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Teleflora’s Homemade for the Holidays Arrangements Are the Perfect Last Minute Gift

Posted on Dec 19, 2014 by No Comments

Are you looking for the perfect gift for the impossible to shop for person on your holiday list? If so, Teleflora has you covered. After all, who doesn’t love pretty flowers?

As part of its “Homemade for the Holidays” collection, Teleflora has three different arrangements from Buddy Valastro, otherwise known as the Cake Boss.

  • T14X300CThe Gingerbread Cookie Jar bouquet features white spray roses, red carnations, and white miniature carnations accented with flat cedar, variegated holly, noble fir, and white pine. The arrangement is displayed in an adorable cookie jar and comes with a recipe for chocolate dipped cookies.
  • The Holly Days centerpiece features creme roses, red carnations, and seasonal greens displayed in a decorated ceramic serving bowl and topped with two red pillar candles. This arrangement comes with a recipe for Christmas meatballs.
  • The Merry Mug bouquet features white carnations, red miniature carnations, white cushion spray chrysanthemums, noble fir, and white pine. It’s displayed in a festive red mug with a matching stirring spoon and comes with a recipe for Merry Mocha.

T14X600CAside from being pretty and thoughtful gifts, these bouquets are also perfect for the last minute shopper. All florists within the Teleflora “Find a Florist” network provide convenient same day service.

To qualify, all you need to do is call or place your online order by 2 pm for local floral delivery service in any city throughout the United States or Canada. It doesn’t even matter if you’re in a rural area like I am — every Teleflora arrangement I’ve ever received has been promptly delivered and absolutely beautiful.

Photo credit: Teleflora

Treat Yourself to Tracks Air from Sol Republic

Posted on Dec 18, 2014 by No Comments

If you’re in the market for a new pair of headphones, you can’t go wrong with the Tracks Air headphones from Sol Republic. Available in White, Gunmetal, Vivid Red, and Electro Blue, these amazing headphones make it easy to wirelessly enjoy your favorite music.

The headphones were easy to pair with our devices right out of the box, even though this was my first experience with Bluetooth. I was listening to music from my Chromebook within five minutes!

If you have two different Bluetooth devices, dual device connectivity lets you sync both at once. So, you can watch Netflix on your tablet and answer an incoming phone call at the same time!

My head size is quite a bit above average, so I wasn’t sure how well the Sol Republic headphones would fit me. But, the headphones are very easy to adjust for a perfect fit. They are easily the most comfortable pair I’d ever had.

The sound quality from Tracks Air is impressive, although I did experience a bit of skipping when I strayed towards the outer limits of the Bluetooth’s 150-foot connectivity range.  The volume controls are on the right ear, so you can quickly adjust the volume up or down as needed.

Tracks Air advertises a 15 hour battery life. I was able to listen to music for two entire work days without needing to recharge, so I do believe this is accurate.

Recharging is done with a USB cable via your computer. There’s also a cord included with your purchase if you accidentally drain the battery but want to use the Tracks Air as wireless headphones until you have a chance to recharge.

If you’re on the fence about your purchase, keep in mind that  Tracks Air now comes with 100-day Money Back Guarantee. However, the guarantee applies only to Tracks Air wireless headphones purchased on or after October 15, 2014 directly from Sol Republic via the official website. If you’re not satisfied, Tracks Air headphones must be returned within 100 days following purchase to be eligible for a refund.

Of course, if you’re planning on buying headphones, you might want to set aside a little extra money. I made the mistake of letting my husband and my 10-year-old son try out my headphones. They both liked them so well that they’ve requested pairs for themselves!

Disclaimer: Samples were provide by the manufacturer for the purpose of preparing this review.

Photo credit: Sol Republic

Coconut Oil Skin Food Nourishes Dry Winter Skin

Posted on Dec 17, 2014 by 1 Comment

Coconut oil is well known for its moisturizing properties. All Good Coconut Oil Skin Food makes a wonderful addition to your beauty routine. After a shower or during a massage, rub it all over your body for instant deep moisturizing.

All Good Coconut Oil Skin Food is USDA Organic, GMO free, gluten free, vegan, non-nano, and biodegradable. The product is packaged in a sturdy glass jar that could easily be reused for home storage, if you’re trying to be especially eco-friendly.

There are three different scents available: coconut, lemongrass, and lavender. The lemongrass and lavender use pure essential oils for added aromatherapy benefits. Lemongrass is energizing and uplifting, while lavender is soothing and relaxing.

My favorite scent is the lavender. I hate mornings with a passion, so I tend to shower at night. This makes a fabulous post-shower moisturizer and the lavender essential oil has a calming effect that makes it easier to fall asleep.

If you have little ones who struggle with falling asleep, it would be fabulous to use on them before bedtime.

The only thing you need to watch out for with this product is that coconut oil liquefies at 78 degrees and remains solid below that temperature. I prefer my oil solid so it’s less messy to apply, so I normally toss mine in the refrigerator when it’s really warm outside.

Visit the Elemental Herbs website to learn more or to purchase All Good Coconut Oil Skin Food.

Disclaimer: Product samples were provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of preparing this review.

Photo credit:  Elemental Herbs

Burt’s Bees Offers a Natural Way to Get Through Cold and Flu Season

Posted on Dec 16, 2014 by No Comments

During cold and flu season, I like to keep my medicine cabinet fully stocked so I don’t get stuck making a last minute Target run whenever someone gets sick.

One thing that we go through a lot of during the winter months is cough drops. I think I’ve tried almost every brand imaginable at this point. My current favorites are the ones from Burt’s Bees.

Burt’s Bees cough drops come in three flavors: Honey, Honey & Lemon, and Honey & Pomegranate. These cough drops are made with over 35% pure honey, with a touch of cooling menthol and eucalyptus essential oil. They are free of any artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or sweeteners.

Although these are one of the more expensive brands of cough drops in my area, they seem to be worth the increase in cost simply because you end up using less. The recommended dose for adults and children five years and over is two drops every two hours. When I buy cheaper brands of cough drops, I tend to go through two or three times that amount!

I also like that these cough drops offer the moment of menthol without the yucky taste. Menthol cough drops are the most effective, but I tend to avoid them because of the nasty medicine taste. The Burt’s Bees cough drops aren’t as good as candy by any means, but the taste is certainly much more pleasant.

Visit the Burt’s Bees website for additional information.

How is your family coping with cold and flu season this year?

Photo credit: Burt’s Bees

RaZbaby’s Vaporizer on the Go Soothes Your Little One During Cold and Flu Season

Posted on Dec 15, 2014 by No Comments

With cold and flu season upon us, moms with little ones will certainly want to consider adding RaZbaby’s Vaporizer on the Go to their home first aid kit!

This handy new product clips onto the front of your baby’s pacifier to release calming aromatic scents. Use the eucalyptus scent to open up nasal passages or choose lavender to help soothe your baby to sleep. The scents are made from pure essential oils and will last for up to 12 hours.

The product conforms to US Consumer Product Safety Commission requirements and is BPA free with plastic made in the USA. It does not require any batteries or plugs to use.

The RaZbaby Vaporizer on the Go sells for $7.99 and is available online or at select retailers nationwide. It comes with one eucalyptus and one lavender refill pad. The refill pads sell for $5.99 for a package of four, although I suspect you could save some money if you just add a few drops of essential oil to the current pad.

My son didn’t seem to like pacifiers much when he was a baby, but we loved using aromatherapy diffusers to help him breathe better when he was ill. If your baby takes a pacifier, I think this is an excellent way to give him some relief when he’s not feeling well.

Have you had a chance to try out the RaZbaby Vaporizer on the Go for your little one? If so, what do you think of this product?

Photo credit: RaZbaby

Yonanas Is Fun for the Whole Family!

Posted on Dec 12, 2014 by No Comments

The Yonanas frozen treat maker has been on my personal wish list for quite some time, but I finally received one as a recent birthday gift. It was definitely worth the wait! My son and I love it, as do most of the guests I’ve made samples for.

You can use pretty much any type of frozen fruit imaginable in the Yonanas, although anything with a peel does need to be peeled before you freeze it. Most of their recipes use bananas as the base, but they do have a section of “no bananas” recipes on their website.

If you make something without bananas, you end up with a fruit sorbet. It doesn’t have the same smooth and creamy texture as the recipes that include bananas, but it’s perfectly tasty!

Nectarine-Yonanas-350x350The Yonanas is kind of loud when operating, but it only takes a few minutes to make a huge bowl of Yonanas. I have the best results if I alternate chunks of bananas with berries or whatever other fruit I’m using.

If I’m adding flaxseed, wheat germ, cinnamon, cocoa powder, or other similar additions, I sprinkle some in towards the beginning and some in at the middle. Then, I give everything in the bowl a good stir before serving.

Yes, it’s possible to make a concoction similar to the Yonanas using a blender. But, I’ve founded that the Yonanas does a better job of blending ingredients than my blender ever did. The texture is also much closer to “real” ice cream when your dessert is made with Yonanas.

Yonanas advertises itself as a healthy dessert alternative, which is certainly true. But, my son loves a bowl of Yonanas in the morning for breakfast topped off with a couple of belVita breakfast biscuits.

The idea of “healthy ice cream” for breakfast seems to serve as a great motivator to get him to eat and I figure a bowl of frozen fruit is certainly a step up from the Pop-Tarts and Lucky Charms he loves.

The only real downside I’ve found to the Yonanas is that you need to take the device apart immediately after using it.

All of the components except the base are dishwasher safe, so it’s easy to clean. But, if you leave it sitting on your kitchen counter, the leftover fruit mixture oozes out the bottom and creates a disgusting sticky mess for you to clean up later. I learned this the hard way!

Photo credit: Yonanas

HP Scheduled Delivery Apps Are an Easy Way to Keep Kids Entertained

Posted on Dec 11, 2014 by No Comments

If you happen to have an HP printer that supports scheduled delivery apps, this is an excellent way to keep your little ones entertained without having to spend hours searching for suitable free printables on your own.

HP’s scheduled delivery apps offer a variety of printables, including coloring sheets, word searches, craft projects, comics, and homework practice. CCrayolaDailyColoringPages_output_1Some examples of the different kid-friendly free printable apps HP has include:

For adults, there are also meal planners, crossword puzzles, word searches, organizational tips, and various news digests.

Scheduling delivery for the apps is easy and can be done directly from your printer by following the simple menu commands.

You can even set up delivery for a certain time, such as planning a free coloring sheet to be printed right after your daughter gets home from school or scheduling a news digest to be printed so you can read it with your morning coffee.

If you decide you want to cancel delivery, you can do so directly from the ePrintCenter. If you’re going on vacation, you can even arrange to pause printing for the number of days you’ll be gone.

Visit the HP ePrintCenter website to browse through all of the different apps for HP printers.

If you don’t have an HP printer, but are looking for an upgrade, I have the HP ENVY 5530 All-in-One Printer and I love it. It prints beautiful photos, works with the HP Instant Ink service, and supports all of the HP scheduled delivery apps.

Photo credit: HP

INLET Reinvents the Electrical Outlet

Posted on Dec 10, 2014 by No Comments

Did you know that many electronics suck power even when turned off? This wastes energy and increases your electric bill, but the INLET is an easy way to fix this problem.

Designed by LivingPlug, the INLET turns a standard outlet into three receptacles plus a USB source and features the “UNplug button” which shuts off power and eliminates the need to physically unplug devices from the outlet. This can help you reduce your electrical bill by 15-25%.

unnamedThe INLET is also child-proof and tamper-resistant, making it a good choice for homes with small children. It plugs into your existing outlet with installation required, making it an easy upgrade even if you’re not handy around the house.

Although the INLET’s functionality is impressive enough on its own, LivingPlug has taken things one step further and created a series of interchangeable faceplates for the INLET. You can get holiday themed designs, general decorative designs, or even upload a favorite photo to create your own customized faceplate.

The INLET sells for $25. Decorative faceplates sell for $25 to $30, depending upon the design you select. To learn more about the INLET and faceplate designs or to purchase, please visit LivingPlug.

Since I live in an older home that is woefully short on outlets for all our modern gadgets and gizmos, I love the idea of the INLET being able to expand our power capacity. The fact that it looks cute and saves money on electricity is just an added bonus for me.

What do you think of the INLET?

Photo credit: LivingPlug

Learn How to Stretch Your Grocery Budget

Posted on Dec 9, 2014 by No Comments

If you hate going grocery shopping because it never seems like you have enough cash to make tasty yet nutritious meals for your family, you need Leanne Brown’s Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day.

Brown was inspired to create this impressive recipe collection when she was earning a master’s in food studies at New York University. The more she learned about nutrition, the more she became concerned about the struggles of people trying to eat well on a limited income.

Her recipe collection uses a $4 per person daily guideline because this is the average amount a food stamp recipient receives for his or her meals.

Each recipe in Good and Cheap features a total cost as well as a cost per serving. Obviously, prices for ingredients will vary depending on your location and any specific brand preferences you have. But, if you shop the sales and buy store brands whenever possible, I think her cost estimates are fairly accurate.

She also gives many suggestions for substitutions, encouraging you to make due with what you have instead of spending more money on extra ingredients.

I love the beautiful photographs and the range of recipes in this cookbook. Usually, cookbooks designed for the sole purpose of showcasing cheap food tend to be bland and uninspiring. Good and Cheap motivates you to get in the kitchen and start cooking.

Some of my favorite kid-friendly recipes in Good and Cheap include:

  • Peanut Butter and Jelly Granola Bars
  • Cornmeal Crusted Veggies
  • Rainbow Rice
  • Coconut Chocolate Cookies
  • Fast Melon Sorbet

I also really like the pages where she demonstrates how to use a pantry staple several different ways. For example, she gives a list of eight ways to jazz up plain popcorn — including Parmesan and oregano, brown sugar and orange zest, and chili powder and lime.

Visit LeanneBrown.com to download a free PDF copy of Good and Cheap or to purchase a print copy for $20.

Photo credit: Leanne Brown