Monday, October 31, 2011

A Sound Among The Trees Book Review


It has been awhile since I did a book review so I decided today would be a good day besides they are backing up on me. I have been so busy with all the other things and of course all the daily stuff that finding time to read is getting harder and harder.

So, I have made myself stop and read because I have two more books after this one so I need to get on the ball. This one is called A Sound Among the Trees and was written by Susan Meissner.

I have never read a book from her so this was a new experience for me.

Do you believe in ghosts, spirits or just plain bad luck or a curse being on you? Several of the characters in this book think that a long ago relative during the Civil War did some things and was portrayed as a traitor in her own family.

Because of that all thru their history up to now anything bad that happens they blame on their dead great grandmother, Susannah.

She was a southerner who hid 3 Yankee soldiers that were wounded until they could travel and leave. So because of this her family blamed her for anything bad that happened to them. They thought they were being punished for what Susannah had done. Isn't it strange what people will believe so that they don't have to take responsibility for their own actions?

This book will leave you wondering and thinking about how it is best not to judge other people when you really don't know what preceded the action they took. Susannah was wrongly accused but it took a couple of generations later for the truth to come out and for her family to put her to rest.

Among those who come back to visit is Adelaide's daughter who left when she was very young and got hooked on drugs and drinking. She suddenly shows up one day and deposits her daughter on Adelaide and tells her she will never be back to get her. And she never does come back until after her daughter, Sara is dead and her husband marries Marielle and brings her back to the house to live with his and Sara's children.

Adelaide's daughter does show up around this time also and wants to get to know her grandchildren and regrets not coming sooner but she says it took her a long time to get her act together and she begs her mother for forgiveness. So, it is a shock to find out that her daughter's husband is married again and has moved his new wife into the same home he shared with Sara. There is alot of twists and turns in all of these people's lives and the more you read it the more you wish everyone would just come out and tell all the secrets they keep hidden! It is like they are their own worst enemy.

Here is an excerpt of what is in the book:

As a young bride, Susannah page was rumored to be a Civil War spy for the North, a traitor to her Virginian roots. Her great-granddaughter Adelaide, the current matriarch of Holly Oak, doesn't believe that Susannah's ghost haunts the antebellum mansion looking for a pardon, but rather that the house itself bears a grudge toward its tragic past.

When Marielle Bishop marries into the family and is transplanted from the arid west to her husband's home, she is soon led to believe that the house she's just settled into brings misfortune to the women who live there.

With Adelaide's richly peppered superstitions and deep family roots at stake, Marielle must sort out the truth about Susannah Page and Holly Oak and make peace with the sacrifices she has made for love.

Marielle is the outsider so she is not as convinced as the others in all this curse stuff so she sets out to find the truth. Instead, she stumbles across her husband's dead first wife's journals that were hidden in a carriage house/studio. Her husband did not know his first wife kept journals or anyone else for that matter.

She stumbles onto secrets in the journal and is torn between what is right and what is wrong about keeping the information inside the journals to herself or let her new husband read them and watch him suffer for the things that are in the journal that he knew nothing about.

There are several other stories that unfold in this book along with Marielle's and the author does skip around alot from one character to the other so you have to really pay attention or you will get them confused. Because there are secrets all of them are hiding, they all are trying so hard to not let anyone see them struggle that they miss out on the opportunity to come together as a family.

It takes a little getting used to but eventually you figure out who everyone is and what they bring to the story. In the end it is Susannah's letters that she wrote and were never sent that will set the people inside the house free once and for all.

“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”. Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from yours. The photo's used in this review were provided by me and my sometimes cranky camera but it was all me with no copied pictures.

Love U! Blog Hop - Week 4


Loving Me Loving You :) Blog hop starts anew every Monday at 00:00 (Canada/Pacific time). The spotlight blog is chosen from the blog hop of the previous week, so if you'd like to be featured, plug your blog into the link provided below (and post our button)!
Hosts: LunarAle & Mary's Cup of Tea
Spotlight Blog: {Sorry, none for this week}
--==~*~==--

Rules Only polite requests

1. Follow both hosting blogs - LunarAle and Mary's Cup of Tea (email, facebook, and GFC followings are all equally accepted as appropriate) - and the spotlight blog.
2. Post this button on your blog in either a post or on a page to gain more traffic headed your way. Important: If you would like to be a contender for the spotlight blog of the week, you must have this button posted somewhere on your blog.
 
3. Enter your blog into the link below and hop on to visit others!


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Poirier's Crafts & Creations Bracelet Review


I have a wonderful new website to tell you about, Susan Poirier's Craft's & Creations, and she sent me this beautiful pink bracelet in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

When I first found her Etsy shop there were so many things to choose from I had a hard time deciding what I wanted to review! Luckily for me, she was so super nice and offered me several things to review.

 I am only doing the Pink Cancer Bracelet today because I wanted to focus on it alone. I will review the other pieces later on.

As a teaser I will let you know that another bracelet she sent me will be included in my 12 Days of Christmas package that starts on November 25th.

So check back then to see the other one and to enter to win it!
I did not get to review her Tree of Life but I wanted you to see what it looked liked. Isn't it beautiful? She has them is several colors so go and check out her Etsy shop and see what other beautiful things she has.

 I aslo noticed when I went to get this pic she has some Christmas ornaments up also. They looked really cute! So you really don't want to miss her site because you might find a new ornament or pair of earrings or ring that you might love or something that you would like to give someone else for Christmas.

But, for now, back to the Pink Cancer Bracelet. Can you tell from the picture how beautiful it is? I think she was doing some kind of fair and it's focus was the Breast Cancer Awareness so she was going to make alot of them to take with her.

So, she probably did not have any left to put on her site. I wore this bracelet when we went to a fair here in town about two weeks ago to show people and to get some reactions. Everyone that looked at it thought it was really gorgeous and that it was made really good. So, I got it straight from the crafting world how good it was! I really did that on purpose to get other crafter's who make these things opinion because I don't want to tell you that these are good quality pieces if they really weren't.

I want to always be honest with my readers and I did not expect to get negative comments and I didn't. So, shop til your heart's content! Hopefully, later on she will have some more of the Breast Cancer bracelets again and if she does, you gotta snag one! Or get one of her Tree of Life necklaces. I really did have a hard time turning that one down. She offered me a Tree of Life necklace but I am a bracelet lover so I stuck with my decision.

Right now she has alot of items for just $1.00 to make room for new items so this is the perfect time to go and shop! Check out her Etsy Shop so you don't miss out on these great products at fabulous prices! Heck, I might have to check it out myself!

I copied a paragraph off of her blog that I thought maybe summed her up perfectly and once you read it, you will know that she is a genuine person who tries her best to make the most out of her talent and she just loves making things and selling them to people:

The month of September I made the most sales I have ever made. I really hope this is the start of something good. I love to make things and I just can't have them piling up at home. I love the thought of people enjoying what I do. I love to make people smile. Every time I make a sale I'm dancing around........no really my husband was looking at me funny but I don't care. I made a sale...

Now, doesn't that make you want to stop and check her out?

Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from yours. The photo's used in this review were provided by me and my sometimes cranky camera but it was all me with no copied pictures.

Grounds For Change Review


I know most of you are going to be surprised that I am doing a coffee review because I love tea so much. But there are rare occasions that I do like a cup from time to time.

But really, the huge coffee lover in the family is Mike, my husband. And I have to tell you that he really enjoyed Grounds for Change! He just about finished one whole bag all my himself in less than 2 weeks.

I had to remind him he had 2 other blends to try and not to get stuck on just one.

He was slowing my review down a bit so I had to crank him up!

