Sunday, December 30, 2012

Home Spa 100% Natural Shower Spray Review & Giveaway [CLOSED]

The Home Spa Shower Spray is a 100% natural aromatherapy fragrance product from the makers of Thermal-Aid.  I was interested in reviewing these products because I am a firm believer in aromatherapy and I was intrigued by the "home spa" idea.

These sprays are a unique idea and I really enjoyed using them.  I received one of each of the four scents: Lavender, Eucalyptus, Pink Grapefruit, and Tangerine.  The way they work is you spray as many spritzes as you want directly onto the shower stream as the water is running, and the scent disperses and fills your shower.  I liked that there were two calming scents and two energizing ones, so you can tailor them to morning or night showers.

My favorite scent was the Pink Grapefruit.  All of them worked quite well, though, and it was hard to choose a favorite.  I was actually surprised at the strength of the Lavender and Eucalyptus sprays; I assumed that they would be on the lighter side but they gave off quite a good amount of scent.  None of these were overbearing, though.  It's hard to relay scent and scent strength via a blog post, but I'll say that these sprays are strong enough to be noticeable, but are just enough scent to make you feel comfortable.  Since they're sprayed into running water the scent doesn't last extremely long, for me I could notice the scent for 2-3 minutes longer after spraying.  But you can continue to spray into the water stream as many times as you'd like.

Bottom Line: I thoroughly enjoyed using the Home Spa Shower Sprays.  I like that they're made from 100% natural therapeutic oils, and they give off a nice scent that surrounds you with a relaxing spa feeling!

If these sprays sound like something you'd like to try, you can enter to win a bottle in the scent of your choice below (five winners total)!  Enter using the Rafflecopter form after the "read more."

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

December PopSugar Must Have Review

Back in July when the PopSugar Must Have Bag launched, I was approached by the company to highlight their subscription service.  I turned it down at first because they weren't offering any sort of discount, and I wanted to see how the first few bags were before subscribing (since it's a bit more expensive at $35 a month).  It didn't pique my interest until October's bag, which I think has been their best one to date.  I was hoping to sign up to receive November's, but it had already sold out so my first shipment would be December's box.  I had high hopes, but this box didn't impress me.

Like I said, October and November were so good, so I was hoping that December would follow suit.  The box was a good value if you solely consider the retail prices of what was included, but as a whole I felt that the products were pretty lame.

Before I get to the products, I want to talk about how infuriatingly slow their shipping is!  The shipping is free (well, it's included in the $35), so I don't expect it to get to me super fast, but it shouldn't have taken as long as it did, either.  While I was waiting for my box I noticed some message board posts where people were saying that it seemed like their boxes sat in Sacramento for days before making any movement.  Mine did as well, and it made me wonder if PopSugar sends out the shipping notices when the labels print, not when they actually ship.  In total, it took the box 11 days to get to me in New York.

So after that wait, I was really hoping I would love this box.  I did peek at some spoilers, and I found the items to be not so great (listed below clockwise from top left).

  • Bodum Bistro Mugs - A two-pack of double-walled glass mugs that can hold hot or cold beverages.  They retail for around $30 and they are nice, but it's not something I would want or buy otherwise so I was indifferent to them.
  • Go Swype - This little wipe is to clean off tech devices, and I'll use it primarily for my laptop and phone screen.  They're only good for about two weeks, though, which is lame; but I'm sure I'll be using it for longer than that.
  • Jaboneria Marianella Soap - I do like soaps, so this item was probably my favorite.  The scent I received was "Dama de la Noche," with apple, lemon, and Dama de la Noche bloom.  It's a pretty scent overall.
  • Pinch Provisions Minimergency Kit - I read/watched some other reviews where people were pretty excited about this item, but it was another one that I could take or leave.  I was hoping to at least get a fun color like purple or green, but I got taupe.  Again, it's something I'll use, but not something that I really wanted (it contains little emergency items like floss, band aids, etc.).
  • Tea Forte Sampler - So many teas.  I am so tired of getting teas in subscription boxes.
  • Bogdon's Peppermint Poles - These are yummy and I liked them.
  • Rent the Runway $30 gift code - I'll never use this.  I would post the coupon for someone else to use, but it says you have to be a Must Have subscriber to use it.

