BlogHer Book Club Review: Trust Your Eyes

 

Meet Thomas Kilbride: Reclusive, socially awkward, obsessed with the computer program Whirl360 (think Google Earth), which allows you to virtually tour the streets of any city in the world. Convinced that he is an employee of the C.I.A. and that his “job” entails traveling the world via Whirl360.

Meet Ray Kilbride: Illustrator. Brother to Ray. Returns home to Promise Falls after the death of their father, partly to take care of his father’s affairs and partly to figure out what to do with his brother, who he fears has become so obsessed with his “job” that he cannot live independently.

After Thomas “witnesses” what he believes is a murder while virtually roaming the streets of New York City, the Kilbride brothers find themselves thrown head-first into a terrifying series of events. Conspiracy, murder, missing persons and kidnapping become their reality and together, they must quickly navigate their way through an elaborate maze of twists, turns, and deceit…. before the truth comes knocking on their door.

Trust Your Eyes was the first Linwood Barclay novel I’ve read, and I found myself quickly engrossed in the story of the Kilbride brothers. Trust Your Eyes kept me on the edge of my seat (and couch, and, er, bathtub) the entire time I was reading it. The author introduced several characters who were seemingly unrelated to one another, only bring them crashing together later in the story in an intricate and mysterious plotline that kept me guessing every step of the way. I thought setting the stage for murder and mystery by using modern technology in the way that he did was very clever and intriguing.

Trust Your Eyes will leave you wanting more with every turn of the page – and it comes with a delicious twist at the end that will make you gasp.

DISCLOSURE: I received both monetary compensation and a copy of Trust Your Eyes for this post as part of the BlogHer Book Club. You can read more about this book or join the discussion by visiting the BlogHer Book Club’s discussion of Trust Your Eyes. Though this was a compensated post, I really did enjoy this book. These thoughts and words are 100% authentic, and 100% my own. 

Taking Care of Tiny Teeth

There are a lot of things about motherhood that threw me for a loop and left me scratching my head. There are also a lot of things I never thought about before that I have to learn how to do now.

Things like brushing teeth. Teeth that don’t belong to me. Teeth that are tiny and rooted in the mouth of someone else. Someone else who is small, squirmy, and doesn’t like having her teeth brushed.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m talking about my toddler. Up until recently, I’ve been absolutely terrible about sticking to a twice-a-day dental hygiene routine with my two year old. I’d brush her teeth before bed when I remembered to, or when she was in a particularly good mood. Otherwise, I’d either forget or just forgo it entirely because she was tired/cranky/wiggly/screaming etc. You can go ahead and just hand me that Mother of the Year trophy now, thanks.

I’ve heard mixed things from my mom friends on when to take your child to his/her first appointment. Some of them took their kids to the dentist as soon as their first tooth erupted, others waited until they were a little less wiggly and had gotten over their intense fear of strangers. I’ve had in-depth discussions with other moms on their tactics to get their toddlers to hold still and cooperate while brushing their teeth (mine likes to bite the toothbrush and laugh). I have had success with letting my child choose a favorite song for me to sing to her – this keeps her interested, and helps me control how long I brush her teeth by adjusting the tempo of the song. I will also let her “brush” her teeth (which is really her sucking on the bristles and saying “Mmmm toothpaste!”) when I’m finished.

The conflicting information on when to take my girl in for the first time has been confusing, and how to choose one once we’re ready for her first visit has been a little intimidating. I found an extremely helpful website that is both informative in regards to pediatric dentistry and can help choose a local dentist. TopDentists.com allows you to search for a dentist near you. There aren’t databases available in every single city in America yet, but they’re adding and expanding every single day. My favorite part of the website is that they have a plethora of articles about the topic that’s most prevalent on my mind – pediatric dentistry. If you search “pediatric” you come up with titles like “The Pediatric Dentist Will See You Now”, “Choosing a Pediatric Dentist”, “Pediatric Dentistry FAQ”, and “Who’s Afraid of the Dentist?”

Okay, so it pretty much covers everything I was curious and in the dark about: when to take my child to a dentist, how to choose a dentist, and even how to deal with a fearful child.  TopDentists.com doesn’t just cover pediatric dentistry; they cover a multitude of other topics like orthodontics, oral & maxillofacial surgery (think wisdom tooth extraction), cosmetic dentistry and more. There are also topics you can browse for various oral ailments like gingivitis, oral cancer, halitosis and tooth decay.

Raising a little person into a functioning human being can be intimidating; especially with all the responsibility it carries. Fortunately there are websites like this to help take a bit of the guesswork away.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I just realized that I forgot to brush my daughter’s teeth – after she ate a bag of doughnuts.

I’m kidding.

Maybe.

 

Disclosure: This post was brought to you by topdentists.com. I really do have a child and she really does have teeth. I also really do forget to brush them sometimes. The opinions and statements in this post are 100% honest, and 100% my own.

The Return of the Holidays

This post is sponsored by Tempur-Pedic, the brand millions of owners trust to deliver their best night’s sleep every night. Enjoy our Buy 2, get 1 free pillow offer now and give the gift of custom comfort to someone you love.

