Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Zen Living Snowball Aromatherapy Diffuser: Reviewed





It is cold season and guess who has a cold.  A BAD one.  First my husband had it.  He was such a DIVA about it, lol.  The thing is, he can take any medicine he wants.  I on the other hand, can not as I am breastfeeding my little one.  (Little fella has a cold too, but luckily for him, mama is providing him antibodies.)  So the 2 people who are really suffering with a cold, is mama and daughter (who is 3 1/2).  She cannot take medicine as most medicine is for ages 5 and up.  So it is mainly hot soup, water, water, and water.  I do not really drink OJ any more as it is too sweet and acidic now for my taste, and she only drinks milk and water (luckily she does not have a taste for juices yet).  I have been having my daughter and I take our daily vitamins.  I do try to get her to nap when possible, but it is a struggle with all her energy.  I of course am a robot, and do not sleep.  I have far too many things that have to get done when the house is quiet and so sleep comes to me unfortunately in the wee hours of the night.

One thing that has helped GREATLY with her cold symptoms is a diffuser.  We were sent one to review from Zen Living.  It is a large white round diffuser that is perfectly named the Snowball.  This diffuser holds 300 ml of water and gives off a cool mist into the air.  We use it with essential oils as I am the essential oil fanatic over here.  I have various oils that I mix together to use in hair and skin items and for aromatherapy.  I like to use lemon and lavender or peppermint and lemon.  Sometimes I use manuka oil with sandalwood or neroli (orange flower oil).  But the past 2 weeks, (yes its been that long of a sickness in this house--my husband for a week and now me and the kids) I have put eucalyptus and peppermint in the diffuser as it helps clear nasal passages.  I am not a fan of store bought vapor rubs, as they are filled with chemicals, so I use essential oils.  For my daughter and infant, I make a homemade mixture of lavender, eucalyptus, manuka, tea tree, peppermint and extra virgin coconut oil.  This makes a special aromatherapy and breathing salve.  I apply it thickly on the bottoms of their feet and then cover up their feet with thick old sporty type socks (socks that are generally ugly but super padded and comfy).  Putting a vapor type rub on feet can assist with nasal passages and relieves a bad cough.  The diffuser is in my 3 1/2 year old's room and the aroma mist and the lights soothe her to a sleepy state.  She is comforted by the light.  I totally need 2 of these diffusers. :)

Our son, who is 8 months, sleeps with us in our room and we do not have a diffuser in there, but I do try to put some oils on a thick paper towel and then hang the paper towel from the ceiling near our bed (one good thing about low ceiling in this old drafty house).

The diffuser is easy to use.  You fill it up with water and add the essential oil(s) of your choosing.  The essential oil and water mix into a mist and then rise into the air. You can select the color you want the diffuser to make, or you can let it cycle through.  I like that when the water runs out, it safely switches off.  Using a diffuser like this helps relieve stress, provides natural relief for flu and cold, purifies and improves the quality of air, and is soothing to drift off to sleep watching.  My daughter loves this machine and I love it as well.  It is attractive on the table in her room.  The unit can be used with or without the lights.  *sample sent for review*

For more information you can read about this product on the company's website/blog.  This  Zen Living Snowball is available to purchase on Amazon. Connect with Zen Living on Facebook for new products and tips for a better and more relaxed self.  
























Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Two Volcanoes Whole Bean Coffee: Reviewed




I was sent a 16 oz (1 pound) bag of Two Volcanoes Whole Bean Coffee to test this past month.  This is a Guatemalan Gourmet Medium Roast, Whole Bean Coffee.  It smells quite amazing and it is FRESH. Did you ever wonder why coffee bags have the little hole at the top? (OK so maybe I was the ONLY one who did not know).  Freshly roasted coffee emits carbon dioxide (CO2) and so in order to provide the FRESHEST coffee, the opening makes this possible for the coffee to be packaged immediately so it can be on its way to your favorite coffee cup.  According to About.com, coffee roasters used to keep coffee unpackaged for up to 24 hours in order to allow the coffee to "off gas" the CO2.  "Fresh" coffee was already a day old before it even left the supplier.  The hole in the top is a sign of quality and concern for the consumer.  The Two Volcanos company wants us to have the freshest coffee possible.  It was a nice experience to open this coffee, it immediately drenched me with beautiful coffee fragrance.

