Friday, July 29, 2011

Perfectly Invisible Book Review

It's Daisy Crispin's final trimester of high school, and she plans to make it count. Her long-awaited freedom is mere months away, and her big plans for college loom in the future. Everything is under control. Or is it? Her boyfriend is treating her like she's invisible, and her best friend is selling bad costume jewelry in the school quad--and hanging out with her boyfriend. To top it off, Daisy's major humiliation for the year will be remembered in the yearbook for all eternity. It's enough to make her wonder if maybe being invisible isn't so bad after all.

With more of the funny-but-too-true writing readers have come to expect from Kristin Billerbeck, Perfectly Invisible shows teen girls that everyone is special--no matter what they're going through.

MY REVIEW-This was the first book I have read by Kristin Billerbeck. I was pleasantly surprised but also disappointed in areas. I didn't realize at first that this was a young adult book. But I still enjoyed reading it:)

It seemed at times that Daisy did a lot of whining and complaining. I understand teenagers do that a lot but it just seemed like it happened quite a bit. Other than that it was a pretty good book. Daisy finds out there are more important things in life than what she thought. A read I would give to teenagers for some good, clean humor and fun.

Available July 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

FIRSTWildCard 40 Days to Better Living Blog Tour

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

40 Days to Better Living--Optimal Health

Barbour Books (July 1, 2011)

MY REVIEW-This was an excellent book with so much to offer! I am a big fan of healthy eating and living right so I really enjoyed reviewing this book. The author gives many great tips and walks you through the days slowly and gently. Great insight! This is perfect for the person who is starting to watch the way they eat and who wants to live a better life. You can't go wrong with the information and he brought up several things I had never thought of before. Overall an excellent book!

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


From the time Scott Morris was just a teenager, he knew he would do two things with his future—serve God and work with people. Growing up in Atlanta, he felt drawn to the Church and at the same time drawn to help others, even from a very young age. It was naturally intrinsic, then, that after completing his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Virginia he went on to receive his M.Div. from Yale University and finally his M.D. at Emory University in 1983.

After completing his residency in family practice, Morris arrived in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1986 without knowing a soul, but determined to begin a health care ministry for the working poor. He promptly knocked on the doors of St. John’s Methodist Church and Methodist Hospital in Memphis inviting them to help, and then found an old house to refurbish and renovate. By the next year, the Church Health Center opened with one doctor—Dr. Scott Morris—and one nurse. They saw twelve patients the first day and Morris began living his mission to reclaim the Church’s biblical commitment to care for our bodies and spirits.

From the beginning, Morris saw each and every patient as a whole person, knowing that without giving careful attention to both the body and soul the person would not be truly well.

Visit the author's website.


Many of us would admit to being a little out of balance these days. We all want to feel happier, healthier, and more vibrantly alive. What if in just 40 days we could reach a new level of wellness and balance that we’ve never experienced before? In 40 Days to Better Living: Optimal Health (Barbour Publishing, July 2011), Dr. Scott Morris, founder of Church Health Center, the largest faith-based clinic of its type in the United States, offers a straightforward and successful plan to get there.

The first in a series of striking full color health and wellness books by Dr. Morris and the Church Health Center staff, 40 Days to Better Living: Optimal Health confirms and clarifies what many of us already suspect: living the life we’ve always wanted must go deeper than a diet and exercise program and an occasional attempt to “do better.” Morris is convinced that to achieve the highest degree of wellness requires a multi-dimensional approach and a concentrated effort to be healthy in both body and spirit. He believes, “True health is grounded in the spiritual life that embraces the physical bodies God gives us.” Morris adds, “Instead of the absence of disease, I see health as the presence of those elements that lead us to joy and love, and that drive us closer to God. Finding balance by nurturing our spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical needs is essential to the real health of the whole person.”

40 Days to Better Living: Optimal Health offers clear, manageable steps to life-changing attitudes and actions in a context of understanding and grace for all people at all points on the journey to optimal health. With plenty of practical advice, spiritual encouragement, and real stories of those who have found a better life, this simple and skillfully crafted book inspires readers to customize their own path to wellness by using the 7-Step Model for Healthy Living as a guide:

· Nutrition: pursuing smarter food choices and eating habits

· Friends and family: giving and receiving support through relationships

· Emotional life: understanding feelings and managing stress to better care for yourself

· Work: appreciating your skills, talents, and gifts

· Movement: discovering ways to enjoy physical activity

· Medical care: partnering with health care providers to optimize medical care

· Faith life: building a relationship with God, neighbors, and self

Product Details:

List Price: $7.99
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (July 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616262648
ISBN-13: 978-1616262648


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Swag Code Extravaganza on Monday!

Hi all! I have been a member of Swagbucks for quite a while now. If you are not a member, you ought to join up! You get codes, earn bucks for searching, download the toolbar, purchasing items through their earning program, etc. Then you can redeem those Swagbucks for gift cards or Paypal, etc. I LOVE it! I save mine until I get enough for a Paypal or Amazon gift card and I have gotten plenty through the years. So, I know you all are interested in this program now, right? Well, all you have to do is sign up and start searching:) I roughly get one gift card a month, depending on how many searches I do, codes I get, etc. And this Monday they are having a Swag Code Extravaganza! You won't want to miss it! If you need more information on how to get the Swag codes, please check out the Swag Code page. And again, if you are not a member, please sign up today. It is such a great program!

Want Some Free Pizza!!

Hey everyone, I wanted to let you all know about an event Freschetta is hosting that I know you will want to get in on:)

FRESCHETTA® will be giving away thousands of slices of our delicious By The Slice pizza in a special live online event. The FRESCHETTA® By The Slice pizza will be given away in 5,000 increments every half hour. There will also be fun, interactive contests where you can win additional coupons.

On Thursday July 28th, 2011 the website will be available for people to sign up for a reminder email and view a preview of the events to come with host Mike Rylander. On August 4th the reminder email will be sent to those that signed up, and the event will be live at 11 AM on this day for all to sign up! This event is a great way to try out FRESCHETTA® By The Slice and get to do so for FREE! On the day of the event there will also be fun, interactive contests where additional coupons will be awarded.

Event Details:

Date - August 4th, 2011
What - FREE* FRESCHETTA By The Slice pizza event
Where - From the comfort of your own home

By featuring this event on my blog I was entered in a giveaway from Freschetta Pizza. I did not receive any monetary compensation.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ten Tips and Tricks to get Your Children to Eat their Veggies.

WOW! I was so surprised when I saw not only one writing post from Social Moms today but two! This is amazing:) Please make sure to read them both, maybe leave a comment or two:) On this post Social Moms is teaming up with Sarah Matheny. Now I didn't know who this was before I found out about this opportunity today. But I am soo glad I did! Take a look at her website, Peas and Thank You and see what I am talking about:)

So, I am going to give ten tips and hints on how to get your children to eat their veggies. I really do not have that hard of a time doing it in our family. Only one is really picky about her eating and the rest are kind of scavengers, so they will eat about anything. But you can always learn tips on how to get even more into their diet. So, here goes!

