Thursday, April 30, 2015

A subject near and dear to my heart.

When it comes to the internet, I generally shy away from discussing sensitive issues because most people already have their opinions and beliefs and a heated discussion on Facebook isn’t going to change that.  But there is one subject I will ALWAYS make the time and effort for, and that is child abuse.
      I’m an advocate of peaceful parenting. While I wish everyone knew what those two words meant and practiced it, the sad truth is most of the time when I say peaceful parenting people look at me like I have lost my mind or I’m speaking another language.  Peaceful parenting in a nutshell is the belief that through communication and guidance it is not necessary to resort to bribes, yelling or physical discipline with your children.  If you want a more detailed explanation, Parenting Beyond Punishment is a wonderful resource of information.

      With that being said; I fully believe that yelling or hitting your kid is child abuse. I’ve heard it all. “My parents hit me and I turned out just fine.” “If more kids were hit they wouldn’t act the way they do now.” Those statements infuriate me beyond belief. You are taught your entire life that physical violence is never the answer or solution, yet when it comes to our children, the only beings who are truly dependent on us for their well-being and safety in the developmental years of their life; it is okay to hit them???  I think not.

Research shows that: physical punishment is associated with an increase in delinquency, antisocial behavior, and aggression in children; and physical punishment is associated with a decrease in the quality of the parent-child relationship, mental health, and the child's capacity to internalize socially acceptable behavior. That is just a small example of how physical discipline is detrimental to your child.

      Right now, society is applauding a mother for beating her child on national television for participating in acts of violence. We all know that children emulate the behavior they see, so is it possible that he learned through physical discipline that violence is in fact the answer?  Isn’t that essentially what we are teaching our children when we choose to hit them?  “I don’t like what you did, so I’m going to hit you.” And then we contradict our actions by teaching them that violence isn’t the solution and you can go to jail for hitting people.  How can anyone ignore the blaring hypocrisy in that logic??

I’m aware that there are a lot of people that vastly disagree with me and that’s their choice, but if even one person takes the time to look into peaceful parenting and comes away with a better understanding of why we need to not hit our kids, then it was well worth the time it took to write this.  I could go on and on about my beliefs and the philosophy behind them, but how to parent your child is a very personal choice and I strongly encourage anyone who’s even the slightest bit interested to seek out more information on peaceful parenting.  

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

If you have a USB 3.0 capable phone, win a free USB 3.0 cord!!!

       So I just recently upgraded to the Samsung S5 and one of the first things I noticed was the weird plug. I was like oh great, now I need to buy a million new chargers. I use my phone constantly for so many different things, that going through a whole day without charging it just isn’t a reality for me.

       In case you’re wondering, this plug is USB 3.0.  My Samsung 3 and most android phones have a USB 2.0 plug.    I was relieved to find out that all of my 2.0 chargers would still work with my S5, in fact I think a lot of S5’s come with just the 2.0 plug. If you’re like me you’re wondering what the big deal is with the 3.0 USB charging cord.  Charging speed.  Hands down, the 3.0 blows away the 2.0 when it comes to charging speed. It charges my Samsung twice as fast as a traditional USB 2.0 charging cord does!

      I recently received a 3.0 USB cable from ThatisJustGenius to review, and this cord is great! I love it so much I want to give you the opportunity to have your very own 3.0 USB charging cord! Keep in mind, this cord will only work if you’re phone is compatible with a 3.0 USB.  Check out the pictures below and make sure this cord is compatible with your smart phone. Here’s a product description:

-This Galaxy S5 and Samsung Note 3 USB cable doesn't just say "Genius" on the outside; it features truly genius technology on the inside. An OEM-certified charger, the Samsung Micro USB 3.0 cable allows you to fully benefit from the USB 3.0 capabilities of your device while consuming less power and protecting your Note 3 or Galaxy S5 from damage due to overheating.
- The Genius Technology featured in this Samsung Galaxy S5 charging cable slashes charging time in half, so you're ready to talk, text, surf and more in just to 2 to 3 hours!
-Transferring large video files and audio playlists from your computer to your mobile device can take forever with a basic cable, leaving you wondering if it's worth it to sync that data at all. Our Genius Technology gets even huge files from your hard drive to your mobile device in seconds.
-Our ingenious cable is backed by an 18-month warranty to fully ensure your satisfaction. You have nothing to lose but charge and transfer wait time!

