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Recent Daily Dish

Coghlan’s Bug-Eye Headlight is a total hit!

June 30th, 2011

Let me start out by saying we are NOT campers. Camping for me is a Super 8 or Motel 6. Or a tent in the backyard. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy s’mores over a campfire (in my backyard) or Dutch oven peach cobbler (yay for church girls camp!). And the gadgets are kinda fun too. We actually have some camping gear, though it needs a good dusting once I actually locate it in the garage.

One thing I don’t have to locate is the Coghlan’s Bug-Eye Headlight my kids received so we could review it for the Daily Dish. I always know where it is: either on George’s or Livi’s head or on the kitchen desk when not on George’s or Livi’s head.

Coghlans Bug Eye Headlight

The kids LOVED this headlamp the minute they put it on…which was the minute I opened the package.

The Bug-Eye Headlight is compact, lightweight and designed just for kids. Powered by a bright white LED – that never needs replacing. Comfortable elastic head strap. Perfect for kids who love the outdoors!

I consider the backyard outdoors, and George and Livi have loved sporting this headlamp while looking for bugs (and lost toys) in the evening. They’ve also sported it inside a homemade fort in the great indoors. It’s comfortable and stays securely attached to their little heads.

I’m thinking we’ll be packing it for our trip to visit Grandma and Grandpa in August because there’s always some serious backyard camping when we go! I’ll probably need a second one so I don’t have to keep an eye on the timer as George and Livi share. (At less than $9, it’s a no-brainer!) I like to limit the number of battles and they’ve had a couple over Coghlan’s Bug-Eye Headlight. Can’t blame them!—Emily

Pearl Izumi’s jewel of a tee

June 23rd, 2011

pearlizumi_logoI am a fair-weather cyclist. In other words, it has to be at least 70 degrees if I’m cycling outdoors. And I also hit spin class 2 to 3 times a week…and it gets pretty hot in that spin room even with 5 fans going full blast. Because of the heat both outside and in, I pair my Pearl Izumi bike shorts (thank you, Pearl outlet in Park City!) with a tank top. (I’d go nearly naked if I had that kind of self-confidence…and if the rec center allowed it.)

When I was sent Pearl Izumi’s women’s Fly Top from their P.R.O. line, I was all over giving this baby a test drive—or ride.

Pearlzumi_ProFlyTop_black

The top features Pearl Izumi’s In-R-Cool fabric technology “that cools the body for optimal comfort.” The fabric also:

  • Provides optimal moisture transfer with a “superior hand feel” (yay for super lightweight, super soft fabric!)

  • Flatlock seams (yay for no chafing!)

  • Reflective elements for low-light visibility (yay for not getting hit!)

  • Sublimated graphics (yay for something that sounds super cool!)

Yes, it’s part of their running collection, but I’m way okay with mixing and matching! Can you tell how lightweight and breathable this fabric is? Just look at it lying on the table—it’s nearly paper thin (or at least cardstock thin)!

PearlIzumi_ProFlyTop1

You can even see my fingers (and ring) through the fabric:

PearlIzumi_ProFlyTop2

Because of the everlasting winter here in Utah, I didn’t get to try the Fly Top until the Goldillocks ride in May. But it was the perfect weather—and event—to do so. It was a 42-miler that started out when the weather was still a bit nippy but ended up in the pleasant 70s. Though I survived my first long ride, Pear Izumi’s Fly Top did more than survived; it performed beautifully! It was almost like wearing nothing at all, which is nice if you’re into that sort of thing.

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Unlike wearing nothing, the Fly Top does provide you with sun protection. The body has a UPF of 40+ and the mesh a UPF of 30+. I just wish I’d had sunscreen with 50+ between the end of the cap sleeves and the top of my arm warmers!

Available in black, red and white, Pear Izumi’s P.R.O. Fly Top is a must for runners and cyclists alike…especially those who only cycle (or run) in fair weather.—Emily

Hushamok MySeat

June 15th, 2011

Hushamok MySeatAfter I reviewed and loved Hushamok’s hammock and I eager to also test out their MySeat. And I’m not disappointed! It’s a really great cushy seat perfect for your alert and interactive infant and you can begin using it once baby reaches around 12 weeks. It’s not a swing, but it’s natural movement is great and calming.

The MySeat can be used for infants, toddlers and young children. The weight limit is up to 50 lbs so both my almost-2-year-old and my 4-month old can take advantage of this nifty seat. The MySeat has a great natural look and I think it looks especially great with the Okoa stand. It’s not too tricky to figure out. My one complaint is that the shoulder straps aren’t adjustable in terms of length. They’re adjustable in terms of height but I’d like to be able to tighten/loosen them. I found a solution for it as you can see in my video, but I’m much prefer having adjustable shoulder straps. The crotch strap does adjust. The MySeat sits low enough to the ground that I’m quite confident that my toddler will be able to quickly catch on to getting in and out of it without any trouble.

The MySeat feels exceptionally durable and I trust that it will last a long, long time. If you’re in the market for a piece of baby furniture that will last more than 6 months you’ve found it! I love that I can keep on using my stand and I can fairly easily switch between the MySeat and the hammock. – Katie


FlipOut keeps you guessing… {giveaway}

June 14th, 2011

...and switching and swapping and flipping! We are already fans of Gamewright games thanks to their Take the Cake and Dweebies games, so when they asked us to review their new FlipOut game, we said, “Heck, yes!”

Gamewright FlipOut

FlipOut, which has already won six awards including the iParenting Media Award, Parents’ Choice Gold and Creative Child Magazine Seal of Excellence Award, is geared for children ages 8 and older and can handle 2 to 5 players. The object of the game is to get at least four of the same cards in a row by switching, swapping and flipping cards (your own and those of your opponent(s)). It gets a little tricky because each card is double sided, so what you see isn’t necessarily what your opponents see, and they may take the exact card you were hoping to keep!

The game claims “easy-to-learn rules,” but I will say the first time my girls took it out to play, they gave up after only getting through half the directions. Fortunately I don’t give up that easily when it comes to board games, so we gave it one more shot, this time with me reading through the rules with them. And I will admit, it took me a couple run-throughs to understand all the different options (aka “actions”) you could do each turn and how the whole process worked. But once we got going (and reread as we played), we finally got the hang of it and had a really great time thwarting each other’s efforts to line up four of a kind.

Don’t let our little struggle with the directions make you shy away from Gamewright’s new FlipOut. It really is a fun game and I love that children and adults can play together (kind of like Dweebies!), plus it teaches children visual discrimination, strategic thinking (my favorite part) and color identification. That’s a Gamewright game for you: learning and fun all wrapped into one!—Emily

*** Giveaway! Gamewright is giving away one copy of FlipOut! ***

Here’s how to enter. You can do as many of these as you’d like. Each one is worth one entry into our giveaway; please leave a separate comment for each one you do:

•    Visit Gamewright.com and leave a comment telling us which other games you’d love to try.
•     “Like” Gamewright on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you did.
•    Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with the URL of your tweet.
•    Update your Facebook status with a link to this giveaway and leave a comment telling us you did.

Include a valid email address for our drawing. We’ll draw the winner from the comments and contact her via email. Deadline: June 28, 2011 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

Be free with Hydrapak PureBot water bottles {giveaway}

June 9th, 2011

2010_Hydrapak_WebSmallAs a spin class enthusiast and cycling newbie, I’m all over staying hydrated. You’ll often find me with dual water bottles clipped to my bike, one filled with ice water and the other with nuun. Though I am partial to Camelbak’s Podium water bottles, I was more than willing to give Hydrapak’s PureBot bottle a try. I mean, what’s not to like about a plastic water bottle that free of EA chemicals like BPA and pthalates?

Hydrapak_bottles


EA stands for Estrogenic Activity. Any chemical that either blocks or mimics the natural estrogen in the human body is an EA chemical. Chemicals like BPA and Phtalates are just a few EA chemicals that can be found in certain plastics.

For their PureBot bottle, Hydrapak partnered with Plastipure and created the first plastic water bottle certified EA free. It is a great option of you’re like me and don’t dig the slightly metallic taste those other water bottles have.

