Monday, February 19, 2018

My favorite mascara

Only because my sister, Clare, asked me to find her the link.

It is Clinique Lash Power Mascara Long-Wearing Formula Black Onyx for Women, 0.21 Ounce

This mascara is magically amazing. I heard about it from Mara (her blog is also not a makeup blog) but I can't find her original post about it.

It doesn't smudge, it doesn't flake. The application brush isn't gigantic or tiny. It doesn't make your eyelashes look like something they're not. It just paints them black. It's juuuuust right. (I'm starting to feel like Goldilocks, here).

My favorite thing about it is that it comes off with warm water. All the way off. No other removal product needed, truly.

My least favorite thing about it is the price. I usually get it at the Macy's makeup counter and it's like $18. (My penny pinching heart is squeezed just typing that). You know what though? I was going to go pick some up the other day, but I stopped at Target for something else. Here is my internal conversation:
"Oh man! This other mascara is SO much cheaper!
"But I know it won't come off as well...
"But I could buy this mascara and the recommended remover for half the price of the good stuff!"

*4 or 5 minutes of internal debate
*Bought the inferior mascara
*Went home and put it on
*Regretted it immediately.
*Regretted it when I took it off that night
*Didn't wear mascara for like 2+ weeks (except to church) because I was so filled with regret and annoyance.
*Still regretting it, but have accepted the fact that I won't convince my penny-pinching heart to buy mascara again until I use what I have.

Never again.

So, here's the link for you Clare! And anybody else who needs the best mascara link. Including me. Though it looks like my local mall is my cheapest option.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Love: The Dinosaur—Book Review by Caleb (age 14)

Do you have a personal dinosaur expert in your life?

I do. If there is anyone I would call in a dinosaur-fact emergency, it's Caleb.

When I got the latest book in the award-winning Love series by Frederic Brremaud and‎ Federico Bertolucci, I knew I had to pass it to him and get his thoughts. This series focuses on animals in the wild and each one takes the reader on a wordless journey through that animal's eyes. Kind of like a nature documentary, without the cheesy voice-over. Kind of like "a day in the life" but not necessarily just one day. The series so far has four volumes: Tiger, Fox, Lion and now Dinosaur.

Each book starts with a quote, I'll share part of it here. "In the animal kingdom, animals neither love nor hate each other."

Here's what Caleb had to say about Love Volume 4: The Dinosaur

So I’m going to just go through what I think the book did right, and the things that I think the book did wrong, followed just by my personal opinion. It was a great read, and I love graphic novels, so it was awesome, thanks for loaning it to me!


The art style works great for what the book wants to be. From my understanding the book follows the viewpoints of three characters, a Bambiraptor, A Tyrannosaurus Rex, and an Isisaurus. Only one of these, the T-Rex is a very common dinosaur, which is really cool. The art style is very vibrant, and makes the change when the first shards of meteors and debris start falling even more drastic. The story told is also amazing. The dinosaurs in the beginning which seem to bully the Bambiraptor, seem to me to actually just be other members of it’s species. They just seem to be more mature, exemplified by the colors. This is why the Bambiraptor follows around the other two dinosaurs. Because he doesn’t have the protection of a packs, so he finds protection in other ways. Many of the other dinosaurs, flying reptiles, and marine reptiles are also realistic. I also love the fight scenes. The classic T-Rex versus Triceratops, and Rex versus sauropod. It also easily captures the dog-eat-dog and "strongest survive" atmosphere normally used when talking about nature and apex predators.


While the dinosaurs and marine reptiles are almost entirely perfect based on modern reconstructions, some of them are not. The plesiosaurs (long necked underwater reptiles with long flippers and compact bodies), are portrayed in an evil and scary light. However the fish they are chasing (Xiphactinus, 15 feet) would most likely hunt THEM. But they do only show up in one panel, so this Is not a huge deal. A bigger deal is a part which is designed to show the arrogance of the T-Rex right before the huge show of power as meteors begin to crash into the earth, A dinosaur which looks like a bird with teeth, a long neck, and bat wings is struck by lightning. To my understanding this is an Archaeopteryx, an early bird once believed to be the missing link between between birds and dinosaurs. Just the fact that it has bat wings makes It COMPLETELY unrealistic. However this is also for a short part, and isn’t too important.

