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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Tools4Wisdom Planner - a 5 Star Review!


I am absolutely loving this planner. There are so many options to help you get organized, but the goal setting has been key for me. This Tools4Wisdom planner is helping me keep my goals in front of me so I can lead a more purposeful life. There are spots to track short term goals, long term goals, provide yourself with inspirational thoughts and quotes, and so much more. I've showed this to a few friends who were also so impressed they plan on purchasing their own. This is a great buy for a busy mom!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Baby Preferred Baby Carrier Pads - 5 Star Review & Give Away

Thanks Babypreferred for making this fabulous set of babywearing accessories!

I tried this set on my Lillebaby complete as well as on my Tula and the Lenny Lamb soft structured carrier we have. They are most functional on a carrier that allows for forward facing, but they look just as cute on the other types of carriers. The design is very gender neutral which makes this a nice set to purchase as a gift for someone or if you are part of a group that has a lending library. When using the Baby Preferred strap covers and bib cover, you are keeping your carrier in good condition because you can just remove and clean the accessories instead of trying to clean the entire carrier. If you're borrowing a carrier, you have piece of mind knowing your baby isn't sharing extra germs with whomever used the carrier previously and if you are lending your carrier out, you can also led these accessories so someone else's baby isn't gnawing on your expensive baby carrier.

These are made well, easy to wash, and super easy to install (but if you have questions, they come with comprehensive instructions).

Here's the Amazon Buy Link: ClicK Here

If you'd like to get in our giveaway for a free set just like this, please complete the Rafflecopter form below. The winner will be notified via email and will be provided a code they can redeem on Amazon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Vitality and Creativity

2016 - what a year! There were so many amazing high points, but I'm ready to close this book and start a new one. My step-dad passed away a few weeks ago and that took me right back to 1994 when my dad died. That grief shit is no's a moving target and just when you think you've got it handled, it shifts around and you're left sobbing on the shower floor. This time, it's even harder than when I was a teenager. This time I have to pick myself up, wipe the tears away, and help my children navigate their own grief. I've held my mom's hand through this before and I've navigated my own way - but this parenting through grief is an entirely new territory for me. And in case you were wondering, it absolutely sucks!

A box was delivered yesterday. It was our family Christmas present from my mom and step dad - let's just call them Grandma and Grandpa since that's what they are called at our house. I needed to take some time before opening it. Today is Sunday and we opened the box today. I prepared for what I was going to say and how I was going to use this as a teachable moment. The presents had been carefully chosen when Grandpa thought he would be sitting with us watching as we opened each box. The thought brought me to tears and reminded me of so many feelings I had stuffed through the years.

As if he had known, Grandpa Lee chose the cardinal as the theme for this years gift(s). Each family would receive a large box and in it they would find 3 smaller boxes:

A Christmas cardinal thermometer and snow gauge

A set of 3 Christmas cardinal yard stakes

A Christmas cardinal magnetic cover for the dishwasher

The Cardinal symbolizes vitality and creativity and I can't think of a better reminder of Grandpa Lee. He could take someone else's junk and turn it into something amazing. His body had grown old the last few years, but his eyes would sparkle as he told stories about road trips with his children when they were young, teaching Sunday school and disciplining students in most unusual ways, and times he had found this deal or that deal while thrifting.

Grandpa Lee could make you feel special with just a few words. He would notice a new hair cut, make up technique, or my favorite was a few months ago when he said "you know what? your house never smells like a farm house". He had noticed how much pride I took in keeping the house clean and that was his way of letting me know. He didn't say much. He enjoyed listening to people. I'm pretty sure that's why he bought a bar. I'm confident he didn't do it to make money. I think the bar to him was like my kitchen is to me. A warm place where friends can gather and feel safe sharing their thoughts and feelings.

We carefully opened each box and talked about Grandpa Lee. Then we had icecream. Grandpa loved icecream and sweets - not nearly as much as he loved his friends and family, but it was right up there. Grandpa Lee loved his bi-weekly summer bonfires. He would close down the tavern and invite everyone and anyone out to "the land" for a meal, a drink, and a bonfire. The food was delicious and plentiful. The stories were endless. I wish I had appreciate this time more. When my 8 year old son talks about the bonfires you would think we had taken him to Disney. As a mom, I saw mosquitos, mud, and dirty laundry. As a little boy, he saw adventures, endless fun, and his smiling grandpa. This time was priceless.

