Yala Designs Bamboo Dreams Review and Giveaway

     Over the course of the last couple years I have tried to educate myself and my family on all things
green.  I honestly thought I knew quite a bit on the subject especially when it comes to saving money
AND the planet.  I was wrong though, there was still one area I hadn't gotten too "eco-friendly" with. 
Textiles.  There are many ways companies can be organic and eco-friendly in creating clothing.  Yala is
one of these companies.

     This is truly a unique company whom after spending a little time reading about them on the website, I feel as though I know the creators personally.  The first saying I read when trying to educate myself on the brand was, "We believe we are all one tribe: equal, hopeful citizens of the globe. We care deeply about our impact on the planet. We are always evolving, learning, looking for a better way."  There are so many ways Yala tries to make an impact like driving an electric truck save 300 gallons of gas a year.  The Bamboo Dreams clothing and bedding line is Oeko-Tex certified which means its guaranteed that the fabric and dyes are safely made using environmentally friendly production methods.  The fabric is dyed using only low impact, Azo-free dyes.  Yala Designs also contributes and works with several charity organizations (the list is too long to mention).

     When I first opened my Bamboo Dreams Nadia Tunic, the first thing I noticed was the feel of the fabric.  I have to say this is by far the softest piece of clothing I have ever worn.  I felt as though I was wearing the most comfortable pajamas all day.  The only complaint I have is that the sizes ran very big from what I could tell.  I ordered a small/medium (when I normally wear a large) and I felt like I was swimming in the shirt.  Oh well, I HAVE to have more of this clothing!  The designs are super cute that most anyone would fall in love with.  If the bedding is half as soft as the shirt I might have to splurge on a new set so I can feel as though I'm sleeping in clouds!
BambooDreams Printed Bedding

Cost:  $66 Bamboo Dreams Nadia Tunic
Available to purchase:  Yala Designs
Recommendation:  Definitely a little too expensive for my taste but as you can tell I fell in love with the material.  So this may be one of those companies I have to get myself a Christmas present or Birthday present from.
Facebook:  Yala Designs
Twitter:  @YalaDesigns

ShaToBu Shapewear Review

     Lets be honest, who doesn't want to lose weight or get more tone without the effort?! I do I do!  Exercise can sometimes just be hard to fit into some of our daily schedules.  What if you could burn calories just by wearing certain clothing?  This concept has completely intrigued me and so that's how I discovered ShaToBu.
 Slimming Posture Supporting Top
     ShaToBu is similar to your normal shapewear with a twist.  "By incorporating resistance bands right into the garment, muscles work a little harder and more calories are burned during daily activities.  Non-binding, stay-in-place waist and leg bands prevent marking, bulging and rolling.  ShaToBu is made of Nylon and Lycra with overall moisture-wicking properties, and a cotton CoolMax gusset, to keep you cool and comfortable."  Thus helping you fit that little extra exercise into your already packed days.
High Waist to Knee Shaper
     I have to say after wearing my ShaToBu for a couple weeks I have had a few days wear I maybe felt a little more sore or tired as compared to an average day.  To me the ShaToBu felt the same as wearing a spanx but actually much more comfortable!  I didn't feel as though I couldn't breath or sweaty and itchy like I do when I wear my spanx. 

Cost:  $45 High Waist to Knee
Available to purchase:  ShaToBu
Recommendation:  I have to say if I need to go out and buy another body shaper this will probably be wear I'd go to purchase one.  They are a little costly though if you ask me but I suppose you'd pay something similar for any other shapewear and thats without the technology and comfort.
Facebook:  ShaToBu
Twitter:  @ShaToBu


Vamplet Babies Review and Giveaway

     If you haven’t been hiding out the last couple years, you know that the popularity of vampires and werewolves has increased dramatically with movies like twilight and shows like true blood.  This is all ages but especially with the teenage girl population.  My daughter is one of them (and if I am being true to all of my readers, I am one of them too)!  I swear since starting my blog and completing reviews I have not been able to find much for Alana.  She is almost 14 and way too old (and cool) for any of the normal products a mother can find to review.  Vamplets are actually the first thing I found that she would have an interest in (and maybe not look at me like I was crazy for getting her these)!

     Vamplets are diapered demon vampire babies.  These absolutely cute and creepy babies are looking to be adopted into “their final resting place”.  You can even enter your new baby on the website to print its undead certificate.  There is a forum to discuss your vamplets with other “unfortunate” vamplet parents There are bios on each Vamplet to be sure you receive proper warnings and care as well as a funeral home to create a final resting place for each of them.

