Podcast Round Up- Fall 2016

Podcast Favorites 2016

 

Since I went back to work and have over an hour commute everyday, I have been devouring podcasts, especially those that deal with the supernatural and true crime. Here is a round up of my favourites:

The Black Tapes – From Pacific Northwest Stories, “The Black Tapes” is a fictional docudrama about Dr Richard Strand, who’s Strand Institute works to debunk paranormal events. The host of the podcast, Alex Regan becomes completely entwined with Strand and the cases he has not been able to dismiss as false, dubbed his “Black Tapes”. This podcast is super addictive- you are going to wish your commute was longer.

Tanis– Another fictional podcast from Pacific Northwest Stories, reporter Nic Silver and his trusty hacker buddy Meerkatnip delve into the deep Web to investigate the mysterious myth behind the question of “What is Tanis?” I don’t want to say too much about this because it is so awesome to listen to this series unfold from the beginning. Anyone interested in the supernatural and mysterious events will LOVE this show. I have listened to every episode twice.

Sword and Scale– “Sword and Scale” is a true crime podcast with the tag line ” The worst monsters are real”. This show is super disturbing and often relies on real recordings from the cases explored. The gripping narration, meticulous research and super high production value makes this one of my favorite podcasts of all time.

Casefile True Crime– Probably my second favorite crime podcast is “Casefile”. The subject matter is very similar to “Sword and Scale” and is also very creepy. This show relies more heavily on host narration but it doesn’t render the subject matter any less gripping.

Unsolved Murders: True Crime Stories – This podcast take a cue from old time radio dramas. Famous unsolved murders are re-inacted by voice actors in order to animate the narrators stories. Cases investigated include the Black Dahlia and Bugsy Siegel.

Thinking Sideways – Thinking Sideways is a relatively new addition to my podcast library and is also crime related. It focuses on unsolved mysteries, such as Jack the Ripper, the disappearance of Agatha Christie. What makes it very different is that it takes a round table discussion format with the three hosts. It is a fun way to look at these mysteries although I occasionally find the hosts glib, especially when dealing with more recent crimes.

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The Pull-Up’s Potty Partnership (Giveaway)

Huggies Pull up's Potty Partnership

I had a heck of a time potty training my eldest, Wee Man. I was so stressed out and anxious about the entire experience that it made it so much harder for both of us. While we are still a while away from potty training the twins, I am already thinking about ways to avoid the pitfalls that I experience the first go-around.

The Pull-Ups® Potty Partnership launched earlier this year with huge success and offers a whole new way to potty train. Created in partnership with renowned child psychologist and potty training expert, Dr. Heather Wittenberg, it’s tailored to work with your child’s unique personality, on their schedule and according to how they learn.

By completing a free, online quiz about your child’s habits, parents will receive customized tips and advice based on their kiddo’s Potty Personality: a Squirrel, Bear Cub, Puppy, Owl or Turtle.

Based on your childs personality, the program suggests the best way to approach this milestone in the most reassuring way possible for both parent and child.

I did the quiz based on Wee Man’s personality back then and he is a Squirrel. Once the animal is established, there are SO many awesome tips, including night training, training while traveling and transitioning to big kid underwear! I wish I had this in my back pocket three years ago and I am thrilled to be able to assess the twins personalities for potty training, as they most likely will be pretty different (those two are chalk and cheese, I tell you!)

Thanks to Pull-Ups®, I have an extra tool kit to send to a lucky reader (Canada only). The kit includes:

·         Pull-Ups® Training Pants

·         Pull-Ups® Flushable Wipes

·         Potty seat and chair 

·         Milestone chart to track and award your child’s progress

·         Potty training book

·         Plush toy to reward potty accomplishments 

·         $25 Walmart gift card to help you stock up on other potty training essentials outlined in the Potty Partnership Toolkit

Please enter via the widget below

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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What I Read- April 2016

 

The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti

The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti– This book hooked me SO fast! I was up until the wee hours reading it because I had to know what happened! So many twists, turns, red herrings… it was fantastic. Fans of The Luckiest Girl in The World, The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl will love this book! All hail the unreliable narrator!