As we move forward, I want the children to remember Grandpa's vitality and his creativity. How he would take a broken mirror and hang the pieces around the firepit to make a sparkly light show. How he saved and sorted junk into good junk, and great junk piles. How he always had a story to go along with whatever chaos you were struggling with in your personal or professional life. How he was never in a hurry - there were times I swore Grandma was going to leave without him because he was listening to one last story, sharing one last laugh, or having a few more sips of the really really hot coffee he enjoyed so much.

...what we wouldn't give for one last story...

Thanks for the good times Grandpa Lee - the candybars, the smiles, the laughter, and thanks for sharing your vitality and creativity.

All Our Love!

Crystal is a church musician, babywearing mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin with her husband, four young children (Carmen 9, Andre 8, Breccan 3, and Delphine 1), two dogs, two rabbits, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal riding unicorns, taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other stuff  here and at:

Friday, December 16, 2016

Hip Peas Detangling Spray - 5 Star Review

Do you ever see a cute little girl with adorable piggy tails and wonder what sort of magic potion her mom is drinking, spraying, or using to make that magic happen? Maybe you just assume her mom is a unicorn as you look at your daughter who is currently wearing a cap because you couldn't find the strength to go through yet another screaming match so you opted to skip hair brushing again today? I've been fact, with my oldest daughter, I just had the beautician chop her hair off because I couldn't wrestle with her each and every morning. I'm so much wiser now (that or I really am a rainbow pooping unicorn) - and I use Hip Peas detangler on my littlest daughter and she has the cutest hair each and every day WITHOUT TEARS! Seriously - if you haven't tried these products, you need to. They smell great and make life so much easier - whether you are or are not a unicorn mom. #MusesOfInfluenster #UnicornMom

Click Here to learn more about Hip Peas and the full line of fabulous products!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Tortuga Life Bath Bombs Gift Set with Bubble Bath Soap 5 Star Review

What's the perfect gift for a birthday, christmas, or just because? A Tortuga Life bath bombs gift set with bubble bath of course!!! The packaging is fabulous, and even if you or the gift recipient isn't into taking a bath, they can enjoy a foot soak. Who doesn't love being pampered for a few minutes? This is a great company and they've put a lot of thought into everything from their ingredients to their packaging. Order two today - one for a friend and one for yourself! You won't be disappointed.

In the picture you see here, I am enjoying a foot soak with one of my littles - such an awesome mommy moment and a great way to enjoy a story and some together time!


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Cherish - Baby Multi-Purpose Diaper Bag ; Review

I'm excited to report that after using this diaper bag for several weeks, it has exceeded my expectations. It's canvas and my fear was it would show dirt easily. This is not the case. It'a held up quite nicely to every day use. It's been thrown on the floor of the minivan and stepped on by toddlers. It's been hanging off my pinky while balancing 2 toddlers and an infant in a carseat. It's been to church, the grocery store, grandma's house, and everywhere in between. This isn't a super huge diaper bag and since there are days we cloth diaper 3 children, I can say this would not be a good fit for a "gone from home" day for us. However, it's great for a 2-4 hour adventure, trip to the store, etc... Ultimately, it's perfect for every day chasing around, errands, picking kids up from school, etc...

I really appreciate the fact it doesn't look like a traditional diaper bag. I don't feel silly if I happen to run errands by myself. This could totally double as a pool bag, large purse, or even a laptop case. I love that there are so many pockets and another nice feature are the little feet on the bottom that keep the bottom of the bag from actually resting on the floor. Super value and I love the look!!


Chefs Limited Tea Kettle Product Review

This tea pot is super cute and I love the design. Unfortunately, mine must have been used or at least unboxed before being sent to me. There is a ding in the side of the tea pot (about the size of a quarter). I was planning on giving it as a gift and now had to keep it for myself because of the blemish. Other than that, the design is attractive and functional.


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Long Sleeve Knit Sweater Pink Front Pocket Long

This sweater is pretty, it's a very pale pink. It fits my 9 year old daughter and looks great with her leggings. I thought when I ordered that it would be for an adult - but either it's a very small adult sweater or it's truly intended for a child.