When the PureBot arrived, I was drawn to its transparency.

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I’d never seen a water bottle with a see-through top!

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I also loved its simple, slim design. But how would it hold up in spin class? I filled it with ice water…

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...and headed to the gym. The first thing I noticed was the lack of an aftertaste. No metal, no plastic, nothing but crystal clear, pure-tasting water. That was my favorite part! The PureBot also kept my water fairly cold during those 50 minutes, but it didn’t have the staying (chilling) power of my Camelbak bottles, and that was a little disappointing. I could see me using the PureBot bottle around the house, but I wouldn’t be taking it to my endurance spin class or on outdoor rides. I like my water super cold and the PureBot can’t do that for me.

But it can keep me a bit safer from those EA chemicals—and at a great price (less than $8). I’m thinking the PureBot water bottle a good option for my two oldest kids as they participate in summer camps and sports this summer. As growing girls, I’d like to keep them as far away from EA chemicals as I can!

*** GIVEAWAY! Hydrapak is giving away one PureBot water bottle! ***

Here’s how to enter. You can do as many of these as you’d like. Each one is worth one entry into our giveaway; please leave a separate comment for each one you do:

•    Leave a comment telling us what you’d use your PureBot water bottle for.
•   “Like” Hydrapak on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you did.
•   Follow Hydrapak on Twitter and leave a comment telling is you’re their newest follower.
•    Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with the URL of your tweet.

Include a valid email address for our drawing. We’ll draw the winner from the comments and contact her via email. Deadline: June 23rd, 2011 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

Fuse some fun into your closet with ColorFusion

June 3rd, 2011

Quagmire Golf - Roofed_Purple
Quagmire’s new state of the art technology is the coolest thing in fashion. ColorFusion shirts change with heat…so it’s two in one. My shirt started off as purple but when I warmed up it changed to a shade of pink.

As the ColorFusion shirt altered from periwinkle to a vibrant rose it startled those I was with and caused quite a stir to those that claimed they were losing their minds. A few favorite comments received: “I swear your shirt was purple earlier.” “Is it just me or is your shirt turning into a tie-dye fabric?” “Ahh. What’s going on? Your shirt is turning Pink!”

The entire shirt switched colors almost simultaneously. When the shirt reaches 68 degrees or 20F it changes color. This cool line is also available in pint-size. Quagmire kids shirts will undoubtedly be your little tike’s favorite piece of clothing. Any child will be obsessed with the “magic” demonstrated right before their eyes. The changing of colors is really the coolest thing to observe.
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I have to admit, I was so skeptical about this product. Two reasons. My first inclination of the ColorFusion shirt was cheesy and crazy “technology” that probably only works in the armpits. Wrong. So wrong! It is really the coolest article of clothing I own. Besides the real “magic” technology works everywhere. It is high fashion with a cut that is perfect in every area. The length is just right. Sleeve size is ideal and it’s not a boxy golf shirt, but a perfect tailored yet relaxed fit. It is made of soft fabric that washes well.

It’s two in one with ColorFusion. Two colors. Two purposes—fashion and fun.- Amber

Buy it online and I highly suggest checking out all their other adorable active apparel visit www.quagmirestyles.com.

A children’s book to help get your kids outside to play

May 31st, 2011

Wallie Exercises HIGH RES Need some help motivating a youngster to play outside and exercise? Read Steve Ettinger’s darling picture book for children titled “Wallie Exercises.”

Working out This book tells the story of a lazy dog that prefers staying inside and sleeping rather than playing outside (the situation sounds oh so familiar) and exploring. Wallie’s clothes begin to be too small for him because of his lazy ways (again…another great parallel). An exercising elephant helps this lazy dog get fit. This book teaches about hydration, warming up and working out.

The book ends with suggestions and fun games that Wallie did that your child can do too. The Wallie Wiggle Wag Walks and Relay Race and Silly Shark Squats are some of the exercises that your kids will love.

The writer behind this book has credentials that make it effective exercises you know are safe and legit. Steve Ettinger, the author is also a certified strength and conditioning specialist. The illustrator, Pete Proctor is a former teacher who knows what kids like to read. His adorable illustrations of the characters make this a visually stimulating book anyone can enjoy.-Amber

This book is available online at wallieexercises.com.

****DAILY DISH GIVEWAWAY***
Go to wallieexercises.com and leave us a comment on daily dish telling us the award this book received from Mom’s Choice Awards. One random selection winner will receive an autographed book.

Going green on the greens. AB Golf Designs.

May 29th, 2011

NumeroUno1Web AB Golf Designs—the market leader for attention-grabbing specialty head covers and accessories produces their new retro styled “Throwback Collection” with polyester fibers made from recycled plastic bottles that look and feel like wool (this manufacturing process helps diminish dependence on oil and minimize waste, in turn limiting toxic emissions from incinerators and reducing air, water and soil contamination.) I love a company that embraces new environmentally friendly manufacturing options. I am impressed with AB Golf Designs commitment to keep the greens—green.

This cover goes onto the club and shaft easily by expanding in the right places, yet keeping its form. Easy to get on and easy to pull off make it a critical component for me because it can be a real annoyance when you need your driver and the head cover won’t come off!

Their line is a huge hit with PGA and LPGA Tour players and a novice golfer from Salt Lake City. Me. I’m not a regular on the course, nor do I have stellar form or a swing that gets noticed, but my gear gets the attention because it is colorful and expressive.

I tested the “numero uno” driver head cover from the company’s “Bling” line. It matches my eye-catching golf bag from keri bag and looks good in the bag. The cherry-red cover is embossed with the image “1” with small diamond-looking studs. It is a bit more expensive than most head covers, but the diamond-looking embellishment makes a sassy statement for a more individualistic look on the course.-Amber

Available online here.

A stand-up golf bag that stands out.

May 27th, 2011

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I was so excited to actually use my new Rosebloom Keri Sport bag by Adams Golf. It had been sitting pretty in my garage waiting for the bleak weather to turn to Spring. The one time I braved the storm and went golfing in the freezing temperatures my cute golf bag got noticed because it was a pick me up for everyone on the course. It’s cheerful fabric charmed its way to many conversations that day.keri_standbags

As the weather warmed up I was able to hit up the range more frequently. The comments about my cute golf bag consistently came my way. I have never heard the word “cute” uttered more from men. Now, if the men like it…women will adore it.

Women, of course know exactly what classifies something to be cute. So, what makes it so cute? The pink rosebloom print on the white bag is a unique pattern designed by Keri Murschell that you typically don’t see on a golf bag, which makes me think of my golf bag as an oversized purse. It is the perfect accessory.
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Rare is it to find a golf bag that you actually want to lug around. The first chance to put the bag down is usually how it goes, but with this lightweight fashionable golf bag I wanted it strapped to me all day. The padded double-strap allowed perfect balance and prevented any one shoulder stress from overuse. It was comfortable and when I did set it down the legs easily came out each time, making it a sturdy stand bag. Only a few good bags actually stand up with ease, as you grab your club. This stand feature took no effort at all.

Behind the beauty of this bag lies a durable, functional bag that integrates pockets of every size for every purpose. This good looking get up offers plenty of storage in the sleeve and zippered pockets for all my golf gear and the 8-way full-length dividers keep my clubs nicely separated.

My favorite feature is the insulated pocket to keep beverages cold. This accommodation allows me to keep myself well hydrated so that by hole 15 I’m not lagging.

If you’re a golf pro or a novice this bag is for you. Don’t you want to hear the word cute said by men? Buy the bag and see what happens on the greens.
keri sport collection by Adams Golf - Integrated Set-1
This bag – and other bags designed by Keri for Adams Golf – are also available in sets that include the bag, matching head covers and clubs! What’s more, is they’re available at different price points depending on the budget. Adams Golf is the market leader for women’s equipment.
-Amber

Available here or at adamsgolf.com.

Mashups make lunchtime easy squeezy!

May 26th, 2011

RevolutionFoods_logoI am all about packing my kids a healthy lunch (or rather, giving them the tools to pack themselves a healthy lunch), but sometimes the prep work involved as far as fruits and vegetables is a bit daunting. And my kids can only eat baby carrots so many times as a side dish before they’re ready to start throwing them at me.

