Painting Lulu with Chicky

Today we are bringing you a really neat, new concept with the Paper-to-Digital Colouring Pack from Painting Lulu. I’m thrilled to be able to feature Chicky in a review again. It’s been so long that, the last time she was in one, she was modelling diapers and not in the least bit impressed. If you’re cloth diapering, or you just want to see a cute baby, you can check out the Glow Bug review here and a Piddly Winx one here.

Anyway! We received their My Little Pony kit free, in exchange for this review, and both of my girls have been making use of the 32 colouring pages included.

Paper to Digital Colouring Pack

Photo from Painting Lulu

What’s incredibly cool about the Painting Lulu colouring book is that your little ones can make a picture on the paper, then transfer it to Apple, Android or Amazon devices and continue their artwork via digital medium. This comes in handy if you’re heading out the car and want to avoid a melted crayon fiasco. Believe me, it’s rough and it happens. Last year my kiddoes took one SMALL package of crayons in our van, while on the trip up north, and I ended up with a backseat absolutely full of colourful streaks that were completely impossible to remove. Here I was thinking I was such an ingenious Mama, coming up with cute backseat fun kits that would keep them occupied during our 5 hour drive, and I inadvertently ruined the upholstery in our vehicle. Thankfully, I no longer have to worry about that (and we have since purchased a new van- yay for Honda and my man Nelson!).

As soon as I received the Painting Lulu colouring book in the mail, I had to hide it away, up high, so that they couldn’t tear it open. It was an instant hit because what girl doesn’t like My Little Pony and what kid doesn’t want to colour? For at least five minutes before they try to take the crayon to the wall anyway- I know what’s up, I’ve got boys too.

paintinglulu

 

Here’s a great video to show you what it’s all about.

 

 Chicky was SO excited to get started. For her, she loves the pictures of all of her favourite characters and she thinks the “squishy” crayon is the best. She’s actually carried it around since using it the first time, in order to keep it away from her big sister.

 
As a Mum, I like the quick share options and the idea that I can upload their artwork to Facebook, in order to put it in their online scrapbooks. I can also easily share it with family and friends that may not otherwise get to see her art, just in case anyone wants an original Chicky piece on their fridge. Gramma can take some of our overstock, no doubt.

If you want to try before you buy, check out the Painting Lulu website and find their free sample page by clicking this link. If you know now that your children, or the littles in your life, will love this as much as mine do, scoop it on Amazon below. By using my affiliate link to purchase, you’re buying a great gift in time for the holidays and you’re also supporting this Mama’s bloggy endeavors. Thank you!

Tea Bird Company Review

Good afternoon- and here is an adorable logo for you to “awh” at! 
It’s Monday and, as a result, I have been drinking plenty of tea! I was able to sample all of these specific ones over the last couple of weeks but my brew today prompted me to post about them. The Tea Bird Company was kind enough to send me their sample pack for review and this is what it looks like;
 
At first glance, I love the simplistic branding and the titles of the various blends, as well as the fact that each includes its own brewing instructions printed directly on the packaging. Very handy, especially if you are new to the tea scene.
I tried the Lord Earl In The Study With An Infuser (such a fantastic name) first; 
Black tea
Each blend arrived wrapped in this little disposable teabag, which is what floats the boat for some but it is not my idea of a good steep. With the average consumer, as well as when it comes to convenience, loose leaf is not exactly the most popular option. 
I prefer loose leaf and was just the littlest bit sad at first but, lo and behold, the teabags unwrap and easily open! Hurray!
Once I opened the small sachet of joy, the tea leaves looked like this out of the bag; 
For steeping, I have a nice infuser pot but prefer to use this little guy for smaller portions; 
Isn’t that adorable?! It’s a single tea cup infuser and it is incredibly handy, on top of being super cute. The little thing flips upside down while steeping and his perch there covers the top of your teacup so as to keep your beverage warm. In a house where it is often the case that I have left my drink sit for too long due to the kids, it is quite nice to be able to still partake in a nice cup of hot tea, thanks to my bitty bird buddie. I bought this through Pampered Chef and am told that it is being discontinued as of August 31st, which is a big bummer, so I will have to grab a couple more. If you want one for yourself, you can also support my lovely friend, Sara, with a purchase and will find this non-feathered friend here.
This is how it works and how the tea looks while just starting to steep; 
The black tea was absolutely delicious. I got a kick out of using my tea bird to make Tea Bird but I’m a big dork like that. Anyway! The taste of this is standard in the sense that it is a similar flavour to what is considered when one thinks of “tea” but it was much cleaner to me. I find the big two name brands either taste a bit like dirt or a lot like chemicals, which is not at all surprising when you do some research upon the ingredients. This provides none of that and all of the relaxing goodness that is achieved from the best cup of, to quote Jean Luc here, “Tea. Earl Grey, hot”. 
Sourced from; http://startrekconfessions.tumblr.com/post/14356715986
To transition from balls of steel, The Captain, to Magnolia Steel now; this is the next kind I tried!
Green tea
Here is an up-close and personal shot! 

