Wednesday, September 10, 2014

HURRY!!! FREE: Cloud B Twinkles To Go Octo NightLight!!

disclosure: includes affiliate links
Been on the fence about trying a new subscription box? Not sure if you'll like what's inside?  Well, Citrus Lane has started doing sneak peeks at items in their monthly boxes and their September sneak peek just went live:
Featured are: Cloud B Twinkles to go Octo Nightlight, Tea Collection long-sleeve onesie, Crocodile Creek Firetruck puzzle, Boon Links bath toy appliques, Melissa and Doug Wooden Shape Sorting Clock, and Critters Creativity Can.
Usually there's only one product from each age group posted for the sneak peek, but this month they also did a customization for a few of the age groups so we know one guaranteed item in this month's box and this is a teaser on a second. The Critter Can will be in the 4 year olds, and the Tea Collection onesie will be in the 12-18months, but that's all we know for now :)
Now, where does the Cloud B Twinkles to Go Octo NightLight come in?
As you can see, this night light is $18.95 on Amazon.  If you sign up through this link, you'll get your September Box for $14.50.  Citrus Lane customer service has told us that these night lights will be in the 26month-31month age group (meaning you'll want to set their birthdays around May 2012). 
Buying a September Citrus Lane box with a child's birthday set at May 2012, you'll receive this awesome nightlight for only $14.50. BUT considering there will be three more awesome goodies like this in the box totaling more than the $14.50 price, it'll be like getting this light for free! Or, getting the whole box for free and just buying the night light at super discount, whichever floats your boat ;) Basically, this nightlight is one of 3-4 items and by itself is worth more than the price tag of the box!

Also, it turns out I can't use two Shutterfly Photobook coupons I have.  Since I can't use them I decided to make this deal even greater: I'm giving a FREE Shutterfly PhotoBook Coupon Code to the first TWO people to sign up through the link in this post!!! Please leave the name you signed up with in the comments below so I can verify and email you your codes :)
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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Cleopatra's Choice 100% Organic, Raw Shea Butter Review

DISCLAIMER: I have received one or more product(s) mentioned above to to try; however, all opinions are my own and honest, and are not influenced in any way.  I only recommend products I think are worth sharing with my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC 16 CFR Part 255. 

The holidays are right around the corner, and you know what that means: DIY time!  Even if its not for gifts, it seems like the DIY bath and skincare projects fill your Pinterest and newsfeed from now until January every year.  The most common are bath salts, lotion bars, chapsticks, and body butter, and I personally can't wait to tackle these with some new goodies I have this year: essential oils, organic coconut oil, and Cleopatra's Choice 100% Organic, Raw Shea Butter!

Last year, we made these adorable red and white layered peppermint essential oil bathsalts in milk glass jars, shimmery lotion bars, and rose petal bath bombs for family members and they were all a big hit.  We've run out of the raw shea butter since we use it regularly with our son's severe eczema, so I was excited to discover this new company and their wonderful product!  On this year's DIY checklist, we want to add more projects with shea butter since it was one of our most useful and favorite ingredients.

So, why use Shea Butter? Using Shea Butter has lots of benefits, including:

        - Helps prevent stretch marks due to pregnancy as well as after significant weight loss.

        - Deeply hydrates and moisturizes dry skin, or skin of all types

        - Reduces itching, irritation, and flakiness due to extremely dry patches of skin
        - Helps reduce skin peeling and irritation due to sunburn
        - Helps restore hair's shine and luster
        - Restores elasticity to the skin, and helps reduce the appearance of blemishes and wrinkles
        - Excellent moisturizer for certain skin conditions like Eczema and Psoriasis
        - Reduces dryness and flakiness of scalp and hair
        - Helps reduce the symptoms of various skin rashes
        - Dramatically softens tough and cracked skin on hands and feet 

We received a 1lb tub to review, and it'll last us throughout the winter season.  I must make a confession: I adore the 'shea butter' fragranced lotions and bodycare items in stores.  I know they're filled with chemicals and the fragrances have little true ingredients in them, but I just love the smell.  The first thing I did when receiving the tub was take off the lid to take a big whiff.  Well, let's just say it wasn't what I was expecting! I was mortified. The 'Shea Butter' in stores I loved so much was all a lie. Like, a bigger lie than I was expecting because I already knew it was a lie. The 100% organic, raw, real shea butter sitting in front of me had a very subtle nutty smell.  A smell common in nature, because it was actually from there. Not that sweet, buttery, warm smell I was familiar with and expecting somewhat.  There was virtually no similarity between the two in terms of fragrance and that was a huge eye-opener!