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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Product Review: Easy@Home 8 Ovulation +2 Pregnancy test sticks Campaign

There's a few things I really like about these tests:
1) They are nice and large so you don't have to deal with tiny test strips that may be hard to handle
2) The instructions are very clear and easy to read as well as understand
3) The packages are color coded so you can quickly tell the difference between the ovulation tests and the pregnancy tests
4) The tests "develop" quickly and are very vibrant in color so there's no guesswork on the results

A suggestion to make this a 5 star product instead of a 4 star:
I suggest color coding the tips of the tests to easily differentiate between a pregnancy test and an ovulation test. Once you unwrap the tests, the only difference between the two types of tests is some small writing just to the side of the results window

Overall this is an awesome product I'll likely purchase again.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

SimpleTaste Electric Milk Frother, Battery Powered

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I'm not quite sure what I did before this milk frother came into my life. I can whip up (literally) a batch of chocolate milk before the children start whining, it works great for scrambled eggs, and I can make coffee shop quality latte's right in my own kitchen. Also works great for mixing protein shakes and greens drinks. Doesn't take up much room on the counter and the batteries seem to last a long time without needing replacing. I love that it comes with batteries - this might just be the perfect gift for the hard to guy for person on your list.


Friday, November 25, 2016

5 Star Rated Watch!

Here's what I have to say about my fun new watch! Comfortable and stylish! Easy to read, set, (and clean)! Goes with any outfit. Suitable for men or women. It's just that nice size where it's not too huge for a woman to wear but not so tiny that a man might think it's dainty.


Monday, November 21, 2016

5 Star Product Review of Moni's Cozy Kitchen Kitchen Rules Glass Cutting Board by Moni's Cozy Kitchen

5 Star Product Review of Moni's Cozy Kitchen Kitchen Rules Glass Cutting Board
by Moni's Cozy Kitchen

This glass cutting board is super safe and I prefer using it instead of the wooden kind that can harbor germs. Not only that, but it's a nice size for food preparation as well as serving off of. My kids asked if daddy can put up some sort of holder so we can store it on the wall when not in use. I love the way it looks and all the great rules included on it. It's nice and solid though not terribly heavy. You can bet this will be getting a workout in 2 days when we have everyone over for thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Crystal Casavant-Otto Influencer Information

Hi! My name is Crystal Casavant-Otto. I run the page Lakeshore Baby Love as well as being an Amazon top reviewer, Tomoson Influencer, Influenster member, blogger, and busy mom of 4. I receive lots of offers to product test items ranging from soaps, lotions, and foods, to strollers, baby items, cloth diapers, jewelry, books, and flashlights. When people approach me, they understandably want to have all the information regarding my influence and my reach. I thought if I place those links right here on my blog, it will make it easier for all involved. So here goes:

Here is a link to my Tomoson profile - click here

Here is a link to my Influenster profile - click here

Here is the link to my Amazon reviewer profile - click here

Here is a link to my LinkedIn page - click here

Here is a link to my personal FB page - click here

Here is a link to my group FB page for Lakeshore Baby Love - click here

Here is a link to my group FB page for Relax Consulting - click here

Here is a link to the WOW! Women on Writing blog I write for - click here

Here is a link to my Instagram Account - click here

Here is a link to me on Twitter - click here

Here is a link to me on google plus - click here   and      click here

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to email me at:

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Lakeshore Baby Love's Cocoa with Santa 2016

Here’s your chance to gather with old friends and make some new ones while enjoying some seasonal smiles and refreshments.

Bring your little one(s) and your camera and snap a photo of the magical moment when your little one whispers in Santa’s ear.

Admission is free, but you are asked to bring (if you are able) a new, unwrapped toy that can be donated to the
Salvation Army toy drive.

When and Where?
Saturday, December 3rd 4-6pm
Jenn’s Java * 1124 Washington St * Manitowoc, WI 54220

Please thank our sponsors:
Cocoa—Jenn’s Java

Coffee & Cookies—Lakeshore BabyLove

Swag Bags, Entertainment, Refreshments, and Marketing—Mark & Crystal Otto Family Farm

Swag—Hip Peas, MotherLove Organic Products

***Please RSVP on the Lakeshore BabyLove FB page—the first 25 registrants will have a swag bag waiting for them the evening of the event!

Stay tuned to the event page for a complete list of participating sponsors!

Merry Christmas One and All!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Dear Bully,

My oldest has been bullied, and it was hard to hear the stories through the tears as she told us how the kids on the bus teased her about her weight, her hair, her clothes, our cows, and just about anything they could. It didn't have to make sense. It wasn't true. They just enjoyed her reaction. We turned to scripture for some guidance and I gave her the same advice my dad had given me: "Hey punkin' they are just jealous. Turn the other cheek."

After simultaneously reading Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult and watching the news coverage after Donald Trump's Election I made a facebook post about how emotionally drained all the anger and hate is making me feel. That bring me to this open letter to bullies.

