Saturday, November 30, 2013

Immortal Energy by Immortal Herbs

These days everyone is so busy. Of course, most people are searching for ways to stay energized to be able to make it through their hectic days. Preferably without harsh side effects or the dreaded crash at the end. 

Immortal Energy from Immortal Herbs is made with a special blend of Chinese herbs that have been used in Chinese medicine for years. Herbs such as Deer Antler (strengthening adrenal, reproductive & brain functions), Ginseng (improving thinking, concentration & memory), Goji (antioxidant & anti-inflammatory properties), & Astragalus (regulates metabolism). 

When my nights get off course, I tend to get really tired in the early afternoon. I would love to take a nap, but usually I just don't have the time to spare. I could drink a bunch of coffee, but then I'd be wired & jittery & most likely completely passed out by 7:00 PM...far too early. So I decided that my early afternoon slump was a perfect time to try Immortal Energy. I only received enough for 3 days, so I can't tell you for sure if they worked 100% or not, but I did manage to make it through my days a bit easier. I made sure to keep moving out of fear that I would be done once I sat down, but I breezed through my afternoons & was in bed at a decent hour. Actually it was a bit early for me still (9:30 is just a little off from my usual 11:00), but the point is that I made it through the day & stayed focused.

But the great part is that you get so much more! Immortal Energy assists with muscular strength and endurance, increases in concentration and memory, has anti-inflammatory properties, regulates metabolism, enhances the immune system and wards off infections by assisting the skin to eliminate toxins. 

And with all the chaos that this time of year brings (holidays & birthdays galore!), I think I may need to get more (Immortal) Energy.

Keep up with the latest from Immortal Herbs on Facebook & Twitter.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Snacktastic Saturday: Chocolate Peanut Butter Pancakes

OK, so I know that pancakes aren't really a snack. But these ones were today. I made some for breakfast & they were so good! I just couldn't resist snacking on the leftover pancakes later.

•2 large eggs
•1C. all purpose flour
•1 1/2C. milk
•2Tbsp. packed brown sugar
•2Tbsp. baking powder
•4Tbsp. vegetable oil
•1/2tsp. salt
•1/3-1/2C. baking cocoa
•1/3-1/2C peanut butter chips
•margarine, maple syrup & powdered sugar, optional

- In. large bowl, whisk eggs.
- Add flour, milk, brown sugar, baking powder, vegetable oil & salt. Stir well to combine.
- Add cocoa, stirring well to combine. (You're going for a nice chocolate color.)
- Stir in peanut butter chips.
- Cook on griddle, flipping when bubbles start to form.
- Top with desired toppings. (I just used margarine.)


Friday, November 29, 2013

Fun Friday: Hand Painted Ornaments

Once upon a time, my Christmas tree was decorated only with ornaments I painted. But over the years we've received some as gifts (even if I refused to put them on the tree for a couple years) & Paige has made quite a few over the years from daycare, Pre-K & now elementary school. But I do still love my hand painted ornaments. (I need to find more to paint!)


The first ornament I painted! This one is three dimensional along with a handful of others on the tree.

Green Virgin Products "Most Loved" Giveaway Winner!

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Be sure to check your email Sara G.! 

Congrats to our winner & thank you to everyone who entered!  

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Ageless Derma Pressed Mineral Blush in Primrose

Years ago I used to wear blush. Then one day I forgot to put it on. I forgot day after day till eventually, I just didn't wear it anymore. Until recently of course. But not just any blush, Pressed Mineral Blush by Ageless Derma. (Where has this been my whole life?!)

First I noticed the packaging, I've never seen a blush come in a box before. That made me even more eager to find out what was inside! 

So while I was opening the box, I noticed the back of it. NOT TESTED ON ANIMALS. Most of the time, this is in the fine print somewhere on packages. Not the part that draws your attention!

 The black that you see here, has a matte-like finish to it. I'm not sure why, but I love that! 

 Another thing that I love, is that you don't have to hold the compact open. It was so much easier to just open it & set it aside with the lid erect. It always irritates me when I set something down on my pedestal sink near the faucet & the lid rests on the edge, eventually making the whole thing fall into the sink. And yes, sometimes there's water in there when it happens. 