Next, I dipped my fingers in to see what all the fuss was about.  Its very thick, but would make a beautifully creamy whipped body butter (Christmas gifts??) when paired with other ingredients.  Its a tad on the greasy side, but glides on smoothly and is absorbed quickly.  It reduces the discoloration on our son's legs from his skin problems, but I especially like that it softens the gashes and cracks throughout my hands from psoriasis.  My hands used to be rough and agitate our son's skin as I applied lotion for his own skin problems, but not anymore! Our prescription was always fairly greasy (and problematic when I wanted to open doors haha!) so his has become a nice replacement for the time being.  It doesn't heal the gashes and cracks, but it certainly makes them less inflamed, less abrasive, and less irritated.

A lot of the cheaper DIY items like coconut oil, essential oils, and shea or cocoa butter you can find in craft stores or Amazon are okay for simple skincare items (watch out though, many of the cheap ones will irritate skin with its artificial ingredients, fragrances, or fillers!!), but can't stand alone so to speak.  Its important to invest in the unadulterated, unrefined, highest purity, and no fillers products if you want to see ideal and beautiful results. :)

More about Cleopatra's Choice:

  • #1 RATED SHEA BUTTER ON THE MARKET! 100% Natural and Organic Pure Shea Butter – Made with Hand Selected Finest Nuts of the Shea Tree in Ghana. 1 POUND JAR – Packaged in a Resealable and Recyclable Container for Easy Access and Storage.
  • SHEA BUTTER BENEFITS: Raw Shea Butter has been proven to provide natural relief from symptoms of Very Dry Skin, Psoriasis Dryness and Eczema. Also very popular as a daily moisturizer. Excellent for Stretch Marks from Pregnancy or other reasons. Great to use as a tummy butter for expecting mothers.
  • HOW IT WORKS: Deep Daily Moisturizer for Skin & Hair – Contains Vitamin A, Vitamin E and Vitamin F – Does not clog pores – Highly Moisturizing and Long Lasting – Beneficial for Hair & Skin Health and Beauty.
  • THE COMPANY: Cleopatra’s Choice has been harvesting, importing and producing the finest Raw Shea Butter for over 6 Years. Unlike the recent newcomers to the market we are experts in what makes fine shea butter. Cleopatra’s Choice Shea Butter is Used by Top Skin Care DYI Experts for DYI Soap, DYI Lotions, Body Butter and More.
  • THE GUARANTEE: We are so confident that you will LOVE our Pure Shea Butter we stand by it with a 100% Unconditional Money Back Guarantee. If you don’t feel this is the BEST Shea Butter you have ever tried we will refund your money no questions asked.

You can purchase a 1lb tub of Cleopatra's Choice 100% organic and raw shea butter on Amazon for only $16!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

First Things First and Remembering to Date Your Spouse {Moon Pie Giveaway!}

**Disclosure: I received a promotional item in exchange for this post.  Sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment and shipment.  See full disclosure below.**

First Things First (FTF) is an award winning not-for-profit organization dedicated to strengthening families in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
FTF is a resource that collaborates with and is supported by a broad cross-section of community organizations, groups and individuals.
FTF accomplishes it mission through meaningful media messaging and skill building classes.
Did you know:
• 24 million children are growing up in homes without their biological fathers.
• Only 30% of divorces are due to infidelity, addiction or abuse, 70% of divorces are due to couples feeling disconnected.
• Couples who manage to devote time specifically to one another at least once a week are markedly more likely to enjoy high-quality relationships and lower divorce rates, compared to couples who do not devote as much couple time to one another.
• Fathers provide unique benefits to their daughters through their active and positive presence from the time of birth all the way through adulthood.

So, what's one way to help your marriage when work, the kids, or everyday stress seems to get the better of you and your attention?

Date your spouse.

Something I've learned over the years of marital bliss is the importance of dating your spouse.  Between a very demanding Buddy Doo that has only ever slept roughly two hours at a time since birth, its hard for me to feel rested and focused at times.  Couple that with a husband who very selflessly works anywhere from 60-80 hour work weeks, out in the elements and in Louisiana's heat and humidity, its very easy to see how there are days we are both just burnt out by the time its just us.  Its important to remember that a strong marriage isn't strong because of mere compatibility, its strong because it overcame the toughest trials and tribulations together.  Those moments when you have to give your all into work, or into your kids in the more demanding first years of their lives, or in other stressful times in life, its important to remember your spouse.  Remember that person you fell in love with, the person you chose to spend the rest of your life with, the person that supports you and makes you a better person.  Yes, working pays bills, and your children do need a significant amount of your time, but finding a balance between it all is the most important.  Let's remember to put first things first.


