Sunday, August 31, 2014

Amani Pure - Hyaluronic Acid Serum & Vitamin C Serum For Face (Review and Giveaway)

I began using vitamin c and hyaluronic acid serums for my face this summer and it was simply because the opportunity presented itself in the way of review opportunities. I have been very pleasantly surprised with the results these products have presented. I have actually tried several brands. Each performs similarly, yet I have seen some differences which my "untrained" observation has noted.

My most recent opportunity has been to use the Amani Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum. This product is a clear gelatinous liquid that is dispensed with a pump (see image). I use enough to spread it generously over my face, neck, and chest. I allow it to dry before applying my makeup for the day. I found that it makes the skin feel delightfully smooth and appears radiant.

I really like the very mild fragrance. I can't identify it, but it is very pleasant and gentle. I really like that this product is almost totally natural and organic. To me that means it is closer to the purity of nature. And I like that it is made in the USA.

I have enjoyed using the Amani Pure Hyaluronic Acid & Vitamin C Serum for my face and like the quality of the product.

The picture below has arrows indicating how to smooth the serum onto your face. They pretty much show how I also apply the serum to my face.
GIVEAWAY: Amani Pure is providing one of Chat With Vera's readers the opportunity to win their very own bottle of Amani Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum. Just use the Rafflecopter entry form below. Begins August 31 & ENDS September 6 @ 12:01 a.m. ET. (NOTE: This is a SHORT/FLASH giveaway) 
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Product information (from Amani): NEW Dual Action Hyaluronic Acid Serum & Vitamin C Serum For Face - Skin Tightening Serum that Plumps & Hydrates Your Skin. Anti-Aging, Anti-Wrinkle, Look Younger. Satisfaction Guaranteed or Money Back. BONUS: Comes with No Mess Treatment Pump.
  • Hyaluronic Acid Serum - SKIN PLUMPING & HYDRATING ELIXIR - was created from a specific blend of skin regenerative ingredients that is currently used in luxury, high-end spas all over the world.
  • This Hyaluronic Acid gets RESULTS - to help fill-in fine lines, diminish the appearance of wrinkles, and stimulates collagen production. It also functions as an anti-inflammatory and a treatment for acne. Use with our Vitamin C Serum for better results. 
  • Hyaluronic Acid for Face - FEELS LIKE AN INSTANT FACE LIFT - as it plumps up and hydrates dull, sagging skin while leaving your skin feeling instantly firmer, smoother and more radiant.
  • Made in USA, following strict FDA Guidelines. Made with pure vegan Hyaluronic Acid and 98% Natural/ 72% Certified Organic Ingredients. 100% Money Back Guarantee. No Risk for Trying!
  • IMPORTANT: With the mass influx of Hyaluronic Acid Serums on the Market, it's important to know and understand the ingredients that go into these anti-aging serums. Beware of cheap, low grade products.
DISCLOSURE: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Big Book of Words for Curious Kids by Heloise Antoine & Ingrid Gordon (Review & Giveaway)

About the book: This colorful, appealing word book makes observing, recognizing and naming things an exciting adventure in learning. Each page in THE BIG BOOK OF WORDS FOR CURIOUS KIDS features numerous pictures revolving around familiar themes in a child's life - clothing, toys, food, and animals, just to name a few. Certain objects, such as Bobo the stuffed bunny, appear repeatedly throughout the book, encouraging image recognition. This book - at once a picture book, word book, and beginning reader - help make those first few steps into the world of words much less daunting and much more fun. 
  • Age Range: 4 and up 
  • Series: Big Book of Words Series
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Peachtree Pub Ltd
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561451111
My thoughts: Children love books that they can return to over and over and continue to discover treasures within. In The Big Book of Words for Curious Children there are hundreds of tiny, sketched and colorful pictures that the child can identify as they would touch on his/her life. Familiar objects or those easily learned when identified for him. Children find delight in "seek 'n search" and a book such as this can easily be turned into such an activity.

I found the art delightfully sweet and charming and this alone is enough to endear the book to readers. I like that the little bunny finds a way to join in the fun throughout the book. A fun twist for the kids to find throughout.

With a sturdy hardcover, little hands will enjoy learning and beginning their venture of the printed word. A good resource for the parent to have around for their child. Each two-page spread features a charming picture of little ones engaged in polite, social engagements - sharing, working together, reading together, etc. 

Needless-to-say, I recommend this book to you.

GIVEAWAY: The good folks at Peachtree Publishers has a copy of this delightful children's book just waiting for one of Chat With Vera's readers to win. Use the entry form below, please. Begins August 26 & ENDS September 17 @ 12:02 a.m. ET.  Open to USA addresses only.
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DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy of The Big Book of Words for Curious Children in exchange for my review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I received no compensation for this review.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

What's the Difference? An Endangered Animal Subtraction Story by Suzanne Slade and Illustrated by Joan Waites

Hardcover $16.95
ISBN: 9781607180708
Ages 4-8
Introducing math into the daily lives of children is the best way to make certain it takes root and comes to life in their thinking and reasoning. Bringing the math concepts into the storybook is a concept that has life and validity all its own.

Arbordale Publishing (previously Sylvan Dell Publishing) has several books that bring educational concepts - particularly math - into the storyline as well as infusing the story with other facts and concepts. In What's the Difference children are introduced to the endangered animal dilemma; and along with this introduction of a scientific fact, subtraction is used as a way to enforce the sheer concept of loss the plight of these endangered animals presents.

Additionally (pun intended), the book is written in rhyme which again reinforces the learning process.

Each two-page spread consists of an endangered animal, numerical fact, and factoid box about the animal on those pages. As with other books in this series, there is a "For Creative Minds" section in the back that has more information, activities, and concepts. This is a good book for home, school, and public libraries.

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Arbordale Publishing in exchange for a review. Opinions expressed are solely my own and I was not paid for this review.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Get to Know Apostle Paul by Nancy I. Sanders (for 6-10 year olds)

Introducing children to true heroes - those in the Bible - needs to go beyond the typical Sunday School lesson.  Nancy I. Sanders has created a series of little books for young readers and published by ZonderKidz. Inexpensive at $6.99, they are packed with factoids and indepth information that is still withing the mental reach of the young reader.

First of all, it is a "chapter book" and the text is challenging for the youngest but within the grasp of the 10 year old. A 120 page paperback that is sturdy and will hold up to much use, it is replete with pictures that ignite the imagination of the child, a timeline that correlates Paul's life with major world reigns, a vocabulary listing with definitions. It begs to be perused repeatedly.

The only drawback I see to this little volume is the sheer volume of information packed into it. Could it so overwhelm the child that they shy away from reading it? This is not a storybook. It is a reference work geared for the young mind. Hopefully, it will engage their attention and cause them to repeatedly return for more. I look forward to reviewing "Mary" soon.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from BookLook Bloggers Program on behalf of Zonderkidz in exchange for my review. No compensation was received for this review.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Adovia Moisturizing Day Cream with minerals from the Dead Sea

To protect my skin, I treat it to serums, moisturizers, sun screen infused makeup, and cleaning; and in each of these, I try to use quality products.  I previously reviewed Adovia Serum and found it to be a quality product and one I can recommend. Now I have had the opportunity to evaluate Adovia Moisturizing Day Cream to see how it works on my skin.

Dead Sea Minerals
First of all, my skin is not dry and it is not oily. It is rather normal - for a lady-of-a-certain age. But that doesn't mean that some products don't cause problems for me, they do. Adovia products are infused with minerals from the Dead Sea and I think that is a good thing. Now just what do I think of this day cream?

My thoughts:  I found it to be rather thick - thicker than I normally like. I also found that I usually prefer a cream that leaves an allusion of a youthful glow and this one does not. It leaves a sort of matte finish "loo" and this remains even after the application of my high quality department store makeup. The appearance is somewhat reminiscent of using a moisturizer and then a makeup primer prior to application of makeup. I don't care for primers and don't use them.

However, the Adovia Day Cream absolutely does soften the face and leaves it nicely conditioned. So it works as a moisturizer and it works well.

How I used it...... After cleaning my face, I applied a serum (vitamin C or hyaluronic acid) followed by the Adovia Day Cream. I rubbed the moisturizer between my fingers to warm it a bit before applying to my face. I used my hands in rotating motions to spread the cream all over my face and neck ending with upward sweeps. After allowing it to soak into my skin and "dry," I applied my makeup for the day.

Product information (provided by Adovia) - find the product here

  • Product Description: Adovia Day Moisturizing Cream moisturizes and protects skin with Adovia's quick absorbing and non-greasy daytime formula. The moisturizer is infused with Dead Sea minerals, all natural UV protection and aloe vera. The Hypoallergenic, dermatologist tested and approved cream works to moisturize deep, hydrating skin and bringing out the natural radiance. A single application provides all-day moisture without clogging pores. Adovia moisturizing cream contains an active complex of Dead Sea minerals for natural moisture balance that is easier for skin to retain. The cream also makes an ideal makeup base.
  • Ingredients: Demineralised Water & Dead Sea Water, Stearic Acid, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Bergamot (Citrus Aurantium Bergamia) Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Grape (Vitis Vinifera) Seed Oil, Caprilyc/Capric Triglyceride, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Carbomer, Propylene Glycol & Chamomile (Anthemis Noblis) Extract & Algae Extract & Papaya (Carica Papaya) Extract & Aloe Vera Barbadensis Gel, Urea, Lactic Acid, Dimethicone, Benzoic Acid, Chlorphenesin, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzalkoinium Chloride, Retinyl Palmitate, Dead Sea Salt, Benzophenone-3.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Body Merry Eye Cream - Natural & Organic Anti-Aging Formula

First of all, as with any cream for the eyes care needs to be taken to avoid getting it in the eyes. Secondly, nothing works miracles. And third, a little goes a long, long way. There is a plethora of creams available to help us keep our eyes looking their best. Let's be realistic though, staying up late, stress, age, smoking, too much sun, and life in general usually shows up around our eyes first! So we check the drug store, the department store, the "A--- Lady," the internet, and anywhere else that creams and stuff are sold to the waiting public. We try one, another, trice we try products. We never seem to find the absolutely best one.

When given the opportunity to try Body Merry Eye Defense Eye Cream, I was absolutely delighted. You see, nine months ago I had a heart procedure done and since then the dark night of circles has encamped round-about my peepers. I've always had a bit of under-the-eye dark, but this is different. So when Body Merry Eye Cream alluded to helping with those fierce dark circles, I jumped on board. Now just what has Body Merry done for me?

This is a sort of liquid type cream. When I pat it around the eyes (under, both sides, lids), it has a pleasant tingly sensation. Not a burning. It just feels different from others I have used.  I have applied this morning and evening for a couple of weeks. Has it worked a miracle? No. Do my eyes look better in the morning when I awaken? Absolutely yes! Do they stay looking pretty decent (for a lady-of-a-certain-age) throughout the day? Yes!

So I say this is a product I feel I can recommend. It is pleasant to use and seems to help. You can find it HERE on Amazon.

Product Description:  Do you want your eyes to express everything but your age? Our Age Defense Eye Cream is a comprehensive solution for all your eye concerns – whether its dark circles, wrinkles, puffiness, crow's feet, fine lines, dryness, sags or bags.

This cream is perfect for your eyes since we reject the idea of using harsh chemicals for the delicate eye area and use natural and organic ingredients instead.

We've packed in cutting edge peptides like Matrixyl-3000 and Tripeptide-5 with an ocean based Retinol and botanical Hyaluronic Acid. We know that's not enough – so we've added lots of antioxidants, organic vitamins and minerals, pure plant oils and botanical actives – Aloe, Witch Hazel, Coconut Oil, Cocoa Butter, Vitamin C, Cucumber, Beeswax, Jojoba Oil, Tamanu Oil, Green Tea, Licorice, Eyebright, Avocado Oil, Flax Seed Oil, Rose Hip Oil, Lemon, Lemongrass, Vitamin B5, Lavender and Chamomile (to name just a few!).

Our cream works well on all skin types and leaves your skin looking and feeling firm, plump and young. Get fast and lasting results and be at the receiving end of compliments!
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Dr Song 20% Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid + Vitamin E (Review & Giveaway)

As Chat With Vera readers may realize by now, I have discovered the world of Vitamin C serums and in doing so have had the opportunity to try several of these products. I have been amazed at how vitamin C serum makes my skin feel and look. Now today I'm sharing with you the Dr. Song 20% Vitamin C+E Serum with Hyaluronic Acid.

As you can see from the Product Description below, the Dr. Song product is professional grade from a medical cosmetic laboratory. That speaks very loudly to me about quality.

But today I simply want to share what I think about the product. I have enjoyed using Dr. Song's Vitamin C serum. I like the feel on my skin (face, neck, chest). I like the appearance of a glow that the skin of a lady of-a-certain-age usually doesn't have. I like its compatibility with my varied moisturizers (applied after the serum) and makeup. I like that folks are commenting on how nice my skin looks. That speaks volumes and speaks loudly to me! 

I like that Dr. Song is providing an opportunity for one of Chat With Vera's readers to win their very own bottle in this GIVEAWAY. Just enter using the form below. ENDS SEPTEMBER 1 @ 12:00 a.m. EDT. OPEN TO USA ADDRESSES ONLY.
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Product Description: Dr Song Medical is a medical cosmetic laboratory that originally manufactured products for professionals, doctors, and medical facilities.  The creation of Amazon has allowed manufacturers like us, to easily get products directly into the hands of consumers, which allows professional quality products at a reasonable price.  Dr Song Medical products are made in the USA and is FDA compliant and a provider of professional products.

Dr. Song Vitamin C Serum contains 20% vitamin c, boosted with vitamin e, hyaluronic acid and aloe vera for a smooth velvet finish on the skin that many other vitamin c serums cannot replicate.  Our formula has been refined through rigorous testing from dozens of doctors and professionals within the cosmetic industry and comes with a 365 day money back guarantee. Full sized 1 oz bottle. Light, non-greasy formula. Produced in USA.

DISCLOSURE: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I was paid for this review but my opinions are still completely my own.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Protégé Pain Relief Cream NERVANA Soothes and Relieves Pain

My thoughts: NERVANA is a small jar of cream designed to relieve pain. I am delighted to have been chosen to try this product and share my opinion. First a bit of history...... I have experienced back pain for years. It is a blessing that thus far I have been able to elude surgery for relief. Of late, the pain has not been as excruciating but it is pretty much a companion.

Then, too, being a lady "of-a-certain-age" carries elements of discomfort in the knees, feet, hands, elbows. Take your pick, they do seem to enjoy calling on me.

So when a bit of back discomfort (I definitely distinguish between discomfort and pain - pain is that which only will be relieved by strong medicines whereas discomfort you are able to relieve with light medicine or perhaps surface applications.) that was trying to move into the area of "pain" came calling, I felt (pun intended) that a generous application of Protégé 's Nervana would be a good choice to try. I over-indulged in a bit of house-keeping and paid for it by bed-time and definitely the next day. So I applied Nervana in the evening before bed. I was able to rest without getting up to take further medication. The next morning and evening I again applied the Nervana. This kept me comfortable without any more medication. I was delighted!

It is my policy that surface applications and rest of the affected area are the first line of defense in the area of pain relief. I like that there are actual Anti-inflammatory ingredients in the product. In my opinion, Nervana is a good choice to use.

Product Description (from Protege)

Pain Relief Cream NERVANA with Fast-Acting Ingredients for Immediate Relief AND Deep Penetrating Actives for Soothing Sore Muscles and Preventing Pain Signals.
  • Revolutionary Treatment Formulated to Stop Pain 
  • NERVANA is a Natural Way to Stop Pain and Help Prevent it from Coming Back
  • NERVANA's Secret Lies in Our Proprietary Blend of Essential Oils, GABA, and Willow Bark Extract that Quickly Absorb into the Skin without Burning or Irritation
  • Quickly Soothes: Enriched With Essential Oils of Mint, Eucalyptus and Tea Tree NERVANA Will Quickly Target Acute Pain Areas 
  • Anti-inflammatory: Cetyl Myristoleate is an Anti-Inflammatory. Since Inflammation Puts Pressure on Nerve Endings which Cause Pain, Reducing Pressure will Relieve it.
  • Regulates Pain Signals: GABA Acts to Slow the Nerve's Transmission of Pain
  • NERVANA is GUARANTEED to Relieve your Suffering and Help Heal
  • Made WITHOUT Parabens, Sulfates or Phthalatesm Penetra
  • Made in the USA. Not Tested on Animals

This is interesting about how to use the product....

Is NERVANA Guaranteed?

Nervana has a 100% Unconditional Guarantee for 365 Days. Our Guarantee is unparalleled, and in fact we urge anyone who is not satisfied with the results to contact us for a full refund, hassle free, with no questions asked. Here at Protege Beauty, we do not want ANYONE to miss out on discovering NERVANA because of skepticism or fear of "buyer's remorse".

How Much Should I Apply, and When Should I Apply It?

Simply rub in the cream, and allow it to absorb for about five minutes or so. You can use the cream two to three times a day as necessary to relieve the symptoms of pain and swelling. With Nervana containing 2oz of cream--depending on the size of the area being treated and the frequency of applications--most individuals can expect each jar to last anywhere from 3 to 4 weeks of daily use.

How Quickly and For How Long Does NERVANA Provide Relief? : 

Rub into the skin thoroughly for a minute or two until you can tell that it has been absorbed at the site of the pain. NERVANA begins to relieve within 5-15 minutes. The relief generally lasts several hours.  Repeat this 3 to 4 times per day over an initial period of at least 7 to 10 days and then on an as needed basis.

When is the best time to apply NERVANA?

NERVANA is a topical anti-inflammatory treatment that can be applied any time there is discomfort. Apply directly to external areas where you experience discomfort (pain, tingling, numbing etc.) that is a result of the inflammation of muscles, nerves, ligaments and tendons.
If you have traditionally experienced pain from particular ailments at night, you may find it helpful to massage NERVANA into the problem area(s) just before bedtime.  Similarly, if you experience discomfort when engaging in activities (sports, exercising, playing instruments etc.) NERVANA should be applied as mentioned above 30mins  before you begin the activity and 30 minutes afterwards.
DISCLOSURE:  I received a complimentary jar of Nervana from Protégé in exchange for my honest opinion and review. Opinions expressed are solely my own and I received no compensation for this review.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Little Naomi, Little chick by Avirama Golan & illustrated by Raaya Karas

I feel so blessed to be a reviewer for Eerdmans Books for Young Readers and trust that I will be able to bring my Chat With Vera readers my opinion on many of the Eerdmans Books in the future. Today we are looking at Little Naomi, Little Chick.

The delightful illustrations done in pen and ink drawings and watercolors is engaging and will capture the attention of the young child. The use of strong and soft colors and whimsy are truly a joy to behold.

Our lead character is Naomi and Naomi is about to start school. Naomi seems to live on a farm - at least there are critters there and these critters include "Little Chick." Little Chick is obviously a favorite of Naomi's since she has a picture of Little Chick hanging on her bedroom wall. The story flows from the start of the day as Naomi awakens and readies for school. Then leaves for school and goes throughout the day at school. But Little Chick does none of this.

Each activity Naomi does, in detail, ends with the line..... "But not Little Chick." However, the illustrations show that Little Chick is active doing things with the other critters and seemingly happy doing so.
I see the story being used to show a young child that while they must leave their familiar toys, critters, and surroundings that there are things going on with what has been left behind. It shows the young child that the world does not necessarily revolve around what they (they young child) is busy doing at the moment.

A sweet picture story book and one I can recommend.

DISCLOSURE:  I received a complimentary copy from Eerdmans Books for Young Readers in exchange for a review. Opinions expressed are solely my own and I received no compensation for this review.

Travel with Bella & Harry as they visit Dublin and Maui (Review & Giveaway)

The world is a big place and full of cultural diversity and interesting sights to see. Children need to learn about this wondrous world - the civilizations, the history, the peoples, the climates, the geography, and the food. Well, author, Lisa Manzione and illustrator, Kristine Lucco will bring the world to your door step courtesy of Bella and Harry.

About the series: The Adventures of Bella & Harry is a picture book series that chronicles the escapades of a pup named Bella, her little brother Harry and their "people" family, who travel the world exploring the sights and sounds of new, exciting cities. The “Bella & Harry” series is intended to be an informative, interactive and exciting way to introduce children to travel, different countries, customs, history and landmarks with the educational value of this book cleverly disguised amidst dozens of illustrated pages which are sure to win the hearts of young readers.

ISBN: 978-1-937616-51-9
Published January 2014

First stop today is Dublin:  Winner of the Mom's Choice Award !!!

Join sibling Chihuahuas Bella and Harry as they travel to Dublin with their family to visit the Ha’Penny Bridge and Trinity College Library.  Take side trips to Giant’s Causeway, Blarney Castle and the Cliffs of Moher.  Learn about local cuisine (Irish stew and Irish soda bread) and basic Irish Gaelic phrases.  Dublin is the eleventh book in the series. 

My thoughts: Dublin is in Ireland and Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle because of the beautiful green colors of the grass, hills, and mountains. The illustrator has done a beautiful job bringing the beauty of Ireland to this book and capturing the history. There is so much to explore and the two Chihuahua siblings and “their children” explore it all.

Ireland has a lot of religious history, castles, and legends and the story-journey and pictures capture that, too.

The factoids are explained satisfactorily for the young age group for which the book is intended. The illustrations, bright, bold, and definitive are entertaining as well since they capture the essence of the two little dogs.

This entertaining and educational book does a good job of introducing the reader to Ireland and hence Dublin and all that the lovely, historic city encompasses. Not too much information, but enough.

Next stop is Maui! Winner of the Mom's Choice Award !!! 

ISBN : 978-1-937616-52-6
Release Date: June 2014
Join sibling Chihuahuas Bella and Harry as they travel to Maui with their family and visit the Haleakala National Park (and see a volcano crater), walk on Honokalani Black Sand Beach and travel the Hana Highway.  Take side trips to Wailau Falls and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.  Learn how to do the hula, attend a luau and eat poi.

My thoughts: Now we journey half way around the world to a tropical paradise - Maui. This island paradise is beautifully presented in the illustrations of waterfalls and the Pacific ocean, beautiful floral, black volcanic sand and rocks. Cultures of peoples native to Maui is touched on in dance, ceremony, and food so that Bella and Harry are bound to learn a lot as well as “their children.”  They actually get to see lava flowing from a volcano!

Maui is one of the group of islands that make up Hawaii. These islands were formed by volcanoes and are situated in the Pacific Ocean.

The Adventures of Bella & Harry are nicely bound and stitched books and will hold up to a lot of enjoyment and I heartily recommend the series for home libraries, school libraries, and public libraries.

As Chat With Vera's readers already know, I love it when a young child's book is entertaining as well as educational. There is such a dearth of instruction in the schools and textbooks today, that children are not gaining knowledge of the world in which they live, where countries are located, what country is neighbor to another, what the cultural aspects of the population is, what the land mass is, and if it is dissected by rivers or surrounded by water. It is sad. But there are some books on the market that you can use to enlighten and bring the world home to your special child. When the opportunity presents itself, I review books that introduce social studies and cultures. I previously reviewed two very large books of maps (or atlas) featuring pictures of the history, peoples, animals, land formations, etc. Chat With Vera wants children to learn about their world.

Now to travel with Bella & Harry ... got your passport?

GIVEAWAY: These two books will make a wonderful gift for that special child in your life and the author might toss in a nylon "backpack" and some pencils. Wowie! Use the Rafflecopter entry form and let's see who can win a living room-travel-set for a child. Both of these books to one winner! Begins August 17  & ENDS September 10 @ 12:01 a.m. ET. Open to USA mainland addresses only.
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About the author & illustrator: Lisa Manzione, Author
 - The Bella and Harry series of children's books is Lisa Manzione's first foray into children's fiction writing. As a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), Lisa's entrance into the field of literature is one she has eagerly awaited and is very passionate about.

The series was developed with the hope of inspiring young readers to embrace the world and encourage its exploration. Done through the comedic and informative adventures of Bella and Harry, while traveling through various countries, Lisa hopes to stimulate children's imaginations and foster a thirst for understanding the world in which they live

Kristen Lucco, Illustrator - Born in rural Pennsylvania, Kristine's passion for art began at a young age. This interest in art continued and ultimately led Kristine to study at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale.

Her talent was quickly recognized as extraordinary by local designers and today, over 20 years later, Kristine's art and designs adorn walls and a myriad of other surfaces all over south Florida.

DISCLOSURE: The author has provided complimentary copies in exchange for my honest review. No compensation was received. Opinions expressed are solely my own. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Ageless Hyaluronic Acid Serum by Thera Vita (Review)

About the product:  Ageless by Thera Vita's organically infused hyaluronic acid smooths away the appearance of fine lines in seconds and helps keep moisture in and external irritants out to preserve the integrity of the skin and maintain a natural beauty and glow. It also increases the strength and elasticity of the skin for a firmer look. It has antioxidant properties [that] eliminate sun spots caused by sun, pollution or smoking.

It contains extremely powerful organic herbs such as aloe, witch hazel, MSM, green tea, vitamin A, C, E, jojoba oil, and geranium oil. Great for all skin types.

My thoughts:  I have used several hyaluronic acid products to care for my skin and Ageless by Thera Vita is up there with the good ones far as quality is concerned. It comes in a lovely container which is definitely an improvement over the usual "dropper bottle." The lovely container has a pump action dispenser and I use about two depressions for a face application - or three or four to cover my chest and neck.
The product glides on smoothly; and with my hands, I use rotating motions and upward sweeps to massage it into the skin. After it dries, the skin has a slightly tight feel and a nice glow. I then apply moisturizer prior to applying makeup for the day.

Ageless by Thera Vita has a subtle fragrance which I think very pleasant. You hardly notice it, but it is there and nice. This is  another nice product that I can recommend.

DISCLOSURE: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Understanding "Keeping It Kosher"

Not being Jewish, I have no basis for considering a Kosher diet or foods labeled "Kosher."  Or do I? We are seeing more and more products in stores with a symbol that indicates the food is kosher. We see labels indicating "organic," non-GMO, and others that we mostly don't understand, but let's look at "kosher" a bit. The following was shared with me by Wendy Hirschhorn who is the owner of Wendy's Bloggers and who writes a monthly column for The Griffin Report of Food Marketing.
Very simply, kosher foods are those that conform to the regulations of Jewish dietary laws.

Food that may be consumed according to Jewish law is termed “kosher,” which in Hebrew means "fit" (in this context, “fit for consumption”).

A list of some kosher foods and rules are found in the Old Testament books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy.

Reasons for food not being kosher include:
  1. The presence of ingredients derived from non-kosher animals (pigs, camels, monkeys, bats, etc.) or from kosher animals that were not slaughtered in a ritually-proper manner
  2. Mixing meat and dairy  (for instance, a cheeseburger is not considered kosher even if the meat is kosher and the cheese is kosher)
  3. Any food that has been processed on non-kosher cooking utensils and machinery
You can identify foods that are certified kosher by a symbol on food labels.  The most popular is the letter “U” inside the letter “O”.  (It stands for Orthodox Union).

Each symbol represents a kosher certification agency. For instance, the Orthodox Union is a kosher certification agency.

When you see a kosher symbol on a food label, it means that the kosher certification agency inspects the facility where that food is made on an on-going, unannounced basis. This assures consumers that the food manufacturer is keeping it kosher.

Look carefully at the food labels in your pantry and fridge. You’ll be surprised to see how many foods you buy that are certified kosher!
(Article republished with permission from Wendy Hirschhorn.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

TheraVita Paradise Organic Coconut Oil - 100% Natural

Product Description: Paradise is a 100% natural coconut oil that can be used for hair, skin, eating, cooking and smoothies!

Our coconuts are hand-picked by local farmers in Fiji! We put an incredible amount of care to ensure that EVERY single coconut we use remains in its natural state and is derived in its most nutritious form.
  • Pure and Unrefined
  • Cold Pressed
  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten Free
  • Vegan
  • Low Carb
It has no gross tastes or smells and, no side effects. *USDA Certified Organic*

My thoughts:  I have previously used a "virgin coconut oil" and liked using it. However, the brand I used had a distinct coconut fragrance and taste.  I really didn't care for that, but accepted it as just the way coconut oil was.

Now that I have tried the Paradise 100% Natural Coconut Oil I see that you can have the benefits of coconut oil without the fragrance and taste - which I didn't care for. I was pleasantly surprised when I used it in three dishes last night.
I prepared a chili using ground venison. My son is an excellent hunter and keeps his family and us with plenty of venison. He is also generous in that he helps families by providing fresh meat for them as well. As many of you are aware, venison is a very lean red meat. I usually add a bit of olive oil when sautéing. This time I used a little Paradise coconut oil. It works great!

Next I cooked two vegetables - fresh yellow (summer) squash with onion and fresh carrots. The squash was cooked typical Southern style by using the coconut oil (Southerns usually use bacon drippings or butter/margarine), salt, pepper, a small amount of water, and chopped onions. Wonderful! Again, no taste of the coconut oil.

The fresh carrots were simply peeled, cut in small chunks, a small amount of water, salt and pepper, and coconut oil and then cooked until tender. These were absolutely wonderful!

I realize that the folks at Paradise say that this coconut oil has a number of uses including using it on your skin. I haven't done that at this time, but it is good to know that a simple product such as Paradise Natural Coconut Oil has multiple uses.

DISCLOSURE:  received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Mía Mariú Refreshing Foaming Gel Cleanser (Review + Giveaway)

This beautiful picture shows some of the delightful ingredients 
in the 
Mía Mariú Refreshing Foaming Gel Cleanser.
No wonder it is so very refreshing!
Taking care of our face so that we look our best! That is a duty, responsibility (to ourselves and our loved ones), and a chore. Let's face it (oops! pun intended), some stuff dries our skin, some makes it too oily, some doesn't get it clean, some literally stinks. Well, Mía Mariú has come up with a delightfully refreshing cleanser.

Ready, set, wash! 
This bottle will last a long time because you have to use a very tiny pea-size dollop to get your face and neck really clean. Here is how I accomplish this....

I first of all wet my face with warm water. Then I get that very tiny pea-size dollop of Mía Mariú Refreshing Foaming Gel Cleanser on my palm and rub my hands together to lather a bit. Then I begin to wash my face and neck. Wonderful! It smells lovely and kind of citrus-y with just a mite of tingle to it. It is luxuriously smooth and elegant feeling on my face. Once I have rubbed (eyes closed, of course) all over my face and neck, I splash more warm water over my face. I then take a wet facecloth and gently wipe all over the washed area to gently remove residue. I rinse the cloth and rewipe. Now I feel so clean and my face feels smooth and fresh.

I think this is a delightful product and feel that after using it over a week that I can recommend it to my Chat With Vera readers without reservation.

GIVEAWAY:  Mía Mariú is providing one full size Refreshing Foaming Cleanser in a giveaway to my Chat With Vera readers (US Continental residents only please). Use the Rafflecopter entry form below to submit your entries. Begins August 7 & ENDS August 29 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Product Description (from Mía Mariú) 

Mía Mariú’s Refreshing Foaming Cleanser - New and Improved anti-formula with 8 natural botanicals!  Aloe, marigold, sea kelp, sea lettuce, plus nourishing essential oils: orange peel, lemon, lime and grapefruit are at the heart of this soft pampering cleanser.  This improved formula has increased levels of Aloe along with the addition of anti-inflammatory Sea Lettuce and essential oils making it an extra gentle cleanser.  Suitable for all skin types, non-irritating, paraben-free, sulfate-free, fragrance-free.