Now, I have reviewed my share of green teas, some of which you can read about here, and I drink a lot of them. At least three times a day (when not pregnant), I will have a cup and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Although it is slightly more earthy than I prefer for regular, all temperature consumption, it was also a bit more flavourful than a standard green and a hint of berries on the tongue left me going back for another sip. The name, I thought, was quite cute and I am wondering if it was a play on Steel Magnolias. If not, it prompted me to make a sweet tea out of this all the same because it’s the house wine of the south, don’t ya know? I used a scaled down version of a recipe from Southern Living, which can be found via this link. 

Amazing- and it will also now be part of our regular summer routine.

I have NO idea where the title for this next one came from; a song, a prayer said by the guys on the road, a poem…who knows? That is what I enjoy about Tea Bird; all of their items are compelling, be it due to the title or taste. Every indulgence was an intriguing encounter and I give them a lot of credit for that.
In previous reviews, I have stated how I was never a big fan of Oolong tea and have since reached the conclusion that I was mental. I have come to greatly enjoy the experience and have never found an Oolong that is the same as any other that I have come across. Trucker’s Prayer was fantastically fruity, with notes of apricots seeming to be the prominent flavour, and there was very little astringency to the cup. I just loved this tea, from scent, to sip, to finish.
Now, to calm down, I’ll talk about Calm Down, their herbal offering; 
A very decidedly minty tea that smells absolutely divine, this one reminds me a lot of chamomile blends with the exception of it not tasting like the flower that bears the name. Odd, I know. This is not a tea that I would, personally, drink on a daily basis but one that is perfect while dealing with a cold or flu. I enjoy lemongrass and the soothing mint during such times but, once in a while, it is a nice one to have while curled up with a novel as well. Even the thought is calming.
If you want to check out Tea Bird for yourself, please find all contact details below. It’s worth perusing the site, simply for the clever marketing and their laid back, fun approach to business. Definitely a company that enjoys what they do- which is why they are so good at it, I suppose! 

I will leave you with my wishes that you have an excellent day, as well as the immortal words from Monty Python; 

Make tea, not war.

Who stinks? Natural Deodorant by Routine

Oh, you know that scent…then one we all dread; It smells a bit like a stir fry, a bit like a raw onions and, depending on the person, it can be somewhat reminiscent of feet, Play-Doh or corn chips.
If you’re really lucky and trapped in an enclosed space with this person, you will get a combination of all of the above!

I know, personally, I never want stink like that and I was, up until recently, willing to sacrifice my health via antiperspirants in order to make certain that I did not. Then, I read a bit about it. Parabens? Triclosan? Aluminum zirconium and chlorohydrate, or propylene glycol? Does that sound healthy to you? It’s not! Google it- then avoiding trying not to stink after you’ve crapped your pants.

The harsh reality is that these cancer causing agents, proven contributors to Alzheimers (as if my husband doesn’t already have enough difficulty remembering to do things I have asked him to) and chemicals with a variety of other negative effects to our health are in our day-to-day products. They are part of our routine.

Sadly, however, it is very difficult to come across a natural deodorant that is effective, long-lasting and smells good. I mean, really, I want to smell like a dewy, fresh rose while sweating like a hog. Who doesn’t?
I am not that chick in the gym who pretends to wipe sweat off of her face while sneaking a pit sniff (yeah, I saw you lady!) but I want to make certain that I don’t stink to high heaven when I go to hug the hubbs once he returns home from work. As a result of the aforementioned facts, I also like doing that without a lot of chemicals.

Here’s where Routine De-Odor-Cream comes in, a natural deodorant, which I received free in exchange for this review;
It looks like icing, smells like cake and is not meant for eating but, considering the ingredient list, you actually could. You’ll be tempted, believe me. A very cool fact about this particular scent is that it’s comprised of flavour oils and not essential ones, which is completely safe for pregnant, or nursing, Mamas as well. Yay for that!
Now, I wish this stuff came in a handy, dandy stick but it doesn’t. Luckily, you need very little in order to get the job done and simply apply it with a finger tip. The jar pictured above lasts anywhere from 3-6 months, depending on how much you require each time. The initial investment may seem rather large but, when you consider how long the jar of natural deodorant lasts, it is worthwhile.
The Woah Blackberry Betty smells a lot like blackberry cake or the fruit itself mixed in with a vanilla icing; not that gross, synthetic vanilla smell either but one that makes your mouth water. It is very richly scented and stays with you for quite some time.
I found that it lasted through the day, although the scent did diminish and that was preferable to me. It was a bit strong for my liking at first but my husband loved my skin smelling of dessert. He said that he has never come across a deodorant that made him hungry before and thought I smelled like a jam-filled doughnut.