Bottom Line: This box did nothing to make me want to continue as a subscriber and I cancelled shortly after receiving it.  PopSugar Must Have is a good idea in theory, but for me it's too much to spend each month on items I may or may not use.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

December Conscious Box Review

Last month was a little bit rough as far as shipping and some other things for Conscious Box, but they more than made up for it with the December box!  I know that some new members were discouraged by the difficulties they encountered in November, but if you're one of them and you're reading this I encourage you to give Conscious Box another chance.

But anyway, I was really happy with my classic box.  I was going to cancel last month, but I decided not to because I really do love this service and I wanted to stay on for one more month for two reasons: 1. December is my birthday month, and 2. I received my first box last December, so it would mean I'd have been with CB for a whole year.

This box had a lot more variety than the past few, which made me very happy.  Here's what was inside:

  • Truebar - A gluten-, GMO-, and dairy-free bar.  The flavor I received was "Coconut Cashew."  I don't love coconut or cashews, but I'll probably eat this as a breakfast on-the-go.
  • NuturMe Sweet Bananas - This is an organic baby food powder.  I don't have any kids but I know people who do, so I will pass this on to someone who can use it.
  • 7th Heaven Naturals White Thai Mud Mask - I love doing masks and this one was really nice!  I used it last night and it was perfect for my oily skin, though I'm not sure if it would be too tough on sensitive skin.  It had a nice, light scent and my skin felt tingly and refreshed after.

  • Eden Allure Argan Oil - This is the tiny little bottle to the right of the playful wash packet.  I haven't used it yet but I like using argan oil on my hair, so this was a good item to receive.
  • Avalon Organics Lip Balm in Soothing Vanilla Rosemary - I'm a lip balm lover and welcome any additions to my collection.  I probably have way more than any one person needs, but at least I know I'll never run out!  I haven't used lip balms from this company, but I have used other products of theirs and I enjoyed them.
  • Episencial Playful Wash - I love the packaging on this because it has Eric Carle's Very Hungry Caterpillar.  This is a pediatrician-recommended wash for babies with sensitive skin.  Again, no babies for me, but it doesn't mean I can't use this for myself!
  • Lemi Shine Original - This is a cleaner you add to your dishwasher to get out hard water stains on glass and such.  I'll use it eventually, but I'm not in a rush to try it.
  • eBoost - I really hate eBoost.  I just don't like the way they taste and I think they're kind of lame.

  • 18 Rabbits Gracious Granola - Yum, I love 18 Rabbits granola!  All of their products are delicious and I'm sure I'm going to love this one.
  • St. Claire's Organics Ginger Pastilles - I still haven't tried these yet, but I'm planning on eating one or two if I ever get a stomach ache because ginger is great for that.

  • Divine Milk Chocolate with Spiced Cookies - This bar was amazing!  I couldn't wait to eat it and it was as delicious as I hoped it would be.  On the inside of the wrapper there's information about the fair-trade farmers from Ghana that produce the chocolate, which was actually a really interesting read.  I'm definitely going to buy more Divine bars in the future.
  • Weleda Pomegranate Firming Eye Cream - I don't go through eye creams quickly (who really does, though?) because a little goes a long way, so I'm not going to open this just yet.  I haven't tried any Weleda products but I've heard good things.
  • Beanfields Crispylicious! Bean & Rice Chips - These were another yummy snack.  They were nice and crunchy and had a good pepper flavor.  I really enjoyed them and I'm going to look for them in the store next time I'm grocery shopping.

I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do for next month.  I really love Conscious Box, I can't say it enough, but part of me wants to cancel my subscription for a few months just because I've had it for so long, and I feel like I've seen everything that they have to offer.  It's all very good, but part of me wants to use the $20 a month to try other services, and then maybe come back to CB at a later time.  As of right now I'm undecided, so maybe there will be a January unboxing, maybe not!  If you'd like to view my video for this box, check it out below (and please subscribe!):

Bottom Line: After a few so-so boxes, Conscious Box was great for December.  I liked the variety of items and was overall happy to find that most of them were things I would use.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

December Daily Dose of Green Review

After reviewing Daily Dose of Green's subscription service in November, I loved the box so much that I signed up to be a full member.  They have a wait list, but I was sent the information to join shortly after putting my name in.  I filled out my profile survey and anxiously awaited my first box; I was even more excited to get this one because I was curious to see what kind of items they would include for me based on that survey.

The box definitely didn't disappoint!  There were eight items total, nine if you include the bonus gift wrap set. I prefer lifestyle boxes because I like getting a variety of items, and this definitely had a lot of variety inside.  Here's what I got:

  • Earth's Beauty Lip Glaze in Wild Rose - This lip glaze is a really pretty red, a deep red/maroon.  It's good for a "night" look and I'll definitely use it during the holidays.
  • Be Natural Organics Daily Botanical Enzyme Peel - I tried this peel for the first time today and I really liked it.  It's in liquid form and you just apply a few drops to a cotton ball and then pat it onto the skin and leave it there until dry.  It felt tingly at first, but I liked it because I could tell it was working.  What it does is it dissolves the glue-like substances that hold onto dead skin cells so that they can be washed away.
  • Nardos Natural Lip Balm in Peppermint - I love lip balms a ton so I can never have too many.  This one is USDA organic and feels really smooth, and peppermint is also one of my favorite flavors.
  • Bee All Natural Organic Intense Hand & Foot Salve - This is also in peppermint, and also a product I think I'll really enjoy.  Any kind of natural moisturizer, especially for the feet, gets a thumbs-up from me.
  • Farmboy Flapjacks Whole Grain Almond Spice Cookie Mix - I'm so excited to bake these!  Almond Spice sounds absolutely delicious and the bag is a big 12 oz., so I'll definitely get a few good batches out of it.
  • Go Naturally Organic Hard Candy - These are super yummy, I'm eating a Pomegranate one right now.  I like hard candies in the winter because the dry air can really make my throat scratchy.  These are handmade and gluten-free as well.
  • Daddy Van's All Natural Furniture Polish - This item isn't on my informational card, but it's a Beeswax & Lavender polish for fine wood.  I don't have a use for it now, but once I have my own place I'm sure I'll find a use for it.
  • Pet Naturals of Vermont Smelly Cat Treats - These also weren't on my card, but I'm so glad they were in my box!  I was hoping I'd receive them after seeing them on the Daily Dose of Green site, and my cat really loved them, so much so that I'll probably purchase full-sized bags in the future.
  • Gift Wrap Set - At first I thought there was something wrapped inside of this, but it was extra tissue paper and a gold ribbon.  It was just a cute extra item, and I already used it to wrap up part of my boyfriend's Christmas present!

If you'd rather watch the unboxing, check out my video below.

Bottom Line: For only $15 (shipping included), I'm very impressed with this box.  I think it's a lot of fun and they included some great items for me this month.  I'm really looking forward to what future months bring!

View more photos after the cut.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

December Conscious Box Giveaway [CLOSED]

This December will mark my one-year anniversary of receiving Conscious Box, one of my favorite subscription services!  My first box was actually one I received from them to review, but after trying that box I quickly subscribed and received my first "official" box in January.

Last year's December box

Conscious Box has offered a December box for one of my readers to win, and I'm so excited to give you all the chance to fall in love with their service the way I have!  CB costs $19.95 a month and you can sign up for a regular or vegan-only subscription, and they send 8-10 eco-friendly items straight to your door.

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.  This sweepstakes is open to US residents aged 18+ only. It begins on 9 December 2012 and ends at 12:00 AM EST on 17 December 2012. One winner will be chosen by random by this Rafflecopter widget and will be notified by email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond, or a new winner will be chosen. All entries will be verified. Conscious Box is responsible for shipping the prize to the winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

November Little Black Bag Review

Oops, this is definitely a late post, but here's what I got in my November Little Black Bag.  I had made an unboxing video but I didn't like how it came out and I had already eaten my candies and burned the candle (it'll make sense if you keep reading), so I didn't film another one.

This was my best bag yet in terms of items received.  I don't even remember what I picked for my first item, maybe that Melie Bianco tan bow bag?  Yeah, I think that was it.  I wasn't attached to it at all, but I wanted to get a bag I knew I could get good multi-item trades for.  I swapped bags quite a bit and ended up settling on an Olivia + Joy bag, which I was hesitant about because my last bag was from them and it was terrible quality.  But first, here's a list of what I got:

  • benefit Cabana Glama Makeup Kit - $36, but you can find them for cheaper
  • BRIANNEFAYE Cascade Necklace - $33
  • LAVANILA Healthy Candle Vanilla Grapefruit - LBB said $16, but it's $12 on Lavanila's site
  • Olivia + Joy Lavish Lady Belted Satchel - $92
  • sugarfina Pocket Posies - LBB said $5, but it's actually $4.50
  • sugarfina Heavenly Sours - $4.50
  • Total value: $183

My last experience with an Olivia + Joy bag didn't go so well, so I was apprehensive about closing my bag with another one.  I really liked how this bag looked, though, and I found pictures of it on other sites for comparison and I wanted to give it a chance.  I figured that this time I wouldn't remove the tags before a thorough inspection, and if it wasn't up to par I would just send it back.  Luckily it ended up being gorgeous and I am completely in love with it!  It's the perfect size and shape and I love black bags in general.

I wasn't going to open a bag for November, but then LBB released the benefit kits into the gallery and I had to have one!  I was bummed that I missed out on the September Pop Sugar Must Have Bag because they had these kits in it (along with some other great stuff), so I was really intent on trading for it.  They were trading crazy-high when they were first introduced; my offer was worth over $70 (a Nila Anthony clutch and something else, I don't remember).  I was getting offers of the same value in the beginning, but as trading went on the value of items offered dwindled.  If you weren't able to get one but wanted one, they're on sale for $18.99 at benefit's website right now!

Not everyone is a fan of the candles in the LBB gallery, but I am a candle hoarder and I really wanted to try one of these Lavanila ones.  I got my first choice of scent, Vanilla Grapefruit, and it smells so nice.  I considered returning it because when I got it the outer tin was dirty (more pictures of that after the cut) and the wax inside was broken into pieces, but I kept it because after paying shipping to send it back the refund amount wouldn't have been worth it.  It doesn't have as strong of a scent as I would like, but I still enjoy it and it's a great scent for wintertime.

I looooove this BRIANNEFAYE necklace!  I had been eyeing it for a while and I was finally able to trade for it.  I would have preferred silver, but the gold is still very pretty.  I had found an identical design on etsy once, but it was being sold for $100.  I think I definitely got a good deal on this!

These sugarfina candies were quite possibly my favorite items, haha!  LBB had originally introduced them as bonus items during the end of October for Halloween, but I had already bought a bag that month and I didn't want to open another one just for some candies.  I was really glad that some of them were still around, though, and I was able to snag my top choices.  The Pocket Posies had a great flavor but were really hard to chew (I expected them to be much softer), but the Heavenly Sours were amazing--great taste and nice and soft, too.  I will definitely be ordering candies from sugarfina again in the future.

Bottom Line: I loved my November bag.  Every item was one I really wanted, and they all turned out to be pretty great.  It was discouraging at first to receive a dirty candle, but it wasn't damaged inside so it wasn't worth the hassle of returning it.  I did cancel my recurring monthly subscription to LBB for now (so I don't have to go in and skip a bag each month), but maybe in a few months I'll open up a bag again.

More photos behind the cut.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Make Your Own Candy Kit Review and Giveaway [CLOSED]

Remember my review for Glee Gum?  If not, that's okay -- but I'm back with another product from Verve, Inc., the makers of Glee Gum, that's perfect for the holidays.  They have a series of Make Your Own Candy Kits that are great gifts for curious, candy-loving kids (yes, all of that alliteration was on purpose).

They have three kits available: Make Your Own Gummies, Chocolate, and Chewing Gum.  I chose to try the Gummies kit because I thought that one sounded the most interesting.  The gummies are made from carageenan and agar, which are gels found in seaweed.  Most gummies are made from gelatin, which is made by boiling down animal bones.  I like the sound of seaweed gels better.

The ingredients included are sour mix, colored/flavored sugar, powdered seaweed, seaweed, and molding starch.  There is enough to make quite a large batch of gummies, but I only used it to make a few this time around.  The whole process took about 30 minutes for me on my own, but if you were making these with children I'd imagine it would take a little bit longer.

The first step was to take out the little seaweed and let it soak in a bowl of water.  While it was soaking, I readied my candy molds.  The kit doesn't come with any plastic molds, but you could easily use your own if you had some around the house.  I didn't, so I used the molding starch that comes with the kits.  In theory it's a great idea because then you can create whatever kind of molds you want, but I found that it practice it was a bit more difficult.  First, it was hard for me to smooth out the starch (I'm a perfectionist and wanted it to be completely smooth, but soon realized that wasn't going to happen).  I tried using a little toy dinosaur as a mold, but it didn't work so well, so I gave up and used the cap of my lip balm to create little circles.

This was definitely the messiest step, and even though I don't have young children I can imagine they'd need a lot of adult supervision, just to ensure that the molding starch didn't get all over the place!


Next it was time to create the gummy mixture.  The base was the powdered seaweed, which is pictured above on the left.  All that needed to be added was a 1/2 cup of water.  I then stirred it for about a minute until it looked like the photo to the right (the instructions said not to worry about lumps).  The most noticeable thing about this mixture is that it smells...not-so-yummy, we'll say.  This might be off-putting to some kids when making it, but just ensure them that the gummies don't taste anything like how they smell at this point!  Once the mixture was stirred, I added the seaweed that had been soaking in the water and microwaved the mixture for two minutes (this can also be heated on the stovetop).

After microwaving, the instructions said to take out the seaweed with a fork.  The gel substance around it is carageenan -- it kind of looked like ramen noodles to me!  The smell was stronger after heating, as can be imagined, but it mostly went away after adding in the flavored sugar mixture.

After adding the sugar packet, the mixture should be heated again for one minute or heated on the stove until it starts to bubble.  I loved the bright pink/red/fuschia color!

Then it was time to pour the mixture into the molds.  My dinosaur didn't come out so well, but the little circles were easy to pour in.  I'd definitely recommend using very simple shapes for these.  Once the shapes were set, I put them in the refrigerator for ten minutes to cool.  You can keep repeating this process until you use up the mixture or have all of the gummies you want, the mixture just needs to be reheated each time.  That's another benefit of using the carageenan gel instead of gelatin, it's "thermally reversible," so you can heat it up as many times as you need to.

And here are my finished gummies!  The sour sugar coating was added (on the right) by shaking up the gummies and the sugar in a sandwich bag.  I was obviously most excited to see how they tasted after all of this.  They were much softer than I thought they would be, and they had a nice light flavor.  They weren't as as sugary as most store-bought gummies, so that might be something that kids would have to get used to.  But overall, I think this kit was a lot of fun and would be a great gift for kids.  Not only does it give them the chance to make their own candy, but it can be used as a learning opportunity to teach them about how raw materials like seaweed are used around the world.

Bottom Line: If you're looking for a fun and educational gift this holiday season, I recommend the Make Your Own Candy Kits from Glee Gum!  I had a lot of fun making mine and I'm turning 24 soon, so they're great for those who are a little older, too.  What I love most about these kits is that they teach kids about how ingredients from nature can be combined to create such fun candies.

  • Visit the Candy Kit Combo page and take advantage of their holiday sale: you can purchase a 3-pack of each type of candy kit for 30% off!
  • Connect with Glee Gum on Facebook and Twitter
  • Check out the store locator to see where Glee Gum products can be found near you (please note that Make Your Own Candy Kits are primarily sold online).
  • Sign up for the Glee Gum Newsletter and receive a coupon!

Want to win a Make Your Own Candy Kit for yourself?  The kind folks at Glee Gum are offering one kit of the winner's choice for one of my readers!  Enter using the Rafflecopter form after the cut.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Holiday Indie Gift Box Review

I've had Indie Gift Box on my list of subscription services to try for a while, and when they announced that their last box of the year (November and December combined) would be a Holiday Box, I decided to give it a try.

I'm not a crafty person, but I do like getting little trinkets and such, so that's why I was interested in this box. I paid $25 total for this box, $20 for the box itself and $5 for shipping.  Shipping to Canada is $10 and $15 for anywhere else.  I can't find a definitive price on their website at the moment, so I'm going to guess that $20 is the price of every box.  Indie Gift Box is interesting in that there are only a specific number of boxes available -- sometimes only 10-15, but this box had 100 available.  You have to monitor either their blog (I signed up for the email list) or other social media to get updates on when the box will go on sale, and you have only 10 minutes to pay through PayPal or you'll lose your spot.

I wanted to purchase the Holiday Box because after seeing the preview of what brands would be featured I thought that they looked interesting.  I had my boyfriend hop online to grab one for me since I was at work, and he didn't have any difficulty with it since they had so many available.  It shipped fairly quickly, but I can't remember how long it took exactly since I got it a few weeks ago (this review kind of fell by the wayside due to sponsored reviews I had).

I was excited to open the box because I'd never tried a service like this one before, but the items inside left me with lukewarm feelings.  They weren't terrible by any means, but I didn't feel it was worth $25--maybe $15, but not $25.  Here's what was inside:

  • The Shop of Worldly Delights Matryoshka Ornament ($9) - This ornament is really cute but it's not something I would normally purchase for myself.  It's one of the items I felt more "meh" about.
  • PlainJ Body and Home Soy Candle ($7) - This was my favorite item in the box because I'm totally candle-obsessed.  The scent is Cranberry Citrus and it smells fantastic.
  • Kitty Meow Holiday Card ($3.50) - I don't send out Christmas cards, but my parents do.  I'll probably give this to my mom to see if she wants to send it to anyone.
  • Life Created Snowman Tag Kit ($2.75) - I love snowmen and this is really adorable.  Like the ornament, I wouldn't purchase it otherwise, but it makes me smile at least.
  • EEF Etcetera Holiday Necklace ($12) - I didn't end up taking a picture of my necklace, but it's a small silver snowflake charm on a silver chain.  I really like it and it's perfect for winter.

So the value of the items in the box adds up to $34.25, and there were also coupons for other Etsy shops included.  The coupons were the part that I misunderstood; when I read all of the shops that would be included in the box I didn't realize that half of them would just be coupons.  Had I realized that, I probably wouldn't have bought the box.  The vendors included were Megandowntherabbithole, My So Called Chaos, Sebastian Design, Wired Essentials, and issa.ino:handmade.  I did take a look at all of the shops, but none of them piqued my interest so I won't be using the coupons.

Bottom Line: I think Indie Gift Box is a really fun idea for people who love handmade crafts.  I just like handmade crafts, so I probably won't be purchasing another Indie Gift Box in the future.  The only type of box I might be interested in from them in the future would be one that featured beauty items or home fragrance.

Check out more up-close photos of the items after the cut.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Crest 3D White Whitestrips Influenster Voxbox Review

A few weeks ago I received the "oral aesthetic product" Voxbox from Influenster, which turned out to be a Crest 3D White Whitestrips kit.  I was immediately disappointed when I opened it, because I faced a dilemma: Crest is not a cruelty-free company, and I strive to only use cruelty-free products.

I decided to try the strips for a while, using the argument that I didn't purchase the strips, so technically my money wasn't going to the company.  I even made a video on YouTube about my unboxing, since that was one of the optional tasks you could complete for the Influenster campaign.  But all along I knew I was just kidding myself: the whole point of Influenster is to try out products and promote the ones you really like.  I couldn't promote Crest or these Whitestrips because I can't support a brand that isn't cruelty-free.

I'm not perfect--many will probably think that I never should have tried them in the first place.  Maybe if I had known beforehand that the "oral aesthetic" product was from Crest I wouldn't have even accepted the campaign to begin with (Influenster didn't tell us what the product was ahead of time).  But in the end, I realized that I personally would rather not complete the entire campaign.  Originally I was motivated to give it a try because everyone who completes the optional Influenster tasks auto-qualifies for the Holiday Voxbox.  I'd love to get that box, but it's not worth it to me to pretend to promote a brand I can't support.

What do you think?  I'm curious to hear your thoughts about animal testing.  Some people only buy from Leaping Bunny certified companies, others support cruelty-free brands that are owned by parent companies that test.  Some people aren't concerned with animal testing at all.  None of these views are right or wrong!  I fully respect everyone's educated opinion.  Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments section, but please refrain from badgering mine or anyone else's views.  I don't want to turn this post into a mudslinging debate.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thermal-Aid Review and Giveaway

I'd been hearing and seeing a lot about Thermal-Aid through other blogs and social media, and I their products had me intrigued for a few reasons: their products are 100% natural, and their Bears and new Zoo collection are absolutely adorable!  I also was interested in trying one of their heat packs because I've suffered from chronic lower back pain ever since I injured my tailbone when I was younger.  When I got the chance to try their Bear and Small Sectional, they didn't disappoint!

Thermal-Aid packs are 100% natural, therapeutic packs that were specifically designed for the medical field to reduce swelling and relieve pain.  They're made from cotton and filled with a corn mixture that was developed by researches with milling engineers from the largest agribusiness companies in the world.  Their unique process allows the specialized corn to hold temperature for long periods of time, and it also allows their packs to be the first washable, 100% natural heating/cooling application.

I received Honey Bear to try, who, as you can see, is a pastel yellow color (retails for $19.95).  I think he (or she, I suppose either could work) is super cute and would be a perfect buddy for a young child.  I like that they can be used as hot or cold packs, so I can see myself using him as a cool pack when I have a migraine or to snuggle with when I'm cold.  I don't have children yet but I'm still going to put this Bear to good use.  I heated him up a few nights ago and placed him near my feet, since they're always cold.  The instructions say to heat in the microwave for 45-60 seconds, or cool in the freezer for 5 hours.  He was warm after 45 seconds, but next time I'll probably heat him up for 60.  I think the 45 second time would be more appropriate if this was going to be given to a child, since you wouldn't want it to be too hot.

I really enjoyed the Small Sectional (retails for $26.95).  It weighs 3.5 lbs and measures 9" x 13"; I think it's the perfect size to use on my lower back.  The instructions state to heat it one minute for every pound, so I of course heated it for 3.5 minutes, and it stayed warm for a good 30 minutes.  It's definitely hot at first, so I wouldn't recommend using this one bare skin.  The best part about the sectional is that it's sturdy and keeps its shape, which is really helpful when I'm using it against my back in a seated position.  I previously was using an electric heating pad, which was nice, but it was flat so I'd have to fold it over sometimes to get it to press against my back.

I'm thoroughly impressed with Thermal-Aid's Bear and Small Sectional!  I love that these products are made from natural ingredients and that they are high-quality.  Thermal-Aid has a broad range of other options, from packs for pets to larger sectionals to their adorable new Zoo collection.  I know that some may think that these are too expensive, but I think they're worth the investment because they aren't going to fall apart after a few uses.  I would definitely purchase these for myself and for others!

Bottom Line: Thermal-Aid offers fantastic options for heating and cooling packs.  There are cute animals for young ones, and sturdy packs for adults and pets.  I definitely recommend these!

Interested in trying out Thermal-Aid for yourself?  Their awesome team has offered enough prizes for six winners!  You can enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter form after the cut.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

My Favorite Black Friday Deals

I'm not a Black Friday shopper, and I never have been.  I have no interest in fighting over electronics with crazy people.  It might be fun to try someday, or maybe even to observe as an interesting sociology experiment (nothing quite like two moms going at it over a Furby), but for now I'll stay out of the stores.  I prefer to do my shopping online, so I wanted to share some upcoming sales with you that I think are worth checking out.

Keeki Pure and Simple offers lip, nail, and skincare products that are all cruelty-free.  Their lip balms and lotions are made from organic ingredients, and their nail polishes are non-toxic and water-based.
Deal: Use code BF20 for 20% off your entire order on Friday only at

Lovable Labels, Disclaimer, Facebook Page, Twitter, Contact, Label Me Crazy, Pinterest, You Tube Lovable Labels Disclaimer Facebook Page Twitter Contact Label  Me Crazy Pinterest YouTube

Lovable Labels allows you to create personalized labels for use on everything from clothing to bags and much more.  They're holding a sale from Friday to Monday; see the image above for details (the image is clickable).

Beija Flor Naturals is holding a sale from today, November 22nd to November 28th on their natural skin care and hair care products.  I've reviewed some of their products before, which can be read here.
Deal: Use code BEIJA2012 for 25% off of your entire purchase and a free gift with a $65+ purchase at

Pangea Organics has fantastic skin care items, I love their bar soaps and lip balms.  Their Skincare Discovery Kits are also very popular.
Deal: Use code Black10 for $10 off of $50, code Black25 for $25 off of $100, and code Black45 for $45 off of $150.  These offers end at midnight on the 25th at

Zoya is by far my favorite nail polish brand!  Their polishes are Big 5 free, vegan, and cruelty-free.  They basically have every color imaginable, and their formula is fantastic.  I really can't rave about these polishes enough!
Deal: Zoya Dream Boxes are now on sale for $20 (regularly $25) with free shipping.  Use code DREAM through the 26th at 11:59 PM EST at  Dream Boxes are gift sets of three polishes--you can choose your own or choose a pre-packaged set (more details here).

Do you know of any other great deals going on?  Post them in the comments below!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

iPad Mini Giveaway!

When I first found this giveaway opportunity I knew I had to sign up!  I'm probably going to end up treating myself to an iPad Mini, but now you all have a chance to win one here, for free!  Thanks to Mom Powered Media for hosting, and be sure to check out the fantastic sponsors of this event, too.  Good luck!

iPad Mini Giveaway Event

Please take a moment and visit our sponsors: Coupon Pro and Penny Auctions Canada!

Coupon Pro is your daily money-saving blog for the hottest freebies and coupons from top brands. We want to help you save the most on everyday items your family needs. Join us today!

Penny Auctions Canada is an online auction website that lets you buy awesome products for pennies!

The iPad Mini has a beautiful display, powerful A5 chip, FaceTime HD camera, iSight camera with 1080p HD video recording, ultrafast wireless, and over 275,000 apps ready to download from the App Store. The iPad mini is an iPad in every way, shape, and slightly smaller form. Easy for on the go with that same great Apple power punch!

Enter this giveaway after the "read more!"