Blogging for Books: John Shaw’s Guide to Digital Nature Photography

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John Shaw is a very well known nature and travel photographer.  His photos are simply beautiful and stunning.  He’s one of the reasons why my

John has been a professional nature photographer since the 70’s and his work has been published in many publications-including National Geographic among others.  He offers six books and a total of ten e-books.  This book that I received free courtesy of Blogging for Books-John Shaw’s Guide to Digital Nature Photography is his latest book!

Nature, landscapes, and wildlife have a special place in my heart and always will.  It’s so peaceful to go out for a nature walk…even in your own backyard!  You will be surprised at what you find once you start to focus on the little things.

John has a blog {see here} and he also offers e-books and workshops for those interested in learning more about nature photography.

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This book covers some of the basics including what gear you should use (hence, this is a guide to digital nature photography), how to set up many menu options of your camera-including image quality, RAW recording, white balance, picture control, color space, and many more options.  The list really goes on and on!   He also shares a section on Tripods & Heads, Filters, and Flash in the first chapter.

Chapter two is all about Getting Started-including topics on Working in Stops, Exposure Modes, Metering and Metering Patterns, Manual Exposure, Autoexposure & Exposure Compensation, Proper exposure and Histograms, and High ISO.

Chapter three is all about Lenses!  He goes into great detail about certain topics like Depth of Field and Focusing a Lens.  Chapter four is about Composition, Chapter five consist of helpful information on Close-Ups, and the last and final Chapter six is all about John’s gear and his settings, his work in the field, and some great tips on working in the digital darkroom.

I see myself referring back to this book on a regular basis and John’s expert tips and advice will help anyone that is wanting to venture into the art of nature photography-whether you are a beginner or intermediate photographer. This book is also wonderful to  place on your coffee table for a conversation piece for guests.  His photography work is simply the best and anyone who enjoys nature will love his work.

I received this book for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased review courtesy of Blogging for Books

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Indoor S’mores!!

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I know…I know…Indoor S’mores are just not the same as being at a campfire and getting your messy on out by the moonlight.  But these babies are definitely ah-mazing when you are stuck inside on a rainy day and want a sweet treat!

My niece and nephew have never tried S’mores before and I wanted them to experience them whether or not they were indoor or outdoor S’mores.  I have promised them that I would take them camping this summer and although I know Dakota is looking forward to fishing more than anything, I know he might just be a bit excited about roasting some hot dogs and making some S’mores outside in the good ol’ outdoors.

Little Ms. Saniyah helped me assemble the s’mores…she loves to help her Aunt “G” bake and is oh so excited every time I ask her if she wants to help me bake something!

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I used these specific ingredients:

Honey Maid Graham Cracker Squares

Honey Maid shares a few different ways to make S’mores on their website.  You can go here to check them out.  They also have some fun ideas & recipes that you can check out.

Kraft Jet-Puffed S’moreMallows (perfect size mallows for the graham cracker squares)

Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bars

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I used this recipe from Food Network-recipe courtesy of Gale Gand.

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Ooey, gooey and oh so MESSY…but totally worth it!

Dakota & Saniyah absolutely loved them!

saniyah 02 S’mores are an essential camping tradition!  I’m so excited to take them camping this summer.  I know they will enjoy the experience more so than they did this time around.

What are your summer plans?  Do you go camping?  If so, what do you look forward to?  I love roasting hot dogs and marshmallows and reading spooky stories under the moonlight.  I’m hoping to get my other niece and nephew to come up from Georgia for this upcoming camping adventure.

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Zucchini & Carrot Zoodles

I received this Vegetable Spiral Slicer from Cucina E Larte and Snagshout for testing purposes and I knew exactly what I was going to make before I even got this product in the mail.  Zucchini noodles…aka Zucchini Zoodles!!

The spiral slicer is designed to make raw vegetables in a julienne format.  It works great on most vegetables including zucchini, carrots, cucumbers, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and more!  It’s amazingly easy to use this slicer…all you do is place the vegetable on one end of the slicer (it has two available julienne sizes-a medium cut and a large cut) and you twist the vegetable like sharpening a pencil and you get perfect spirals each time.

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What comes with the Vegetable Spiral Slicer?

1 slicer

a protective cap

quick reference quide

a cleaning brush

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Zucchini and carrot zoodles are a great way to get your veggies in!  Zoodles are a healthier substitute for pasta.  There are so many recipes on Pinterest for these zoodles.  I’ve dedicated a whole board for just Zoodles…you can see my board here to get some ideas for some recipes!

So far my faves are the recipes for Skinny Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Noodles , Spiralized Greek Cucumber Salad with Lemon and Feta, and Baked Ziti with Zucchini noodles!

You can also simply saute the zoodles in some olive oil for a side dish.  Zoodles will change the way you eat your veggies!  So nutritious and super yummy.  Even kids will like the spirals.