     I wish there was more to say about these little guys as we have had so much fun playing with them.  They are each just as cute as Gothic can be!
Cost:  $19.95 Vamplet Doll
         $5.95 Bottle of Disappearing Blood
Available to purchase:  Vamplets
Recommendation:  I have had a blast with these little one’s however I do feel like they are quite pricey at $20 a doll but they are handmade and the detail is great.  Vamplets are definitely a fun toy for us Halloween lovers to have all year round.
Facebook:  Vamplets


Natural House Probiotic Cleaners Review and Giveaway

     Always on the lookout for green friendly products, I recently came across a new company called
Natural House.  Right away I was interested in learning more because of their creative names for all of their products - Flushy, Trashy, and Sinky (how cute!!)  I definitely had to give these a try!  Natural House probiotic cleaning products use non-toxic, probiotic cleaning agents and are strong enough for commercial clean-up but still safe for your little ones.  I was given a 30 day supply of Flushy, Trashy, and Sinky to review for all of you.

     Flushy breaks down and digest fats, oil, grease, toilet paper and waste to help your drain lines or septic tank run smoothly.  It aides in cutting through stains, hard water and calcium deposits in the bowl as well.  This is pretty cool because I have had a hard time keeping my toilets clean in the house we recently moved into.  It just seems to always have rings and build up in the bowl.  The foaming action has made weekly clean up way easy.  Plus with mostly boys in our house its much more appealing and tolerable to clean with the menthol smell!

     Trashy is used in your trash cans to dissolve odors, grease and food scraps.  Use indoors and outside in trash cans, diaper pails, recycling containers, and bathroom recepticles.  Since starting to use this I have placed in my kitchen trash can and our outside can which we use for diapers.  My garage usually smells like a dirty diaper by the end of the week and with Trashy, you wouldn't know I had a child in diapers!  The kitchen smells great as well.  Even though we didn't have a terrible smell to begin with, I feel like I don't have to change the trash immediately when placing food scraps in the garbage.

     Sinky is used to break down and digest fats, oil, grease, and solid waste to ensure your disposal and pipes run smoothly by scouring your drain and disposal clean. Sinky naturally digests odors at their source and leaves a fresh botanical scent by creating a beneficial, odor eating ecosystem in your drain.  I love this one!  We have had nothing but drain issues throughout this house since we moved here.  Not a single sink drained before especially the bathroom sinks.  After using Sinky for several weeks the problem appears to have been eliminated.

     "Traditional cleaners “clean” a surface for a moment in time; the second the rag is finished wiping the surface, that surface is almost instantly polluted once again with ambient dust, dirt, and micro-organisms.  Natural House probiotics creates mini-ecosystem on a microbial level that produces enzymes which break down odors, dirt, fats, oil, grease, food scraps, waste and toilet paper products on a continuous basis between applications.  Natural House uses carefully selected non-pathogenic and non-toxic probiotic bacteria combined with natural, plant-based, biodegradable synergistic ingredients to plow through the toughest cleaning problems in your natural house."  For more information in a quick two minutes, be sure to check out their video here.  

Cost:  $4.99 Trashy
         $4.99  Sinky
         $4.99  Flushy
Available to purchase: Natural House or you can find these on Amazon
Recommendation: Wow, for the cost of a 30 day supply of each these are great products.  They aren't outragously priced and they are SAFE for your family!
Facebook:  Natural House
Twitter: @NaturalHousePro


Planet Earth Essential Oils Floral Bloom Solid Perfume Review and Giveaway

     Ever since my first pregnancy and pre-pregnancy class, I have been a huge fan and advocate of
essential oils.  I have even made a few of my own from home for the aromas and for cleaning.  To be
honest though, I am cheap!  I don't want to pay an arm and a leg for the essential oils.  Therefore, I am
always searching online for new places to purchase these at reasonable prices.

     When I was first told I would have the opportunity to review an essential oil from Planet Earth, I was so excited that I must have misread the email.  When my package first arrived, I was surprised to have a Organic Floral Bloom Solid Perfume in a different form than I have ever seen.  This was an almost gel or waxy like solid which I was unfamiliar with and had never used before.

     I was at first very hesitant to use this because I was afraid it would leave a greasy film on my skin or make me break out.  I was wrong though.  After applying to different pressure points it seemed to sink into the skin with out a film.  I didn't notice any breakouts or skin irritation which I have told you all before I am prone to.  My only complaint in that when compared to the liquid version, I felt it was noticably less potent.