Overall, I really like this story! It seems to get it’s point across pretty well. The pictures at the back are really cool, it’s an awesome idea. This seems really cool, and I love the realism of the world that Frederic and Federico painted.

Thanks, Caleb! I'm glad to hear the book meets with your approval.


I have a copy of Love Volume 4: The Dinosaur to send to a lucky dinosaur lover. Enter to win before Feb 26, 2018.

Do you know of any other great dinosaur books for the older reader? I'd love to hear about them! Please comment, below or on the entry form. My personal favorite is Scaly Spotted Feathered Frilled: How do we know what dinosaurs really looked like?

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Bookroo Unboxing, Update and Coupon

Hi guys!

Recently Jane Tanner over at Bookroo reached out to me and said they had loved working with me and would I like to review another Bookroo box for them?

Yes! I would! I loved working with Bookroo, too.

I asked which kind of box they'd be sending, because now they send three kinds and I have kids that would be interested in all of them:

1. Board Book Box (3 per month)
2. Picture Book Box (2 per month)
3. Junior Box (2 chapter books every two months, still in beta testing)

They sent picture books! Woohoo! Right answer! (There really wasn't a wrong answer.)

So, when I got my Bookroo box this time I did something SUPER FANCY and turned on my phone camera for an unboxing! Hahaha. Oh, you guys. I do have aspirations to actually be super fancy, but right now we're just workin' with what we've got.

Here's the video:

We had fun making this video, and we've had fun with the books, since then. The books they sent were Rock-a-Bye Room by Susan Meyers, illustrated by Amy Bates, and Land Shark by Beth Ferry, illustrated by Ben Mantle.

Land Shark is about a boy who wants a pet shark for his birthday. It really got all of us laughing, ages 4, 7, 9 and adult. And Rock-a-Bye Room is a super sweet bedtime poem. The illustrations are beautiful and imaginative, and I've enjoyed reading it many times to Jubilee at night. After I started my Creativebug class, I noticed all the gingham that was painted in this book and I was like, "Wow. I respect that so much more now."

But. I feel like a book subscription box has to be about MORE than just sending me good books. I have to be getting good books at a good price.

So. It's time to find out if this Bookroo box passes the "cheaper than Amazon" test. (I'm hopeful, because the last one I checked did.)

Here's the link to Rock-a-Bye Room on Amazon. At the moment, it costs $16.88 in hardcover.

Here's the link to Land Shark. At the moment, it costs 11.48 in hardcover.

Add it together and this box would cost $28.36 + shipping from Amazon.
From Bookroo, you'd get it for $17.99 + shipping. And the price only gets cheaper if you subscribe for multiple months! And it comes with the cutest gift wrapping and awesome extension ideas.

Gah! No wonder Bookroo loves working with me! I get started talking about them and I gush! There's more:

I recently went through all of our books and got rid of ... probably 100 or 150 of them? I don't know you guys. Two diaper boxes full, plus a big reusable grocery bag, ok? I just was running out of room on my walls and walls of bookshelves. And these were good books, so I donated them to our local book bank (which gives them to kids for free). Did I donate either of these two? No. Did I donate either of the last two? No! These guys pick gooood books! "hidden gems" is how they advertise it, and they're right. 

Ok, I've got to stop talking about Bookroo now. The baby needs a dry diaper for the third time during the writing of this post.


Oh shoot I almost forgot to give you the coupon code! Ok here it is for 15% off. code:BOOKS2LOVE

Have a lovely day! And if you know anyone who edits videos in exchange for books, let me know. ;-)

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Creativebug class


So I'm taking a class over at Creativebug, and I've been posting some of my work on my instagram. My friend Erin just saw my work and was like "hey, send me the link on that class!" So this one's for you, Erin.

I'm taking Daily Painting Challenge: 31 Patterns to Paint taught by Lisa Congdon.

Here's the day we painted a scallop pattern.
Two years ago I took the daily drawing challenge with her.

This was the day we drew spice jars.

And I've taken a bunch of other cool classes on Creativebug, too. I've watched classes on how to make my own envelopes, how to make gem paperweights, how to use resist with watercolor, basic watercoloring and sketchbook and crochet classes, a class on creating color palettes (one of my favorites!) and a class on screen printing (which made me realize I do not actually want to do screen printing). Jubilee and I watched the daily class last month about gift wrapping and had a great time. Those four minutes in the morning kept her interest while I styled her hair and gave us both good ideas for Christmas wrapping.