Thanks to Revolution Foods and their organic fruit Mashups, my kids can have a serving of fruit—and multiple fruits at that—without the washing, peeling, slicing and dicing. I know, fresh is best, but when you’re going on 5 hours of sleep a night, fresh isn’t always an option at 7am.

What are Mashups? Mashups are 100% organic fruit purees without any added sugar. They also don’t contain any trans fats, HFC or artificial ingredients. Mashups come in squeezable packs with a kid-safe, resealable cap, so they’re perfect for lunches and on-the-go snacks. Mashups are available in four flavors: Grape, Berry, Tropical and Strawberry Banana.

Revolution Foods sent us a sampling of the Mashups for the kids to try. My 13- and 11-year-olds weren’t brave enough (or cool enough) to give them a test run, but George and Livi did. Note: One of the flavors was a carrot one, which I don’t see offered on the site yet. Perhaps it will be offered soon, as these are super new! (By the way, iIt was George’s least favorite.)

RevolutionFoods_samples

Here’s what the kids thought of the Mashups. This video is one of my favorites—gotta love the honest of kids!

George actually really loved the Mashups in his oatmeal. For a few days straight he had me make him a bowl of oatmeal and then he doctored it up with the berry and strawberry banana Mashups. You could even add the Mashups to yogurt, smoothies or probably even as a substitute for oil in some recipes. You can buy them online and in select grocery stores. They’ll run you just over $1 a piece, so I’m not sure I’d use them in my kids’ daily lunches, but I would totally consider them a great option for food storage and our emergency food supply. My kids would rather eat these than reconstituted applesauce any day!—Emily

*** Giveaway! Revolution Foods is giving away a gift box of Mashups samples and a Revolution Foods t-shirt! ***

Here’s how to enter. You can do as many of these as you’d like. Each one is worth one entry into our giveaway; please leave a separate comment for each one you do:

•Visit RevolutionFoods.com and leave a comment telling us which of their products you think your kids would like the most.
“Like” Revolution Foods on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you did.
Follow Revolution Foods on Twitter and leave a comment telling is you’re their newest follower.
•Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with the URL of your tweet.

Include a valid email address for our drawing. We’ll draw the winner from the comments and contact her via email. Deadline: June 2, 2011 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

KENTWOOL will knock your socks off.

May 22nd, 2011

KENTWOOL - Women's Low Skinny (lime green)

A sock company that has a blister-free guarantee is pretty much the most compelling thing to get me to buy a pair of socks.


KENTWOOL Golf Socks created an enhanced cushioning system at strategic micro-stress points along the foot to maximize comfort, reduce the risk of injury and boost on-course performance. The blend of fine merino wool and high-tech fibers protects feet from chafing. All their high-tech experience with textiles (they’ve been around since 1848—it is the nation’s longest-running textile company) it would be an easy guarantee to produce a high performance pair of socks.


Now I was skeptical about its claim because I am one that gets blisters easily. Seems that my bitty size 5 foot is often overtaken by redness and blisters after extensive time in any pair of shoes I wear.

cialis best prices
So, who knew it was all in the socks? I was spending too much money replacing my shoes where I should have been replacing my socks! I had no idea specialized socks really worked, but, they do.


Don’t let the title KENTWOOL Golf Socks fool you—you don’t need to have a set of irons to wear these. In fact, I tested the low profile skinny when I was running, biking and yes, golfing. Initially I tried them on the greens and was so impressed with its wicking ability. Here in Utah, Spring has turned more like a second winter with cold rain and sleet, so of course I loved the warmth the socks offered me while playing golf, but would they be too warm without the cold air? I decided to take my test to the gym and wear my “golf” socks running. I worked out hard on the treadmill. I sweat everywhere, including my feet, yet my feet were dry at the end of the workout and there was no odor. The moisture management technology did a great job keeping my feet dry, but, they were a bit too warm for my liking. The socks did a great job wicking sweat away, controlling odor and maximizing comfort with cushioning but they are best for outdoor activities where there is a chill in the air.



KENTWOOL’s
claim is accurate. Blister-free socks—they are. The days I wear these socks are the days there are no signs of irritation on my heels, toes or arches. My purple low profile skinny socks will be so worn out because I literally wear them every other day. So, my suggestion would be—stock up. I’ve experienced no loosening of the seams with its constant washing, but, stock up because your feet will thank you.-Amber

Avoid a makeup tantrum with Hissyfit

May 20th, 2011

Ever want to chuck your makeup bag out the window because you just can’t find the right shade for your skin color? Or have you ever wished you could go from day to night makeup with the same compact? I think that’s the main reason Hissyfit was created: to save women like us from royal makeup tantrums!

With beautiful fragrances, gorgeous colors and advanced botanical extracts, our products deliver the ultimate level of protection for super smart women who want to protect, renew and perfect their skin every day. Hissyfit products are proudly Australian made using the finest ingredients, including powerful botanical extracts. ...

Their most ingenious product is the Hissyfit Clockpots by Reggie Wells. These portable, easy-to-use compacts feature “expert-picked” color combos for every skin tone. Available for Face (foundation and highlight plus four contouring powders), Eye (primer plus four eye-shadow trios) and Cheek (sponge applicator plus four color duos), the Clockpots claim to make it easy to create a professional look at home.

Hissyfit Clockpots


Saving Face FoundationHissyfit sent me the Face, Eye and Cheek Clockpots plus their Saving Face Foundation (SPF of 50) and Saving Face Buffing Powder. I tried the foundation first, but unfortunately it was the wrong color to give it a day-long review. I could tell it had a really nice texture and consistency for an SPF of 50, and had it been in my right shade, I would have totally worn it. It has green tea, pomegranate, jojoba and aloe—ingredients I love!

Saving Face Buffing PowderNext up is the Saving Face Buffing Powder—a hit! I love a good finishing powder that keeps my skin more matte than shiny yet feels lightweight. This one totally did that. It kept my makeup looking good all day long and felt really good on my skin. Perhaps it’s due to all the bontanicals inside (aspen bark extract, green and white tea extracts, jojoba and aloe).

Last are the Clockpots, and here’s where I tell you I can’t really tell you much about them. The shades sent for review weren’t right for me, so I didn’t dare apply them. (I have a hard enough time trying to make my makeup look good!) And for me, the Clockpots were a bit overwhelming. I kept reading the directions so I’d know which shades were for which time of day, and I thought the compact a bit large. i couldn’t imagine packing that for travel OR throwing it in my handbag for makeup touch-up later in the day. Out of the three products sent, this was probably my least favorite, but perhaps someone with a bit more confidence in her makeup skills (and a much larger makeup bag) would do just fine!

Overall, I loved the creaminess and high SPF of the Saving Face Foundation (even if the color was wrong) and the effectiveness of the Saving Face Buffing Powder, but I’m still not convinced on the Hissyfit Clockpots. If any of you have tried them, let me know! I’d love to hear your take!—Emily

Powerful effective acne treatment–no prescription needed!

May 19th, 2011

Did you know acne is the #1 indications seen by dermatologists? And nearly 75% of Americans report using acne products. Oh, and 50% of women and 25% of men suffer from acne? So basically, if you suffer from the occasional—or not-so-occasional—blemish, you’re not alone.

I’ve tried more than my fair share of products claiming to reduce the occurrence of acne and/or treat blemishes. So far I love the Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser, but as far as post-cleansing, I have yet to find a product that truly seems to work…and I’ve tried quite a few including the knock-off version of ProActiv. (Now all I have are nicely bleached towels.)

LaRochePosay_logoNo surprise I was totally game to try La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar Duo, a dual action acne treatment “clinically proven to treat acne as effectively as the leading prescription” with results in only 3 days and “minimum irritation.” Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Here’s why it’s supposed to be so nifty:

  • Key ingredients of 5.5% micronized benzoyl peroxide acne medication (reduces inflammation while minimizing irritation) and 0.4% micro-exfoliation LHA (precise cell-by-cell exfoliation).