Cost:  $40 Floral Bloom Solid Perfume
Available to purchase: Planet Earth Essential Oils
Recommendation:  This product was a little too expensive for my taste but for the price of most of the items this is a great site to check out.  All the products are natural and organic!

Sinister Haunted House Pontiac, MI Review

     We actually discovered sinister because of its neighbor Realm of Darkness.  We went to Pontiac with the intentions of going to Realm of Darkness and only bought tickets to Sinister as a package deal.  I am so glad we did this because we would have missed out on a totally awesome attraction.

     First off, we had to enter the haunted house individually!  That alone adds a level of suspense.  Again I don't want to give away too many details in case you choose to venture over there.  I loved how interactive all of the characters were with everyone.  Instead of just jumping out and scaring you, they talked with you and played games with you throughout as well.  It was very difficult to tell what was real and what wasn't.  The level of detail was amazing from the scenes to the actual characters.  And I will warn you, be prepared to possibly get dirty.  Myself and a friend of mine came out covered in fake blood.  Now this was of course because of how into everything we were so I don't quite think everyone has to worry about this (and don't worry it washes out easily).  The end scene was by far the best and most realistic I have ever seen of its kind!  Definately well worth it, in fact I'd love to go again if I can find the time.

Cost:  $13 per person
Recommendation:  This was by far the most interactive Haunted House I've ever been to.  I definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys these sorts of attractions.
Facebook:  Sinister
Website:  Sinister


Morrow Road Haunted Trail Algonac, MI Review

     Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be in one of those horror movies we all watch?  Ever thought, "what would I do if stranded?  What if I was being chased by an axe murderer?  Or surrounded by a gang of freakishly dressed hoodlems?".  I have (actually quite freqently).  My husband says I am very strange for doing so and that most people would think I was crazy for thinking into things so deeply.  I don't know if it is the fact that my parents were always very comfortable letting us watch horror movies from any age OR the fact that I believe a large portion of society has become numb to some of these "horrific scenes and events".  If you are like me and you've thought about any of things...Morrow Road is the haunted trail for you. 

     I don't want to publicly spoil anything for anyone who may venture to the attraction but this is true legend about a woman and her baby and the stories people believe leading up to their dissappearance (and assumed death).  Instead of going through an every day haunted attraction where you see blood and gore or the typical props, I felt I was seriously S.O.L. in the woods in my own scary movie.  This trail is over a mile long and you better be prepared to run, jump, trip, and most importantly SCREAM.  I was chased by some very real, very scary, very dangerous things.  Kevin even said at one point he thought he could have been hurt at any point and time.  Let's just put it this way, the actors needed to be careful with how close they got to us with some of these "weapons".  We were cackled at and taunted throughout.  We felt pretty helpless and lost at certain points even though we realisticly knew we'd eventually find our way out. 

     I have to say I screamed my head off, about peed my pants a few times, cussed quite a bit, and ran so much I thought, "hmmm I should have brought my inhaler".  I truly was scared and jumped throughout this entire attraction.  I am very dissappointed that there is a possibility that even though this is their 5th year running, it may be their last year.  I want to go again!!!

Cost:  $18 regular tickets $15 students
-$1 for every can good you bring up to $3
Recommendation:  GO.  Not only is this realistic and scary as shit, it is all a completely charitable event!
Facebook:  Morrow Road
Website:  Morrow Road


Getting Excited for Halloween yet??

I am preparing a list of DIY Halloween Decorations that won't cost you much and are all green friendly.  I've either discovered these ideas through trial and error or built off of ideas I've found online.  I hope to have pics as well to go along with them.  For a head start if you'd like to try some start saving the following to recycle:

Toilet Paper Rolls
Milk Jugs
Dryer Lint
Card Board Boxes
Old Broken or Unusable Decorations



Kinder Soles Flip Flop Review and Giveaway

     Now usually I start a review out by telling you a little about how I can across the company I am reviewing but this time I don’t even remember.  I’m sure it was in searching for earth friendly products because this is a pretty neat company.  You hear a lot of talk lately about reusing cups /water bottles because of all the waste we are producing around the world.  The one major advertisement that always comes to mind is the commercial where they line up all the used water bottles around the world.  Well, Kinder Soles new Earth Line is made entirely from recycled plastic bottles and other recycled industrial materials and their “Organic-Tees are made using organic cotton grown using methods that have a low impact on our environment.”

