Author Archives: Carrie

REVIEW: Zakia’s Morocco Moroccan Ghassoul Clay Mask



In the summer, nearly everyone has an issue with their skin.  For me, no matter if I wash twice a day, my skin will quickly get oily and my pores clogged.  I am a huge fan of facial masks, no matter what the season, so I was excited to try out a mask you can DIY: Zakia’s Morocco Moroccan Ghassoul Clay Mask.

A weekly mask with natural and organic clay from deep inside the Ancient Atlas Mountains of Morocco are the perfect skin treatment for cleaning, detoxifying, toning and rejuvenating. A facial mask treatment made from Ghassoul clay can be relaxing and give your skin a new healthy glow. Ghassoul clay’s most impressive properties in skin improvement are its capacity of absorption and adsorption due to its high level of ion exchange. Ghassoul is a mineral rich, light brown clay that blends extremely well with water making its application to the face and skin a smooth and delightful experience. Use on skin and hair – it even makes for a fabulous shampoo; mix a small amount of powder in your favorite shampoo – wash and rinse. Super cleansing!

What is so cool about this mask is not only can you mix it to your own specifications, you can use it in several different ways!

I first used the powder itself, mixed with water, to make a facial mask.


The clay itself doesn’t have any scent to speak of, so that should appeal to those with more sensitive skin.


The recommended instructions call for one part clay to be mixed with five parts water, but for my preference I found this to be way, way too thin.  The photo above shows one heaping tablespoon of Moroccan Ghassoul Clay combined with two tablespoons of water.  This made more than enough to completely cover my entire face.


The mask, even when nearly dry, was really easy to wash off–I didn’t need the help of a washcloth at all! I could immediately feel the results of the clay working on my pores; my skin felt tighter, more radiant, and refreshingly clean.

I also had enough of the mask left to add to my regular shampoo and use to wash my hair.  My hair definitely felt squeaky clean, but I would use extra conditioner as the clay may strip your hair of its’ natural protective oils.


I loved being in control of mixing my own beauty product.  I can’t wait to make an even larger batch of Zakia’s Morocco Moroccan Ghassoul Clay Mask to use on other parts of my body!

Zakia’s Morocco is offering my readers a special discount in their purchase!  Visit and enter code ZMBLOG-208 at checkout to save 20%.  Even better–the Moroccan Ghassoul Clay Mask is on sale right now!

Organize & Store Your Digital Photos with PicJoy!

This post was created in partnership with Mom Buzz Media.

picjoy ROF

Picjoy is an intelligent photo library that automatically organizes all of your precious photos and helps you locate them instantly. Can you imagine having all of your photos organized? That’s what’s so exciting about PicJoy.

Record the details and stories behind each of your photos.
Watch Picjoy instantly organize your photos for you – no matter where they are stored!
◆ FIND ◆
Search by category or keyword to retrieve any photo you’ve ever taken right from your mobile phone.

If you have a child, it’s a given you take a lot of pics…wouldn’t you love an easy way to store and organize them? Picjoy is the amazing tool that’s perfect for this! My favorite feature is the one that lets you add notes and details to your pics, so you always recall the specifics of the moment you captured.  The app is sleek and easy to use.  You can even organize the photos you already have on your phone. I recommend this app for all moms!

PICJOY is available now on iTunes FREE for a limited time!

Picjoy photo app will also be available for the Android
market on Google Play soon so be looking for it!

$5 if you show me from PicJoy on Vimeo.

And NOW for the GIVEAWAY!!!

picjoy giveaway button

Picjoy is thrilled to finally be able to share their app with the world! In celebration we will be giving away a few gift cards sponsored by Picjoy and hosted by the Mom Buzz Media Bloggers!

4 Winners each get a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Giveaway ends 6/30 at 11:59pm CST. Winners will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond. If no response is received, then a new winner will be chosen. All winning entries will be verified. Sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment. US Residents only please. Good Luck!


6 Vegetables to Repurpose Instead of Compost

Any vegetable gardener can tell you that a lot of plant matter ends up in the compost pile. Likewise, the majority of home cooks know that much of the produce they buy ends up in the form of trimmings and peels that never get eaten.

There’s an increasing passion for restricting our food waste at home, kindled both by conservation and mindfulness. If you invest the time in getting a food plant to grow, you want to eat as much of it as possible. Following are some interesting ways to consume plant parts before they become compost.