Each household is only eligible to win One (1) First Things First Moon Pie Prize Pack via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.  Giveaway is open to US legal citizens 18 years of age and older, and begins 8/13/2014 at 2pm and ends 8/18/2014 at 11:59pm CST. Void where prohibited.

The prize will be sent via FedEx or USPS. No P.O. Boxes please. Please note that the assets included within this message were delivered to you to promote First Things First. Any actions (including contest and competitions) that you complete with the provided assets are your liability, and should comply with both local and international laws. Also, please remember to disclose that you are working with First Things First, or that First Things First supplied these materials to you if required by local law.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What Really Happens When You Sign Up for a Subscription Box - Birchbox Edition

**Disclosure: contains affiliate links**
So, we're all pretty much familiar with subscription boxes.  Some are awesome, some not so much, and some are relationships that refuse to quit...i.e. won't stop charging you no matter how much you try.  The promo codes are very tempting, and why wouldn't you trust that blogger's blah blah box review where everything's sugar coated to encourage you to subscribe through their link, giving them so many more boxes for free or shop credit?  Not discrediting all bloggers, there are certainly some who are straightforward.  But, truth be told many more choose to 'glitter fart' (wonderful term coined by the Sir Jamie Grayson of TheBabyGuyNYC) all over their reviews and subscription box shout outs because it benefits them in more ways than one.
I've decided its time to check out these boxes and see what all the fuss is about.  After an absolute horrible experience with both Bluum and Conscious Box (both encouraged by other reviews), I knew I wanted to provide the low down of what happens after you've given your credit card info.  Bluum listened to my criticism and headed my advice and has changed for the better.  Way better.  I would actually recommend them now better.  Conscious Box, negative ghost rider.  Samples were terrible, shipping was terrible, customer service was the absolute worst.  Don't get me started on how many times they've charged me and I had to demand, DEMAND, a refund after I've quit...weeks and months after I quit.
First up: Birchbox
I was referred to Birchbox by my close friend Jossie of My Little Love Note, and it was exactly as I expected.  I honestly signed up simply because I had already filled out a Women's Health mag subscription card and was about to drop it in our mailbox, and she told me Birchbox was including a free year of Women's Health in their July box.  

Cost: $10/month for women's and $20/month for men's
Shipping: Fairly fast! I ordered my July box on July 27th (the cut off date to get the magazine included) and it arrived in my mailbox on August 4th! Just over a week is pretty phenomenal as far as subscription boxes go.
Customer Service:  I only interacted with customer service twice, both through Facebook, and they had my problem solved or question answered at an hour tops.  That gets a five stars from us.  They were sincere, courteous, and not stiff at all.
Box contents:  The box's value was 'there', but I wasn't overly impressed.  If you're looking to sample higher end products, travel a lot, or simply don't get to get out as much as you want and having a variety sent to your door instead works better for you, then Birchbox is right at the same level as other makeup subscription boxes and it'll fit well.  Its not necessarily better, but its not worst either.  At roughly $2.00-2.50/sample, it just wasn't something I would sign up for again.  
I was excited for the lotion and dry shampoo because they fit my purse perfectly, but the body wash samples were very small (even with receiving two, they were disappointingly small, one-use samples) and the eyeliner sample was a joke.  They promoted it as one of the highlights in the bag (and it certainly was, the color was magnificent and the quality, durability, and smudge-ability was exactly what I wanted), but the sample size was so small, so teeny tiny that I almost didn't even get to put it on the other eye.  I found their promotion of it deceiving since it was perceived to be bigger, at least more than one, singular use, and they left a bitter taste in my mouth as a result.  There was also a neat detox product in there that was fun to try, and on a better note I did like how all but the body wash samples were actual bottles or pens with lids.  They can easily be toted around whether while traveling or in your diaper bag or purse.

