Friday, May 30, 2014

Review: Motherlove

2 comments:



Motherlove Herbal Company provides organic products for new mommies during pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, as well as for their new babies.


The company was started in 1990 by a mother and herbalist and follows the Good Manufacturing Practices set by AHPA and the FDA.  Each ingredient goes through a battery of tests for coliforms, salmonella, yeast and mold, bacterial plate count, heavy metals, and pesticide residue; their products are cruelty free and are never tested on animals.

Not only do they use recycled materials in their packaging, but also in their office supplies!  Over 10% of their products are donated to organizations such as The Maternal Wellness Center, Realities for Children, and The Mountain Park Enviornmental Center.

Being a mother of a toddler and growing a pumpkin due in October, I was very excited to try their products, such as their Pregnant Belly Oil and Salve.


The 4 oz bottle of  Pregnant Belly Oil retails for $19.95 and is supposed to prevent stretch marks and relieve itching from an expanding belly.  It has zero toxins and a "light chamomile and lavender scent".  I'm  going to go ahead and translate "light chamomile and lavender scent" to "it smells of lullabies and sweet dreams".  I am pretty much in love with how calming and soothing this smells.  I use this in the evening, after I've had a bath or shower.  It absorbs easily into my skin and leaves it feeling soft and smooth, not greasy or like an oil slick.  

I also received a 4 oz bottle of their Pregnant Belly Salve, which retails for $17.95 on their website. The salve adds scar healing shea butter to the herbs and oil base of the belly oil, so it is also supposed to prevent stretch marks and help with the itching of stretching skin.  Because it is so similar to the oil, it also smells of lullabies and sweet dreams and I use it in the evening before bed on the nights I showered earlier.  This also absorbs into my skin beautifully and leaves it soft and silky, not oily.  I find that it has a lovely creamy texture if you warm it up in your hands a little first.

You will notice that I only use these in the evenings, and there is a very good reason for that.  Shortly after I apply them, I head straight to bed, as the lavender/chamomile blend has a very soporific effect on me.  I definitely notice the difference in how quickly I sleep if I forget to use it.  

After using both products for about a month, I realized that my previous stretch marks from Mischief (and there were many) had started to fade. I also do not have any new ones!  Granted, I didn't explode at 16 weeks with the pumpkin like I did with Mischief, but I have moved on to maternity pants.  The shiny white tiger stripes from my firstborn are definitely disappearing.  I even recently showed the improvement to a good friend, and she was speechless and wanted to order some for herself!


I also recieved sample packets of their Green Salve (a bug bite/skin irritation cream), Nipple Cream (for breastfeeding), Rhoid Balm (for those pesky hemorrhoids), and Diaper Rash & Thrush cream.  I haven't had the need to use any of these, but am looking forward to them, especially the Diaper Rash & Thrush cream, as it is cloth diaper safe!


  I am in love with these products and I am definitely going to continue using the oil and cream, as well as turn to them for any other needs I might have down the road, when the new little one arrives.




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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Review and Giveaway: Cloud9 Sample Box (Part 2!)

46 comments:



If you have been following us long enough, you may remember my review back in March for Cloud9 Sample Box. If you haven’t, lucky for you, here’s the LINK!

Back then, they had send me their February special Valentine’s edition, “Chocolate, Chocolate, and more Chocolate.” As much as I adored that amazing box, I really wanted a chance to show our readers one of their regular boxes, so they could actually get a feel for what they would get when they purchase.

Earlier this month I received their April box. I was very pleased to see a nice assortment of things. This box really showcased what I had hoped to see in the first box I reviewed.



The first thing I dove into was one of my old favorites! I have come across Hail Merry Macaroons in many different subscription boxes, and I’m always happy to meet again. This was actually a new flavor for me. The Salted Caramel Sea Salt was amazing, and easily a top contender amongst the ones I’ve tried.

 


Next in the box was a packet of Sahale Snack Glazed Nuts - Almonds with cranberries, honey and sea salt. They were a fabulous treat that held off hunger well. I was definitely a big fan of these and will certainly be on the look out for this brand in the future!


I had promised my daughter from the beginning that we would do the Lisa Ann Skincare Facial Mud Mask together.

After putting it off all week, the evening finally came that we had time to do it. I was oddly intimidated, as I’d only ever done one mask, and that was a black peel off masque. So after dinner we settled in and I asked my husband to give us a hand.