1.Make Veggie Eating Fun.
We often dress up our veggies and have fun with them. This really worked when they were little and not so much now but I still find this is a good idea. We would take celery sticks and put peanut butter on them and then they could add raisins or nuts on top. Take veggies and make a scene with them. Use your carrot sticks and have fun with them:)

2.Blend them In.
In our house we like to make smoothies. And most of the time it is done with berries and yogurt. But there are several really good vegetable juice smoothie recipes that I have found on the internet. They are good for you and they taste good to!

3.Have the Kids Help Shop.
Take the kids shopping with you and let them pick out a new vegetable to try out. One for the whole family to try. This gives them a sense of adventure in picking out a new item for the whole family to taste.

4.Use Veggies as Substitutes.
One time a while back we had a pie that a friend brought over. Now this was supposed to be apple pie. But come to find out, after we finished it, it happened to be zucchini instead of apple! See how many recipes like this you can find on the internet and try them at your house. We couldn't taste a difference at all in this pie!

5.Plant A Garden.
This really helped when our kids were younger and even now today. When the children are out helping take care of the garden, they feel like it is something they can try. If they helped plant it and take care of it, they are more apt to try it.

6.Hide It In A Recipe.
In our house we like stew. It is very easy to add veggies that the kids don't even notice. Add some carrots and throw in some squash and most of the time they won't even catch it.

7.Make it Mandatory.
Sometimes we just have to look at them and tell them to eat it. In our house, one child really likes this pasta salad that you make from a box. But there are peas in this salad. He has often been found trying to skim them out of the pasta as it cooks. But he has been told that he has to eat them if he want the pasta salad. And guess what? He eats them! If they want something bad enough, they will get through what they have to.

8.Set Out A Veggie Tray.
We found that even those who don't like veggies sometimes will eat off the veggie tray. Maybe it is the fun of dipping the carrot sticks in the ranch dressing or swirling the celery through the peanut butter. Either way, make it easier for them to eat by setting out a veggie tray with lunch and dinner.

9.Have A Culture Night.
Other cultures tend to eat more veggies than we do. Whether it is Chinese food, Mexican, etc. Have a night where you feature a different setting. Chinese food is a great way to get in the extra veggies. And when you mix it in with all the rice and sauces, they can't even tell!

10.Be Flexible.
Finally, last but not least, let them choose and decide. We often tend to force them to eat something that we don't eat. I understand urging a child to try something, we have a rule that you have to try a food twice, but sometimes we push too much. I love spinach, but most of the rest of the family doesn't. That is okay by me and I have my spinach to myself:) So long as they are getting some vegetables in their daily diet, that is good. Try to work them in when you can but don't stress over it. That just makes it worse for you and the child. Have fun and be flexible!

I hope this gave you some new tips on getting your children to eat their vegetables. Leave a comment with your tips for me, I could use them:)

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Peas and Thank You blogging program for a gift card worth $30. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

My Child's Individual Sense of Style

Well, Social Moms is at it again! This time they have teamed up with JC Penney and back to school clothing:) I have a real fun experience this time of the year. With school starting up again the shopping gets to be very exciting! And boy am I serious about this:)

One thing we do in our house is shop at thrift stores a lot. This has really been something we enjoy and it is amazing the types of clothing you can find at these stores. For my child, she enjoys finding clothing that is modest and still defines who she is. And that normally means something that looks like a western girl. She likes to wear the prairie skirts and western blouses. So often when shopping this is what we look for.

The other really neat thing is she likes to be grown up. This ranges from a hair style to her dress. Often she asks for her hair to be done in a french braid and then she likes to put on an outfit that somewhat matches mine. This to me really shows that she is growing up. I don't want her to totally be grown up but this is part of the process. So long as she still looks like a little girl, that is fine with me.

I think one nice thing is that she still likes to have her own style. She may somewhat match me but in a different way, if that makes any sense:) She likes the two-fer tops that I often wear, but in a younger, more fitted style. She doesn't like a whole lot of jewelry and most of the time she only wears a little bit of lip balm. This defines who she is and what she stands for. A fresh, innocent little girl. She does like her purses and she has several that she swaps around. Some to match her colors for the day and some to match the style. Again, back to the western flair:) She has two purses just for those days!!

Overall, I love her individual style. She is one of a kind and definitely stands out in a crowd. Whether it is one of her western days or just an everyday look. We love shopping together, so long as there is not a lot of decision making to do:) Boy can that take a while! As I am sure most of you can sympathize with. But whether it is at a thrift store or a department store, we love to go shopping and pick out our own pieces of clothing.

What about you? Does your child have their own flair for dressing? Do they like to match you or maybe totally different styles:) Tell me about it in a comment below. I love to hear from my readers!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and jcpenney blogging program, for a gift card worth $50. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Military Notecards by Semper Wifey Etsy Shop Review & Giveaway!

Attention, all ladies and note writers! I have the most wonderful shop to introduce to you today. I think you all will really enjoy it:) I know I sure enjoyed opening this package. Semper Wifey is an Etsy shop I would love to purchase from. She has some really interesting items and I was proud to be able to review her note cards. You are going to love these:)

At ease now, ladies. I know you are anxious but you don't have to be. The giveaway will still be there when you get to the bottom of the post:P I am just kidding, but please take the time to read through this to understand more about the inventor of these note cards.

God blessed me with the most amazing, wonderful, and handsome husband! With a wedding, international honeymoon, and cross-country move in the span of mere days, I quickly learned the mantra of all good Marine wives: “Semper Gumby.” I am eagerly tagging alongside my Marine pilot, proud to have the role of “Marine Wife.” Hubby and I know that he has been called to this profession, that I have been called to be by his side, and that God is in control of everything…even the military! It is our faith and assurance that Jesus is Lord that keeps us going through it all!

Now, in my package I received three sets of note cards. They are all fashioned after the well known little green army man. Our kids love them and now as mothers we get to enjoy them as well. These cards are well made and I like that it has the advertising on the back from Semper Wifey. When you send one of these cute cards to a friend or fellow military wife, they know exactly where to order them! And I know people are going to want to get their hands on these. They are soo neat!

There are three different styles. Let's Move, Hello, There, and Can I get a Yut Yut? My favorite one out of them all is the Let's Move. These all feature the LGAM and I like how they are used. I have not had the privilege of using these yet as I have been very busy but I will be sending these to my friends and I can just imagine the grin that will come to their face when they see them.

What about you? Do you have a friend who is a military wife? What about a mother who just needs a smile in her day:) I would suggest ordering some of these. They are well made and are quality products. The designs are adorable and yet adult, not childish. If you are looking for that special card to send to a military wife, this is the way to go!