The above picture is the Maggie’s Citrus Farm scent option and this one was my least favourite, as well as the least effective, of all of the options that I received. I was not the biggest fan of the orangey aroma and I felt self conscious as the day wore on. It’s made of the same, beeswax base that the other is but I was just not a big fan.

This little, blue bird covers Routine Cream’s clay based option for deodorant, which I found kept me more dry throughout the day than the beeswax one. This particular kind is called Sweet Jane and it most definitely smells very sweet, with a couple of notes being similar to the Woah Blackberry Betty kind, with the hint of baking from the vanilla, but it includes pears as well. Sweet Jane is also scented with natural and organic flavour oils, instead of essential ones, and is my personal recommendation for the nursing Mamas.
I really loved this one and it was the sample that I went through the quickest, as I wore it daily.
I am not sure if it is due to the formula difference, or just the way the little trial sizes are packaged, but these ones were a bit more wet than the large, glass jar. I didn’t mind that but the one is decidedly more solid.
The pink bird above labels their Sexy Sadie scent and it is one of the best sellers from the brand. It, to me, is also one of the most complex but I actually thought it was slightly less pleasing than the others. This one includes patchouli, which is fantastic for skin conditions and as an antifungal addition but it does not appeal to me personally. I don’t like anything with herbaceous, musky tones and find it’s cousin, lavender, more pleasing. For ladies who wear perfume on a regular basis, you would be used to this and probably enjoy it. Just not my thing.
I use ylang ylang quite a bit in the household, in my diffuser or topically, so I was reminded of that from this one too. This scent is actually fantastic for uplifting moods, inspiring feelings of joy, relaxation or hope and for treating depression. If you happen to have any underarm irritation from shaving, this would also be excellent for helping to sooth and heal that due to the addition of ylang ylang to the ingredient list. I think the name may come from ylang ylang being used as an aphrodisiac but I could be completely off the mark with it. Either way, it’s fitting.
Speaking of the hubby, Routine Cream also sent along their Napoleon Dynamite blend for him to try out. The bitty, birdy buddy on that one is black, although I do not have a picture of it because he took it to work for his locker.
Now, when I first opened this one I did not enjoy the way it smelled in the slightest, then it grew on me once my husband applied it and it mixed with his own scent. It was similar to the Maggie’s Citrus Farm, only even more reminiscent of oranges or grapefruits, and then included some undertones that I figured were more feminine. This one includes bergamot oil, however, and you can wear that on it’s own as natural deodorant so it’s duplicity in scent makes for a great deodorant for the ladies who are more worried about odour. Try the men’s line! Bergamot is proven effective and, as an inclusion in the ingredient list, it helped to make sure my husband could wear a natural deodorant without smelling like part of the wild. Considering he’s a sexy, albeit occasionally stinky, beast and this one kept the latter at bay- it earned my approval.

Routine De-Odor-Cream can be found online here and you can also check out their Facebook page for more information.

 

Ultimate Up”cycling” with Flat Bags

Hello again, me here- And up there too! That’s my Flat Bag under my arm and it doubles as a purse, diaper bag or laptop carry case. It looks good enough that I wanted to do this whole post for a Wordless Wednesday, as the pictures are review enough (in my mind) but there is so much to this neat, little creation that I wanted to “Dish” about it with you a bit!

Flat Bags are the brain child of Shannon Hames, an avid mountain biker from British Columbia, Canada, who made the first purse using old inner tubes and splash pants in 1996. At least something worthwhile came from horrible 90s fashion mistakes, I suppose you could say- Sorry Shannon! 😛

The company is now responsible for making fantastic, environmentally friendly fashion statements out of over 16 000 feet of inner tubes to date. They have also graduated beyond raingear to this lovely, leather-like, white creation that you see before you;

The above picture features the Large Favourite in Pearl, which has two inner pockets and a zippered pocket on the back. The back compartment actually has enough room that it can store the smaller purse shown below, or as part of my outfit in this Echo Verde review. Having a lot of space is great for me, as I carry a full sized hairbrush for out of control locks, have more keys than makes sense, I need to bring things to amuse my boys or else they’ll kill one another, I’m Peanut’s Little People mule, we have a ton of baby items in tow at all times, I need food about every two hours because I am a huge pig and I carry a honkin’, old lady wallet- so bonus!

The purse fastens closed by two magnetic snaps, which I found very fun to use, and the shoulder strap is similar to a seatbelt so it’s far more comfortable than what a typical bag would offer. I hate those straps that dig into my traps when I’m toting all that I do but this one is wide enough that it doesn’t- plus, it has an additional pad included for my shoulder as an added comfort feature.