1. Kale, mustard and collard greens stems. Most stems of leafy vegetables are edible even though the recipes instruct you to throw them away. You can trim the bottoms off the stems and slice the rest thinly crosswise, which adds an attractive component to cooked greens. The flesh is somewhat sweeter than their leafy parts.

2. Radish greens. Radish greens are delicious, edible greens that we regularly throw out. Similar to spinach, they cook fast and shrivel down significantly, so make sure to add them to a pan with other greens toward the end of cooking. Radish greens have a very short shelf life, so if you plan to cook them you will need to do so within a day or two of buying the radishes.

3. Carrot tops. Carrot top pesto is becoming increasing popular. Use the green lacy fronds of carrots as you would basil leaves to make perfectly great tasting pesto.

4. Lettuce cores. When you make a salad with head lettuce, such as romaine or Boston, cut out the core, thinly slice it and add those pieces to the salad. The bitter flavor is suggestive of Belgian endive or chicory. The resilient crunch adds an interesting element to traditional tossed salads, perfect for a picnic!

5. Tomato leaves. Though once thought to be toxic, the bitter leaves of tomato plants are edible. They will make your tomato sauces emerge with an unmistakable scent. Just slip a few tomato leaves into your sauce like you would with oregano or basil.

6. Celery leaves. The yellow inner stalks near the center of a bunch of celery have a buttery texture, with an assertive bite that awakens the flavor of chopped and tossed salads. Use them as you would a fresh, leafy herb. You can also add the tiny, leafy inner celery stalks to stocks and soups, but be conservative because they are potent.

If you love looking at familiar ingredients in new ways, discovering different uses for what usually lands in the trash or rubbish heap is a tiny thrill and inspiring challenge—you’ll find unexpected flavors and textures that make you rethink the common, blasé produce we all take for granted.

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Mercy House by Adam Cesare

Mercy House

by Adam Cesare


Book Description

Harriet Laurel notices the odor at Mercy House as soon as she sets foot inside, brought there against her will by her son, Don, and his wife, Nikki. In the early stages of dementia, Harriet has grown resentful of Nikki, blaming her daughter-in-law for failing to supply grandchildren. Yet even Harriet must admit that her mind becomes clearer as soon as she crosses the threshold. If it wasn’t for that annoying smell.

Arnold Piper is an eighty-five-year-old ex-Marine, a proud man who has cared for himself his whole life. But no longer. Betrayed by his aging body, Arnold is learning that the trials he survived long ago in war-torn Korea pale beside the daily indignities of growing old. Little does he know that his greatest nightmares are still ahead of him.

Sarah Campbell is an idealistic nurse whose compassion has been stretched to the breaking point at the chronically understaffed facility that is Mercy House. But now Sarah’s list of unpleasant duties is about to take a terrifying turn. For something wicked is brewing in Mercy House. Something dark and rotten . . . and deadly.



The book started out in a promising way, but quickly became a gore fest….it was gore just for the sake of having gore, in my opinion.

In this tale, some sort of change comes over the residents of a nursing home so that they’re not only growing stronger and overpowering the staff and visitors, they are in fact thirsting for their blood!  I wouldn’t call this a zombie book, though.

We learn just enough about the main characters so that we care what happens to them; even though some are stereotypes, we still want them to survive.  The book is pretty fast paced, with action happening within the first 20%, and ramping up quickly after that.

While I like the author’s writing style and originality, I had a hard time taking this story seriously sometimes.  It’s not that the blood and gore turned my stomach, it’s that it seemed it was at times just put into the plot for shock value, not to add anything.  I would recommend this book only for strict horror fans who want a different, but still familiar feeling, book about survival horror.

About the Author

Adam Cesare is a New Yorker who lives in Philadelphia. He studied English and film at Boston University. His books include Video Night, The Summer Job, Zero Lives Remaining, and Tribesmen. His nonfiction has appeared in Paracinema, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and other venues.

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Purchase Links

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One reader will win a copy of MERCY HOUSE by Adam Cesare + a Hydra mug


REVIEW: All Radiant Laundry Detergent


I’m going to be honest…laundry very rarely, if ever, gets sorted in my household.  We wear mostly colors, so there’s not really enough to make a full load of white laundry when it’s time to wash.  I haven’t had any MAJOR clothing color transfer accidents (so far)!  It’s hard to find a detergent that works to actually improve your clothing, and on both whites and colors–but I believe I have found the best of both worlds in new All Radiant!