To give you some sort of scale to reference just how small this sample is: the entire box is just over the size of my hand with fingers together and flat (give an inch on both sides) and smaller than my Kindle Fire.  The dry shampoo that I love, the far left spray, is about the size of my index finger from the knuckle to the tip.  The eyeliner sample is about 3 inches long and the actual sample part of the eyeliner is maybe 2 millimeters. 
Overall: I'd give the box a 4 out of 5 stars solely on the fact that it included the one year of Women's Health magazine that essentially 'paid' for the rest of the box itself.  Without the subscription, I'd rate the box a 3 out of 5 stars.  It contained duplicates from other beauty and makeup subscriptions and was no better or worse than any other we've experienced.  Not a terrible subscription box, but just the same as all the others in its category.  While the box was sturdy and definitely upcycle-worthy, I prefer the bags you can actually use from the Ipsy subscription boxes.
Referrals: Now, something that makes certain boxes a game changer from others have been the credits or bonuses you get from referrals.  This is why many bloggers try to sway you into thinking that even though this month's box was crappy, or it was nothing they cared to use, that the boxes are typically positive experiences and that you'd want to subscribe.  For Birchbox, you get 50 points for every person that subscribes through your link.  100 points = $10, so its easy to see why people are so eager for you to sign up.  They have a great selection of the full-size, higher end products in their store and with only four referrals you can easily find something for you.  Free shipping is only with $50+ orders, but being that most items are $20+ it wouldn't be that difficult to achieve.

Cancellation: Yup.  The big one.  I may not have been overly impressed with the box itself, but the no-catch, no drawn out cat-and-mouse goose chase na-na-na-na-boo-boo-you'll-never-be-able-to-cancel tactics don't exist here.  You just simply click a button...  and your confirmation email is in your box shortly! High-five, Birchbox. High-five.

If you do decide to sign up, feel free to use my link here.  While I wasn't overly impressed, it may fit your lifestyle better. Plus, their customer service is superb.
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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Bloominous: Satisfy Your DIY Itch and Let Your Event Bloom!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.
I'm a very creative and crafty person, so I wanted to make my own bouquet for our fun wedding in Las Vegas.  It was still very 'traditional' in decoration-terms, resembling a lot like the following pictures below, but it was satisfying and enjoyable creating my own bouquet and saving it for momento.  Not every one has been bitten by the creativity bug though, so thank goodness there's a company that provides it all for you while still letting you join in on the DIY craze! is something you'll want to bookmark if you're planning a wedding or hosting a big event in the future.  They're setting the standard for floral arrangements, and they're setting it pretty high!  What makes Bloominous unique (other than the obvious, of course)?
The Bloominous Difference:
Our DIY experts design collections that are not only beautiful, 
but are also easy to arrange yourself
Our flowers come straight from the farm, ensuring your stems
are fresh and cut-to-order
It's not just flowers, its the whole look - and you can
find it all here!
Our step-by-step pictorials make it easy to build a beautiful
piece in only 15 minutes
We dethorn and proportion your flowers to save you time,
you just have fun ;)
We carefully package and ship by air
to ensure freshness

They have many fun collections and trial packs to choose from, including the beautiful Vintage Cottage pictured above, and Party Pop featured below.  If you're looking for something for fun and nontraditional, they even have a gorgeous and bright Bohemian package!

Be sure to check out what they have to offer at, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Its that time of year again...don't break the bank on textbooks with

Disclosure: this is a sponsored post.  That being said, I do not review items, sponsored posts, or advertise on my page products or companies that I don't believe in or use myself.  I would rather pass up an offer than promote a product or company I don't believe will be beneficial to my readers.

Its that time of year again!  While I loved my four years at Louisiana State University, one thing I didn't enjoy was the final cost of all those textbooks.  I completed my degree in four years, that's eight semesters and eight times I had to purchase textbooks and workbooks.  I did the 'oh you don't really need to purchase textbooks' route (which was awful and millions times more stressful by the way!), the 'MUST.GET.ALL.THE.TEXTBOOKS!!!' route (directly following the semester without textbooks, naturally), the 'wait and see which you'll really need from the first day in class' route (which, by the way, worked really well in some classes since they said we didn't need them and that they simply had to put something down, and terrible for others where the book ended up being sold out and costing twice as much so that I could get it before the first exam). And finally, the most amazing thing ever: renting the textbooks.  Because college is a huge life lesson, and I apparently did something terrible at some point to earn some bad karma, the option to rent textbooks didn't occur until my very last semester of college.  Very last.  And even then, it was so new that it was only offered in certain textbooks/classes.  Boo.  

Hubby Doo and I at my college graduation :) Five months pregnant with Buddy Doo, too!

I averaged $900-1,000 in textbooks each semester of college at LSU.  That's $1,800-2,000 a year, times four ($7,200-8,000!).  On BOOKS.  Books that I only got a laughable $7-30 by the end of the semester when I tried selling them back!  Thankfully, I had a full ride to college with scholarships.  Unfortunately, not everyone does so I'm thrilled to remind you all of the affordable and practical option of renting your textbooks through!

