seems like they keep getting better and better, season after season. I was surprised to see Russell having to "dance for his life" tonight - I though he raelly did a good job. I'm glad he'll be back again next week. I think my favorite tonight was Karen and she's from Fort Lee, NJ - I used to work there, so maybe I need to root for her!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hasbro Playskool Busy Ball Popper - A Review & My Customer Service Experience

My 17-month-old nephew has the Hasbro Playskool Busy Ball Popper and I must say it is one of his favorite toys, second only perhaps to the Playskool Busy Ball-Tivity Center, which he still plays with daily even though he has had it almost a year. (See that picture below.)

Anyway, the real reason for my post is to mention the awesome customer service we received from Playskool. A few weeks ago the Hasbro Playskool Busy Ball Popper started to "act up". At times the balls would not pop out at all. That progressed to the fan not even moving, etc. After putting in new batteries, the problem was actually worse and the music wouldn't even play.

So, yesterday I called Playskool customer service. I didn't really have my hopes up for a resolution, but called anyway. My call was answered immediately with no hold time (that was a shocker!). The representative was very nice and professional and asked for me to fully explain what was wrong with the toy, when it was received (it was a Christmas gift), etc. After I gave him all the info he requested, he put me on hold for about a minute and then came back on the line to say he was going to ship out a new one!

The whole process was so easy and painless and it really makes me appreciate the fact that Playskool stands behind their products. We have a lot of years of toy buying ahead for my nephew and with this great experience Playskool will definitely be tops on the consideration list!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Why I Love Dairy Queen Blizzards

I just got back from Dairy Queen and am very happy because I had a Blizzard. What I like about Blizzards is that they have so many different flavor combinations, plus speciality flavors depending on the time of year. Right now they have a Pumpkin Pie Blizzard with pumpkin pie blended with soft serve ice cream and pie crust pieces, topped with whipped cream and nutmeg. I was so sure that I was going to get that after my meal, but when the time came I was really craving chocolate.

Besides craving chocolate, I was also craving nuts (I like a sweet/salty combination). I love the peanuts at Dairy Queen - the Spanish peanuts with the husks on them - yum. None of the Blizzard flavors had exactly what I wanted, so I created my own mix of hot fudge and peanuts. It was delicious and that's why I like Blizzards - you can basically create anything you want. I'm in a happy Blizzard mood!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Enter to Win a Game Day Prize Pack at Food for 5

Do you have a favorite Game Day Recipe using Frito-Lay products? If so, think about a way you could make it a bit healthier and submit a comment over at Cat's blog Food for 5 and you could win a prize pack with all the items shown below!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Tropicana Trop50 Juice Beverage Review

Let me start out that I have always been a big fan of Tropicana Orange Juice. I love the taste and, when I don't have to share with my pulp-hating husband, I love their Lots of Pulp version. Their newest offering is Tropicana Trop50 Juice Beverage.

It's made from fresh oranges, not concentrate, and contains 50% less sugar & calories than orange juice. It's sweetened with PureVia, an all-natural extract of the stevia plant.

I tried it this morning and, frankly, I didn't like it. It just tasted TOO sweet. It reminded me of Sunny D or a similar juice drink. I'm all for less calories and sugar, but I think I will stick to just adding water to my regular Tropicana OJ. My husband, however, told me he's glad I don't like it because he does. He liked that it seemed lower in acid and didn't give him acid reflux or any other icky stuff that he sometimes experiences with orange juice.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that it has added Vitamins and Minerals. From the product info, it includes: Potassium Citrate, Calcium Hydroxide, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Beta-Carotene, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Magnesium Phosphate, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Vitamin D3, Thiamin Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) and Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6).

So, my final opinion is that I won't be buying this anymore, but if hubby ever gets himself to the grocery store, it will probably be in our fridge again.