Of course, Peanut got straight into the parcel as soon as I opened it and she took a liking to the larger of the two purses. As it looked ridiculous (and made me a bit jealous) I gave her the little one to sport around. Hopefully she will tote her own Little People but, as of right now, her purse includes one of my chapsticks, a box of Smarties, a Cinderella necklace that belongs to her sister, a crumpled picture of herself, a fridge magnet, a play syringe from her doctor kit and one Oreo. I’m not sure if this is really cute or if I should be concerned that my daughter may turn out to be a drug addict, narcissist, kleptomaniac, thief or a diabetic. In any case, she’s very pleased with her purse and it’s contents.

Check out the fall colours too- they are perfect for the season. More colour options are available on the Flat Bags Etsy page so you will want to check there, or their Facebook, if you are looking for this purse. I love the Zippity Doo Da in Tamale- it’s such a statement piece!

This specific purse is not featured in this pattern on their website but, if you want to check out more of the fancy, fantastic Flat Bag fun visit the site here. Feel free to like this Facebook fanpage too, which is not shown on the website. You can access it via the My Domestic Dish fanpage as one of my “likes” and I’ve shared it there as well.

This one is a simple, single pocket with the same magnetic closures as the larger option. I think it is perfect for those ladies would would prefer to carry only a wallet but, like I do, have the nasty habit of sitting it down while shopping in stores and walking away from it. This way you can do the same thing but have it attached to your shoulder at all times. It would comfortably fit keys, sunglasses, a comb, a couple of make up basics, money and identification. Presently ours is housing an Oreo but, hey, a girl’s gotta eat.

 photo 50c1f424-388d-4501-88fb-fb198458aae5_zpsb57caad4.png

Easy Peasy Patches- Review and How To

I started working with Easy Peasy Patches because a no sew fabric patch is fun, no matter what age you are. I figured that I would like using the item, while adding a bit of flair to my children’s clothing or accessories. I didn’t realize, however, how addicting the patching would become. There are just so many uses for no sew sticky patches and so many places that they look cute!

Disclaimer; This post is sponsored by Easy Peasy Patches. All opinions are, of course, my own and I was given the product in exchange for an unbiased review

I was sent 6 different no sew patches as part of my Easy Peasy review kit, which included 3 for a boy and 3 for a girl. Upon first inspection, they’re durable, come in appealing, bright colours and have a similar thickness to a denim (with a sticker back).
The usage explanation is pretty simple, really; You peel and stick. That’s it. As a busy Mama of four, I really enjoy having a quick, no-sew option for patching a torn knee, covering a stain on an expensive item that’s still got too much life to toss or just sprucing up a dull piece. They’re machine washable, no sewing is involved and you don’t have to iron anything- yet they’re not going to come off in the wash. You can throw them in the machine or, according to the website, even the dishwasher and they’re not going to peel or fray.

These are supposed to be a permanent patch and I can see why but I actually discovered that, if very careful, you can peel them off of one item and stick them on another. Once restuck, they stay in place just as well as they did upon original usage.

EasyPeasyPatches

We had put “Filbert”, as my son named the little red monster face, onto Thing 1’s old backpack and had to switch him over when we got a new one. My son’s thrilled with his Easy Peasy patches and he’s already asked me for a friend for Filbert, to stick on his lunchbag. He’s reached the age where doing quirky, strange things is what’s “cool” and he thinks forcing friends to say hello to Filbert when they address him is just a riot. Kids. Heh.
If I could fill his entire bag with Filbert’s, I think Thing 1 would be thrilled.

For me though, it really comes down to price in the end. An awesome embellishment is all well and good but, if it’s going to break the bank, I may be able to do without. These, however, are incredibly affordable and you can find their craft kits on sale now for less than $12 via this link! The craft kit features five different patches, three bottles of paint in different colors, fabric glue and 100 different sequins.  You can’t go wrong and, if you’re interested, Jo Ann Fabrics or Wal Mart.com would be the place to check for the Easy Peasy line- their pricing is far more reasonable than what I pay for standard patches elsewhere, yet these are so much easier to use. Check out the video below to see how quick and easy they are to use.

You can also follow and find Easy Peasy Patches here;

Facebook, www.Facebook.com/EasyPeasyPatches
Twitter, @EZPZPatches
You Tube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3GOXY4EoYuJFDfQCNKq-6A
Pinterest, https://www.pinterest.com/EZPZPatches/
Instagram, https://instagram.com/easypeasypatches/

I’ve been genuinely thrilled with my experience and we’ll definitely be purchasing again soon.

Filbert needs a friend, after all.

EasyPeasyPatch

That’s rain on his shirt, by the way. He’s not a dirty child! 😛

 

Bike Lights for Riding At Night

My son, who just turned 10, is now wanting a bit of independence and to be able to do things that his younger siblings can not. One of those things includes staying up a bit later and going on evening bike rides with his Dad.

(DISCLAIMER; I received this product in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links. If you use them to purchase this product, you’re supporting my blog and family. Much appreciated!)