These are the three blends we got to try:

1. Decaf Peru "Cafe Femenino" dark roast, chocolate aroma, grown by women
2. Decaf First Light Blend medium dark roast, chocolate notes, smooth finish
3. Decaf Midnight Blend dark roast, bold full body, long smoky finish

Mike tried the Decaf Peru first and really loved that one the best. I did join in a few times he made this one and have to agree that we really liked this one! Doesn't hurt that it was grown by women!! I tried to find some info on this particular blend but when I went to the site they did not have it listed so I don't know if it is a new coffee or an old coffee that they are discontinuing.

I did not choose the blends, I just chose the decaf ones. They asked me if I wanted decaf or regular and I said decaf. I think they sent me three that they thought was an all around good choice for someone new to their coffees. If you are not a 100% coffee drinker you won't know the difference but because for some odd reason when I was working, I always had coffee going at the office and drank it every day sometimes 2 cups!

It wasn't until after my disability that I got back into my teas. Well, one reason was that you could buy tea cheaper than coffee but also I just fell in love with it again. But, you still can't beat a great cup of coffee and Mike wanted me to make sure that I told you that Decaf Peru was a huge hit with him and his friends. The bag is just about gone so I guess so!!

 
Next we tried the Decaf First Light Blend. And this was was really nice, a little less dark than the first one and I really liked this one because of the smooth finish. I have GERD as I often point out and the best judge of things that might not go for people with stomach issues. This one caused me no heartburn or backup of acid so that is saying alot!

Now, I have to be clear on something. Everyone has their special way they make coffee so your experience may differ from ours because we don't put as much coffee in our coffee maker like I see most others do. It comes out too bitter for us if we follow directions to the letter. I put just a smidgen less than what it says because of my stomach issues. I would rather enjoy the cup than regret it later. Another reason we chose decaf.

Oh, another thing I need to point out, at the time I ordered these coffee's I did not have the grinder, so we had gotten these coffee's already ground. So, that will also make a difference in how it tastes if you get your coffee in whole beans. Whole beans is really the best way to get coffee because you get the real flavor and it is richer and more full bodied.

Lastly, we tried the Decaf Midnight Blend. When we first opened the bag, wow, it was really strong! According to Grounds for Change's website, this is their darkest decaf and now I know why! It was definitely the strongest coffee we had smelled so far so I did not use as much of the grounds as I had in the previous coffees because of that.

And we were not disappointed in that decision as the coffee still held a rather dark flavor but it was not bitter and mainly, it did not upset my stomach. So, that was the right call for us to make. If you like your coffee really dark and strong, then this is the one you will want. Even though it is Decaf, it is still the strongest coffee I have ever tasted. I think maybe that had something to do with the smoky finish more than anything. Go check out all the different blends here on this page to read more about all the others.

Guess what? I found Decaf Peru under a different page! Now I know why I like it so much! They put in notes of Baker's Chocolate! The women who make this coffee do all of the work and then they decide where the profits go to help them further their lives and the lives of their children. Grounds for Change donates 10 cents a pound back to the women's coffee growing project!

Now, that is more like it. Isn't it nice to know that there are companies out there that actually share some of the profit? Gosh, there is so much more to this company than I will be able to write about but here are a few basics you need to know about them:

1. They specialize in 100& Fair Trade Coffee
2. Their coffees are CarbonFree certified
3. They are proud members of the Green America Business Network
4. They are members of 1% For the Planet (they donate 1% of their gross annual sales to environmental & social organizations)
5. They offer coffee fundraiser opportunities
6. They are Organic certified
7. Most of their coffees are Shade Grown (helps insure healthy habitat for migrating birds)

I have to say, what a great company this is! They are taking on alot of issues that most companies would just as soon did not exist or pretend to be helping. I am definitely going to look more into this company and their coffees! If I am going to steer away from my teas from time to time, I want it to be coffee that means something just like my organic teas, I want my coffee to be from a great place that tries to help our planet.

Please go here and read their Mission Statement that lists even more ways that they try to help with other organizations! Also check out their Communities page where you will learn about the different places you help by purchasing Grounds for Change! I gave you alot of different places to go and read about them because it is way more than I could possibly write so I won't do the history section because in some ways I have already done a little of that throughout my review and given you the specific pages to read for yourself how great I think they are.

Here are some ways to support this great coffee company:

Mailing Address:
Grounds for Change, Inc.
15773 George Lane, Suite 204
Poulsbo, WA 98370
E-Mail: info@groundsforchange.com
Toll-free: (800) 796-6820

Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from yours. The photo's used in this review were provided by me and my sometimes cranky camera but it was all me with no copied pictures.

Evil Nuts Review


I have a new product to tell you about called Evil Nuts made by brynn & amie good karma foods from the Outer Banks in North Carolina! I have to tell ya though they are really hot!! They were not kidding when they named them Evil Nuts!! Unfortunately, I could not eat them they were too hot for me. You all know I have GERD and I have my bladder condition and I am not allowed to eat stuff that is spicy or hot.

But, my husband loves the heck out of them and he took the bag with him to work and the guys there liked them too. So, it is not a bad thing that they are hot, it is just that I can't eat them and if you have GERD or spicy food problems I would be careful with these nuts. But, if you are like my husband and his friends, they had no problem with them.

And most of this is my fault. I think I had a choice and I thought these sounded interesting and asked for them instead of many other items that they make.

But you know, I have made that same mistake in restaurants too. A dish sounds really good and you order it and many times Mike & I have had to swap because his was not as spicy as mine. So, we are used to it. If I can't eat it, he will. So it all works out in the end.

bynn & amie make alot more stuff than just the Evil Nuts. They have Karma Krunch, which is their homemade natural granola. And I noticed on their site that you can take the Karma Krunch and make all kinds of things with it such as muffins, cookie mix and pancake mix. Along with those they also have Brynn's Beach Brittle and Chocolate Bliss.

The Beach Brittle sounds really interesting. It has pistachios and toasted sesame seeds with a touch of salt and a little kick. I gotta be careful when people say a little kick! Their little kick might be astronomic to me, so from now on, I am test tasting everything first. Hubby would probably love this just like he did the Evil Nuts.

I am gonna stick with the granola mix because I love the idea of a natural muffin filled with nuts, dried fruit, seeds, oats and whole wheat flour! Now, that I could get into! The Chocolate Bliss is made up of dark chocolate with dried cranberries, dried tart cherries, pistachios and crystallized ginger with a pinch of salt.

 
They also make gift packages for the holidays with your choice of pottery, then your choice of an ornament and then you pick which food product you would like to add to that! You can order your package with or without the pottery if you don't want it. I would get it with the pottery because there are some really cute designs on them and you can use them for anything later on. They can also custom make whatever you might need from weddings to holiday gifts so check out the link I left at the top of this paragraph and see if they have something you might like for yourself or to give away.

Here is some background info on Brynn & Amie. I know you thought you were gonna get out of the history or personal side of my review but I found some interesting info that will help you understand the two friends:

brynn

Where to start...musician, real estate attorney, mother, 3rd grade teacher, residential designer, web designer, potter and musician. In some ways, I guess I've come full circle in my creative journey! While I've had several careers, and way too much education, I find that my heart is in creating. I've been singing all my life, but I came much later to the potter's wheel.

My studio is located off the garage of my home on the Outer Banks, and I go there to refresh my mind and ease stress. It's my space, and my creative self resides there. I love to open the door to the outside, let the ocean breezes flow through the studio, and listen to NPR or jazz and classical music while I work. Times change. When it became clear that house design was not longer a viable career, my mother's friend told me to follow my heart. So that's what I'm doing.

amie

I can’t remember when I first discovered my creative self - it has always just been so. It is what I am. Music, art and theater were my motivation to go to school. My first job was designing window displays for a department store. I’ve had a long career in interior design and had a boutique catering business. These were the perfect mix of business and creativity for me, but through the years I have allowed myself less and less time for more personal creative expression.