Dear Bully,

For a moment you feel big because you make someone else feel small. When the moment ends you will go back to the emptiness that drove you here in the first place. I understand how helpless you must feel to crave the high that comes in that moment. Somewhere deep inside you must remember the loneliness you felt the first time someone made you feel not good enough. Take a moment and think back. You were undoubtedly looking around for someone to help. Someone to be your champion. That smile in the crowd, that person who would acknowledge your worth. Maybe for you, that person didn't step up. Maybe they were afraid.

Being the champion, the voice of those who have no voice, it's a choice. It's a choice to look injustice in the face and be the voice of change. If you had found your champion, would you still be a bully? If someone had filled your emotional cup, would you still be thirsty and filled with hate? Your emotional cup is empty. After making someone feel small, you gulp the dirty backwash from the cup and it is once again empty. Bullying is not a solution for your thirst and hate. Bullying is not going to help you find a champion and it in no way is going to help you become a champion.

Let me tell you what your emotional cup looks like if you are a champion. When you raise others up, your emotional cup is filled. It fills slowly at first, but as those who you have championed for become champions for others, it creates a ripple effect and before you know it, your cup overflows. You aren't a champion because it makes you feel good, but the high created in your heart when you see others succeed makes you crave something new. It makes you crave an opportunity to help the helpless. You want nothing more than to bring a smile to the face of a stranger. You create a culture for yourself in which you see so much good around you that you are smiling even on the rainiest days. When someone is scared or hurting and they are searching to room, you will be the one they are searching for. That high is different from what you feel when you make someone feel small. That high lasts all day.

Being a bully fills your cup for a moment. Being a champion fills your cup for a lifetime. Do you think you've gone down a path you can't turn from? Do you think it's too late for you to turn from your bullying to be a champion? Here's what God has to say to you:

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgive, whose sin is covered. Psalm 32:1

Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:7

It's not too late for you. It's not too late for any of us to say those two little words:

I'm Sorry

I am praying for you right now. I am praying that whatever hurt has driven you to where you are can be destroyed with the love I feel for you. I am here to tell you that you are fearfully and wonderfully made and that you can make a difference in the world. I am not going to stop praying for you. When you are ready for a champion, I want to be that person for you. I will be cheering you on and picking you up.


Crystal is a church musician, babywearing mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin with her husband, four young children (Carmen 9, Andre 8, Breccan 3, and Delphine 1), two dogs, two rabbits, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal riding unicorns, taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other stuff at: and

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Organic Bamboo Muslin Swaddle Blanket (#NaniBearBlanket)

Please enjoy this 5 star review of Organic Bamboo Muslin Swaddle Blanket - Oversized 47 inches X 47 inches - Excellent Baby Shower Gift - Premium Breathable Receiving Blanket Such a lovely single layer swaddling blanket - very soft and breathable. Works great for snuggling but is light weight enough you can use it to cover a carseat or stroller to keep bugs or the sun away from baby too. Rolls up nicely and takes up very little room in the diaper bag. Washes well and dries quickly with no special instructions - you can just wash it with your other laundry (with all our muslin blankets, we avoid washing with anything velcro or sharp that might catch on it though). Simple pattern and design - very adorable. Comes packaged nice enough to give as a gift.


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

CiPU Spacious and Beautiful Diaper Bag!!!!

Before I tell you what I love about this diaper bag, I need to first explain who we are so you can understand some of the quirks of this review. I'm a busy mom of 4 (9,8,3,1) with a business and several part time jobs including taking care of my 4 month old niece and my friend's 1 year old. When I go somewhere, it's super important that I'm organized and have everything I need. Grocery shopping with 6 children (3 in cloth diapers) can be a simple task if you are prepared. It can also be a huge nightmare if you can't find something or have neglected to bring it along. This particular diaper bag offers a lot of features, plenty of room, a surface that easily wipes clean, and it comes with hooks so you don't take up valuable room in the cart or stroller (ie: you don't have your diaper bag IN the cart, it's hanging OFF of it - so it's easily accessible). There's a special compartment at the bottom of the diaper bag that is large enough to hold one or some of the following: mom's wallet, a few diapers, some burp rags, or a receiving blanket. There are plenty of different strap options too - so you can use it as a cross body bag if you are babywearing or have your hands full. It doesn't "scream" diaper bag - so if you want to use it as a purse or laptop bag you could easily do that as well. The pink lining is very sophisticated and luxurious!