Why would you want to rent from Campus Book Rentals?
-save 40-90% off of bookstore prices (how awesome is that? You get LESS than that when you try to sell them back at the end of the year, anyway)
-free shipping both ways (SCORE!)
-can highlight in the textbooks (seriously?!)
-flexible renting periods
-we donate to Operation Smile with each textbook rented (awesome!)

Alright, cool.  I'm liking what I see.  Now, what do I do?

Now, ready for something even more amazing?  Check out Campus Book Rentals new program


The RentBack program by Campus Book Rentals is revolutionary because its a profitable-for-you opportunity by allowing you to rent your own textbooks out to other students.  If you're like me and actually want to keep some (or all) of your textbooks, you can utilize this great service by letting rent out your textbooks to other students (at a pre-determined amount for each rental) over and over again.  This allows you to profit from each new rental on the same textbook, and once your book is no longer in demand you get it back. Its yours to keep and you get the money too!

And if you thought you couldn't love Campus Book Rentals any more, check out Operation Smile:

With every textbook rented through, a donation is made to the beautiful international charity Operation Smile!

Since 1982, Operation Smile has provided 22,000 free surgical procedures to children and young adults who otherwise would not have been able to afford/obtain it.  Its an international children's charity that helps children in low and middle income countries to obtain safe, quality medical care for challenges associated with the mouth such as cleft lip and palate. Every three minutes a child is born with a cleft.  While no one in my family or close to me has been born with a cleft or had to face any of the significant challenges and surgeries associated with it, I do know that it greatly affects those who have it more than just physically.  It deeply affects them emotionally too, and I'm grateful to learn of this charity and how its literally spreading beautiful smiles worldwide.  

So, now that you know why you should rent your textbooks from, be sure to check their website!  Don't forget to connect with them on Facebook and Twitter, too. :)

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Ark Survival Gear: 7,500+ Heirloom Seeds for your Bug Out Bag!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

As many of you know, we have our own little garden (mostly herbs) that we enjoy regularly.  I have a fairly decent green thumb and enjoy learning new 'old traits' like gardening, making salves or working with medicinal herbs, and overall survival knowledge.  My husband is pretty handy with a variety of weapons, we can both shoot great with bows, and I've been fishing as long as I remember.  If a disaster were to leave us without the common luxuries we've all become accustomed to like electricity, easy availability of meat, food, and water, and medicine, we want to be fully prepared.  Something I've always been big about is ensuring the ability to grow our own food. That's why I've fallen in love with Ark Survival Gear's 7,500+ Heirloom seeds: they're non-GMO, open pollinated, and perfectly compact and light so they won't take up much valuable space in your bag.

  • LIFE TIME GUARANTEE: Seeds Stored in Breathable Envelopes for Safer, Longer Term Storage NOT Foil or Vapour Plastic Which Can Trap Moisture & Ruin Your Seeds. Safe Seed Pledge Approved & Tested for Germination, Our Heirloom Varieties Have Been the Proven Choice for Generations. We Know Seeds & Our Seeds Last, Its That Simple!
  • PROVIDE FOR YOUR FAMILY: Carefully Selected Vegetable Seed Varieties to Provide a Well-Balanced Healthy Diet Including Iron, Vitamin C and Protein. Plus Medicinal Herbs to Ensure You Have Everything You Need in Your Garden for Your Family's Well Being.
  • SUPPORT: We Believe in Supporting Our Customers & Provide a FREE Beginners Gardening Video Course & a Survival Guide with Gardening Instructions. We've Got You Covered!
  • SAVE MONEY: Easily Produce a Full Crisis Garden with 30 Varieties & 7500+ Seeds. Unbeatable Value.
  • HIGHEST QUALITY: Heirloom seeds, Open Pollinated and 100% Non GMO American Seeds. Comes with Free Survival Gardening Video Course! Guide available for free on Website.

The package is designed for long term storage and the seeds are chosen for maximum adaptability to ensure a guaranteed food supply in your crisis garden.  The seeds included are: Lettuce (Black Seeded Simpson), Pepper (Chile), Tomato (Tommy Toe), Carrot (Scarlet Nantes), Lettuce (Buttercrunch), Spinach (Viroflay), Broccoli (De Cicco), Tomato (Ponderosa/beefsteak), Lettuce (Romaine), Radish (Cherry Belle), Kale (Siberian), Cucumber (Straight Eight), Cabbage (Copenhagen Market), Pepper - Sweet (Bull Nose), Corn, Sweet (Golden Bantam), Beet (Crosby Egyptian), Pea - Shelling (Green Arrow), Snap Bush Bean (Kentucky Wonder Bush), Squash - Summer (Black Zucchini), Squash - Winter (Buttercup).  Other seeds included are commonly used herbs such as Parsley (Italian Flat Leaf), Cilantro (Coriander), Basil (Genovese), Sage, Oregano - Greek, Catnip, Dill, and Echinacea and Yarrow (white) for additional medicinal purposes.  I love that they even included Alfalfa so that you can produce hay for animals or rich organic matter for gardens, too.  Very thorough and promising crisis garden!