It was time for a change. So, in addition to my kitchen, where culinary adventures frequently take place, I took over a space tucked away on the top floor of the house and turned it into “Amie World”. The view is sky and tree tops. Sometimes I can hear the ocean. It is my get-away to paint and draw, sew, craft, peruse my cookbook collection, make a mess and watch QVC. This one small change has channeled a flow of creativity that I hope never stops.

Some ways to contact brynn & amie:

Telephone: 252.261.3589
Email: info@byrnnandamie.com

Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from yours. The photo's used in this review were provided by me and my sometimes cranky camera but it was all me with no copied pictures.

Madre Labs Body Wash Review


I had won a GC to iHerb.com and I did not know who they were and had never been to their site to shop until I won the $50 GC. I went bananas in their shop but finally got my order together and emailed them and got it going. Well, when the order came there was an extra product in there and I had found out that they wanted me to try Madre Labs Rosemary Mint Body Wash since I have dry skin and I guess just to be nice which you don't find much anymore with the bigger companies.

I emailed them and told them since they had sent me a full size body wash just for the heck of it, that I was going to at least review the Madre Lab Body Wash! But first let me tell you that for $50, I got a whole big box full of stuff! I have so much body wash, shampoo, conditioner and bar soaps to last until next spring! So, if you want good quality, low prices and looking for natural products or organic products this is the place for you!

When I first tried the Madre Labs Body Wash it lathered up really quick and with lots of suds. I don't take baths on account of my bladder condition, I have to take showers 100% of the time so I use a shower scrubber or loofah, whatever you want to call it. I could barely see my scrubber for all the suds!

Then I noticed the smell, a nice clean whiff of the outdoors mixed in with the Rosemary Mint! Now, one thing you need to know about any product that has any kind of mint in it is that you don't want to get it in your eyes or even near them. Because I take showers sometimes I will get carried away and some suds will smack me in the eyes or in just rinsing off a little might fly up and when it does hit anywhere near the eyes, you will know it right away. It stings just a tiny bit but just keep rinsing off and it goes away pretty quick.

I had some shampoo a week or so ago that had some kind of mint in it and when I went to rinse my hair it fell down my face and got me in the eyes a little. Now, if you wash your hair bending over you probably won't get any in your eyes, but I don't, so I did. No big deal for me because the benefits outweigh that minor setback. But I just wanted you to know that in case you tried to use it on children, it would be best if you didn't. You know how they like to play in their baths, so just don't do it.

The Madre Labs Body Wash is a pretty good size at 12.5 fl.oz.'s so I expect this to last quite awhile. I went on iHerb's site and read a little bit about the body wash and found out it is soap free and made with Argan Nut Oil with the Rosemary Mint to instantly wake you up in the mornings for those of you that still work and especially in the early am when it is the hardest to get up! Well, a shower with this little beauty will perk you right up!

Along with those ingrediants it also has Vitamin E to help your skin feel silky smooth. It also has a blend of superfruits like acai, gogi, seabuckthorn and pomegranate. Those superfruits protect your body from oxidative and environmental damage. Who knew that bottle had so much power inside it? Not me. But the nice folks at iHerb thought I needed it and since I did not order it while I was shopping with my GC, they went ahead and put one in there just because they wanted me to have something special for my dry skin!

Now, for iHerb, they are kinda like an Ulta or Sephora but only for natural and organic products. The difference is that you can buy healthy, organic and natural foods here also along with pet products! They also have a section for you to buy home products. I even found a section on Vitamins and Supplements, a section for sports related items like drinks and supplements and protein bars. There is even a tab you can click on that says Health Conditions and you can shop according to your condition.

Now how cool is that? I never have been to a site like this so I spent quite alot of time on there because I was just so fascinated at what they had. It's like a Super Giant of shopping in the natural health food store! Next time I order something I am going to get something called the Best Digestive Enzymes to help with bloating and better digestion. I have IBS and I am willing to try anything that will help. Especially the bloating. Some days I feel like I am 6 months pregnant I will blow up that bad!

I just wanted to give a great company a little recognition because they went a little beyond good customer service in that they wanted to make sure I had a good product for my dry skin. I try to buy good products all the time but I will admit I don't know much about organic or natural products and I think I picked some pretty good stuff from name brand companies but I did not order this one. And evidently, they felt so strongly about my needing it for my dry skin, they sent it for free and this is not a sample, this is a full size bottle! So, a big shout out to iHerb!

Here is a little About Us history that I like to do:

For over 14 years, since 1996, iHerb has striven to enhance your online shopping experience. Initially, our company promoted the benefits of St. John's Wort. Hence the name: iHerb. It is now a world-class online store, supplying a vast selection of brand name natural products. We believe iHerb offers the best overall value, period! Our success and very existence are dependent on the repeat orders and word-of-mouth recommendations of loyal, satisfied customers.

You can find them several ways:

Mailing Address:
17825 Indian Street
Moreno Valley, CA 92551
Phone: (951.616.3600)
Fax: 951.616.3601

Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from yours. The photo's used in this review were provided by me and my sometimes cranky camera but it was all me with no copied pictures.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Cuisinart Coffee Grinder Review


I was so excited to get my very first ever coffee grinder from Cuisinart by way of Cooking.com! I had some GC's to spend on Cooking.com and decided to use one of them to finally get a nice coffee grinder so that Mike and I could finally buy the whole beans and make our own grinds as we go along. The coffee is much fresher that way and it really does make a difference in the taste of the coffee.

Thank you Cooking.com for being so generous to me! I decided to get black to keep it from looking so old really quick. I used to like white until it got dirty and nobody wanted to clean it so then it gets that icky in between color so I played it smart this time and got black!

 I did not know this but they have the Food Network Store, Rachael Ray Store, Paula Deen Store, Calphalon Store, Betty Crocker Store, Pillsbury Store, Marley Coffee, and Good Bite Store! Did you know that?
This is what my coffee grinder looks like from the inside. Don't you just hate to mess up something that is brand new and so pretty? But I knew Mike was waiting to grind up some coffee beans so I finally handed it over. I told him he had best be careful and don't break it on the first attempt!

I was reading some of the hints and things on my coffee grinder and I never thought of this but they say to get a 2nd grinder to use for chopping and grinding your spics. If you don't your coffee will taste like whatever spices or herbs you put in there!

So read the directions so that you know what is acceptable and what is not. There is an 18 month limited warranty and you want to keep your grinder working and doing the best job, follow their recommendations so that you can say my coffee grinder last xx amount of time! I found a page that gives you the shipping deadlines if you want to send someone something from their huge supply of products!

Wow, there were so many choices on Cooking.com with all those stores to choose from it took me days to look thru everything. I wanted to make sure I got something I would really enjoy but also need at the same time. was going to list some of the awards that Cooking.com has gotten but when I went and seen how many there were, I figured I would leave the link here and you can go look when you want to. It is a pretty impressive list of awards!

Since it is getting that time of year you might want to check out this page and see what they consider the essentials of Thanksgiving! I can tell you one thing the turkey sitting in one of those pans sure did make me hungry!! So with that thought in mind I wandered over to the recipe section of their site and boy are there some great recipes that I will have to check out for either Thanksgiving or Christmas. I was gonna try to copy over a wonderful sounding Ginger Crinkle Cookie recipe but it looks a little long so just go look it up and see what you think.

Lastly, don't forget that this would make the perfect place to find a wedding present for one of your friends or family! They have a wedding registry so you can pick up something that was already tagged so there is no way you can mess up and get them something they don't like or want.

Here is a little bit of what I was able to find out about Cooking.com:

We offer our customers access to over 60,000 cookware and kitchenware products as well as recipes, menus, collections and a growing library of member-submitted cooking content. The Company is committed to providing its customers with an exceptional experience and it is the recipient of numerous awards for customer satisfaction.

