Category: For Moms

Etsy Shop Spotlight: The Manic Moose

Posted on Apr 18, 2014 by No Comments

The Manic Moose is one of the more popular Etsy shops today and has been profiled in outlets such as Seventeen, US Weekly, and In Touch magazines.

This Etsy shop specializes in unique handmade photo props for birthdays, weddings, graduations, and other special occasions. You’ll find everything from a Batman mask for a superhero themed picture to Santa and reindeer props designed to add a bit of holiday cheer to your next family photo session.

Most of the props are cardstock images on sticks, but some are downloads that you can buy to print and assemble your own props. If you can’t find what you want from the large selection, you can request to have something made just for you!

Personally, I’m quite partial to the Wizard of Oz photo props featured in this post. They’d be awesome for a little girl’s birthday party or as a playful addition to photos from a family movie night. The set includes Dorothy braided hair with blue gingham bows, a Wicked Witch hat, a Tin Man glitter hat, a Scarecrow hat with straw hair, a Cowardly Lion mane with a red bow, and more.

The Manic Moose has been selling on Etsy since 2011 and has had over 19,000 sales. The shop gets glowing reviews from satisfied customers, who say that the props were just what they needed to create special party photos.

Shop owner Angela Grellner creates her items in St Louis, MO, United States. Orders are shipped via USPS First Class or Priority Mail, depending on your package size. An express shipping upgrade is available for an additional fee.

What do you think of this Etsy shop?

Photo credit: The Manic Moose

San Francisco Coffee Roasting Company Makes Coffee an Experience, Not Just Fuel for the Day

Posted on Apr 14, 2014 by No Comments

San Francisco Coffee Roasting Company is my weekend coffee shop. I wish I lived closer to it. It’s where I love to get my whole beans because the flavor is superior to anything else I’ve tried (and I’ve tried other local roasters).

When they updated their Facebook page, I ended up clicking on a link to their page and discovered they actually will grind their coffee beans for you (French press, perc, metal cone, paper cone, paper flat, espresso or Turkish) and ship them to you. You can also choose whole bean if you have a grinder at home. The average price is $14.00 to $14.50 per pound.

If you already know your preferences, you can browse by location: the Americas, Africa & Arabia, the Pacific, or choose to take a peek at their signature blends. My favorite one to buy is Old Whaler’s Blend, and my favorite way to brew it is in a French press, though I do grind it up for the recyclable Keurig cup, too, when I’m short on time.

If you live in Georgia or one of the neighboring states, this is one way to get some of the freshest coffee possible, which means you get to experience the full, complex flavor of your coffee. They don’t over-roast the beans like some roasters—they’re seriously talented–and if you live close enough to get the coffee very soon after it’s roasted, you’ll get even more nuanced flavor, not just the bitterness or stale, dull flavor you may find in coffee from the grocery store.

If you live in the Atlanta area, you may even want to stop in and try their offerings on-site and talk to the experts about which type of coffee you may want to buy a pound of and take home (the Cake in a Cup drink is incredible!).

Photo credit: OliBac

Yoga Pants that Look Like Dress Pants Are a Must-Have Wardrobe Addition

Posted on Apr 11, 2014 by No Comments

I don’t do yoga nearly as often as I should, but I love my comfy yoga pants. So, when I first learned about Betabrand’s new line of yoga pants that are designed to be office appropriate, I was immediately intrigued.

These yoga pants are designed to look like dress pants, complete with faux pockets, belt loops, and a front button. They have a straight leg fit that can be worn with boots, flats, or athletic shoes.

The pants are made of a stretchy rayon blend (65% rayon, 32% nylon, and 3% spandex). They should be machine washed cold and laid flat to dry.

They were launched as part of Betabrand’s fashion crowdfunding platform and surpassed 400% of their goal in just three weeks. Betabrand founder Chris Lindland commented that this is a record response for the company’s fashion prototypes.

Betabrand’s yoga pants come in sizes XS through XL. An XS is the equivalent of a size 2 and an XL is the equivalent of a size 14 to 16. However, like most yoga pants, they are designed to have lots of stretch. The yoga pants are only available in grey at this time, although it sounds like the company will be offering other colors in the future. They are available exclusively from BetaBrand.

Since I work at home, I can easily wear actual yoga pants to work if I want to. But, I think these pants are super cute. I’d love a pair to wear out running errands or going to the movies with my hubby.

What do you think of this idea?

Photo credit: BetaBrand

One Word for the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Bath Scrubber: Amazing

Posted on Apr 7, 2014 by 2 Comments

I’ve been a fan of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers since they first came out. They tend to live up to their name in most instances. There was one place, however, where the regular Magic Eraser (and all other cleaning products I used) just couldn’t quite get the job done: my ugly, textured shower floor.