  • Non-drying, non-comedogenic, oil-free, paraben-free.

  • Dermatologist tested on all skin types, even the most sensitive. Test on mult-ethnic skin.

Effaclar DuoCrazy thing is, this little tube of Effaclar Duo holds a truly “big” and effective acne treatment. And I’m not the only one who can attest to that. I used it on my chin area where I tend to get the tiniest bumps and then on the occasional zit that would hit my cheek once a month. It smoothed and cleared in those three days. I did find twice a day was too much for my skin and it started to dry out a bit, but once a day was perfect.

The other person who loves this little tube is Madison, my 13-year-old daughter. For the past few months she’s been showing the signs of that whole puberty thing with a collection of the tiniest acne on her nose. I had her try the Effaclar Duo and within those allotted 3 days, it had cleared up in a major way. (I would have done before and after pics, but she so wasn’t going for that.) For her, two applications a day also started drying out her skin (we do live in Utah after all), but once a day has been perfect for managing it. And she couldn’t be happier!

Priced at around $35, I am here to tell you it’s totally worth it. TOTALLY. Now the only problem is figuring out whose bathroom currently has the tube of La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo cream. Oh, and this go-round, no bleached towels or sheets!—Emily

These are more than just a pretty pair of hiking boots

May 12th, 2011

Though my love of shoes leans heavily on stilettos, I am a fan of any pair that combines comfort, durability and style. If it combines all those things with a charitable cause, even better.

Ahnu

Ahnu offers footwear for men and women who enjoy an active lifestyle—and, of course, some serious style too:

Whether designed for hiking on trails through the Big Sur Mountains or taking a run through Golden Gate Park, we infuse technology that keeps us centered, balanced, and ultimately comfortable for miles on end. And while our passions drive us to create great performance products, our values guide us to be responsible throughout all of our environmental and social encounters.

So if we can inspire a more balanced life that begins with getting outside, then we’re making the connections that influenced us to start this brand.


Back to that charitable cause. Ahnu footwear recently announced their breast cancer prevention initiative: For each pair of women’s Numentum™ performance shoes sold in April and May 2011, the brand will donate $5 to the Breast Cancer Fund. The initiative is taking place in more than 150 doors nationwide, and online at www.onlineshoes.com.

I was lucky enough to test out a pair of Ahnu Montara hiking shoes for Boutique Cafe’s Daily Dish.

Ahnu


Ahnu

Once I had the correct size (definitely order a half size up), I found they fit perfectly the moment I put them on…and by perfectly, I mean no break-in time needed (i.e., no blisters). Though I didn’t get to take them hiking in the mountains due to our super long winter and super late spring (I’m talking frigid temps earlier this week), I did wear them as actively as possible at the park and around town. No blisters, no hot spots and super lightweight on the feet. Honestly, I couldn’t believe how light these hiking shoes were—and comfy to boot (pun intended).

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Me taking the Montaras for a test drive. Super cute AND super comfy! I even took a quick run to the car and they felt great!

I’m thinking the comfiness is due to that Numentum™ Technology, “a neutral positioning system engineered to encourage the foot’s natural biomechanics.” It sounds all techie but it sure feels good! Though I have the Montara in Coffee Bean, I adore the Ruby Wine, a delicious red. I also love the Rockridge II and Nicasio styles.

Ahnu has already contributed more than $20,000 to the Breast Cancer Fund and expects to donate a total of $30,000 before the end of 2011. How awesome is that?

Check out Ahnu’s entire collection of Numentum™ Technology women’s footwear here. And remember, for every pair purchased, the company will donate $5 to the Breast Cancer Fund.—Emily

P.S. You can find Ahnu on Facebook and Twitter!

Namaste. Yoga gear worthy to praise.

May 12th, 2011
I don’t know which is more praiseworthy—the fact that the yoga mat stays in place and doesn’t have a funky stench after its use or that the makers of the yoga mat, Natural Fitness have made it with planet friendly products? Either way, this eco-chic company deserves some praise. Namaste.

The eco-smart yoga mat is made from Polymer Environmental Resin. This material is safer for our health (most mats are made from PVC foam which contain harmful toxic chemicals) and the environment. This material is very durable. Non-stick and lightweight makes practicing poses a breeze. Measuring at 24” by 69” by 6 mm I tried the Burgundy/Mustard mat. It was a crowd pleaser at the gym. Receiving multiple comments from strangers about the cute design on my mat had me notice just how decorative it is and definitely a stand out in the sea of solid purple and blue mats.

The price is right at just $29.95. Makes me feel better about spending money on something that preserves our environment as well.

Now, the yoga mat is great but what I really loved was what I carried my yoga mat in—the reconstructed yoga tote. It’s a one-of-a-kind piece of art draped on your shoulder. It is so eye-catching and completely unique. No two bags are the same because the bags are constructed from old banners and tents. The waterproof material is slick. The tote is nice because you can roll your mat up, stash it and seal the bag up with the velcro clasp. The inner-zip pocket is another unexpected feature that is perfect for keys and a cell phone. Same price as the mat $29.95.

Shop green and while you’re at their website, check out Project C.A.R.E.
I like a committed company that is methodical in their approach to preserve our earth.
I also like a company that keeps yoga essentials at a minimum price. Just under $30 for each item.—Amber

It’s purely Cyclelogical {GIVEAWAY}

May 6th, 2011

CyclelogicalWhat makes cyclists endure a sore backside on a century ride or trek up a mountain only to risk life and limb on the ride back down? Is it the feel of the wind around helmet-adorned hair or a view that beats the passenger seat of a car? Whatever it is, Cyclelogical seems to “get” cyclists. Their collection of men’s and women’s bicycle gear is some of the most fun I’ve seen, and if you love to hop on a bike and ride, you’ll love Cyclelogical.

First, a bit about Cyclelogical:

Cyclelogical exists to bring the best travel and bike commuter gear to the market. Our gear will get you to and from your destination, be it the office or the grocery store, with all the right equipment and just the right amount of options, no more….no less. Cyclelogical will get you there safely and totally in style! Our gear is made with the highest quality and most durable materials. We know, because we have researched them and tried them out.

That whole thing about style is so true! Cyclelogical sent me the women’s Bike Me and Cycling Is Off the Chain tees to test for our Daily Dish readers.

Cyclelogical

Both tees had a bit of a longer length and more narrow fit, which I liked, but they did seem to run a bit small. The Bike Me tee had the softest fabric but was a titch shorter in length. The Cycling Is Off the Chain tee had a really nice length but a little less stretch. Both are washable in cold water BUT the directions say “lay flat to dry.” Guess who didn’t read that part and assumed drying them on low would work? That would be me. Though they didn’t seem to shrink too much, they did shrink just enough to make me wish I’d gone with a large rather than medium. So be sure and order one size up in those tees, especially if you’re going to forget to dry them correctly!

Cyclelogical

Madison absolutely LOVED the Bike Me tee and I loved the Off the Chain one. It makes me feel kinda cool to sport a fun, eye-catching tee that lets people know I love cycling. I’m actually considering buying the Chain Flower Hoody with its super cute design on the back!

CyclelogicalTheir men’s collection is awesome as well. My faves are Bike Power Retro and City Fixie tees. Cyclelogical also has some fun gear like their Minima and Townie Rust packs. And if you find you’re riding early in the morning or later at night, you’ll want to invest in a pack of reflective Chopspokes. No, they won’t make a cool noise like those plastic spoke beads, but they will keep you a heck of a lot safer.

Along with cool tees, Cyclelogical also has a super cool mission “to help the environment by keeping gasoline consumption down, sustaining a healthy mind and body, and keeping the world we live in safe for bicycle commuting everywhere.” I like a company that likes the environment and likes keeping me safe.

If you have a cycling family member or friend and want to give them something other than a month’s supply of energy gel or a new insulated water bottle, give them a Cyclelogical tee. They will love it and you will love being her new favorite!—Emily

*** Giveaway! Cyclelogical is giving away one tee, winner’s choice! ***

Here’s how to enter. You can do as many of these as you’d like. Each one is worth one entry into our giveaway; please leave a separate comment for each one you do:

•  Visit CyclelogicalGear.com and leave a comment telling us which tee you’d choose.
•  “Like” Cyclelogical on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you did.
•  Follow Cyclelogical on Twitter and leave a comment telling is you’re their newest follower.
•  Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with the URL of your tweet.