Readers, I was sent two sets of these cards. That means one set is for me to review and the other set is for my wonderful readers! One of you will be winning a set of these adorable cards. You will get the three cards and the envelopes. You know the drill:) Follow orders and get your entries in below. On the double!! LOL:)

Go to Semper Wifey Etsy Shop and let me know which is your favorite design. This must be done or the extra entries do not count. Please leave an email in one of your comments so I can email you if you are chosen as the winner.



1.Blog or post about this on Facebook. Get 3 entries for each.
2.Follow my blog via GFC, subscribe through RSS Feed or email or follow me on Twitter. Get one entry for each you do.
3.Enter any of my other currently running giveaways. Let me know which ones.
4.Leave a comment on any of my review only posts. This must be for reviews only! Leave a comment for each.
5.Tweet about this giveaway. Can be done three times a day

6.Follow Semper Wifey Blog via GFC. Leave your username in your comment. Get 2 entries for this.
7.Like Semper Wifey on Facebook. Get 2 entries for this as well.

This giveaway will end 8/10. Winner will be chosen through and they will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.
I received complimentary product for review purposes. I did not receive any monetary compensation. All thoughts are 100% mine.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Burial Insurance

Wow! It has been a couple of hot days recently! I have been spending most of my time indoors:) And this has given me some time to surf the web. There are sooo many interesting things you can find by searching the internet. Like finding out about This website is very insightful.

I have not had to deal with this personally but I know friends who have had to. I think this website gives a lot of information that could be helpful to my readers. Even if you don't need it at this time, the research could pay off in the end. Take the time and look into these things. I would suggest checking out They seem to have a lot of info. If you need help with Medicare supplement, take a look at the link. They explain a lot of things concerning the insurance needed. And of course, don't forget about AARP. This website is soo helpful! You can't go wrong looking through their information!! If you need more help, please look through these sites. They have a ton of helpful and insightful tips and advice.

Great Sisters…

Guest post written by my buddy Bernardo Graham

Being a good sister is harder sometimes than others. I don’t know why but my sisters have been absolutely driving me crazy lately and I’ve been really trying to get a good mindset about it so I don’t end up saying something I’ll regret. Like the other day, Susan called me because she just moved and couldn’t get online at her new place since it was out in the middle of nowhere. I told her about and she didn’t even say thank you! Then Jeanna called me to yell about leaving her house unlocked the other day when I came by but the whole reason I even went by was to water her plants and be nice! I know since we’re all so close in age that’s why we fight but I swear, if they say one more thing to me about how I’m not nice I’m absolutely going to lose it! I guess that’s part of the bargain when you’ve got two sisters and I should be happy to have them.

Gold Spot Gold Coin Prices

Well, I recently found out about an interesting website. I have never used anything like this before but it was neat to see the gold prices. This site has many different aspects and the price of gold is amazing!! I loved surfing this site!

One thing I found interesting was the gold spot area. This tells about how gold pricing was first started and how it was done. I found this spot of of gold history very interesting. I have never really found out much about gold but this page of history was something that I found neat. The spot gold is something I think any history buff would like to read:)

So, I really found this website entertaining. The gold price, the gold spot. All of it was interesting. I think you could have some enjoyment surfing this site.

I have not used this site. All thoughts are 100% mine.

Have You Taken Supplements with Whey?

I am one of those healthy people who like to take vitamins and supplements. I like to eat my vegetables and drink lots of water. I have heard a lot of people say they don't like to take vitamins and supplements but I find this odd. It is much better to keep something at bay then having to take care of it afterwords. Why not be healthy first and then not have to worry about getting sick? Not that I am saying you will not get sick when you use supplements, but this always helps.

I personally take a liquid multi-vitamin supplement. I take it every morning with my breakfast. I find that it gives me energy throughout the day and I feel much better after having taken it. I have a hard time with pills so I take the liquid. I am not sure if the pills are better for you or not, but the liquid is what I use. My supplement has whey, protein, thiamin, etc. I can't imagine what it would be like without it! I take it every day. This is something I suggest for women to use throughout their lives. What about you, do you take supplements daily? What do you find that works best for you?

I am participating in a blogger campaign by Bucks2Blog and was
compensated. However, the views and opinions are my own.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Brander's Promotional Items

With my blog I often like to order promotional items that advertise who I am and what I want in my blog. This helps to get business and traffic for my website. I recently ran across a company called Branders. They do promotional items and this is something I would urge anyone who has a business or company to check out.

I usually order business cards, flyers and I also ordered a shirt with a logo. This really comes in handy just walking around town and doing errands. People see it who might never take a business card. This is an excellent way to get the word out! Whether you do baby-sitting, dog walking, event planning, a home business, etc, this is a great way to advertise!! I like to review a lot of books, as seen here, so I think these would be great to advertise my book review business.

I have not used this company or purchased from the website. All thoughts are 100% mine.

The Madelaine Chocolate Company Review + Giveaway!

Well, I have treat after treat this week:) Today I have a really nice company that was outstanding in their products and service. Madelaine Chocolate Company sent me a nice package I can't wait to tell you about.

Established in 1949, we’ve dedicated ourselves to perfecting the superior taste and quality of our chocolate. Our belief that everyone should be able to afford great tasting chocolate is what drives our commitment to our customers, and ensures that we never compromise on flavor or quality.

Located in Far Rockaway, Queens, we're proud to say that as an American family-owned and run company, our chocolates have been made solely in New York and have been part of the American family life for 60 years. From holidays and birthdays, to Easter, Valentines and graduations - The Madelaine Chocolate Company has always been there.

Using the finest quality chocolate, innovative shapes and unique Italian foils, we’re proud to help make every moment special.

Madelaine — Sharing Every Chocolate Moment, since 1949

For my review, I was sent a sample box of the Violets, Pansies and the long stem Chocolate Roses. I have to tell you, these were wonderful! When the package arrived I was sooo glad to see they were put in a cooler bag with dry ice. This makes such a difference in the way things come in. They were all intact and in good shape. I have to tell you, I was so surprised at how these looked! They were beautiful! The flowers look soo real and the roses are gorgeous. These would be great for a Valentine's gift or Mother's Day. Maybe you husbands who want a special gift for your wife? This is the perfect place to look!

The pansies are so pretty. I have pansies in my flower garden and they look so much alike. These little chocolates come wrapped in a nice italian foil flower. I figured they would not have anything on the inside but these do! They have a flower imprint on the actual chocolate! These are sooo nice! The violets are the same way. I have to tell you, I had a hard time even keeping the rest of the family away from them enough to get pictures! One box is totally gone and the other one is on its way. Not good for my diet:)

The Chocolate Roses are probably my favorite. I absolutely love the way these came out! They look like roses! Even the inside chocolate looks like rose petals. I have roses in my garden as well and they look just the same. Only with color:) I gave these to my mother and she loved them! I did get one to eat myself though.

Overall I was very impressed with this company. The products are top notch and the service was outstanding. I am keeping this company in mind for future gifts. I know several people who would love some of these chocolates. And they have such a selection. From crayons to flowers, coins to sports balls. It is amazing! Looking for a gift? This is the place to go!