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Hi, everyone! Remember me? I’m the one who writes this blog. You know, Mommy Boots? I’m still around, I’m fine, Nellie’s fine, everyone’s fine. Our internet’s not so fine but whatever. I promise I will write an update post soon, but for now I want to talk about the holidays.

I know, I know. You’re still knee-deep in Halloween candy and you’ve barely managed to get the toilet paper un-stuck from the limbs of your trees but hear me out. I’ve already written one post about my love for pumpkin spice (I love it so much, I literally bleed for it) but now I want to spaz a little bit about my love for the holiday season.

I love Thanksgiving and Christmas. For me, the Christmas season isn’t allowed to begin until Thanksgiving is over. Pretty much as the last bite of turkey is ingested, I am ready to run and pull out all of my Christmas decorations. Last year I even jumped the gun a little and put my stuff out early. I couldn’t help it. For a few years, after Thanksgiving dinner was done and we were home for the night, we’d put on National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and decorate our tree.

I love everything about the Christmas season. I love the smells, the music, the decorations.. I love it all. One of the things I get the most joy out of (after Thanksgiving, of course) is setting up my Christmas station on Pandora. I’m picky about my holiday tunes; if I hear too many different renditions of Jingle Bells I feel a little homicidal so I like a lot of variety in my holiday tunes. Holiday movies are another big mood-inducer for me. Christmas Vacation, Home Alone, Love Actually are just a few that I have to watch to get into the holiday spirit.

We’ve already established that I like holiday candles. Christmas is no exception. I like to fill my house with that Christmas-y pine scent, and there is one candle that’s mint vanilla or something that I drool over. I love Yankee Candle but not the price, so I usually opt for something from Wal-Mart or Target that’s not so scary on my wallet.

image courtesy of gettyimages

There’s something comforting about settling in to watch a few shows or blog with the soft glow of a Christmas tree beside you. It gives me warm fuzzies and I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because some of my favorite childhood memories are of the holidays, or maybe I’m just a sucker for small lights on a tree. I am kind of easily amused and distrac-oh and I forgot to talk about Christmas morning!

When I was a kid, I would always be up at like 4 A.M. practically having a panic attack I was so anxious to open presents. Once first light hit I was at my parents, clawing frantically at them and begging to open gifts. They’d roll out of bed and lazily head to the kitchen where they’d brew a pot of coffee. I’d be crouched in the living room, gift in hand, poised rip open the merry face of several Santas beaming up at me from the wrapping paper. They’d eventually come out with cups of coffee, dig around for eleven hours for a Christmas mix tape and pop it in. It wasn’t until the grown-ups had their coffee, the music, and were settled that my brother and I could dig into our presents.

It seems that I’ve inherited my parents’ love for torturing their children, because last Christmas I did the exact same thing. Nellie wasn’t old enough to have the Christmas Morning Antsies, but I didn’t want her opening presents until I had my cup of coffee, my pine tree candle lit, and my Christmas Pandora station open and playing. There, in the soft comforting glow of the tree I helped my daughter open her first Christmas gifts.

I experienced more joy and excitement that day than all of the Christmases of my childhood combined. There are a lot of things I love about the holiday season; the smells, the sights, and the music but the one thing that brings me the greatest satisfaction and most joy is anticipating the look on my daughter’s face when she experiences the holidays for herself. That, to me, is greater than any gift that I could receive.

What are some holiday traditions that bring you comfort and joy?

Comfort is the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday gift list, so be sure to take advantage of Tempur-Pedic’s Buy 2, get 1 free pillow offer! I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective.

Fall In Love With Your Skin

Thanks to Walgreens for underwriting this post. I was paid as a member of the Clever Girls Collective, but the content is all mine. Visit http://moms.dailybuzz.com/channel/style.

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I’ve written in the past about my love/hate relationship with my skin. I’m 27 years old, but sometimes my skin still acts like it’s 13. That’s not entirely true, because when my skin was 13, I never had issues! It wasn’t until I hit my 20s that my skin started being moody. Months-long breakouts, oil, and all sorts of other issues began plaguing me and keeping my skin looking red, blotchy, and pimply. I’ve tried so many different things before, from salicylic acid acne treatments to benzoyl peroxide (ProActiv) ones. I’ve tried natural, I’ve tried cheap, and I’ve tried expensive. It always seemed like nothing was going to work and that I was doomed to live with awful skin.

Until autumn of last year, when I decided to give Mary Kay a second try.

When I was first married (2005… whoa. That was a while ago.) I was a Mary Kay consultant for about two seconds. I wasn’t crazy about their Timewise line, as even the oily/combo line seemed too “heavy” for my 21-year-old skin (21…… whoa. I’m old.). This time last year I was desperate, and began thinking that perhaps scrubbing and treating my skin as if it were an oil spill (mattifying cleansers, lotions, powders) was actually hurting my skin. I was older now, and having a baby made my skin change a lot.. So I decided to try a different approach. I purchased a Mary Kay Timewise cleaning system for dry skin. Within weeks, my skin cleared up and looked better than ever. The face wash works as a cleanser & a toner and the moisturizer.. Well, moisturizes. I’ve finally found what works for me! Here is a look into my daily beauty routine nowadays:

  • Wash my face 2x a day with Mary Kay Timewise.
  • Put on Timewise night serum (at night only).
  • Apply Mary Kay Timewise moisturizer (day and night).

Now, since it’s autumn and the weather is getting colder I will be switching my moisturizer out. All summer I use the oily/combo moisturizer, but in the autumn and winter I use the normal/dry to give my skin the extra moisture it needs from the cold, dry autumn air. I don’t wear a lot of makeup, but when I do, my routine generally looks like this:

  • Concealer for the Samsonite baggage under my eyes.
  • Mineral foundation (usually L’Oreal) and blush.
  • Mascara.

Sometimes in the fall, I like to play with earthy tones on my eyes. Greens, browns, golds. Something about the changing leaves, crisp air, and addition of snuggly attire makes me want to look more.. I don’t know. Nature-y? Summer is for bright and fun, and autumn is more for muted and subtle I guess. Maybe I’m nuts. Who knows?

Photo: gettyimages

If you’re struggling with your skin like I have for so many years, don’t lose hope. It took me a long time to fall in love with my skin and there are still times when it doesn’t look as good as it could…. But keep trying, and don’t be afraid to try new things. Your skin is always changing, just like you are always changing!

What does your beauty routine look like? Do you change it with the seasons, or does it stay the same all year?

Thank you to Walgreens for sponsoring this blog post. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions are my own.

Five Fabulous Bloggers

Thanks to Trop50 for sponsoring my writing about fabulous bloggers. This year Trop50 is granting 50 Fabulous Wishes. Click here to enter for a chance to win $1,000 to celebrate a friend with a refreshing attitude about looking and feeling fabulous!

I love blogging. I love reading blogs. I love saying the word “blog”. Blog, blog, blog. Bloggity blog. I myself have been (say it with me) blogging since I really even knew such a thing existed. I started writing on LiveJournal in 2001 at the tender age of 17. Little did I know that what I was doing was actually blogging (okay, now you have to take a shot every time I say any variation of the word “blog”). I digress. This post is about 5 bloggers that I love, and this is really hard for me to narrow down. I read a LOT of blogs, and it’s hard for me to decide which writers to feature here. I admire people who can blog long-term and still keep their loyal readers and keep their content fresh and interesting. I admire women who can write. I admire women who are funny. This list contains a little of all of those types of women.

  • The Bloggess: I’ve been reading The Bloggess since before I started this blog and knew how big the blogosphere was. Jenny is one of the funniest women I’ve ever read, and she is my blogging idol. Every single time I read a post of hers, I am shaking my head and thinking, “I will never be this funny”. She manages to write in her own unique style, and that style speaks to my bizarre sense of humor beautifully. If I meet her at BlogHer this coming August, I make no promises that I won’t do something extraordinarily embarrassing, like lick her face or beg her to take a picture of both of our thumbs or something.
  • All & Sundry: This is a relatively new discovery. My coworker Lisa turned me on to this blog, telling me that she loved the writing and I am really glad that she did. The author, Linda, weaves her words in a way that is a pleasure to read. She is funny, she is heartfelt, and she is just a damn good writer.
  • The Spohrs Are Multiplying: Another blogger I’d love to run into at BlogHer; Heather writes in a way that speaks to me. I began reading her blog after her older daughter, Madeline, passed away suddenly in April of 2009. She and her husband Mike had a daughter, Annabel, just a few days after I had Nellie. Heather and Mike are clever, creative, and their posts about Madeline break my heart. I’ve read a lot of blogs where the loss of a child was involved, but their posts about Maddie make me cry without fail. Something about the way they write grabs my soul and tears it open. They also write a lot about adorable Annabel, and feature hilarious and clever videos of her and their dog Rigby regularly.
  • Salt Says: Salt is a terribly clever blogger. She is another one who writes really well, and manages to be funny pretty much all the time. She unfortunately hasn’t blogged in almost two months (AHEM, SALT) and I miss her posts like crazy. She writes about all sorts of things, from pop culture to funny things that happen to her.. She is always clever and again, can actually write really well.
  • Mommy Wants Vodka: I love Aunt Becky, mostly because I also want vodka. I actually really like Aunt Becky a lot because she’s another hysterical blogger with a brain like mine. Her sense of humor and writing are both really random, and I almost always laugh out loud at her posts. The only time I don’t laugh out loud is when she’s not trying to be funny, and then I don’t laugh because I don’t laugh at people when they’re blogging about serious things, because that’s mean.

So that was really difficult. Like I said, I love a lot of blogs. It was hard to choose just five bloggers to give a shout-out to in this post. I hope that maybe you’ve found a new blog to follow from this post!

Who are some of your favorite bloggers?

Don’t forget to enter the 50 Fabulous Wishes contest for a chance to win $1,000 to celebrate a friend with a refreshing attitude about looking and feeling fabulous. I was selected for this Tropicana Trop50 sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do. I received compensation to use and facilitate my post.