Cooking.com was founded in 1998 by a team that worked together at the Walt Disney Corporation and shared a passion for creating a great company! How did we pick Cooking? The credit goes to one of our initial investors, Idealab! They teamed us up with a cookbook publisher and we had the perfect blend of cooking and retail knowledge to launch the best cooking web site.


You can contact Cooking.com in several ways:

Mailing Address:
Customer Service
Cooking.com
4086 Del Rey Avenue
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
Customer Service: 1-800-663-8810
90292Canada Phone No.: 310-664-1275

Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from yours. The photo's used in this review were provided by me and my sometimes cranky camera but it was all me with no copied picture.

Pureology Hydrate System Review & Giveaway **Closed**



I was so very honored and excited that Pureology answered my email that I sent them asking if I could review one or two products! They were so very gracious and sent more than 2 products so I had to split this review into 2 parts and I will tell you about the other 3 products in a week or so.

The two products today belong to the Hydrate System which is the one that deals with hair that has been colored and needs deep hydrations, nourishment and colour protection. I received the Shampoo and Conditioner in the Hydrate System. I do have my hair colored to keep the gray hair from showing. I am not quite ready for the gray hair yet so until I am it is nice to know I have a shampoo and conditioner that is helping me protect my hair and to keep it from fading.

This shampoo and conditioner also have an anti-fade complex to help you keep your colour longer. This shampoo and conditioner are also free of sulfates and salts that can strip your hair of it's colour.

Here is the list of ingrediants in the Hydrate System:

Pureology’s Exclusive
Technology and Organic Botanicals:

AntiFadeComplex®
Exclusive blend of potent antioxidants and full spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreens.

ZeroSulfate® Shampoo
Free of harsh colour-stripping sulfates and salts.

Advanced Hydrating Micro-Emulsion Technology
Penetrates the hair fiber to deeply moisturize from within.

Natural Ingredients:
Multi-Weight Proteins of Soy, Oat, and Wheat
Strengthen and repair hair from within.

Organic Botanicals:
Rose, Peppermint, and Green Tea
Deliver natural conditioning.

I really love the way that the shampoo and conditioner smell! It is such an exotic smell and hard to pin down but I can definitely smell the peppermint. It will remind you a little bit of Christmas! It does not take much to shampoo your hair so start off with a small dollop and work your way up or you will waste this precious shampoo. It lathers up quickly and cleaned my hair pretty fast! I only have one word of caution, because of the peppermint, it burned a little around the eyes.

And that was due to me always washing my hair in the shower so my head is not bent over. If it had been bent over none of the peppermint would have touched my eyelids. So, if you take showers like I do, just be aware if you are sensitive that you will feel a little tingly. I washed it off pretty quickly and it did not cause any problems. I just wanted you to be aware that it might happen. I would hate for you to buy this product and then this happens to you because I did not mention it. It's not enough to stop me from using it because the benefits outweigh that small little reaction to the peppermint.

Now for the conditioner, I could smell a little of the green tea in that one. I did not have any of the tingling with the conditioner like I did with the shampoo, so it may not have as much peppermint in it as the shampoo did, or I had gotten used to it by then. It was real creamy and light and went on smoothly. I usually leave my conditioners in the rest of the shower and rinse it off last before I am about ready to turn the water off.

My hair comes out feeling soft and silky and with such a fresh clean scent my hubby keeps asking me what am I wearing when I first step out of the shower! My hair is more manageable and easier to run a comb thru it without having all the tangles that I used to have with other conditioners. My hair was soft to the touch and not dry at all! If you have dry hair or colored hair or both like me, then this is the shampoo & conditioner for you!

I will tell you more about the Hydrate System in Part 2 of my review in a week or so. But for now here is how you can reach out and find which system might be your best match. Oh, yes, there are plenty more systems out there that are tailored made for whatever type of hair you have!

I was not suppose to do a giveaway in the beginning. This was a review only but yesterday Pureology was so gracious to decide that they wanted one winner to enjoy a brand new product called Pureology Colour Stylist Illuminating Curl. This is a shaping lotion that will give you 24 hours of definition and moisture. It is free of mineral oil & petrolatum. Cost is $24.00! I am so envious! I did not even get to try this one!




Green Tea Daily Review


I was not too sure what to expect when I received this product as I am a very skeptical person when it comes to claims being made about beverages or even energy bars that help you loose weight or give you energy. Well, I know caffeine will make you feel jittery and rev you up some but I have never been one to really give it a second thought.

So, when I had the chance to review this one, GreenTeaDaily, I decided to give it a shot. As you can see, I was sent what they call the Week Sampler Pack in the Original flavor which contained 12 packets of the green tea that you mix in with your water.

You drank it sometimes twice a day. I have to tell you that 7 days is not enough time for me to know if it helped with any weight loss so I can only tell you what they say on their website.

This is what is on the box:

GreenTeaDAILY is a highly concentrated form of green tea and noni. In one serving of GreenTeaDaily you can reap the health benefits of as much as 45 cups of regular green tea and as much as a daily serving of noni juice. GreenTeaDaily is aspartame-free and gluten-free.

I know you know that I love tea. I have not made that any big secret so I will always be partial to tea. Having said that, even I can't drink as many cups of green tea as the health experts want you to drink (at least 5 cups a day) in order to get the maximum benefits of what green tea can provide. So, one of the great things about GreenTeaDaily is that each serving has 45 cups of regular tea in it!

Next thing I thought, umm, I might be a basket case if I drink that much caffeine, but I was surprised that I did not feel light headed or jittery. They have five thirst-quenching flavors to choose from: Original, Raspberry Lemonade, Strawberry Pineapple, Chocolate, and Creamsicle. I bet the Creamsicle might have been interesting!

I did not use a full bottle of water and I only used one packet in that bottle. When I first took a drink I was not happy that it tasted like it was unsweetened! I had not even thought about that! Duh!! I guess if it is going to help you lose weight then you definitely would not have sugar in it!

So, I had to cheat a little and put some in there or else I would not have been able to drink it. I wanted to drink it for the energy anyway, not for weight loss. A little sugar (now that is the operative word: little) I was able to drink the bottle of tea. I mean, it is not good ole southern sweet tea, but it was bearable given I did not add as much sugar as I would normally have added to my tea. If you are really serious about losing the weight I think you could drink this without the sugar and be just fine.

I just wasn't committed to that. I did notice a slight increase in energy but because I have Fibromyalgia and RA it would be really hard for me to judge just how much energy you will get out of the bottle vs what I got. You might have been hanging from the lamp posts for all I know! Hubby would not test this one for me so I don't know what the reaction for a normal person would be. (He hates green tea, loves black tea but no green!) Besides green tea it has noni, acai berry and maqui berry and calcium to give you a potent drink!

Here is the GreenTeaDaily Promise:

Our intention right from the get go was to create a green tea beverage that can do more than just quenching thirst. We wanted it to help us regulate a healthy body weight and gain healthy energy, and we did it. GreenTeaDaily stands behind every one of our product in every aspect, from the quality of our ingredients to the effectiveness of our beverage. We want to make sure that our products bring you the antioxidants and health-promoting properties that we promised in their entirety. This is and will always be the GreenTeaDaily promise--bringing you the best of green tea. And now, to health!

Here is what GreenTeaDaily says it can do:

•Reduces Appetite by 15- 20%
•Increases Metabolism
•Boosts Healthy Energy Levels
•Reduces Body Fat
•Improves Health
•Promotes Longevity

I think it would be worth a try for someone who is lacking energy due to no illnesses and just doesn't have that get up and go or who is trying to find ways to help them lose weight and feel good. If you don't try it you will never know if it might have helped you or not. In my situation, it would take alot to help with my energy levels. Along with the Fibromyalgia and RA, I have Hypothyroidism so I have 3 illnesses that just drain the life outta me so I really did not expect any miracles.