Check out my youtube video featuring the ThatisJustGenius USB 3.0 cord here: ThatisJustGenius Youtube Video

If you’d like to enter to win one of these cords, just fill out the Rafflecopter entry form below.  I think you’ll love it as much as I love mine! If you don’t want to wait to win this you can purchase one here:ThatIsJustGenius USB 3.0 Cord

A big thank you to ThatisJustGenius for sponsoring this post and giveaway! #Thatisjustgenius
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 27, 2015

La Mav BB Cream product review-Updated 5/4 with Youtube video!

                I've just recently really started getting into makeup; I mean makeup applied well. I've always loved makeup but could never seem to get it right.  I've learned a lot about technique and product and I still have a long way to go, but I'm getting there! I used to just slap foundation on my face and wonder why it didn’t look that great. There are a lot of products out there that help you achieve that flawless look and one of those products is BB Cream. Never heard of BB Cream?? Well, let me tell you a little bit about it.  BB Cream is supposed to be an all-in-one product that works as a foundation, moisturizer, primer, etc… It’s pretty similar to a CC cream or a tinted moisturizer with a little more coverage.
          I was recently given the opportunity to review LaMav BB Cream. LaMav is an Australian based company that specializes in organic skin care products. LaMax is 100% cruelty free and does NOT test on animals.  They also do not add fillers or nanoparticles to their products. 

LaMav BB Cream product details:
-Suitable for all skin types
-Australia’s first, certified organic BB Crème
-Ultra efficient makeup base with colour correction, hydration and protection
-Treats skin imperfections with Vitamin C & Rosehip Oil
-Approximately SPF 11 (not certified)
-Colour balancing for an even tone, smoothing skin for a radiant finish
-Price Point: $39.95 for 3 fl oz.
 -LaMax Beauty Cream Can be bought here: LaMav BB Cream

I received two testers of the BB Cream.  I was a little surprised when I opened it because it looked a little dark, so I was interested to see how this would work. To give you an idea of how this product works I took a picture of myself with a clean, makeup free face. I apologize in advance, I'm still working on figuring out the settings on my camera and the lighting today is awful.

          There’s some debate on whether you need a primer with BB cream and whether you use BB cream or primer first.  I chose to apply primer first, but that’s just my preference. Next, I applied the BB cream.  I used my knock off brand beauty blender and it worked beautifully.  I did get the sponge damp first and I definitely think that helped the BB cream go on smoother.  This product blends beautifully.  I had nothing to worry about with the color as it worked great.  I didn’t have a weird line on my face from the color.  This is what my face looked like after I applied the BB cream:

          I think I would feel comfortable wearing the BB cream as my foundation. It gives enough coverage that if I didn’t want to go through my entire foundation/face routine I could throw on some primer and BB cream and call it good. It really eliminated the redness in my face and gave my complexion and even look.

          Just for comparison purposes here’s after I applied my foundation and completed my beauty routine:

          So while the BB cream works great on its own, it also works well with foundation if you want a little more coverage than just the BB cream.  I’m super impressed with this product. I’ve used tinted moisturizers and CC cream and none of them give me the coverage or finish that this BB cream does.  A little also goes a long way with this.  I didn’t need to use a lot of product to cover my face. 
LaMav has a whole line of skincare products, and they now have a bronzer and a mattifying powder.  What I really like is LaMav offers sample packs of all of their products so you can purchase a sample to ensure you like them before investing in full size products.  
Overall Impressions: I loved this product and I’m really hoping LaMav expands more into the U.S. market.  The shipping costs from Australia to the U.S. are a little expensive and this may be a deal breaker for some.  It’s great as a standalone product if you want a little coverage with a natural look, or works great with a foundation.

If you'd like to see how LaMav BB cream compares to other tinted moisturizers, check out my youtube video here: LaMav BB Creme Comparison Video

Are you familiar with BB creams? Do you have a favorite BB cream that is a must to your beauty routine? Let me know in the comments!
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Sunday, April 26, 2015

My BellaVoxBox from Influenster is here!!!!!!

I recently joined Influenster and I love it so far! What is Influenster you ask?  In a nutshell it’s a website and mobile app that measures your social media impact and sends you free cool stuff to check out and try. The more active you are on social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc…) the more cool stuff you’re going to qualify for and get!  If you love social media and sharing your opinion, this is the website for you! Within a week of signing up for Influenster I qualified for my first campaign. I got a Bella Vox Box! If you’re interested you can check out my unboxing video here: Influenster BellaVoxBox Unboxing

So what’s inside this magical box??  A whole lot of awesomeness and I got it all free!  There’s a little card inside that tells you what each item is and its retail value.  So if you’re curious where my price points and information come from, it’s from that card. I'm going to breakdown each item for you below.