The Mía Mariú philosophy makes the connection between beauty and health inside and out. Mía Mariú’s high performance products are formulated with the most natural ingredients available helping you achieve vibrant beauty and health inside and out.

The company website - CLICK HERE or Product Page - CLICK HERE

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

The Treasure of Snake Island: A Captain No Beard Adventure by Carole P. Roman (Review & Giveaway)

Captain No Beard and has set sail for another adventure.  So grab your pirate gear and come "Shiver Me Timbers" with us.

I’ve lost track of the number of Captain No Beard stories (five or six, I’m thinking) that author Carole P. Roman has published. As a former educator, Roman has teaching children at heart when she sits down to create another of her fanciful pirate stories. Each of the Captain No Beard books helps children learn something – a good moral, overcoming social issues, embracing a phobia, etc. But it is done in such a fashion as to be enjoyable and fun.

Actually, Captain No Beard is a young boy who sets sail in his pirate’s ship on the sea of “counterpane.” His crew are siblings and stuffed critters.  I can just imagine the rip roaring fun they have, and much of this fun is captured in the adventures of Captain No Beard stories.

This latest adventure, The Treasure of Snake Island, begins with red skies as a sailor’s warning of rough sailing. And sure enough, they encounter a storm. But they are out for adventure and treasure and are headed to Snake Island.

While the story and pictures are geared for the young child age 4-7, I think it probably is best as a “read-aloud” book. The text is a bit advanced for the younger readers to handle, but they will surely enjoy listening to it. So come aboard, Mates, and let's set sail with Captain No Beard.

Ms. Roman has saved a copy for one of Chat With Vera’s readers to have as well. Just use the Rafflecopter entry form to enter. Begins August 7 & ENDS August 28. Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by the author in exchange for my honest review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. No compensation was received for this review.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Bathroom Scales: Ozeri WeightMaster II 440 lbs Digital Bath Scale with BMI and Weight Differential Detection

What a nice scale to track your weight loss or gain. It tells no lies. It tells it like it is. It bares the truth in no uncertain terms. Are you ready for this thin, attractive bathroom scale that will help you access just where you stand in managing your health? I am about to step onto this beauty and see just where my weight loss or gain (sadly I am sure it is the latter) stands. Stand with me on the Ozeri WeightMaster II.....
About ready to take the plunge and
step onto the scales. Ready or not!
Here we are. Ready or not! Oh my I am so glad you can't see the trouble I see. It tells me I need to do something about my lifestyle. I need to watch those delectable goodies and I need to walk, walk, walk!
Oh! So glad the picture doesn't show
you the weight. For shame on me!
That little box in the center will tell the truth of the tale. It will either be red or green. I'd love to see green, but alas red is my color right now. You can see how you stand in the last 7 or 30 weigh-ins or since your last one. You can see this in either pounds or kilograms (toggle switch is on bottom of scales and so easy to switch). I'm a "pounds" girl.
Info from the box: The red shows that in the last (L1 or L3)
weight recordings, there has been weight gain!
The green shows that in the last (L7 or L30)
there has been weight lost!
BMI - Body Mass Index is a function of your weight divided by your height squared as a measure. that classifies your weight as underweight, normal, overweight. Mine is 25 and I'd love to get it down. It isn't terrible, but it is edging up there. Here is a good link from the Heart Foundation to help you understand BMI. CLICK HERE

I can recommend this product as quality, dependable, and nice to look at.

Product Description

The Ozeri WeightMaster II 440 lbs Digital Bathroom BMI Scale with Weight Differential Detection was designed and engineered in the USA to provide a comprehensive yet simple weight management solution to measure and track your weight. Featuring BMI Measurement and Auto Recognition Technology, the Ozeri WeightMaster II weighs up to 440 lbs and displays your BMI (Body Mass Index), a measure of your body fat based on your height and weight. Immediately after displaying your weight and BMI, the scale's Weight Differential Detection displays your "net weight change" from your last weigh-in (L1), the average of your last 3 weigh-ins (L3), last 7 (L7), and last 30 weigh-ins (L30). By measuring your weight once a day, the Ozeri WeightMaster II empowers you to see how your current weight changes day to day, from the last 3 days, the previous week and the previous 30 days. For users who would rather just focus on their weight trend without worrying so much about the actual numbers, the WeightMaster II features Color Alert Technology, which displays your weight change in a GREEN illumination for weight loss and RED for weight gain, providing a visual form of intuitive feedback. With built-in intelligence, the WeightMaster II requires no complicated synching and spares you the data connection failures common to more expensive wireless and Bluetooth alternatives. Precision engineered and durably made, WeightMaster II auto-calibrates with StepOn technology and auto-powers off to preserve battery life. It features a slip-resistant grooved ABS exterior reinforced with a tempered glass interior, and non-slip scratch-resistant feet that won't damage flooring. The WeightMaster II is exclusively treated with Microban® antimicrobial product protection that inhibits the growth of odor and stain-causing bacteria, and helps maintain surface cleanliness. Ships with batteries included, and backed by Ozeri's 100% Hassle-Free Satisfaction Guarantee.
Find the Ozeri WeightMaster II here!
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a free product by Ozeri in exchange for my review. Opinions expressed are my own. No compensation was received for this review.