Being that I just recently started wearing blush again, I know that I need to invest in a good blush brush. But for now, this mini will have to do. Which actually works quite well, but I'm thinking that has more to do with the mineral makeup itself. And I was pretty impressed with how easily the blush adhered to the brush.

But this is why I love this mineral blush! Primrose is the perfect color for me since it's so light. You can barely see where I applied it on my hand. (Hint: it's off to the right side of my hand. Do you see the bit of shimmer now?) I'm back to wearing blush every day now but you can barely tell. Aside from the flawless finish of course.

Learn more about Ageless Derma & the other products they have to offer here.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Nature's Gate: Beauty From Nature

Have you ever seen the movie, "The Blue Lagoon" & wondered what kind of plants were on that island to make the characters look like that?! I mean, I know they were just actors, but it still makes you wonder just a little bit, right? (Tell me I'm not the only one here...) The founders of Nature's Gate wondered too (not because of the movie though) & are now dedicated to developing personal care products that combine botanical, herbal & floral treatments with modern ingredients & techniques.
Thanks to the kind folks from Nature's Gate, I was able to try four of their amazing products.
Glow Lotion
This lotion has completely changed the way I felt about self tanning lotions! I hadn't specified which skin tone would better suite me (I'm more of a light tone) & received a 16oz. Glow Lotion for medium skin tones. You would think that the outcome would be awful, but actually it worked out perfectly!
Dihydroxyacetone is a natural ingredient derived from sugar cane & is responsible for giving your skin that sun-kissed glow. When I applied my Glow Lotion, I noticed a slight warming sensation that I loved! Moments later I could tell that it was actually moisturizing my skin too. There was no need for a secondary lotion (something I remembered doing with other self tanning lotions in the past). I guess that has something to do with the vegetable glycerin, apricot kernel oil & Shea butter (to name a few ingredients).
The color took about 24 hours to show up. And after a few days, I had the perfect system going. As long as I had the time (let's face it, some days I'm lucky to even change out of my PJ's) to allow the lotion to dry, which is about 5-7 min., I'd apply it to a central point & work outwards. So for example, I'd apply it to my calves & work it out to the tops of my feet. I noticed less streaking this way. Actually, I didn't have any streaking this way. And since I wasn't able to apply my Glow Lotion daily, but had it for a darker tone - it seemed to last longer for me. See, I told you it worked out perfectly!
Vitamin E Oil
After I had my last child, I had some stretch marks stick around. I had made it through two previous pregnancies without any, so I'll admit that it was a bit discouraging. But at the same time, they weren't that bad at all considering the amount of swelling I had. But of course I tried several different creams to try & get rid of them. None of them worked (one actually burned). So I figured why not try Vitamin E Oil (even if it is almost 2 years later).
View this photo on Instagram!
Roll-On Vitamin E Oil by Nature's Gate is perfect! It easily rolls on, never once over doing it. (I know you've used a roll-on product before that had a loose seal of some sorts & glopped on.) It actually rolls on so smoothly that I didn't even rub it in. I probably should have, but I opted to just let it dry for a few min. The next morning I could still feel a bit on my skin, but my skin also felt supple. And after about a week, I noticed a change in my stretch marks. Now I'm using it on my 7 year old's nasty looking scars from a summer full of stitches! (It might take a while on those.)
Borage Serum
Part of Nature's Gate Facial Care Collection, Borage Serum is enriched with an exclusive blend of 7 Beautiful Skin Botanicals (white tea, aloe, olive, argan, flaxseed, blackberry & acerola) & obviously borage which is also commonly known as the starflower. Borage seed oil is abundant in essential fatty acids. Add a few more plant based ingredients (such as carob seed extract) & the result is a freshness you can see & feel.
The first thing I noticed about the Borage Serum is the consistency. It looks like a watered down lotion, but when you go to apply it, it almost instantly has a feel more like water. For that reason alone, this is best applied directly to your face instead of rubbing into your fingertips first (which I always do with everything 0 except this). It seemed like almost instantly the Borage Serum was fully absorbed into my skin & I went about my routine of applying moisturizer & makeup. But what wasn't routine was the freshness & youthfulness I could feel...& see. I may look young for my age as it is, but being in my 30's, it's important for me to take the proactive approach to aging.
Avocado Night Cream
I have to say, I absolutely love the scent of this night cream! Which makes it more like a treat to put on before bed. Especially since I tend to shy away from night creams because the scents are just too overpowering for me. 
With many of the same ingredients as the Borage Serum (including the 7 Beautiful Skin Botanicals), the Avocado Night Cream brings a freshness to your face overnight. With natural peptides from Maca (Peruvian Ginseng), you also get an even skin tone. So although I don't wake up with a radiant glow (I think of the one that comes with pregnancy), I do wake up feeling ready to start my day. I could even just get up & go!

