Low-Cal Cocktails

Lo-cal cocktail options!It might sound a bit ironic to call a cocktail healthy, but when certain drinks can pack a nearly 600-calorie punch, you might want to be mindful of low-calorie options. Alcoholic drinks can come with a lot of calories, especially when they are being mixed with other ingredients. What’s the point of a diet if you are going to blow it when you choose your booze?

Now you can have your cocktail and drink it too! Enjoy these low calorie alternatives while enjoying flavor without a ridiculous amount of sugars and unwanted calories!

La Pinta- pomegranate Tequila

I was super-incredibly-lucky to receive La Pinta, a premium pomegranate-flavored tequila, to review. Sorry for the overuse of adjectives, but it’s seriously that good. I shared it with a friend and she agreed too! La Pinta is sweet enough by itself, but also serves well in cocktails.

It’s almost silly to consider other drinks when there’s delicious healthy alternatives. There are a surprising number of brands and recipes striving to offer low-calorie options of alcoholic drinks. La Pinta is a product I highly suggest to any fans of fruit-infused spirits.

La Pinta d’lite

2.5 oz. La Pinta

2 oz. club soda or sparkling water

Approximate Calories: 160

I’ve also received samples of ACTIVATE water, which doubles as a cocktail mixer. These vitamin waters come in colorful and innovative packaging that protects your vitamins in the cap until you are ready to release them into the water and enjoy your beverage. For more info about the product, check out my review of healthy flavored waters. For additional cocktail recipes using ACTIVATE and their reviews, visit my article on Halloween Cocktails.

Exotic Berry Martini

3 oz. Exotic Berry ACTIVATE

1 oz. Premium Vodka

Squeeze fresh lime juice over drink. Garnish with fresh berries.

ACTIVATE Vitamin Water

Bubbly Blueberry POMtini

3 oz. Blueberry Pomegranate ACTIVATE

1 oz. Premium Vodka Top with champagne.

Voli Vodka

Squeeze fresh lime juice over drink. Garnish with fresh berries.

 

Certain brands feature products that are ideal for low calorie drinks. One of these brands is co-owned by singer-songwriter Stacy Ann Ferguson, better known as Fergie. For more information about Voli Light Vodkas, visit their website.

Last year I received Voli Light Vodka to review and am a big fan of it. Voli’s a great tasting vodka made from natural ingredients, and this spirit has about 25-40 percent fewer calories than other leading brands!

Skinny Citrus Crush Cocktail Recipe

For seasonal recipes and LLB reviews that feature Voli cocktails, visit our articles on St. Valentine’s Cocktails and St. Patty’s Cocktails.

Skinny Citrus Crush

1 1/2 oz Voli Lyte (works with Voli Lemon too)

1/2 oz Agave Nectar 2 Lemon wedges

1 Lime wedge Top with soda water

Squeeze lemons and lime and drop in a glass. Add Voli Lyte, Agave and ice. Shake and top with soda water.

Approximate Calories: 105 (110 with Voli Lemon)

Volitio cocktail recipeVolito

1 1/2 oz LYTE or Lemon

1/2 fresh lime

8 mint leaves

1 packet sweetener

Club soda Muddle lime, mint and sweetener. Add Voli, light shake and pour all ingredients in a glass. Top with club soda. Serve in a highball glass. Garnish with mint sprig.

You can even add fruits to this like blueberries, strawberries, kiwi, red berries, and mango.

Approximate Calories: 85

Blushing Berry Cocktail RecipeBlushing Berry

1 1/2 oz Raspberry Cocoa

1/2 oz Raspberry liqueur

Splash of diet cranberry juice

Served over ice and garnish with a raspberry and lime twist.

Approximate Calories: 130

Another popular low-cal brand is Skinnygirl created by Bethenny Frankel. This brand provides diet-friendly options for lovers of not just margaritas, but also vodka, wine, and ready to serve cocktails! For more info, check out the Skinnygirl website.

 

ChapStick® Raspberry Crème Moisturizer & ChapStick Sport Ready Review

Raspberry Creme ChapStick ReviewIt’s no secret that I’m a sucker for raspberry flavors. I saw that ChapStick® now offers its popular lip moisturizer in a wonderful raspberry crème flavor, and I couldn’t wait to try it. I happily accepted the offer of a free ChapStick Raspberry Crème Moisturizer for the purpose of this review. Find out what I really think about this product below!

I have to say, first and foremost, that I am somewhat distressed when I can’t find my new ChapStick in my purse or pocket. I’ve suffered through a few different occasions where I misplaced my Raspberry Crème lip balm for days at a time, finally finding it in a coat pocket or other unexpected location. In recent days I’ve enjoyed much better luck with keeping it close at hand. The flavor is THAT good that I don’t want to miss a day without this lip product. I will most certainly be buying more ChapStick Raspberry Crème when this one runs out in the coming weeks or months.