We're very satisfied with this product.  I've been preserving and adding our own seeds to our crisis bag for awhile now, but never knew an awesome 'crisis garden in a bag' existed like these survival seeds from Ark.  All of the seeds are individually packaged, labeled, and tucked into another bag for easy, compact storage.  The entire package and seeds are smaller than a venti-sized Starbucks frapps!  Its ideal for every survivalist out there, end-of-the-world-ers, or simply families that want to be prepared for whatever may happen.  My parents and grandparents instilled important skills in me with living off the land, and I feel this is the right tool for success if that need should ever arise in the future.

And in case you were wondering, yes there is space to add more 'fun' or personal favorite seeds if you'd like.  We've added organic watermelon, sunflower, lavender, organic mint, lemon balm, and rosemary.  You can purchase your own package of Ark Survival Seeds (7,500+ heirloom seeds) for $27.18 on Amazon!

Ark Survival Seeds
Website | Amazon

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The New Product by Halo That Will Blow Your New-Mommy Mind (+ GIVEAWAY)

When we were pregnant, it seemed all we thought about was baby: baby clothes, baby gear, baby registries, baby showers, what baby needed, etc.  Then, once baby was here, we held our breaths and freaked out every time he went down for his nap or for bed.  SIDS is something that albeit rare, is pretty high up there on every new parent's worried list.  It seems like there's always new things being recalled that were once considered 'safe' when it came to infant sleep, so we've put our trust in Halo's hands and have slept a little easier.  In fact, Halo's sleep sack swaddle was the very first our little Buddy Doo snuggled up in!   

And now, they've gone a step further.  Introducing the neatest product you will probably see this year in the baby/sleep world.  Seriously, it'll blow your new-mommy mind.  Let us introduce you to the new Halo Bassinest:

The Bassinest by Halo is perfect for any new parent, including those recovering from c-sections!  

  • It rotates 360 degrees
  • Adjusts to fit the height of your bed 
  • Keeps baby close to mommy and daddy, while maintaining a safe sleep environment
  • Swivels out of your way for easy in or out of the bed
  • My personal favorite: you don't have to get out of the bed to tend to the baby!  The sides can be lowered for easier night-time feedings and comforting
  • There is a convenient soothing center with a nursing timer, night light and soothing sounds, as well as a generous storage compartment on the side of the bassinet.
  • The sides of the Bassinest are mesh for ventilation so you can always see your baby, even while lying down. This also ensures maximum air flow into the bassinet. 

The Bassinest will be available in a GORGEOUS soft, white and gray damask print in mid-July to early August 2014 for $229.  Quantities are very limited, so don't hestitate to grab one if this is something you see yourself wanting!

WIN IT:  One lucky reader will win a Halo cotton Sleepsack or Sleepswaddle!  Open to US citizens 18 years of age or older.  Contest begins 6/13/14 and ends 11:00PM CST on 6/20/14.  Only one entrant per household.  Void where prohibited.

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Isn't it Time You Invested in a Non-Toxic, Non-Stick Pan? Ozeri Green Earth Review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Hubby Doo loves to cook on his days off.  Last year, we got a nice cast iron pan for Father's Day and that's his kitchen 'baby'.  He's been wanting a new frying pan for a long time now and I've been wanting 'greener' cookware, so I knew the Ozeri Green Earth Textured Ceramic Nonstick frying pan was perfect for this year's Father's Day gift!