These are meant to be gift toppers, but I couldn't resist making a forest scene out of them.

Creativebug is kind of like the Netflix of arts and crafts tutorials...but better. Here are my 3 reasons:

1. At $5/month it's cheaper than Netflix.

2. You get to keep some of the videos. Each month you subscribe you get to save one class in your library. You then still have access to that class if you ever stop subscribing to Creativebug.

3. You're gaining practical knowledge. Though I suppose Once Upon A Time gave me the practical knowledge that I would need in order to use a magic tree to get to Storybrook.

So I've been an off-and-on subscriber for a couple of years. I became an affiliate for them a while back, too, so if you subscribe through one of my links I'll get credit for it.

They're always running some kind of promotion or sale for signing up. Right now it's one month free and a free 30% off coupon at JoAnn's.

If you end up taking classes, I would LOVE to hear about it. And if someone made me one of the gorgeous quilts they teach, I would die of the love.

Here are a couple other blog posts I've written about Creativebug.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Cybils shortlists are announced!

Here's all the categories!

Here are the finalists for Elementary/Middle Grade Graphic Novels

Here are the finalists for Young Adult Graphic Novels

I'm totally patting myself on the back. This was my first year as the category chair for Graphic Novels, and though it was dicey at times, I think I did everything I was supposed to do! Even though my baby was born on the morning that I was supposed to confirm my judges! Haha.

I ended up needing to be a judge on Round 1, so that there would be an odd number of judges, to prevent ties in voting. I was worried about whether or not I'd be able to read enough nominees, but I read a respectable 72 of the 153 nominated titles.

Can I just say that again? I read 72 books in the last 3 months, which were also the first 3 months of my son's life! Oh yeah, oh yeah!

AND I love the lists my panel agreed on this year. All the books that made the cut are top-notch. Check them out!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Little Iffy: Giveaway and Review


Today I have something special for you. It's not my typical review. This review is a tributean homage to one of my all-time favorite book review blogs: Bookie Woogie. Like many tributes, it only holds a candle to the original.

Aaron Zenz and his kids created Bookie Woogie, and now Aaron has come out with a new book himself, and Everead is stop #4 on the blog tour. More about that later.

Mom: Ok, so today we are reading and talking about Little Iffy Learns To Fly by Aaron Zenz. Do you know who Aaron Zenz is?
Benjamin (age 9): . . .The author of Little Iffy.
Mom: Ha. Yes. What else has he done that we know about?
Jubilee (age 4): Make books!
Mom: Haha! Yes! He did Nugget on the Flight Deck, and The Spaghetti Slurping Sewer Serpent. He illustrated those, but he has written and illustrated other books, too.
[reading of Little Iffy Learns to Fly begins]
Benjamin: Backup backup backup plan!
Jubilee: (lots of giggling)
Benjamin: That's why they call her Eggs. Because she's always hatching a plan.
[reading ends]
Mom: Ok so what do you think?
Jubilee: Good.
Mom: What do you think of the story?
Jubilee: Good.
Mom: Tell me what happens.
Jubilee: They make Iffy fly.
Levi (age 7): No, they don't they don't make him.
Mom: What happens?
Jubilee: Somebody sprangs him up!
Mom: But it's by accident, right?
Jubilee: Yeah.
Mom: What do you think of the pictures?
Jubilee: Cool.
Mom: Now, the people who will be reading this won't be able to see the pictures. So, tell us about the pictures. (This is me, fishing for the sort of interesting illustration analysis that comes from the children of Bookie Woogie ...and...not getting it. Jubilee begins to describe each picture one by one.)
Jubilee: Um. Well. Little Iffy, in this picture you see his mom and him and his balloon. In this picture, his friends are near and he is happy.
Mom: Ok. Well, don't tell me about all the pictures. Just talk to me a little bit more aboutWhat if you were Little Iffy?
Jubilee: I would say "Don't worry, I'm going to learn it sometime. I'm going to do it, when I'm like, as big as you guys."
Mom: Is there anything you are scared to do? That people want you to try but you've never tried it and it's too scary?
Jubilee: Umm, sometimes at movies.
Mom: So if this book was written about you it would be called Jubilee Learns to Watch Movies?
Jubilee: YEAH!
Mom: Or Jubilee Learns to what?
Jubilee: Crochet.
Mom: Jubilee Learns to Crochet. You're scared of crocheting?
Jubilee: No.
Mom: That's just something you want to learn, huh.
Mom: What if this book was written about you, Levi?
Levi: I don't know!
Mom:Well what's something you want to learn? Little Levi Learns to . . . Leap.
Levi: Go down the fire pole.
Mom: Little Levi learns to Go Down the Fire Pole. Nice.
Mom: Hey Benjamin, if this book was written about you, what would the title be?
Jubilee: Little Benjamin Learns to...
Levi: BIG Benjamin Learns to.
Mom: Big Benjamin Learns to ...what. Learns to skate.
Levi: yeah
Mom: How about Big Benjamin Learns to Skate?
Benjamin: Maybe.
Mom: Ok what's one thing you would say to somebody who's a little scared? Like Little Iffy is?
Jubilee: I would say...
Benjamin: Climb on a seesaw then have an elephant jump on it!
Jubilee: I would say "Don't be worried, you can do it anytime. I have some plans to help you learn it. 
Mom: Haha! Nice!
Benjamin: What if it's about crocheting?!
Jubilee: Oooh.
Mom: hahaha!
Mom: What would you say to someone who is scared?
Benjamin: Jump off a cliff.