It did give me a few quick bursts here and there but nothing long lasting. But, again, that is only me. It is only green tea filled with several good for you fruits but as always, check with your doctor before taking anything that could affect your health. If he/she says to go for it, then I really would see if it could help. I know if there was something out there that would help me, I would jump at the chance in a heartbeat!

Here are some ways to get in touch with GreenTeaDaily:

Mailing Address:
P.O Box 970723
Orem, UT 84097
Phone: 1-888-903-2459

Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from yours. The photo's used in this review were provided by me and my sometimes cranky camera but it was all me with no copied pictures.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bake Me A Wish Review


 
As you can tell, my husband got to the cake before I could take a picture. I don't know when he did it because we did not open the box, I thought, until the next day. But, as you can see, he cut a very nice thin slice thinking I guess that it wouldn't matter as far as the picture. I really wanted a nice full cake to show but when you got a dessert freak in the house, that is kinda hard to do! I got 2 cakes from Bake A Wish, one was the Triple Chocolate Enrobed Brownie Cake and the other was the Vanilla Bean Cake!

I have to tell you that was one of the best brownie like cakes I have ever had! Actually, I have never had a brownie cake before! This was my first and I am also a great chocolate lover but I held off because I knew I had to take a picture. I should have never waited til the next day. It was just too much temptation for hubby.

The cake was rich in chocolate and it was like a fudgy cake not like a classic brownie, which even when I make my brownies, I make them fudgy but most people make them cakelike. We both like the fudgy version so this was right up our alley. I think it took us about a week and a half to finish this baby off. I kept it in the fridge to make sure it lasted and we just warmed it up in the microwave and boy was it good, especially with vanilla ice cream!

According to Bake Me A Wish they put this cake thru three phases before it is done. The first one is that they enrobe the brownie in a rich chocolate fondant, then completely cover it with dark chocolate shavings then finish it with milk and dark chocolate drizzles. This cake serves 6-8 people. If you love chocolate, then you will love this one!

But, as much as we both love chocolate, it was the Vanilla Bean Cake that captured our hearts! Lord, we both went a little nuts on this cake. It looked so good! Of course, I have to admit, Mike was the first one to take a huge slice of this cake before I caught him. I screamed and said I haven't taken a picture yet! So, he just calmly said, well, then, I don't guess it will hurt to have a second piece, do you want some of it? Can you believe it?

He actually thought the whole thing was funny! Now, this is before I saw the Brownie Cake. I did not find out about that one until later. So, before he could do more damage, I hurried up and clicked a picture. This is what it looked like after he had gotten done with it:

 
See what I mean? He went bananas on me! Then I tasted the cake and just melted. I think we found a new best cake that even our chocolate could not even stand up to! How was this possible? I don't know but it was decadent! It is two layers of yellow cake filled with clouds of vanilla whipped cream mousse then covered with buttercream and then garnished with white chocolate and more mousse!

OMG, the white chocolate and the mousse made this cake so moist and light and fluffy! It would just melt in your mouth. I love vanilla ice cream but as far as cakes go yellow would have been my very last choice of cake to choose so that is how much the mousse and white chocolate changed an ordinary yellow cake into a masterpiece of mouth watering, gotta have it now kinda cake! For chocolate lovers to say that is alot, believe me.

As you can see from the picture, we just about devoured the cake before we even thought about the brownie cake! You will love this cake, I guarantee it! This one also serves 6-8 people.

When we got both cakes they were in a box that was placed inside a very nice refrigerated package and then on top of that was the cold packs to make sure that we received them still cold and fresh. I also kept the Vanilla Bean Cake in the fridge more so because of the mousse than to keep it fresh. But, believe me, it did not stay there long.

We had that thing gone in a few days. And I have the proof unfortunately, because when I had my last doctor appt and I stepped on that scale, I had gained 5 pounds! I told Mike I was going to have to lay off some of that stuff so I let him finish off the last of the brownie cake by himself.

I love the fact that Bake Me A Wish takes 5% of your order and uses it to go towards sending our troops a cake on their birthday. So, if you know a soldier who is having a birthday, get in touch with them and they will send him a cake! Isn't that wonderful?

I am an Army brat so it warms my heart to run across companies that help in any way to make a soldier's life a little more bearable. So, when you order your cake, you are getting a great cake but you are also contributing to our brave and wonderful military.

This is Bake Me A Wish's Mission Statement and I wanted to share it with you:

Remember the excitement you felt as a child when your birthday cake was carried into the room? At Bake Me a Wish!, we believe we all still have some of that child inside of us, and our goal is to help you recreate that excitement and experience for your friends, clients or loved ones.

Bake Me a Wish! is the nationwide service for delivery of gourmet birthday cakes. Our cakes are made with only the finest, freshest ingredients by an award-winning family run New York bakery that also supplies pastries to some of Manhattan's most elite restaurants.

We are happy to bring you our delicious cakes at an extremely affordable price. Now, whether it's your son in college, your trusted associate, your old friend, or your granddaughter across the country, you will always have a simple and wonderful way to remember them on the one day each year that belongs to them - their birthday.

We believe there is no better way to celebrate that special day of the year than to send a little indulgence from someone who cares.

This is truly a great company and I encourage you to try one of their cakes the next time you have a party or birthday to celebrate!

Contact them:

Mailing Address:
Bake Me a Wish!
211 East 43rd
Suite 305
New York, NY 10017
Telephone: 888-YUR-WISH (888-987-9474) Toll-free

Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from yours. The photo's used in this review were provided by me and my sometimes cranky camera but it was all me with no copied pictures.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Oogie's Gourmet Popcorn Review **Closed**


 
Mmm, you are going to love this review! I thought I had tasted the best popcorn already but that was before I tried Oogie's Gourmet Popcorn! When the box first came I did not know what the heck I had gotten because it was so big! I can tell you one thing, these people do not scimp! I had full size bags of every flavor they make and I had a small snack size bag of 2 flavors. Wow, I thought to myself who in the heck is gonna eat this much popcorn!!

And guess what I realized almost as soon as I unpacked the bags of popcorn there were two flyers inside with immediate information about the popcorn. Oogie's popcorn is NON-GMO! Remember we just talked about NON-GMO products in the EO Products Report that I posted?

Here is the list of what makes this popcorn so different from others:

1. All Natural
2. Gluten Free
3. NON-GMO Corn
4. Trans Fat Free
5. Cholesterol Free
6. 100% Whole Grain
7. Ridiculously Delicious!

I am so glad that more and more companies are starting to make Gluten Free products! I have not been diagnosed with having any Gluten problems but I do have IBS, so I decided to try Gluten Free just to see if it would make a difference or not. I am still testing and unfortunately, I don't work (I draw disability), so I can't afford for everything to be Gluten Free and I rely on company's like this to help me figure it out. So, the jury is still out, but I will keep you posted. I can tell you that I love the popcorn! Especially the Kettle Corn!

OMG, I loved it the minute it hit my mouth! And guess what, it still has all 7 properties listed above! I have eaten other Kettle Corn before and did not like it because it was either too sweet or too salty. Oogie's uses natural ingredients including evaporated cane juice, sea salt and their own corn. They say it is corn that is both traditional and modern all at once and I agree, except that it tastes the best! You can have that stuff you buy in the stores that is loaded with fats, I am sticking with Oogies!

Here is a list of the other flavors we got to try:

1. White Cheddar has Wisconsin premium aged sharp cheddar
2. Smoked Gouda has 5 different peppers to create a sweet smoky flavor
3. Sun Dried Tomato & Parmesan has smooth Reggiano Parmesan & touch of garlic along with the sun dried tomatoes
4. Hatch Chili Con Queso has red chili peppers and real cheddar cheese
5. Movie Lovers Butter has real churned butter for a fresh popped flavor
6. Spicy Chipotle & Lime is a spicy treat with Chipotle and lime
7. Cracked Pepper & Asiago is complex & rich with cracked black pepper and Asiago along with a dash of cheddar and parmesan for a well rounded taste

Now, I will tell you that there were several I had to just let my husband and some of his friends sample. I have I.C. (chronic bladder pain), so I can't eat anything spicy or my bladder will be on fire within 15 minutes! So, he took the Hatch Chili Con Queso, Spicy Chipotle & Lime and the Cracked Pepper & Asiago to work one day and he said it was all gone even before they left that morning to go out on their calls! They have meetings every morning before they all take off in their trucks so they sit around usually eating breakfast or whatever while the bosses talk to them.