During those late night rides, I worry about safety even when they stay well-away from any sort of traffic. I like him visible and one of the greatest, most fun ways that I’ve found to help out with that are these super bright bike lights for his rims.

DSCF8928

The company sends out a few different colours in every package, which include blue, green or multi coloured lights. My oldest prefers green but it worked out well because my youngest, as well as my husband, received rim lights too. We simply attached them to the valves on their tires, with an easy two-minute install. They work via motion activation, when the wheel turns. For the pricing, you can’t really go wrong when they last for 50 000 hours, are waterproof and usable in any terrain.

Taking them out for a spin on their very first night, we did end up discovering that a couple of the lights appeared to be duds. If you order them and receive any like that, don’t worry- just stick an extra battery in them and they’ll work without issues! My husband figured out that some work better with 4 batteries instead of the 3, which come with the bike lights.

rim lights

I purposely dressed my son in darker clothing for this review, wanting to capture the rim lights without any distraction; As you can see though, he’s still very visible in the dark. Coupled with all of our usual safety measures, I’m confident knowing that Dad will easily be able to see him on the trail at night- and so will others, which is definitely important.
If you are interested in getting your own pair of bike lights, all My Domestic Dish readers can use the code 50WHEELL (with two Ls, although let me know if it doesn’t work please) for 50% off of your order!

Nutrience Grain Free Dry Food- Dog Days

This is a sponsored post with Mums the Word Network and Nutrience. All opinions are my own.

I was very excited to be approached to review the new Nutrience Grain Free dry dog food line, as we actually just adopted my cousin’s poochie and I am incredibly proud of our gorgeous girl. Our black lab now has a boxer buddy, helping to keep her young and healthy.

Man, does this pup ever eat though! Boxers are known to have some GI tract issues and it’s imperative that Keila, which is our new pup’s name, be given food that is satiating enough in a small quantity that she doesn’t want to eat a ton at a time. This will help prevent bloat and we can make certain our pup’s frequent meals are leaving her full, happy and providing all nutrients that she needs by making sure that her food includes good, quality ingredients. Isn’t that important for all pets though, really?

DSCF9085
Anyway, for this particular endeavor I wanted to give Keila the Nutrience Grain Free pork, lamb and venison combo that can be found on their site here. I figured that, if I were a dog, I would probably be happy to have the variety of meat proteins and, with the same thought in my head, I would appreciate the quality. Afterall, as Nutrience touts, you “Nourish the body. Feed the spirit” and we want to make certain that our fur baby receives all of the nourishment she requires, especially during this stage of her growth.

As you can see, she was so ready to be the guinea pig gorgeous dog for this review;

DSCF9036

Looking at a picture of herself, in logo form.

 

I was surprised to note that coconut oil is included in the food, which I absolutely love using for pretty much anything and actually feel a little closer to my dogs, as they’re ingesting it regularly too. Awh, the whole fam is in on the coconut craze now! I assume this is for their hair and skin, although (if the quantity is large enough) I’m betting it would help with immune support, keeping them regular and cleaning their teeth. Unlike my husband, Keila took her coconut oil without fuss…

DSCF9050

The only ingredient that I’m not sure about is “yeast extract”, which can be a broad group of ingredients and the label is unclear about the type of extract that’s included in this food. Some are used for supplementation, some are just flavor enhancers. I wish there were more specifications regarding this, or it wasn’t in there at all (glutamic acid derivatives are blamed for a slew of issues in humans), but this food additive is designated as safe by the FDA and has been for decades.

What I love about Nutrience pet food is that this particular line is good for both a mature dog and a puppy, which saves us from having to buy different food for Shirley Schmidt (our 3 year old lab who, yes, has two names) and Keila (who is only four months old and came with the name… or she’d be a Denny Crane). This is incredibly convenient and preferable, considering I know they would both eat the other’s food anyways, since we now only have to worry about serving sizes.

DSCF9074

Now THESE are puppy dog eyes. #boystakenote #heartmelt

I trust sites like Dog Food Advisor, which has given the Nutrience brand a 5 star rating, and feel that this is a fairly affordable, quality pet food that my boxer beauty seems to enjoy. If you’re interested in checking into the Nutrience Grain Free line, they carry food for dogs as well as cats and you can link up with them here;

Twitter: @Nutrience_

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nutrience

Pinterest: https://www.facebook.com/nutrience

Instagram: @NutrienceCanada

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/109424765379210673548/posts

If you want to keep up to date, you can even sign up for their newsletter here;

http://www.nutrience.ca/#news-letter-form

DSCF9038

CortiSlim Burn Review

I’ve been putting this review off as long as possible, simply because I wanted to determine the best possible results and thought it may take some time. With the marketing I have seen by the brand, I truly  figured that I would have something interesting to report in regards to the new CortiSlim line.