And, last but not least, here is some tribute art that Jubilee made of Little Iffy and his red balloon.

Well, that was fun!

If you would like to win a signed copy of Little Iffy Learns to Fly, you're in luck! I have one to give away.

If you would like to shop for a copy of the book, you can click the cover, below.

If you would like to read more about the book (and maybe even find some more giveaways to enter) check out the other stops on the book tour:

Mon Dec 4  :  An interview with Aaron Zenz at Mile High Reading  
Tue Dec 5  :  Nitty Gritty Details on Illustration at Seven Impossible Things 
Wed Dec 6  :  A Flash Giveaway at 100 Scope Notes  
Thu Dec 7  :  A Tribute to Bookie Woogie at Everead 
Fri Dec 8  :  Librarian’s Quest  :  http://librariansquest.blogspot.com
Sat Dec 9  :  Amanda’s Pile of Books  :  http://amandaspileofbooks.blogspot.com
Sun Dec 10 :  Kids Talk Kid Lit  :  https://strohreads.blogspot.com
Tue Dec 19  :  Nerdy Book Club  :  https://nerdybookclub.wordpress.com
Mon Jan 1  :  Picturebooking Podcast  :  http://www.allthewonders.com/podcasts/picturebooking

Monday, November 27, 2017

Handy Tip:how to to get pen off a book cover


Hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving. I did!

But on Sunday night my four-year-old decided to scribble all over the cover of a new hard-back graphic novel I had just read for the Cybils.

I was kinda grouchy about it and told her she was going to have to pay to replace the book (Lint Boy by Aileen Leijten). But then I thought to myself "I wonder if magic eraser would take this off..." The cover was fairly glossy. So, with nothing to lose, I gave it a go.

I just use generic brand magic erasers. This is the thing I'm talking about. I buy them at the grocery store. I got the eraser a little bit wet and went to town scrubbing.

The results pleased me. I thought of taking a "before picture" but I didn't do it because I thought working fast might help. In hindsight that doesn't make a lot of sense, because ballpoint pen ink dries pretty much instantly, but that's my excuse. Here's the after picture. You can see in the pen isn't completely gone, especially in the crevice next to the spine.

Some marks still visible by his hand, on the cushion, on his face, but SO much better. 

If you're curious about Lint Boy, it's a cute book. My seven-year-old really liked it (probably because he really loves stuffed animals and has never seen Toy Story). It's about a little stuffed animal that is formed of lint in the dryer, and his friend. They get separated by the villain, an old hag who hates and tortures stuffed animals in an effort to get them to talk. As a child she thought they were alive, so she's got something to prove. As you can imagine, it all works out pretty well for the dolls and stuffies in the end. The illustrations are intricate and the muted color palette works nicely in the book. Here's another amazon link, if you want to check it out.

Have you ever had success repairing or rehabilitating a book? I'd love to hear about it!
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