Include a valid email address for our drawing. We’ll draw the winner from the comments and contact her via email. Deadline: May 20, 2011 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

Movie-making magic with Animoto {GIVEAWAY}

April 27th, 2011

Apart from Flip Video’s software and a brief run using Photobucket, I haven’t done much in the way of fancy schmancy movies or slideshows. My photos and videos just sit in their respective folders on my hard drive (figuratively) gathering dust. (My computer literally gathers dust—Utah is a very dusty place!)

AnimotoWhen Animoto approached me about reviewing their online movie-making site, I was totally game. It looked like a lot of fun and claimed to be easy, the perfect combination. But was it easy? And was it fun? And did the end result look super cool? I’ll tell you—and show you—in just a moment. First, a bit about Animoto:

... Animoto was founded to help people better share their stories and express themselves through online media by innovating technologies in the field of video production. Using the latest in entertainment post-production technologies, Animoto is designed to bridge the gap between the high production value of film and television, and the more “amateur” feeling of most user-created videos and photo albums.

The heart of Animoto is its newly developed patent-pending Cinematic Artificial Intelligence technology that thinks like an actual director and editor. It analyzes and combines user-selected images, video clips and music with the same sophisticated post-production skills and techniques that are used in television & film.


And that Cinematic Artificial Intelligence of which Animoto boasts is the main reason someone like me can upload a few slides, some video clips and snatches of text and have it turn into the best 3-minute-22-second memory ever:






No, it’s not going to win any awards but my mom loved it. (I know because she sent me an email with “LOVE IT” in about 96-point text.) And now I’m hooked. It was easy AND it was fun. I’m already wondering what I can make next—possibly a video for Father’s Day for Nathan?

I couldn’t believe how easy it was to use Animoto’s process for creating the movie. It was so easy, my 13-year-old gave it a shot and had a movie made in just a few minutes:







Uploading images and video was a snap as was uploading my own background music. (You can select from hundreds of songs on Animoto’s site as well.) And of course having a variety of templates to choose from was a nice touch. I do wish they had more of a selection, or at least more options for non-Pro account users.

I think the only complaint I had about Animoto was only being allowed 10 seconds of video time. Trust me, the video of us in that golf cart is hilarious; I would have loved to have shown a bit more of it. The same goes for us laughing uncontrollably in the car. It also seemed the video lasted only as long as the song I chose. I was hoping the song would loop so the slides would stay up longer, but I couldn’t quite figure out if that were a possibility or not. I remade the movie a second time, choosing a longer slide length, but the final length of the movie stayed the same so obviously it didn’t matter.

With Animoto, you have three pricing options: Lite, Plus and Pro. Lite is free and allows for only a 30-second movie. Plus, which is what Animoto offered me for this review, is $5/month or $30/year and allows for full-length video. Pro, which is $39/month or $249 a year, has a lot more capability, is ad-free and lets you do HD movies. (You can read more about what each plan includes here.)

After using it just once, I would totally recommend going for the Plus. Lite just doesn’t cut it, and $30 per year isn’t much at all. Then if you love it, you could always upgrade to Pro. I’m thinking you need to at least get a Plus account immediately so you can put together a fabulous Animoto movie for Mom for Mother’s Day. It’s sure to make you the favorite!—Emily

*** Giveaway! Animoto is giving away one (1) year of its Plus service! ***

Here’s how to enter. You can do as many of these as you’d like. Each one is worth one entry into our giveaway; please leave a separate comment for each one you do:

•  Leave a comment telling us what your first movie/slideshow would be using Animoto’s service.
•  “Like” Animoto on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you joined.
•  Follow Animoto on Twitter and leave a comment telling is you’re their newest follower.
•  Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with the URL of your tweet.
•  Update your Facebook status with a link to this giveaway and leave a comment telling us you did so.

Include a valid email address for our drawing. We’ll draw the winner from the comments and contact her via email. Deadline: May 4, 2011 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

Lug Bag. The Gym Bag I LOVE.

April 25th, 2011

cartwheel_inset_2_lrg
I don’t use the term LOVE lightly. It isn’t a flippant expression that has no meaning behind it. When the word is uttered from me…take note. Well get out a pad of paper because I am so in love with my new bag. I LOVE the Lug Cartwheel Bag.

I have used every type of gym bag out there. Using small totes to large duffle bags and nothing compares to this bag. The creators thought of every feature.

During my testing of the bag I really put it to use. I used it for the purpose of going to the gym, but, soon became so attached that my bag also served as a carry-on for my travels and as a book bag. This bag really got some wear with no tear.

First, I stuffed it into various size lockers to test the shape. Somehow it fit perfectly into long skinny lockers and in the wide short kind. Next, the carry-on shoulder strap that seem to hang at just the right length—not too long that the bag drags to your hips, but, not too short that you can’t carry it over your shoulder.

The fabric is this incredible material specially treated with water-repellent finish, which also is the perfect color. It is a hue that sits in the middle of vibrant and a muted shade of green. Not too loud that it screams “look at me” but bold enough to make a statement.

This bag is so well designed they thought of everything! It features an additional plastic liner at the bottom for easy cleaning. There are a plethora of pockets on the exterior and interior. There is a front patch designed specifically to hold your yoga mat, small pockets, large pockets, ring holders within the pockets, zipped pockets and soft-lined ones for gadgets, removable key fob. I’m telling you everything you need this bag has. There is even a hidden water bottle material cage on the exterior. My favorite Lug feature though is definitely the separate ventilated shoe garage. It keeps my dirty soles away from my clothes and the stench of my running shoes can air out.

Inside there is a separate tote that is perfect to hold under garments. After working out, it serves as a perfect place to stow away my sweaty apparel. With all these features you’d expect it to weigh you down, but, nope it is even lightweight!

The price at $95 may seem a little high for a gym bag, but, trust me you will spend way more buying multiple bags trying to get what you want. This is the one and only bag you should have. It is well worth the money. It is well constructed, well-designed and looks good. -Amber

Buy it here at www.luglife.com.

Lemon Dropp + {Giveaway!}

April 25th, 2011

Dontcha just love it when you stumble upon something amazing on Etsy? My recent stumble is Heather’s shop Lemon Dropp. She sells bright, inspirational prints for your home. Heather uses beautiful bright colors that are sure to liven up any space!

lemondropp abc print

I love the ABC print she sent me. It’s hanging in our nursery and it’s the perfect addition. It has a fun mix of animals and letters.

When I asked Heather to tell me about herself and her company, what she responded with was awesome and motivational.


I’m a SAHM of four – three boys and one girl.  I was a visual arts major in college.  I love my family, graphic design, photography, cooking, crochet, sewing and interior design.  My shop, Lemon Dropp, came to be for a variety of reasons.  My husband is currently looking for a job, which has a been a really hard process.  Not only is Lemon Dropp a much needed creative outlet and a way to make some money, but it helps me stay focused on the positive.  It started out as me designing uplifiting prints for my own house to help us not despair about our situation, and has blossomed into my own etsy shop.  I really believe that happiness is a choice, and that no matter where you are in life, there is always a bright side, always something to be happy and excited about, and there is always hope.  I try to portray that in my prints. I try to make something tangible and beautiful that people can put in their homes that spreads that positive attitude.  I think that every home could use a happy art print or two to help us remember who we are and what we want our lives to be.  I also have a blog : www.alemondropplife.blogspot.com where I share design inspiration, lovely things I come across, ways to give service, little tidbits about my family life, and updates for my shop.

Take some time to check out Lemon Dropp. Heather’s art is so happy! – Katie

***Giveaway!!*** Heather’s giving away and 8×10 print (winner’s choice)! To enter, leave a comment telling me which print is your favourite. (Giveaway closes May 5th, 2011 at midnight. Winner will be contacted via email and will have 24 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen)

***Promo!*** Get 15% off with code BC15OFF.

Congratulations to Amy! You’re the lucky winner!

