My reviews are based on my personal experience with a product or event. I am not a professional product tester nor do I get paid for any of my blog posts.

The items that I post reviews on, have either been purchased on the internet or through a local vendor. Additionally I will review items that I got on sale, as a gift or as a sample from either the manufacurer or some other source.

Note: always read the manufacturers directions on how to properly use a product and craft carefully. Additionally, I am an Amazon Associate and may earn a few cents (literally) from your clicking on my Amazon links. Since they raised the minimum payout from earnings to $10 I haven't seen a credit for a while but eventually I will get one.

Every penny counts when trying to set a budget to get supplies to use for my reviews, tutorials and hauls. However, you do not have to use my links. You can use your favorite search engine to find the best price for your budget.

20 Ways to Draw a Mustache by Cara Bean | Book Review

learn to draw funny faces

20 Ways to Draw a Mustache and 44 Other Funny Faces and Features: A Sketchbook for Artists, Designers, and Doodlers is a great source book for anyone who needs a reference book for drawing characters, illustrations, cartoons, doodles, and card making.   I have my own collection of this series of book because of their great content.  Each book is its own treasure trove of ideas.  This book is not limited to just drawings of mustaches but also shows how to draw eyes, facial expressions, facial hair, hair and more.  The selection is vast and the drawings are easy enough for the reader to copy or just be inspired to create their own version.

20 Ways to Draw a Mustache Table of Contents:

  • Introduction
  • Mustaches
  • Lips
  • Eyes
  • Monsters
  • Ears
  • Noses
  • Eyeglasses
  • Bean Characters
  • Beards
  • Braids
  • Curly Hairstyles
  • Straight Hairstyles
  • Mohawks
  • Star Characters
  • Ponytails
  • Hats
  • Helmets
  • Block Characters
  • Feet
  • Mask
  • Mullets
  • Eyebrows
  • Teardrop faces
  • Collars
  • Leaf Characters
  • Hands
  • Skulls
  • Smiles
  • Frowns
  • Bottoms
  • Cupcake characters
  • Legs
  • Arms
  • Doodle Faces
  • People Taking
  • Walkers Walking
  • Sittings Sitting
  • Hairlines
  • Different Ages
  • Circle Characters
  • Emotions
  • Monkey Faces
  • Cat Faces
  • Dog Faces
  • Heart Characters

As you can see, there is a vast amount of drawings included in 20 Ways to Draw a Mustache . Each page has simple straight forward sketches that help one get a good idea of the elements of each drawing while at the same time inspiring one to be creative with their own version.  One way to utilize the book is to just use the basic shape of a drawing as a base idea to create your own inspired drawing.  I use this book as a resource when I am sculpting my paper clay creatures.  The eyes, noses, ears, hands and feet sections are particularly helpful for me.  Additionally, this book is so straightforward that it can be used by readers of any age.

If you want to check out one of the projects from the book, just go the Craftside Blog to view a free project.

Review of The Skinny Gut Diet by Brenda Watson

The Skinny Gut Diet: Balance Your Digestive System for Permanent Weight Loss by Brenda Watson (from the PBS "Brenda Watson's Heart of Perfect Health PBS Special)  includes a 14-day Start-Up Food Plan and over 75 Recipes to get the reader started on her recommended gut cleaning diet.  The diet plan is fairly restrictive and may be challenging to follow, especially if you like to eat a lot of carbs.  The majority of the recipes, in this book, are for smoothies, which I found to be really easy to follow and convenient. The meal recipes are a little more challenging to make.  However, if you use the provided shopping list and follow the recipes, then it should not be too difficult.

The focus on the book is to improve the reader's gut health more than to lose weight.  For those who are or have suffered from digestive issues, you are probably already on a restricted diet anyway and may not be able to follow some of the suggestions in this book.  She recommends taking supplements, which you need to be wary of it you are on a restricted diet and taking medication.  The author is very thoughtful of her readers and does stress to check with your physician to make sure that this diet meets his or her approval.

If you are not on a doctor approved diet, then this book might be of help to you.   The author starts the book off with a discussion of how sugar is bad for your gut and how it directly affects the health of the gut.  She also reviews how important bacteria is for improved gut health and how that affects the body.

Here is a look at the "Table of Contents" for the book and a brief description of each:

Chapter 1 - A Remarkable Discovery - Guess who's coming to dinner.
                   This chapter goes over the importance of gut microbes and all the other interesting things that can be found in the gut area. 

Chapter 2 - Gut Bacteria - The Surprising Weight-loss Solution.
                   Good Bacteria = Fewer Calories
                   This chapter discusses what gut bacteria is made up of and how it leads to a lean gut or obese gut type.

Chapter 3 - Where did it go wrong.
                    This chapter goes over gut bacterial balance, how it is established and how it affected by what you eat.

Chapter 4 - The Proper Care and Feeding of your own gut bacteria.
                    This is a short chapter that goes into the performance of Probiotics and Prebiotics .

Chapter 5 - Your Gut Connection to Obesity and other common conditions.
                    This chapter is the cause and affect section.  You can see how IBS or Acid Reflux is directly related to the gut health.

Chapter 6 - The Gut-Brain Connection.
                    This chapter goes over the gut-brain connection and how what you eat affects how you feel, think, and more. The information in this chapter is really interesting.