Boasting Aloe and Vitamin E among its ingredients, ChapStick Raspberry Crème Moisturizer glides smoothly and comfortably onto the lips, adding a dose of SPF 15 sunscreen protection. It is comfortable to wear and seems to last a rather long time once applied. The fragrance and flavor are tantalizing – I only wish I had a chocolate flavored lip balm to apply at the same time!

I also had the pleasure of trying ChapStick® Sport Ready lip balm, which is aimed at protecting the lips of those who are active and athletic. Especially great for skiers and other adventure-seekers, ChapStick Sport Ready features a cool clip top for easy access anywhere you go. This lip product also works hard to protect your lips from the elements, giving a stronger dose of SPF 30 sun block and a water-resistant formula, effective for up to 80 minutes, that works great by the beach or at the pool.

The Raspberry Crème Lip Moisturizer retails for .99 to $1.99 and Sport Ready sells for $2.59 to $2.99 at your favorite drugstores, grocery stores, and mass market retailers. Learn more about ChapStick products at www.chapstick.com.

Disclosure: I received a ChapStick gift pack containing both of these products for the purpose of this review, courtesy of Pfizer Consumer Healthcare.

 

Halloween Cocktails

Samples received for cocktailsHalloween is always a fun, spooky time of year. Get into spirits this season not only with costumes, but also cocktails! I was lucky to receive a number of products to review and sample some recipes. The following cocktails are sure to put you in a hauntingly good mood on Halloween or any other day!

Themed stemware by Designs by Lolita

Themed cocktails are not the only way to get the party going, spice up your party decorations by getting themed stemware. Designs by Lolita offers a variety of decorated glasses for any and every occasion.

These glasses are more than just something to put a drink in, each piece comes with its own signature drink recipe on the bottom. To see more images of the range of glasses that are available visit their website.

RecipeCocktail recipeThemed Cocktail Recipe

To keep your chocolate cravings at bay, treat yourself to Marie Brizard’s Chocolat Royal, the first and only super-premium dark chocolate liqueur. Not only can you add some indulgence to your cocktails or simply enjoy on the rocks, Chocolat Royal is versatile in its use and is able to go with coffee or over dessert as well. Yum!

Chocolat Royal is made with genuine cocoa beans with notes of vanilla and caramel to create a delicate blend of flavors. I received a bottle of Chocolat Royal for the purpose of this review.

Wicked Chocolate Cocktail Recipe

Wicked Chocolat

1.5 oz. Marie Brizard Chocolat Royal

1.5 oz. Sobieski Orange Vodka

Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Sprinkle mint leaves on top for added flavor.

Even without mint leaves, this drink is sweet and simple. Enjoy Wicked Chocolat in small sips, rather than large gulps. If this drink is too strong for your or your guests’ tastes, add some club soda to the cocktail.

The Black Widow Cocktail

Chocolat Royal is not the only flavorful liqueur from Marie Brizard. The high-end line also features a range of other flavors including cacao, fruits, and mints.

The Black Widow

.5 oz. Marie Brizard Blackberry

2 oz. Sobieski Vodka

Pour and shake all ingredients together.

Serve on the rocks or straight up in a martini glass or make it extra sweet with a sugar-rimmed martini glass.

Another simple drink is the Southern Scream. This sweet drink doesn’t require many ingredients or a complicated recipe. This Halloween themed alcoholic beverage already adds a kick to classic OJ, so grenadine is not a dealbreaker to enjoy it. If you don’t have grenadine on hand and would prefer a more festive shade of orange, consider dripping red food dye into the cocktails. If you choose to use grenadine, remember only a drizzle is needed!

Southern Scream Recipe

Southern Scream

In a tall glass with ice, add:

1½ ounces Southern Comfort

4 ounces orange juice

Drizzle of Grenadine

Add a black licorice for sipping.

Southern Comfort

I received a bottle of Southern Comfort to sample the above Halloween cocktail. Southern Comfort or SoCo is a mix of fruit, spice, and whiskey flavors. It’s been around since 1874 and was created in New Orleans by a man who’s face is unknown. (There are no known pictures of M. W. Heron.)

Go to the next page to learn about Lucid Absinthe!


Baby Teething Accessories – Molar Muncher and Lansinoh MOmma Teether

Basket Baby by Beatricekillam on http://www.stockfreeimages.com/Teething can start almost any time after about three months with most infants. Some babies start teething as early as age three months while others may not get their first teeth until even after their first birthday. Many times babies will start teething around four months or upward of seven months. Regardless of when your child starts teething, it is a great idea to have teething toys and accessories on hand to help soothe your little one’s sore mouth and gums.