"All of our products reflect our ongoing efforts to preserve the earth's natural resources & develop sustainable sources of clean water, Through our partnership with WaterAid, Nature's Gate helps improve access to safe water & sanitation in the world's poorest communities."
Keep up with the latest from Nature's Gate on Facebook & Twitter.
Nature's Gate products are available at health & natural food stores across the U.S. & Canada or by visiting

**Disclaimer: I received these products to try from Nature's Gate & am simply sharing my personal opinion which may vary from yours. I was not compensated for this review.

Think It Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving!

Let's all take a moment to truly be thankful for what we have.

I'm thankful for my family, even though at times I'd like to not admit that we're related.
I'm thankful for the roof over my head, even if it is more repair work than we initially thought.
I'm thankful to be able to feed my family, even if times get tough.
 I'm thankful for friends, they're the best medicine at times.

I'm thankful for a lot more, but right now I'm stuck on coffee...I'm so thankful for coffee this morning. And most likely this afternoon. And possibly early evening.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! 
And Happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Kathy's Freebies & Savings: Baby Bullet Giveaway!

If you've been visiting my blog for a while, then you know I'm all about nutrition (with indulgences in moderation of course). But why not start at the beginning. No, I'm not talking about going back to the time of the dinosaurs or anything (even though my son would think that would be the coolest thing ever!). But how about when we first introduce food to our little ones. 

Yes, baby food has made huge strides over the last I don't know how many years, but it's never the same as making your own. And I'll admit that I was one of those people that thought it all just sounded like way too much work. Of course it probably would've been because I didn't have a Baby Bullet. Actually, a Baby Bullet would come in handy for me now too! I have a picky eater (just one thankfully) that could use some sort of veggie-fruit Popsicle...

This giveaway is sponsored by Baby Bullet and is hosted by Kathy's Freebies & Savings


This giveaway is for a Baby Bullet. The giveaway is for the US only and will run from 11/27-12/11. The winner will be emailed and they will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Make sure to check out the review by Kathy's Freebies & Savings. Good luck to everyone. 

 **Kathy's Freebies & Savings and Smith and Blessings are not responsible for prize shipment.

Work It Wednesday: Simple Eye Makeup Tips

I have been searching high & low for eye makeup tips. I usually keep my eyes simple (meaning plain aside from the occasional mascara). But I'm looking to change it up a bit. And by a bit I don't mean Lady Gaga or Ke$ha. Just a bit of color, without looking like I have a paint by number lid.

Prep Step via Real Simple
Easy, Elegant Eye Makeup Looks for Day & Evening is exactly what I have been looking for! With the simplest of tips, I can get the looks I want in no time at all. Of course I never would have thought that after searching for almost an hour I would've found what I needed from Real Simple. But the name says it all! Just with more than mascara. *wink*

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Tangy Dijon Vinaigrette

It's common in the warmer months, but whoever heard of eating a big salad for dinner when it's cold outside? This girl, that's who! But of course that means that just any dressing won't do. Well, I'm sure it would, but in my mind it won't. I prefer something more robust & packed full of flavor.

This dressing is perfect with grilled steak or chicken on top of a basic salad. Actually, it would probably go great with some grilled salmon too. (And by grilled, I mean my George Foreman or my grill pan. It is almost December in NE Ohio after all.)
 •2tsp. rice vinegar
•2tsp. white cooking wine
•3Tbsp. Dijon mustard
•1/2tsp. lemon juice
•pinch of garlic powder
•1/2C. olive oil
•salt & pepper to taste

-Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl.
-Store in a jar with a tight fitting lid & shake thoroughly before each use.

Sprout Organic Foods: Gobble & Grow Toddler Snack Giveaway Winners!

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Our lucky 15 have been notified via email, were you one of them?

Congrats to our winners & thank you to everyone who took the time to enter!  

Monday, November 25, 2013

Messy Monday: How to Descale a Coffee Maker

If you have hard water like me, descaling (removing the built-up calcium deposits from your water) your coffee maker is a monthly occurrence. But of course when that once a month comes, I'm always low on vinegar. You would think I would simply stock up on more vinegar since I go through so much. But no, instead I figured out how to descale my coffee maker without using half a pot of vinegar.

•Add vinegar to coffee pot, try to get somewhere between the 2-4 cup lines.
•Finish filling coffee pot with filtered or distilled water.
•If you have a filter basket, make sure it's clean. If you use paper filters, make sure you have a fresh filter. 
•Pour water/vinegar mixture into coffee maker & run through till done. 
•Without dumping your water or changing your filter, run vinegar/water mixture through again. Only this time turn off coffee maker halfway through.
•Allow to sit for at least 15 min.
•Turn coffee maker back on & complete brew cycle. 
 •This time throw out the vinegar/water mixture & replace with fresh filtered or distilled water.
•Run through cycle & empty pot when complete.
•If you need to (or want to), run through another cycle of just water.
•Remove filter.
•Wash coffee pot & filter basket (if applicable).

Skoy Cloth Giveaway Winner!

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Congrats to Ashley N. (be sure you check your email)!
Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Simple Sunday: Scooby Doo, I Found You!

I found this gem of a VHS tape while I was going through a few things. (Yes, I took a picture of my TV, don't judge me.) I have been looking for some old school Scooby Doo so my kids could watch them for a very long time (they love old cartoons) so this just made my day! If you need me...well, you can probably guess where I'll be.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Snacktastic Saturday: Mini Mocha Monkey

I had all the intentions of having a small cup of coffee & a banana as an afternoon "pick-me-up". Then I realized that my kids had devoured the whole bunch of bananas in two days. I still had my coffee & banana. Just in a different way.

I used a small jelly jar - hence the "mini" - to keep myself from drinking too much of this sweet treat. Which meant that it was 3/4 full of espresso (instead of my usual 1/4 full in a bigger glass). 

*Use desired amounts.

•espresso, freshly brewed
•chocolate syrup (I used Hershey's)
•Creme de Banana syrup (a little goes a long way)
•heavy whipping cream

- Brew your espresso into a glass.
- Add chocolate syrup, whipping cream (you can also use chocolate milk if you'd like - heating it is up to you) & Creme de Banana syrup. Stir well.

* Optional toppings: 
•whipped cream
•drizzle of chocolate sauce

LÄRABAR Giveaway Winner!

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Congrats to Rachelle A. (be sure you check your email)!
Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fun Friday: Thanksgiving Canvas

I have all of my Thanksgiving decorations up, which isn't much actually. And with all of the stores already well into Christmas decor, I decided I needed to make some more. 

I wanted to write "Be Thankful" but didn't leave myself enough room. So I opted for "Give Thanks" instead. Even though I wasn't sure I should write anything at all once I had finished up my tree. Which I love by the way! The colors of the leaves are perfect for fall (notice there's still a few green ones "attached" to the tree) & will compliment my pumpkins, scarecrows & other Thanksgiving decorations perfectly. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Great Coffee, Good Vibes with Kelly Clarkson

Green Mountain Coffee has done it again! In their latest Great Coffee, Good Vibes: Choose Fair Trade Campaign, they teamed up with Kelly Clarkson in Peru. Kelly was able to see firsthand how Fair Trade certified coffee comes to life by picking "coffee cherries" with a Fair Trade coffee farmer.

She also witnessed how Fair Trade benefits communities as well as the farmers. Since the farmers get paid a fair price for their coffee, more often times than not, they invest back into their own communities by supporting schools & other important aspects.

