Friday, October 9, 2015

The Announcement Scrapbook Page

Real quick for this Friday, here is a scrapbook page I made using the picture we took to announce my pregnancy on Facebook. These are my parents' dogs, so they are my dog "sisters", hence why their sign says "We're gonna be aunts." 

This page was made using up some scraps from another layout I finished. I even raided my ribbon stash, which I have a tendency to ignore sometimes. The butterflies are Making Memories, and the sparkly pink letter stickers are (no surprise) American Crafts Thickers.

Stay tuned next week for coverage from the NJ Gluten-Free & Allergy-Friendly Expo. I just didn't have time during the week to write up my recap, but there will be a recap and probably a giveaway, so you won't want to miss out.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Day 3 London: Royal Albert Hall and Snog

A little out of order, but here is how we started off day 3 in London before we went to Wimbledon. It rained, surprise! surprise!, that morning, but we still made it to the Royal Albert Hall for a (long) tour courtesy of our London Pass. I thought the Basic Grey Mon Ami papers and stickers with the raindrops worked out just perfectly for the rainy morning feel.

After the tour, we took the tube to our lunch destination spot, Snog. If you don't know, "snog" means "kiss". But this place didn't really have anything to do with kissing. It had EVERYTHING to do with frozen yogurt! It even has gluten-free cones and brownies!!

For this layout, I used up old American Crafts Neapolitan papers, letter stickers, and embellishments. I just love the colors and those little ice creams in this collection. I knew I was keeping that ice cream-patterned paper around for something useful!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Gluten-Free Frozen Pizzas

Frozen pizza is a classic weeknight staple, but it can often be difficult to find gluten-free frozen pizzas that are good or large enough to satisfy two people. For the cost of what one regular frozen pizza costs, you usually only get about half the size in a gluten-free frozen pizza.

But no more! We recently sampled some of the newest gluten-free frozen pizzas on the market, and I'm blogging here today to tell you that we were really impressed!

First up, California Pizza Kitchen gluten-free pizza. I just happened to notice this in the freezer section at my local ShopRite while looking for a different brand of gluten-free pizza (more on that below), and I thought, "Well, let's just give this a try."

There are two varieties. We got the Margherita pizza, but you could also get BBQ Recipe Chicken.

The crust on this pizza is EXQUISITE! It is thin and crispy and just all-around perfect! We had never tasted a gluten-free frozen pizza like this or ANY gluten-free pizza like this before. My husband has already requested this pizza again, and thanks to a ShopRite coupon for it that printed out with my receipt, we will definitely be purchasing this again.

The next gluten-free pizza we tried was the pizza I had originally been looking for at my local ShopRite: Freschetta's new gluten-free pizza. I was participating in a BzzAgent campaign to review the pizza, but none of the grocery stores near me carried it! I had to use Freschetta's store locator feature on its website and then drive 30 minutes away to use my coupon for a free pizza at a Weis store. For all of that trouble, I was definitely thinking, "This better be good."

And it was! We got the 4 Cheese Medley Pizza (you can also get Signature Pepperoni Pizza), and I don't know if it was how long we cooked it for or just the cheese on this pizza in general, but the cheese was SO GOOD. Just how I like it. And this crust was also thin and crispy and didn't taste gluten-free at all! I would buy it again if I could get my local grocery stores to actually carry it.

Freschetta also makes single-serve gluten-free pizzas, perfect for when it's just my husband on his own for dinner.

So there you have it. More choices in the gluten-free food market! Have you guys tried either of these gluten-free frozen pizzas before? Do you have a favorite brand of gluten-free frozen pizza? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The White Rose - YA Book Review

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When we left off in The Jewel, Ash and Violet had been caught. And that's all I'm going to say about that in case you haven't read it.

Now Ash and Violet are on the run, but it's a good thing they've got help because if they're caught, they're dead. As they make their way to safety, they make some new friends and learn about a secret group by a mystery man named The Black Key. And Violet might have some special talents that could aid this group in bringing down the Royals.

I wonder if the author got the title of the second book in this series from the Nazi Germany-era resistance group called the White Rose that called for active opposition to Adolf Hitler's regime. The characters in this book are also fighting against a terrible regime, a regime that promotes human trafficking, the medial experimentation and murder of innocent people, and the exploitation of poor people. While this book is fiction, it definitely has roots in historical past and present, and I hope that teens who read this book are able to make those connections and realize that they, too, can "rage against the machine" to bring down governments or organizations that try to take away the individual rights of human beings.

