Monday, October 20, 2014

Knot Guilty: A Crochet Mystery by Betty Hechtman

I think it is probably a safe assumption that you all know I love to crochet. You may or may not know that I love to read a good murder mystery. The type that focuses more on characters and less on murder, of course. Now under most circumstances, the two (crochet & mysteries) never really meld. However, Betty Hechtman has written a fabulous series of crochet mysteries available from Berkley Prime Crime

Once I heard about the series I knew I had to read and once I read the first book I knew I would read them all. Read is really not the right word, devour would be more fitting as I never spent a full week reading any of the books. When I came to end of the last book I was crushed that I had to wait for the next one, so imagine how beyond happy I was to receive a review copy early! Can we say giddy?

The new book, Knot Guilty, which is the ninth in the series, was just as fabulous as the first. I am so pleased with the way Betty Hechtman has kept the stories fresh and interesting. Molly Pink, who works at a bookstore and is a member of the local crochet group always seems to run right into the mystery, much to my delight. 

This time, one of my favorite characters the flashy, forward Adele, is suspected and Pink must do her best to solve the case and get Adele off the hook. I just knew Adele would get in trouble because they were at a knitting show and Adele takes the don’t call it knitting mentality to new extremes. As is usually the case, I could not put this book down, I needed to read just one more page, one more chapter, just one more minute! 

I know my crafty readers are just going to fall in love with this series. You can even start with the newest because each story is free standing and self contained… though I know after reading one you will want to read them all. Each new book is like visiting with old friends. The story is fully engaging and the characters are as real as your neighbor. You will care what happens and find yourself holding your breath when they get in a tight spot. 

As a great bonus, each book has had a delicious recipe and an easy to follow crochet pattern. This book actually had two of each and the recipes sounded so delicious my husband added the ingredients to our next shopping list. He has a sweet tooth and they were right up his alley, especially the cookie bars. 

Knot Guilty by Betty Hechtman gets my highest recommendation. You will be able to grab a copy wherever you usually buy books in November or you can preorder yours now! I am already waiting and hoping she is working on another crochet mystery. 

Take some time to browse the other great mysteries available from Berkley Prime Crime. While you are there you can sign up for the newsletter so you never miss a new release. I must warn you though, after browsing my wish list is longer than I could probably read.

Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

TV Guide Spotlight TV’s Spookiest Halloween Episodes Collection from Mill Creek

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. I remember when I was growing up we used to love the special Halloween episodes of our favorite TV shows. We always sat down as a family to watch them with some traditional Halloween munchies like popcorn balls and candy apples. 

This year I got to take a magic trip back in time to watch some of my favorite old shows' Halloween specials thanks to the TV Guide Spotlight TV’s Spookiest Halloween Episodes Collection from Mill Creek. It even had some shows that I somehow missed but will be looking for now. 

This collection has 13 episodes, of course 13, it is Halloween after all. The featured shows are Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, The Jeffersons, Square Pegs, The Facts of Life, Married With Children, Roseanne, The Cosby Show, News Radio, Mad About You, 3rd Rock From the Sun, Ned and Stacey, and That 70s Show. Plus it is only $9.98 which makes it a fantastic value.

What I really loved is that the collections is so varied. In addition to having my old favorites, I got to catch a glimpse at shows I had never seen before like Ned and Stacy and Square Pegs. My husband loved to see one of his old favorites Married With Children and of course we both loved Rosanne, which I always looked forward to on Halloween because Dan and Rosanne always had the best costumes.

If you are looking for some good wholesome family fun for Halloween, look for TV Guide Spotlight TV’s Spookiest Halloween Episodes Collection from Mill Creek online or at your favorite store. Of course, if you are feeling lucky you can enter to win a copy here! Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Open to US residents, 18 and older. 

Make sure you head over to browse the full selection of titles from Mill Creek Entertainment on their website. You will find everything from family and classics, to horror and sci-fi! Make sure you stay connected with them on Facebook and Twitter too so that you never miss a new release.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers. My Empty Nest is not responsible for prize fulfillment. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ozeri Serafino Double Wall Insulated Beverage and Coffee Glasses

If you have been here a while, you know that I love Ozeri and all of the household products that they offer. This time I tried their Serafino Double Wall, Insulated Beverage and Coffee Glasses. They came in a set of 4, 12 ounce glasses and were carefully packaged in a nice black box. I really appreciate that they were all individually wrapped in bubble wrap to protect them during shipping. These glasses are too pretty to break!

They are made of hand blown, heat and shatter resistant borosilicate glass which is stronger than normal glass. Not only does the double wall design look awesome, but is also keeps your drinks at the right temperature without your hand getting hot or cold while holding it. They are also microwave, dishwasher, and freezer safe! These little glasses are just all around awesome!