Monday, April 20, 2015

How cute are these??

I love how burning candles look.  They make a great addition to a centerpiece, or even on your mantle. But my husband has banned me from burning candles. Why you ask???  Because I have a really bad habit of leaving them burning....for hours. And hours.  So in an effort to prevent me from burning our house down he has asked that I not light candles.  So what's a girl to do??  Buy some flame less tea lights!

These tea lights are great!  You get 24 tea lights, which is an amazing deal.  They are so cute and there are so so many different uses for them. These would work great for decoration. You could use them in a centerpiece or on your mantel, and they're battery operated.  My daughter turned one on almost as soon as I opened them and she left it on all night, so I can guarantee they would last through any event you would use them for.

You can easily replace the battery should you need to, but they're supposed to last for 60 hours so unless you are using them continuously you won't need to replace them for quite some time.  I really like the glow these give off.  It's a really light glow, really true to the same glow you would get from a tiny tea light candle.  I've bought tea lights very similar to these at the dollar store, and half of them didn't work and the other half worked for a few hours, so these are definitely a superior quality to what you would get at the dollar store.

I was given the opportunity to receive this product in exchange for my honest, unbiased review and I'm really pleased with this product.

You can purchase these tealights here:

My daughter is super obsessed with "helping" me make Youtube video's for products, so if you want to see my video about these tea lights you can see it here:

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Getting a little help with my fashion woes from Stanzino

  Let’s talk fashion for a second.  I have to wear business clothes for work so I have a ton of super cute dress clothes; it’s my “casual” clothes I seem to be having an issue with lately.  I feel like I’m at that weird age where the juniors section makes me feel old and the misses section makes me feel like my mom.  There doesn't seem to be a good in between section for me to shop in!  My casual wardrobe currently consists of yoga pants, tank tops, and like 3 t-shirts, so I've been on the lookout for some casual shirts, and it’s always a plus if they can double up as work gear too. So, when I was given the opportunity to review a tunic from Stanzino I jumped at the chance!  I really like tunics and I think they look great for business or casual.

I ordered the ¾ length sleeve tunic in Gray in an X-Large.  I’m always nervous buying clothes online; it’s such a pain to return if it’s the wrong size or you don’t like it so I always check sizing charts when available.  This is the size recommended for me on their sizing chart and it’s pretty accurate. The color is spot on to the product picture.  I hate when you get an item and it’s not at all the color you thought you were getting!

I always check for imperfections when I buy new clothes, and I couldn't find any so I was pretty happy about that; no one likes a shabbily made product! The shirt fits a little tight across the chest, but not so tight that it would prevent me from wearing it.  It is a little on the sheer size, so a cami or tank top underneath is a must for me, no one wants to see my unmentionables! It’s also a little long in the back but that’s not uncommon for me because I’m only 5’2!

 Overall I’m pretty impressed with this shirt.  I think I would have to tuck the back in if I wore it for work as it would be longer than my suit jacket, but I can definitely see myself wearing this out for a night with friends too.
                Check out my video if you want to see the shirt on me and my impressions: 

                Do any of you have a “go-to” shirt for casual? I’d love to hear suggestions on casual clothing for a “not a teen, but not my mom” age group .

Because who doesn't need more containers??

                I love storage containers.  I would buy new storage containers every time I walked into the store if I didn’t think my husband would kill me for it!  I’ve learned that sometimes it pays to spend a little more especially when it comes to storage containers.  When I use a container I want to make sure the lid is going to stay on and not pop off right away. This leads me to my newest review product:
                I was super excited to get these containers and they have not disappointed me.  You get 4 different containers and the best part is all of the containers have snaps on the lids to lock them in place.  Here’s the best part….they’re pretty much leak proof.  I *try* to bring my lunch to work whenever possible, and I always end up lugging two bags with me because I don’t want to chance throwing my lunch in my main bag and it leaking all over my stuff. This is a pain for me and I’d much rather be able to toss my lunch in my bag and go. I totally can with these.  Don’t believe me??  Check out my video! I apologize in advance for the shakiness, 9 year olds don’t make the best videographers but she loves to help!
You Tube Video Review

                Right now these are about $20 on Amazon, which is a great price for 4 containers of this quality.  While I received this product in exchange for my honest unbiased review I would gladly pay that amount for these containers.  