I recently traveled out of town and was impressed that I was able to fit 3 days worth of cloth diapers in this diaper bag. It's great when a bag is this well thought out. Instead of packing 2 smaller bags when we go on an outing, I can just pack the CiPU bag and know I have everything we need for ALL the children! This set comes beautifully packaged in a pink bag with a cute little book/card - so if you're looking for a nice diaper bag to give as a gift, this could be direct shipped to someone and they'd know it was chosen with care!


Heather Kaufman's "The Story People"

“Heather Kaufman’s debut book, The Story People, is full of fascinating characters whose voices you can hear in your mind. In fact, if I were walking down the street and passed Mrs. Gardner, I’d know her right away! The story sweeps you away to a land between reality and the imagination, perfectly mingling Kaufman’s superb storytelling skills with a strong message of encouragement for Christian life. I would recommend this book for anyone.”
—Sarah Baughman, author of the Regency Silhouettes series, deaconess, wife, and mom of four

Skin2Spirit Botanical Lip Gloss - Natural, Organic

If you're looking for a lip gloss made with natural botanicals, this is a great one! It goes on smooth, the color is vibrant and lasts a long time, and you can feel wonderful about the ingredients and the company! I recently went out of town on business and this was the only lip product I brought along. I find hotels to be very dry which sometimes causes lip chapping and with my Skin2Spirit gloss along, my lips stayed hydrated and unchapped as well as being glossy and pretty!

Amazon Link 


Monday, November 7, 2016

Mini Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker

I have been looking for a great sounding speaker I can enjoy out in our calf barn. Since the weather conditions are always changing in the barn (hot in the summer, cold in the winter, sometimes humid, sometimes wet, etc...)it is important for me to use and indoor/outdoor style speaker in that environment. I also want it to work wirelessly with my iphone and be easy to operate. That's exactly why I'm loving this particular speaker. I walk into the barn and my phone picks up the signal right away and connects without any trouble. The speaker stays charged for a long period of time and I go several days without having to plug it in. When I do charge it, it charges quickly. The sound quality is really impressive for being so small. I think I finally found "the one" that will work long term for me. This would be ideal for someone looking for something for their porch or patio as well as near a hot tub or swimming pool. You don't have to sacrifice sound quality for outdoor enjoyment!

Amazon Link


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Connecting to My Purpose - Dairy Girl Network Inaugural Convention

Brenda Gilbertson - Founder of the Dairy Girl Network
One of my favorite song lyrics is "God bless the broken road that led me straight to you" and I truly believe that life is a journey and not a destination. We joke here at the farm about the likelihood of me ending up a dairy farmer. Truthfully, we joke about most of my life and how it is nothing like I had planned. Funny thing is, I couldn't love it any more than I do. The business woman I once was is a far cry from the crunchy mom I now am and even more removed from my position as cow mom. I turned in my high heels in exchange for some cowboy boots and dressing up now means throwing on a clean pair of jeans.

I'm often asked what a typical day looks like. Farming is about as boring as chasing toddlers. You
never (and I mean NEVER) know what is going to happen next. Yes, the cows always need milking, the babies always need feeding, and if you like cleaning, there's never a lack of dirty somethings in need of cleaning or repair. Each day comes with it's own unique challenges and you get the pleasure of staring life and death right in the face. If you do it right, you'll find reasons to smile, laugh, and sometimes cry. Though never boring, farming can be lonely. Social media has been a huge connector for me.

I can log into social media and chat with other farm women, chat with my friends (old and new) and I don't have to rely on the cows to listen attentively when I get chatty. I joined the online facebook group for the Dairy Girl Network and they provided a huge support during times I wasn't quite sure about things. I didn't necessarily share a lot, but reading other people's posts provided me with a sense of belonging, I was over the moon excited when I was chosen to join the Press Core for the Inaugural Convention of this inspirational group.

Tami Smith - Dairy Producer; Williamsburg PA
Over the next few days/weeks/months I am going to share bits and pieces of my experience the the convention and as a dairy girl. I think it's important because so many people have no idea what it's like to be a farmer. I know that until I fell in love with Mr Otto I had never stepped foot in a barn. It's amazing to know all the behind the scenes information about where our food comes from. I'm also hoping that readers will find it encouraging to see the faces behind that gallon of milk you see at the grocery store.

The Diary Girl Network has allowed me to connect my old world with my new world. These women have inspired me to do more in my own operation but also in my community, and they've helped me see that I am capable of achieving so much more than I thought possible. Once person CAN make a difference, but an entire network of strong, passionate women can make a change. I hope you are as excited as I am about learning more about dairy!