Readers, Madelaine Chocolate Company has offered to give one of my readers the same exact package I got. You will receive the Chocolate Roses, Violets and Pansies. You won't be disappointed!

Go to Madelaine Chocolate Company and tell me another product they have that you would be interested in. This MUST be done or the extra entries do not count. Please leave an email address in at least one of your comments so I can reach you if you are the winner.



1.Blog or post about this on Facebook. Get 3 entries for each.
2.Follow my blog via GFC, subscribe through RSS Feed or email or follow me on Twitter. Get one entry for each you do.
3.Enter any of my other currently running giveaways. Let me know which ones.
4.Leave a comment on any of my review only posts. This must be for reviews only! Leave a comment for each.
5.Tweet about this giveaway. Can be done three times a day

6.Like Madelaine Chocolates on Twitter. You get two entries for this so please leave 2 comments.
7.Follow Madelaine Chocolates on Facebook. Get 2 entries for this so leave 2 comments.
8.Sign up for the Madelaine Chocolates Newsletter. This is at the bottom of the main page here. Get 3 entries for this so leave 3 comments.

This giveaway will end 8/6. Winner will be chosen through and they will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. I am not in charge of getting the prize to you but I will make everything possible to get it to you.
I received complimentary product for review purposes. I did not receive any monetary compensation. All thoughts are 100% mine.

Friday, July 22, 2011

See's Candy Company

I love chocolate. I don't know many people who don't. But I have run across a few. We won't talk about them right now, those poor, wretched souls. Right now I want to discuss a wonderful candy place I recently ran across. See's Candies! This website has some of the most wonderful pieces of candy I have ever seen:)

Whether you are the type of person to desire chocolate or nuts or candy bars, they have it all. I myself like chocolate with peanut butter. The next best thing is chocolate with peppermint or coffee flavor. This website has it all. They also have candy gifts that would make a great present for the wife, kids, birthday party or office party. If you are looking for a good place to get candy, I suggest you check out See's Candies.

I have not purchased from this website. All thoughts are 100% mine.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hairmax Product Line Set Giveaway!!

The developers of HairMax at home hair care product line know a thing or two about providing hair with more luster, shine and manageability than many of the products available on the market. The sulfate free hair care products gently cleanse and condition the hair without stripping essential oils. Natural botanicals add shine and manageability to make your hair look fuller, thicker and healthier. HairMax utilizes phytic acid, a natural anti-oxidant to lower the pH and dissolve the build-up of oxidative stress layers on the scalp.

Using their vast experience of over 20 years of research and clinical investigation, HairMax has developed a new approach to hair care. The process starts with a sulfate free base to gently cleanse the hair without stripping essential oils. Other shampoos contain sodium laurel sulfate (SLS), a harsh detergent that strips the natural oils from the hair follicle. SLS causes the oil glands to over-react creating too much oil. This excess oil converts to a waxy substance that builds up on the hair shaft and may restrict proper hair growth. HairMax Enhancing Shampoo is sulfate free and does not contain harsh chemicals like SLS. It gently cleanses the hair while combining with the hair’s own natural oils to lubricate and moisturize the hair shaft.

HairMax uses phytic acid in its shampoo system to lower the pH and promote a regenerative action on the base of the scalp, reducing oxidative stress layers. The shampoo system can be used by itself or in conjunction with the HairMax LaserComb. The HairMax shampoo system has a lower pH than most shampoo systems on the market. The company’s research indicates that the oils (sebum) produced in the hair follicle can turn into a waxy substance in higher alkaline environments. This lower pH, phytic acid based shampoo system helps to prevent the sebum build up and promotes the lubrication of the hair follicle to encourage healthier looking hair.

Most conditioners are thick and heavy, weighing down the hair making it look flat and difficult to style. HairMax Revitalizing Conditioner utilizes innovative botanicals that deeply moisturize the hair shaft then rinse free, leaving the hair soft and manageable without heavy build up. The HairMax Conditioner restores and protects the hair shaft while a combination of botanicals and vitamins rejuvenate your hair's look and feel, leaving your hair smooth and shiny.

Healthy hair comes from a healthy scalp. Perspiration, oils, environmental pollution and styling products can build up on the scalp clogging the hair follicle, leaving particle deposits that can clog hair follicles and leave hair looking flat and greasy. Invigorating Scalp Treatment is designed to dissolve these particles, washing them away, making your hair look healthy, clean and full of body. The Invigorating Scalp Treatment contains phytic acid to help reduce the pH of the scalp. When used in conjunction with the Hairmax LaserComb, this facilitates laser absorption from the HairMax into the scalp.

HAIR FORTIFIER - Retail Price: $7.50
Many of us take vitamins to maintain the health of our body. Well our scalp isn’t any different. HairMax Hair and Scalp Fortifier are vitamins for your hair. This product is infused with a special combination of botanical nutrients, DHT blockers and innovative ingredients, like caffeine, oleanolic acid and biotinoyl tripeptide, that are believed to have positive results for healthier looking hair. HairMax Hair and Scalp Fortifying mist is delivered directly to the root of the hair, maximizing the benefits these innovative ingredients may provide.

About Lexington International, LLC

Based in Boca Raton , Lexington is a manufacturer and developer of advanced phototherapy devices for home use. Lexington International markets the only laser device that has published the results of the efficacy of the device in a peer review journal. The HairMax is also the first and only device of its kind with FDA Clearance for marketing. Over the past 10 years and in over 155 countries worldwide, Lexington Int., LLC has helped hundreds of thousands of individuals to treat their hair condition. For more information, please visit:


Go to Hairmax and tell me another product they carry that you would like to try. This entry must be done or the extra entries will not count. US ONLY!


1.Blog or post about this on Facebook. Get 3 entries for each.
2.Follow my blog via GFC, subscribe through RSS Feed or email or follow me on Twitter. Get one entry for each you do.
3.Enter any of my other currently running giveaways. Let me know which ones.
4.Leave a comment on any of my review only posts. This must be for reviews only! Leave a comment for each.
5.Tweet about this giveaway. Can be done three times a day

6.Follow Hairmax on Twitter. Get 2 entries for this so leave two comments.
7.Fan Hairmax on Facebook. Get two entries for this.

This giveaway will end 8/2. Winner will be chosen through and they will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. I am not in charge of getting the prize to you but I will do everything possible to get it to you.

Napoli Boys Natural Italian Ice Review PLUS Giveaway!

Howdy all!
Today I have a product that is sooo needed during this heat wave. I am telling you, talk about delicious and right on the spot. I am talking about, italian ice! Napoli Boys Italian Ice sent me four of their products for review. I can't wait to tell you about them! But, make sure to read through because they have also agreed to host a giveaway:) That is at the end!