     I was given the Women’s Original Flip Flop to review.  These were definitely not my usual style flip flop (and I wear flip flop all year long), but after hearing about the great things Kinder Soles does with their shoes and for the environment, I had to give them a fair try.  I was pleasantly surprised with how comfortable these were.  I think this was the first time I really felt the arches in my feet being supported in a pair of flip flops!  My only complaint is that for a womens style flip flop, they could be a little bit more appealing.

     Here is an interesting fact that I wanted to share with everyone that I learned while doing this review; did you know it takes the average shoe twenty years to decompose?  Wow, I guess I will be thinking twice before throwing even my most ragged pair of shoes into the trash!!  Your shoes can either be donated to local charities to people who need shoes of their own OR they should be recycled (into new shoes). 

     Now I am currently working with Soles4Souls Charity to get shoes to children in need BUT the “proceeds from every Kinder Soles purchase go towards sending shoes to people in need through the SoleMates Foundation which is Kinder Soles' non-profit arm.

Cost:  $49.99 Women’s Original Flip Flop
Available to purchase: Kinder Soles
Recommendation:  These are way too expensive for my taste BUT they are great quality and keep your feet feeling great so it all depends on what you are willing to pay for comfort (and peace of mind when it comes to the environment!)
Facebook:  Kinder Soles 
Twitter: @BeAKinderSole


Mommy Juice Wines Review

Mommy Juice Wines
     Girls Night Out is something I think we took for granted as young women.  If you are a mother you know
those are usually rare and an unusual occurrence.  I am a stay at home/work from home mother now and for
some crazy reason I thought my life would have gotten easier doing so.  I at one point and time thought my
job was difficult working 70-80 hours a week.  HA!  Yea right!!  I have to be honest, by the end of the day;
I am exhausted, frazzled, and stressed.  It’s a wonder why I frequently want a drink (or several) to end my
day.  And a girls night out is rare because I want to spend the little free time I have with Kevin.

     I first discovered Mommy Juice Wines on facebook and was pretty excited to see another great creation
made by a real mom out there!  I love the fact that “mommy juice” was inspired by her children.  We too have a nickname for our “alcoholic beverages” and my children know that they are special for grown-ups.  Mommy Juice Wines has created two different wines – A Red Wine and A White Wine.

     I hate to be honest but the white wine which is supposed to be 100% chardonnay, was not very
impressive.  I felt as if there were too many flavors I could taste and even before trying it out, I searched
the bottle for an accurate description and could not find one.  I honestly felt like I was drinking a
combination of the last of each bottle in my fridge.  Unfortunately, I hate to say it but I wasn’t impressed.

     Meanwhile, I decided I should do some research on the mommy juice red wine before opening the bottle.  And, to my surprise, the red wine actually was a combination of several flavors.  These included 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 3% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot.  The red was too dry and bitter for my taste but on my second glass I enjoyed it much more.  My friend on the other hand (she drinks reds) thought it had a great cabernet flavor.

Cost: $10.00/Bottle
Available to purchase: Mommy Juice Wines
Recommendation:  At $10 a bottle you cannot expect a premium wine and these were decent table wines but I don’t think if I had the option to purchase this one at the store again that I honestly would.  Sorry.
Facebook:  Mommy Juice Wines
Twitter: @mommyjuicewines


Bluapple Review and Giveaway

The Bluapple

     Don’t  you absolutely hate it when you go grocery shopping for your weekly trip and before the end of the week is up, certain fruits and vegetables have to pitched in the trash!?  I am so pissed when I spend money on produce (trying to be healthy) and I have to throw it away a couple days later.  Although I do eat a lot of produce, I am not a vegetarian.  So there is absolutely no way I am going to eat a head of lettuce, a head of broccoli, a head of cauliflower, a bundle of asparagus, a bag of baby carrots, a couple of apples, pears, etc. all in three to four days!  I have been trying all sorts of home remedies to try to fix the spoilage in the fridge and on my counter such as placing a piece of bread or paper towel in the bag of asparagus.  But even though it does help, it’s not a solution!

     What happens is the fruits and vege’s give off Ethylene gas which helps along the process of ripening.  “However, once concentrated in your refrigerator or other storage areas, the presence of ethylene gas continues to speed up ripening and hasten spoilage.”  So in other words if you wanted to avoid from your produce from rotting you should drive to the grocery store each day and purchase only the produce you want to use that day!  That is unless you have a Bluapple

     Bluapple absorbs the ethylene gas produced by the produce in these storage spaces.  It does so by “a simple and safe method of neutralizing ethylene is to “oxidize” it with sodium permanganate.”  This can be used for up to three month’s or until the active ingredient has reached its capacity.