Road ID…your most important training buddy {giveaway}

April 19th, 2011

RoadID_logoWhile most of the exercising and training I do happens at the local gym, last summer I started participating in sprint triathlons. To train for the cycling part of those tris, I would head out on long rides with a girlfriend, but one afternoon I headed up Little Cottonwood Canyon by myself. It was an uneventful ride and I returned home safe and sound, but it dawned on me later that something could have easily happened on those narrow shoulders or around those blind corners. If it had, my phone would probably be toast (along with my ability to talk coherently) and those arriving on the scene wouldn’t have a clue who I was. And my family wouldn’t have a clue what had happened.

That’s why when I stumbled upon Road ID and their Wrist ID bracelet, I knew I not only had to have one for myself, but I also needed to share this product with our readers, especially at the start of warmer weather. ‘Tis the season to head outside on long runs and rides and participate in sporting events like marathons and cycling races!

Wrist ID Sport

First I want to share a bit about the inspiration for Road ID:

The inspiration for Road ID was born in the fall of 1999. For my father, the inspiration was his concern for me as I trained for my first marathon. For me, the inspiration was a black, King Kong size pick-up truck that I nearly came face to face with on a long Saturday run.

Earlier that fall, I began training for my first marathon. My father worried about me logging all those miles and would often tell me to “be safe.” One day, he suggested that I carry an ID so that he could be notified if I had an accident while training. Of course, I dismissed that suggestion. I thought: “What could possibly happen to me while running?”

So, there I was, in a ditch, on the side of the road, having nearly been hit by the aforementioned pick-up truck. From that ditch, my father’s suggestion to carry ID started to make a tremendous amount of sense. ... A few months later, from my father’s damp basement, he and I launched Road ID. To us, Road ID has always been far more than a business. We are on a mission to save lives.


Kind of makes you think twice about NOT having a Road ID bracelet, doesn’t it?

Road ID let me choose the style of bracelet I wanted, so I went with the Wrist ID Elite. I liked the sleek look with its rubberized band and watch-style buckle in a brushed nickel finish. I went with the pink (I do like pink!), entered my info including a nice, sassy, inspiring slogan, and sent off my order. Within no time at all, my new Wrist ID Elite arrived and I absolutely LOVE it!

Road ID sports bracelet


Road ID sports bracelet

What I don’t love is that I haven’t been able to use it yet. If you’ve watched our awesome Utah weather at all, you know we’ve had like one day of sunshine since Christmas Eve, and I don’t venture out unless it’s close to 70. (I’m a wimp like that.) So I haven’t been able to give my new Wrist ID Elite bracelet an actual test drive on the road, but I have worn it around and believe you me, it’s so comfortable and so lightweight you forget you’re even wearing it. And the peace of mind knowing I wont’ be a Jane Doe if something happens is totally priceless. (You never know…my little ones could take me hostage and cover me in duct tape and fingernail polish someday and Road ID would be the only way to identify me.)

If you’re not a sports enthusiast but have a family member or friend who is, this would make a pretty cool gift. Trust me. If Nathan had known about this product and purchased one for me, I’d think him even niftier than he already is!

Road ID Shoe IDRoad ID now offers a Wrist ID Slim, which I might consider adding to my collection; it would also be a great option for kids! I also like their Shoe ID, which is perfect for someone who can’t handle wearing things on her wrist while active. No matter which ID you choose, choose one. You never know if it might save a life.—Emily

*** Giveaway! Road ID is giving away one Road ID bracelent, winner’s choice! ***

Here’s how to enter. You can do as many of these as you’d like. Each one is worth one entry into our giveaway; please leave a separate comment for each one you do:

•Visit RoadID.com and leave a comment telling us which product you’d choose.
“Like” Road ID on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you did.
Follow Road ID on Twitter and leave a comment telling is you’re their newest follower.
•Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with the URL of your tweet.

Include a valid email address for our drawing. We’ll draw the winner from the comments and contact her via email. Deadline: April 26, 2011 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

I {love} Hushamok!

April 12th, 2011

I love my Hushamok hammock and Okoa stand. Before Greta was born, I wrote a quick post to tell you all how much I love the look of it. Now that Greta’s here (she’s 2 months old), I can tell you how much I love my hushamok hammock in action.

Hushamok HammockFor the first month of Greta’s life, she wouldn’t sleep anywhere except for in somebody’s arms and in her hushamok hammock. Which is saying something. Greta’s a high maintenance baby – a princess. To give you an example, she refused a soother until she was 6 weeks and she still refuses to take a soother half the time it’s offered (what bottle-fed baby refuses a pacifier?!). So the fact that she’d sleep for good stretches in her hammock is saying something. Very recently Greta developed reflux and I’ve found that although the hammock offers the ability to have Greta’s head elevated, it’s not quite enough for her specifically to lie awake in. To fall asleep these days, she needs to be elevated about the same way an infant car seat elevates a baby’s head (and sometimes she has to be completely upright!). Once she’s asleep, she’s good and happy to sleep in her hammock. And once she’s there I love that it keeps her head elevated slightly – she coughs less which is great!

Hushamok says their hammock is the next best thing to the womb – I agree. And so does Greta. I love how it sways when she stirs helping her to sleep a little longer. This makes me totally believe that the hammock would be perfect for restless sleepers. As the baby moves, the hammock sways or bounces slightly and that would help soothe the baby. Hushamok also says that their hammock helps to prevent flat heads. Again, I agree. The way the hammock softly conforms to baby’s head is perfect. It cause no concern for suffocation either.

Greta in her hammock

Hushamok has some great, flexible options as well. There’s two different stand choices: the Okoa (which I have and love – it’s super sturdy and beautiful!) or an aluminum stand. Or you could purchase just the hammock and it comes equipped with the hardware to hang it directly from the ceiling. When your baby is ready to be a little more interactive, you can get the MySeat. I would love one! I love that it allows the baby to sit upright and off the floor. I think it’s so clever and it looks like it would be so easy to interact with baby when they’re in a MySeat.

You have to check out Hushamok! They make beautiful, eco-friendly products that parents and babies alike will love. – Katie

Punjammies: Feel like a princess; help a princess

April 7th, 2011

...
advocating for women enslaved in prostitution.

restoring their broken lives.

empowering them to live free.

punjammies_main

I am a really, REALLY big fan of products that support worthy causes. That is why I’ve especially fallen in love with PUNJAMMIES, a product line that supports the International Princess Project. Did you know over 3 million women and girls work as prostitutes on the streets of India? Some are as young as six years old. SIX. YEARS. OLD.

The International Princess Project is “committed to giving women once enslaved in the sex trade the opportunity to support themselves with skill and dignity, to heal in body and spirit and to live lives of freedom.”  The organization establishes micro-enterprise sewing centers, partnering with Indian organizations who rescue women escaping from the sex trade. Inside these centers, rescued women learn to create PUNJAMMIES, drawstring pajamas sewn using beautiful Indian fabric.

I found this video on YouTube. I think you need to watch it.







punjammies1Ready to purchase a pair of PUNJAMMIES? Wait until you see some of the gorgeous patterns. I was sent the RATTMA PUNJAMMIES paired with the blue fair-trade organic tee.* The first thing you notice is the gorgeous pattern and lightweight fabric. And then it hits you—these pajama bottoms are going to be the most comfortable pajama bottoms EVER. Unfortunately I didn’t get to actually wear them with Utah thinking it’s still winter and dumping inches of snow at least twice since I received them. LAME.

I did get to try out the organic black cotton tank** during a recent yoga class. Super soft and comfy, it was the perfect tank for yoga…and Pilates..and weight lifting and whatever else you’d like to do in a tank. I loved the design (I think it helped me channel my inner “ohm”), though I wish it had a bit longer length. I’m thinking I might have to get the red version so I can see if a larger size is just as comfy…you know, purely for research purposes of course.