The Tea Planter's Wife by Dinah Jefferies
The Tea Panters Wife by Dinah Jefferies – I enjoyed this book about Jazz age Ceylon and the story of the tea planters lonely wife and the secrets and lies that pervade the beautiful plantation.
I thought the plot was somewhat far-fetched and was all wrapped up bit too quickly and neatly at the end of the book.
Tides of Honour by Gevevieve Graham
Tides of Honour by Genevieve Graham – This is a very sweet and somewhat intense love story set against the back ground of WWI and the Halifax Explosion of 1916.
Lost Among the Living by Simone St James
Lost Among the Living by Simone St. James– I love her books so much- they blend mystery, romance, historical fiction and the supernatural in a natural and totally engaging way. Her novels often look at the post WWI era and deal with the horrors of war. Always engrossing.
With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden
With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden– This historical romance has a pretty Christian slant to it, which isn’t really my thing but the medical aspects of the novel made up for that- the characters are working to cure Tuberculosis.
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In 1945 New York City, Gwen is left to care for her roommates baby when she abandons her. When the baby’s father returns from the war, she worries that she is going to lose the child she has come to think of as her own. Then they begin to fall in love….. yes… this book is that obvious but its a fun read.
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Popcorn Movies- My Summer 2016 Picks

 

Ghostbusters (July 15)- Cannot wait for this. I am a massive Ghostbusters fan and the female cast looks fantastic. I am especially excited to see Kate McKinnon, who is consistently MVP on Saturday Night Live. Some people aren’t thrilled with the trailer but I know that trailers can be deceiving. I live in high hopes!

 

 

The Nice Guys(May 20th)- Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling in a 1970’s period piece? Yes please. Too weird not to love.

 

Me Before You (June 3rd)- Read the book (by Jojo Moyes) first. Have tissue handy, it’s a weepy.

 The Conjuring Two (June 10)- The Conjuring scared the crap out of me the first TWO times I watched it. I am looking forward to the sequel and hope it lives up to the original. If you love the paranormal, check out the UK miniseries The Enfield Haunting (available on Shomi in Canada)

 Suicide Squad (August 5th)- This movie was shot in Toronto (woot) and looks bad ass. The trailer is bananas!

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What I Read- March 2016

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld (via Netgalley. Available April 19th)- A Modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice (read full review here)

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The Ice Child by Camilla Lackberg– I have been reading this series by Swedish crime writer Lackberg for the past five years (this is the ninth book!). Erika and Patrick are husband and wife crime solvers kept (oddly) busy in their little archipelago town. These books are pretty twisted and weird, as much Scandinavian crime fiction is. If you like Steig Larson and Henning Mankell, you will love this series.

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The Pursuit of Pearls by Jane Thynne (via NetGalley. Available May 3rd )- The next book in the Clara Vine series (see my review of the previous book here). As Germany creeps ever closer to inevitable war, Clara is tasked by her British handlers to delve ever deeper into the affairs and machinations of the Third Reich. This series continues to be top-notch historical fiction that brings pre-war Berlin somewhat frighteningly alive. It was not a good time, as in hindsight we all well know.

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The Forgotten Girls by Sara Blaedel  -This book is the fourth in the Louise Rick series by Danish crime writer Blaedel. A women’s body turns up on a wooded area and it is discovered that she had apparently been dead for decades already! Detective Rick sets out to uncover the secret of her whereabouts in the intervening years. This book was creepy as heck and while this was the first book in the series I have read, I have already picked up the next one!

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Haunted Destiny by Heather Graham (via NetGalley. Available May 24th)- Heather Graham is one of my guilty pleasure authors. I almost always pick up her books when they come out (often in mass market paperback form- easily found in the drug and grocery store!) I enjoy the gothic vibe of her books and I love learning about the history (often supernatural related) of the cities the books take place in.

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Aveeno Absolutely Ageless Skincare Line

Avenue Absolutely Ageless Collection

As a child, I suffered from horribly dry skin and Aveeno milk bath was the only thing that helped. Ever since then, I have  been a faithful user of all things Aveeno so when I was asked to try out the new Aveeno Absolutely Ageless skin care collection, I was thrilled. As my 36th (gulp) birthday quickly approaches, I was eager to try this unique line of products to combat the signs of ageing and also the ravages left over from the long winter (not to mention the sleepless nights that come with having three kids). This range of products, available in stores now, harness the power of Blackberry leaf extract and Dill- the Active Naturals Blackberry Complex!

 

Absolutely Ageless Moisturizing Cleanser ($24.99-$29.99 147 ml)- This cleanser removes 99% of impurities like oil and make-up without overdrying the skin. I hate the feeling of overly tight skin after washing and this product, while working up a silky lather, leaves the skin soft and hydrated.

Absolutely Ageless Intensive Renewal Serum ($24.99-$29.99 30 ml)- I find that a serum has become an indispensable part of my evening skin care routine as I have gotten older. That extra layer of repair overnight is key to the best skin possible. This serum is one of the most hydrating I have ever used and I have seen a significant improvement to the tone and texture of my skin in just a week, as advertised!!!!

Absolutely Ageless Eye Cream ($24.99-$29.99 14 ml)- I am not a huge fan of eye creams in general because they almost always hurt my eyes (some products have even made my eyes stream tears non-stop until I washed the cream off completely). While this product still has a small amount of sting when first applied, it is ophthalmologist tested and is gentler than I expected. I don’t have much puffiness under my eyes, but i have seen a reduction in dryness and crows feet since I have been using this product once a day.

Absolutely Ageless Daily Moisturizer SPF 30 ($24.99-$29.99 50 ml)- I am extremely fair-skinned so SPF is an important part of my daily skin care routine. Sometimes moisturizer that contains sunscreen smalls medicinal and isn’t moisturizing enough for me but this product smells amazing and helps my skin stay smooth all day.

Absolutely Ageless Restorative Night Cream ($24.99-$29.99 48 ml)- I NEED a night cream for my dry skin. The Blackberry Complex in this product works to improve the skins elasticity and provide a moisture barrier to keep skin looking soft and youthful. I love that I wake up every morning and my skin still feels amazing.

 

Like all Aveeno products, the ingredients in the Absolutely Ageless collection are nature sourced, hypoallergenic and recommended by dermatologists and beauty professors across the country!  Click here for a coupon for $3 off any Absolutely Ageless product!

 

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Top box Review- March 2016

Topbox March 2016

Givenchy Phenomen’ Eyes Mascara– I am loving this mascara and have used it every day since I received it. It is fantastic at defining my short and light coloured lashes and it doesn’t smudge or flake. The ball shaped wand is a bit tricky to use the first time but it was a short learning curve!

Maskeraide ALL EYES ON ME Hydrating Eye Gel Patches– These patches felt nice and where hydrating but I don’t really see a place for them in my skin care routine. Maybe if I was prone to puffiness but I am not. I do adore their face masks, though!

Nova Scotia Fisherman Extreme Skin Care “Fisher-mint” Lip Balm– This lip balm is super smooth and easy to apply and it has a dreamy minty scent. I also love that this product is all natural. I keep this on my bedside table and use it before bed every night.

Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Primer– This primer has been on repeat since I received the sample. I love the silky smooth texture and it really does make skin appear powderless under foundation. It is also oil free which is key to prevent break outs!

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Reviewed: Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Prep and American Wife are two of my all-time favourite books so when I heard several years ago that Curtis Sittenfeld had been chosen by the Austen Project to write a reimagining of another of my favourite books, Pride and Prejudice I was thrilled. I was even more thrilled when I was approved by Netgalley to read a galley copy of  Eligible before it is released on April 19th.

This is a story that you know, but this is no straight update for the 21st century.

Liz Bennet and her older sister Jane have been living grown up lives in New York for two decades when they are called back home to Cincinnati after there father suffers a health scare. Once back in their families crumbling mock Tudor home, they realize that their slightly dozy parents as well as their three younger sisters Mary, Kitty and Lydia are barely capable of taking care of themselves. Their mother is a shameless shopoholic and the younger sisters still live at home, don’t work and basically mooch off their parents, who as it turns out are financially tapped out. Mrs Bennet is desperate for one of her daughters to marry well so she can brag to her country club friends and pretend that their financial circumstances are not as dire as they are.

Enter Chip Bingley, a doctor who recently starred on Eligible, a “Bachelor” like reality TV show. He has just moved to town and introduces the Bennetts to his friend Darcy,  a Neurosurgeon (!) from California. And so it goes…..

I was not sure how I would wrap my head around a modern retelling of one of my favourite books but I really enjoyed this novel. I think I liked it so much because it was not so much a retelling as a reimagining. The characters that you love (and love to hate) are all present and accounted for but the story has been updated to a point where it seems believable in 2016- a straight retelling of this story would not really work in this day and age and Sittenfeld addresses that in an honest way. This novel  has sex (!), deals with gender and sexuality, race, politics… all the things that show up on our Facebook and Twitter feeds daily.

Is this book perfect? No. I don’t think that any book trying to reimagine a beloved classic could ever be perfect but the author has created a world that the reader cares about and roots for and relates to the characters and to me, that is just about the most important thing.

 

 

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