72dbde046e8b901e66f664e943ad1fdfcad27dce

I have a small “pouch” of abdominal fat that I know I could deal with on my own BUT I have two toddlers in tow, one hell of a hectic schedule, no gym budget at the moment, I function on too little sleep to dig into that to wake up earlier than my husband for running (I’ve tried) and I could use a bit of help. I have two dogs and two babies under foot while attempting to work out at home so I definitely have to try to maximize the benefits of any work out time that I get. An additional push until such time as my schedule calms slightly would be a welcome help so, when given the opportunity to review these types of products at no charge, I jump on them whenever I can. My review for CortiSlim Burn came as a result of such an offer and I didn’t have to pay for my products.

I love the idea of a supplement that comes as part of a healthy lifestyle choice and not a miracle pill, which the makers are very clear in the fact that CortiSlim is to be used in conjunction with your own healthy choices. I had no issue with that, as we eat a well-balanced, healthy, low-fat, lean protein diet so I just added the pills and made certain to refrain from “cheating” with salty or sweet snacks. I actually found myself more encouraged by the fact that they were selling realistic expectations, as well as essentially forcing personal goals as part of their package.

You’re supposed to take two of the green pills once a day to start, eventually working your way up to 6 pills per day, and then two of the red pills prior to your daily exercise routine. Each bottle contains green tea, caffeine and chromium and these things are all known for assisting with weight loss, although I’m not sure of the levels of each within the formula because they’re not all stated. I can’t exactly gauge how effective they may be, how they compare to regular diet choices or how this brand might stack up against similar products on the market. Green tea and caffeine will help boost metabolism and chromium can assist with appetite suppression, although that’s never been an issue for me, so they all seem to make sense as part of an overall weight management solution. That being said, I also ingest them on a regular basis without this supplement so I’m not certain it had any effect on me. Apparently, research shows that study groups taking CortiSlim burn 35% more fat than those who do not. I didn’t notice a massive energy spike although, when I upped my dosage to the maximum recommended intake, I ended up feeling shaky and exhausted after a few hours. I think I must have had crash-like effects, or I am too sensitive to the caffeine so I reduced it down to my starting dose. I also found that I had difficulty sleeping on the nights when I took the supplement later on in the day; I suppose this is due to the inclusion of time release caffeine. It’s possible others may have better results than I have achieved if they can take the maximum recommended dosage but that was not possible for me.

I was a bit surprised to note that there aren’t really any ingredients that help with cortisol levels or stress management so I’m not sure why the product name directly pertains to something that isn’t targeted. I am not exactly a fan of the branding as a result.

All of this being said, I’m glad I didn’t invest a lot into this product because I haven’t lost more than a pound in the last few weeks. I fluctuate by that much all the time though. I haven’t lost any inches either and my tummy looks just about the same. I can say that, perhaps, I look a little less bloated but not noticeably enough that before and after pictures would demonstrate any results of value. Should you wish to check out the CoriSlim product line here, as I do believe it will probably help you if one of your main issues is appetite suppression, then you can find the website here.

Gah, these just weren’t for me though.

I Met My Matcha

I was very excited to receive some complimentary Steeped Tea from my friend Erin,  which came in a gorgeous, blue package that I quickly tore open. I have a love for matcha tea due to its health benefits but am always on the hunt for a more tasty option. The Steeped Tea company offers a wide variety of flavours, as well as an interesting #meetyourmatcha challenge and corresponding bundle. How awesome is this kit?!
DSCF8567
I was most definitely up for the #meetyourmatcha challenge, due to my fairly recent discovery of this fantastic dietary option. The health benefits of matcha tea area numerous, some of which include the massive antioxidant punch (137 times more than standard green tea), disease prevention, lowering cholesterol, natural detoxification, age-fighting, it boosts metabolism and there are a slew of excellent vitamins, amino acids and minerals in the tea as well. When standard tea is made, we only get the nutrients that come out in the steeping process but, in order to reap the full benefits of green tea, we would actually have to consume the entire leaf. That would be pretty gross, chomping on a soggy tea leaf, but matcha tea powder provides us with that option, sans the cow-like chewing. I’m a big fan of the cancer-fighting catechins (a class of antioxidant) and matcha tea, according to Brunswick Labs, actually has the highest concentration of antioxidants than any other “superfood” out there today. Even if I didn’t enjoy the tea, I would still drink it after that!
When I opened this particular box, I found a cute measuring spoon and four different blends of matcha green tea powder inside; melon ball, sweet strawberry, original and pineapple.
DSCF8573
I was pleasantly surprised by this beautiful bundle, as it’s full of some interesting flavour combinations and ideas for your own matcha recipes on this great reference card;