May your paths be abundantly filled with lemons, sugar, sunshine, and purpose.

Huge thanks to the Dairy Girl Network Vision Sponsors and Sustaining Sponsors: 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Great Kids Snack Box - Review

I absolutely love the variety of this Great Kids Snack Box!  - the majority of the snacks included in our box are things I have never tried before.
I absolutely love the healthy theme of the snacks - they're not only tasty, but they are foods I can stand behind as a mom.
The brands that have been chosen for the boxes are wonderful - as I learned about each company and their mission/vision, I was impressed and plan to purchase more of many of the treats.
I'm planning on purchasing future boxes - not so much as a monthly subscription because with 4 children plus extras most days, it's just not feasible for us, but when my children have to bring a snack to school, I'll be ordering a box to send (avoiding the sugary cupcakes and traditional treats).
The company provides excellent customer service and I'm happy with the value and quality of the products.…/gks-subscription.htm


Thursday, November 3, 2016

WOW! Book Blog Tour of Martha Conway's "Sugarland"

5 Star Book Review by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto
I want to start by thanking WOW! Women on Writing for asking me to be part of this book blog tour of Martha Conway's jazz age mystery Sugarland. This was a fabulous read and absolutely deserving of 5 stars!

I was completely taken by the characters of Sugarland. They came to live so vividly you would have thought each one was written by the character themselves. I have no idea what it would be like to be a young black woman on a train during the early 1920's and yet the feelings Eve Riser was experiencing made my stomach knot up.

As a piano player I was excited about the accuracy of the musical references. Additionally, I said to my husband "Martha Conway must be an amazing historian" because she did such a fabulous job with each and every details of the jazz age. Nothing felt out of sync or out of place. As an author, she give you the details you need without any extra flowery page fillers.

I had no idea what was going to happen until the end and yet there wasn't a lot of violent details or gore - so I would feel comfortable having a younger tween read Sugarland as well. This comes to mind because my 9 year old who reads at a 7th grade level had asked if she could read my copy. It was a quick read and definitely kept me wanting more. However, I fell in love with the characters and would love a follow up to this book - I'd like to find out where these lovely people ended up.

Thank you Martha Conway for a delightful read. Your attention to detail and your lovely style was not wasted on this reader. I loved each and every page!

Official Book Summary:

Have you ever wished you could go back in time and experience another time, another place? Now's Sugarland, the winner of a Reader's Favorite Book Award, will whisk you away to Chicago to rub elbows with bootleggers, jazz musicians and more than one unsavory character!
your chance! Martha Conway's latest novel

Follow in the steps of talented young pianist Eve Riser who is caught in a drive-by shooting that kills the bootlegger standing next to her, she forms an unlikely friendship with the bootlegger’s sister, Lena. Eve is looking for her missing stepsister, a popular night club singer who has been missing since the shoot-out, and Lena wants to find out who killed her brother. Together these two women navigate the back alleys and jazz clubs of the Roaring Twenties, encountering charismatic managers, handsome musicians, and a mysterious gangster called the Walnut who seems to be the key to it all.

Hardcover: 314 pages (also available as paperback and e-book)
Publisher: Noontime Books (May 7, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0991618556
ISBN-13: 978-0991618552

Sugarland is available as a print and e-book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

About the Author:

Martha Conway’s debut novel 12 Bliss Street (St. Martin’s Minotaur) was nominated for an Edgar Award while Thieving Forest won an Independent Publishers Book Award, the Laramie Award, a Reader’s Choice Award and the 2014 North American Book Award in Historical Fiction. Her short fiction has appeared in The Iowa Review, The Mississippi Review, The Quarterly, Folio, Puerto del Sol, Carolina Quarterly, and other publications.

She graduated from Vassar College and received her master’s degree in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. She has reviewed fiction for the San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Review of Books, and The Iowa Review. The recipient of a California Arts Council fellowship in Creative Writing, she has taught at UC Berkeley Extension and Stanford University’s Online Writers’ Studio.

Martha Conway's website:

Martha Conway's blog:



----------Upcoming Blog Tour Dates

Thursday, November 3 @ Deal Sharing Aunt
Ready to snuggle up with a great book and a cup of cocoa? Read today's review of Martha Conway’s Sugarland.

Monday, November 7 @ Celtic Lady’s Reviews
Looking for a book to add to your TBR pile? Read today's review of Sugarland.