               I plan on using these for my lunches, what would you use these containers for??  

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Who's ready to watch some movies this summer??

                I have a secret to tell you all…..I work for one of the largest movie theatre chains in the U.S, and I don’t watch movies.  Customers ask me all the time “Oh, how was (insert movie title here)?”  And sometimes I can come up with a vague answer based on what I’ve heard from other customers and employees, but a lot of times they just get a blank stare.  This summer I am determined to eliminate the blank stare and see some of the awesome movies coming out this summer!  This year is shaping up to be one of THE biggest years for the movie industry ever. I recently had the opportunity to watch several advanced trailers for the upcoming movies of this year and I’m pretty excited to see some of these movies.    So without further ado, I am going to give you my top 10 (in order of release date) must see movies for this Summer:

( on the title to go to a synopsis of the movie)

                I’ll admit this looks totally cheesy, but who doesn’t enjoy a cheesy PG-13 suspense movie?? This is definitely not going to be the sleeper hit of the world, but hey I don’t pay for movies anyways ;)

                I had ZERO interest in this movie based off of the poster. I love Blake Lively, but I just wasn’t feeling this one.  Then I had the opportunity to see an extended trailer.  I think this movie is going to be great.  It’s definitely a “chick flick” so grab your girls and some tissues and go see this! No, seriously, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

                Captain America and Iron Man. Do I *really* need to say more?? I think right now this whole series is untouchable.  Every movie just gets better and better and I don’t think this is going to be an exception. The cast is incredible and this is a movie everyone can enjoy. Because ladies, even if we don’t care about the action….Captain American and Iron Man.

                Do I really need to even explain this one??  After seeing an extended trailer I have no doubt this will be just as great as the first, if not better.  So go see it, pitches!

                This was one of the first scary movies I saw as a kid, and I’m really interested to see what they do with a remake.  I was obsessed with the little blonde girl and wanted to be her. I mean she got to be inside a tv, that’s super cool stuff to a kid.  It may end up being a total bomb, but I’ll see it anyways!

                So now that I know this isn’t a movie about Grand Theft Auto, I’m kind of excited about it.  National disaster movies always end up being really great, or really horrible and I’m hoping this one is really great.

                I watched this show religiously, so I have to go see the movie!  I absolutely love Ari, and I can’t wait to see him on the big screen.  I really hope they don’t screw this up, because I have high hopes.  And if you’ve never seen the series, go watch it. Right now.  You won’t regret it!

3. Spy
                I adore Melissa McCarthy but after seeing two extended scenes from this, I think Jason Statham is going to steal the spotlight.  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him in a comedy, and he had me dying laughing.  And did I mention he’s not bad to look at either??

2. Max
                I really super duper hope this is the sleeper hit on the summer.  I had not heard of this movie until it played in one of the trailer reel’s we watched, and the trailer almost made me cry. This movie looks amazing, and you should really go check out the trailer!

1.  Ted
                I really enjoyed the first one, and while the first few trailer were very “meh” I still have high hopes for Ted. And Mark Wahlberg is hot.

                So it turns out my top 10 list only goes through June! That’s how many amazing movies are coming out this summer!  Which movie are you most excited to see this summer??  Leave a comment below and one lucky winner will receive a prize from me! 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Culinary Claws for the Wolverine inside of you!

Every once in awhile you run across a product that makes you stop and scratch your head.  Culinary Claws are one of those products!  It seems like they just kept popping up everywhere so when given the chance to review them, I said why not???

Tip number one: If you want to actually be able to use these for their intended purpose, hide them!!  I did not and my husband was nice enough to send me this picture while I was at work:

Super cute right??  Not quite what I think the company had in mind though when they made this product!  

The actual use of this product is to shred meat!  I make A LOT of crock pot meals with chicken.  I hate shredding the meat. It's just one of those silly things that's way more time consuming than necessary and I always seem to leave big chunks.  

I decided to make Chicken Taco's to test these bad boys out.  They're incredibly easy to use and work really well!  They're way more efficient and I didn't have a bunch of chunks, it seemed to shred all the meat pretty evenly.

If you love new kitchen gadgets, get yourself a pair of these! I received these at a discounted rate in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Wait for the Rain by Maria Murnane Review

Book Review: Wait for the Rain by Maria Murnane
Daphne White is staring down the barrel of forty—and is distraught at what she sees. Her ex-husband is getting remarried, her teenage daughter hardly needs her anymore, and the career she once dreamed about has somehow slipped from her grasp. She’s almost lost sight of the spirited and optimistic young woman she used to be.