Our All Natural recipes are the perfect solution for people with food allergies and families challenged with autism, as our products DO NOT contain artificial ingredients, glutens and other additives. Not to mention, Italian Ice contain less sugar than Sorbet, so it is great choice.

Our product is so good we became the first All Natural Italian Ice offered in a pint, people simply wanted more in each serving.

Now, I received all four of their flavors. Cherry, Lemon, Chocolate and Mango. When I first got them in, I had to race them into the freezer. It was hot outside and they were somewhat melted. And the chocolate one had come open so it was only half full. But I still had plenty left to review. But as you can tell from the pictures, the containers did look a little bit of a mess. That is the reason why. Nothing major and it was well due to the heat outside.

My favorite one out of them all was the Chocolate. I wasn't too sure about how chocolate Italian Ice would taste, but I was pleasantly surprised:) It was very cooling and tasted almost like ice cream, minus all the added sugar! This stuff is much better for you than ice cream. I really liked how it tasted and the texture was a little more grainy than ice cream, that was the only difference I could find. Again, this is not supposed to be like ice cream, it is italian ice, but it had a very nice smooth flavor. And I would readily eat the chocolate instead of ice cream, it was that good.

I had a hard time choosing my second favorite. It fell between the Cherry and the Lemon. The Mango was my least favorite of them all. It still had a good flavor but I much preferred the others over the mango. The cherry has a very strong flavor and reminds me of a cherry chip ice cream. The lemon has a sweet and tangy flavor that makes you pucker:) Very nice flavor but strong. These flavors are very much needed during this hot time. They cool off and refresh without being thick. I have gone through two of the containers, with the rest of the family:) and I love the taste!

If you are looking for something that is light and fresh, I suggest you try out the Napoli Boys Natural Italian Ice. They are really good and taste great! All natural and fresh for you:)
Now, you remember about the giveaway? Napoli Boys is offering one of my readers the chance to win their own Chocolate Italian Ice! YOU HAVE TO PAY SHIPPING!! Please read this so you don't get chosen as the winner and then back out. You will have to pay shipping on your win. It should not be too much.

MANDATORY ENTRY- Tell me which flavor you would like best. This is the mandatory entry and must be done or the extra entries do not count. WINNER WILL PAY SHIPPING EXPENSES. Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you are the winner.


1.Blog or post about this on Facebook. Get 3 entries for each.
2.Follow my blog via GFC, subscribe through RSS Feed or email or follow me on Twitter. Get one entry for each you do.
3.Enter any of my other currently running giveaways. Let me know which ones.
4.Leave a comment on any of my review only posts. This must be for reviews only! Leave a comment for each.
5.Tweet about this giveaway. Can be done three times a day

6.Like Napoli Boys on Twitter. You get two entries for this so please leave 2 comments.
7.Follow Napoli Boys on Facebook. Get 2 entries for this so leave 2 comments.

This giveaway will end 8/1. Winner will be chosen through and they will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. I am not in charge of getting the prize to you but I will make everything possible to get it to you.
I received complimentary product for review purposes. I did not receive any monetary compensation. All thoughts are 100% mine.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Back to School With Master Lock

With the back to school craze that is starting to hit parents again, there are many things we need to remember. Often we get so busy making sure we have all the notebooks, pencils, backpacks and all those other accessories that we need, that we forget to slow down and take it easy. I wanted to give a little bit of advice and maybe a hint or two:)

My favorite tip for surviving the school year is to be prepared. I know many times something comes up or maybe we forget something, but being prepared can really help out a lot. Have an extra stash of notepads on hand at the house. Pack an extra pencil or two. We like to have a bin with double of everything that you might need for the school year. You never know when it will come in handy.

Master Lock has come up with a team to help you get through your school year. They have a Facebook page for Master Lock that has an area where you can ask questions and get answers. I would suggest checking this page out as there are some handy tips on there! They even have a Youtube channel that you should watch! The Master Mind has the answers!

In writing this post I am entering a contest for a Master Lock back-to-school prize pack as a member of the Mom Bloggers Club.

FIRST WildCard Book Tour Shadows on the Sand by Gayle Roper

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Shadows on the Sand: A Seaside Mystery

Multnomah Books (July 19, 2011)

MY REVIEW-I LOVED this book! Very interesting and entertaining mystery novel. Gayle writes a wonderful cast of characters and they are all intriguing. This was my first read from Gayle and I will be looking for more of her titles.

The mystery aspect was well written. I enjoyed trying to figure out who had done what and who the ultimate bad guy was. My favorite character was probably Greg. He had gone through so much and was trying to work things out for himself and his friends. I felt bad for Carrie and her sister when you find out everything they have been through in their lives. One thing that I thought was funny was the whole Twitter thing. You never realize how much media impacts our lives and this somewhat showed a part that it does play. Great extra part, Gayle! I would suggest this book for those people who want to find out who-dun-it. Great mystery!

***Special thanks to Laura Tucker of WaterBrook Multnomah Publicity for sending me a review copy.***


Gayle Roper, a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America, is the multi-award-winning, best-selling author of Fatal Deduction and more than forty other books. She teaches and leads mentoring clinics at writers’ conferences across the country. Gayle lives in eastern Pennsylvania.

Visit the author's website.


Carrie Carter’s small café in Seaside, New Jersey, is populated with a motley crew of locals … although Carrie only has eyes for Greg Barnes. He’s recovering from a vicious crime that three years ago took the lives of his wife and children—and from the year he tried to drink his reality away. While her heart does a happy Snoopy dance at the sight of him, he never seems to notice her, to Carrie’s chagrin.

When Carrie’s dishwasher is killed and her young waitress disappears, leaving only cryptic clues in her Sudoku book, Greg finds himself drawn into helping Carrie solve the mysteries … and into her life. But when Carrie’s own painful past becomes all too present, her carefully constructed world begins to sink.

Will the fragile relationship she’s built with Greg implode from the weight of the baggage they both carry?

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Multnomah Books (July 19, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1601420846
ISBN-13: 978-1601420848


So Bill punched him in the nose, Carrie!” Andi Mueller swung an arm to demonstrate and nearly clipped me. “He was wonderful!”

I leaned back and held up a hand for protection. “Easy, kiddo.” I smiled at the girl and her enthusiasm.

Andi giggled like the smitten sixteen-year-old she was. “Sorry.”

“Mmm.” I rested my elbows on the pink marble counter that ran along one wall of Carrie's Café, located two blocks from the boardwalk in the center of Seaside, New Jersey. I was the Carrie of the café's name, and Andi was one of my servers, in fact, my only server at the moment. She'd been with me almost two months now, taking up the slack when the summer kids left to go back to college or on to real jobs.

“Let me get this straight,” I said. “On Saturday night Bill, who is your true soul mate, punched Jase, our Jase, for paying too much attention to you at a party.” I didn't think my voice was too wry, but soul mates at sixteen made me both cynical and scared, teen hormones being what they were.