No matter what baby store you check, you will find dozens of different baby teethers to help relieve your infant’s discomfort related to the new baby teeth coming in. One of the most important considerations is probably to ensure any teethers you buy or receive as a gift are free from BPA or other chemicals. If you are still in need of a teether for your baby, you can look into those that are meant to be refrigerated and those that aren’t, depending on your preferences.

mOmma Teether (Gino)The mOmma Teether (Gino) is a colorful yellow ducky that is shaped like a ring with a head and two wings. The ducky is filled with water, making it perfect for chilling or freezing to help soothe your little one’s gums. The duck’s head is a somewhat hard plastic, but the body, which makes up the bulk of this teether, is soft and rubbery with a fair amount of give, making this a nice teething aid for your child. The mOmma Teether (Gino) also has some different nubbies, which add to the texture of the teething toy and help to massage sore gums.

This ducky teether helps to soothe pain from teething for babies aged six months and up. It is easy to hold and stays cool long enough to hold your baby’s interests and help your baby ease the pain of teething. This teether retails for about $5.99. The mOmma Teether is BPA free and available as a duck, penguin, or walrus. Distributed by Lansinoh Laboratories and hailing from Italy, mOmma products are designed as a developmental line of items for baby, boasting different colors, shapes, styles, and more. For more information, visit www.mommatechnology.com.

Molar Muncher

The Molar Muncher is an inventive way to help your baby relieve pain caused by teething. While this is not a water-filled teether, the clever design – much like a pacifier, binky, or dummy, whatever your preferred term – makes this teether enticing as well as familiar to most infants. This item is BPA-free and recommended by pediatricians and pediatric dentists. One of the most impressive qualities of the Molar Muncher is that it is designed to soothe the entire gum line simultaneously. This teether is seamless with a single piece construction. It has no cracks for germs to hide, and it is totally dishwasher safe.

The Molar Muncher is made of medical grade nontoxic silicone. It is designed to prevent tooth displacement and it is suitable for all stages of teething. This teether is hands-free and lightweight so your little one can use it while they play, and it won’t cause nipple confusion since it is a totally different shape. Although there is no water inside this teether, you can still chill it in the fridge to give your baby even more relief. The Molar Muncher retails for $12.99. For additional information or to buy this product, check out www.molarmuncher.com.

I received one of each of these baby teething products for the purpose of this review. They both have traits that seem especially valuable in placating a teething infant. If you have other tips on soothing a baby that is teething, please share them in our comments below.

 

A Mini Spa Moment from Softsoap®

Body Butter Strawberry SmootherThree Wonderful Treats: Body Butter Strawberry Smoother, Sweet Honeysuckle & Orange Peel Bar Soap, and Coconut Scrub Bar Soap

Do you enjoy a morning shower/bath or do you indulge in a nightly ritual of showering? Either way, you have access to a wide range of luscious bathing products that cleanse and moisturize your skin efficiently and pleasantly.

If you are like women, your arsenal of bath products includes a range of items designed to offer exceptional formulas that not only cleanse dirt and grime away, but they also address other skin issues for both mature and youthful skin. Choosing your bath products wisely is an important aspect of maintaining healthy skin that looks as good as it feels.

From high-end brands that cost an arm and a leg to more affordable ones that easily fit into any budget, body washes and bar soaps are sold in numerous fragrances, sizes and shapes. They contain a medley of different ingredients, offering your skin what it needs to look and stay fresh.

Today, you can envelop yourself in an aromatic experience that gently cleanses your body and lifts your mood, while delivering a medley of benefits to your skin. No longer are you limited to the simple bar soaps that your mother had to use back in the day. Instead, you can choose body wash, shower gel, body scrubs, and liquid soaps that feature skin-softening extracts and oils that smell absolutely amazing.

Whether you are a lover of fragrant body washes or you enjoy the scent of body bars, the makers of Softsoap® have something for you. Featuring delectable fragrances that tantalize your olfactory senses into thinking that you are going to enjoy a tasty treat, Softsoap body wash and soaps deliver botanical-infused creations that cleanse your body while surrounding you with a delightful effervescent experience.

Softsoap’s Body Butter Strawberry Smoother is a delightful body smoothing wash, containing strawberry and jojoba butter extracts for the sheer purpose of creating smooth, sexy skin. It is sold in a generous 15 fluid-ounce size. It smells divine and lathers up with a silkiness that leaves your skin smelling and feeling great!

Sweet Honeysuckle & Orange Peel bar soapSoftsoap’s Sweet Honeysuckle & Orange Peel bar soap is infused with the aromatic goodness of real orange-peel extract and honeysuckle fragrance. This scrumptiously scented soap is my new favorite!

Coconut Scrub bar soapSoftsoap’s Coconut Scrub bar soap is enriched with crushed-coconut extract and mild exfoliants that gently cleanse your body, refining the texture of your skin. It helps to remove the dullness that the skin sometimes develops when dead skin cells and oils build up on the surface of your skin.