I was pretty disappointed when we opened the jar. I know it was just a sample but it appeared to be a great sized sample, yet it was less than a third of the way filled. My husband stared into the jar of mud with a look of fear on his face. I decided this probably would go a lot smoother with a brush!

That experience made me realize how badly I needed to clean out my brushes- it took me the better part of an hour to get all the foundation out of the brush I was wanting to use.

It turned out there was more than enough mud for both of our faces with plenty left over. It felt good, but as it dried, I felt like I had botox injections with how stiff I felt. It only took about ten minutes or so to dry. My daughter and I had a great laugh together while wearing these.



When it was time to clean off, we took turns stretching our faces wide, to watch it make cracks. I just wetted a paper towel to clean off, and the mask hardened on my face instantly turned back to mud and wiped right off. It wasn’t hard, or as messy as I’d feared and left both of us feeling super silky smooth. I definitely will want to do this again!

Another item, which ended up being a favorite, I also put off trying. It’s the Rip Van Wafels (Cocoa filled) Amsterdam Wafel.

The reason I put it off is because the proper way to eat it, as instructed on the back of the package, is to place over the opening of your cup containing a hot beverage. That way it soaks up the hot steam, allowing the chocolate filling to get nice and gooey, while softening the outer shell. I’m not big on hot beverages as it is, and ever more, its currently 100 degrees temperatures in the desert where I live.

That being said, I eventually just opened the package and ate as is. How did I possible wait so long! It was absolutely incredible. It had a wondrous fudgy taste.

I could see the benefits of letting it get soft and gooey, and resembled an awesome pop tart of sorts…only better. I had to split this three ways as my daughter and husband suddenly became vultures.

They even included a bag of Compelling and Rich Specialty Coffee. However, it was whole beans.

While I know enough to know that freshly ground right before brewing makes for the freshest cup, I found it a little too presumptuous to assume everyone receiving this box had access to a grinder. I myself do not own one, but was able to borrow one from a friend.

As mentioned, I’m not big on hot beverages in general so I actually had my mom taste this one for me.

The coffee had notes of honey, floral, and lemonade. Being a lighter roast than she was used to, she still thoroughly enjoyed this sample. You could smell the floral and lemon scents right away, and taste them as well. It was interesting for sure. The sample bag, using my Keurig with a reuseable K-cup, brewed about four large cups of coffee after grinding! 

The last thing in the box was a simple little floral notecard. A cute little square card that was blank on the inside. It even came with a little envelope. I could see many uses for that, however when the box arrived the card was freshly wet and tearing. The only thing I could deduce was that the tub of mud mask was collecting condensation, as nothing else in the box could be ‘juicy.’ It was unfortunate but a small loss. It didn’t have a stationary brand on it.


Having gone more in depth in my first review on Cloud9, this box costs $15 a month plus $5.95 shipping. By my calculations, the contents of this months box come to a value of about $15. That is surprisingly less than February’s box, but not by much. For that, I think that the nearly $6 shipping could be worth the element of surprise for an occasional pampering.



If you'd like to treat yourself to a fun subscription box full of pampering, Cloud 9 is offering one of their June boxes as a giveaway to our readers!  We can't say what might be inside it - but that's a good part of the fun, isn't it?

This Giveaway is open to US residents only and will run from now until just before midnight (EDT) on June 12, 2014.  Best of luck!


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Cloud9 Website
Cloud9 on Facebook



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Monday, May 26, 2014

Review / Giveaway: Bolder Band Headbands

36 comments:



There I was, scrolling through my Facebook Newsfeed one day, frustratingly flicking my hair out of my eyes, when lo and behold I see an advertisement for a product called Bolder Band Headbands!

No joke! It was as if the gods of Facebook saw my frustration and said, "Hey, you need this."

I immediately contacted them via Facebook messaging and inquired about the product. I received an immediate response and within just a few days I became the proud owner of my very own Bolder Band.

Amy Crouse, founder and creator of Bolder Bands is a cross-fitting mother of three. She explains on her website how she was always so frustrated with elastic headbands that don't stay on while you work out! She set out to develop her own headband that would "stay put so you don't have to". I just love that motto!


My own frustration with most elastic headbands is that not only do they not stay put, but they also tend to give me terrible headaches. Looking at the Bolder Bands online, I could see that they looked very comfortable and that proved to be true!