     I have now been using my Bluapple for approximately a week and a half.  In that time I have not thrown away the following produce (purchased around the same time) in my refrigerator drawer:  Broccoli, Head Lettuce, Baby Carrots, Apples, Tomatoes, and Oranges.  I did, however, have to discard my strawberries, asparagus (kept out of the drawer), and bananas (kept on counter).  So granted it hasn’t even been two weeks BUT the Bluapple appears to be doing what it says it does with 70% of the produce I personally have stored.

Cost: $9.95 2 pack apples
Available to purchase: Bluapple
Recommendation:  For the low cost of $10 I think this is totally worth is even to try if you aren’t convinced.  You spend more I’m sure on produce in most households and probably waste more as well.  This is not expensive if it works for your setup and household needs.
Facebook:  Bluapple


Bertolli Meal Soup Giveaway

Soup can be a wonderful meal when it’s done right. Bertolli uses fresh ingredients in these delicious and easy-to-prepare meals. The restaurant-quality soups are full of crisp vegetables, cooked chicken or beef, and pasta that leaves you feeling satisfied.
Roasted white meat chicken, pasta, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots and celery in a savory chicken broth
Roasted white meat chicken, beans, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, tomatoes, and pasta in a hearty vegetable broth.
Cheese-filled tortellini, white meat chicken, spinach and tomatoes in a rich tomato bisque with a hint of basil.
Tender beef, mushrooms, yellow squash, zucchini, carrots and celery with bowtie pasta in a savory broth.

This soup-tasting giveaway includes:
Two Tasting Certificates for Bertolli Premium Meal Soup for Two
Stainless steel soup ladle
Woven oval bread basket
Bertolli reusable freezer bag

Available to purchase: Kroger, Meijer, Publix
Recommendation:  To be honest these tasted nothing like restaurant quality!  These were so great I felt like I was eating freshly home cooked soup - AMAZING!
Facebook: Bertolli
Twitter: @Bertolli


Green Friendly "Tried" Tips for Saving Money and The Planet

There are so many ways you can help out when it comes to being more "green" and saving your planet.  Most of these tips actually save you money in the long run too!!  Here are a couple tips I HAVE ACTUALLY tried and noticed a difference.  These are all fairly simple especially if you tell yourself you will make one change everyday so you won't overwhelm yourself and quit.

Unplug every appliance that is not in use...remember even if they are not turned on they are still pulling energy.  This means all chargers, computers, printers, toasters, can openers, blow dryers, etc.
*Saves energy and $$$ Utility Bill

Turn off Lights, Computers, Tv's, Fans, and Radios when no one is in the room and they are not in use.  Your computer and TV use more energy than most any other major appliances in the home.
*Saves energy and $$$ Utility Bill

Fill used plastic water/pop bottles with water and sand or rocks (enough to hold it down) and put in the well in back of your toilet.  This is a cheap way to make your toilet low flow.
*Saves water and $$$ Utility Bill

MYO Cleaners and Home Solutions.  A lot of these are safer for the environment, your children, and your pets.  Check out my MYO section for some recipes and ideas.  These also cost way less when using everyday products you already have in your home.
*Saves $$$ Shopping

Use an old garbage bin and put it outside somewhere it will easily catch rain water or runoff water from your roof.  Use a water pitcher or cup o transfer this water to your plants and garden.  You can buy these at the stores but they are more costly and this works just as well.  This is also natural rain water which is safer for your plants
*Saves water and $$$ Utility Bill

Avoid using disposable anything unless you must - ie. paper napkins, towels or plates, plastic silverware or cups, plastic water bottles, etc.  Use cloth napkins or towels and (ceramic, glass, reusable plastic) plate ware instead.
*Saves waste and $$$ Shopping

Load your dishwasher and washing machine as full as possibly (for your machines max capacity).  Never wash a half full load of anything.  Also turn your heated dry off on your dishwasher and wash everything in cold water if possible.
*Saves water, electric and $$$ Utility Bill

Air dry clothes and dishes whenever possible.  Keep the lint trap clean in your dryer.  Also, do all your loads at once - if you don't allow your dryer to cool off it won't take as long or as much energy to heat up.
*Saves energy and $$$ Utility Bill