Chapter 7 - The Skinny of Food.
                    If you think you are eating healthy, then think again.  She goes into the hidden sugars in refined food.  How some fruits and vegetables are better than others.  How important fiber is and different ways to add it to your diet in a healthy way.  The importance of staying hydrated and how you should drink a lot of water.

Chapter 8 - Teaspoon Tracker
                    This chapter gives you some tools to be able to more realistically track the amount of sugar you have in your diet and how to avoid it.

Chapter 9 - The Get Lean Phase
                    The author breaks down her recommended diet into two phases:
                     1) Get Lean 
                      2) Stay Lean 
                     This section is where she goes into more detail on the foods, fats, fermented foods, fruits, vegetables, proteins, etc. that are best suited for each phase.

Chapter 10 - Power Tools
                     This sections has recipes and snack ideas.

Chapter 11 - Skinny Gut Supplements
                     This section is on supplements that are good for the body.

Chapter 12 - The Stay Lean Phase
                      This is another really short chapter that just gives you the formula for staying lean and finding the right sugar balance for your body.

Chapter 13 - Food and Recipes to Get You Started
                     This chapter provides the reader with a two-week meal plan, healthy recipes (like turkey sausage patties, mini spinach omelets, Chicken salad and so many more), and some desert recipes as well.

Chapter 14 - Rescue Kit for Success
                     This is a very helpful chapter that shares with the reader ideas on how to eat out, dinner party tactics, Carb substitutes, Grocery shopping strategy, shopping list, and so much more. 

This is overall a very helpful book for anyone who is concerned with their gut health.  It is also helpful, if you are trying to minimize the amount of sugar you are exposed to in your diet.  The book is written in such a way that the reader can quickly read through the more technical stuff and jump to the recipes.  I really liked the recipe area, although, I should mention that there are no photos of the various dishes or anything else in this book.  It is truly focused on giving the reader as much information as possible to be successful on this diet.

Note: Thank you to the author and blogging for books for providing me a review copy of this book.

A Review of Whimsic Alley Store in Los Angeles | A Harry Potter meets Doctor Who Shopping Experience

Whimsic Alley is not just another Harry Potter fan merchandise store,

it is more of a "Harry Potter" meets "Doctor Who" smashed up shopping experience.  This multi-fandom store offer more than a great selection of fantasy and/or science fiction themed merchandise, they also have some great props.
Photo by Magenta at Faire

The owners of this great store put a lot of thought into it and created an experience instead of just another store.  There is a Tardis in a quiet corner and a weeping angel statue to greet you.

As you walk into the store, you immediately are transported to a fun environment.  Each person is immediately greeted by the fun and friendly staff at the store.  The store is broken down to resemble the wonderful Diagon Alley of the Harry Potter Book fame. Each mini shop is also broken down into really cute themed sections.

Photo by Magenta at Faire

There is a shop that focuses on Sherlock Holmes fan themed merchandise.
Another themed shopping area is completely focused on the  Dr. Who (my personal favorite) series.
There are all types of toys and collectibles sold in this area.

Photo by Magenta at Faire

Game of Thrones is also well represented in the Game of Thrones Merchandise Room. That is stocked with some great Funko figures.

And of course they have a Harry Potter area, that features candy like Bertie Bott's Jelly Beans, Chocolate Frogs and so much more.

You can also find just about every type of Harry Potter Merchandise you could want.  This includes a wonderful selection of fine wands and statues.
They also have death eater masks.
And for those Quidditch fans, the store stocks a great selection of broomsticks.

There are even some fun  Harry Potter and Ron Cardboard Stand ups that are fun to take pics with.  If that is isn't enough I saw Hogwarts School Uniforms Supplies, and a really well made Harry Potter Wizards Chess Set.

We went there for a special "Whimsic Alley Tea" event.  These were some of the very cute invitations to the party.

Each guest was provided a beginners to wand for their magical enjoyment, along with the cute invitations.  The tea area (which no longer exists...sadly)..had a beautiful tea luncheon set up.
Photo by Magenta at Faire

The tea cart lady arrived with a fun selection of candy and trinkets.
Photo by Magenta at Faire
The store sometimes carries green grab bags which are a really great deal and filled with some interesting stuff.

My two grab bags had a bunch of different products in them which includes the items in the photo below.  Each bag also contained a "hatching dragon", some game card sets and buttons.

The selection of merchandise in this store is vast.  I even found my favorite Dr. Who tea pot with the words "Bad Wolf" on it.  This is a mini Brown Betty style pot which is just perfect for about 3 cups of tea.

We decided this was a great opportunity to wear some of our Comic Con costumes, and all showed up in different costumes from very different genres.

The store stocks Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Sherlock Homes, Game of Thrones and so much more.  They just recently did some renovations to make the shopping area larger, thus allowing them to carry and even bigger selection of fun merchandise.

This is a great place to take the kids of all ages.  We had a blast and took some fun pictures there.

Just know that the temptation to buy will be great so you might want to make a list of the things you really want in order to remain focused with all the cool merchandise available.  Also, they are now offering different store events so it is great to check online or with the store to see what the upcoming events are.

Note: I have no affiliation with this shop, I just like shopping there.  Their customer service is great and the selection is even better.