Products may have been received for the purpose of this review, but they are worth their weight in gold!

 

 

Gorgeous and Timeless Baby Fashions for Little Girls and Little Boys – Miniclasix and Pediped Review

PedipedBaby clothes can sometimes be so cute you can’t help yourself when it comes to picking out a new outfit, or five. Whether you have a little girl, a little boy, or more than one kid in tow, the fashions for babies and toddlers are getting cuter by the minute. Gorgeous and timeless, classic baby clothes are a great way to show off your own sense of style through your adorable princess or your handsome little man.

Spend even just five minutes online and you are sure to be overwhelmed with the vast array of cute baby clothes, shoes, and accessories. You can easily spend just as much, if not more, on your baby’s wardrobe than your own. You might even spend more time picking out fashions for your little one. The latest clothes and shoes for baby are just too cute to pass up!

In a recent quest to find some of the most beautiful and handsome fashions of the season for little girls and guys, I was introduced to the brand Miniclasix. I received a generous selection of baby and toddler clothes from Miniclasix, an extraordinary brand of baby and kid clothing that is sold in better department stores and specialty shops across the U.S. First off, Miniclasix designs absolutely stunning dresses and outfits for little girls. Take a look through their collections and you may find yourself dreaming up all the special places you can go and things you can do with your little girl all dolled up in their beautiful clothes. I received two dresses from Miniclasix and I am absolutely in love with both.

Ivory Crochet DressThe Ivory Crochet Dress with Tulle Skirting and matching Crochet Cardigan, both from the Tea Party collection, are really too precious for words. Honestly, if it came in my size, I think I would want to wear it too. This frilly dress is too gorgeous with its delicately crocheted neckline, sleeves, and bodice, and the sweet tulle skirt completes the look. The crochet work is beautiful beyond words on both the dress and the cardigan. It has a delicate beauty all its own, drawing the eye to the pattern of the threads as they come together and move apart.

Our daughter Natalie actually wore this dress the day of her Baptism – it was the dress we changed her into for the reception, since it was about 97 degrees in the church with no air conditioning on such a hot summer day. Everyone adored the dress and asked us where we had ever found it. I was proud to tell them all about Miniclasix. In fact, I would even recommend this lovely ivory crochet dress as a Baptism gown for your little girl if you are in need of one. The set also comes with a panty / diaper cover, and the cardigan comes with a little baby hat. This gown comes in sizes ranging from 3 to 24 months, and the matching cardigan comes in 0 to 24 months.

Netting Tutu Dress & Panty SetI also received a beautiful pink frilly dress, the Netting Tutu Dress & Panty Set from the Calypso collection. This is a bright salmon pink tank dress with a tutu skirt. The cotton bodice is very smooth, soft, and even a bit stretchy. This pretty in pink dress comes with its own bloomers or panty. The skirt of the dress is very well designed – it has a bottom tier of the cotton fabric and two upper tiers of ruffled tulle, giving it so much volume and dimension. Every stitch in the whole dress seems to be precisely in its place. I believe the quality of the Miniclasix products reaches far beyond many other baby clothes you would find in similar styles.

By the way, the perfect complement to such pretty dresses would be adorable little shoes. I would suggest pediped as a fabulous creator of top quality, beautiful shoes for kids. The pediped Originals Abigail Shoe in pink is a perfect example of a girl’s shoe that would suit either of the dresses above. These too-cute pink shoes are made from real, genuine leather and feature impressive stitching around the soles (hand-stitched!) as well as gorgeous flower designs on the uppers. I received a pair of these pink Abigail shoes from pediped for the purpose of review. They are a size x-small, 0-6 months, but my daughter has small feet and it is killing me waiting for her to fit into them!

Regardless, I want to go on about the quality of these cute pink baby shoes. These pink Mary Janes are so sweet with their two-tone pink flowers, one whole and one half shown on the shoe. The little ankle strap has plenty of Velcro so you can adjust the shoes as needed. The pediped Originals line is recommended by podiatrists and pediatricians because these shoes have soft soles that mimic barefoot walking. The shoes also feature a little ankle cushion. The interior of the shoe is very soft and the entire shoe – upper, lining, and sole – is made of leather. The Abigail shoe is available in pink, fuchsia, purple, or white/silver and retails for $35.

Pediped has shoes for boys and girls from birth on up to about age 7 or 8. For more information, check out www.pediped.com.