DSCF8576

As I have to whisk the tea, I decided to make it in a bowl and you typically add 1/2 of a teaspoon to a full teaspoon of the powder, depending on your taste. After a year of experience with this powdered beverage, I typically prefer the thinner option because it is not chalky on the palate.
This is the bamboo whisk that I use to whip up all of my concoctions, along with the stand it sits upon. Cute, isn’t it?!
dscf3073
See how beautifully green it is? Compared to other teas like this, it is far more vibrant than the ones I have come across previously- this means that they used quality leaves and it hasn’t been blended with too many stalks or garbage-y bits.
dscf3077

Now, when you start out on your own matcha tea experience it is absolutely imperative that you first mix the powder with only a bit of water. You make a paste, then add the rest of your water, or you’re going to end up with a very clumpy and unpleasant tea. Most people don’t know this so matcha gets a bad name.

dscf3365
You whisk everything in a zig-zag motion and are doing well if you get quite a few bubbles. I took the below picture after the froth had dissipated a bit but it only takes about 15 seconds or so to get an ideal amount of foam to it. If you do things properly, you’ll end up with a few more bubbles than this.
dscf3373
If you are not a fan of green tea, the original kind probably is not the beverage for you. It’s exceptionally earthy and tastes of vegetation. It is not astringent and reminds me a bit of alfalfa sprouts, kale or similar tastes. The sweet pea-like finish makes one go back for more and I find this beverage to be incredibly soothing but my husband, on the other hand, hates the stuff.
Morning matcha in my moccasins;
DSCF8684
For the past couple of weeks now, Steeped Tea has been my go-to option as part of my morning routine and I’ve found myself partial to the melonball option, personally. It tastes like a watery honeydew, or at least I think so, and doesn’t leave you with a cloyingly sweet or fake taste in your mouth. It does more for me than espresso and I find that an evening cup helps to prevent me from crashing right after dinner. It saves from exhaustion and saved my poor family members from an exhausted me, which can be rather unpleasant if I’ve got a list of chores to knock off and am fighting the Sand Man. An average serving of matcha tea, according to Matcha Source, contains around 35mg of caffeine but studies have shown that the natural combination of everything else that the beverage offers actually causes the energy jolt, with none of the typical caffeine jitters that one might experience from coffee. This also means that, much to my enjoyment, I don’t have the post-coffee crash either.
The pricing per serving comes out to less than buying coffee or tea for the day and far more healthy for you, as an added perk.
I’m a big fan of the versatility and, to name a couple of things you can do with this as an ingredient, it can be added to puddings, rice dishes, icing, muffins, curries, salad dressing, as part of cake (although I’m not partial to that and I matchafailed on that one), any sort of smoothie recipe you would like, as a crust on meat, to soups and mixed in with cream cheese. Here were a few more of my #meetyourmatcha endeavors;
DSCF8761
If you’re not a huge fan of the taste, one of the best ways to sneak matcha tea into your diet would be to include it in eggs because the taste is masked quite well. I’m  not a fan of green eggs as a visual so I didn’t include anything in liquid form. For my quiche, pictured above, I tossed some in with the cheese prior to blending everything into my egg mixture. I found it paired really well as part of a spinach dish, sharing similar tastes, so we actually didn’t notice it a great deal as part of this dinner and the cheese absorbed all of the matcha goodness.
I was actually absolutely thrilled with this lunch;
DSCF8876
I mixed a serving of matcha into my avocado for atop of my goat cheese and found that this sandwich, on rye, quickly became a hit. I’ve actually eaten one of these tasty, little morsels for lunch every day this week! #newfave
The website has a wide variety of recipes for cooking and other uses, such as matcha smoothies like this one, although I am partial to all of them in liquid form. I also like making mine with more than just berries and have found that peaches pair incredibly well with this flavoured stuff, especially if you’re using any of the melon matchas as part of your drink. My husband, however, likes his blended with vanilla icecream but, thankfully for him,drinking this tea can also more than double the body’s own rate of thermogenesis (fat-burning) so he can afford this pleasant beverage. The pineapple one is my husband’s pick, appealing to his sweet tooth, and this is actually the only type of matcha he will drink. As such, I’m a customer for life! I found the strawberry one to be most pleasing where scent was concerned but, with icecream, anything goes!
matcha smoothie
And, on the subject of green tea sexy, why don’t we go typical mojito but just crush a bit of the matcha powder along with the lime and mint? Hands down (and bottoms up), it’s got my vote!
matcha cocktail
I’ve seen the #meetyourmatcha challenge done so many ways, with suggestions made about face masks or using matcha in massage oil. Although that’s all well and good for some, I definitely prefer to gain all of the benefits of ingesting this tea and, as a matter of taste, I really do enjoy keeping it simple and drinking it as part of a daily ritual. If you want to go slightly more fancy than a standard cup of tea, you could always sweeten it with some honey, froth some milk and make it a latte. The tea-world is your oyster!
matchalatte
Here is Erin’s contact info, or visit her Facebook page by clicking here, as I know you’re now ready to #meetyourmatcha!
DSCF8580

My Sexy Hubby, Smile Brilliant and a Giveaway!