Punjammies tank

There’s this holiday called Mother’s Day coming up in just a few weeks, and I’m thinking PUNJAMMIES would be the perfect gift, especially this pair:

punjammies

You’d be supporting the International Princess Project, bringing “hope and a voice to those who have none” while making your mom (or sister or friend or yourself) feel like a princess in a gorgeous pair of pajama bottoms. The only problem will be deciding which beautiful design to buy, especially when you see the new collection! (By the way, they come in full length as well as capri.) Good luck!—Emily

***MOTHER’S DAY PROMOTION!***

The first 50 online orders will receive a FREE bracelet from 31 Bits (pictured below), a friend of PUNJAMMIES and the International Princess Project. (Like you need an extra excuse to buy PUNJAMMIES…)

31 Bits bracelet

* The organic cotton tees are made by Freeset, an organization similar to IPP working in Kolkata.
** The tank is made by Alternative Apparel and printed in the U.S. Even though the tee and tank are not produced in IPP’s centers, the profits go back into the program.

More Charm from Binth {+ Giveaway}

April 5th, 2011


BINTHfriends



Binth not only sent me their darling baby book (see my past review) but they also sent me two of their “FRIENDS” prints, which are absolutely charming. Each print is screen printed with hand-mixed inks. They come framed and ready to hang (or stand), which I love since all too often I purchase prints I love, but never complete the hanging process because I forget or procrastinate buying a frame! I loved hanging my “Doe Girl” and “Dancing Bears” on my daughters’ nursery wall shortly after they arrived (see photo below). Somehow Binth has an amazing ability to tie modern with vintage and make it perfectly balanced. I love the colors that are used – “licorice black and lavender with just a touch of cream.” The prints are high quality and will surely last through the ages and become heirloom items – they’re that adorable. – Katie

***Giveaway! Binth is giving away 3 prints (winner’s choice) to once lucky BC reader! To enter, visit Binth and leave a comment telling me what your three faves are.

Additional Entries by:

Tweet about this Review and GIVEAWAY on Twitter (include @BoutiqueCafe and @Binth in your Tweet). Please come back here and post a link to your tweet as well for an extra entry.

We’ll draw the winner from the comments and contact her via email. Deadline April 15, 2011 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

Congratulations to Wendy R!

my nursery


Let’s celebrate children of all abilities {giveaway}

April 1st, 2011

Love Me For Who I AmDid you know April is Autism Awareness month? I didn’t until I was asked to check out Brady Rymer’s new release, Love Me for Who I Am, a CD featuring 10 songs that honor kids of all abilities. Available on April 12th, just in time for Autism Awareness month, 5 percent of proceeds from CD sales will benefit Autism Speaks, a non-profit research and advocacy group.

These songs were inspired by the students at Celebrate the Children School, a New Jersey school for children with alternative learning styles. Many of the students are affected by autism, Asperger’s Syndrome or related disorders. The songs can be heard as anthems for differently-abled children and their families; at the same time, I think every child will find something to relate to in this collection. I hope the songs will invited deeper understanding and appreciation of children with autism and other disorders by shedding light on just how much we all have in common. ~Brady Rymer

We listened to this CD and found ourselves rocking out to many of the tunes. It is definitely one of the more enjoyable children’s CDs we own. My favorites are “Soft Things” and “Bein’ With You,” but all the songs on Love Me for Who I Am are a good time. How could they not be with titles like “Picky Eater,” “Keep Your Wiggle Alive” and “Squish Me, Squeeze Me”? You can listen to samples on BradyRymer.com and pre-order the CD on Amazon.com (or order it on iTunes now).






Even if you think you have more than enough children’s CDs, there is always room for one more especially if it celebrates children AND supports a very worthy cause. I mean, how can you say no?—Emily

** Giveaway! We are giving away one (1) copy of Love Me for Who I Am! **

Here’s how to enter. You can do as many of these as you’d like. Each one is worth one entry into our giveaway; please leave a separate comment for each one you do:

•  Visit BradyRymer.com, listen to the song samples and leave a comment telling us your favorite one.
•  “Like” Brady Rymer and The Little Band Who Could on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you did so.
•  “Like” Boutique Cafe on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you did.
•  Follow Boutique Cafe on Twitter and leave a comment telling us you’re our newest follower.
•  Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with the URL of your tweet.

Include a valid email address for our drawing. We’ll draw the winner from the comments and contact her via email. Deadline: April 8, 2010 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

Watch weight fall off of you with help from the MIO Triumph

March 29th, 2011
MIO The Original Strapless Heart Rate Watch has a calorie management system that is so easy to use and helpful to stick to your weight loss plan. As part of the new Smart Touch Series, the MIO Triumph features settings to program in daily calorie targets and record your daily calorie intake. Not only does it track what you put in your body, but, it equates how many calories you burn during exercise and will set off an alarm if you go over your caloric target for the day.

When I want to lose weight I try to enlist everyone around me to support the cause…”Do not let me eat this and this!” I demand. Well now the accountability is in the watch. The watch has my back-side. It will swiftly get my butt in gear and trim my derriere by its innovative alarm system that sets off an alarm if I exceed my targeted caloric intake.
Brilliant! Finally, I can ditch the food journal and exercise log. I can forget about strapping on a heart rate monitor and tracking my progress each day. Rather, I just put on my stylish MIO Triumph watch and it keeps track of what goes into my body and calculates if I am adequately burning enough calories each day.

logo So many heart rate watches are bulky and big, but, not this one. It is petite and lightweight. I love that it is the same size as a standard watch but has the capacity to do what a computer does. The watch has another interchangeable pink band that comes inside the box and is easy to switch out when you want to change the color of the band.
I recommend this wellness watch for its form and function. With smart touch you simply touch the side of the stainless steel sensor with your two fingers for an on-demand heart rate. The MIO Triumph has an innovative calorie management system and can tell the time…what else do you need/want on your wrist?!
Visit http://www.mioglobal.com/mio-triumph to order your own heart rate monitor watch. – Amber

Daily Dish readers special!

Discount: 10% off and free shipping to US and Canada
Code: DISH (has to be all caps)
Order your Weight-loss watch here

Groove Kid Nation: Get your groove on! {giveaway}

March 27th, 2011

Groove Kid Nation’s The Wheels on the Bus takes your old-school children’s songs like “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” “Three Blind Mice” and “The Wheels on the Bus” and gives them a fresh, funky feel that entertains kids while teaching them about a variety of musical instruments.

For example, check out the group’s debut video of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider Plays Piano with Fly Band”:

This is the first release in a planned series and it’s packed with instruments: piano, saxophone, trumpet, voice, flute, trombone, guitar, bass and drums. The tunes, while familiar, have a lot more funk, which helps keep kids engaged…and singing the songs long after they’re done playing.

Groove Kid NationGeorge and Livi enjoyed the variety of songs on Groove Kid Nation: The Wheels on the Bus, and I enjoyed a new take on some of the most popular children’s songs. Of course, not all the songs are old favorites. You’ll find some new favorites among the mix as well! You can check out a sampling of songs on Groove Kid Nation’s website (right-hand side of the homepage).

Super cool? Yes, because 10 percent of the wholesale price of The Wheels on the Bus is donated to CARE, a leading humanitarian organization.

Oh, and there are some pretty amazing musicians who performed on this CD. You can read the entire list here.—Emily

** Giveaway! We’re giving away one (1) copy of Groove Kid Nation: The Wheels on the Bus! **

Here’s how to enter. You can do as many of these as you’d like. Each one is worth one entry into our giveaway:

•  Visit GrooveKidNation.com and leave a comment telling us your favorite song from the sampler.
•  Follow Boutique Cafe on Twitter (or tell us you already do).
•  ”Like” Boutique Cafe on Facebook (or tell us you already do).
•  Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with the URL of your tweet.

Include a valid email address for our drawing. We’ll draw the winner from the comments and contact her via email. Deadline: April 4, 2011 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

We love (organic) polka spots!

March 24th, 2011

See Kai Run socksNo, they’re not really called “polka spots” but we prefer that to the common “polka dots.” But no matter how you say it, they are super cute on See Kai Run’s new line of organic children’s socks. Brought to you by the same company who brought my kids some of my most favorite shoes of all time (so. not. kidding.), I knew they had to be reviewed on Boutique Cafe’s Daily Dish.

