Saturday, September 26, 2020

Soft, hand tie-dyed onesies and bibs for the baby in your life - Support small businesses [Review & Giveaway]

Baby clothes are simply adorable. And that's exactly as it should be. Adorable baby clothes for an adorable little one. But there is that practical side, too. Sometimes you need a bit of the simple life and that calls for onesies!

Sometimes, the little one needs an extra layer of clothes and that calls for onesies!

Sometimes you just want them relaxed in the least you can put on them, and that calls for onesies!

D.L.Widger has a small, home business of tie-dying face masks, baby onesies, and baby bibs. We're supporting her in this endeavor by presenting her unique tie dyed onesies. You can purchase these via a Direct Message to her Instagram account. DM @D.l.Widger and she'll give you the details. #tie-dye-onesies

I have a  soft pink set that she sent me and it will go for my newest great-granddaughter. It's a bit large for her now but she will soon grow into it. These sell for $25 for the onesies and bib is $7.

1 Onesie & 1 Bib
Begins September 26
Ends October 20 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary products to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by D.L.Widger.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Priti NYC Natural Nail Care found at Good Earth Beauty is gluten, paraben, & cruelty free [Review & Giveaway]

The last time we talked about nail polish, we spoke of how the uncertainty of the times and how Covid-19 is governing our lives with the fear of contagion with limits on going out to work, socializing, and just living day-to-day.

That fear is still there. We're still slow to socialize, shop, play, work as normal. But some limits have been lifted and folks are beginning to come out of the isolation that drove us to fight this novel virus and to protect ourselves and those we love.

But we still need to stay isolated or away from large groups. We still need to wear a mask. We still need to exercise care by distancing ourselves and diligent hand washing. 

And we still need to add a level of self-care and of prettying-up ourselves. We need to use nice products on our skin. Good stuff to make us pretty and add a dab of color to our lives.

PRITI NYC Nail Polish can help you do that. And... Priti NYC Nail Polish is one of the good guys! It's natural. It's safe. It's long lasting. It's definitely pretty!

Our hands have been lathered and rinsed until our cuticles, knuckles, and nails  are showing a bedraggled look.

Fix it! ...

Get a bottle of polish. Get a clipper. Get a file. Then trim, shape, and get pretty.

Find this Color "Cool Paris" (a lovely pink with touch of voilet) & other beautiful colors. Note: this color is not as violet as it appears in this picture. CLICK HERE

What color would you choose? Liven up the day with a crimson red or be beguilingly beautiful in a blushing pink. What's your choice?

Now here's a superb thought..... order online! (Don't go in stores where those Covids abound.) The folks at which is a fabulous all natural product beauty shop online is the perfect place to shop natural, vegan, cruelty free, etc. I love it!

Here is the Priti NYC Nail Polish I'm trying out right now. I'm telling you, it went on beautifully. I applied a nice base coat. Then two coats of this beautiful Priti NYC Nail Polish. And finished with a clear top coat. 

"I feel pretty, oh so pretty....." (You know the song...)

You can, too. Go ahead and check out what they have. CLICK HERE


A natural nail polish! Priti NYC Polishes are safe and completely Non-Toxic, and do not contain toluene, formaldehyde, and DBP. Each is housed in a 12.6 ml. bottle that is completely recyclable. They are fast drying, chip resistant, non-yellowing, contain a UV inhibitor, and are super durable and glossy. All Priti Polishes are named after similar colored plants and flowers. #232 Cool Paris looks like hydrangea. Made by Priti NYC Natural Nail Care made in USA. Price $13.00