Hubby said the bags were passed around so fast he could not keep track of who got what but at the end of the meeting, all the guys agreed that they were all pretty darn good! We did not tell them that they had just eaten healthy popcorn! Why spoil their fun??


I did get to eat besides the Kettle Corn the Movie Lovers Butter and it was my next favorite out of the bunch. It had the buttery flavor without that greasy after taste that makes your mouth feel like cold grease!

I know you know what I am talking about! Since I try not to eat greasy foods and have done that for years, it only takes one bite of something greasy for my mouth to get that greased feeling on my tongue and then I feel nauseated and imagine that grease in my arteries!

But with Movie Lovers Butter I did not get that feeling and it was so nice to finally find a butter popcorn that was light but still buttery. I also got to try the White Cheddar and it was my third favorite. I love cheese so much and years ago when a heart doctor told me what cheese does to your arteries, I swore off cheese. Then the reduced fat kind came out and I could eat it sometimes without feeling too bad.

Then the 100% fat free came out and I have to tell you it was awful! I just could not do it so I just quit eating it period. I used to be the person who would go to parties and my plate would be filled with the little cubed cheeses of all flavors that is how much I love cheese! Well, with this popcorn, I get to have my guilty pleasure and it is good for me! Remember, all of Oogie's popcorn is Trans Free Fat and Cholesterol Free! Yay, I get to have some cheese back into my life! Thank you Oogie's!!

Now for Smoked Gouda you would not think it would be something I can't eat but unfortunately it was because of the smoked flavor along with the peppers. I also have GERD (acid reflux) and take daily medication for it but still if I eat something too rich or spicy it doesn't matter if I took it or not, I still get heartburn. So, on Smoked Gouda I let my best friend have that bag to review. I also had to let her do the Sun Dried Tomato because of two things: one, acids in tomatoes cause heartburn and two, acids in tomatos burn my bladder.

So, I can't even eat Italian (at least not the ones with tomato sauces)! Does that not suck? But, my friend Lynette, loves those type of foods and she and her mother ate both bags and reported back to me that they loved them both. So, I was happy that I could get honest opinions on the ones I wasn't able to eat and could still write a really good review for Oogie's.

Oh, by the way, for every Party Pack that you buy on their website you will get a Free Oogie's T-Shirt! But hurry because the offer ends October 31st! You can go to this link and read some more reviews other than mine about what other bloggers think about Oogie's. So, you don't have to take my word for it how good they are. And I tested it on several other parties and everyone really and truly liked the popcorn!

So, this review was actually 3 reviews rolled into one. We got a group of men to review the really hot ones, my friend & her mother reviewed two bags that I could not eat and then lastly we reviewed the other bags here at home. So, all in all, it turned out pretty good!

There really wasn't too much of a history section so we won't have one of those but I can give you several ways to reach out and contact Oogie's:

Mailing Address:
Oogie's Snacks LLC
1932 West 33rd Avenue
Denver, CO 80211
Telephone: (303) 455-2107
Oogie's email: info@oogiesnacks.com.

Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from yours. The photo's used in this review were provided by me and my sometimes cranky camera but it was all me with no copied pictures.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Thymes Essential Collection Review


 
I know I told you awhile ago that I was going to do a Part 2 review of what Thymes had sent me because it was alot more than I had expected. I am a little later than I would have liked but my little surgery two weeks ago and then not being able to raise my arms or move much put me about a week behind so I am so sorry you had to wait to hear about this great trio of products that I received from Thymes.

The collection is called Essentials and it was made to be used by the entire family! Depending on which product you use they will have different scents mixed in but the one scent that most of them have in common is tangerine. Here are the three products I got to try from the Thymes Essential Collection:

1. Essentials Hand Cream
2. Essentials AHA Body Lotion
3. Essentials Sugar Body Scrub

I gotta tell you that these have a very nice clean smell that will be mostly citrusy but will have a few softer scents mixed in to give it this very unique smell. I can also tell you that Charlie, my Yorkie, loved the lotions as well, because every single time I tried to put some body lotion on my legs, he would scamper over really quick and start licking my legs! I don't know what it is about lotions but he loves them!

Not just on me either, when my best friend comes over and she has lotion on that is the first thing he does, is lick her hands because of the lotion! The dog has great taste, what can I say? So, if Charlie licks it, then it passes the seal of approval in our family. Makes it hard on me, though, because I have dry skin. So, he has forced me to wait until he is gone to sleep for the night and then I will lather my legs up good!

The body lotion and hand lotion have Italian tangerine, orange, lemon and watery red currant along with dewy jasmine and Mediterranean petitigrain as the scent. This wonderful body lotion will gently exfoliate your skin with it's own alpha-hydroxy acid fruit complex. It will smooth and soften your skin with shea butter and Vitamin E moisturize. Now, in the hand cream, which is where I am really dry, it has Vitamin E that hydrates and heal. While the shea butter, natural oils, pro-vitamin B5, aloe vera gel and glycerin soothe and moisturize.

I really liked how these lotions kept my legs and hands soft and smooth. During the night while tossing and turning, I used to feel the rough patches as my legs rubbed up against each other and now they just slip right off of each other! They have truly made a difference in how my skin feels. You gotta at least try one!

What can I say about the body scrub? I know that I have talked alot about all kinds of scrubs here on my blog and each one is great in their own way and what they do. And I use a particular scrub depending on what kind of day I am having or whether I am going out and will be around people.

That is why I have such a selection of scrubs. I don't want to smell the same every single day. I love variety and Essential's Body Scrub is one that can be used every day for that simple clean fresh smell! This scrub will gently exfoliate your dry skin with it's natural scrubbing power in sugar along with natural emollients.

There is Vitamin E and Sunflower Oil in their scrub to help hydrate your skin. I use it all over my body because it is not harsh on the body.

Boy, if you have rough elbows and feet like me, this is going to make you so happy! I love having smooth and silky feet but I inherited my father's feet and hands. His heels cracked alot and so do mine, so it was doubly important for me to have a good scrub that would help me exfoliate my heels and keep my feet smooth and silky to the touch.

Now for a heads up. They have a new collection called Wildwood and it has three new fragrances in it and they are Bitter Orange & Cedar, Magnolia Fig & Vetiver and Juniper Berry & Sandalwood! Don't they sound delish? It is like bringing the forest into your home. And get this, in time for Christmas, they have brought back the Filigree Collection!

It is a limited edition offering - just in time for the holidays. Also don't forget that they have home fragrances such as candles, room fragrance mists, potpourris, refresher oils, reed diffusers, home care products to help clean your home but leave it smelling wonderful and lastly home decor!

Lastly, I wanted to share some great news on their Agave Nectar Foaming Bath and I took this directly from their site because they sounded so proud and I thought you would like to hear what they had to say!

Thymes Agave Nectar Foaming Bath is the proud recipient of the Allure Best of Beauty Award for Best Bath Product. Allure's expert team of beauty editors annually tests thousands of beauty products to select the year's best and brightest innovations. The prestigious awards constitute a trusted list of top-performing products for consumers.

Thymes Agave Nectar Foaming Bath allows you to turn your bath into an oasis with the energizing scent of agave nectar, ruby red grapefruit, tangy guava and succulent lemon blossom. The foaming bath's rich blend of aloe and glycerin conditions skin as the refreshing fragrance invigorates your senses.