I love my Ozeri Serafino glasses. They are not only adorable, but durable which is important in a house with two children. They keep my cold drinks cool and my hand away from any condensation. On the other side, they keep my hot drinks hot while keeping my hand cool. They really are a unique glass and I will definitely be ordering more to have a full set! Be sure to head over to Amazon and order a set for yourself and see all of the other products Ozeri offers!

Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

ENLIGHTENED: The Good-For-You Ice Cream

It is no secret that I have a sweet tooth. It is also no secret that a lot of sweet snacks, though delicious, are just not good for you. Packed full of empty calories and sugar, a lot of sweets don't offer much on the nutritional aspect of things. ENLIGHTENED ice cream is here to change all of that. With low calories and low sugar and fat contents as well as protein and fiber, ENLIGHTENED ice cream is not your average ice cream.

Out of the seven varieties they currently offer, I got to try 4 of them. The first was Peanut Butter. These bars have 80 calories, 3 grams of sugar, and 9 grams of protein. These bars don't have the same consistency as traditional ice cream, but they are still delightfully creamy. They are also a little harder than other ice creams so it is recommended to let them sit out for 2-3 minutes before eating them. I wasn't a huge fan of the peanut butter flavor but my kids absolutely love them.

The Coffee bars have 70 calories, 3 grams of sugar, and 8 grams of protein. I really like this flavor. I was a little worried that with such low calories and sugars that they would be bland, but they are bursting with flavor and actually quite sweet. The coffee bars had a wonderful coffee flavor that was slightly sweet. This is a great mid-afternoon pick me up or after dinner desert. 

The Fudge bars have only 70 calories, 3 grams of sugar, and 8 grams of protein. These were my favorite, by far. I am partial to chocolate sweets and these were awesome. They are rich, creamy, and sweet without being too overbearing. There is a great balance to the sweetness and the taste is right on point. These are a great chocolate fix that you won't feel guilty for eating.

The Vanilla Bean ice cream sandwiches have 100 calories, 2 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein. Now, I have never liked ice cream sandwiches but my dad loves them so I got them for him to try. He said that they were awesome. For what they lack in calories, they do not lack in flavor. My husband really enjoyed these as well. They like the tasty snack and I like knowing they aren't eating something that is horrible for them.

ENLIGHTENED's ice cream is just awesome. They not only taste good but you don't have to feel guilty about empty calories or high sugar and fat contents. Be sure to check out ENLIGHTENED's website to see all of the products they offer. Also, follow them on Facebook and Twitter to never miss any news. Hurry back here though because it is giveaway time! One lucky reader will win a coupon good for one free box of ENLIGHTENED ice cream! Open to US residents, 18 years and older. Enter using the Rafflecopter below. Winner has 48 hours to respond before another is drawn. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers. My Empty Nest is not responsible for lost or misdirected mail.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

FabKids - October

I am sure you all remember FabKids but just in case: FabKids is a fashion club started by a group of mothers, including Christina Applegate. For $29.95 a month, you get a full two piece outfit of your choice. You have until the 5th of each month to skip the month before you are charged and receive one credit for an outfit. Using that credit, you choose an outfit off of the FabKid's website and your child is on his or her way to looking fabulous! They carry sizes 2-12 in both girl and boy options. Also, if you spend $49 or more, your outfits ship for free!

This is my third month with FabKids and this is, by far, my favorite outfit yet! This month there were so many adorable options and it was so hard to pick, but eventually I chose the Lead Singer outfit. The shirt is bright, neon green with fuzzy writing that says, "Music makes me happy". There is also silver sequins on the shoulders and hearts, stars, and music notes surrounding the writing.

The skirt in this outfit is just too cute. It is gray and has all sorts of fun stuff on it. From cute little skulls with bows and heart eyes, to hearts, bows, music notes, and words like 'rock' and 'love'. The skirt is tiered and had great movement when Bella was playing in it. I love that all of the outfits I get from FabKids are not only adorable but are comfortable and allow my little one to play freely.

As always, I am so happy with my choices from FabKids this month! FabKids is just a great service all around. Not only do you receive adorable clothing, but the pieces you get are very high quality and will last your child a long time. Go to the FabKid's website and see all of their great options for yourself. Also, be sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter to never miss any news!

Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Crochet Beyond the Basics from Leisure Arts

Where are my crafters? I am so very excited to tell you about one of the newer titles from Leisure Arts. This is seriously my favorite crochet book ever! I don’t know about you, but I really love to learn new styles, stitches, and techniques, and Crochet Beyond the Basics is just busting with great new things for me to try. This is the book for anyone looking to take their crochet to the next level.  