Andi just grinned with delight of the even-mentioning-his-name-givesme-the-vapors kind and nodded as she sat on a stool at the counter. “Isn't it romantic?”

I was hearing this tale today, Monday, because now that the season was over, Carrie's was closed on Sundays. My staff and I had earned our day of rest over a very busy and marginally profitable summer. We might be able to stay open for another year if nothing awful happened, like the roof leaking or the dishwasher breaking.

Listening to Andi made me feel ancient. I was only thirty-three, but had I ever been as young as she? Given the trauma of my growing-up years, I probably hadn't. I was glad that whatever her history, and there was a history, she could giggle.

“How do you expect to continue working with Jase after this encounter?” I was very interested in her answer. Jase was one of three part-time dishwashers at the café. All three were students at the local community college and set their schedules around classes. Jase worked Tuesdays and Saturdays from six in the morning until three, and the last thing I wanted was contention in the kitchen between Andi and him.

Andi looked confused. “Why should I have trouble with Jase? I didn't punch him. Besides he's an old--” She cut herself off.

I wanted to pursue her half-thought, but the door of the café opened, and Greg Barnes walked in, all scruffy good looks and shadowed eyes. His black hair was mussed as if he hadn't combed it, and he had a two-day stubble. He should have looked grubby, but somehow he didn't. He looked wonderful.

All thoughts of Bill and Jase fled as my heart did the little stuttery Snoopy dance it always did at the sight of Greg. Before he could read anything in my face, assuming he noticed me as someone other than the person who fed him, I looked down at the basket of fresh-from-the-oven cinnamon-swirl muffins I was arranging.

Andi glanced from me to him and, much too quick and clever, smiled with a knowing look. I held my breath. She wasn't long on tact, and the last thing I wanted was for her to make some leading remark. I felt I could breathe again when all she did was wink at me. Safe for the moment, at least.

Greg came to the counter and slid onto his favorite stool, empty now that the receding flood of summer tourists left it high and dry this third week in October, a vinyl-covered Ararat postdeluge.

“The usual?” I asked, my voice oh-so-casual.

He gave a nod, barely glancing my way, and opened his copy of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Press of Atlantic City waited. I turned to place his order, but there was no need. Lindsay, my sister, partner, and the café's baker, had been listening to Andi's story through the serving window. She waved her acknowledgment before I said a word. She passed the order to Ricky, our short-order cook, who had stayed with us longer than I expected, long enough that he had become almost as much of an asset to Carrie's as Lindsay was.

My sister gave me a sly smile, then called, “Hi, Greg.”

He looked up from his paper and gave Lindsay a very nice smile, far nicer than he ever gave me.

“The sticky buns are all gone,” he said in mild accusation, nodding toward the glass case where we kept Lindsay's masterpieces.

She grinned. “Sorry. You've got to get here earlier.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Or you could make more.”

“I'll take the suggestion under advisement,” she said agreeably.

“Haven't you heard the adage about making your customers happy?”

“Yeah. So?”

He laughed and turned a page in the paper. I brought him a glass of OJ and a cup of my special blend.

“How're you doing?” I asked, just as I did every morning.

He gave me a vague smile. “Fine.” Just as he said every morning.

But he wasn't. Oh, he was better than, say, a year ago, definitely better than two years ago, but he wasn't well. Even three years after the tragedy that had altered his life, he was far from his self-proclaimed fine. If you looked closely--as I did--you could see the strain never completely left his eyes, and the purple stains under them were too deep and dark, a sure sign that a good night's sleep was still little more than a vague memory for him.

But he was sober. More than two years and counting.

“Keep talking, Andi,” Lindsay said as Ricky beat Greg's eggs and inserted his wheat bread in the toaster. “This is better than reality TV. It's really real.” She walked out of the kitchen into the café proper. “Bill bopped Jase,” she prompted.

“Our Jase,” I clarified.

Greg looked up. “Your dishwasher?”

I nodded.

“Hmm.” And he went back to his paper.

“And Jase went down for the count.” Andi's chest swelled with pride at her beloved's prowess.

I flinched. “Don't you think knocking a guy out for talking to you is a bit much?”

Andi thought for almost half a second, then shook her head. “It wasn't for just Saturday. He knows Jase and I work together, and he was staking his claim.”

I'd seen Jase and Andi talking in the kitchen, but there never seemed to be any romantic overtones. “Jase is a nice guy and a good worker. I don't want to lose him because of your boyfriend.”

“He is, and I don't want him to go either,” Andi agreed. “I like talking to him.”

“Me too.” Lindsay rested an elbow on the counter and propped her chin in her palm. “I think he's sad.”

“What do you mean, sad?” But I'd sensed he was weighed down with something too.

“He's funny and open most of the time,” Lindsay said, “but sometimes when no one's talking to him, I see this look of sorrow on his face.”

I nodded. “All the more reason to hate that he got punched.”

“Yeah.” Lindsay got a dreamy look in her dark brown eyes. “But there's something about a guy defending you, even if what he's defending you from isn't really a threat.” She sighed.

“Lindsay!” I was appalled. “Get a grip.” Though if Greg ever wanted to defend me, I was pretty sure I wouldn't mind. Of course, that presupposed he'd notice I was in trouble. I glanced at him bent over his paper. Not likely to happen. I bit back a sigh.

“Tell me, Andi. Does Bill plan to punch out any male who talks to you?”

“Come on, Carrie,” Andi said. “Don't be mad at Bill. You know how guys can be when they've had a few beers.”

I did know how guys could be, beers or no beers. “What were you doing at a party where there was drinking?”

She became all prim and prissy. “I did not drink.”

“I should hope not, but you shouldn't have been there.” Good grief. I was sounding more and more like her mother--or how her mother would have sounded if she weren't missing in action somewhere. Part of that history I didn't know.

“Order up,” Ricky announced as he walked to the pass-through. “The food is never better than when I plate it.”

You'd have thought he was Emeril or Wolfgang Puck or one of Paula Deen's sons, not a stopgap cook who couldn't find any other job after graduating from college with a psychology degree and who stayed around because he had a crush on the baker.

I grabbed Greg's scrambled eggs and wheat toast and served them. He accepted them with a nod and a grunt.

“So what happened to Jase?” I asked Andi. I found myself hoping Bill had bruised a knuckle or two in his violence, though I was pretty sure it meant I was a terrible person too. I didn't wish for a broken hand or anything that extreme, just something to remind him that punching wasn't the way to handle a perceived rival.

Andi waved her hand vaguely. “Bill and a buddy carried Jase to his car. They only dropped him once.”

I imagined the thunk of poor Jase's head hitting the ground and flinched in sympathy. No such thought bothered Andi. She was too busy being thrilled by Bill, who rode in like her shining knight, laying waste to the enemy with knuckles instead of the more traditional lance.

“How much older than you is Bill?” Lindsay asked.

Good question, Linds.

Andi studied the cuticle of her index finger. “He's nineteen.”