Keep up with blog stops and giveaways in real time by following r @WOWBlogTour on Twitter.

Get Involved!
If you have a website or blog and would like to host one of the upcoming WOW! Women on Writing touring authors or schedule a tour of your own, please email
Hippie Crystal (fresh off her unicorn)

About Today's Reviewer:

Crystal is a church musician, babywearing mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin with her husband, four young children (Carmen 9, Andre 8, Breccan 3, and Delphine 1), two dogs, two rabbits, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal riding unicorns, taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other stuff at: and

Monday, October 31, 2016

YoSoo Back Posture Corrector

My daughter has been wearing the back posture corrector and it has drastically improved her posture. It's not uncomfortable - it's just a gentle reminder to sit up nice and straight with her shoulders in the proper position. She's 9 and has a bit of trouble adjusting it herself, but I am quite happy to do it for her. I also tried it on myself and wore it for a few hours. It's quite comfortable and not terribly difficult to put on and adjust by one's self.


Friday, October 28, 2016

Skin2Spirit Lipstick Review - 5 Stars!

I'm kind of particular when it comes to lipstick. I like the feeling of a creamy lipstick that is easy to apply and it's irritating when you have to apply a chapstick first to get that silky smooth application feeling. This particular lipstick goes on creamy smooth and the color lasts quite a long time. I'm an avid coffee drinker so lots of lipsticks will eventually end up on my cup instead of my lips. This one doesn't transfer very easily - there's still a bit on the cup, but the color on my lips still looks fabulous. There's no perfumey smell or odd flavor - and I'm happy with the ingredients list. Impressive product. I would purchase again.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Crystal J. Casavant-Otto Resume

9906 Hershau Rd * Reedsville, WI 54230 * 920-645-7529 *

Creative Professional

I have strong written communication skills and was published in the Feb. 2012 edition of Collector Magazine and have recently been published several times each month on the daily blog of WOW! Women on Writing as well as my own blog (bringonlemons.blogspot).

I am enjoying raising our family and working alongside my husband on our small family farm in rural Wisconsin. I enjoy the creativity that comes with juggling the duties of motherhood, volunteer opportunities, and business ownership.

Key Skills
Office Management
Teambuilding &Supervision
Staff Development &Training
Policies &Procedures Manuals Report & Document Preparation
Spreadsheet & Database Creation
Compliance & Complaint Resolution
Creative Writing / Blogging Meeting & Event Planning
Community Involvement
Time Management
Work/Family Balance


Mark & Crystal Otto Dairy, Reedsville, WI - current
Responsible for payroll, employee records, calf care, morale, and whatever else needs to be done on a daily basis.

Dram of Things Publishing, Downers Grove, IL - current
Responsible for promotion of books and poetry. Dream of Things publishes memoirs, essay collections, and other creative nonfiction that aligns with our objective of publishing "distinctive voices, meaningful books."

WOW! Women on Writing, CA - current
Blog Tour Manager
Responsible for promotion of books and authors. Promoting the communication between authors, editors, agents, publishers, and readers.

DairyGirl Network - current
Press Corp Teammate

Responsible for documenting, promoting, and writing about all things related to the organization and events in the dairy industry. The Dairy Girl Network supports all women in dairy by enhancing lives and creating opportunities.

Americollect, Inc. Manitowoc, WI 2002 to 2012
Director of Operations, 2011 to 2012
Collection Manager, 2008 to 2011
Team Leader, 2005 to 2008
Customer Service, 2003 to 2005
Collector, 2002 to 2005
Repeatedly promoted during 10-year tenure with Americollect, with most recent advancement to Director of Call Center Operations
Developed many of the processes that resulted in Americollect’s growth and success, including but not limited to: Customer Service Department, Team Leader growth and development, Compliance program, SAS70/SOCII security completion, and assisting the sales/marketing team with proposals and face to face presentations.
Decreased expenses and increased revenue by implementing automated programs as well as programs to encourage teammates to use time as wisely as possible.
Saved thousands of dollars through quick conflict resolution and forward thinking compliance measures.
Recent leadership article published in the international “Collector” magazine

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Two Rivers, WI 1992 to Present
Church Organist and Musician
Organist, Pianist, and vocalist for special programs, regular worship services, as well as weddings and funerals.
Directing Council Secretary
I am responsible for taking notes at council meetings and voters meetings and pride myself on typing during the meetings and emailing a detailed summary within moments of the meeting’s conclusion.