Top & Pant SetWhen it comes to boys’ fashions, Miniclasix has got the little guys covered, too. I received two cute outfits for boys, one on the casual side and another that is a little dressier. The first outfit is the Top & Pant Set from the Athletic Dept. collection, which is a T-shirt with trompe l’oeil sneaker detailing and khaki pants. The shirt features a cute design where the sneakers look as if they are tied together and dangling across your little one’s shoulders, loosely around the neck. The shirt is made from soft white cotton and the attention to detail is impeccable. The sneaker laces are actually sewn with grey thread in different places for added texture and dimension. The khaki pants are soft and feature a nice hemline with expert stitching. The front has a mock fly and the waistband is elastic. Each side of the pants has a white fatigued-looking stripe down the length of the legs. This would be a fun outfit for your little boy to wear for playtime with friends or anytime you need a look that is cute and casual.

Shirt & Short SetIn the Little Guy collection, I also received the Shirt & Short Set, which includes a soft denim button-up with cuffed sleeves and true linen khaki shorts. This outfit is very cute for a little boy and would make the perfect getup to wear to a summer party or other occasion. The denim button-up shirt has a collar that you can pop up, as well as buttons that seem to be made of brass or a similar looking material. This shirt has two mock pockets and a loop and button on each cuffed sleeve. The khaki pants are a whitish color and are made from 100% linen. They also have a mock fly and a single cargo pocket, which actually does open. The elastic waistband makes it easy to dress and undress on the fly, as we all know how messy some little boys can tend to be. The linen fabric is soft and the look is stylish.

Both of these looks make for a handsome wardrobe you and your spouse can truly appreciate, even if your little guy is too busy jumping in puddles to notice. The Miniclasix girls’ looks are honestly too cute for words. I am thrilled to have the chance to get to know this exquisite brand and I look forward to following their future collections as one season welcomes the next.

 

Summer Infant’s Dr. Mom Health & Grooming Kit Review

Dr. Mom Health & Grooming KitBabies require so much more than just their basic survival needs. Once you’ve got the feeding, changing, bathing, and cuddling down, you’ll find so many other things that your baby needs and enjoys. When it comes to healthcare and grooming, some things are obvious and others may catch you by surprise. That’s why it truly helps to have a baby healthcare and grooming kit on hand, like the Summer Infant’s Dr. Mom Health & Grooming Kit.

The Summer Infant Dr. Mom Health & Grooming Kit contains an array of items essential to your baby’s wellbeing, cleanliness, and safety. The kit contains a nasal aspirator, nail clippers, medicine spoon, comb and brush, medicine syringe, emery boards, alcohol swabs, digital thermometer, and an emergency information card. It is likely you will need each of these items at one time or another in caring for your infant. Keeping these items in a case all together helps you to always know where they are when the time comes that you need them.

First, I absolutely love the lime green and white color combination. The kit comes in a plastic case with a handle and the items are nicely organized. Once you remove each item from the plastic packaging inside the case, you will have room for even more baby health and grooming supplies if you wish to add them to this kit. The case itself is clear plastic and it has lime green slider locks that allow you to open and close the case.

I received one Dr. Mom Health & Grooming Kit from Summer Infant for the purpose of this review.

The Summer Infant Dr. Mom Health & Grooming Kit is available for purchase at your favorite baby stores, at Diapers.com, and at Amazon.com. It retails for about $14.99. For more information, check out www.summerinfant.com.

 

Baby Bottle and Accessory Drying Racks Review

Boon Grass drying rackWhen our daughter was first born, I didn’t know what kind of drying rack to get for her bottles, pacifiers, breast pump parts, and other washable baby accessories. I did feel strongly that her items should have their own separate place to dry, and resting them on a paper towel just didn’t seem to cut it for me all the time. I invested in the Boon Grass countertop drying rack and the Sprout Drying Rack by Munchkin. I like both for different reasons and have since narrowed down my use to just one of these racks.

The Grass countertop drying rack by Boon is as simple as it gets. The design is cool and clean with a basic green and white color scheme. The individual grass blades stick up, keeping all kinds of baby items elevated with sufficient air flow at all angles. This baby items drying rack is, of course, BPA-free, and also free from phthalates and PVC. I feel like the design of this rack is so simple and neutral that it will look great in any kitchen. It is a classy design that doesn’t add clutter or overwhelm your existing kitchen counter setup.

The flat surface and geometric shape make it easy to dry items of all sizes, including bottles, nipples, all the washable breast pump parts, and even baby toys and pacifiers, often at the same time. The drying rack is a 9.5” square with a 2.5” height. The water that drips off of the baby items conveniently collects in the white tray that is under the grass blades. Simply drain this tray after all of your items have dried. Both pieces come apart easily for washing, as the grass drying rack rests neatly inside the white tray.

Munchkin Sprout Drying RackThe Munchkin Sprout Drying Rack has a unique design with an expandable rack that collapses in size and a spinner tray to allow you to rotate the drying rack a full 360 degrees to easily access all the items you are drying. This baby item drying rack has a fun design that can hold a lot of pieces with a small footprint on your countertop space. The Sprout Drying Rack by Munchkin can hold up to 12 bottles of varying sizes, plus baby spoons or silverware, breast pump parts, pacifiers, toys, and more.