About Parrots: A Guide for Children by Cathryn Sill and illustrated by John Sill (Review & Giveaway)

About the book:  In this appealing addition to the acclaimed About… series, educator and author Cathryn Sill uses simple, easy-to-understand language to teach children what parrots are, how they look, how they move, what they eat, and where they live. Illustrator John Sill introduces readers to a variety of parrots, from the colorful Blue Lorikeets of the Polynesian Islands to the Rosy-faced Lovebirds of southwestern Africa. An afterword provides details on the parrots featured and inspires readers to learn more.

My thoughts:  Again the Cathryn and John Sill  husband/wife team have created a beautiful book so that children can learn of this beautiful world in which they live. This time the winged crayons called parrots grace the 48 pages in this hardbound educationAL book.

I remember my grandmother and later on my own mother having parakeets as pets. They loved the little birds who sat colorfully on their shoulders. And now my grand daughter has a bird that is in the parrot family and it has been her pet for many years.

Children, and others as well, can learn much from this beautifully illustrated book and the simple, yet accurate text. Just a few words grace each two-page spread, but those few words are sufficient for the intended purpose of this book - to clearly educate the young about the parrots of the world.

At the end of the book..... There is a glossary  that will define words for the young reader. Also, each picture plate has a paragraph elaborating on the facts associated with that particular plate/page. This is a real help for more in depth learning .

GIVEAWAY:  Peachtree Publisher has graciously agreed to provide one of Chat With Vera's readers their own copy of About Parrots. Simply use the Rafflecopter entry form below. 
Begins August August 6 & ENDS August 27 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. Open to USA addresses only.

About the Author and Illustrator....

Cathryn Sill, a former elementary school teacher, is the author of the acclaimed About… and About Habitats series. With her husband John and brother-in-law Ben Sill, she coauthored three popular bird-guide parodies, including A Field Guide to Little-Known and Seldom-Seen Birds of North America.  

John Sill holds a BS in wildlife biology from North Carolina State University. Combining his knowledge of wildlife and artistic skill, John has achieved an impressive reputation as a wildlife artist and received several awards. He and his wife, Cathryn Sill, live in North Carolina.  You can visit John Sill’s website here.

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy of About Parrots by Peachtree Publishing in exchange for my honest review. Opinions expressed are solely my own and I received no compensation for this review.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Woman of Courage by Wanda Brunstetter {Review & Giveaway}

About the book:  Jilted by her fiancé in 1837, Amanda Pearson gives up on romance and turns to her Quaker faith for reassurance. She becomes determined to follow the Rev. and Mrs. Spalding three thousand miles into the western wilderness to minister to the Nez Perce Indians. The trip is fraught with danger, and soon Amanda finds herself recovering from near death in a trapper's cabin. His Indian wife becomes Amanda's first convert, but the trapper and his intriguing half-Indian friend want nothing to do with Christians. Will they still help her reach the mission in the Lapwai Valley?

My thoughts:  
Wanda Bruestetter brings the reader another story complete with well-drawn characters, good dialogue, descriptive scenes that capture one’s imagination, and strong faith. Beginning slow and  gentle, the scene soon moves from adventure to miss-adventure to tragedy upon tragedy. It coils around depth of emotions and rank despair to dependence upon and grace given by an Almighty God.

Amanda and her father, both Quakers, leave their established home and go West. They are heading into unknown Indian territory and their destination is the mission where they hope to minister the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to the Nez Perce Indians. A mission is already established, and their goal is to bring themselves as additional helpers in the mission’s goal.

At one point, Amanda’s father dies of a heart attack. Soon after, her only guide dies when a storm crashes a tree onto him. Now Amanda is wet, cold, alone, sick, and completely desperate. She relies upon God, her faith is strong, but sometimes her spirit wavers.

Well, the story does end well, but there are more mind-boggling happenings that take place. The West was a hard place. And they were in a hard place in the West. 

This story is about the 1837 period when the West was being settled. The Mission in Lapwai Valley, Oregon was a long way from their New York home and its comforts. There were no comforts along the way. The journey was mostly on horseback. They traveled every day – snow, rain, wind, sun. They slept on the ground. It was hard.

Amanda proved to be a woman of courage from the onset of the story – just simply to undertake the journey  took a huge measure of courage. But for her to endure, day after day, and not say, “Enough! Enough is Enough!” took a strength of courage that is beyond measure.

A good book to read and one I heartily recommend.

GIVEAWAY: The good folks at Handlebar Publishing on behalf of the Wanda Brunstetter and Shiloh Run Press are providing one of Chat With Vera's readers with a copy of Woman of Courage. Use the entry form below. Begins August 4 & ENDS August 20 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. Open to US addresses only. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Of interest.... My regular Chat With Vera readers know that  sometimes when reading fiction, I decide to learn a little more about the historical period, the peoples, the location, etc. Well, here is some information on the Nez Perce Indians. I just love to look at the pictures and then revisit the story in my mind with these pictures to flesh out the story. IMAGES  General Information Nez Perce Mission in Lapwai Valley Information

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of Woman of Courage from Handlebar Publishing on behalf of the Wanda Brunstetter and Shiloh Run Press in exchange for my honest review. Opinions expressed are solely my own & I was under no obligation to render a positive review. I received no compensation for this review.