All Radiant is infused with Patented Fiber Shield™ Technology to restore dingy whites and protect your colors from fading. You can use it in every load to help keep your clothes looking their best. Safe for all colors and for use in all washing machines.


The scent is fresh without being too overpowering, perfumed, or flowery.  The measurements inside the lid are easy to see, and go all the way up to level 5 for super big loads!  After a few uses, I noticed that my son’s white karate gi, absolutely the hardest garment in the house to keep white, was looking brighter and less dingy.  It’s so amazing that All Radiant can work to reverse even dirt and grime that has been set in clothes for a while!  Once school comes back around, I’ll continue to use All Radiant to keep my son’s school uniforms, which are red and blue, at their newest and prevent fading.

All Radiant can be found in stores now!  Pick some up today to help keep your laundry looking great.


3 Ways to Use Personalized Candy in Your Life

When it comes to gifts – or even giveaways – people love the personalized touch. In this digital world, folks still love getting personal paper greeting cards. For weddings, many people give customized and personalized home wares, such as glassware engraved with the family’s last name. It’s no surprise, then, that people are becoming more and more excited about personalised candy. One of the most attractive aspects of personalized candy is that it’s extremely versatile. It can be used in business meetings, for weddings and just because. Here are 3 specific ways you can use personalized candy in your professional and personal life.

1. As marketing giveaways.

Are you a business owner or part of the marketing department at your firm or company? Personalized candy can be a great way to grow your marketing reach. Use personalized candy – such as lollipops – as giveaways at conventions or during your events. Give personalized candy (branded with your company name and/or logo, of course) to prospective clients, new hires and more. In fact, keep a bouquet of lollipop candy as a centerpiece in your conference rooms, so that your clients are welcomed with branded candy each time they meet with you.

2. At a wedding.

Whether you’re throwing the wedding, or simply attending one, there is a place for your personalized treats. Brides can hold a bouquet of personalized candy, or they can be used as giveaway centerpieces at the reception. Rather than flowers, most of your reception hall can be decorated with various types of personalized candy, making this one of the most fun, and memorable weddings, anyone will have ever attended.

3. At birthdays.

Birthdays are a great time to give personalized candy. Birthdays are already tightly woven with cakes. Why not liven things up a bit by thinking outside the cake box? There are almost an infinite amount of ideas you can incorporate into your candy. If your birthday party has a theme or color scheme (typical with children’s parties) then complement it all with the right type and style of candy. Or, does the birthday boy/girl love a specific kind of candy? Chances are you can personalize it for him or her!

Getting personal is what life is all about. How much personal can you get than marrying two things people love: candy and uniqueness. No matter the occasion or event, Designer Candy is sure to have a personalized candy option for you. Learn more about what they have to offer by visiting them at

DIY Fixes for Wood Surfaces

Fixing Cosmetic Damage To Wood

SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: Consumption by Heather Herrman


by Heather Herrman


Book Description

For fans of Stephen King, Joe Hill, and Sarah Langan comes a thrilling new vision of American horror. In Heather Herrman’s heart-pounding debut novel, evil is ready to feed—and it’s got one hell of an appetite.

In the wake of tragedy, John and Erma Scott are heading west in search of a new life. So when car trouble strands them in sleepy Cavus, Montana, they decide to stay for a while, charmed by the friendly residents and the surrounding ambiance. Here, they hope, is the healing balm that their marriage needs.

Then John and Erma find themselves in a fight not just to save their marriage, but their very lives. For this is no ordinary town. Its quiet streets conceal a dark and bloody secret that has slumbered for centuries. Now, that secret is awake . . . and it’s hungry.

Like a slow infection, evil is spreading through Cavus. Soon John and Erma—along with the local sheriff, an undocumented immigrant, a traumatized teenage girl, and an old man with terrible secrets of his own—must join together to battle an all-consuming force that has set its sights on its prey: the entire human race.