Ingredients: Butyl Acetate (an organic compound common used as a solvent. Colorless, soluble found in many types of fruit), Ethyl Acetate (an organic compound with a pungent smell like pear drops), Nitrocellulose (a long lasting film forming agent derived from cellulose), Acetyl Tributyl Citrate (colorless non-toxic liquid used as a food adaditive), Phthalic Anhydride/Trimellitic Anhydride/Glycols Copolymer (intermediate for the synthesis of surface coating in dyes and adhesives), Isopropyl Alcohol (non-toxic alternative to formaldehyde, Stearalkonium Hectorite (a thickening agent to make sure all the glitter doesn't sink to the bottom), Adipic Acid/Fumaric Acid/Phthalic Acid/Tricyclodecane Dimethanol Copolymer (an organic compound used as a food flavoring ingredient found in mushrooms, and lichen), Citric Acid – obtained from citrus fruits. MAY CONTAIN: D&C Red #6 Barium Lake, D&C Red #7 Calcium Lake, D&C Red #34 Calcium Lake, FD&C Yellow #5 Aluminum Lake, D&C Yellow #10 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Blue #1 Aluminum Lake, Ferric Ammonium, errocyanide, Red Iron Oxide, Black Iron Oxide, Guanine, Bismuth Oxychloride, Mica, D&C Violet #2, D&C Red #17, D&C Red #33, D&C Yellow #11, FD&C Blue #1, FD&C Green #3, D&C Green #6, D&C Yellow #10, Polyethylene Terephthalate, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate (and) Tin Oxides, Silica (and) Aluminum Powder (and) Iron Oxides, Aluminum Powder


Use 10% Discount Code: VERA10
Free Shipping in USA

1 Bottle Priti NYC Natural Nail Polish
(no choice of color)
Begins September 21
Ends October 19 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.

DISCLOSURE: I received a lovely product to facilitate a review. Any opinions given are my own alone and are freely given. I was not required to render positive thoughts on the products. I only recommend those products which I or a member of my family or close friends and will use. The winner's prize will be provided and shipped directly to the winner by Good Earth Beauty. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or damaged products. 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Picture book biographies of two women who made a difference: Frances Perkins & Jane Adams

Dangerous Jane: The Life and Times of Jane Adams Crusader for Peace by Suzanne Slade & illustrated by Alice Ratterree 

My thoughts: 
Dangerous Jane is a beautifully illustrated story of a women born into a life of affluence. As a child, she had personal tragedies that molded her personality but didn't break her. Her mother died when Jane was two years old and a few years later Jane had what they thought might be tuberculosis which left her body deformed. She felt she was ugly and unwanted.

But then she saw the need - exceptional need - of the poor and poverty stricken people in her city. She became a person of real compassion and in adulthood turned that compassion into good works.

Later in her adult life, she traveled in Europe on behalf of the suffering people there. These people were also those with whom the United States battled during WWI. This drew opposition toward Jane.

She lived into old age continuing her good works on behalf of the poor. 

This is an exceptional children's book about an exceptional woman. A must for school and public libraries.

About the book: Jane's heart ached for the world, but what could she do to stop a war?

This energetic and inspiring picture book biography of activist Jane Addams focuses on the peace work that won her the Nobel Peace Prize. From the time she was a child, Jane's heart ached for others. At first the focus of her efforts was on poverty, and lead to the creation of Hull House, the settlement house she built in Chicago. For twenty-five years, she'd helped people from different countries live in peace at Hull House. But when war broke out, Jane decided to take on the world and become a dangerous woman for the sake of peace.

Suzanne Slade's powerful text written in free verse illuminates the life of this inspiring figure while Alice Ratterree's stunning illustrations bring Jane Addams and her world to life.

Thanks to Frances Perkins: Fighter for Workers' Rights by Deborah Hopkinson & illustrated by Kristy Caldwell

My thoughts: 
As this book opens with a challenge to the young reader to consider the math of calculating when they, the reader, will qualify to receive Social Security Retirement Benefits. Unless you already know the major achievement of Frances Perkins, you may wonder just why that is an important thought to process in a biographic picture book.

Frances Perkins was born in 1880 in Boston into a home that valued education. Although women were not considered needful of education beyond the basics, her father thoroughly educated Frances. She ultimately received a Masters Degree. An amazing achievement for that time. 

But she was also taught by her parents to be a caring individual with a responsibility to help those in need at every opportunity. As a young woman, she saw the plight of young and older women working in factories - extremely long hours and under dreadful conditions. She sought ways to improve circumstances for them. This led to being appointed by the Governor of New York as a social director to improve conditions. So began her plan that worked in New York and led to her position in President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Cabinet. An as part of the President's team, she developed the Social Security System.

This is an amazing story about an amazing woman. A book that needs to be in every school and public library.

About the book: How many years will it be until you turn sixty-two? What year will that be? Once you've read Thanks to Frances Perkins, you'll know why these are important questions--and why you may want to thank Frances Perkins.