I'm currently trying to grow out my hair from a regrettable "bangs incident", so my hair is always in my face if I don't pin it up somehow. I must admit, I am probably not the typical demographic for a product like this. Lately, the most exercise I get is taking my dog for a walk or playing at the park with my daughter. But I didn't let that stop me from giving this product a thorough testing.

Bolder Bands come in 4 sizes or can be custom ordered to size. I received the regular size which measures 21-22.5 inches. They are made from a soft, stretchy swimsuit like material that is folded over and securely stitched together with their logo.

I pulled my hair back into a short ponytail and slipped on my Bolder Band.

The trick with Bolder Bands is that you wear them on your forehead rather than back in your hair. They can stay folded for a narrow look or you can unfold them a bit to cover more area. I prefer the look of mine when it is slightly unfolded.

Here I am modeling it after just putting it on in the morning. It took a little fiddling around to get it to where I liked it, but I'm picky.

I wore my band for an entire day and didn't once feel uncomfortable or headachey.

I only removed it to readjust a few times through out the day and that was mostly because I kept setting my sunglasses on it.


Here is my daughter helping me model the band after a day of shopping at the Farmers Market and playing at the park.


Bolder Bands are machine washable, air dry-able, can be custom ordered or personalized and come in a huge array of colors and patterns. They even make "Bro Bands" for Men! My Bolder Band is the Blue Sorbet style and the retail price is an extremely reasonable $15.00. I think they are worth every penny! Shipping is also very reasonable at $3.79.

If you are interested in purchasing your very own Bolder Band, you can do so at their website.
Be sure to check them out on Facebook, too!



Bolder Bands provided me with a purple Bolder Band as well for me to share with one of our readers as a giveaway!  Whether you work out or not, this band is a stylish way to keep your hair neat.  Good luck everyone!

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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Review: Wexy Bags

5 comments:




Wexy Bags are fun, monster protected, biodegradable snack bags that were "inspired by kids and created by moms".

"Sammy the Surfer eats foods that are gluten- and dairy-free!"
These bags are completely opaque with a fun monster on the front and are BPA free and made in the USA.

Wexy Bags were initially created to help make healthy snacks more appealing to young children by packing them into a friendly monster instead of picking them out of a large, uninspiring bag.

I know that this has been helpful, as Mischief is becoming more and more independent.  I can now portion a snack into these baggies and leave them where he can reach, so he can be a big boy and get his own snack, instead of begging me to get him more grapes and carrots.

I love knowing that he is going to be eating not only what I want him to eat, but not so much as to ruin his supper!

If you go onto their website, they have a section where you can meet the four monsters that grace each bag and find out what each monster prefers for their snack, which is lots of fun for young children!

 Personally, I have used these bags to hold quite a variety of things, from park snacks of crackers and carrots to a toothbrush during travel.

I love the fact that they are BPA free, biodegradable, AND are made in the USA, and I am definitely buying more when I run out.

You can purchase them on their website, or on Amazon for 4.99 for a single box or 12.99 for a three box multipack.

A little wrinkled but still seals tight!
My absolute favorite part about these snack bags is not are they ADORABLE, but they are very durable. I've had one bouncing around my toddler bag for a month now, holding juice concentrate and/or meds, and it is still going strong!

 I really love these bags and it's always wonderful to hear Mischief squee when he sees the colorful monsters.

I've even caught the Mister using them instead of the clear baggies to pack snacks for himself at work!

They hold quite a bit, enough for a snack for three toddlers or one very hungry adult.

I definitely recommend Wexy Bags to anyone with young children (or those who are young at heart!).



Wexy Bags Website
Wexy Bags on Facebook



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Friday, May 23, 2014

Review: CozzySack

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The CozzySack sleep sack was born when two siblings realized the need for a travel blanket that didn't fall off.  On their Etsy shop, , they offer just that.  Each sack is sewn shut at one end, with an opening at the other and an attached pillowcase.

They come in three sizes: adult, kid, and baby/toddler (ideal for kids under 3).  Each blanket comes in its own drawstring carrying bag.

You can see it here, folded ever so nicely in a way that I will never be able to duplicate.

The blanket is so soft and fuzzy that I took several pictures of this thinking the picture was what was fuzzy!


Beyond using it as a sleeping bag style sleep sack, the CozzySack can also be used in several different ways:

  • as a wheelchair blanket that doesn't leave the back of your legs in the cold or fall off and get tangled in the wheels
  • as a car/airplane blanket that won't only cover a minimal portion of your body (just flip the blanket around, and instead of a pillow case, it covers your torso!),
  • as a stadium blanket that can hold a cushion, 
  • or as a stroller blanket for baby!  