Turn off faucets when brushing teeth or washing dishes while you are not directly using the flow of water.
*Saves water and $$$ Utility Bill

Only run the oven cleaning cycle during the night or winter months.  This will help heat your home with energy you are already using.  You can also (only if you do not have kids) prop the oven door open after use during the winter months to allow the air to help heat up your home.
*Saves energy and $$$ Utility Bill

Switch over to energy saving light bulbs throughout your home.  They cost more initially but last longer and use less energy
*Saves energy and $$$ Utility Bill

Install low flow shower heads and faucets throughout your home.  They cost more initially but last longer and use less water.
*Saves water and $$$ Utility Bill

Keep your water heater turned down as low as you are happy with.  Same with your heat, drop it down a couple degrees during the winter and use blankets.  During the summer raise your air a couple degrees and use fans.
*Saves energy and $$$ Utility Bill

Use rechargeable batteries/battery charger.  These are very expensive up front but totally worth it especially if you have little ones with toys or swings that require batteries.
*Saves $$$ Shopping

Finally, Recycle EVERYTHING!!!  You can recycle all glass, plastic, paper, electronics, appliances, and even some old food (if you compost).  Look up your nearest recycling center for guidelines.  Contact your cell phone or utility providers for the electronics and appliances.  Check out my composting section if you are interested in starting.

Giant Microbes Paramecium Review and Giveaway

GIANTmicrobes logo
     I am always looking for creative ways to teach Dane new information.  We try our own home schooling lessons but trying to keep his attention is not easy.  He is very intelligent and catches on quickly but on his own schedule.  If I can use a favorite toy to help make my job a little easier, then I'm all about buying it in a surplus.  Giant Microbes is by far one of the neatest ways to teach kids.
GM Group
     Giant Microbes are enlarged microbes or micro-organisms (a million times their actual size to be exact) turned into stuffed animals which show children what different bacteria, fungi, viruses, archaea, protists, microscopic plants and animals would look like.  These are also for teens and adults for learning or can make a great humorous gift!  We are always telling Dane he has to brush his teeth to get rid of the sugar bugs (plaque), to wash his hands frequently, or to cover his mouth when coughing because of germs.  He is always asking what these are, and of course why can't he see them.  Well now he can. 

     Actually when my paramecium first arrived, I went to describe to the kids what it was and I said, "Look at our new paramecium (pronounce para-me-chum)".  My daughter Alana quickly corrected me, "Paramecium (pronounce para-me-see-um) MOM.  It is a single cell organism!".  We forget how quickly we lose some of the information we once learned in school LONG ago.  Little did I know that I would get a lesson as well as my daughter is learning about similar subjects.  She was very excited to take this to school to show her science teacher.  So now even though there is such a big age gap in my children, I actually accomplished getting something for both of them!  Oh and Declan likes to chew on it as well!

     You can find just about any organism to teach your kids about.   My paramecium was about 6-7" tall so I would assume most are about that size but I noticed they can vary based on the microbe.  Giant Microbes also carries other cool merchandise such as shirts, soap dispensers, hats , tattoos and neck ties. 

Cost: $9.95 Paramecium
Available to purchase: Giant Microbes
Recommendation:  I think these are adorable and I can't even decide yet what my next one will be!  I suppose they are not too expensive although I'd like to see a package deal so I could get a ton of them to teach about or maybe for teachers to use in the classroom.
Facebook: Giant Microbes
Twitter: @GIANTmicrobes

Your Salt Lamps Mini Himilayan Salt Lamp Review and Giveaway

     I've always been kind of skeptical of the holistic approach to virtually anything.  I had a bad experience with a Doctor back when I was trying desperately to get pregnant who was very into holistic medicine.  Since then, I have been hesitant to try a natural approach to healing and to be completely honest my first reason for reviewing the Himalayan Salt Lamps was because they looked neat.  I know silly right?!  I thought they were beautiful and I was willing to see what they could do because of it.

     Himalayan Crystal Salt contains 84 different minerals and elements that can provide healing properties for not only us but our environment.  Because of all the technology we have now a days, there is a lack of balance in the atmosphere.  In order to keep a healthy balance, the air (that is filled with ions) needs to have an equal amount of positive and negative ions.  The electronic devices give off an abundance of positive ions unfortunately causing "stress, insomnia and other sleep disorders, sinus and migraine headaches, allergies, asthma, and a host of other health ailments".  Himalayan Salt Lamps produce negative ions naturally which can help alleviate symptoms caused by the disorders from positive ions. "Negative ions cleanse the air by removing dust, pollen, and bacteria. They also offset the effects of positive ions produced by electronics such as computers and televisions."