First, let's check out the features:
Utilizing GREBLON — a natural ceramic coating from Germany, the Green Earth Pan by Ozeri is one of the world’s first frying pans to achieve non-stick perfection while remaining absolutely free of PTFE, PFOA and other harmful chemicals. Conventional non-stick cookware is achieved through a coating of PTFE (PolyTetraFluoroEthylene), a synthetic substance that has waxy properties. At very high temperatures, PTFE begins to decompose and release fumes which are documented to be lethal to birds and small pets, and which can be harmful to humans. In addition, traditional pans incorporating PTFE are manufactured with the aid of PFOA (PerFluoroOctanoic Acid), which the EPA has classified as a ‘persistent pollutant of the environment’. With the Green Earth Pan’s GREBLON ceramic from Germany, even under high temperatures, no harmful toxic fumes are ever released into the environment. This is because the Green Earth Pan utilizes a 100% ceramic coating derived from nature – not from a laboratory. The Green Earth Pan’s ceramic coating is completely free of PTFE and PFOA. The Green Earth Pan’s natural ceramic coating is also far more durable and scratch-resistant than other non-stick surfaces. With better non-stick properties, the Green Earth Pan allows you to cook with as little as half the amount of oil normally used, and it makes cleaning a breeze. The Green Earth Pan by Ozeri is made of the highest quality anodized aluminum that allows for even cooking and fantastic browning without the risk of hot spots. It boasts a magnetized bottom for rapid heat transfer on induction stoves, and a heat resistant silicone coated handle. This version of the Green Earth Pan features a textured ceramic cooking surface. The elevations of the textured cooking surface create air pockets which distribute heat underneath food to enhance cooking performance. Your satisfaction is guaranteed. GREBLON ceramic made by Weilburger GmbH, Germany. Final assembly in China.

So, basically:

  • Unlike other ceramic cookware brands, each Ozeri pan utilizes GREBLON ceramic – an ultra-safe ceramic coating from Germany which is 100% PTFE and PFOA free (no heavy metals or chemicals).
  • Innovative textured pan surface delivers unprecedented non-stick performance without releasing harmful fumes or toxins at high temperatures.
  • Scratch-resistant 100 percent ceramic coating that is super easy to clean.
  • Made out of durable heavy-gauge die-cast aluminum with no heavy metals or harmful chemicals.
  • Each pan boasts a comfortable heat resistant silicon coated handle, and a magnetized induction stove safe base for rapid heat transfer.
  • The elevations of the textured cooking surface create air pockets which distribute heat underneath food to enhance cooking performance.

I'm pretty sure I set the standard for Father's Day gifts with this bad boy.  I've given Hubs plenty of gifts over the years with many yays!, thank yous, and excitement.  With the Ozeri Green Earth Textured Ceramic Non Stick Pan though, hubs was left without words while he excitedly read the box, tore it open, and immediately started pillaging the pantry for something that needed to be cooked right that very second.

The texture is what got our attention first.  It's really neat!  Out of habit we still add light oils occasionally, but we've noticed we've been using oil less and less the more we cook.  Food is being cooked beautifully and evenly, and its almost to the point of annoyance how insistent hubs is about this pan always being clean and available.  Almost.  This pan is so easy to clean that I can use my fingers under water and everything will glide right off.....burgers, caked on chili and hotdogs, pancakes....anything.  

I've been making a lot of changes for our household to be a 'greener', less toxic environment for our family ever since we first got married.  Cloth diapers, herb and 'grow your own' gardens, natural lighting, non-GMO, and organic cleaners later...we've stumbled upon the holy grail for 'green and clean' eating.  It blows our other pans out of the water while being twice as lightweight, keeping its 'cool' to ensure comfortable handling, and Mother Earth as its sidekick.  We love this pan!  Best of both worlds: daddy loves how well it cooks, mommy loves how toxin-free it is :)   

BUY IT: You can purchase the Ozeri Green Earth Textured Ceramic Non Stick Frying Pan on Amazon for $38.95 + $8.50 shipping.  Its normally $80, so this limited sale is a steal! 
It makes a fantastic Father's Day gift for the chef in your family :)

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Have Children Rear-Facing in Their Carseats? Keep Them Cool While You Travel With the Solar-Powered Kulcar Car Cooling Ventilator!

I'm pretty sure I've been introduced to one of the neatest accessories you'll ever add to your car.  After reading more about it online, I became giddy with excitement to get it in the mail.  Its one of those neat gadgets you never knew you needed because, well, you didn't know it existed.  Now that you do though, you want to know everything about it (and get your hands on one!).  They're becoming standard in leading luxury car brands' newer model cars and now you get your own for a very affordable price.

So what is Kulcar? Here's some information directly from Sonray's website:
  •  Patented design, internationally registered 
  • Made In Taiwan
  • Kulcar solar powered car ventilator is equipped with 5V high-efficacy solar cell
  • Twin turbo fans, each with 17.3cfm capacity
  • 90sec total air replacement for average car 
  • Reduce fuel consumption 
  • Reduce hazardous fumes emitting from plastics under high heat
  • Added comfort to passengers
  • Maintains car interior in like-new condition
  • Kulcar solar-powered car ventilator's pivotal design allows for easy installation and storage
I've lived in Louisiana the majority of my life, and while I've traveled to countries around the world I still say Louisiana has the most extreme temperatures from where I've been.  By extreme I'm not saying it gets -32 degrees here; by extreme I mean it can snow in April, be 80 degrees and then 33 degrees in the same week in December, etc.  We somehow manage to have both incredibly hot summer temperatures of 105+ WITH 100% humidity (translation= feels like 130 degrees.  Hot, muggy, thick (like walking around in hot jello). ).  So, entering a hot car is one of those dreaded certainties.  I'm glad to learn it won't be in my future anymore! Learn more about the Solar-Powered Kulcar Car Cooling Ventilator and why hot cars don't have to be a part of your future either!  