After Frances Perkins witnessed the Triangle Waist Factory fire in 1911, she was forever changed. While some activists pressed factory owners for change, Frances decided to work to bring about new laws that would force employers to treat people better and make workplaces safer. When she became Secretary of Labor in Franklin Delano Roosevelt's administration--the first woman cabinet member--Frances had the opportunity to make real her bold vision of a country where no one was left out. As a result of the Social Security program that she created, we have built a society where we help one another.

Deborah Hopkinson's energetic text and Kristy Caldwell's appealing illustrations introduce readers to a fascinating woman who has changed many American lives. Back matter features more information about Frances Perkins, Social Security, and resources for economic education.

DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Lola Koala’s Travel Adventures by Dr. Tinita Ortega Kearney [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts:
This is a sweet  educational tool to use with young children to teach them how to think through and answer the "Who, What, Where," and "Yes," "No" questions. In order to do this the cute Lola Koala prepares for a trip by packing and then as she journeys the reader is asked these staple questions.

The answers are hidden beneath flaps that the child can lift to see and also to find numbered clues as to Lola's trip destination.

A well done book and I am certain speech pathologists and therapists of children with special educational needs will readily be able to use. But it is also useful for any child to learn the process of knowing and giving an answer to these basic questions.

The book is a bit "wordy" and the book's target audience is ages 2 to 6. So younger children might be bored unless skillfully directed by the adult reading the story to them.

Purchase it here

Websites to explore:
  • Websites: 
  • FaceBook: @lolakoalaexplorer 
  • InstaGram: @dr.t_slp
About the author:  Dr. Tinita Kearney (Dr. T) is a speech pathologist who wants to empower kids and their parents by teaching foundational language skills in a way that is fun and interactive. With the first book in her new lift-the-flap Lola Koala Travel Adventures series, Dr. T and Lola Koala teach kids to answer WHO, WHAT, WHERE and YES/NO questions. Kids will be delighted and enchanted as they help Lola pack her suitcase and find clues to mystery destinations. Mastering critical language skills is important to target early because these particular skills are needed to functionally engage in conversation, demonstrate basic knowledge, and meet the Common Core standards of kindergarten and beyond.

Begins September 14
Ends September 30 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's prize is provided and sent directly to the winner by publisher, publicist, or author. 

Sunday, September 13, 2020

The Christmas Swap by Melody Carlson (A Christmas novella from Revell Books)

ISBN: 9780800738020
Hardcover $16.99
Revell Books

My thoughts:
This was such an enjoyable little novella to read. Sure it's September but I love a good Christmas story anytime. 

There's a bevey of characters that run the gammit of stinking rude to awesome sweet. Character flaws abound and devious scheming occurs.

All this takes place when two households decide to swap their homes, already fully decorated, and celebrate the Christmas holidays in the other's abode. They soon discover that a swap is not all they thought it would be. Of course, heading into new territory for Christmas with a foul mood doesn't help the situation.

Skiing, outdoor fires and S'mores, a broken arm and nearly a broken heart are woven into this tale where through the snow is cold and the mixed attitudes are complicated, a sweet romance blooms where boy meets girl and survive the interferrance of another.

Loved it! Good clean reading. Great for warm days of fall as you look toward the Christmas season or for cuddling up beside a warm toasty fire at the heart of the season.

About the book: All Emma Daley wants this holiday season is a white Christmas. But the young teacher and struggling musician sure can't find that in sunny Arizona. Luckily, there's someone living in a perfect mountain home in the Colorado Rockies looking to make a vacation trade this year.

Tyler Prescott is an in-demand songwriter and talented musician who put his own singing career on hold to write songs for celebrity acts to perform. When his mother convinces him to do a vacation trade for Christmas, he never imagined one of the houseguests would be so sweet--or so strikingly pretty. Naturally, he decides to stick around, and, to get better acquainted, he poses as the house's caretaker. But when Emma's friend Gillian discovers his true identity and sets her sights on him, things get . . . messy.

Fan favorite Melody Carlson is back with another delightful Christmas tale to warm your heart on those cold winter evenings. 

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Madeline Finn and the Therapy Dog by Lisa Papp [from Peachtree Publishing]

My thoughts: 
If you haven't met sweet little Madeline Finn, you're in for a real treat. I met this little girl in Madeline Finn and the Library Dog and simply fell in love with her and the sweet, patient dog that "helped" her learn to read.