     So what do I think after using my Himalayan Salt Lamp for a week?  I think if I had more time to evaluate it I may have more details for all of you than I have.  My salt lamp is beautiful!  It gives off a certain energy when you walk in the room and at the same time it is extremely relaxing.  I have it in my bedroom on a dresser next to the crib (and our bed).  I have been sleeping really well the past couple days which could be directly because of the salt lamp.  Don't tell my husband though because these salt lamps can also help with fertility when kept in the bedroom and I have been feeling a little more frisky lately (he he)!  I've been shopping around the site lately and honestly wanting to purchase a few more!  The customer service there is great too making me so comfortable purchasing from them.

Cost: $29.99 Mini Himalayan Salt Lamp
Available to purchase: Your Salt Lamps
Recommendation:  I think if you are interested and/or curious then you should give them a try.  These are not too costly for what they are supposed to help everyone with and they are again beautiful!  However, I am not going to claim that they will cure anything or actually help any of the above issues for you personally.  It depends on the individual person of course, but I will probably purchase another one myself.
Facebook: Your Salt Lamps

Managing Your Food Supply or Edible Stockpile

Because of my restaurant background, I can pretty much answer any food safety questions you may have.  Here are a few basic best practices to follow especially if you plan on having a large stockpile of food (which we don't in our house - we like to eat!)
  1. Do not purchase dented cans, crushed boxes, or open containers.  If you must because of a discount or deal, inspect it thoroughly.  This should be consumed right away. Do not wait until the expiration since bacteria can grow in these containers more easily.  (The longer you wait the more likely there is something in there you don't want to eat.)
  2. Date your product as it comes in with a permanent marker.  The expiration date is better than the date purchased so you won't have to look for it in the future.
  3. FIFO is the first rule you learn in food safety.  It means First In First Out, always use the oldest first.  So if your kids are like mine and just grab, you want to make sure to line your products up with the newesr product as far back on the shelf/cabinet.
  4. Turn you cans upside down when storing them.  Dust and other dangerous particles can settle on top of the can and then when opening the can they settle nicely into your food.  So by keeping them upside down you minimize the foreign objects that could end up inside!
  5. Grouping - I also like to group like items together like pasta, marinara, and canned tomatoes.  It just makes it easier when throwing meals together to have it all in the same place.


Halftee and DaVinci Giveaway Winners and More Low Entry Giveaways

Congrats Shala who was chosen as the Halftee Giveaway Winner!! 
Congrats Jenna who was chosen as the DaVinci Giveaway Winner!! 

Thank you very much for participating and for following A Lucky Ladybug! I have several low entry GREAT giveaways going on right now.  Here are the direct links for more info.  There are more coming next week as well!!

Giant Microbes (begins 10/8)
Your Salt Lamps (begins 10/8)


Flip Flop Wines Moscato, Reisling, and Pinot Noir Review and Flippin Good Deeds Challenge

to each, their own: seven individualistic wines
     By now you should know from reading my posts that I have a great relationship with an amazing company Flip Flop Wines.  I am hooked on the brand since not only are Flip Flop Wines inexpensive so that the average person can enjoy them but they are made by a company that gives back to the community.  Everyone who knows me knows I believe we need to do everything we can to protect our children and planet today so that there can be a tomorrow for everyone.  Flip Flop Wines is partnered with Soles4Souls, a non profit organization that helps put shoes on over 100,000 feet of children who aren't fortunate to have the most basic protection.  They have also supported several other charities such as Friends of the Forest, Netting Nations, and Habitat for Humanity.  Amazing.  This time around I received six bottle of three different kinds of wines for a group review - Moscato, Reisling, Pinot Noir.

     Because I have decided to work with such a great company I am also participating in their Flippin Good Deeds Challenge.  The Flippin Good Deeds Challenge is a program for communities to clean out their closets and donate gently worn footwear.  Sign up, collect as many shoes as you can and share your “flippin’ good deeds” and experiences from September 6, 2011 to November 15, 2011 for a chance to win!  All you need to do is share with me so I can blog about it for you (if you are not a blogger).  They will send you the boxes and materials as you log your amounts weekly.  The top 5 blogger's will be entered into the final.  I would love to win and reward one or all of my generous readers with a fantastic prize. 