The Agave Nectar collection is rich with conditioning, quenching benefits. Aloe Vera soothes and heals the skin, as a crisp blend of ruby red grapefruit, tangy guava, and succulent lemon blossom enlivens the skin and the spirit. Like all Thymes formulations, the Agave Nectar collection is free of parabens, SLES, SLS, propylene glycol, mineral oil, petrolatum and animal-derived ingredients.

Isn't that just fantastic! I am not going to do the history part on this one because I gave you a pretty detailed account on Part 1 of my review so I don't want to double dip but I will give you all the contact information again just in case. I don't want you to have to scroll or hunt the other review for the information so I will include that here for you.

Connect with Thymes:

Mailing Address:
629 9th Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Telephone: 612-338-4471 or 1-800-366-4071 Fax: 612-338-3853
Email: cs@thymes.com

Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from yours. The photo's used in this review were provided by me and my sometimes cranky camera but it was all me with no copied pictures.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Alli's Originals Necklace Review


 
I was very fortunate and happy when Alli's Originals first started talking with me about reviewing her handmade jewelry because at the time I had not yet been able to get any jewelry to review. So, I was very excited and couldn't wait to see what she was going to send me. When it arrived it was in the cutest little signature keepsake tin with her label on the outside and it says my necklace is from the Princess Charming Collection.

The Princess Charming Collections is about celebrating special relationships or to put it in Alli's words: It's about "wearing your heart on your sleeve". You can be celebrating your children, grandchildren, husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, pets or a friend.

There are so many different charms to choose from in this collection and mine is called Cheryl's Daisy Petals. If you want to see all the different charms available to make a necklace from the Princess Charming Collection just go to this link and look around for yourself. You can get your choice of a 16" regular or ball chain necklace to put your charm or charms on.

And as you can see from mine, you can personalize your charm, and mine says Love on it. You can have up to 3 lines on this particular charm. And for the man in your life she has the Prince Charming Collection! I tried to give you the best shot of what my necklace looked like so you don't see the chain really good but it is a strong sturdy chain and very nicely made.

Each piece in Alli's Fine Silver collection is made from PMC (Precious Metal Clay). Precious metal clay (PMC) is a revolutionary material that has tiny particles of silver or gold suspended in an organic binder to make a material that can be sculpted like clay exce. It's then kiln fired at a high temperature to remove the binder. This process produces an object that is pure silver (.999). The rest of her collection is made with .925 Sterling Silver.

PMC or precious metal clay is more pure than sterling silver. It consists of particles of pure silver mixed with an organic binder which during kiln firing burns away and leaves 99.9% pure silver, meaning it can be hallmarked .999 (you will see sterling silver marked as .925, which means its composition is 92.5% silver and the remaining 7.5% is copper and other alloys.) PMC is also referred to as "FINE SILVER."

This process is very labor intensive. After making the charms, she fires, brushes, polishes, sand and files them and then drill the necessary holes for them to attach to bracelets and necklaces. These charms are meant to look hand crafted. It’s what makes this line so charming and unique. She tries to leave each charm in it’s most natural state after being fired.

If you are ordering something that is to be a gift she also makes handmade gift cards. She can also do personalized packaging for you. She also sells the polishing cloths to keep your fine silver jewelry clean and shiny so that it always looks it's best. Alli has graciously given me a discount code for you to use to take 10% off of any purchase and the code is entered at checkout with no spaces in between - ao10%07 - please make sure that you don't leave any spaces or the code will not work.

There is so much to choose from and combinations that you can make. That is the neat thing about what she does with her jewelry. You can add beads and charms as many as you want or as little as you want. You have total control over how you would like your personalized piece of jewelry to come out. She has a section on her site that shows all the different combos that some of her customers asked her to make.

Also, before I forget, she does have some pieces of jewelry that are gold so if you prefer your jewelry be gold instead of silver she does have some limited number of styles to choose from.

Her contact information is listed below:

Contact Alli:
905 597 1538
info@allisoriginals.com

Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from yours. The photo's used in this review were provided by me and my sometimes cranky camera but it was all me with no copied pictures.

Love U! Blog Hop - Week 3


Loving Me Loving You :) Blog hop starts anew every Monday at 5:00 (Canada/Pacific time). The spotlight blog is chosen from the blog hop of the previous week, so if you'd like to be featured, plug your blog into the link below!
Hosts: LunarAle & Mary's Cup of Tea
Spotlight Blog: The Sasse Life
--==~*~==--


 Only polite requests

1. Follow both hosting blogs - LunarAle and Mary's Cup of Tea (email, facebook, and GFC followings are all equally accepted as appropriate) - and the spotlight blog.
2. Post this button on your blog in either a post or on a page to gain more traffic headed your way:

3. Plug your own blog into the link below and be sure to follow as many other blogs on the list as you can. Let them know if you would like them to return the favor and don't forget to say you're from the Love U blog hop :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Vitalicious Vita Muffins & Brownies Review


 
I was very fortunate recently to have the honor of reviewing some delicious 100 calorie snacks from a company called Vitalicious. I wasn't sure what to expect with them being only 100 calories and you know that sometimes those kind of things can go either way. So, I was very surprised to find out that these delicious VitaTops were actually very good.

I did not tell my husband that they were only 100 calories, though, just wanted to see what he would say when he tried the Deep Chocolate flavor. He asked me what they were and where did they come from and I told him Vitalicious and he said we would have to get some more of them because they sure were good! That is when I told him they were only 100 calories! He just looked at me kinda puzzled and said, "Really"?

And he was even further baffled when I told him they had no preservatives in them and had to be kept in the freezer and when you get ready to eat one just take it out and heat in the microwave for a few seconds or else they would not last long because they had no preservatives in them. He had always thought food that did not have preservatives in them had to taste awful because all natural food does, doesn't it?

No, I said, it actually tastes better if you get them from a good company that knows what it is doing and I can tell you that Vitalicious certainly knows how!

Here is a list of what we got to review and they sent 2 of each flavor:

1. Fudgy Peanut Butter
2. Pumpkin Spice
3. Chocolate Mint
4. Cran Bran
5. Apple Crumb
6. Banana Nut
7. Deep Chocolate
8. Golden Corn
9. Triple Chocolate
10.Box of 4 Deep & Velvety Brownies

I have to tell you, Mike is a huge sugar freak! He gets a box of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts just about once a week and will eat the whole box all by himself. I will sometimes get one but I wanted you to know this because it was not in his nature to eat 100 calorie snacks that were good for him. So, when I went to try one of the Chocolate flavors, they were all gone!!

The darn rascal ate every one of the VitaTops that had any form of chocolate in them!! I was about ready to wring his neck! So, I have only his word for it on the Chocolate anything Vitatops and they had to have been good or he would have saved me one or all of them! I did not tell him how good they were for him, though. If he knew they were packed with fiber and protein with hardly any fat, he would have gone back to those doughnuts!

Most of the VitaTops had anywhere from 8 to 9 grams of fiber and only 1 gram of fat! And a little side info, they said you only have to walk 13-15 minutes to burn off that 80-100 calories!

 
I can tell you that the Pumpkin Spice and Banana Nut were truly awesome. I could only eat about a quarter of them because (if you are a frequent reader, you know about my potassium thing) I can't have much potassium in my foods due to the chronic bladder pain and for some strange reason the doctors don't understand, potassium is what brings it on.

So, I have to read all the labels, etc. But I can have small amounts so I did share those with Mike so I could at least say I did try some of them without having to ask him how they taste. Pumpkin used to be my number one food so when I say these were good, they really were good. I don't mess around with my Pumpkin of any kind. The Banana Nut was truly awesome and I sure did wish with all my heart I could have ate the whole thing but I didn't.