See Kai Run socksFirst, the basics about See Kai Run’s new organic sock line (other than they come two pairs to a package):

  • Certified organic cotton blend

  • Smooth, seamless toes (I absolutely LOVE this feature because my little ones are picky about that dang seam on the toe. It takes us five minutes just to put socks on in the morning!)

  • Non-binding cuffs (Wish I could say the same about some of my socks!)

  • Pairs perfectly with See Kai Run & Smaller footwear (How awesome is that?)

Who better to review these fab socks than Olivia, a big fan of pink and polka spots? She received the Dots with Moxie set so she could review them all for you. And review them she did!







See Kai Run socksI have washed these socks in hot water (not on purpose) and though they shrunk a titch, they still fit wonderfully and are one of Olivia’s favorite pairs of socks…right up there with Fancy Nancy. See Kai Run’s organic socks have a much nicer, much sleeker fit and I can already tell they’ll hold up well to the wear and tear my kids put their clothing through (even if Mom doesn’t follow the washing instructions). What can I say? Yay for polka spots!—Emily

4R Planet Products – Shop Green, Shop Savvi

March 22nd, 2011

Planet-76_grande Stick around and I’ll convert you to using the coolest “green living” shopping and grocery bags I’ve ever seen! Here’s the truth, I have a big family (7 of us) and my weekdays are spent with many hours in the grocery store buying food for our crew. Each time I get to the checkout line I almost shutter, did I bring along my cloth shopping bags? Will I have to use their plastic ones to get all this stuff home? I’m not sure about your stores, but here where I live the grocery stores are stocking plastic bags that are way too thin, they rip with barely anything in them. It’s frustrating. Then there are the stores that charge you for individual bags, I honestly detest this practice. It makes me not want to shop in their stores. I like the idea of the traditional “green” bags, but their configurations don’t work for my shopping life and so I rarely remember to bring them along. Then 4R Planet sent me a full set of their product line and suddenly I’m converted to a new and savvi shopping experience.

The great looking and functional solution to my grocery shopping needs is from a Canadian company called 4R Planet. Now really, how excited can a girl get about grocery bags? Well I’m a real believer now, as I’ve been using the 4R Planet bags for several months. They are not only a great environmental choice, but they are actually cute and stylish. I have a hard time forgetting THESE at home!

Planet-84_large

In the product line up 4R Planet has several SAVVI bags including:
The Beverage Bag $7.99
The SAVVI Produce Pac $9.99
SAVVI Sac $16.99 (replaces 2 plastic shopping bags! and comes in cute colors)
SAVVI Sacs & Pacs $19.99
SAVVI Set $49.99
and the Utterly Amazing SAVVI Tote-All for $24.99 (The handles actually Clip onto your cart so you can load it as you shop. This is a MUST SEE!! Look at the pic on the right >>)
Planet-72_grande

You need not use these Savvi bags only for groceries, they have tremendous functionality. For instance the Beverage could hold six bottles, six magazines, 3 pair of shoes, hair care products, sippy cups, action-?gures, craft items and more.

    Each bag is:

Washable
Has Reinforced Seams
Reusable
Convenient
and don’t forget lovely to look at

I’m so thrilled with this company and products. The service is impeccable, their products are well made and are constantly working as you use them to improve our environment. I highly recommend checking them out – try them and let me know what you think! – Daria

Tweet with them on Twitter
Follow 4R Planet on Facebook
PROMO CODE:4R Planet is offering our Boutique Cafe readers 15% off your purchases until the end of April. Use discount code “boutiquecafe2011”

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A diaper bag I adore!

March 22nd, 2011

In the fall, I wrote a review about the Kokopax carrier, which I loved and still love. Kokopax recently debuted a new diaper tote called Samantha. I was so excited to receive one for review and couldn’t wait for it to arrive.

Flutter tote

Here’s a descrpition of the tote:


This fun and funky diaper tote is one that mom will want to use on her own, not just for baby.  Made from 100 percent cotton canvas, the samantha diaper tote features a custom designed, water-resistant lining, durable webbing, high quality leather accents and magnetic closure.  A zippered pocket with custom zipper pull, three extra–deep pockets, a beverage compartment and metal studs on the bottom to keep the bag clean, make the tote exceptionally functional for a variety of uses.  Other available fabric designs include: bubbles, bubbles take-two, sprout, pax and licorice.  Dimensions: 18” X 5X 14”.

The Samantha diaper tote is a generous size, but not too big. I agree that it’s a bag Mom will esnt to use on her own, I’ve used it a lot when I don’t have my two girls with me. I love the relaxed look of the tote and so do a lot of other people – I get at least one compliment whenever I leave the house with it! Having a newborn, I still prefer a more sturdy bag with a more pronounced and flat bottomn especially since I’m carrying around bottles of formula (and seemingly everything else besides the kitchen sink), but the Samantha Tote is excellent for trips to the grocery store, etc. I keep mine stashed with diapers and wipes so I can grab it and go whenever I’d like.

samantha

Overall, I adore my Samantha Tote. It’s great for Moms who’s youngest has reached toddler age and doesn’t need as much supplies (I miss those days!), or for breastfeeding moms who may require fewer supplies. And you’ll love all the compliments your sure to receive! Head on over to Kokopax to get yours. – Katie

***Promotion! Kokopax is offering BC readers 10% off with code boutiquecafe.com2011 Enjoy!***

BLAST OFF with Dinonauts {+Giveaway Autographed Copy}

March 18th, 2011

CoverPageText Are you ready to BLAST OFF with me this morning?! Strap yourselves in for a whole new kind of adventure. First there were Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles…Power Rangers…Shrek…Star Wars’ and now DINONAUTS!

Dinonauts is a book (and e-book) that I received to read with my children, and let me tell you they are hooked!! I have little boys ages 8 and 9 who love a great adventure story, and the opportunity to use their imaginations. We’ve been reading Dinonauts written by Mike Pacitto and illustrated by Langdon Foss when I’m tucking Joshua and Brigs into bed each night. It’s been a huge hit with my kids, in fact they were acting out their favorite characters yesterday after school. Dinonauts is a monstrously big tale, you could call it Karma-galactic, that infuses space battles, cosmic monsters, strange creatures and a gigantic good vs. evil theme with super-heroes and super-villains. But all of the adventure and excitement that will grab your children’s attention is balanced by a story of teamwork, friendship, the value of one’s own originality, a never-say-die attitude … and good karma. All this wrapped up into a book that’s a quick read, and it’s wonderful to look at. Wonderful because of the beautiful artistry of Langdon Foss, a comic book artist who now works for DC comics. Within the book the illustrations are black and white drawings with gorgeous detail, you can even allow your children to color the pages if you wish. I asked Joshua about the drawings and if he liked them in black and white, and he said “It’s nice because I can use my own colors in my head”. What a great kid I have! :)

The formula is simple:
1) Dinosaurs + 2) Outer Space = 3) the ultimate recipe for techie, sci-fi kids. The kids who start the next Facebooks, Googles and Twitters … they will remember the day they read Dinonauts.

My family isn’t the only one jumping onto the ship, Dinonauts has a Facebook group of over 4,000 members plus if you’re a techie type of parent it also came out on iBooks and Kindle a few weeks ago, or if you like a hard copy book you can snag one for a great price on Amazon.

We have a feeling that Dinonauts is really going to be the next big thing, with a potential movie in the near future and the coolest characters like Rufus the albino ape they have a strong foothold in what kids these days are craving for in sci-fi literature. 3-2-1…Blast off – Daria

** Giveaway! Dinonauts is giving away one AUTOGRAPHED copy of their book to a lucky Boutique Cafe reader!!**

Here’s how to enter. You can do as many of these as you’d like. Each one is worth one entry into our giveaway:

•   Visit Dinonauts.com and leave a comment telling us what you think your kids would like most.
•   “Like” Dinonauts on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you joined.
•   Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with the URL of your tweet.
•   Update your Facebook status including a link to this giveaway.

Include a valid email address for our drawing. We’ll draw the winner from the comments and contact her via email. Deadline: March 29, 2011 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

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