Lindsay and I exchanged a glance. Those three years from sixteen to nineteen were huge.

I couldn't keep quiet. “So he shouldn't have been drinking at this party either.”

Andi slid off her stool. If looks killed, Lindsay'd be sprinkling my ashes in the ocean tomorrow morning.

“What does Clooney think of you and Bill?” Lindsay asked. Clooney was Andi's great-uncle, and she lived with him.

Andi cleared her throat. “We don't talk about Bill.”

“Does he know about Bill?” Lindsay's concern was obvious.

Andi stared through long bangs that hung over her hazel eyes. The silky hair sometimes caught in her lashes in a way that made me blink but didn't seem to bother her. “Of course Clooney knows. Do you think I'd keep a secret from him?”

“I didn't think you would.” Lindsay smiled. “I'm glad to know I was right.”

So was I. Sixteen could go in so many different directions, and I'd hate for this pixie to make wrong choices--or more wrong choices.

“Is he going to college?” I asked. “Bill?”

“He was, but not now.” Her fingernail became even more absorbing. “He dropped out of Rutgers at the end of his freshman year.”

Uh-oh. Dropped out or failed out? “Does he plan to go back? Try again?”

She shrugged. “He doesn't know. Right now he's happy just being. And going to parties. And taking me.” By the time she was finished, she was bouncing at the excitement of it all, her strawberry blond ponytail leaping about her shoulders.

Greg looked up from his newspaper. “So this guy took you, a very underage girl, to a party where there was lots of drinking?”

Andi looked at him, eyes wide, acting as if he'd missed the whole point of her story. “Don't worry about me, Mr. Barnes. Or any of you.” She included Lindsay and me with a nod of her head. “I can handle any problems that might develop at a party. Believe me, I've dealt with far worse.”

I was intrigued. I'd stared down plenty of problems in my time too, and I wondered how her stare downs compared to mine.

She grinned and waved a hand as if she were wiping away her momentary seriousness. “But I'd rather talk about how great Bill is.”

“So how great is he?” Lindsay asked. “Tell me all.” At twenty-seven, she was an incurable romantic. I wasn't sure how this had come to pass, since she had every reason to be as cynical as I, but there you are.

I frowned at her. “Stop encouraging the girl.”

Lindsay just grinned.

I looked at Andi's happy face and had to smile too. “So what's this wonderful guy doing if he's not in school?” Besides being and partying.

“Uh, you mean like a job or something?”

“Yeah.” Lindsay and I exchanged another glance. Greg looked up again at Andi's reluctant tone.

“Well, he was a lifeguard over the summer. He's got this fabulous tan, and it makes him so handsome.”

Soul mate stuff if I ever heard it. I half expected her to swoon like a nineteenth-century Southern belle with her stays laced too tightly. “What about now? Postseason?”

“And he was the quarterback on the high school football team two years ago when they won the state championship.”

“Very impressive. What about now?”

“He was named Most Valuable Player.”

“Even more impressive. What about now?”

She began making sure the little stacks of sugar and sweetener packets in the holders on the counter were straight. “Right now he's just trying to figure it all out.”

Being. Figuring. And punching guys out while he thought. “You mean he's trying to decide what he wants to be when he grows up?”

She glared at me. In her mind he was grown up. She turned her back with a little sniff and went to clean off a dirty table.

Lindsay swallowed a laugh. “Your sarcastic streak is showing, Carrie.”

Mr. Perkins, another regular at Carrie's Café and at eighty in better health than the rest of us put together, rapped his cup on the pink marble counter. He'd been sitting for several minutes with his eyes wide behind his glasses as he listened to Andi.

“No daughter of mine that age would ever have gone to a party where there was drinking,” he said. “It's just flat out wrong.”

Since I agreed, I didn't mention that he was a lifelong bachelor and had no daughters.

He rapped his cup again.

“Refill?” I asked, not because I didn't know the answer but because the old man liked to think he was calling the shots.

He nodded. “Regular too. None of that wimpy decaf. I got to keep my blood flowing, keep it pumping.”

I smiled with affection as I topped off his cup. He gave the same line every day. “Mr. Perkins, you have more energy than people half your age.”

He pointed his dripping spoon at me. “And don't you forget it.”

“Watch it,” I said in a mock scold. “You're getting coffee all over my counter.”

“And a fine counter it is.” He patted the pink-veined marble slab. It was way too classy and way too pricey for a place like the café. “Did I ever tell you that I remember when it was the registration counter at Seaside's Grand Hotel? And let me tell you, it was a grand hotel in every sense of the word. People used to come from as far as Pittsburgh, even the president of U.S. Steel. Too bad it burned down. The hotel, not U.S. Steel.”

“Too bad,” I agreed. And yes, he'd told us the story many times.

“It was in 1943,” he said with a faraway look in his eyes. “I was thirteen.” He blinked back to the present. “It was during World War II, you know, and people said it was sabotage. Not that I ever believed that. I mean, why would the Germans burn down a resort hotel? But I'll tell you, my father, who was an air-raid warden, about had a seizure.”

“I bet he was convinced that the flames, visible for miles up and down the coast, would bring the German subs patrolling offshore right up on our beaches,” Lindsay said with a straight face. “They might have attacked us.”

I glared at her as she repeated word for word Mr. Perkins's line from the story. She winked unrepentantly.

Mr. Perkins nodded, delighted she was listening. “People kept their curtains drawn at night, and even the boardwalk was blacked out for the duration, the lights all covered except for the tiniest slit on the land side, so the flames from the fire seemed extra bright. All that wood, you know. Voom! ” He threw his hands up in the air.

Lindsay and I shook our heads at the imagined devastation, and I thought I saw Greg's lips twitch. He'd heard the story almost as many times as we had.

Mr. Perkins stirred his coffee. “After the war some investor bought the property.”

“I bet all that remained of the Grand was the little corner where the pink marble registration counter sat.” Lindsay pointed where I leaned. “That counter.”

Again she spoke his line with a straight face, and this time Greg definitely bit back a grin.

Mr. Perkins added another pink packet to his coffee. “That's right. The buyer decided to open a restaurant around the counter and build a smaller, more practical hotel on the rest of the property.”

Even that hotel was gone now, replaced many years ago by private homes rented each summer to pay the exorbitant taxes on resort property.

I walked to Greg with my coffeepot. “Refill?”

He slid his mug in my direction, eyes never leaving his paper.

Be still my heart.


The café door opened again, and Clooney sauntered in. In my opinion Clooney sauntered through life, doing as little as possible and appearing content that way. I, on the other hand, was a bona fide overachiever, always trying to prove myself, though I wasn't sure to whom. If Clooney weren't so charming, I'd have disliked him on principle. As it was, I liked him a lot.

Today he wore a Phillies cap, one celebrating the 2008 World Series victory. His gray ponytail was pulled through the back of the cap and hung to his shoulder blades.