Northwestern Mutual Financial Network, Manitowoc, WI 1999 to 2002
Office Manager & Associate Financial Representative
Achieved State Insurance License(s) and assisted Financial Professionals with life insurance sales and necessary paperwork.

Diamond Triumph Auto Glass, Inc. 1997 to 1999
Marketing Manager
Worked closely with the operations department to expand the Kingston, PA based company into the Midwest. Marketed products to new customers through my own outside sales position as well as through developing the internal customer service department. Wrote training manuals and implemented a companywide training program for internal and external sales and marketing departments. Enjoyed cold-calling as well as maintaining and building relationships with existing clients (primarily body shops, auto repair businesses, and auto dealerships).

Pietroske, Inc. Manitowoc WI 1995 to 1997
Service Representative
Worked at Pietroske, Inc. assisting in the service department with answering phones, typing work orders, transporting customers, organizing the rental vehicles, and some fill-in coverage as the general cashier. Enjoyed being the liaison between customers and mechanics and learning more about the behind the scenes working of a medium sized auto dealership.

Fleet Farm Manitowoc, WI & Plymouth WI 1993 to 1996
Cashier & Customer Service Representative
Worked at Fleet Farm during High School and College in the housewares department, as a general cashier, and in the full service gas station at the Plymouth location. Enjoyed the fast passed work environment and opportunity to interact with a wide variety of customers.

Association of Collection Professions (ACA International)
Credit & Collection Compliance Officer (CCCO) Awarded 03/29/2011
Annual Meeting and Training 2010
Spring Forum and Expo 2011
Professional Collection Specialist (PCS) Awarded 01/26/2004

Attended Lakeland College 1996-1998 with a focus on Accounting and Marketing, achieved Dean’s list standing, but did not pursue a degree at that time.

Studied at the Manitowoc Conservatory of Music 1986-1993 for additional organ and musical training.

Studied at Concordia University – LCMS organ and liturgical workshops.

References available upon request

Recent Publications/Achievements
WOW! Women on Writing blog

Personal blog

Future 15 Award Recipient 2010 -

Review of Fractured by Catherine McKenzie

Looking for a great book to read this fall? Look no further than Fractured by Catherine McKenzie!

Official Summary:

Welcome, neighbor!

Julie Prentice and her family move across the country to the idyllic Mount Adams district of Cincinnati, hoping to evade the stalker who’s been terrorizing them ever since the publication of her bestselling novel, The Murder Game. Since Julie doesn’t know anyone in her new town, when she meets her neighbor John Dunbar, their instant connection brings measured hope for a new beginning. But she never imagines that a simple, benign conversation with him could set her life spinning so far off course.

We know where you live…

After a series of misunderstandings, Julie and her family become the target of increasingly unsettling harassment. Has Julie’s stalker found her, or are her neighbors out to get her, too? As tension in the neighborhood rises, new friends turn into enemies, and the results are deadly.

About the Author:

Catherine McKenzie
A graduate of McGill University in History and Law, Catherine practices law in Montreal, where she
was born and raised. An avid skier and runner, Catherine's novels, SPIN, ARRANGED, FORGOTTEN, HIDDEN and SMOKE, are all international bestsellers and have been translated into numerous languages. HIDDEN was also a #1 Amazon bestseller and a Digital Bookworld bestseller for five weeks. SMOKE was named a Best Book of October by Goodreads, one of the Top 100 Books of 2015 by Amazon, and was a #1 Amazon bestseller.

Her sixth novel, FRACTURED, will be published on October 4, 2016. Her first novel writing as Julie Apple (the protagonist of FRACTURED), THE MURDER GAME, will be published on November 1, 2016.

She is at work on her eighth novel.

And if you want to know how she has time to do all that, the answer is: robots.

Visit her online at, on Facebook at, and on Twitter and Instagram at @cemckenzie1.

Review by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto

I always enjoy Catherine McKenzie's writing and have read most if not all of her books. This book was a little hard to follow at times, but I found once I got the characters straight in my own mind I was in a much better position. Much of the story is told from John's perspective and he was the character I felt most kindred to. McKenzie did a great job keeping the reader in suspense until the very end. I made some guesses about what I thought happened and to whom by whom etc....but it was never one of those where you felt you could stop reading at the middle of the book because you had already solved the case. Fractured is a real page turner that I would recommend to a friend.

About today's reviewer:

Crystal is a church musician, babywearing mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin with her husband, four young children (Carmen 9, Andre 8, Breccan 3, and Delphine 1), two dogs, two rabbits, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal riding unicorns, taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other stuff at: and