This thing is versatile!


I received a kid's sized pirate themed blanket for my son, as he will take any blanket and claim it to be his.  It's a soft fleece material that is very warm and soft, and has stood up to a three year old dragging it all over the house and in the car.  

I had originally intended it to be a couch/lazy morning blanket, but he had better ideas. It has become his primary everything blanket. When it needs washing, I better have it done by the time he goes to bed, or it's a fight!

Speaking of washing, I wash it in cool water and tumble dry low, and so far I have only experienced minimal pilling (which is to be expected with the type of fabric) and no dulling or bleeding of color.

The white stripes and skulls are still very much white!  I've washed it nearly half a dozen times already, and it is still solidly stitched, and ready for the next adventure with Mischief.

The kid's size is still very generous and I can see this blanket lasting Mischief for years to come, traveling to Grandma and Grandpa's house, and even eventually to a friend's for a sleepover!  I would definitely get a Cozzy Sack for a friend's kid, and there are a bunch of patterns and colors to choose from in their Etsy store, starting at $19.95.

Now, to get him into his bed!



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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Giveaway: Cooper and Kid Subscription Box

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We are doing something we don't usually do here at Reviews, Chews & How-Tos - we're offering a giveaway for a product we have not yet reviewed (although we will be - stay tuned)!  This is because we are just that excited about the concept of Cooper and Kid, and we wanted to be sure you got a chance to hear about them in good time to consider this for the perfect Father's Day gift.

Seriously, dad does not need another tie or grilling apron or statue of a dad golfing or fishing.

What dad NEEDS and wants is a way to spent quality and fun time with his kids, while still being a GUY.

That's what Cooper and Kid offers!  This is a quarterly themed box of activities and projects for dads and their kids, aged 5-9, to do together.  The themes are 'dad-friendly', and the box not only includes high quality toys that get everyone actively exploring the theme through construction projects, role play, science experiments and creative play, but it also includes links to further projects and ideas to expand the experience, as well as recipes to cook together. There is even a recipe for a Dad-only cocktail for after the kids have gone to bed (using the included story book, or course!)


As a father who is in the military, I am often not able to spend time with my daughter, so having a kit geared toward me that helps me do that in a productive, fun way that is interesting for both of us is truly a valuable addition to our lives.

I will be reviewing Cooper and Kid's "How Things Fly" box here in a few weeks - it has all sorts of flight-related items including making a catapult together. (a CATAPULT!).  I can't wait and I know my daughter is going to love this too.

One of the things that I find refreshing about Cooper and Kid is that they aren't just about Dad as a dad - they remember Dad is also a guy.  Their website includes a section called the Catch E-zine which shares all sorts of articles on topic of interest to Dads, including workouts, sports, family vacations, time spent with other guys (they call these "Man Dates" - I don't think I'll be using that term next time I hang out with the guys, but the articles are good.)  Also, as I mentioned above, each box includes a recipe for a cocktail for some adult time.

Currently, they've just started a Body Hair Photo Content for Father's Day over at Fuzzworthy Father's Day.   The rules are simple - show off your body hair, however you'd like, as long as it's not on a part of your body that would be covered by your tighty whities. (because no one wants to see that except Mom).  The contest will be running between now and Father's Day, and the winner will receive "medals and prizes." 


But back to the subscription box.  Right now, those signing up will be receiving Cooper and Kid's Father's Day special Cooper Kit, called "The Good, The Bad and the Bugly: An Adventure Into the World of the Creepy & Crawly."

This box will be shipping out on 9-10 June, just in time to arrive for father's day and provide a summer full of creepy, crawly exploration time for Dad and the kids.

I don't know what's it this box - they like to keep the contents a mystery until they've arrived, but I'm pretty sure just by the theme that it's going to be a whole lot of fun, with a few 'ews' tossed in.

The exciting part, is that they're going to let us give away one of the Father's Day boxes - we're timing this to end just before midnight (PDT) on June 5th, so it can be delivered when they make their shipment a few days later. 

I encourage you to enter the giveaway, consider buying a box for your favorite Dad, and then check back with us in a few weeks for our own review of the "How Things Fly" box.  I'm positive you'll be as excited as I am about this company once you learn more!