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The carrot zoodles are perfect to add onto salads!  I prepare them at the beginning of the week and store them in the fridge so I have them ready to top my salads for the week.  I also saute some zucchini and carrot zoodles at least twice a week in olive oil and serve with chicken or fish.  A perfect pair for a well balanced meal.

Have you tried Zoodles yet?  If so…what vegetables did you use?  I’ll be trying a butternut squash and sweet potato next over the weekend.  I’m excited to use my vegetable spiral slicer over the summer with all my fresh veggies coming in from our garden.

I received this product for a discount in exchange for my honest review courtesy of Cucina E L’arte and Snagshout.  

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goPure Naturals 100% Pure Peppermint Essential Oil Review #PeppermintOil

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 goPure Naturals 100% Peppermint Oil is a Grade A and Therapeutic Grade oil that contains no additives, no fragrance added, and no preservatives.  It stimulates, energizes, invigorates, and has a cooling effect when applied to the skin!  I’ve used Peppermint Oil in the past to relieve headaches, muscle pains and aches, to repel mosquitoes (they love me to death-especially around this time of the year), for aromatherapy in my diffuser, as well as giving me a burst of energy from time to time…kinda like a pick me up!

It’s also been known to help with indigestion, respiratory problems, headache, nausea, fever, stomach and bowel spasms and has been used for years.  Peppermint Oil has been a staple in medicine cabinets for generations and continues to be the world’s most common essential oil.

Peppermint oil is an anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, and a natural disinfectant that you can use in your home.  Here’s a list of things around the house you can use the oil for:

You can add a few drops to your trash can to give it a minty fresh and clean scent 

Add a few drops to your favorite cleaning agent and use spray in bathrooms & kitchens for an antibacterial cleaning agent

Place a few drops into a spray bottle and add some warm water then spray around the house {especially around windowsills and doorways} to keep the mice, roaches, flies and fleas out of your home

Use in a diffuser to get your home smelling nice, clean, and fresh

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This particular Peppermint Oil is mainly used for aromatherapy use, however, you may dilute the oil with a carrier oil such as jojoba oil and almond oil for other uses.  It is safe to apply to the Pure Peppermint Oil to your skin and can be used with all skin types…even with sensitive skin I had no problems or issues using this product on my skin.

You can purchase this specific Pure Peppermint Oil here on Amazon for $13.89 on sale now!  I have loved using this oil for aromatherapy, for headache/muscle aches & pain relief, as well as a cleaning agent!  There are so many different uses for this oil and you can’t go wrong with purchasing a bottle or two!  goPure Naturals offers a 90-day money back guarantee on all purchases.

goPure Natural’s social media outlets:




I received this product for FREE in exchange for my honest review courtesy of goPure Naturals and Tomoson.

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Healthier Homemade Potato Sticks!

Hello friends!  I hope you are enjoying the last bit of the weekend.  Today in NC it’s been rainy and cool.  Nice enough to let the windows down and breathe in all the fresh air!

Last night I made a homemade dinner which is usually odd for the weekend.  Noah and I usually go out on weekends because I cook so much during the week.  We didn’t feel like going out so I figured a nice home cooked meal would be appropriate.

We are fans of potatoes!  You name it…we love it.  Fries, baked potatoes, fried potatoes, twice baked potatoes, mashed tators (I think I’m going into a CARB overload right now).  In the past year I have switched from using Vegetable Oil to using only Coconut Oil or Olive Oil.  This has been such a big change for us and it’s really helped to give some of my dishes a healthier outcome.

Today I’m sharing my recipe for Homemade Fried Potato Sticks!!

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I used 2 medium russet potatoes for this recipe.  I washed and cleaned these babies and then I cut them into sticks.

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Now it’s time to add the seasonings and spices.  I used about a tablespoon of Olive Oil to coat the potato sticks in and then combined some Salt-Free Mrs. Dash Original Blend Seasoning, garlic powder, pepper (not pictured), parsley flakes, crushed oregano, and I used both the Carolina Hickory Smoked Sea Salt and the Cypress White Flake Sea Salt that I received from The Spice Lab.

I didn’t measure out the seasonings or spices…just eyeballed the amount.

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This is what you get when your done with mixing all the spices & seasoning in with the potato sticks.  Now they are ready for the skillet!  I put some Olive Oil into the pan along with a scoop of some Coconut Oil as well.

I use this brand of Coconut Oil.  It’s certified 100% organic.  You can purchase it here.


I place the skillet on the burner and heat it up to medium heat and then place the potato sticks into the skillet and let them cook (covered with a lid) for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally with a spatula.  You don’t want to mess with them too much or they will break apart.  Once the 10 minutes is up stir gently and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes.


I had already prepared some pulled pork and some corn so that’s what we had with the potato sticks!  I served it with a salad with homemade cucumber ranch dressing {post coming soon}.  It was a great meal…very delicious.  Noah was a happy camper!

What did you eat over the weekend?  Do you go out to eat on the weekends or do you like to stay in and cook?

