Friday, October 24, 2014

Bear Naked Granola Bars - Review

You've probably had granola bars before, but let me tell you, you've probably never had a granola bar like Bear Naked's new granola bars. I got the chance to try Bear Naked's Layered Granola Bars for free through House Party's Chatterbox program. All I had to do was write a review telling you what I thought of them!

So here goes:

Right now, there are two flavors of the Layered Granola Bars: Fruit and Nutty and Nutty Double Chocolate. Of course I went for the Nutty Double Chocolate!

What sets these granola bars apart is that they have a layer of Bear Naked granola on the bottom and then a top layer of natural, whole ingredients, such as fruit and nuts. The bars are bottom-dipped in chocolate for an even more decadent flavor.

The Nutty Double Chocolate bars have 4 grams of fiber and 190 calories per bar. They contain no cholesterol, no artificial flavors, no hydrogenated oils, no artificial preservatives, no high fructose corn syrup, and, my favorite, "no monkey business". They do contain peanuts, almonds, soy, milk, and wheat, and may contain other tree nuts.

If you want the chance to try these out for yourself, I've got three coupons for $1 off one box of Bear Naked Layered Granola Bars.  Just enter using the Rafflecopter below, and I'll randomly pick three winners. (I might even throw in some other special stuff. You just never know!) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

These coupons are only redeemable at Target stores, and this giveaway is only valid to residents of the contiguous U.S. No Alaska, Hawaii, or international entries.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

2000-2001 - TBT

Usually I post old scrapbook layouts each time I do a Throwback Thursday post, but today's post is a little different. My parents came to visit the other weekend, and they brought up a big box of my old stuff. Inside the box was a photo book that one of my high school friends made for me (and everybody in our group). I thought it would be fun to showcase those pages and take a look back at what my likes and dislikes were during the 2000-2001 school year. (I guess that would have been my junior year.)

In order to make this book, my friend had given us a questionnaire about ourselves, and then she handwrote the answers in the book. We had also provided pictures for her to scan, so that she could add them to the book, along with fun cut-outs from magazines.

Looking at this first page, apparently I was an inch taller than I am now (or at least wishing I was an inch taller).

Dislikes: superficiality, pushiness, liars
Favorite food: chalupas, macaroni and cheese
Favorite drink: french vanilla cappucino (This was before I discovered Starbucks.)
Favorite actresses: Sally Field, Cheryl Ladd (WHAT?), Bette Davis
Favorite fashion trends: flared jeans, 3/4 length shirts, stuff from Goodwill
Favorite songs: "Teenage Dirtbag" - Wheatus, anything Hanson, "I'll Stand By You" - The Pretenders
Favorite movies: Evita, Star Wars
Most memorable Crimson (the name of our group) moment: "We always go to Six Flags even though it's always unbearably hot."
Here's what I had to say about myself: "I'm shy and nice. I'm also funny and a little weird."

And here are a few things that my friends wrote about me back then:
"Laurie is always on top of things and gets things done. She's smart and is the bomb diggity of her guard work."

"Schizo is my word for her. She is really two different people. She's got her quiet, sweet, down to earth side. Then the psychotic, jumping around side. Both are cool and she's not afraid to be herself."

"At first she comes off snotty, but once you get past that, you find a really good person. She is jumpy and bubbly, but can also be as droopy as a snail."

"Laurie always finds a convo to start. She always thinks of activities, too!"

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Speed Limits - Book Review

image credit: Yale Books
Speed Limits by Mark C. Taylor investigates the world's obsession with making things go faster and how we're not always saving time by speeding things up. It examines the many technological innovations - telegraph, electricity, internet - that have seemingly given us a better quality of life and made it easier to produce and communicate while also causing a deterioration in quality of life and hindering personal interaction and communication.

There was a time when workers requested eight hours of work, eight hours of recreation time, and eight hours of rest. but today's work week is no longer divided up like that due to our ability to be constantly connected, constantly available, and constantly getting things done. Leisure time is not valued as much in today's society.

I enjoyed reading about how the Protestant reformation and the invention of the printing press began to transform society, but there is also a lot of talk about business and economics that kind of went over my head. This is not exactly a leisurely read, but more of a thesis and something that could be used as assigned reading in a college class perhaps. So just keep that in mind if you're considering picking up this book.

Speed Limits is published by Yale University Press and will be on store shelves on October 28, 2014. I received a free advance review copy at Book Expo America with no obligation to review.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Move On - Book Review

It's okay to not be okay.

That's probably something you never thought you'd read or hear from a Christian author, especially with the Christian church trend of smiling and nodding without actually admitting to any problems in your life. Because what good Christian has problems, right?

All of them. And that's what Vicki Courtney's new book Move On addresses. This book talks about being honest with ourselves over past or current messes, forgiving ourselves just as God forgives us, not trying to hold ourselves to some standard of perfection, and just turning to God and allowing His grace and mercy to help us move forward in our lives.

At the end of each chapter, you'll find discussion questions that you can either journal about on your own for further reflection or discuss as part of a small group or Bible study. Because a big part of this book is about being honest with ourselves and bringing honesty into the church and supporting our fellow Christians through their messes, I think this book would definitely be best when read with a church group.

The truth is that life is messy, and even the apostles struggled. But when things get hard or when we feel ashamed because of things we've done wrong, instead of hiding, running, or ignoring, we should face our messes and let God help us deal so that we can move on and experience our lives the way God intends.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, October 20, 2014

Meal Plan Monday - October 20

Last week I had some really great meals out, including delicious fish tacos, but now I'm back to having homecooked meals. Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday: spaghetti and turkey meatballs

Monday: chicken caesar salad

Tuesday: grilled swordfish, rice, and green beans almondine

Wednesday: grilled cheese and soup

Thursday: hot dogs and fries

Friday: eggs and waffles

Saturday: on our own

Friday, October 17, 2014

Dancing on the Head of a Pen - Book Review

"You do not have to write a book today. There is not enough time to write a book today. You do have to go to work today." - Eric Maisel

This quote is included in Robert Benson's new book Dancing on the Head of a Pen. I thought it was a great reminder for me and other writers, especially with National Novel Writing Month in just a few weeks. In fact, this whole book is filled with writerly advice and would make a perfect companion to have on-hand during those trying November weeks when 50,000 words seems like a longshot.

In this small book, Benson offers tips on how to find your story, your audience, and your pace, and how to always keep writing. These tips are what work for him, and they are not one size fits all. (Although, I, too, prefer to write everything out by hand and then type it up when I'm ready to edit.) But this book will get you thinking about what works for you and what doesn't and how you can silence your inner critic and just keep writing.

You don't have to be a writer, though, to appreciate this book. It's for painters, musicians, and anyone drawn to a life of artistic expression. If that's you and you find yourself stuck in your creative projects or don't know where to start, check out this book.

Dancing on the Head of a Pen is published by Waterbrook Press. I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

TBT - Hudson Valley Pumpkin Blaze

You might remember last year when I posted about our trip to The Great Jack-o-Lantern Blaze in New York's Hudson Valley.

Well, we went again this year, and it was just as amazing! Seriously, if you've never been to this, you have to go! Tickets sell out fast, and some nights are already sold out. But if you can wait until November, there might be a few nights still available.

Here are just a few scenes from this year's Blaze, which is actually it's 10th anniversary, hence the pumpkin birthday cake below: