Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Philips SatinPerfect Epilator Review

I received a Philips SatinPerfect HP6576/50 Epilator as part of a BzzAgent BzzCampaign to review.  I was really excited when I found out that I was chosen for this campaign, because it was my first one with BzzAgent.

I had never used an epilator before this one, and to be honest I didn't really know what epilating (epilation?) was.  Turns out, it's a mix between tweezing, shaving, and waxing.  Basically, the SatinPerfect removes hair from the root by pulling it out.  It has an active massage system to soothe the skin, a pivoting performance cap for optimal skin contact, and an active hair lifter to remove even the finest, flat-lying hairs.

In my own words, this epilator is battery-powered and when you turn it on (by pressing the silver button smack dab in the middle of the photo), those comb-like things at the top start whirring really quickly.  There are two speed levels, the highest one comes on when you click the button once, then it slows down a little bit (but is still moving pretty quickly) if you press the button again.  The epilator comes with a plug-in wall charger, which is nice, too.  The battery lasts for about 40 minutes, and takes an hour to recharge.

When I first turned on the epilator I won't lie, I was pretty scared to use it!  My BzzGuide warned that the first few uses, it will feel a bit uncomfortable -- similar to waxing.  I've waxed my eyebrows before, so I figured I could handle it.  And, luckily for me, I've been blessed with very thin hairs on my legs.  I honestly could go a month without shaving them and you really wouldn't be able to see much hair growth.  Those two things combined made me less afraid to give it a shot.

The kit came with a pair of Smart Tweezers (on the left), and three attachments (on the right).  I think they look like mini shark jaws!  I used the epilator as it appears in the photo -- no attachments.  It really didn't hurt much at all due to my sparse hair growth, it mostly just felt like little pinpricks here and there.  Kind of like how it feels when your foot has fallen asleep and it gets tingly when you "wake it up."  I didn't find it to be unpleasant at all, but I could definitely imagine it hurting for someone with thicker hair on their legs.  Back to the attachments, though: they all function differently.  The one on top is for underarm use, the two below it are to aid in prepping the hairs to be pulled and to provide a massaging sensation to the skin.  The next time I use the SatinPerfect I'll probably give one of the bottom ones a try.

I found that it was really effective at removing even the tiny hairs I had on my legs!  I was really surprised at how much it was able to remove.  And since the epilator removes hair at the root, with continued use the user should experience less hair growth over time.
Bottom Line: Overall, I really like this epilator.  I'll continue to use it solely on my legs.  I looked up a few prices and found that it retails for about $120, so I feel pretty lucky to have been able to try it for free through BzzAgent!

*Disclaimer: I received the Philips SatinPerfect Epilator HP6576/50 for free for participation in a BzzAgent BzzCampaign.  I was not monetarily compensated for this review and the honest opinions here are entirely my own.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Fit Moms For Life Review and Giveaway [CLOSED]

I was recently approached to host a review and giveaway for Fit Moms For Life, by Dustin Maher, America's Trainer To Moms.  When I got the initial email about the review, I wasn't sure I was qualified because I'm not a mom.  But Dustin's program, while targeted towards moms, is applicable for women of all ages, so I figured it would be interesting to learn more.

The title of Dustin's book is Fit Moms For Life: How to Have Endless Energy to Outplay Your Kids.  He believes in an approach to fitness that is "well-founded and sustainable, and one busy moms can fit into their lives."  His program is built on five pillars of health: mindset, nutrition, strength training, burst training, and environment.  The book then includes stories from 31 moms who have used Dustin's program.

I think this book has a lot of great information for someone who is looking to start a fitness regimen.  It was less informative for me, because I have been interested in fitness and have learned a lot of helpful tips from my own mom, coincidentally.  Either way, Dustin's program is easy to follow and I think anyone with a busy schedule, mom or otherwise, would definitely benefit from his book.  It contains information on proper eating habits (which I found especially useful), exercises, and inspiration from women who have succeeded through his program.
Bottom Line: The Fit Moms For Life program is an easy and informative way for busy people to stay healthy!

Dustin's team has generously offered a book to one of my readers, so if this sounds like something you'd like to try, then enter here to win a copy for yourself!  You can do so by using the Rafflecopter form behind the "read more."

Saturday, February 25, 2012

February Eco Emi Review

I got my February Eco-Emi box in the mail the other day!  This box is a bit special because it marks the one-year anniversary of the creation of Eco-Emi.  I wish I could say that I've been a subscriber since the beginning, but I haven't.  Either way, I'm so glad to have found this service (I've been a subscriber since December) and look forward to many more boxes.  Eco-Emi is a monthly subscription that costs $15/mo., and is a box full of 6-10 eco-friendly products and samples.

One thing that really sets Eco-Emi apart from other subscription services I've tried is how beautifully packaged each month's box always is.  I learned last month that the boxes are packaged by disabled people each month, which made me love the company even more.  The "I ♥ Eco Emi" in the upper left corner is a special bumper sticker.

This first item that caught my eye was the bright pink tube.  At first I thought they might be bath salts, but then I realized that it was actually a lip gloss!  The Dagoba lip balm also stood out.  Some people have been complaining that there have been too many lip balms in all of the boxes, but I'm a lip balm hoarder.  I would probably sign up for a service that only sent me lip balms each month, haha.  But rest assured, those who do not obsess as much as me -- this is the last lip balm for a while, says Eco-Emi.

Here are all of the items, all spread out.  There weren't any more than usual, I felt, which was a little bit disappointing because I thought we might get a little extra due to the fact that it was the anniversary box.  But on second thought, the overall value of this month's box is definitely something special.  Read about each individual item (and see more photos) behind the cut.
  • Learn more about Eco-Emi and sign up for a subscription at their website
  • Connect with them on Facebook and Twitter
Bottom Line: Overall I'm very pleased with the February Eco-Emi box.  I have yet to be disappointed by any of their boxes.  And even better, on the informational card Christine (founder and CEO) hinted that there is going to be something new and exciting to hold us members over in between bonus box time.  Can't wait to find out what it is!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sleeper's Run by Henry Mosquera Review

This is the first book review I've ever posted, and (in my opinion), it's a good one.  I just finished reading Sleeper's Run by Henry Mosquera, which is classified in the "political thriller" genre.  I found it to be action-packed, fast-paced throughout most of the story, and really interesting.

I don't want to give away too much of the plot, because I think the book is the most exciting when you don't know what's coming.  It's about a man named Eric Caine, who unbeknownst to him, becomes embedded in a political agenda.  Caine is a former Special Operations airman in the Air Force and IT specialist, and throughout the novel he utilizes his quick wits, intelligence, and combat skills to evade his enemies.

This book was a real page-turner for me.  It started out a bit slow, but after about 30 or so pages the plot really picks up.  The middle chunk has tons of twists and turns, which makes it exciting.  Even though there are a lot of plot twists, I still found that the story was easy to follow.  It started to slow down a bit for me in the last 100 pages, but it was never boring.  I found the ending to be slightly predictable, but it wasn't unsatisfactory.  I was especially interested in Eric Caine's story because I've always been interested in military/political type stories.

The only real gripe I had about this story was that it switched points of view.  The English major in me would have preferred a more fluid story told from only one perspective, instead of jumping from Caine's point of view to an omniscient narrator, and back to Caine again.
The novel is 350 pages long, and available for purchase on, Kindle, iBookstore, Nook, Sony Reader, and Kobo.  It costs $9.99 for paperback, $2.99 for ebook.  Below are the ISBNs:

ISBN: 978-0615505442 paperback
978-1-937563-05-9 MOBI
978-1-937563-06-6 EPUB

Bottom Line: I highly suggest reading Sleeper's Run if you're a fan of thrillers.  If you like stories like the Bourne movies, I think you'll really like this.  It's a great read and really intriguing.

Check out the trailer for Sleeper's Run

More about the author...from Henry Mosquera's profile:

I'm a writer and artist born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. I attended the University of Miami, Florida, where I obtained a double major in Graphic Design and Film. As a writer, I enjoy researching my novels extensively, including gaining first-hand knowledge of some of my characters' skills. I currently reside in Los Angeles with my wife, dog and cat. Sleeper’s Run is my first novel.

*Disclaimer: I received an ebook copy of Sleeper's Run from Henry Mosquera free to facilitate my review. I was selected to review this novel through Business 2 Blogger and will receive a $10 stipend for posting a review on my blog, on, and The honest opinions here are entirely my own.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

February Cravebox Review

In a strange turn of events, a February Cravebox showed up at my door yesterday.  Why strange?  Because I cancelled my subscription after the January box.  I hadn't planned on cancelling, but after re-evaluating my expenses I realized I should probably cull some of my spending, and Cravebox lost out over Eco-Emi and Conscious Box.

Anyway, I cancelled before the date I was supposed to be charged for the February box (Cravebox charges your card at the time they ship the boxes), and I never ended up being charged.  But yet, here I am with a box!  I emailed their support team to let them know, but I haven't gotten a response so I figured I would go ahead and write up a review, and they can charge me the $10 when they respond to my email.

Here are the contents of this month's box.  A quick overview of Cravebox, for those who aren't familiar with it: they are a monthly subscription service that costs $10 a month.  They are currently in beta and not accepting new subscriptions, but you can sign up to be on the wait list at their website (linked at the end of this entry).
  • Amore Pacific Duo - One is the Treatment Cleansing Foam, the other is the Moisture Bound Skin Energy Hydration Delivery System.  These are my favorite items in the box.
  • thinkThin Crunch Bars - Creamy Peanut Butter and Chocolate Dipped Mixed Nuts
  • EBOOST - Orange flavored daily health booster, three packets
  • BiC Mark-It Markers - six fine-point markers
  • Downy Wrinkle Releaser
Overall, I am just not feeling the Crave.  I don't "crave" any of these items.  The issues I had with January's box are the same as this month: aside from the Amore Pacific duo, all of these things are available at the grocery store.  I like the other services that I'm subscribed to because they send me items each month that aren't readily available to me, and introduce me to new brands.  My least favorite items in this box are the EBOOST packets.  They sent Emergen-C last time, which I dislike, and EBOOST is no better.  I got it once in a Birchbox and I don't like the flavor.  I just don't like those types of drink mixes in general.  The markers are just...markers.  Really, BiC markers?  They sent some in the December box, too.  And the thinkThin bars are okay, I'll eat them, but peanut butter isn't my favorite and I don't really need to "think thin" at the moment. Oh and the Downy wrinkle releaser is not something I need nor will use.

I was beginning to think I was just crazy, because everyone seems to be raving about Cravebox.  They're saying that they love the items and think they're high quality, but I just don't agree.  I'm glad that the majority of Cravebox subscribers seem to be really loving the service, and I cancelled my subscription so that hopefully a slot will be opened up for someone who can truly enjoy it.

One thing that upset me was that there seems to be a slight bit of negativity floating around the Cravebox Facebook page.  One woman in particular is going around writing rude things on peoples' posts -- for example, someone suggested, very politely may I add, that Cravebox feature more beauty products and makeup.  The woman replied, "Then you should subscribe to Birchbox."  Unnecessary!  When I posted on their wall to ask a question about my cancellation, she basically told me I was pathetic because I couldn't afford the $10.  It's not that I don't have a spare $10 lying around, it's that I would rather spend it elsewhere.  Geez.  If you're curious, you can view the post here.  I also feel like any constructive criticism that anyone leaves, or anyone who says they aren't pleased with the box, is attacked by members who do like the box.  Hey, I realize that everyone has different opinions, but please don't be rude to me for expressing mine.

  • Learn more about Cravebox at their site, and sign up for the wait list here
  • Connect with them on Facebook and Twitter

Bottom Line: Between the negativity within the Cravebox community and the lower quality products, I won't miss my Cravebox subscription.  But if you like what you see, I encourage you to join their wait list and hopefully you'll be able to grab a slot!

More photos of the items behind the cut.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Free Beauty Events for February

Each month, I blog about Free Beauty Events, which is a website that offers a wealth of information about all things beauty.  As their name suggests, they have a database that lists an abundance of free beauty events that take place across the United States.  They also have a blog where they review products, which is especially helpful for those who are not quite sure if they want to try a product yet.  Even better, they host monthly and weekly giveaways for great products!

The giveaway for February is a skincare package with 10 winners.  The package consists of: L’Oreal Go 360 Clean Deep Facial Cleanser, L’Oreal Youth Code Youth Regenerating Skincare Serum Intense Daily Treatment, and Dr. Lewinn by Kinerase Life & Resculpt Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream. The Contest runs from 2/1/2012 to 2/29/2012, winners will be chosen on 3/5/2012 and notified by 3/15/2012.  You can enter to win here.  View the weekly contests here!

An example of the type of information you'll find at Free Beauty Events is that in February and March, Ulta is holding their Yesto Event in select states.  Demonstrators will be sampling products from all of the Yesto lines, including Yes to Cucumbers, Yes to Tomatoes, Yes to Carrots, and Yes to Blueberries.  In March and April, walgreens is holding their Neutrogena event in Florida.  Demonstrators will be showing the latest Neutrogena sunblock products and giving customers great coupons.  Best of all, customers can enter a raffle to win a Neutrogena gift basket!

Information such as the events above can all be found for free on the Free Beauty Events website.  You can even search by zip code to find events near your home.  You can also submit a free posting for an event that you know is coming up.

Somme Institute Boost and Eye Review

A few weeks ago I wrote up a review for the Somme Institute 5-Step Regimen, which you can read here.  Today I'm back with more!  This time I'm reviewing the Boost Gentle Warming Mask and Eye Control Release MDT5 Eye Cream.

The kind people at Somme Institute offered these products for review after I had used the 5-Step Regimen for a few weeks, since these are additions to that regimen.  I immediately fell in love with Boost because it's pumpkin spice scented!  It has the consistency of marshmallow fluff, which might sound unappealing, but while it is sticky, it works.  You also don't need to use a lot since it's so thick.  The mask purifies, exfoliates, and nourishes skin while increasing blood circulation, and is used after step one (cleanser) in the regimen.

When I first used Boost, I noticed a slight tingling feeling.  The warming sensation increases blood circulation, which supports and nourishes healthy skin cells, and also prepares the skin to receive the benefits of MDT5 technology.  I left the mask on for the instructed 5 minutes, but to be honest I wanted to leave it on longer because it smelled so good!  I felt that my skin was soft and rejuvenated after using it.  Here is some more information on the ingredients in the mask, from the literature that Somme Institute sent me:
  • Zeolite - a natural mineral that warms the skin and opens the pores, enabling Kaolin to aptly absorb excess oil, dirt, and impurities.  Attracts and traps toxins and balances cellular pH levels so that foreign cells (free radicals) can't surivive.
  • Natural Pumpkin Enzymes - increase cellular regeneration, helping to smooth the skin without harsh abrasives by digesting the dead skin cells
  • Vitamin E - helps nourish and moisturize the skin.  A known antioxidant, it reduces fine lines and wrinkles and strengthens skin's barrier function.  It also provides healing properties to the skin.
  • Kaolin - a natural clay, helps absorb oil and remove impurities from the skin.  It contains soothing and protecting properties.  Absorbs impurities and stimulates elasticity of the skin in a gentle way.
  • B Vitamins - assist in nourishing and conditioning skin
The Boost mask is available in a 3 oz. tube with a suggested retail price of $40.  It is available at select spas nationwide, including all SPA Nordstrom locations.

Eye was an interesting product to try, because to be honest, I don't really feel that I need an eye cream.  I had been using Revitaleyes by Envy before, but only because I had won it in a giveaway.  I don't have any wrinkles around my eyes (yet!), but I figure some preventative care couldn't hurt.

Eye was specifically created to be used on the delicate skin around your eyes, and is to be applied at the end of the 5-Step Regimen.  It offers benefits including brightening undereye circles, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and alleviating puffiness and discolorations.  Like all Somme Institute products, it contains their MDT5 technology.  I used this, along with Boost, for about a week before writing up this review.  I haven't noticed anything different about my eye area, but then again there wasn't much I was looking at for.  The only thing I didn't like about the product is that it's an air pump bottle, and it squirts out more than is necessary for one use.  I can't unscrew the top to put the excess back in the bottle, either.

Here is more information on the Eye ingredients, which is available in a .5 oz bottle and retails for $72:

  • Spirulina Extract - helps eliminate lymphatic fluid and other stressors from under the eye area to assist in the reduction of puffiness
  • Hydrolyzed Rice Brand Extract with Soy Peptides - have been clinically proven to build collagen, which increases the density of the dermal matrix of the thin, delicate skin surrounding the eyes
  • Extracts of Ylang Ylang, Jasmine, Geranium, Lavender, Marigold, and Galbanum - sooth, soften, and nourish the skin
  • Delivers intense hydration and moisture, repairs sun damage, smooths fine lines, wrinkles, and crepeiness, increases skin elasticity, reduces puffiness and dark circles.
Bottom Line: I really like Boost, and I think that Eye is a great product for me to be using for preventative care.  These products, along with with the 5-Step Regimen, are pricey, but I think they are worth the splurge if you can afford it.  I've been very happy with the results to my skin so far.
  • Visit the Somme Institute Skincare website, where you can purchase Boost and Eye
  • Connect with them on Facebook and Twitter

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Badger Soap Review and Giveaway! [CLOSED]

I have expressed my love for W.S. Badger Co. (aka: Badger Balm) many a time, and have used most of their products.  One that I hadn't tried was their new soaps, so I contacted them to see if they would be interested in sponsoring a product for review.  But first, some quick background info: they are certified USDA organic, Leaping Bunny certified as cruelty-free, and just all-around amazing!

One simple thing that I really love about Badger is their cute mascot.  They have badgers in all sorts of scenes on their products -- you can view (and read about) some of their balms and lip balms at my previous post here.  The soap I received to review is the Lemongrass and Ginger Botanical Body Soap, which is handcrafted with organic shea butter and extra virgin olive oil.

As you can see from the photo above, Badger Soaps are "true soaps."  They are only made of saponified organic oils, butters, and beeswax.  Many Badger products contain extra virgin olive oil, which may sound odd, but it works great to produce a rich lather, along with shea butter and castor oil.  Shea butter and castor oil provide moisturizing power, and essential oils of lemongrass and ginger refresh and revitalize.  Badger's products are all about tapping into your soul and creating feelings of rejuvenation.  One of my favorite Badger Balms is the Stress Soother, because the aromatherapy really does wonders to ease my tension.

But back to the soap!  I really enjoy using this bar.  It has a light scent, and I can definitely pick up on the lemongrass essential oils.  It's very fresh smelling.  I used this on my hands with no sponge or washcloth, and it created a nice lather.  My skin was not left feeling waxy or over dried, the way I often feel with soaps that aren't made from natural ingredients.  I think this would work well with a washcloth, etc., as well.

Badger Soaps come in a variety of other scents: Moroccan Mint, Rose Geranium, Unscented, Mailette Lavender, and Chamomile & Calendula.  Badger offers plenty of products beyond soaps, as well.  I highly recommend their balms and cocoa butter lip balms.  They even have sunscreen and bug repellents, all of which are made from natural ingredients!
  • Learn more about W.S. Badger Co. and view their entire inventory at their website
  • Connect with them on Facebook and Twitter
Bottom Line: I can't gush about Badger enough, I really can't.  I think it's safe to say that they are my absolute favorite natural skincare company.  Their prices are incredibly reasonable, and they often run specials and coupons throughout the year.  The Lemongrass & Ginger Badger Soap is lovely, with a light scent and good lather.  They retail for $6, I high recommend picking one up!

Here is the best news: the folks at Badger were kind enough to supply an extra bar for one of my readers to win!  Use the Rafflecopter form after the "Read More" to enter.

Friday, February 17, 2012

February Extreme Cash Giveaway!

The February Extreme Cash Giveaway is here!  This is the first cash giveaway I'm participating in and I'm so excited -- prizes total over $650!  There are multiple blogs participating in this giveaway, so there are plenty of chances to win.  I didn't partake in the January giveaway, but it was a huge success with over 600,000 entries.  This time, there are even more prizes with more chances to win!

We are giving away:
(1) $300 Paypal Cash prize
(1) $200 Paypal Cash prize
(1) $100 Paypal Cash prize
(1) $50 Paypal Cash prize
(1) Kodak Easyshare Sport Camera

There are lots of entries available and this giveaway will go on for a whole month, so take your time! Be sure to bookmark this page so you can come back every day and claim your daily entries too.

This giveaway ends 3/15 at 11:59 pm EST and is open worldwide. There are over 100 participating blogs, but you only need to enter the giveaway on one of our blogs. Good luck!

Enter using the Rafflecopter form after the "Read More."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

CrindelStar: Where The Universe Dreams [CLOSED]

CrindelStar: Where The Universe Dreams is my first review through Mom Blog Society.  CrindelStar is a multifaceted product that centers around an inspiring children's story.

CrindelStar: Where The Universe Dreams was created by Gigi de Lugo, a mom who wanted to create something for her children -- and to share with children everywhere!  It's the story of a young girl named Maria, who is being picked on by her classmates because she still believes in unicorns.

The story begins with her crying in her room, upset because she doesn't want to stop believing in her beautiful unicorns.  I don't want to give away too much of the story, but Maria is guided by a breathtaking unicorn named CrindelStar to never give up on her dreams.  She learns an important lesson: staying true to who you are is so important, as is believing in things you truly care about. There is even a nice little twist at the end that especially brought a smile to my face!

What drew me to CrindelStar is that aside from being an inspiring story for young ones (and the young at heart!), creator Gigi has paired digital downloads for the story and theme song with nimbit GreenCards.  I was able to access my free digital download from the code on the card, and the card itself can be planted and contains wildflower seeds.  CrindelStar is the perfect embodiment of the type of products I like to feature on this blog: it has multiple uses and really brings a smile to your face while leaving no waste!

Gigi was kind enough to provide two download cards for me to give away.  If you would like to win a wildflower card with a code for a digital download for the CrindelStar story and theme song, please enter using the Rafflecopter form behind the "read more!"
Bottom Line: I found CrindelStar: Where The Universe Dreams to be an enchanting and heartwarming story.  The fact that the download came on a card I can plant made it so much more enticing.  Now I can have beautiful flowers that will remind me of CrindelStar's story whenever I look at them!

Monday, February 13, 2012

February Conscious Box

All right, it's official: I am a Conscious Box subscriber for life!  Or, at least for as long as I can afford it :)  February's box is amazing.  I liked the January box, but this one just absolutely blew me away.  The theme is "Unwrap an Open Heart," in keeping with Valentine's Day.

This month's box was once again stocked with items.  I was very happy with the variety: some food, some beauty items, and some other miscellaneous things. The maroon wrapped items in the top left of the above photo are labeled "For Conscious Adults Only," and in hopes of keeping this blog family-friendly I will talk about those items -- but only after the "Read More," and they will be at the very bottom of the post.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Conscious Box, they are a monthly subscription service that costs $19 a month (including shipping).  I have been a subscriber since December and I'm in love with this service!  They send eco-friendly/sustainable/etc. items, hence the "Conscious."  They also provide tips each month that go along with their theme on how to keep your lifestyle green.

Bottom Line: I can't rave about Conscious Box enough!  Each month, they send a box that is packed with items that far surpasses the value of the $19 a month price tag.  If you're interested in finding new products that can help you lead a green lifestyle, I highly recommend this service.
Check out all of the items and some of my thoughts on them after the cut!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pretty Girl Makeup Review

Every now and then I like to indulge in simple pleasures, which usually involves me buying some sort of makeup. It's a cost-effective way to help me feel a little spoiled.  I love trying new makeup, which is one of the main reasons why I started this blog, so when I saw a listing for Pretty Girl Makeup on Bloggerdise, I reached out to owner Christina to see if I could review her products.

I received a Soul Mates lipgloss and Yummy Mummy Cream to try.  Christina let me know that the gloss is a favorite of Miley Cyrus.  I tried to swatch the gloss, but it really wasn't worth posting because the gloss is not colored.  It's a very pretty shimmer, and it reminds me of the glosses I used to buy when I was younger.  You're never too old for a cute lipgloss, though!  The only thing I disliked just a bit was that the formula is very thick; I ended up applying too much when I first used it.  But the upside of that is a little goes a long way.

I love the branding for Pretty Girl Makeup.  You can see their logo on this photo of the gloss, it's so cute!  The gloss comes in three other colors: Oh Honey! - a nice gold shimmer, Love Of My Life! - bronze with a hint of mauve, and You're a Doll! - a frosty pale pink.  They retail for $18.

The Yummy Mummy cream is an Aloe Vera Shea Butter Cream, and was created for mothers to help with stretch marks, swollen feet, and dry skin.  It has a delicious vanilla sugar scent, and the texture is smooth and creamy.  It moisturizes really well, but I can't comment on whether or not it helps with stretch marks because I don't currently have any.  You can get an 8 ounce supply for $27.
  • Christina was kind enough to provide a coupon for 25% off any product with the code "pretty"
  • Learn more about Pretty Girl Makeup and see their full product line at their website
  • Connect with them on Facebook and Twitter
Bottom Line: I have really enjoyed using the Yummy Mummy cream.  The scent is perfectly soothing and just sweet enough, and the texture is perfectly creamy.  The lip gloss has a pretty color and has a good moisture factor, but is a bit too thick for me.  Overall, I think Pretty Girl Makeup is a great company!

*Disclaimer: I received a Soul Mates lip gloss and sample of Yummy Mummy cream from Pretty Girl Makeup for free to facilitate my review. I was not monetarily compensated for this review and the honest opinions here are entirely my own.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

generationMe Review

I was recently contacted by Meg of generationMe to review her eco-friendly products, and I jumped at the chance to learn more.  I really do like to promote easy ways to go green, and using products like the ones at generationMe is an affordable and easy way to do so.  They make reusable and functional  items that can be used in daily situations.  The concept is simple: less waste and healthier living.

I received three products to review, the first of which is an all-natural laundry detergent.  It's unscented, which is great for people who have sensitive skin.  The sample size is good for 16 loads, and you only need 1 tablespoon for high energy washers (2 for top load washers).  It only has four ingredients: castile soap, oxidizing agent, baking soda, and citric acid; and it has a built-in fabric softener.  I received this just in time to do a medium-sized load of laundry and I was very pleased with the results.

The second product I reviewed is my favorite of the bunch.  These are generationMe's all-natural dryer pouches and they smell amazing!  The scent is lavender and I love it; it's so soothing.  They're really simple to use, you just toss them into your dryer with the rest of your laundry, and then store them in the bag to preserve the scent.  I had my pillow cases in the load that I used these on, and they left them feeling really nice.  The scent was very light, so you don't have to worry about an overpowering payoff on your laundry.

The final product I reviewed is the Extra Small Wet Bag.  They are available in four sizes: extra small, small, medium, and large.  I chose to receive the extra small size because it's perfect for transporting my toiletries when I go to visit my boyfriend in Buffalo.  Somehow, something always ends up leaking and I don't need shampoo all over my suitcase!  The bags are made from Gore-Tex and are machine washable.  They're also durable, waterproof, and have a zip closure.  I really like this bag because it's the perfect size for my mini toiletries that I carry around when I go out of town.

Bottom Line: I'm very glad that I got the chance to try these generationMe products.  Check out their Etsy shop or website to view the full line.  There tons of cute patterns and a variety of products!  generationMe offers high-quality products for an extremely affordable price, so they're a win-win if you ask me!

*Disclaimer: I received these generationMe products for free from generationMe to facilitate my review. I was not monetarily compensated for this review and all honest opinions here are entirely my own.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Boulder Granola Review and Giveaway [CLOSED]

I love food and I love eating.  I love buying makeup, but something I love even more is going out to a great meal and trying new foods.  Have I used the word "love" enough yet?  Haha...well, today's review is for Boulder Granola, a delicious all organic blend of happiness!

Boulder Granola sent me all four of their flavors to try: Chocolate Chunk, Cranberry, Gluten-Free/Dairy-Free Original, and Original.  Pictured above is the Chocolate Chunk, which I dug in to first.  It's heavenly!  As you can see, there are some very generous chunks of chocolate in there, as well as almonds and various seeds.

All of their granolas are sweetened with Vermont maple syrup, a complex sugar that has a slower and more efficient energy release within the body (as compared to sweeteners such as agave, high fructose corn syrup, etc).  I love the fact that they used maple syrup.  All of the granolas have just the perfect amount of sweetness, while still being considerably low in sugar.  The Chocolate Chunk and Cranberry have about 5 grams of sugar per 37g (1/4 cup) serving, and the Original has 4 g/serving, and the Gluten-Free/Dairy-Free has 2g/serving.  In comparison, most granolas are upwards of 10g of sugar per serving.

I opted to receive the two original flavors in 3 oz bags, and got Cranberry and Chocolate Chunk in the larger 12 oz bags.  What I love about this granola is that there are more ingredients beyond just oats, which gives it a rich and nutty taste.  You can especially pick up on that taste with the original varieties.  I'm impressed by the fact that Boulder Granola has a variety that's gluten and dairy free, as well.  All of their varieties are delicious on their own, but I really liked adding the two original flavors into my plain greek yogurt for breakfast.

I am a chocolate fiend and the Chocolate Chunk granola is pure heaven!  I was blown away by how generous the chocolate content is -- the picture above shows large chunks, but I actually broke them down from one giant piece!  This granola is just beyond tantalizing--I could rave about it forever.  I took it to work with me and eat it by itself throughout the day.  The Cranberry flavor is equally wonderful, for when I'm in the mood for a fruitier flavor.  The cranberries in the mixture are a nice tart complement to the nutty granola and maple syrup.
Bottom Line: I'm a Boulder Granola fan for life!  I plan to stock up on many more bags when my supply from this review runs out.  It's delicious, USDA organic, low in sugar, and available in gluten/dairy free.  Plus, it's just plain fun!  I'm sure that anyone who tries Boulder Granola would be happy to "Unleash [their] Inner Hippie!"

Enter to win a 12 oz. bag of Boulder Granola of your choice behind the "Read More!"

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

J.R. Watkins Feature

J.R. Watkins featured part of my Eco-Emi review on their blog!  Their Simply Mauve-lous Lip Tint was included in my January box and it was definitely one of my favorite products -- I am a self-professed lip product junkie, which I've mentioned several times before.  I'm really excited to see that my reviews and posts are getting out there, especially to the companies that the products are for!  Learn more about Eco-Emi and J.R. Watkins at their websites.

The lip tint is to the right of the Laundry Liquid

Monday, February 6, 2012

Somme Institute Skincare Review

I have been using the Somme Institute 5-Step Regimen for the past two weeks.  I was asked to review their system for at least that amount of time to really see the effects of the program.  I'm happy to announce that I'm now a believer in their regimen and feel really lucky to have it!

Somme Institute was established in 1994 with the goal of delivering science and formulations that other skin care companies weren't delivering.  To ensure that they were creating the best product possible, the Institute teamed up with a group of independent leading research and practicing dermatologists from across the United States.  They actually tracked their results with clinical trials that utilized UV technology and lasted for over 7 years on over 5,000 participants.

Their work paid off with the creation of their exclusive patented Molecular Dispersion Technology®, or MDT5®.  This system delivers high-potency ingredients directly and deeply into the skin for visual changes in texture, radiance and overall appearance.

Here are all of the products in the 5-Step Regimen, in order from left to right on how you're supposed to use them.
  1. Nourishing Cleanser (blue dot) - This cleanser is non-foaming, which I really liked.  My combination skin tends to get very dry and flaky with foaming cleansers.  This one feels a bit creamy and is unscented (or maybe just very lightly scented).  It left my skin clean and not dried out at all.
  2. Transport Pads (purple dot) - The tub is filled with soft cotton pads that are infused with MDT5® and AHA to exfoliate dead cells on the skin's surface, unclog blocked pores, and deliver highly-engineered vitamins thus improving resiliency, hydration, and encouraging cell renewal.  They have a light, almost citrus scent.  I liked using these because I'm intrigued by anything that can unclog my pores.
  3. Serum (orange dot) - The serum is exactly that in texture.  If you haven't used one before it might be difficult for me to explain the feel of it, but basically it's a liquid that glides onto the skin very smoothly.  This serum combines a potent, stabilized form of Vitamin C with a high concentration of MDT5® to strengthen elasticity and smooth the appearance of fine lines.  I liked the way this felt on my skin -- a little goes a long way.
  4. A-Bomb (green dot) - I love the name of this cream, it's so fun.  This also contains MDT5®, along with high levels of Vitamins A and E to help soften fine lines and wrinkles.  This cream also spreads easily, so I didn't need to use very much.
  5. Double Defense (SPF 30+) (pink dot) - This moisturizer is the final step, and you can apply it throughout the day as many times as you need to.  It's water-resistant with SPF 30+ and Parsol 1789 to help protect skin from premature aging while locking in moisture.  It smells a bit like sunscreen.
At first, the thought of a 5-step skincare line brought out the inner laziness in me.  I thought, 5 steps?!  I don't have the patience to do 5 things every time I want to wash my face!  But I am so glad that I gave this a shot.  I didn't use any other topical products while using this 5-Step Regimen because I really wanted to see if it changed my skin at all.  Now, after using it for two weeks, I'm actually enjoying using each product.  I do only use this at night, since I don't wash my face in the morning at all.

I was definitely skeptical when I first started using the Somme 5-Step Regimen.  I didn't believe that it would really change my skin at all.  I am pleasantly surprised by the results -- after two weeks, my skin is visually clearer and smoother.  I had uneven red blotches and dry, flaky skin before, and now my skin feels moisturized and smooth!  One small issue I did have with the regimen when I first started using it was that after putting 5 different products on my face, my skin felt dewy and almost sticky to the touch.  But once everything is absorbed it really does its job and I'm really impressed by what I've seen so far.
  • Visit the Somme Institute website, where you can purchase the 5-Step Regimen
  • Connect with them on Facebook and Twitter
Bottom Line: After using the Somme Institute 5-Step Regimen for two weeks, I'm convinced that it works.  I'm so excited to continue using the products and see how much better my skin gets after a month and more.  They are not an all-natural skincare line, but they are cruelty-free.  This regimen is also not cheap -- the entire system retails for $298, and purchasing an individual product will cost you no less than $40.  But if you have the money to invest in it, I would highly recommend it.

Check out before and after photos of my skin behind the "Read More."