My husband is a sexy individual. I know, I know- any lady is going to say that about her hubby but mine’s definitely a catch. I’m told this all the time. Between you and I internet, I’m not sure if women say this to compliment me because he’s pretty or to insult me, suggesting I’m not. Either way, if he were a president he’d be Baberaham Lincoln and I’m pleased to have slapped my brand on this sweetass breeding stud.

1929882_16830486366_1678_n

Whether or not he’s fighting fires, being about 6 years younger, out sick on the couch (sleeping with our kitty), playing games with our son or blowing out recent birthday candles…he’s nice looking…even in a Leafs jersey -_-

FotorCreated2

I say these things about him, cat call the guy all the time and show him off (like above) whenever I can but he still deals with little things that make him feel self-conscious. Like any attractive person, he complains about things that he sees as “flaws” that aren’t typically noticed, cited or discussed by anyone but him. As a gal who thinks he’s gorgeous, I find his insecurity utterly ridiculous but I support my husband in all of his self-improvement goals and wishes. One of those was to have whiter teeth, like he used to when we first got together and before he started hauling long hours and surviving on coffee in order to support our family of 6. We aren’t smokers and he takes fairly good care of his teeth but he refuses to oil pull with me and he will skip a brush if he falls asleep early at night on the couch. The poor guy works like a dog and can’t be faulted for the neglect. As a result though, his pearly whites were less than pearly and not exactly white. Although he’s not a vain person, he has complained about his “dull” teeth after viewing family photo and has felt bad about this one thing for a long while.

Luckily, I had the opportunity to partner up with Smile Brilliant for this review, who have also sponsored a fantastic GIVEAWAY for my readers today and I will let you know about that in just a second. Teeth whitening has taken off in the last few years, with white strips becoming popular, toothpastes focusing on stain removal and dentists offering the service almost anywhere. The at-home teeth whitening kit, however, is often neglected, feared or too expensive to use. The Smile Brilliant system is actually fairly simple and is hundreds of dollars cheaper than the option offered by dentists, even though it’s the same as the professional teeth whitening process. Here is what my hubby’s complimentary Smile Brilliant review kit looks like;

DSCF8400

The Smile Brilliant kit included trays in which to make a cast of his mouth, the peroxide and desensitizing gels, the full instructions and a return envelope for once we had taken an imprint of his teeth.

DSCF8403

It’s a fairly easy process, in which you mix the above two pastes together, slap the gunk into the mouth guard and bite down on that for a minute.

teethwhitening

Then you take the mouth guard out and let the cast set. After the impressions harden, you pop the trays into the envelope, send it back to Smile Brilliant and wait for your custom whitening tray to arrive. Return shipping is fairly quick and the postage is included for all US residents. International users are welcome- we just have to pay to send our trays in and our expense was minimal, around $7. The Smile Brilliant staff is fantastic where this whole process is concerned, giving very detailed instructions and providing excellent support if it’s required. We found the customer service to be great and their response/turnaround time to be incredibly quick too.

I was really impressed with the tray aspect of the Smile Brilliant kit, as Bear’s got one slightly crooked tooth in the front that sticks out just the slightest bit more than his other ones- whenever he uses whitening strips, he doesn’t get even coverage because of this and ends up with discolouration in only one spot. The custom fitted trays hug each individual tooth and ensure even distribution of the peroxide gel. You apply a “string” of the gel along the tray (which helps to get the cracks in between your teeth) and are supposed to wear the trays every day for a week, for one to three hours. Bear was not able to do that, due to his level of tooth sensitivity, and needed to take a day or two break in between sessions, even though he used the desensitizing gel. He said it’s a lot to get used to and he had some gum irritation when first using the kit, which he hated, but he said it was well-worth it in the end.

Bear only had to whiten a few times before reaching his desired results and, I’m not sure if you can tell from the pictures below, there is a HUGE difference in his smile!

Teeth Whitening

Before whitening, after two sessions and his end results.

His smile became significantly whiter, the spaces between his teeth are no longer stained and I’ve started staring at them again when he talks, as I used to have a real thing for his mouth that I hadn’t realized we lost. We were incredibly impressed with the Smile Brilliant teeth whitening system and I think, in the above photo, you can tell that the last picture is a genuine, happy smile due to the results my hubby achieved with the kit. More than just the change in his teeth, Smile Brilliant helped to change his confidence and he’s been flashing a devilish grin far more often. He feels good, knowing that he looks good, and that’s why I’m so pleased to be able to pass on one of these kits to one lucky reader! If you are too excited about the idea of a whiter smile and don’t want to wait, trying Smile Brilliant is risk free because they offer a 100% money back guarantee. You can find the details about that on their site, which you can check out here.

In order to enter the draw for your own teeth whitening kit, worth $139.95, please visit the contest page by clicking HERE and enter today. Good luck!