     As you all know my sister is getting married this weekend so when we started the party planning for her bachelorette, I wanted to incorporate the Flip Flop Wines AND the Flippin Good Deeds Challenge.  I asked each of the attendees to bring a pair of shoes (or more) to donate to my challenge.  In return we took some time out to sample the wines that were generously given to us to review.  I also purchased several other Flip Flop Wines to support this wonderful company and the Soles4Souls charity.

     I was able to actually enjoy the pinot noir a little more than the last time I sampled it.  Although it was still a very dry wine, I mixed this with a fruit juice to balance it with a more sweet flavor.  Several did complain that they expected more of a spiced flavor in a Pinot Noir but my red wine lovers enjoyed this one even though it had a mild taste to it.  This was to my surprise the first wine opened AND finished!

     Of course the Reisling was a hit since it is my favorite.  I talked it up so much every lady who had a chance to try it thought it was great.  The group opinion was this was a pleasantly fruity wine perfect with our finger foods such as the cheese and meat chunks.  I still think it has a nice peachy taste that isn't too overwhelming if you want more than one glass (which we went through more than a few glasses - I mean bottles that night).

     The Moscato was the biggest hit of the party in my opinion.  Most of the women thought it had a perfect balance of sweetness.  Several comments that Moscato's tend to be way to sweet, more like a champagne, however Flip Flop's was a much milder taste almost a similar taste to the Reisling.  I don't know quite how to explain this but several described the taste as clean and refreshing.
Join the flippin' Good Deeds Challenge
Cost: $7/bottle
Available to purchase: Flop Flop Wine Shop. You can also find them in my area at Kroger stores for 2/$10
Recommendation:  I love Flip Flop Wines since I don't have to break the bank to sit and enjoy myself at the end of the day.  I also know that my money isn't going to a company where some ONE person is reaping the benefits of my pampering night.  Its going to a company that helps out equally all around the world.  I said it in the last review but I'll say it again - I honestly can't tell you enough great things about Flip Flop Wines.  This is truly a company I believe in and enjoy.
Facebook: Flip Flop Wines
Twitter: @flipflopwines

Shelf Reliance Cansolidator Pantry Review and Giveaway

      Food rotation is one of the most important things you learn as a restaurant manager.  I could never work for a location/restaurant that didn't have a proper FIFO (first in first out) system in place.  My "thing" has always been organization.  Diagnosed with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), I feel the need to put everything in a specific place in a specific order.  This has always helped me working in restaurants.  I am confident I always ran the most organized and clean kitchens!  This always carried over into my home life.  I have my DVD's organized by category (and at a point before kids they were alphabetized), my closet is categorized as well (again before the kids I even had color coded the hangers), and my kitchen pantry completely follows all health department guidelines as far as rotation, sanitation, and safety.  So when I discovered the company Shelf Reliance, needless to say I was pumped to get my hands on a Cansolidator!

     I received the Cansolidator Pantry which can hold up to 40 cans at a time.  As you put it together you determine what size cans you want it to fit.  Every piece snapped together pretty easily.  This wasn't a difficult thing to fill it and still have cans leftover but for me I felt so much more confident in my canned foods safety.  I can now load the new product through the top and grab the oldest ones from the bottom without having to reorganize every time I come home from the grocery store.  I also have less to worry about the kids grabbing a can out of order when they go to make something for themselves.  My only complaint was that as you can see the Cansolidator is sitting on my counter top now because it was way to larger to fit in the small pantry we have at this home.  This is only something to consider when ordering since I personally could care less that its on my counter top.

     Shelf Reliance provides not only food rotation systems but food storage systems which include serving sizes, color coded food groups, and recipes marked on each of them.  They also offer emergency kits that can provide anything from first aid to food and water to tools and shelter.  Wow right?!  You can never be too prepared especial when you have children.  Shelf Reliance also donates 5% of the THRIVE sales to the Thriving Nations Charity.

Cost: $21.92 (51% off right now of $44.99) Cansolidator Pantry
Available to purchase: Shelf Reliance
Recommendation:  I would recommend this to just about anyone especially the couponers out there that are starting or have stockpiles of any foods.  This keeps your cans turned sideways to prevent debris from entering the cans when you open them and it properly rotates everything.  I wouldn't pay the full price for it because thats a little pricey but 20 bucks isn't too much for this system.
Facebook: Shelf Reliance
Twitter: @ShelfReliance


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