When I get a new book I usually flip through and find a project or two I want to start soon but I was literally torn between every technique in the book. That said, I just started at the beginning with something called Bruges Lace. As you can see from my practice ribbon I took the pattern to make Bruges lace a step further with a filet style. I am thinking this dainty lace will make a great shawl once I master the turns and joining which this awesome book will teach me. 

Speaking of Filet, that is also a technique covered in this book. You have probably seen this and maybe not know the name. It is used to make awesome designs and pictures by using opened and full spaces. I was so happy, after reading how it is done, to find out that I can do this!! I can really make stuff like awesome curtains with pictures of coffee cups for my kitchen. That is seriously on my short list.

I have seen Hairpin and Broomstick lace before and always been rather intimidated by them but now that I have these instructions with great patterns (just look at the delicate lovely shawl) I am going to tackle them both! I even have a great idea on how to make a homemade hairpin lace tool from things I have laying about the house.    

There are also sections to teach Irish crochet which is super stunning and looks very advanced. I can’t wait to try it! Tunisian is also covered. I have made one project in this style and I love the fabric it creates, it gives you a very dense knit like material. I made a small pouch for my camera and it always gets complements. I do need more practice at this and we will talking about another Leisure Arts title on this style very soon. 

The section on symbol crochet has already come in super handy. I found a lovely shawl and the written pattern was incoherent however it did have a chart, which I couldn’t read before I had this book to reference. Knowing how to read charts is so handy because often patterns, especially the older lacy ones I love only have charts. 

If you are wanting to make a more complex looking material with great color dimensions, there are three sections you will want to look at Polish Stars, Tapestry, and Mosaic crochet! These are fabulous techniques that allow you to create fabulous things with great depth of design. 

You can see why this is my favorite book now, there is not a section that I won’t be using more than once. Once you have mastered the basics of crochet you will want this book in your library, seriously. While you are there take some time to browse Leisure Arts' great selection and make sure you also connect with Leisure Arts on Facebook and Twitter so that you never miss a special or new pattern! Also, if you sign up for their knitting or crochet newsletters, you get a free pattern on Fridays!

Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my reader

Monday, October 13, 2014

Virgin Vapor

I am sure all of you have heard of electronic cigarettes. The e-cig scene is growing in popularity very fast and it is becoming normal to see people puffing away on their mods in public. Last November, I put down real cigarettes and picked up an electronic one and I haven't looked back since. Finding good e-liquid can be like finding a needle in a hay stack but I am happy to report that I have found a pretty awesome company: Virgin Vapor.

Virgin Vapor offers gourmet, organic e-liquids. Where organic is concerned, I never thought to look for organic e-liquid, but I must say, it is quite tasty! They offer two lines of liquids: Virgin Vapor and Absolute Virgin. The main difference between the two is how the flavors are extracted and you can learn all about that HERE. From their Virgin Vapor line I got the chance to try four flavors: Southern Exposure, Cherry POP!, Hunger of Persephone, and Plum Crazy.

The first flavor I tried was Southern Exposure. It is described as: "A provocative blend of fruity flavors from the southern hemisphere with a hint of minty freshness". This juice has a wonderful tropical fruit flavor that is soon followed by a mint tingle. I really like the contrast in flavors and how it first tastes fruity and then the mint hits you afterwards. It is a really cool flavor!

Up next was Hunger of Persephone and if you remember your Greek mythology, you can guess what flavor this is. I love pomegranates and this juice is pretty close to tasting like a real one. It is slightly sweet at first and has a little tang at the end, like real pomegranate seeds. It is a pretty light flavor though and I would have loved for it to be just a little stronger. That being said, it is still absolutely delicious and a great, light vape.

Plum Crazy was the next flavor I tried and I was really impressed with this one as well. This tastes just like biting into a plum. The layers of this flavor are very impressive. You can almost taste the tangy skin and the juicy, sweet, center. I really like this flavor and I now see why it is award winning! Definitely worth a try for a great, fruit vape.

The last one I tried was Cherry POP! and this one was by far my favorite. This tastes exactly like Cherry Coke. You can taste the strong cola flavor that is followed by a sweet, cherry finish. Your mouth is left tasting like you just took a sip of Cherry Coke and I love it. Out of all of these flavors, if you were to try just one, It should definitely be Cherry POP!

I am very impressed with Virgin Vapor's liquids and I can really tell a difference in the organically extracted flavors. They taste more realistic and closer to the real thing than a lot of liquids out there. Also, note that all of these juice are a 50/50 VG/PG mix with 12mg nicotine. Be sure to head over to the Virgin Vapor website and see all of the awesome juices they offer. Also, follow them on Facebook and Twitter to never miss out on any news! 

Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers.