Sunday, November 30, 2014

Paper and Twine Liquid Chalkers: Chalk Markers Review

We like using markers in this household, and have used dry erase markers for keeping up with appointments.  The problem with dry erase markers is that you cannot write on glass, mirrors, or windows as well and have it show up.  When you go to your local restaurant sometimes you see bright neon markers on a message board notifying customers of specials, those are chalk markers and they are not only fun to look at, but even more fun to use.  I was able to try out some chalk markers from the Paper and Twine company.  Their markers are called  Liquid Chalkers and they really bring out the artist or doodler in everyone.

They come in a clear plastic pack with 8 chisel tip markers which provide a precise line or thickly filled coloring when desired.  I noticed that they did not include a black and brown marker, which was a bit disappointing.  For now, our tree trunks (my almost 4 year old loves using these under supervision on our glass patio door) will be purple or some other imaginative color. :)

I like how these are non toxic, just make sure that the child using these is old enough not to put the marker or the chalk ink tips in their mouth, and that you watch that they do not use these near a couch or wall (porous surface).  I like using these on the white refrigerator or stove top for a quick doctor appointment reminder.  These are also fun for writing a sweet message on a bathroom mirror or car window (do not use these on the car body as they will hurt the paint most likely).  I like how these are a dust free version of chalk.  I would love to get a small chalkboard for our kitchen or perhaps some chalkboard paint so we can make a board.

The packaging is simple and although it works fine, I would have preferred a nicer vinyl case that had a snap instead of the clear plastic packaging that will get worn out easily over time. 

These are available on the Paper and Twine website and on 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.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Hyperbiotics PRO-Kids Probiotic Pearls: Reviewed

 My daughter will be 4 in just a few short months, and lately in the last few month she has had some dragon breath.  It is funny to say, but she has had some not so fresh breath despite brushing 1-2 times per day and only drinking milk and water.  She eats pretty healthy for a little kid.  This past Halloween was her first time having a piece of candy at the church trunk and treat.  I let her have some Smarties and a Twizzler.  She thought she was big stuff. :) She enjoys vegetables, fruits and other healthy foods, but for some reason her tummy must be causing an unpleasant breath.  I figured that since I have been taking probiotics for so long and have found great results with they way I feel, that she might benefit.  I had been giving her a lot of plain, unsweetened yogurt and a few times had given her a probiotic yogurt smoothie drink.  When I came across an opportunity to review a children's probiotic from a company that I personally use for my own needs, I was quite excited.

The brand of probiotic is Hyperbiotics and I have tried several formulations of their probiotics.  What I like about this company is that they tailor the probiotic to suit the individualized needs of the user.  I am currently taking one specifically for women as it has a few extra goodies that help our individualized needs.  The bottle has a green flip top lid that I have come to love, and recognize with this brand.  Inside are 60 pale yellow, time re-lease micro-pearls that deliver just the right amount of good bacteria for little tummys.  PRO-Kids pearls are most effective when swallowed rather than chewed, however, my daughter chews these for now.  I think I will try hiding a pearl in food and perhaps they will be swallowed in a small bite.  These can even crushed and then mixed with cold foods (you should not mix with hot foods as this destroys the good bacteria strains potency).  These should be stored in a cool, dry place or the fridge.  She looks forward to this "yellow pill" as it has a faint citrus flavor.  PRO-Kids is sugar free (sweetened with stevia) and has no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners.  I am not a fan of the flavor of this flavor as stevia is not something I like the taste of, however she likes this a lot.  It is not a terrible taste, I would suggest swallowing it whole if you can.  It does tend to get in the craters of my bottom teeth the 2 times I have tested this myself.  Luckily she brushes her teeth right after her lunch most days and this is taken right before her brushing.  I like the benefits she is getting from this pearl and this is a company I trust.  I like how this has both prebiotics and probiotics.  This brand is said to have 15 times more results and effectiveness than others.  

Taking a good quality prebiotic and probiotic assists with a healthy immune system and helps prevent stomach bugs and irritable tummys.  She has only been using this once a day for about a month, but is does say that up to 3 a day can be taken.  I think this is helping her and her breath is not as bad.  I might up her daily amount to 2 pearls each day.  

I recommend this brand wholeheartedly.  Check out their website for other formulations.   I am currently trying the dental mint probiotic and the women's probiotic that has cranberry added.   You can connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

I received one bottle free for review purposes. This is my honest opinion. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, November 28, 2014

1-4-All Peel by The Skin Regime Dana Ramos Skin Peel Review

I have been trying a new acid peel the last almost 4 weeks. I had never done an official acid peel on my skin and wasn't sure what to expect. I am a long time user of microdermabrasion crystals and exfoliation scrubs, but peels had always scared me a little. I was sent a sample of the 1-4-All Peel by The Skin Regime. This system is different than other typical peels, and is layer able.  Peeling the outer layers of your skin can reduce fine lines, acne, correct skin discoloration, and give smoother skin.  When your skin is deeply exfoliated and given a peel, you have a more youthful appearance because that skin is fresh and healthy.  This system is perfect for the novice like me because you can start slow and gentle.

Here is how I prepared my skin and the method I used:

The peel sample came with a paperback book written by Dana Ramos who created this peel.  I read a few tips and directions on how to use it before starting.  I wanted the best results and I also wanted to not harm my skin.  I washed my face with a mild cleanser.  I am sulfate free so I used Castile soap.  I rinsed, and patted dry.  I applied one layer of this peel over my entire face using a cotton pad to protect my fingers, left it on for 1 minute, and then added a second layer, left the 2 layers on for a total of 3 minutes, and then washed it off.

I was happy that there was only a very mild tingling (so I knew it was working),  there was no itching, and burning.  It was a neat process because as strange as it sounds, while the peel was on my skin, my pores were opening during this, and I actually could see my blackheads on my nose and cheeks getting darker as it appeared they were rising to the surface.  I am not sure if this is common, but this is what I experienced.  I did have some redness for about 20-30 minutes after, but it quickly went away and my skin looked pretty the next morning, with no irritation, burning or flaking.

This is also great for those wanting a deeper peel as well, since you just are adding layers.  It is important to start slow and do not go crazy with it.  I used it the first time for the total of 3 minutes (2 layers that first time) then I did not use it again for another seven days.  The second time I did 3 layers for three minutes and find that worked well for me.  I have not gone for a more intense peel as the 2-3 layers works perfect for me.

The book, The Skin Regime, is recommended to be read before trying the peel.  I must admit I did not read the entire book as I was excited to jump right into the peel.  But I did skim over it and it is a good read.  It explains a 6-8 week regimen of health for your skin. Dana Ramos is the author and spent many years dealing with skin issues and became frustrated with hype and expensive methods that simply do not work. After consulting a dermatologist, and extensively researching skin care and what actually works, she wrote this book, and created this peel.

I sampled the 1-4-All Peel, and loved it.  The sample container I received is smaller than what is sold on Amazon.  My sample and the way I used it (3 layers each time, once per week) lasted about a month.  I was sad to see it go.  In my pictures, you will see that I used it to the last drop. :)

What made it so wonderful for me was that it cleared my blackheads.  I have large pores that collect dirt and make me self conscious.  I am lucky to not have many acne spots anymore since starting the oil cleansing method of face washing and becoming sulfate free, but my pores seem to be a magnet for dirt.  This peel drew out the dirt, and the blackheads did not take much effort at all to extract.  I thoroughly enjoyed this  and would love to try it again sometime.  The price is a bit more than I can afford just yet, but it is an amazing product.

For more information, you can find Dana and her products on Facebook.  You can also learn more by visiting the website.

*Not recommended to use while pregnant or nursing, do not use on diseased skin or open wounds.*

Purified water, SD Alcohol 40B (natural), Mandelic Acid, Trichloroacetic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Resorcinol, Pomegranate Extract, Lactic Acid, Sodium PCA, Urea, Inositol, Sodium Benzoate, Niacinamide, Sodium Lactate

**I received a small sample of the peel, as well as the book for my review, no other compensation was given.  All results and opinions are my own.

It is a SAD SAD day.  No more peels left.

Dana is looking fantastic at 52!

This is what my face looks like after a 2-3 layer peel, left on for 3-5 minutes.  I never leave on longer than 5 minutes, and I only used the peel once every 6-7 days.

No foundation or concealer, only mascara, this is the next day after a peel.   Please note this is NOT the day after the peel above.  I neglected to photograph the morning after of that peel, but this is what my skin looks like after a peel.  I only do peels at night.

Foundation, full makeup and blush.  My skin is a bit oily, but I have always had oily skin.  I feel that my face glows.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Dot & Dot Shoe Bag Packing Cubes: Reviewed

I like to try to keep things as tidy as possible when I go on a trip, even if it is just for a weekend.  I have found that using a packing cube or set of cubes really help with organization and space.  I like to pack one medium to large suitcase and use packing cubes to separate my clothes from 2 small children.  I have a 3 1/2 year old and a 7 months old baby.  Packing the 3 of us in one rolling suitcase makes things easier to carry, but also makes it so that when we get to the hotel or destination that I can be getting the children settled in, and only need to tell my husband to get the one suitcase out (along with his small one).  We know exactly where a footed sleeper or my makeup bag would be as they are all together.

I have a couple different sizes of packing cubes.  I usually have a small cube for the baby as his items are tiny and do not need much room.  I use a medium one for all his cloth pocket diapers, and a separate medium one (in a different color) for my 3 1/2 year old daughter.  For me, a large seems to do well since I wear a lot of jeans and sweaters and always seem to over pack on clothing due to my fear of the baby spitting up on me and me being caught without a spare shirt. :)

I usually wear one pair of shoes (athletic ones to travel to be comfortable) and then pack a pair of semi-dressy flats.  I used to use a plastic, retail store clothing bag (usually a nicer one from Gap or similar that has a draw string) to store a pair of my shoes in my suitcase.  It is not the neatest or classiest way to take my shoes but it has worked for me for a few years.  The problem with this is that I do not always have a nice bag for taking my shoes and I am completely against using a grocery bag for fear of the ink transferring of into clothes if the bag gets a tad damp.  (Also grocery sacks just are plain ugly).  

I was happy to be able to review a packing cube from Dot & Dot that is specifically meant for storing shoes as you travel.  It is  a rectangular cube with the dimensions of 13.75" x 7" x 4.5" and looks much nicer. 
Mine is pink (of course!) and it is a sturdy material with a honeycomb texture on it.  The back zips around and contains a somewhat see through, window over the front / top portion.  It is dirt and water-resistant and has a unique
internal fabric lining (black) that protects your shoes from rubbing against each other during travel.  This is also a nice feature as my shoes are rather flat and so I can actually get 2 pairs into my shoe bag and use the flap to separate them.   It has a small circular vent that keeps the shoes fresh and gradually airs them out.  I like that it has a top handle for grabbing and sturdy zippers.  I want to mention that it does not zip all the way open and I am not sure if that is beneficial or not.  I might have preferred it to open all the way but it is not a big deal.  
The pink color is quite nice, and I would describe it as a coral pink shade.  The size of this is nice and I think that this would also work well for other uses if you do not use it for shoes.  We often use packing cubes for organizing out SUV.  If you have small children, you know how you always need extra sets of clothing just in case.  Having a few of these of various colors (each child have their own color) can make it easy to find items quickly, yet not take up a lot of space.  The long slender shape of these make them very useful for sliding into a suitcase or the backseat.  I can see these being used for a small toy or activity bag for car trips.  The zipper and material of the bag is very sturdy.  I like this shoe bag, I can fit 2 pairs of shoes in it and it protects my clothing from getting dirt marks. 
For more information on this shoe bag or to learn more about the other products available from the Dot & Dot company, you can find them on Amazon as well as their website.  You can also connect with them on Facebook and Pinterest.

*Please note that I was sent one shoe cube for my review at no cost to me, however all opinions are my own.* 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Simply Essentials Bath Pillow: Reviewed

I have been bathing my little boy in the kitchen sink since he was able to keep his head up.  He has a plastic baby tub, but it is a large size, bulky, and has to be placed over tub or sink as it has a special drain plug on it.  It gets heavy to lift when there is water in it, so it must be emptied in the sink or tub.  Little baby is 7 months old and both he and I enjoy his sink baths and so I have been on the lookout for something to protect his head while he bathes.  I had the opportunity to review a spa bath pillow that is used by adults in a bathtub and I thought it might work well for his use.

The Simply Essentials Luxury Bath pillow seems to work well for our needs.  I myself do not lay in the bathtub (as I prefer showers) but my baby loves to soak and splash.  It is also something extra sweet to see a little baby in a kitchen sink.  This little pillow supports his neck, head, and upper back.  It has suction cups that stick really well to the stainless steel basin walls.  The bath pillow material is a firm waterproof PU foam, and it is a contoured shape that supports the neck and head.  The size of this pillow is 12" x 8" x 3"and it is the perfect size for him.  

I like the pillow a lot, the only thing that is a bit frustrating is the suction cups often come out of the pillow when removed from the wall.  The suction seems to work (in the sink---that is the only place we have tested this pillow), but I worry that the open holes (where the suction cups secure into) will cause water to enter and be difficult to fully remove, which could cause mold.  If this issue is able to be fixed, then for us, this would be the perfect pillow for his bath. This bath pillow is available on 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.

Teacup Shaped Silicone Cupcake Liners by Ramini Brands: Reviewed

Do you like to bake? Isn't it more special to provide a baked treat for your child's birthday party or a family get together when it is something you put your own effort and love into?  Theme parties are nice and if you have a little girl, I bet she has played dress up or made "tea" a few times, hosting her own little party with bears and dolls.   How cute would it be to have her host a party with a few of her close girl friends and have tea and cupcakes?

I had the opportunity to review a set of 4 food grade silicone teacup shaped liners and 4 saucers from Ramini Brands.  Use your favorite cupcake recipe and decorate them to your liking.  These are white, which is the most versatile color for cupcake molds. You can use them for every occasion.  These would be adorable for Valentines Day! Red cinnamon candies on top of pink or white frosting would be darling.  How about some Easter egg themed teacups? Simply change the color of icing or fondant to pastel pink, mint green, powder blue, ducky yellow and decorate with a marshmallow bunny on top.  Celebrate St. Patricks Day with some lime flavored (and green colored cake batter) cupcakes with vanilla frosting and green sprinkles! The list goes on for ideas and occasions.  You and your little one will love coming up with sweet concoctions to use these.

The cups are easy to use and clean and oven safe.  The saucers are not oven safe and will be damaged if heated to high temperatures. There are made of food grade silicone in an RoHS, FDA and LFGB Certified Facility.

Each teacup measures 3" x 3.5" x 1.75" tall. The saucer is 4.3" in diameter.  They look so cute on the table and would be ultra classy when paired with a vintage lace doily or runner.  Add some fresh cute roses from grandmas rose garden and your tablescape is set. 

We like these little molds.  We do think that it would have been nice to have a set of 8 in the box instead of only 4.

You can find these on Amazon.  To connect with the company and learn more about their items, visit them on their website

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.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Niacinamide Vitamin B3 Moisturizer: By InstaNatural: Reviewed

I had the opportunity to try out another InstaNatural product.  I have really had great results from all of their products.  The product I have been using the past 3 weeks is their Niacinamide Vitamin B3 Moisturizer. 
This is a pleasant smelling cream that comes in an easy to use 3.4-oz airless pump container.  I like the way this pump container dispenses the product, it provides the perfect amount for me in only 1-2 pumps. The cream is lush (it is very creamy) and has a slightly sweet smelling formula, and it applies thick but not sticky or heavy.  I would describe the scent as a nutty oatmeal floral, and I love how it makes my skin feel.  I find that this works well for me when used as a primer base for my foundation.  
I cleanse my face, apply Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid serum, then I use my fingertips to gently apply this to my face and neck.  I find that this does apply slowly, as it is a very thick consistency and if you try to speed up the process you could tug your skin.  I do use this on my entire face and neck, however when I do my delicate eye area, I do need to take extra care to not rush application since this is slightly pasty in consistency.  I am fond of the texture, it is what makes this a fantastic base for my makeup, and it moisturizes without making my skin greasy.  It does not clog my pores.  This is a rich and thick moisturizer that absorbs quickly.  I also have the InstaNatural Niacinamide serum and often pair the 2 at night.  This cream works well to soothe redness and inflammation, and also fades the appearance of scars and hyperpigmentation. It can be an effective acne treatment and preventative. 

It contains top quality ingredients, such as the luxurious nut and flower oils I love to use.  It is nice to be able to layer my products.  For example, I oil cleanse with a mixture of Argan oil, Rosehip oil, vegetable glycerin and sometime Avocado oil.  When I am done cleansing and steaming, I use a Vitamin C serum. I then follow up with this cream (which has those mentioned ingredients and more).  It think that the constant nourishment my skin is getting from all these different methods of similar ingredients, is helping my skin really glow and thrive.

Key Ingredients:

+ 5% Niacinamide
+ Vitamin C
+ Matrixyl 3000
+ Rosehip Oil

This cream contains 5% Niacinamide / Vitamin B3, and helps soothe acne by reducing redness and inflammation of irritated skin.  I have recently been doing Lactic Acid and other similar peels in the past month and after rinsing with cold water to neutralize, I have used this cream a few times.  It did not irritate my skin, or cause any breakouts.  It actually makes my skin look nicer and soothes grumpy skin. I love how this is made in the USA and it is made from natural ingredients.  It is cruelty-free and never tested on animals.  I really like this cream and have used it twice a day.  The ingredients are impressive as always.


Deionized Water, Organic Aloe, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Safflower Seed Oil, Niacinamide, Vitamin C, Stearic Acid, Sunflower Seed Oil, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Matrixyl 3000, Organic Rosehip Seed Oil, Organic Argan Oil, Avocado Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Palm Oil, Decyl Glucoside, Glyceryl Caprylate, Sodium Carbomer, Sodium Hydroxide, Tocopherol, Organic Gotu Kola, Wildcrafted Horsetail, Wildcrafted Dandelion, Wild Geranium, Ethylhexylglycerin, Honeysuckle Flower Extract, Honeysuckle Extract 

You can learn more about the company by visiting their website and connecting with them on Facebook and Twitter.

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.