“You work too hard, Carrie,” he told me frequently. “You'll give yourself indigestion or reflux or a heart attack or something. You need to take time off.”

“If I didn't want to pay the rent or have insurance or eat, I'd do that very thing,” I always countered.

“What you need is a rich husband.” And he'd grin.

“A solution to which I'm not averse. There just seems to be a shortage of candidates in Seaside.”

“Hey, Clooney,” Andi called from booth four, where she was clearing. She gave him a little finger wave. Clooney might be her great-uncle, but try as I might, I couldn't get her to call him Uncle Clooney. Just “Clooney” sounded disrespectful to me, but he didn't seem to mind.

“Hey, darlin'.” Clooney walked over to Andi and gave her a hug. Then he came to the counter and slid onto the stool next to Greg. He did not take off his cap, something that drove me crazy. I've developed this manners thing, probably because my childhood was so devoid of anything resembling pattern or politeness. I know people thought me prissy and old-fashioned, but I am what I am, a poor man's Miss Manners.

Clooney pointed at a muffin, and I placed one on a dish for him. He broke off a chunk, then glanced back at Andi. “She tell you about that fool Bill?”

I grinned at his disgruntled expression. “She did.”

“What is it with girl children?” he demanded. “I swear she's texted the news around the world.”

“She thinks it's a compliment--her knight defending her.”

Clooney and Greg snorted at the same time.

“Slaying a dragon who's threatening the life of the fair damsel's one thing,” Greg said, actually looking at me. “Decking a kid for saying hi to a pretty girl is another.”

“Your past life as a cop is showing,” I teased.

He shrugged as he turned another page of the paper. “Old habits die hard.”

The door opened again, and in strutted the object of our conversation. I knew it had to be him because, aside from the fact that he looked like a very tanned football player, he and Andi gazed at each other with love-struck goofy grins. I thought I heard Lindsay sigh.

Andi hurried toward the kitchen with an armful of dirty dishes from booth four. She squeaked in delight as Bill swatted her on the rump as she passed. Clooney stiffened at this unseemly familiarity with his baby. Mr. Perkins tsk-tsked his disapproval.

“Can I have breakfast now?” Andi asked when she reappeared empty- handed.

The wait staff usually ate around ten thirty at a back booth, and it was ten fifteen. We were in the off-season weekday lull between breakfast and lunch, and the three men on their stools were the only customers present. I nodded.

Bill looked toward the kitchen. He appeared overwhelmed at the prospect of food, unable to make a selection. He draped an arm over Andi's shoulder as he considered the possibilities, and she snuggled against him. Clooney's frown intensified.

Bill was a big guy, and it was clear by the way he carried himself that he still thought of himself as the big man on campus in spite of the fact that he was now campusless and unemployed. As I studied him, I wondered if high school football would end up being the high point of his life. How sad that would be. Clooney drifted through life by choice. I hoped Bill wouldn't drift for lack of a better plan or enough ability to achieve.

Careful, Carrie. I was being hard on this kid. Nineteen and undecided wasn't that unusual. Just because at his age I'd already been on my own for three years, responsible for Lindsay, who was six years my junior…

Bill gave Clooney, who was watching him with a rather sour look, a sharp elbow in the upper arm and asked, one guy to another, “What do you suggest, Clooney? What's really good here?”

Clooney's relaxed slouch disappeared. I saw the long-ago medal-winning soldier of his Vietnam days. “You will call me 'sir' until I give you permission to call me by name. Do you understand, boy?”

Bill blinked. So did I. Everyone in Seaside, no matter their age, called him Clooney.

“Stop that, Clooney!” Andi was appalled at her uncle's tone of voice.

“Play nice,” I said softly as I realized for the first time that I didn't know whether Clooney was his first name or last. I made a mental note to ask Greg. As a former Seaside cop, he might know. “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, darlin'.” Clooney gave Andi an easy smile. He gave Bill a hard stare. “Right, Bill?”

Bill blinked again. “Y-yes, sir.”

Andi took her beloved's hand and dragged him toward the back booth. “Ignore my uncle. He's having a bad day.” She glared over her shoulder at Clooney, who grinned back at her.

“She's got spunk, that one,” he said with pride.

“How'd she end up living with you?” I'd been longing to ask ever since Clooney showed up with Andi just before Labor Day and asked me to give her a job. I did, and I guess I thought that gave me the right to ask my question.

Clooney disagreed because he said, “I think I'll have one of your amazing Belgian waffles with a side of sausage.”

“I'm on it.” Lindsay headed back to the kitchen before I said a word. “Got it, Ricky?”

“Got it.” Ricky tested the waffle iron with a flick of water. He smiled as the water jumped and evaporated. He was a handsome kid with dark Latino looks of the smoldering kind, a young Antonio Banderas. Unfortunately for him, his smoldering looks appeared to have no effect on Linds.

Another victim of unrequited love.

Andi came to the counter and placed an order for Bill and herself. I blinked. We could have served the whole dining room on less.

Mr. Perkins eyed me. “Are you going to make him pay for all that? You should, you know.”

True, but I shook my head. “Job perk. He's cheaper than providing health benefits and not nearly as frustrating.”

“So say you.” Clooney settled to his waffle and sausage.

I watched the parade of laden plates emerge from the kitchen and make their way to the back booth, making me reconsider the “cheaper” bit. Andi took her seat and stared at Bill as if he could do no wrong in spite of the fact that he leaned on the table like he couldn't support his own weight. Didn't anyone ever tell the kid that his noneating hand was supposed to rest in his lap, not circle his plate as if protecting it from famished marauders or little girls with ponytails?

“Look at him,” Clooney said. “He's what? Six-two and over two hundred pounds? Jase Peoples is about five-eight and one-forty if he's wearing everything in his closet.”

“Let's forget about Jase, shall we?” Andi's voice was sharp as she came to the counter and reached for more muffins. “The subject is closed.”

I grabbed her wrist. “No more muffins. We need them for paying customers. If Bill's still hungry, he can have toast.”

“Or he could pay.” To Mr. Perkins a good idea was worth repeating.

Andi laughed at the absurdity of such a thought.

Ricky had left his stove and was leaning on the pass-through beside Lindsay. “Four slices coming up for Billingsley.”

“Billingsley?” I looked at the big guy as he downed the last of his four-egg ham-and-cheese omelet. With a name like that, it was a good thing he was big enough to protect himself.

“Billingsley Morton Lindemuth III,” Ricky said.

“I should never have told you.” Andi clearly felt betrayed.

“But you did. And you got to love it.” Laughing, Ricky turned to make toast.

“He hates it,” Andi said.

I wasn't surprised.

Greg drew in a breath like you do when something terrible happens. We all turned to stare at him.

“What's wrong?” I asked.

He was looking at the front page of The Press of Atlantic City. “Jase Peoples.”

“What?” I demanded.

Clooney grabbed the paper and followed Greg's pointing finger.

I could see the picture and the headline above it: “Have You Seen This Man?”
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