This book is for ages 14 and up, and there really isn't anything inappropriate in it.

The White Rose is published by HarperTeen and is on bookstore shelves now. I received a free autographed advance review copy at Book Expo America with no obligation to review.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Mothers, Tell Your Daughters - Book Review

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Mothers, Tell Your Daughters is a collection of previously published short stories from author Bonnie Jo Campbell. Each of these stories tells the tale of a different woman: mothers, daughters, grandmothers, nurses, farmers, drug addicts. And usually, each of these stories involves a jerk of a man.

"A Multitude of Sins" tells the story of a woman taking care of her dying husband, trying to get him to apologize for beating her and driving off their only son when he was well.

Or how about the mother in "Tell Yourself" concerned about her teenage daughter's budding sexuality and how the men in the world - a friend's father, the mother's boyfriend - will respond to the teen daughter and her low-rise short-shorts.

And there's the title story, "Mothers, Tell Your Daughters", about a mother who is ridden speechless by a stroke and can only think of all the things she wants to say to the daughter who is now her caregiver.

Sixteen different stories. Some short. Some long. And if you're female, all of them will make you think about the relationships you have with your mother, husband, daughter, son, friends, co-workers. The stories may also make you very afraid to have a daughter.

Mothers, Tell Your Daughters is published by W. W. Norton & Company and is on bookstore shelves now. I received a free advance review copy at Book Expo America with no obligation to review.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Wimbledon Scrapbook Pages

Back to our summer vacation from last year! We took a side trip from London and visited Wimbledon for a lovely afternoon getting a VIP tour of all the places we'll never be able to afford to go on the grounds of this tennis campus. What was great about this tour was that it was part of our London Pass, so all we had to do was flash our London Pass card, and we got the tour and access to the museum for no extra charge.

I had a lot of pictures from Wimbledon, but I had to cut them down and then I had to cut THOSE down to keep it to just three pages. To create these pages, I used up some paper from my stash. I also included the 3D glasses we got in the museum because I thought they were fun and they included some fun Wimbledon trivia.

I always find it hard to work a bunch of pictures on one or two pages. Usually I check my Scrapbook Pinterest board for multi-pic inspiration, but for this one, I just sort of went with it. I think I really just wanted to make some progress on this scrapbook album no matter the cost. It will be done ... soon!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Four-Tool Face

A recent conversation at my house:

Me - "I still have to put on my makeup before we leave."
Husband - "You don't have to put on makeup. You look fine without it!"

While I appreciate that my husband thinks I look good without makeup (we'll see how long that lasts as I approach old age), the truth is that I like wearing makeup!

For me, wearing makeup isn't a hassle or a chore. (Finding the energy to remove it after a long day when all I really want to do is fall into bed is another story.) I'm not trying to hide anything. (I actually have pretty good facial skin, thank you very much.) And some days, I do go out without makeup. (Making a ShopRite or Target run really doesn't necessitate much effort.)

I just like wearing makeup!

At work, I do a lot of on-camera work, and without makeup, you can look washed out, especially if you have pale skin like me and have to stand in front of a white backdrop and behind a white table.

But even when I'm not at work, I just like wearing makeup because it enhances what I've got. Blush gives my pale skin some color. Eyeshadow and mascara make my aqua-colored eyes stand out more. (FYI, the DMV does not accept "aqua" as an eye color.)

My makeup routine also takes all of five minutes to do, and that's if I'm going to work, going to book club, or going to a wedding. I use Cover Girl TruBlend liquid foundation. Then, I apply Almay eye shadow for blue eyes. (They make three color palettes for blue eyes, and I rotate through all three.) Then I apply Maybelline Great Lash mascara in brownish-black. And then it's blush, which right now is Cover Girl blush in Rose Silk.

Usually, I just swipe on Burt's Bees lip balm before I walk out the door. Before I go on camera at work, I'll use Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Suede lipstick in Finale (red) to give me a little more oomph under those bright lights.

But beyond that, it's easy and simple. When I say things like, "Oh, I still have to put on my makeup," I'm not complaining about doing it. And I guess I don't really HAVE to put on my makeup. But I want to! I like to!

What about you?