Thursday, July 2, 2015

Always Enjoying Tea! Tea Sampler Review

I've mentioned before in previous posts that I am a tea fanatic.  I love tea.  I would always pick tea over coffee.  I love trying new and different teas.  I've done a lot of traveling as well and love bringing teas home from my travels abroad.  So when given the opportunity to review a new tea, I am always up for the task.  But when given the chance to review 6 new teas.....well that makes my day!  I've discovered a new website that offers a huge selection of lose leaf teas, samplers, as well as bagged teas, instant teas plus tea ware too.  Its called and they sent us a sampler of 6 of their delicious teas to sample.

The sampler that I received came with their Jasmine Green, Keemun Black, Roasted Mate Chai, Earl Grey Black, Organic Oolong, and Vanilla Roobios!  All of them were fantastic.  I especially loved the green and oolong mixed together for some refreshing iced sun tea.  The roasted mate chai was great on a cooler morning sitting out on our porch.  I was happy with each flavor.  And the aroma of the teas was very nice.  Each had a very strong aroma both dry and after it was brewed.

The set was very nicely presented too and would make a great gift!  Each tea comes in its own tin and all 6 tin canisters came in a nice box.  So a great gift idea and the tin canisters store nicely in a drawer or stacked on a shelf.  I keep my teas in a special drawer designated for just my teas and then I also have a shelf in our kitchen for teas so these tins were nicely displayed on the shelf.  Be sure to check out to see the rest of their selection of teas!

I was provided with a sample free of charge to facilitate this review.  All opinions are my own.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Pratico Extra Large Waterproof Picnic Blanket Review

We love spending time outdoors.  One of our favorite summer time activities is enjoying family picnics outside.  Whether its at a park or in our own back yard, its a great way to spend time as a family.  We've never had a real picnic blanket so when I saw this waterproof extra large outdoor picnic blanket from Pratico Outdoors, I was really excited to try it out.

It really is a great size.  We were able to enjoy a picnic outside and me, my husband and my 2 year old all fit on the blanket with plenty of room.  Its nice and thick so its comfortable to sit on even over a patio like ours.  Its nice out in the grass too.   Its convenient and easy to take places because it folds up, velcros so that it stays folded and has a strap to carry it.  We really liked using it!  The price is great too.  You can order it on Amazon.

I was provided with a sample free of charge to facilitate this review.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Gotta Love My Knotty Boy! Knotty Boy Natural Dreadlock Care Product Review

I have never loved my hair.  Or really liked it for that matter.  I can't say that there has ever been a time in my 30 years on earth that I have been happy with my hair.  Well maybe on my wedding day but that was just one day and it took several hours, a professional and whole lot of product to get it to stay in place.  Other than that, I have always hated my hair.  Its super straight and stiff.  It doesn't take any sort of styling well. I can't get curl to stay, I can't do an intentionally messy yet cute looking updo and if I just leave it down and straight, it rats up.  One thing I have always been secretly in love with, are dreadlocks!  I have always loved dreads.  I remember being in junior high school trying to do temporary dreads with a whole lot of twisting and about half a bottle of hair spray.  The result of that was not good I looked like a twisted up, glued together mess of hair.  But I've still always loved dreadlocks and always thought that well maintained dreads can look amazing on a person!

So recently I decided on a change.  I realized that I rarely do anything to make myself happy.  I feel like I've lost a little bit of me after becoming a mom and going through so many hardships over the last couple of years.  I decided I needed to do something for myself to make myself feel good for once.  So I ditched my flat drab mom hair and dreaded my hair.   And you know what?  I couldn't be more ecstatic with it!   For the first time EVER.......I LOVE my hair!  I've had my dreads for about a month now.  When I first made my dreads I was in need of a good tightening product.  My hair is fine and straight so I needed something to really help it lock up and I read some rave reviews about a company called Knotty Boy that offers all natural dreadlock care products.  One thing I needed was good quality products to use on my hair to help get my locks established and I also needed something natural.  Knotty Boy had that!  So they sent me two of their products to try out on my new locks.

The first product I tried was their Knotty Boy All Natural Liquid Dreadlock Shampoo.  My first thought when I opened up the bottle was that this stuff smells absolutely fantastic!  Its made with all natural ingredients and contains peppermint, tea tree and rosemary essential oils.  I am all about essential oils!  And those oils are some of my favorites.  Peppermint is an essential oil that I use every single day!  So I knew my hair was going to smell amazing.  When I actually washed with it I was blown away.

My big problem right now is that its summer time in Iowa.  And it gets hot and humid here!  We have a little urban backyard homestead and I grow most of the veggies we eat during the summer and fall (and some fruits too) and then store and preserve a lot of food that we grow for the winter months.  So right now my head is enduring some intense heat, sun and humidity.  So the first time I washed my hair with this stuff, I experienced an intense cooling sensation that was just what I needed!  I had been outside in the heat, sweating, digging in the dirt so I was ready for clean hair and I felt like I got a spa treatment.  I sat in the bottom of my tub for several minutes and just let the shampoo cleanse and cool my scalp with the natural essential oils.   And after my shower, my locks were super clean. And the nice thing is that the shampoo didn't loosen my dreads much either!

After using my Knotty Boy Shampoo, I applied some Knotty Boy LockSteady Tightening Gel.  This smelled like a tropical cocktail for my dreads!    The citrus and lime scent reminded me of having cocktails with my mom on the beach in Florida during some past vacations we've taken together.  So I got really good vibes just opening this container.

This is a gel that is applied very sparingly to dreadlocks to help them tighten up and help tame frizz and lose hairs.  You can use it on new and matures dreads. The nice thing is that it does wash out so its not something that's going to build and build as you apply over and over. I definitely noticed my dreads were tighter and more tamed after using this!  At first my dreads were lose and not knotted up very well.  But after using this gel a couple of times they are tight and secure and definitely have nice shape to them.   Its made from pure aloe vera, hemp oil and natural citrus oils to nurture your hair while helping establish, tightening and maintain your locks.  I was definitely happy with this product!  I got a 4oz tub and so far I've gotten two applications and I'm not quite half way through the container and I've got quite a bit of hair.  You can definitely see a difference in my before and after photos below.

Here are my locks BEFORE using my Knotty Boy Shampoo and LockSteady Tightening Gel.

And here are my locks AFTER!
I shampooed first, then applied a light amount of LockSteady Gel to each dread while it was still damp, rolling each dread in my palms and let it air dry.

Knotty Boy has great customer service too!  They got right back to my inquires and gave me some much needed guidance for using these products for the first time.

Overall, I loved both products!  The refreshing feeling of the shampoo was great and got my dreads super clean with no residue, no build up, no harsh chemicals or synthetic ingredients and didn't dry them out.  My locks smelled and felt amazing!  The LockSteady Gel is helping to tighten up my dreads and gives them a nice tight shape and texture while taming my frizz naturally.  I would definitely purchase more of these products and would highly recommend both.   I have gotten so many compliments on my locks so I am definitely happy with the results!.  Its definitely been a huge and much needed boost of confidence!

Knotty Boy also offers a variety of other products for dreadlock care as well along with shampoo bars, maintenance and removal kits, hats and scarves, beads, dread tools and accessories.  Be sure to check out the Knotty Boy website.  You can also connect with Knotty Boy on Facebook, Twitter and be sure to follow the Knotty Boy Youtube channel!

I was provided with samples free of charge to facilitate this review.  All opinions are my own.

Bellemain Ice-Tempered Stainless Steel 7" Cleaver Review

I love testing out kitchen gadgets and utensils!  One thing me and my husband are both pretty picky about, is our knives.  My husband is a professional Chef so he is super particular about knives.  Its very rare that he finds ones that he approves of.  But we recently received a Bellemain Ice-Tempered Stainless Steal Cleaver and were blown away!  I have to say that this is my new favorite knife.

The first thing I tested this baby on was a whole chicken.  We decided to grill out and all I had in our freezer was a whole chicken but since I needed a test for this knife,  I decided to cut it down into sections and see how this cleaver stood up to bone.  I chopped that chicken up in pieces, wings, legs, breast, thighs.  I hardly had to put any effort what so ever into cutting that chicken. This cleaver cut through bone like butter!

Its made of professional X30cf13 stainless steel.  This type of stainless steel is not only used to make professional kitchen knives but also medical instruments and industrial machinery so its pretty heavy duty material.  Its also ice tempered making it strong and able to hold a sharp edge.  Its also stain and corrosion resistant and dishwasher safe which is a plus for me.  I hate having to leave our knives out of the dishwasher and wash them separately.   Its also ergonomic and weight balanced so along with having to use little strength or effort while cutting, its comfortable in your hand.

I just love this knife and would highly recommend this if you are needed a quality cutting utensil!  The price is fantastic for such a quality cleaver!  You can order it on Amazon!

I received a sample free of charge to facilitate this review.  All opinions are my own.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Naturalico Rechargable Electronic Pedicure Callus Remover Review

I do not have pretty feet!  Ever since I was little, getting me to wear shoes was a daily battle for my mother.  I have always hated shoes and socks.  I just can't stand the feeling of my feet being covered and confined.  Even in the middle of 20 below zero Iowa winters, I am barefoot.  My feet have just sort of become immune to the cold.  I can't sleep if my feet aren't bare.  I even do my gardening barefoot.  So you can imagine how unattractive my feet are.  They are a bit rough and pretty mud stained from my gardening adventures.  I don't bother paying for pedicures because I know it won't last.  But every now and then I do take a pumas stone and some elbow grease to give them a good buffing.  Lately I've been seeing these rechargeable electric callus remover and pedicure devices that I thought might be fun to try out.   I received one for review from Naturalico.

It definitely works to smooth down the calluses on your feet and rough spots.  I do think that my feet were a little too far gone for this thing though.  I think its pretty much meant for very thin, softer calluses and feet that aren't quite so abused as mine are.  I can definitely see a difference in how it removed the dry, dead skin.  The only downside is that it took forever!  I sat here with this thing for what seemed like 20 minutes just doing this one little area.  In that amount of time I could have just taken a pumas stone and done both feet completely.  But if you have prettier feet that aren't in such bad shape and just need light pampering, this could probably work good for you.  You don't have to put any effort into it.  Just run it across the bottoms of your feet or the parts that need smoothing.  Pretty easy, just time consuming for me.  If you want to try it out for yourself, you can order it on Amazon.

I was provided with a sample free of charge to facilitate this review.  All opinions are my own.

Tea Secrets Loose Leaf Tea Infuser Set Review

I am a tea fanatic!  Not only is tea my drink of choice over coffee, but I also love collecting tea.  I have a special drawer (and half of the drawer next to it too) dedicated to my teas.  My favorite teas are loose leaf teas.  And a must have for drinking loose leaf tea is some sort of infuser so that you don't just have tea soup with your tea leaves floating around in your cup.  I have a couple of different ones that work well but when I saw this set of Lose Leaf Tea Infusers from Tea Secrets, I really wanted to try them.  Its a 4 pack of infusers that comes with 4 different colors.

The fun thing about having matching diffusers in a set like this is being able to have company over and everyone having their own diffuser to use in their cup.  I think these are really cute too.  I do like the design.  And they are BPA free and will not rust.  They are made mostly of FDA approved food grade silicone and stainless steal.  They were easy to clean and easy to use and is dishwasher safe.  Each infuser came with a little drip tray to set it on while you're drinking your first cup which was nice.  And its an ecofriendly option because with lose leaf tea and a reusable infuse like this, you're using less packaging and keeping some trash out of the landfills.  We love to use products that reduce our packaging waste!   They definitely did their job and my tea was infused perfectly so I enjoyed them.  You can order a Tea Secrets Loose Leaf Tea Infuser Set on Amazon!  It would make a great gift for any tea enthusiast like me!

I was provided with a sample free of charge to facilitate this review.  All opinions are my own.

Live Infinitely Forever Cool Cooling Towel Review

I am a babywearing mama.  And one downside of being a babywearing mama in Iowa, is our hot summers and wearing a 2 year old on my back in the heat.  Its definitely hard to stay cool when were outdoors.  I've heard other mamas talking about using cooling towels to keep them cool while babywearing.  So when I had the opportunity to review the Live Infinitely Forever Cool Cooling Towel, I was super excited and really curious to see how well these work.

At first I was skeptical.  Because really, it gets hot here and the idea just seemed to good to be true.  A piece of cloth being able to cool down even though its 80+ degrees outside (and will be getting hotter as the summer progresses) didn't sound too promising.  But I was pleasantly surprised.  All you do is get it wet and ring out the excess water.  The water activates the cooling effect.  Its made to cool down to 30 degrees below normal body temp.  So a 30 degree difference on a hot day is a huge improvement!  For babywearing, you simply wet the towel down, ring it out a bit and place it flat between you and your sweetie while they are wrapped or in their carrier.  I definitely felt cooler and my kiddo seemed more comfortable.  Plus the material wicks moisture and sweat away from your skin too.  And it stays cool for up to 4 hours so would be great for hiking and longer outside activities.

I definitely will be keeping this around for our walks and hikes from now on.  I'm sure there are other great uses for it too.  You can order the Live Infinitely Forever Cool Cooling Town on Amazon!

I was provided with a sample free of charge to facilitate this review.   All opinions are my own.