Oh, I take back what I said about the Chocolate. Mike did leave me one Deep & Velvety Brownie! They had some nuts on top and were real nice and moist when heated up and they also were only 100 calories and 10 grams of fiber. They have a Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Brownie that has a natural plant sterols that will actually reduce your cholesterol! We didn't get any of those but I read it on their website and thought I should mention that for those of you who have to watch your cholesterol like I do.

I take medication to keep mine down and it does work on the bad but my good is still too low. But, if your meds aren't working too good, I would try some of these brownies. Might as well enjoy eating something that tastes good, right?

Gosh, they have much more stuff that we did not get to try like the VitaMuffins which are actually the same I bet as the Tops because the VitaTops are the tops of muffins, so I guess in a way, we did try the muffins. They also have English Muffins which I bet would be good toasted with some good butter or jam on them. You can even buy their mixes to make your own if you don't want them coming already made. They even have the muffin pans so that you can make your own VitaTops! So, see, we can bake them ourselves and tell everyone we came up with the recipe, only don't let anyone see my review or they will know the truth!!

They even have come up with an Egg & Cheese Sandwich that is only 150 calories! You can buy them in the frozen breakfast section of grocery stores. I looked at the list and my Kroger is on it so I may have to check those out! Mike is bad to stop and get biscuits on the way to work in the mornings if he doesn't have time to eat his cereal here at the house. You need to go here and check out which 7 records they have set!

Did you think I was going to tell you everything? They do have a special going on right now that if you buy a box of the Egg & Cheese Sandwich's you can get $5.00 off your next web purchase! I am certainly gonna take advantage of that deal. You can also visit their recipe section and make some interesting things out of your VitaTops and Muffins.

I really could not find any history on Vitalicious other than talking about their products so we won't be doing a history today but I think I gave you quite alot of information and you can find out more by researching them on several sites that they have along with this info on how to contact them:

Mailing Address:
Our Corporate Headquarters
Vitalicious, Inc.
11 Broadway
New York, NY 10004
Order by Phone: 1-877-848-2877 (24 hours/day, 7 days/week)

Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from yours. The photo's used in this review were provided by me and my sometimes cranky camera but it was all me with no copied pictures.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Grateful Body Oil Review & Giveaway ** Closed **


 
I just had an email from Grateful Body Oil and they are giving anyone who orders on Friday, October 28th a 40% off. Please use this code when ordering: skintreat40

I was very fortunate to be able to review Grateful Body Oil! This is a great company whose philosophy is that their products are Food For Your Skin and they are absolutely right! I loved using these products and waited awhile before doing my review because I wanted to really experience the whole system they sent me. They base their products on what type of skin you have so it is not a one size fits all kinda company. I have dry skin and that is exactly what they sent me!

Here is what I got to try:

1. Hydrating Cleanse Facial Cleanser
2. Dry/Normal Skin Facial Toner
3. Dry Skin Facial Moisturizer
4. Midnight Oil Body Oil

I have to tell you I have tried alot of skin cleansers before but none that looked like face moisturizer when I pumped it out of the bottle! It was rich and creamy and if you did not see the label on the bottle you would swear it was moisturizer! And it smells exactly like it came out of a flower garden! That is because it is made organically from a marigold/turmeric blend and why is this wonderful golden color when it comes out of the pump.

Sometimes I get cleansers that leave my face tight or dry but this one did not. It went on smoothly and cleaned my face perfectly! I really loved this product almost from the start. And the great thing is they send it in this really cute but recycled containers made of cardboard with the beautiful labels. All their products are chemical free and safe for sensitive skin.

I am a big fan of toners. There is something about them that really makes my face feel fresh and clean. Grateful Body's Toner for dry/normal skin is a great skin moisture mist that is filled with nutrients that will hydrate your skin and firm it while promoting the skin's natural balance. It also plumps up the skin while cells shrink to give your face a great glow! It is 100% Natural & Synthetic Free.

There are way too many flowers listed in the ingredients for me to tell you about here but go to their site and read all the wonderful ingredients that are in each & every one of their products. This is for the normal/dry skin types but all you have to do is click on your skin type to find the ingredients listed.

Umm, what can I say about the moisturizer? Well, it has an even longer list than the toner did in ingredients but the three most important ones are cocoa butter, avocado oil and millet seed. You need the cocoa butter to moisturize the skin, avocado oil has essential fatty acids that encourages proper hydration while the millet seed stimulates cell & tissue regeneration.

It is also an anti-inflammatory that brightens your skin to make it look healthy. It goes on lightly and leaves my skin feeling silky smooth and not heavy like some other creams tend to do. If you have dry skin this is the perfect moisturizer for you if all your life, like me, have used those heavy creams that made you feel like you had just put on paste or a thick filmy grease like feeling! Ugh, who wants that?
 
Lastly, the Midnight Body Oil! Oh, I really loved this one! It goes on smooth and has a light scent that they say both men and women can use. You can either use it as you get out of the shower or bath and put on while skin is still wet or wait until you dry off then put on. Or if you do take baths, pour a little in your bath to get that silky feeling all over! Again, there are too many ingredients to list but the three main ones are Avocado Oil to penetrate and soften the skin, Black Cumin Seed Oil protects and sustains human skin tissue.

This seed oil has been used in the middle east for generations as a medicinal oil. Next is the Evening Primrose Oil has the highest GLA (Gamma Linolenic Acid) which promotes healthy youthful skin and has beneficial anti-inflammatory properties. I love to put it on my feet. I have deeply dry skin on my feet and legs and the heels have cracked skin and this oil has been helping with that issue.

All of these products that are made especially for dry skin have been one of the best I have tried in a long time. If you have any skin issues, no matter it is, look around on Grateful Body's site and see if some of their products might help you. Again, they send you the products that fit your skin type, not all types, but your skin type. You won't be sorry that you at least tried a product to see what you think about them. But I am betting you will love them as much as I do!

Here is just a quick little history about the company. There was so much more I could have put here but it would have been endless so if you want to read the rest of their journal please feel free to do so.

As always I quote from their site:

Greetings to our long-time faithful customers and to our yet-to-be customers. My name is Shannon and I am the Founder and Formulator for Grateful Body Skin Care. This is a personal letter from me to you. But first, please forgive a bit of nostalgic rambling. . . I remember my sixth-grade teacher letting us create a terrarium - it was a rather large glass case where we planted and tended lots of little enchanting plants. We were probably learning about botany. It was a magical little world and I would gaze into it, transfixed for long periods of time. I also remember being very fond of helping my Mom care for the many plants in our yard. Just two small experiences, but I guess from a very early age, I loved to get my hands in the soil and work with plants.

This love led to more than three decades of studying plants. I've tried to understand plants and healing through several different systems, including traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic, Tibetan and Old World medicine and most interesting to me, Native American approaches. My first business in this field was called Middle Path Herbals, created in Seattle in 1982. It was here that I learned the pleasure of being surrounded by powerful healing plants and using them to make effective, therapeutic products. At this time I saw it was necessary to make sure the plants were grown in such a way to keep their vitality and integrity. This concern is still one of my main priorities.

Grateful Body was created in 1998. The name of the company is a reflection of my desire to be more grateful. Over the years I had started to see what an incredible and mysterious thing this body was, and how many phenomenal things it could do. How it healed itself, how it was a part of gaia, how full of life it was. And I had one! I was grateful to have a body! To eat with, to travel with, to love with, to understand with, to serve with - I became a grateful body (and no, the name had nothing to do with the Grateful Dead, even if we are based in Berkeley!).

Please reach out and read about them on several social sites or contact them using the following methods:

Call us toll-free at (800) 600-6806
Our local number is: (510) 848-9292
Our Fax number is (510) 848-3333

Grateful Body Oil has graciously offered to give one of you a Skin Care Basics Set that includes: cleanser, toner & moisturizer! You will love this! (Forgot to put value on Rafflecopter! $65.00)