This new book, Madeline Finn and the Therapy Dog, is again featuring sweet little Madeline Finn and a new dog. Sort of a replica of the Library Dog, but younger. This dog's name is "Star." Star has been training to become a therapy dog for rest home residents (seniors, etc.) and Star must pass the test.

They go to the retirement center (another word for "rest home") and each time Star passes the test. Another dog has interacted with humans to help them when they need help.

The illustrations are really beautiful and capture the essence of Madeline Finn's sweetness and the behavior of a therapy dog's innate gentleness.

I highly recommend this sweet series.

About the book: Madeline Finn and Star are back--and now Star is old enough to become a therapy dog. Will our beloved team be able to pass the test?

Madeline Finn and Star are off to Walker Oaks, a retirement community where Star will take his tests to become a therapy dog. Accompanied by Mom, Mrs. Dimple, and Bonnie, she and Star make their way through a variety of challenges and meet several new friends. But Madeline Finn can't stop thinking about an elderly man in a wheelchair who never smiles. Is there something she and Star can do to help?

A companion to the Lisa Papp's best-selling books Madeline Finn and the Library Dog and Madeline Finn and the Therapy Dog, this heartwarming story explores the therapy dog training process and provides a realistic and appealing example of a young person making a difference in her community.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Prestel Publishing's new Fall children's books are varied, stoking imagination, and educational [Review & Giveaway USA]

How to Spot an Artist by Danielle Krysa 

Ages 5+
ISBN: 9783791374406
My thoughts:  This is such a cautionary story for youngsters. Personally, I know of two individuals whose artistic talent was nipped in the bud by art teachers who told them they couldn't "draw" or "paint." This is devastating to a child especially in the pre-teen and teen years. But little one's, too, need confirmation that their "art" is good. 

Eventally, they will determine themselves if they are truly a gifted artist, but their enthusiastic endeavors in any art-form should not be squelched. 

This is a delightful book full of crazy art and mixed media as well as a jumble of text fonts and the book conveys in an enthusiatically encouraging manner how an artist can be spotted. By a mess. By lots of stuff. By glue. By paints. By paper, etc. etc.

A delightful book that needs to be read by parents, teachers, and kids of all ages.

About the book: This is a vividly illustrated, funny, and endlessly encouraging picture book “about being an artist, even when someone tells you not to be." 

With over 200,000 Instagram followers, Danielle Krysa has helped a lot of people overcome the fear that they "aren't creative," and in How to Spot an Aritist, Krysa wants to reach readers as kids before their inner critics arrived on the scene, using her characteristic playfulness, lively illustrations, and humor to help kids overcome negativity about their artistic endeavors--and to help them redefine what being an artist means. Every page delivers encouragement to the kid who thinks artists all live in cities, or that art has to look like something familiar, or that painting and drawing are the only way to make art. In a world that drastically undervalues creative freedom, Krysa's whimsical paintings and collages joyfully proclaim that art is essential and that artists are everywhere. Additionally, a page at the back of the book includes ideas for art projects--because who wants fewer art projects? Nobody!

The House of Happy Spirits by Geraldine Elschner & illustrated by Lucie Vandevelde

Ages 4+
ISBN: 9783791374543

My thoughts: Since I don't "do Halloween" I almost skipped this book because I thought it might be halloween themed. While a bit on the weird side artistcally with its blast of color and design that sometimes tires the eyes, it is not a halloween book. While titled "The House of Happy Spirits," I think the happy spirits part is a conclusion because of the house's magical, whimsical quality.

The story is about a neighborhood that undergoes change and the fear is that a old beloved huge tree will fall prey to construction.

Surprisingly, the tree makes it completely whole and has a lot of other plant life to keep it company.

An interesting story. A bit of architectural history. Distinctly European in book style. A fun read.

About the book: The pages are filled with color-saturated illustrations that echo Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser's bold style, introducing young readers to the idea of environmentally conscious and playful architecture. 