I  immediately started preparation of my coffee, er uh Latte. :) I tend to load up on milk or creamer and try to create the perfect beige. I have two hand held frothers now and so am always looking for an excuse to use them.  I opened up the coffee and scooped out 3 teaspoons of whole beans, put them in my little grinder, and then brewed in my Keurig.  I usually make a medium sized brew of coffee and then add freshly foamed 1% milk.  I do not add sugar but sometime when I am feeling the need to indulge a bit, I add some sweetened creamer.  I would prefer real creamer, but this last time the husband found some store bought creamer that was chocolate chip cookie flavored and it sounded pretty tasty.  The coffee turned out well and although I personally only drink coffee about twice a week, my husband drinks about 2 cups per day.  He says this brand tastes nice and he liked it.  I like having whole beans and grinding them on my own.  I am not a master at it, but it does seem like it makes for a better experience.  The bag is resealable with the bendable twist tie clamps at the top.

What is neat about this particular coffee brand is the background of its name.  This coffee is cultivated near the base of Guatemala's most important volcanoes: Tajana and Tajumulco. This is a sweeter and milder coffee bean that is said to have delicate floral notes. I am not a connoisseur in coffee, and did not really taste floral notes, however this coffee definitely was smooth and was enjoble to drink.  The Guatemalan volcanic soil provides a more fertile ground for coffee beans to grow, which in turn makes for better quality beans.  I like how the company is the one who grows, harvests, processes the coffee.  Two Volcanos company usesbeans that are organic. There are no synthetic substances used,  no herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers. These are pure and top quality at a great price, as you are getting the coffee directly from the ones who lovingly cultivated it.  This coffee is available on Amazon.










You can connect with them on Facebook to learn more.  I was send one bag for review.

Natracare’s Organic Cleansing Make-Up Removal Wipes: Reviewed



I recently was sent some makeup removing cleansing wipes for the face from Natarcare.  I normally do not use makeup wipes as I prefer removing with my Argan oil or Jojoba oil mixture, but I thought I would see what these were like as I have used makeup remover wipes in the past when traveling.  Generally makup wipes do not work well for me as I wear dark black waterproof winged eyeliner, eyeshadow, mascara, red lipstick, blush and mineral foundation and my face does not feel or look as clean when a wipe is used.  Makeup wipes are not as cost effective for me as I usually use 3 to get the job done. I was sent a soft pack and 3 sample travel wipe packets.  The wipes smell light and I like how the ingredients are gentle and skin nourishing. They contain oils and botanical ingredients.  There are a few ingredients that I am not sure of what they are, some of them sound synthetic or chemical.  I did look up the ingredients that I was unsure of what they were.  I found a neat site called, The Beauty Bible, they have a glossary of ingredients as well as other interesting information.

Ingredients:

Water , Aloe Vera Leaf Water, Glycerin , Sodium Citrate , Brassica Campestris Seed Oil , Gluconolactone , Chamomila Recutita Flower, WaterOrganic , Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Oil, Sweet Almond, Organic  Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil, Sunflower , Avena Strigosa Seed Extract , Dicaprylyl Carbonate , Prunus Armeniaca Kernal Oil, Organic , Lauryl Glucoside , Tocopherol , Polyglyceryl-2-Dipolyhydroxystearate , Polyglyceryl-4-Caprate , Microcrystalline Cellulose , Cellulose Gum , Fragrance Sweet Orange, Lavandin, Mandarin, Lavender, Lemon, Bergamot, Petitgrain Oil , Sodium Benzoate , Levulinic Acid , Sodium Levulinate , Glyceryl Oleate , Citric Acid , Xanthan Gum , Lecithin , Calcium Gluconate , Potassium Sorbate , Limonene , Linalool , Sodium Phytate

The following were a few of the ingredients I was unsure about, so I consulted the Beauty Bible Website mentioned above.  These are direct quotes.  I did not look up all the unknown (unknown to me) ingredients, but here were some of them:

Gluconolactone A poly-hydroxy acid created from milk sugar. It’s one of the newer generation of AHA ‘fruit acids’, and is said to be gentler than some of the earlier versions, used as a skin-brightener. Also doubles as a fragrance ingredient in products like shampoos.