Giveaway guidelines: 
Enter the Rafflecopter - 1 mandatory entry will open up lots more optional items for extra entries to increase your odds.
Giveaway ends just before midnight, June 5 (PDT).
This giveaway is open to US residents only.
Prize value: $78 ($65 + $13 S&H)
Winner will be chosen at random by Rafflecopter, and sent an email letting them know.
Winner must reply to the email within 24 hours, or another winner will be selected.

Good luck, everyone - here's the start of a great Father's Day and an awesome summer!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cooper and Kid Website
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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Review/Giveaway: Made of Sundays Wall Decals

37 comments:
"Tadaa! I'm an envelope from madeofsundays.com and I love you."


 I have long been interested in wall decals as a way of creating decorative interest in a room, but held off trying any because it looked like it might be very difficult to put them up without messing up, and because our house isn't blessed with a lot of large surface areas.

Because of this, I was very intrigued by Made of Sundays line of quotation signs - they are visually appealing, but small enough to usable in a tight space and also looked easy enough to put up without creating unwanted bubbles.  Made of Sundays is a small business based in Finland, and even from so far away, it feels very much like the small, custom business that it is.  Every aspect includes a personal touch that I appreciated highly.

One thing that becomes clear when you look over the Made of Sundays website, is that Alba has a very upbeat and hilarious sense of humor - as I read over her interests and explanations of her products, I found myself smiling and feeling like I was meeting a friend. In addition to the quote signs, she has a line of children's wall decor made from eco-friendly fabrics, and all of her products evoke a sense of cheerful optimism.

I selected one of the signs that said "Life is GOOD Today." - I thought this was a lovely sentiment and one I'd want to see daily.  It's such a good affirmation and the sort of reminder that can quickly turn a bad mood into a cheery one.


The packaging itself was a delight - my decal came in an envelope addressed with metallic calligraphy and was well protected between sheets of stiff cardboard.  Included with the decal were extremely easy to follow step by step instructions that also contained several humorous touches.

I followed the instructions as written and found no problem at all getting the sign placed exactly where I wanted it.

"Before"


We've got a picture on the wall that has long bothered me because it was hung quite high (so that the top lined up with the curtain rod next to it), and it felt like it needed something else underneath it to create greater balance. This is just next to our front door, so this is a space we see every day. 

Step by step instructions!
The steps to put up these decals are quite straightfoward and (speaking as the fool in question) pretty fool proof!

Step 1:
Clean the area where the decal will be applied so that it is dust and grunge free.  The surface should also be smooth and non-porous so that the decal sticks cleanly.  I used a micro-fiber cloth to clean my wall.

Step 2:
Decide where you want the decal to be and use tape strips to mark the edges (don't apply the tape to the decal - you're simply creating a removeable straight line to get it in the right spot).  This really did take two people - one to hold it up on the wall and the other to step back and make sure it was straight and centered as desired.

Step 3: 
 Now, you carefully peel off the back of the decal.  This is not one big sticker - each element is an individually cut shape.  So while peeling, you want to go slowly and if any of the lettering tries to stick to the backing being removed, just gently return it to the other piece of backing, so that it all stays in place.

Step 4:
Line the decal up with the tape line markers, so that the decal itself is against the wall, and the paper backing is outward.

Step 5:
Use a credit card or other small plastic card, and firmly stroke the backing, so that the decal sticks to the wall and no air bubbles are created.

Step 6: 
Carefully peel off the backing.  If you thoroughly did Step 5, there should be no issues with the decal lettering coming off with the paper, but work slowly enough to correct, should this happen.

Step 7:
Remove your tape makers.  Step back and admire your handiwork!

Ta-daa!  Life IS Good Today!

 I am so impressed by how this turned out - it provides just the touch I was looking for near the front door, and following the instructions resulted in a perfect application with no complication at all.  Because each letter is separate, there is no odd shininess I've seen in some other wall decals.

I will be enjoying this for a long time to come!

If you'd like to try your own Made of Sundays wall art, Alba ships world wide and is offering a 10% off code to our readers until the end of June 2014.  Just use the code  MADEOFSUNDAYS2014 when you check out.



Additionally, Made of Sundays is offering a giveaway of any one of their in stock items - this giveaway is open world wide and will end just before midnight EDT on Thursday, May 29, 2014.  Good luck to all who enter!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Made of Sundays Website
Made ofSundays on Facebook


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