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Summer Beach Reads – 10 Beach Mysteries

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Summer is a great time for catching up on reading – especially if you are relaxing on the beach! My favorite genre of books is mysteries, so here is a great collection of mystery stories to read on the beach this summer. All of them are set on the beach, so you can enjoy reading about murder in the sand and sun while you relax!

For great family dinner ideas check out my recipes for air fryer green beans and air fryer salmon.

10 Beach Mysteries for Summer Reading - Enjoy a mystery on the beach this summer as you relax in the sun and sand

Dr. Pepper Snapple Group – Innovation and Balance

This post is sponsored by Dr Pepper Snapple Group and The Motherhood.

Learning about what goes on behind the scenes at various business is one of the things I have found most interesting about blogging. And last week I had the chance to get a behind the scenes insight at a huge company, which produces a product my family and I use all the time, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group.  I attended a virtual briefing with some of the managers and directors from the Dr. Pepper Snapple group, and it was fascinating!  I learned random fun facts like the fact that only two people know the formula for Dr. Pepper, and that there have been over 250 flavors of Snapple over the years.  I also learned about the company’s commitment to balance and innovation.

dr pepper snapple

We are big fans of Diet Dr. Pepper at my house, and frequently bring a 12 pack of the soda home from the grocery store. But the company makes much more than that, and in fact they sell more than 50 brands of carbonated soft drinks, teas, juices, mixers and other premium beverages. The company is focused on innovation and balance, and tries to direct their new projects equally in two main areas: Calories In and Calories Out.

Pre-Manicure Magic with Palmolive

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Lunchbox. All opinions are my own.

Palmolive dish soap is something my family uses all the time, but usually for boring things, like washing the dishes.  But did you know there are many other interesting uses for Palmolive? One of my favorite is using it for Pre-Manicure Magic.

pre-manicure magic

Using the dish soap in this way is simple and effective. Soaking your nails for a few minutes before applying nail polish has a number of benefits.  First of all, the water and soap helps loosen dirt and dead skin, so that your nails are sparkling clean before the polish is applied.  Secondly it softens your cuticles, which makes them easy to push back before the manicure.

Outlander TV Series Premiering Next Week

I am sure many of you are fans of Diana Gabaldon’s bestselling Outlander series, a series of novels that combine romance, science fiction, history and time travel. I was excited to learn that the books have been adapted into a TV series, and it is premiering soon, exclusively from Time Warner Cable on the Starz channel.

If you aren’t familiar with the series here is a synopsis:

Outlander follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened. When she is forced to marry Jamie, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate affair is ignited that tears Claire’s heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

Outlander will premiere August 9th at 9PM EST/PST on Starz via Time Warner Cable.  However I was able to get a sneak preview and watch the first episode early, and I was impressed. The production quality of the show is quite high, and the show does a wonderful job of conveying the Scottish Highlands and setting up the mysterious time traveling. The costumes, music, and realistic settings were all very well done.

The Fault in Our Stars Gift Card Giveaway

Prize and compensation courtesy of 20th Century Fox

The Fault in Our Stars will be arriving in theaters everywhere on June 6th.  This movie tells the story of teenagers Hazel and Gus who bond and fall in love after meeting at a cancer support group.  When I heard about the book this movie is based on I thought it would be depressing, because it sounds like one of those disease of the week movies.  But the book was actually funny and uplifting.


The movie seems to be true to the spirit of the book!  Check out the extended trailer below.

Sprint HTC One M8 Harman Kardon Edition & Onyx Studio

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Sprint. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and to thank me for participating.

Last month I told you about being a Sprint Ambassador and that I will be testing various Sprint devices and writing about them over the course of the year. I even got to giveaway an HTC One Max, which was won by Maureen S! This month I received one of the latest Sprint devices to test out, the HTC One M8, Harman Kardon Edition.

sprint htc one m8

This phone is designed especially for music lovers, and includes revolutionary technology that restores all types of compressed digital music and provides a more life-like headphone listening experience.  I am not an expert on music by any means, but I know what sounds good!  And the music from this phone sounds wonderful.  I signed up for Spotify, and have been using it with this phone everywhere.  As a part of Sprint’s new Sprint Sound Sessions, Sprint is giving customers access to Spotify’s catalogue of more than 20 million songs.  I have been spending lots of time listening to the Classic Rock channel.  I love to take it with my when I walk the dogs, and it is much better sound than my old mp3 player.