When construction starts on a new building in Lea's neighborhood, she fears that her favorite tree will be chopped down. For days she watches anxiously as the tree is covered up and surrounded by bricks. Finally, she learns that the tree has been spared and made the centerpiece of a fantastic new building, where it will live a long and healthy life. Lucie Vandevelde's joyful drawings convey a kid's-eye view of city life, complete with people, pets, automobiles, and machinery. As the new building emerges, readers will come to learn about some of Hundertwasser's celebrated and offbeat principles--such as the rights of tenants to paint the walls outside of their windows, that trees should be given their own rooms, and that "straight lines lead to the downfall of humanity." A brief biography of Hundertwasser at the end of the book fills readers in on the work of this pioneering artist whose ideas were once radical but are now integrated into many architectural concepts.

Since this is such an unusual architectural concept upon which this picture book story is based, I thought it would be interesting to see real pictures of the real Hundertwasser Haus.

The Little Dancer by Geraldine Elschner and illustrated by Olivier Desvaux 

Ages 4+
ISBN: 9783791374499
My thoughts:   The artist Edgar Degas had a fascination for ballerinas and therefore painted a large number pieces depicting them, individually or in groups. This children's book, "The Little Dancer," is based upon the Degas sculpture "Little Dancer." 

The story is set in Paris in late 1800's, and the child and her mother enter Paris in a wagon. The girl  auditions for the ballet group, and if accepted, she will be paid a daily amount and her mother will be given a job as a laundress. A hard life for both the child and the mother, but it is to advance the little ballerina in her art and also a means of survival for both of them.

Her feet are sore and bruised. She is tired.  But this is her life.

About the book: One of Degas's most celebrated works comes to life in this delightful book - vibrantly illustrated story of the young ballerina who inspired the artist. 

This book tells the fictional story of a young girl who dreams of becoming a ballet dancer. Jeanne auditions at the Opera Garnier and moves with her mother, a laundress, to Montmartre where life becomes consumed by rehearsals and classes. One day she meets Mr. D, an artist who asks Jeanne to be his model. As Mr. D works on his sculpture, Jeanne prepares tirelessly for an important performance. The book culminates with Jeanne triumphing at the Opera--and Mr. D completing his sculpture with her help. Olivier Desvaux's gorgeous illustrations, which recall Degas paintings, bring readers into Jeanne's world--the studio where she spends her days, the tiny apartment where she sleeps with her mother, and Mr. D's atelier, where he preserves her story forever. Readers will learn about the life of a young dancer in 19th-century Paris, and at the end of the book they will learn even more about one Degas's most intriguing works: Little Dancer Aged Fourteen, the only sculpture he exhibited in his lifetime, particularly beloved for capturing the essence of a ballerina.

This Thing Called Life by Christian Borstlap

Ages 5+
ISBN: 9783791374437
My thoughts: This is quite an unusual book for a young child - both artistically and verbally. It philosophically and in understandable terms presents the connectivity of all life. From the most minute to the most giagantic, life is connected.

Each bit of life is important individually and as a whole.

This is not a religious or faith-based work though it doesn mention Creation ... "A medley of stardust, gases, ice meteors, sulight, and many other things we don't understand created... life..."

So the beginning of life is open to interpretation in this book which makes it acceptable to many. 

The text simplistically speaks to what life is about.... "reproducing, perceiving, breathing, moving, feeling, giving, taking, surviving..." 

So the reader gets to think about more than the biological aspect of life and living. And in thinking about these aspects, discovers the connection between all aspects of life and living.

An interesting book that can potentially open many doors of discussion between child and adult.

About the book:  A scarcely worded book that shows the many shapes and forms life takes all around us, from the smallest specks of life to the largest creatures.

What is life? It's constantly moving, growing, reproducing, and dying. It's happening now, all the time, and it's everywhere around us. From little helicopter seed pods that float through the air to blue whales in the ocean, the world is filled with all different types of odd and familiar kinds of life. This whimsical picture book helps young readers see the connections between all living things. Author and illustrator Christian Borstlap's furry, feathery, smooth, and spiky creatures crawl, eat, growl, fly, and interact with one another. While most of his creations are imaginary animals, they all depict real things that organisms must do to survive and thrive. Bold and quirky illustrations tug at kids' imaginations and help demonstrate complex concepts that can be hard to put into words. The book leaves lots of room for discussion and for new discoveries with each reading.

Begins September 8
Ends October 4 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Prize is provided and sent directly to the winner by publicist or publisher.