Watch exclusive videos of Kelly Clarkson's adventures, try out the new sweet & delicate Three Continent Blend (Sumatran, South American & Ethiopian blends) & learn more about Fair Trade at Choose Fair Trade.

**Disclaimer: I received this product from BzzAgent & am simply sharing my opinion which may vary from yours. I was not compensated for this review.

Green Virgin Products: Prespotter, Bar Soaps & a HUGE Giveaway!

Remember me raving about Soap Nuts not that long ago? (If not, you can check it out here.) Well I've had the amazing opportunity to try out more of what Green Virgin Products has to offer. And I have to tell you, they didn't disappoint! (As if there was any question that they would.)

GVP Formula 433 Non Toxic Solid Stick Prespotter

I have kids. Three actually. And a husband who works in a garage (he calls it a "shop", but whatever, you get the point). And it is almost guaranteed that I will have something spilled or splashed on me at some point throughout the day. So you can imagine the amount of stains we accumulate. (It's almost sickening, put it that way.) But of course me being me, likes to shy away from traditional stain removers. I usually make my own, but too often I forget & am completely out when I need it. Not that I care anymore after trying the GVP Formula 433 Non Toxic Solid Stick Prespotter. Made with a special cleaner/degreaser, baking soda & lye (to name a few), this solid stick does just as good a job as other stain removing treatments, if not better.

Sitting on spaghetti is never good for material like this! I accidentally put my picture upside down, but it used to be about smack dab in the middle of the upper part of the picture.

Just grab an old toothbrush, rub it on the wet bar & brush the stain away. I let it sit there for a bit while I'm getting another load of clothes ready & toss the item of clothing in last. And yes, I use my Soap Nuts to wash.

Soap Nut Peppermint Bar Soap

Green Virgin Products also makes a bar soap for your skin! The handcrafted bar bares the name Green Virgin Products on one side, and a dragonfly on the other. I have to admit that I'm really digging the dragonfly! It's nice having a stylish bar of soap sitting in my soap dish. But it's not all just for looks since it does an amazing job of cleaning your skin. (We use it mostly for hand-washing, but my kids have been known to refuse to wash up in the bathtub unless it's with "the dragonfly soap".) 

Made from liquid soap nuts, a blend of oils including peppermint essential oil which gives it an amazing scent & Shea butter, this Soap Nut Peppermint Bar Soap leaves your hands feeling clean but oh so soft.

Soap Nut & Moringa Peppermint Bar Soap

This is just like the Soap Nut Peppermint Bar Soap, but better! If for no other reason that it looks like a bar of gold. Actually, I prefer this bar soap because of the added moringa leaf powder. The moringa is known as "The Miracle Tree" & is plentiful in vitamins, minerals & essential amino acids. Although it is usually taken as a supplement to help a plethora of ailments, when absorbed through the skin it helps with eczema, psoriasis & dry winter hands. 

View this photo on Instagram!

Usually as soon as the furnace goes on, my hands get dry, red & feel like they're on fire. Amazingly that hasn't happened yet despite my furnace being on for a couple of weeks. And I'm giving all the credit to the Soap Nut & Moringa Peppermint Bar Soap!

* All bars are 5oz.

Green Virgin Products will graciously send one lucky winner the following:
 •1 kilo of Soap Nuts (2.2lbs - 330 loads)
•1 GVP Formula 433 Non Toxic Solid Stick Prespotter
•2 Soap Nut Peppermint Bar Soaps
•2 Soap Nut & Moringa Peppermint Bar Soaps

 The giveaway will conclude on at 12:00 a.m. est on Friday 11/29/13. Winners will be announced via rafflecopter & in a separate blog post which will be published no later than 3:00 p.m. on Friday 11/29/13. Winners will also be notified via email & announced on the Smith and Blessings facebook page. Winners will have 48 hours to submit shipping information, which will then be passed on to Green Virgin Products for distribution of product. If 48 hours has lapsed, a new winner will be picked & then will also have 48 hours to submit their information. *Giveaway open to U.S. residents only. 
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**Disclaimer: I received these products to try from Green Virgin Products & am simply sharing my personal opinion which may vary from yours. I was not compensated for this review.