The Sprout Drying Rack is also green and white in color and has a fun nature-inspired design. The white spinner tray has cute leaf shapes that also help to keep the bottles and baby accessories elevated just enough to get a decent airflow to speed drying. The tray has slots so rings and disks can rest upright for quicker drying time. This drying rack also has numerous “sprout” appendages that allow you to place both plastic and glass baby bottles and other items higher up for maximum air flow. You can place the rings on the sprout posts first and then place the bottles to maximize space when drying. This rack also has a cup to place things like baby spoons, forks, and other small items. Like the Grass rack, the Munchkin alternative also has a built-in reservoir to catch dripping water for easy drainage.

The one thing I did not love about the Munchkin drying rack is simply that it doesn’t store as easily as the Grass rack when not in use. Once put together, the cup and sprout posts do not come apart. You can twist them to make a flatter shape, but I still found it easier to store my Grass drying rack in a cabinet when not using it. Also, I tend to leave my Boon Grass drying rack out on the counter when not in use, too, simply because it is very attractive without having a ‘cluttery’ look.

I bought both of these on Amazon when I was also getting a microwave steam sterilizer to clean and sterilize all of our daughter’s bottles and things. I found having both drying racks back then was very helpful and reduced the amount of time I had to spend on that chore. Now that we have cleaned everything, we only use bottles once in a while since I am still nursing. I feel I would be fine with just one drying rack. Of the two, I would keep the Grass drying rack due to its attractive design, its simplicity, and its easy storage when not in use.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I actually came to prefer the Grass drying rack over time. It had fewer pieces to fuss with, accommodated any number of different items, and easily stashed away in the cabinet between washings and whenever guests were coming to the house. I would definitely see ourselves repurposing the Grass drying rack for other things as well, like small pieces of kitchen gadgets, cookie cutters, icing gun or cookie gun pieces, shot glasses, and more. This is a drying rack that anyone could enjoy, with or without kids and babies in the picture.

My Favorite Topcoat

My Favorite Topcoat

I received the ever-name-fitting clear nail polish, My Favorite Topcoat, to review and put to the test. I rarely used topcoats in the past; I either forgot or just didn’t consider it. After using this nail product I  changed my mind and vow to never forget again!

Every great manicure needs something equally great to protect it. There’s nothing worse than doing your own manicure at home and having your design chip away because you forgot to top it off with a clear polish. Some polishes just doesn’t cut it for the wear and tear nails get without something to defend it.

With all the things my nails have to go through.. typing, washing dishes, rifling through purses and bags for that Chapstick I swear I threw in there. I accepted the fact that my nail designs would only last a few days, before I started using My Favorite Topcoat.

Perfect Formula’s My Favorite Topcoat is designed to extend the wear of your manicure or pedicure. The formula will seal and toughen your nail polish to withstand the everyday abuse nails experience. I used to be ashamed at the state of my nails when friends and co-workers noticed my manicure days after I’ve painted them and designs had already started to chip. Now that I’ve got My Favorite Topcoat on my side I’m hoping to avoid all future embarrassment.

My Favorite TopcoatThis nail product isn’t a miracle worker though. I tried this with Sally Hansen polish and it worked wonders – really kept my manicure in shape. However, when I tried it with Confetti brand nail polish, the tips of my nails were chipped within hours. It also helps to reapply a coat every day or so to further extend wear.

When there is a pattern on nails, paint in the direction of the pattern to avoid smearing and smudging. When I went in the opposite direction, the polish made my design bleed a small amount.The topcoat also made my nails a little tacky, although this is perhaps due to too many coats of polish being used and being a tad bit impatient.

Although there may be some small measures to take in preserving a manicure or pedicure, it is well worth the effort. My Favorite Topcoat has rightfully earned its name as my favorite topcoat.

My Favorite Topcoat is just one of the many products featured on QVC. It’s not just a channel on TV anymore. QVC is on many social networks and you can even order products online. You can order this product here, or visit the mainpage for other great products!

 

Gourmet Meals Made Simple with McCormick Gourmet Recipe Mixes

McCormick Gourmet Recipe Mixes Review and GiveawayI’ve always loved to cook, from homemade Stromboli and hand-rolled meatballs to lasagna, stirfry, and more. Now that I have a newborn, my cooking time is drastically diminished. If I can get 30 minutes to myself to throw something together, it’s like hitting the jackpot. Seriously, it is a wonder we haven’t had cereal for dinner yet. I can wholeheartedly thank McCormick for at least four of my recent meals, and two more to come, which took only minutes to prepare and gave us that gourmet dinner experience without the fuss.