Sprint Framily Plan with Sprint HTC One Max

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Sprint. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and to thank me for participating.

I am excited to let you know that I have been asked to be a Sprint Ambassador, and I am going to have the chance to test out various Sprint devices and services over the next year!  I can’t wait to try out some state of the art devices and let you know all about them.  My family and I have always had pre-paid phones with very bare bones plans.  Now that two of my kids are in college and one is a teen we need phone plans that do more.

I spend a lot of time driving my kids around and waiting for them to finish classes, or picking them up from work.  With a Sprint smartphone I can be connect while I sit and wait, and respond to emails, send tweets or update Facebook.  I think being able to use this waiting time productively will give me more downtime at home! Of course once you start adding data and unlimited texting costs start adding up fast, which is why a family plan makes sense.

This is exactly the kind of situation the Sprint Framily plan is designed for.  With this plan you and up to 10 friends or family members can be a part of a Framily group with unlimited talk, text and 1GB of data each, while on the Sprint network.  So even if you don’t have a large family you can still benefit from costs savings by teaming up with friends.

Easter Baskets and Easter Deals Hunt Giveaway

What are you putting in your kids’ Easter baskets this year? My kids love baskets filled with candy, like this one!

Easter Basket Full of Candy

They expect a big chocolate bunny every year, along with favorites like peanut butter eggs and jelly beans. They never seem to outgrow the desire for Easter candy.But as they have gotten older they also have more appreciation for non-candy treats in their basket.  It is not too hard to come up with some cute little things that don’t cost too much.  For my girls scented soap or perfume makes a fun gift. They also love accessories like jewelry or craft supplies.  My oldest collects rubber ducks, so she expects that a new rubber duckie will be in her basket.

Hair Color from Madison Reed

I wrote this blog post while participating in a campaign by on behalf Madison Reed and received payment for my participation. All opinions stated within are my own.

I have been coloring my hair at home for about 8 years new, and it can be frustrating!  My natural hair color is a light ash blonde, but it is hard to find a color that covers my gray and yet still looks natural and doesn’t turn brassy. I am sure I’d get better results from a salon, but that is too expensive! So I was excited to try out the hair coloring from Madison Reed, which offers Salon quality hair coloring at home.

Madison_Reed logoI spent some time on the Madison Reed website using their Color Advisor tool to find the perfect color for me. You can determine color based on the current dye you use, or your skin tone, or even send them a photo and get personalized advice.  I received my kit in the mail just a few days after I placed my order.


Beer Making Kit from Design 55

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

I am not a huge beer drinker, so when I had the chance to review a Beer Making kit I was interested mainly because I thought the idea was intriguing. I have been teaching chemistry for a few years now, and beer making is chemistry in action!  Design 55 sent me the Brooklyn Brew Shop Everyday IPA kit, and brewing the beer was fun and interesting.

beer making kit

10 Quotes About Winter

This has seemed like an extra long winter for us!  To try and deal with the February doldrums I put together ten inspirational quotes about winter, as a reminder that winter won’t last forever, even if it keeps snowing.

Pietro Aretino quote about winter

Victor Hugo quote about winter

Red Carpet Fashion #ThorDarkWorldEvent #DeliveryManEvent

This weekend I am headed to LA for not one but two Red Carpet movie premieres, for Thor: The Dark World and Delivery Man! Of course that means I need to dress up, and finding the perfect dress has been quite an undertaking. I mostly wear jeans and t-shirts, and wear a cocktail dress once a year, in December for the Christmas party at my husband’s company.  It seems like a trip to LA calls for a new dress or two, but I need help choosing which ones to wear this weekend!

I set out shopping with my style consultants, my 17 and 20 year old daughters.  We found this red wrap dress at Macy’s, and liked the way it looked, especially paired with a sparkly shawl.


Tai Pei Asian Frozen Meals Review

I am always looking for quick and easy solutions for lunch!  I always seem to be in a hurry and need something that doesn’t require much thought from me.  So I was happy to try out the Asian frozen meals from Tai Pei.  They make single serve entrees in a wide variety of flavors.  The boxes that the meals come in are really cute, and are designed to look like Chinese take out containers.

Tai Pei Garlic Shrimp

I tried the Garlic Shrimp and thought it tasted great!  It was full of shrimp and vegetables, with lots of carrots, broccoli, pea pods and water chestnuts, all in a light garlic flavored sauce.  The serving size was quite large, and more than enough for a lunch for me.