The Magic Eraser was the best of all the things I tried (and I have tried everything, from natural cleaners I mixed up on my own to the ones that were supposed to be the strongest of the strong available at the store. No matter what I did, the disgusting-looking gray-brown floor won.

It’s white now. Totally white, not just lighter. The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Bath Scrubber is now my new best friend. That thing made cleaning the shower floor almost effortless (I had scrubbed on my hands and knees for an hour at the time with barely any progress before).

The soap scum on the glass door? Poof—gone with one swipe and a rinse. I haven’t had trouble getting the door clean in the past, but this does make it about five times easier and it’s kind of fun to watch all the cloudiness melt away.

So this product is actually the Magic Eraser plus something a little extra that helps it cut through the soap scum, and it’s also bigger and more durable than the regular one (the site says it’s 30 percent larger).

Check the website to see if coupons are available coupons before heading to the store.

Photo credit: Mr. Clean

Scotch Expressions Washi Tape Is a Crafty Mom’s Dream

Posted on Apr 4, 2014 by 1 Comment

Washi tape is one of my favorite crafting tools. This is a type of patterned masking tape that can be used for scrapbooking, card making, and general paper crafting.

You can find washi tape at most major craft stores, but Scotch Expressions has a new line of washi tape that is available at chain stores like Walmart and Target. This tape comes in lots of fun colors and patterns, making it great for crafters of all ages. In most stores, it seems to sell from $3 to $4 per roll.

Like regular masking tape, Scotch Expressions washi tape is somewhat repositionable. I’ve been able to easily peel and reposition it within about 15 minutes after the initial application. After that, however, the tape gets harder to remove.

You can write on the tape with a permanent marker if desired. However, words can be hard to read on the busy patterns or the darker colors of tape.

Some possible ways to use your Scotch Expressions washi tape include:

  • Use strips of tape to decorate notebooks, folders, and other school supplies for your kids.
  • Cover sturdy cardboard boxes in colorful washi tape to make cheap storage containers for toys and art supplies. The yellow tape with comic book inspired “Pow” print is perfect for a boy’s room.
  • Add washi tape to wrapped birthday gifts for a pop of color.
  • Make personalized party ware by running tape across the rims of plain paper drinking cups or paper plates.
  • Use different colors and patterns of washi tape to create a color coding system for your family.

Photo credit: Scotch Expressions

Sustainable Earth by Staples Offers Green Cleaning Solutions for Your Entire Home

Posted on Apr 3, 2014 by No Comments

The new Sustainable Earth by Staples line includes a variety of affordable yet eco-friendly products for your home. For example:

  • All-purpose cleaner that is free of neutral pH, ammonia, and phosphate
  • Paper towels made from 100% recycled fiber with a minimum of 40% post consumer content and whitened without chlorine bleaching
  • Disinfecting wipes made with plant-based ingredients
  • Toilet bowl cleaner that can be safely used daily on porcelain and porcelain enamel
  • Unscented hand soap that quickly removes dirt, grease, soils, tar, and oil from your hands without leaving residue or unwanted odors

The glass cleaner is my favorite product in this line. For some reason, most of the eco-friendly window cleaners I’ve tried in the past have been simply awful. This product seems to work just as well as regular old Windex, but without the ammonia and alcohol. It smells great and leaves no streaks or residue on my windows or mirrors.

The glass cleaner, like other products in the Sustainable Earth by Staples line, was formulated in partnership with EPA Design for the Environment Formulator Initiative and meets the Green Seal environmental standard for household cleaners based on characteristics such as reduced toxicity, biodegradability, and eco-friendly packaging.

Sustainable Earth by Staples products are an online only item, but Staples does promise two-day business delivery so you won’t have to wait long to receive your order. You can purchase a single 32 ounce bottle for $3.49 or a one gallon refill for $9.19. Rewards members get free shipping on all Staples.com purchases.

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

Photo credit: Staples

Good Earth Beauty’s Loose Mineral Face Powder Gives Fair Skinned Women a Natural Look

Posted on Apr 2, 2014 by No Comments

If you’re concerned about the harmful chemicals in many traditional makeup brands, consider checking out Good Earth Beauty. This website offers a wide range of natural and organic makeup items, including several exclusive products.

One exclusive item that I recently had a chance to try was their lightweight loose mineral face powder. The product is gluten free, paraben free, and vegan. Like other products offered from Good Earth Beauty, it is made with no animal testing.

The loose mineral face powder comes in vanilla, bare, and beige, so this is the best choice if you’re a pale girl. I consider myself to be very pale and ended up getting the bare shade.

The color was as expected and I liked how natural the product felt on my face. It provided all day coverage and seemed to do a nice job of smoothing out the annoying little wrinkles I’ve started to notice along my eyes.

However, like other brands of mineral makeup I’ve tried in the past, it wasn’t quite enough to cover up my zits during a serious breakout. I ended up applying a cream concealer beforehand to take care of my acne. (The fact that I’m dealing with wrinkles and acne at the same time is a topic for an entirely different post!)

One thing I noticed that was a little different with Good Earth Beauty compared to the other brands of mineral makeup I’ve tried in the past is that the foundation comes out really fast. Since less is more when it comes to mineral makeup, this made it a little difficult to avoid wasting product.

I solved the problem by applying a thin layer of tape over the dispenser to cover up some of the holes in the lid and making sure I stored the container on a level surface in my bathroom.

You can purchase the Good Earth Beauty loose mineral face powder online for $19.99. Save 10% with the coupon code GEB10.

When you order from the Good Earth Beauty website, shipping is free in the USA and samples of new products are included with every order. You also get the satisfaction of supporting a small, family-owned company.

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

Photo credit: Good Earth Beauty

Save Time and Money with mySupermarket

Posted on Apr 1, 2014 by No Comments

If you’re pressed for time, mySupermarket makes it easier than ever to buy groceries for your family online.

This site lets you create an order using items from sites like Amazon, Soap.com, Walmart.com, Costco.com, and Target.com. It calculates the unit price of each item for you, offering money saving suggestions when appropriate. Then, when you’re ready to check out, it saves your info and places your order from the correct retailer on your behalf.

When you’re buying groceries online, you have to accept that your selection is going to be limited. However, I did find more to buy from mySupermarket than what I had expected. There were several lower priced store brand items, as well as a nice selection of organic, vegan, and/or gluten free items.

The prices of several items I buy on a regular basis seemed comparable to what I pay at the grocery store. I didn’t need any cleaning supplies or personal care items, but I thought the prices on the few I checked seemed reasonable and they had all but one of the items I searched for.

The mySupermarket interface was easy to use. When you add an item to your cart, it automatically searches for different options that will save you money. This might include ordering a different size, changing retailers, ordering a different flavor, or ordering a different brand.

You can ignore the suggestions if you wish, but checking out the other options is an easy way to increase your savings. As you can see from my screenshot, I ignored a suggestion to save $6.92 on granola by buying a much larger amount of a kind that had nuts. I didn’t need that much granola and my husband prefers his granola with no nuts. I passed on the olive oil savings suggestion because it involved buying significantly more and olive oil isn’t something I go through that quickly.

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It was fun to watch my savings total increase as I continued to add items to my cart. In fact, I did quite a bit of tweaking to see how high I could get my total to go.  My order was $76.59 and my savings was $59.55. After I placed my order, I told my husband it was all of the fun of couponing without the hassle of clipping and matching the specials myself!

Overall, I considered my first experience with mySupermarket to be quite positive. I ordered enough of our favorite foods that it will probably be a few months before we run out, but I would definitely consider using this service again when it’s time to restock the pantry.

Visit the mySupermarket website to sign up for your free account. When you register, you’ll get a coupon code good for $20 cashback on your first order of $50 or more.

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

Photo credit: mySupermarket

Sephora Cream Lip Stain Is Opaque and Lasts Almost All Day

Posted on Mar 31, 2014 by No Comments

I’m on a lip stain kick because I love dark and bold colors but hate the way they always end up on my teeth or smeared onto my skin if I accidentally bump my lips with my hand. I like the Sephora Cream Lip Stains I just discovered, but I’ll warn you that they’re not the normal stain consistency you may be used to.

Usually, with stains, you can still see your lips. Those have a fairly liquid consistency and they soak into lips like spilled coffee or ink on paper. These are somewhere between a typical stain and a long-lasting lipstick you could get from brands like Cover Girl and Revlon (minus the moisturizing top coat).

These aren’t drying at all, but they are matte and you do need to exfoliate before you apply it so you don’t pick up the flakes on your lips. The color is opaque and most of the colors are on the bold side (I have the Strawberry Kissed shade, which is a matte pinkish red).

It spreads beautifully and it’s easy to get a precise line with the doe foot applicator. I’ve found that if you don’t touch your lips together while it dries, they stay evenly coated for six hours or more, depending on what you eat and drink. It’s lasted almost 10 hours on me, but I didn’t eat anything too oily.

These are priced at $13 each, and there are 10 colors, from the perfect classic red to the deepest almost-black purple. There are only two colors that most people would consider neutral, everyday colors: a matte, pinkish deep beige and a satin golden pinkish-peach.

Photo credit: Sephora

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