First, let me say I am a longtime fan and patron of McCormick products. I make all my stirfry dinners with McCormick’s Italian spice grinder. I make roast beef au jus with the au jus packet, and I make pulled pork with McCormick’s pulled pork packet. I use their cream of tartar, vanilla, almond extract, food coloring, and other ingredients for my cookies and desserts. I would be deceiving you if I pretended to be surprised by the deliciousness of this new offering from this rock star spice and seasoning company, when I am already well aware of how their ingredients knock my meals and baked goods out of the park every time.

McCormick Gourmet Recipe Mixes Review and Giveaway

With that being said, I AM pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to mix up dinners in only minutes with a newborn at home, often requiring only fresh meat and the secondary ingredients that I already keep in the house. Furthermore, I am in love with one of these seasoning packets in particular, which my husband and I both enjoyed the most out of all that we tried. Even washing the dishes later that night, our home smelled just like an Italian restaurant. I mean, I know I am a good cook and all, but that was quite unexpected for a meal that probably took all of about 15 minutes to throw together. Even my mom, who tried the Sweet Basil & Oregano Bruschetta Chicken as leftovers the next day, loved it, and she now wants her own seasoning packets to use at her house.

McCormick Gourmet Recipe Mixes Review and GiveawaySo far, I have prepared four meals with the McCormick Gourmet seasoning packets – Sweet Basil & Oregano Bruschetta Chicken (our favorite, husband even had seconds), Smoked Sausage & Pepper Creole Jambalaya (I used chicken sausage instead of turkey sausage), Bourbon Spiced Pork (my mom and I LOVED this for lunch one day while she was babysitting my daughter so I could work), and Herbes de Provence Roasted Chicken & Potatoes (it was good, but we preferred the bruschetta chicken).

I love how easy it is to elevate your everyday meals with these great seasonings and meal ideas from McCormick. In most cases, it would take just as long to make macaroni and cheese and hotdogs as it would to whip up one of these bad boys, so adding these spice packets into your routine should be a no-brainer. You

McCormick Gourmet Recipe Mixes Review and Giveaway

can enjoy a more exquisite meal, and no one has to know it only took you 15 or 20 minutes to prepare (plus cooking time in some cases).

I received six packets of McCormick seasonings along with a wonderful McCormick Elevating Everyday Meals prize pack that included a fancy apron to protect my clothes while cooking, a dinner conversation game to make mealtime more fun, a Red Box certificate so we can enjoy dinner and a movie at home, and of course, wine glasses to celebrate my hard work (a-hem) in the kitchen. All items were for the purpose of this review and promotion of a giveaway that we are hosting on Life Love Beauty.

McCormick Gourmet Recipe Mixes Review and GiveawayOne winner will receive an incredible prize pack from McCormick, too. Simply post a comment on this page or on our Facebook page with your favorite meal idea that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare. If you are leaving a comment on this page, be sure to double-check your email address so we have a means of contacting you. We can’t wait to hear about your easy meals in under 30 minutes. To be eligible for the giveaway, please enter your comments by Thursday, September 27 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Good luck, everyone, and happy cooking!

Four Fabulous Mally Beauty Makeup Products

A review of four great products from Mally BeautyI was so excited to receive and try out this large variety of Mally Beauty products for this review! This line is highly acclaimed by its fans and it’s not hard to see why.

Mally Roncal is the genius behind this cosmetics line. As a celebrity makeup artist, Roncal gained the experience necessary to create perfect products for a flawless look.

I highly suggest investing in these and other Mally Beauty cosmetics; they will change how you view makeup. (If you don’t believe me, look at the reviews of any product and see what seems to be an infinite amount of praise of not only the product, but anything by Mally Beauty!) The products offer long-lasting wear and all the necessary ingredients for cosmetics that work for every lifestyle.

You can find these products and more on MallyBeauty.com as well as from QVC.com.

If you are looking to update your look for fall, these products are great starters for your makeover as well as a great introduction to what this line of cosmetics can provide. Whether you are looking for something glam or something natural, Mall Beauty has got you covered.

Evercolor Poreless Face Defender

The Evercolor Poreless Face Defender from Mally Beauty

Although it’s not a powder, use Face Defender whenever you would use translucent powder to protect your makeup and diminish the appearance of pores and fine lines.

The formula isn’t a powder, but it isn’t a gel either. To use, swirl the buffed-edge Japanese sponge that the product comes with in the unique formula and pat your face. This product glides on smoothly and feels light on your face.

Face Defender will give your face a matte finish and set your look in place. It will reduce shine and last all day, even in warmer climates where makeup can seem like it’s melting off your face. Not only does it trump powder in its use, but it also will not make a mess or spill like other products.