“Both the evil that suffuses the pages of Consumption and the motley gang of innocents who defend against it are much more interesting than those usually found in your average scare fare. Solid writing elevates this imaginative fright-fest from an invigorating new voice.”—Sophie Littlefield, bestselling author of the Aftertime series

About the Author

Heather Herrman explores American society through horror fiction. She holds an MFA from New Mexico State University, and her work has appeared in such publications as Alaska Quarterly Review, The South Carolina Review, and Snake Nation Review. Herrman’s fiction has also been honored with a Frank Waters Fiction Prize and a scholarship to the Prague Summer Program for Writers.

Connect with Heather

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble


PRIZE: $25.00 eGift Card to the eBook Retailer of the Winner’s Choice + an eBook copy of CONSUMPTION by Heather Herrman



Educational Fun with Kids Academy

Kids Academy | Educational Apps for Children

It’s summer, and that means road trip season! It’s totally cool to let your kids play with tablets for limited periods of time in the car–and it’s even better if they are learning and having fun while doing it.  Kids Academy offers several apps that are sure to keep your kids occupied on the road.

screen520x924 (2)Preschool & Kindergarten Learning Kids Game
Educational Books & Free Songs

EDIT 5/30/15: Now that my child has finished kindergarten, he is able to do the addition worksheets! They are a great supplement for this summer to keep up with what he learned in school this year. This learning app is so fun, even Mommy likes to play it sometimes :) My little boy really liked tracing and collecting the fireflies.  We love anything twinkling so this was a big plus.  This game was easy to play and understand so even younger kids can get right into it.

Download Preschool & Kindergarten Learning Kids Game


screen520x924screen520x924 (1)

screen520x924 (4)Bugs, Shapes and Robots
Face Paint for Toddlers

FREE for a limited time! (usually $2.99)

My child is on his way to first grade, so this app is a bit on the younger side for him.  Still, tracing the shapes helps him with his fine motor skills–something that’s definitely needed as your child starts school and begins to write with a pencil!  Bugs and robots are also always a fave with boys!

Download Bugs, Shapes, and Robots

This post was created in partnership with Mom Buzz Media Blogger Network. All views & opinions expressed below are my own and are not influenced in anyway.

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Dark Screams Volume 3 Short Story Collection

Dark Screams, Volume 3

Short Story Collection


Book Description

Peter Straub, Jack Ketchum, Darynda Jones, Jacquelyn Frank, and Brian Hodge contribute five gloomy, disturbing tales of madness and horror to Dark Screams: Volume Three, edited by Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar of the celebrated Cemetery Dance Publications.

A mere child yet a precocious writer, young Freddie records a series of terrifying encounters with an inhuman being that haunts his life . . . and seems to predict his death.

GROUP OF THIRTY by Jack Ketchum
When an award-winning horror writer on the downward slope of a long career receives an invitation to address the Essex County Science Fiction Group, he figures he’s got nothing to lose. He couldn’t be more wrong.

NANCY by Darynda Jones
Though she’s adopted by the cool kids, the new girl at Renfield High School is most drawn to Nancy Wilhoit, who claims to be haunted. But it soon becomes apparent that poltergeists—and people—are seldom what they seem.

Charlie Pearson has a crush on Stacey Wheeler. She has no idea. Charlie will make Stacey see that he loves her, and that she loves him—even if he has to kill her to make her say it.

When Marni moves in next door, the stale marriage of Tara and Aidan gets a jolt of adrenaline. Whether it’s tonic or toxic is another matter.



This is a fine collection of scary short stories.  While some offer more chills than others ( I wouldn’t read Nancy alone at night), they all had great twists and led to pretty cool conclusions.

My favorite story is probably Nancy by Darynda Jones.  It’s the story of a high school girl who seems to be tormented by a poltergeist–but when a new girl in town tries to help her, she discovers a shocking secret.  This story was rather scary…I DID read it late into the night and kept looking over my should to make sure nothing was there!

Another great one is I Love You, Charlie Pearson by Jacqueline Frank.  As the story of a young boy who seems to have a very creepy crush on an older girl unfolds, you get squirmy and by the end you have your mouth open in shock…because the ending was definitely unexpected!

Dark Screams Volume 3 is a gathering of perfect little bites of fiction, and as you finish one story you’ll definitely be ready to move on to the next one.  Reader beware!


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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble


The giveaway is for a $25 e-gift card to the e-retailer of your choice,

plus a copy of Dark Screams, Volume 3.




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