Stay tuned this week…I will be doing a video unboxing and post on my experience with Blue Apron!  Blue Apron is a subscription service that delivers fresh ingredients & great recipes delivered weekly right to your home!  I’ll also have a special discount for my blog readers!!

Bella Organics Deodorant Creme Review + Giveaway #LoveYourBody

Since I’m trying to gradually switch my skincare products over to all natural and organic products as much as I can I was so very anxious to test out Bella Organics Vanilla Mint Deodorant Creme!

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Did you know that the deodorant you are using might be causing you hormonal issues and can be possibly be linked to other ailments?  I never thought twice about the safety of using deodorant until recently.  I’ve learned that most deodorants contain Aluminum Zirconium, Phthalates, and Parabens.  

Why is that a bad thing?  Well…Aluminum Zirconium is a heavy metal that stops your skin from sweating (it is natural for your body to sweat) and causes the skin cells to swell and the sweat glands to close.  Phthalates soften plastics and are known to disrupt the body’s hormones.  Parabens can act similarly to estrogen.

Bella Organics products will never contain water, emulsifiers, or any of the toxic or unnatural ingredients that are found today in most mass-market products.

Product Description:  Organic, chemical-free cream deodorant that really works!  Organic arrowroot powder absorbs wetness naturally. Organic Shea butter soothes and moisturizes dry skin. Coconut oil has natural anti-bacterial properties as well as soothes and conditions the skin. Organic peppermint and organic tea tree essential oils provide anti-bacterial and germ-killing anti-septic properties. It leaves you feeling confidently cool, fresh and clean.

Directions for use: Scoop a pea-sized amount from the jar with clean fingers. Rub onto each underarm until deodorant is applied.

Ingredients: Organic Shea Butter, Organic Arrowroot Powder, (Vegan), Organic Sunflower Oil,  Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, Aluminum-Free Baking Soda, Organic Peppermint Essential Oil, Organic Vanilla Extract, Organic Tea Tree Essential Oil.

 Size: 2 oz

 Shelf Life: 12 Months

They offer their deodorant creme in several scents including:

Lavender Vanilla

Vanilla Mint

Lemongrass Bergamot

Orange and Spice

Iced Lemonade

Ocean (for men)

The Woods (for men)

If you currently use a anti-perspirants when you start using Bella Organics Deodorant creme your body will detox for 4-15 days.  In that period of time…you might stink.  As your body tries to remove the toxic buildup through sweat, an odor may become present.  It’s a natural process and most anti perspirants work to clog the pores or shrink the sweat glands.  Some of the ingredients in those anti perspirants can be different forms of aluminum which has been linked to breast cancer, Alzheimer’s, and various other ailments.

Bella Organics deodorant cremes work to fight the bacteria while providing a healthier option than anti perspirants and also adds a more pleasant scent to the underams.   I personally love the Vanilla Mint and I’m looking forward to ordering the Iced Lemonade and Lavender Vanilla as well.

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Bella Organics also has products for your face such as face serums, mud masks, lip balms, and lip glosses as well as their body care line which includes hand soap, hand cream, skin balm, body butter, diaper cream, and baby lotion.

I received this product for free in exchange for my review courtesy of Bella Organics and Tomoson.  

Giveaway time!  Enter by clicking the link below.  Giveaway ends on 04-24.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Giveaway winner is:

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#Foxbrim Vitamin C Lotion Review

I’ve been very selective of the products I’ve been picking to test and review lately.  Mainly because I’m really trying to use products for my skin that are all natural and organic.  I’ve even tested out a Organic Deodorant Creme which I’ll be blogging about later!   Tonight I’m going to tell you a little bit about Foxbrim and specifically their Vitamin C Lotion.

Foxbrim’s mission is simple…to provide the highest quality premium all-natural products and deliver absolute beauty. Nothing less.  They source premium all-natural and organic ingredients and craft them into scientifically proven products and they offer a 100% money back guarantee on all their products.

The Vitamin C Lotion is a lightweight, effective and natural solution for dry and under-nourished skin.  Powerful antioxidants like Vitamin C and Green Tea work together with Jojoba Oil + Shea Butter as a natural moisturizing team.  It leaves your skin feeling soft and hydrated.  I apply it to my face, neck, and hands.  My hands stay dry so it’s important that I keep them moisturized.  It absorbs quickly into your skin and has a light sweet scent.  It has a cooling sensation and it’s safe to use for any skin type.

Also known to lighten sun spots and discolorations on your skin, this Vitamin C Lotion will restore and strengthen your skin all while giving you a youthful glow.

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I’ve been using this product for more than three weeks now and I apply it every morning and every evening after washing my face.  I have had no break outs or rashes from using this product and since I have really sensitive skin this is a huge plus for me!

You can purchase the Vitamin C Lotion here.

I received this product for free in exchange for a review courtesy of Foxbrim and Tomoson.  

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