The Kulcar solar-powered car cooling ventilator came in a nice little box where the directions and parts list were conveniently printed on the inner cover.  As you can see, all the parts are together upon arrival and there's no annoying small parts to worry about.  The only parts are literally the Kulcar main piece and the two pieces that help attach it securely to your car's window.  As a result, its super easy to install and doesn't require batteries (its solar-powered!) or tools.  I don't know about you all, but these are two huge deal-makers or breakers when it comes to products we buy.  Living in Louisiana, we need to be prepared for natural disasters like tornadoes and hurricanes.  Unfortunately, they happen all too often and many times we're left without power for days, weeks even (longest we've ever been without was six weeks for all power; some power returned after two weeks).  Having something that can both provide a cool environment in case something should happen and doesn't drain, or even require, batteries is pretty amazing.

Quick Installation in four steps!

The Kulcar is designed to cool the interior temperature of your car quickly and even filters the air inside.  What, wait?  Yup, read that sentence again: the Kulcar is designed to cool the interior of your car quickly and even filters the air inside.  It seems like I'm always reading about how the air inside our homes and vehicles is actually more toxic than the air outside, so I'm ecstatic about the added filtration!  The twin turbo fans give off a lot more power than I ever expected them to (check out the video below to see them in action!) and its honestly not as bulky or heavy as I thought it would be.  When I first pulled it out of the box I thought it would be something that would fall right off my window while going down the interstate and cause some sort of  crazy, dramatic damage or flat tire to the vehicle behind me, but the 'heavy'not-really-heavy turbo fan side actually faces inwards and prevents this.  The solar-panel lays flat when not in use (middle picture) and is conveniently out of the way.  It only protrudes a couple of inches when in use though, so its never been a problem.  I do get a lot of questions about it when getting in or out of my car, but the responses are usually of awe and excitement. 

For more information about how dangerous heat can be both to your vehicle and to your health, check out Sonray's website and these quick facts:
  • The temperature inside a sealed car under blazing sun can quickly exceed 89~90 degree Celsius. (THAT'S 194 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT!)
  • When the temperature exceeds 65 degrees Celsius, harmful fumes like methyl, acrolein, butanone, toluene, benzene, propyl benzine,etc.,are released from a car's interior materials and contents.  These compounds are all known to be cancer causing poisonous chemicals.
  • Careful testing has proven that the TVOC level of these compounds can exceed 12 times the cancer causing hazardous warning level when a car is parked under a blazing sun for only one hour.
  • Cancers of unidentifiable origin have been the top killer for 31 consecutive years.
  • Volvo, a world leader in car safety.(Car air cleaner than outside the car!) has ensured that all new cars are equipped with the CZIP system as of 2013. When a car is parked under the sun, the CZIP system automatically pumps out the hot and hazardous air inside the car prior to the driver entering.Leading car makers are now concerned with not only driver safety,but also passenger health and safety.(Car environment to create non-toxic)

You can purchase the Kulcar Solar-Powered Car Cooling Ventilator and keep your car cool and inviting all year long for only $89 (save $40 for a limited time!!) !  Its a great investment both for your own comfort and for preserving the interior of your car longer against the harsh heat.  It keeps the interior cool during the warmer parts of the year to provide much needed comfort to you and your passengers.  Since it also filters the air inside your car, the Kulcar is a great addition to any vehicle and can be used in any climate.  While I honestly recommend this product to anyone, I highly recommend it to those with children rear-facing in their carseats or live in warmer climates.  We're already enjoying ours and the fresher air we breathe; we can't wait to try it out in  the hottest part of the summer!

Want to see it in action? Check out my video below! You'll see how I installed it in my 2008 Nissan Sentra and just how quick and powerful the turbo fans are.  I'm not that great on camera though, so don't laugh :)

Check out the powerful turbo fans and how the solar panel can be adjusted to the sun's position for optimal performance in my video!

Kulcar Solar-Powered Car Cooling Ventilator

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