If you aren’t already in love with the product description so far, the clear formula will always match your skin tone. If you are in between shades or if you are darker in the summer months and paler in the winter months, you won’t need to worry about buying multiple powder products to match your skin tone.

Age Rebel Lip Wand TrioAge Rebel Lip Wand Trio from Mally Beauty

These lip colors come in shades of two pretty pinks and a deeper berry shade. The beautiful colors appear and feel natural on lips.

To apply, slide the Age Rebel Lip Wand of choice and feel the smooth soft color on your lips. No need to worry about sharpeners with this product- simply twist the tube to reveal more lipstick.

The Age Rebel Lip Wand formula was created for more than just gorgeous lip color. This products works double time by providing hydration and conditioning for lips. Although not advertised, I’m convinced the lip wands have a subtle vanilla taste. Either way I’m absolutely in love with these lip colors.

Age Rebel Lip Wand Trio and Waterproof Shadow Stick Duos from Mally Beauty

Age Rebel Waterproof Shadow Stick Duo

Age Rebel Shadow Duo from Mally Beauty

If you are looking for flawless vibrant color for your lids look no further than the Mally Age Rebel Shadow Stick Duos. These shadows are designed to not only be beautiful, but also to be easy to use. Simply twist for color and roll the stick across eyelids.

I received sets in Rose Quartz and Chocolate Diamond as well as Royal Amethyst and Antique Gold. The third color combo features a shimmery taupe and green called Smoky Quartz and Emerald. The colors blend easily with other shades in this collection.

I love pairing the sweet pink color of Rose Quartz and the bright metallic of Antique Gold to really make my blue eyes pop. The shadows add a lot of sparkle to eyes to give them some extra WOW factor.

Not only will the Age Rebel shadow sticks make your eyes stand out, but they will treat your skin with anti-aging ingredients to smooth and firm. The waterproof formula lasts all day and feels very light.

Before applying these shadows, use a primer or a shadow base like the one in the following Mally palette to ensure long-lasting wear. Unlike some waterproof and long-lasting make ups I’ve tried, I had no trouble in washing these shadows off with face wash at the end of the day.

Citychick In the Buff Shadow Palette

This palette is perfect for creating subtle and natural looking eye makeup looks. The Citychick in the Buff Shadow Palette offers eleven neutral colors plus a shadow base. The colors range from matte to a bit a shimmer, although nowhere near the amount of glitz in the Age Rebel shadows.

This palette is your one stop shop with browns, taupes, and bronzes that blend with each other to create a classic barely there look. Create looks perfect for the weekend and office with the lighter shades as well as a night out with the darker shades.

The palette is designed in a chic green snakeskin patterned box. Inside the box you’ll find the shadows and base as well as a mirror and a double-ended brush.Citychick In the Buff Shadow Palette from Mally Beauty

 

Kokopax Savannah Baby Sun Hat Review

Bubbles Sun HatKeeping the sun out of your baby’s eyes and off of her skin is such an important task, especially when you go places like the beach, the park, or anywhere you will be outside for a duration of time. Baby sun hats are a vital part of your child’s summer attire, and they can truly keep your infant safe from sunburn as well as bugs, the bright glare of the sun, or even a sprinkling of rain. The kokopax Savannah Baby Sun Hat is designed to keep your little one safe from the elements and stylish for the fun of it.

The kokopax Savannah Baby Sun Hat is available in a variety of patterns, colors, and sizes to suit your baby’s needs and your personal sense of style for your child. I received a Savannah Baby Sun Hat (6-12 mos.) in the “bubbles” pattern, which is a cool earthy color combination of greens, white, and shades of tan or grey atop a gorgeous chocolate background. The fabric of the hat is durable, but not soft and cuddly. Sun hats are not designed to be cuddly, though, so this 100% cotton canvas hat holds its shape and serves its purpose in keeping your little guy or girl safe from the sun and Mother Nature’s elements.

The no-fuss chin strap has a Velcro closure to help keep the hat secure on your child’s head. My little girl is only three months old, so she’s a bit too small to wear this cute sun hat, but I look forward to next spring and summer when she can enjoy wearing it on vacation before or after her uncle’s graduation and throughout the warm days of late spring and all throughout the summer.

I really like the construction of this hat – it seems to be very well stitched and shaped to comfortably fit the baby’s head. The brim of the hat is just a bit rough and frayed, intentionally, making it look adorably rugged. The hat’s interior has a strip of a liner with cute monkey faces to help it stay on your child’s head and to soften the fabric that touches his or her skin. I truly feel kokopax put great attention to detail into these cute and stylish baby sun hats.

The kokopax Savannah Baby Sun Hat retails for $19.99. For more information or to buy your own Savannah Sun Hat, check out www.kokopax.com. You can also like kokopax on facebook at facebook.com/kokopax for news related to special promotions, new product introductions, and more.