Dicaprylyl carbonate Comes from Carbonic acid and Caprylyl alcohol, and is used in sunscreens, age-defying creams and also in treatments for redness and rosacea.

Polyglyceryl-2 dipolyhydroxystearate:  A synthetic ester of Polyglyceryl-2 and Stearic acid, generally used as an emulsifier.

Polyglyceryl-4-Caprate is a skin conditioning agent



The wipes are made from all natural ingredients. Natracare’s Organic Cleansing Make-Up Removal Wipes are "free from formaldehyde releasing preservatives, synthetics, chemicals, parabens, and sulfates" that are commonly found in conventional make-up removers.  I must admit, the ingredients do seem nicer and gentler than other makeup remover wipes, however I would like them to not have ingredients that sound so complex as I read over them.  I tend to like more simpler natural ingredients, like, water, aloe, jojoba, argan, lavender, tea tree, etc. 

The wipes are said to "remove stubborn make-up from face, eyes and lips without rubbing, as well as soothe the skin."  I have tried them a few times.  They are soothing to my skin and I like how they are infused with the organic essential oils of almond, apricot, sunflower, and chamomile.  They also have other botanical ingredients that I like.  They are made of a soft and strong organic cotton cloth.  I did find that I have to use 2-3 of them to get all of my eye, red lip, and face makeup off, depending on what I am wearing.  A few times I did lightly dampen it with water or a few drops of my argan oil.  I use Stila's Stay All Day waterproof liquid eyeliner and a variety of mascara brands.  I always use an eyeshadow primer/base (Urban Decay Primer Potion) and that makes my shadow stay put.  My lids and lashes always seem to get cleaner when I use my natural oil cleansing method. 

For now, I will stick to oil cleansing as it is what works for me personally.  However, if you like makeup wipes, this is definitely one that does stand out from the rest.  This was sent to me as a review sample, all opinions are my own.

Connect with the company on Facebook and Twitter.





Extra Strength Colon Cleanse Detox: Healthy Now Supplements: Reviewed

It is always important to drink plenty of water, eat a variety or fruits and vegetables, get plenty of fiber and monitor the amount of sugar our body consumes.  When our balance of nutrition is unstable and we fill our bodies with unhealthy things, we can have problems.  My husband does not take care of himself the way he should.  He is blessed to have had such a dramatic weight loss over the past 7 years (starting at around 350 and now being at around 210) but does not drink enough water or eat enough during the day.  He is a hard worker and goes into work at 6 am and is on his feet doing the job of his employees (he is a restaurant manager) along side of them.  He skips his breakfast and lunch as he says he is strapped for time and short of hands at work.  He drinks a lot of coffee during the day and really needs to be drinking pure water.  He does not eat junk food, but it is usually 6 pm at night before he eats a meal and one large meal per day with very little water can be cause for some problems.

He has had this current job for just under a year, but previous jobs he has been the same way.   He has always been complaining of  stomach cramps and is never, shall we say, "regular."  He tells me he usually "goes" every 3 days.  He needs to improve some aspects in his health.

I have been trying to incorporate healthy supplements into his diet as well as try to motivate and remind him to take breaks to drink water and take his lunch at work.  I obviously cannot do much from home while he is at work, but I hope that the days he does drink more, and take a lunch break that he will realize how much better he feels and how much more energy it provides.



I was given the opportunity to review a colon cleanse nutritional supplement that is all all natural formulation  herbs, seeds, fruits and fibers that help enhance digestive system functioning and cleanse the bowel.  It is a 90 count bottle of veggie caps and is a mild detox for improving colon health.  I like how it is made in the USA.  There are no fillers, no chemicals, and no artificial ingredients. 

Here is what the Bottle claims to assist with:

- Relieve Constipation
- Reduce Gas & Bloating
- Eliminate Built-up Waste
- Improve the absorption of nutrients in the body
- Increase Energy
- Promote Weight Loss Naturally
- Improve Digestive Health
- Promote Overall Balance of Health



Ingredients:

Proprietary Blend: Butternut Bark, Ginger Root, Senna Leaf, Black Walnut Bark, Cascara Segrada Bark, Fructooligosaccarides ,Grapefruit Fiber, Licorice Root, Milk Thistle Seed, Dandelion Leaf, Cayenne Fruit.

Other Ingredients: Calcium phosphate, vegetable capsule. Manufactured in a facility that processes milk, soy, eggs, nuts and wheat.

Directions: (Suggested Guidelines)

Take 1 to 2 capsules in the morning and in the evening with water. Start with 1 capsule at each time and increase to 2 when comfortable. Do not exceed 10 days of consistent daily use. 

Since I cannot get him to eat breakfast or take a morning supplement, he takes his capsules in the evening after a meal.  He takes 2 with a tall glass of half water and half 100% natural juice.  I may have him increase the dose to 3 each evening.  He has been using 2 capsules daily (exceeding the 10 days of constant use) as a light supplement.  The suggested use is 1-2 twice per day.  He has not had any ill effects with taking this, but I think he may need 3 per day.  I personally would suggest taking 1-2 twice per day, with a maximum of 4 per day.

This was sent to me as a sample, for review.


Monday, December 29, 2014

Softy Hand, Body and surface wipes: Reviewed



We had the opportunity to review some hand wipes in the last few weeks. Our favorite brand is Babyganics as we buy the individual packets that come in a bag of 75 or so. We take 2-4 inside a restaurant with us and usually this is enough for our almost 4 year old and our 8 month old. We like natural products and the wipes are gentle, being alcohol free.

I was sent a container of wipes from Softy to review.  I had never heard of this company previously, but was happy that the wipes claimed to be gentle, alcohol free, and made in the USA.  I thought I would give them a try.  I guess I was not paying attention to the wipe count of the container, because when these arrived in a large box, I was thinking Amazon combined a few things.  The box felt heavier than I was expecting.  I opened the box and the only thing in the box was 1 large massive container of wipes! There are 150 in the container, and wow this is not going to fit easily in a carry on or diaper bag.  (Well it MIGHT fit in one of MY diaper bags/purse, seriously I do like large massive bags, I always have.) The size does hinder it from leaving much space on our changing area.  Now I would not be using these for baby's bottom, but I normally like some disinfectant wipes in that area for wiping down the changing pad, the table, and the diaper pail.  Since he shares his area with our bedroom, we do not have space for these.  So I took these to the suv (which is a small suv now with 2 kids in carseats and a stroller in the trunk area).  I was able to find a spot for these.  They take some space in the car bag, but they are coming in handy.  They have a light fragrance and have Aloe and E in them.  They are gentle on hands and seam to clean things well.  I do prefer having individually packaged wipes as I can grab a few and leave them in my bag and take them into the store or restaurant. 

These are best kept for use while in the car, to wipe down messy hands, toys and carseats.  They are a nice sized wipe and we like these.  However, we would love the company to make smaller sized packs that would fit in a diaper bag.

These are available on Amazon.  I was sent a container for this review.

















Sunday, December 28, 2014

Can You Handlebar Wisdom Beard Oil: Reviewed

My husband loves his beard, and I love it too.  I have never been a beard loving gal, but his looks just right on him and I get really upset and sad the few times a year he shaves it off to "start fresh."  Over the past 2 years I have loved using essential oils and carrier oils.  I frequently use grape seed, argan, jojoba, rose hip and other types of oils for various skin and hair uses.  I have found that natural ingredients always work better than synthetic and chemical.  I love the improvement I have seen in my own skin and hair by using natural products.  I have gotten my husband interested in natural products and he has gone sulfate free as I have. 

I had the opportunity to review a natural product that nourishes skin and hair.  It is specifically for a man's beard, but can also be used for his scalp and hair.  The company is called Can You Handlebar and the product, wisdom beard oil , is reminiscent of  a dapper gentleman with the essence of a ruggedly handsome woodsman.  It has the scent of fresh cut spruce and cedar with a splash of lemon.  It is warm, spicy, inviting, and oh so masculine.  This oil has top quality ingredients to provide natural luster, softness and follicle strength. 





My husband enjoys keeping his beard neatly trimmed and shaped evenly.  He has always been diligent in its care for as long as I've known him.  He fancies the scent of this beard oil and the daily beard massage routine.  To use, dab some oil into your palm, between a dime and quarter sized amount, and massage it into your beard.

Long before I ever introduced him to essential oils or carrier oils for hair or skin, he has always used a comb or brush to brush his beard.  I would laugh when I would see him brush his beard forward diagonally a few times, then back down diagonally, it is an odd sort of ritual, but he has always done it after his shower when getting ready for the day.  It is quite fitting that the company recommends and sells a beard comb and brush

The beard oil comes in a classy bottle and has a vintage feel to it.  I like the lid, it is a nice touch.  The company's attention to detail extends to the bottle labeling, which is waterproof and oil-proof.  That is a fantastic feature as all my essential oils seem to easily get stained and lose their tidy appearance. 

    You can connect with the company on Facebook and Twitter to learn about upcoming sales and new products.   A sample bottle of Wisdom Beard Oil was provided to me by the company for review. 





    3.3 Cloud Visco Elastic Memory Foam Pad Twin: Reviewed



    Our almost 4 year old has been in a "big girl bed" since she was about 2. We decided to skip the toddler bed as she would not be in that for very long and we are so happy we did. By having her in a twin sized regular bed, either my husband or I can lay down with her to read, or lay with her when she is sick or scared. We were blessed to find a really nice white, ornate twin bed on our local selling website. The bed cost over 1,000 when the seller purchased it. Her daughter had outgrown the desire to use a twin and the lady decided to let us have the bed for $100. The bed is quite nice with a canopy and carved rose detail on the head and foot boards. Mattresses are not cheap and we really did not have the budget for an extravagant one. She has a cheap mattress and it hurts my back every time I fall asleep on it. I normally would not fall asleep on such a mattress, but when I go in there to soothe her or after reading to her, I am usually exhausted as I sleep very little.

    When I had the opportunity to review a memory foam topper from Cloud9, I knew what bed to use it on. This is a twin size topper that is 3 inches thick. It has "visco elastic memory foam technology" What this means is that it molds to your body temperature. It starts out firm, but when you lay down to sleep it reacts to the temperature of your body and begins to mold itself to your shape. My daughter is always warm (even in winter), so I am guessing this pad molds really well to her temperature. :)

    The toppers come in various thicknesses ranging from 2-5 inches. The company recommends that if the person using the topper weighs under 200lbs, and they are just looking for added comfort they should get a 2" visco-elastic memory foam mattress pad, if they weigh over 200, they recommend a 3" visco-elastic memory foam mattress pad. For those that weigh over 250lbs the 4" toppers are the best option for pressure point relief and comfort. We were not given a choice of thickness, but I am glad we have the 3 inch instead of the 2, as it is almost nightly that either I or my husband will lay in there with her for at least 15 minutes to sing to her or read to her.

    The 3.3 Cloud9 visco-elastic memory foam is quite soft and has drastically improved the comfort of her mattress. She also likes how her bed is higher, "like mommy and daddy's bed." This does arrive rolled up in the box and smells like a strong paint or latex. We had to let this air out for 24-48 hours before using it. We put it in a spare room and let it unfold and air out.

    We like this pad and it is working well. We do have a waterproof fitted sheet protector over this to prevent accidents from harming the pad. Our daughters sheets fit well over this pad. We do not have any complaints. I would have liked it to not have off gassing chemicals as that concerned me.

    This mattress topper is available on Amazon.  *Sample sent to me for review, all opinions are my own.