As she heads off to a Caribbean island to mark the new decade with her best friends from college, Daphne’s in anything but the mood to celebrate. But when she meets Clay Hanson, a much younger man, she ignores her inner voice warning her that she’s too old for a fling. In fact, this tropical getaway might be the perfect opportunity to picture her future in a new sun-drenched light.

With the help of her friends, Daphne rediscovers her enthusiasm for life, as well as her love for herself—and realizes that her best years are still ahead.

I’ve been a fan of Maria Murnane’s books for quite a while now, so when I heard she had a new book I couldn’t wait to read it. I’ve really connected with characters in her previous books and I had high hopes for this book as well.

Daphne White is the main character of this book; she recently finalized her divorce, her ex-husband is getting remarried, and she’s on the verge of turning 40.  I have never been divorced and 40 still seems awfully far for me, so I wasn’t sure how I would be able to relate to her character. I think it’s a true testament to an author’s talent and writing ability when you can make that connection with a character whose life experiences vary so different from your own, and I was able to make that connection with Daphne. 

The book centers on Daphne’s island getaway, with her college besties, KC and Skylar. KC and Skylar are great! I can only hope that when I reach the big 4-0, I’m surrounded by friends as great as these two and have sustained the same connection these ladies have.  All three ladies have very unique personalities and throughout the book it’s amazing to see such a strong connection after 20 years and highlights the importance of strong friendships.

I don’t want to give too much about the book away, but it was a great read that really got me thinking. I think we spend most of our lives on a certain track and what do we do when our life is derailed?? This is essentially what Daphne has to figure out.  She has centered her entire life on her marriage and being a good wife and mother, and now she has to come to terms with a whole new life as a divorcee. I think a lot of women can relate to this. It is very easy to get caught up in the day to day life of being a mother and a wife and you forget to make time for yourself.  It’s very easy to feel as if you have lost your own personal identity. 

***Spoiler Alert***
What I absolutely loved about this book is that the focal point of this book was Daphne’s relationship with her friends, NOT some island fling.  The author could have made the obvious choice of letting Daphne and Clay fall in love and live happily ever after, but I think we’ve all read that book a hundred times.  In the first few chapters it was a little frustrating that Daphne wasn’t letting her friends in, but it was actually really touching when she finally breaks down, and seemed like a cathartic release.  Ok….I’ll admit it, when Daphne breaks down I totally cried. Anytime a book can bring me to tears, you know the author is doing something right!
I recommend this book not just to divorcees, but any mom out there. I think we all need a reminder sometimes that we are more than just moms and wives, and we need to cherish and nurture our relationships with our friends as well!

 I received this book in exchange for my honest review. :)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Chef Remi, My husband would like to personally thank you for this!

I'm just going to admit this from the start...I'm not a very good cook.  I try to be, but somehow most of my meals fall a little short.  It's still edible, but you just know it could be so much better.

One of the biggest problems I have is I tend to over cook food.  I have an irrational fear of giving my entire family food poisoning, so I take care of that by overcooking chicken, beef, you name it and it's "well done" in this house.  My husband learned a long time ago to just accept this and eat the food!

At one point I even went and bought a food thermometer.  It was just a little cheapy one that looked a little like this:

This helped...a little.  We went from Charcoal, to just over done.  The problem was I wasn't very good at reading the darn thing and still over cooked just to be sure.

This thing is amazing!  I don't read directions, I'm just not that person,  and I was able to easily figure this out with no problems.  It has an easy on/off switch.  You can switch between Celcius and Farenheit, and it has a hold button so you know exactly what temp your food is at.

I honestly can't wait to use it as a candy thermometer.  I can't be the only one who's ever skipped a recipe because it involved a thermometer.....right????

If you'd like to see a video demo of how easy peasy this is to use, head on over to my youtube video:

I received this product at a discounted rate in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion!

Starting Over...and review firsts!!

Here we go, I'm going to attempt this blogging thing again! Consider this my introductory post :) A little bit about me: I'm happily married to my husband of 7 years and we have one 9 year old girl together and I have two step sons, 10 and 14. I'm a General Manager for a large company that shall rename nameless, and I love it! This blog is going to be a little bit of everything, but I've recently stumbled into some great opportunities to review products, so expect a lot of product reviews! It's my promise to you that I will always be honest in my reviews, and you can bet if I don't have anything nice to won't see that product! I'm super duper excited to share my first product review with you. I'm an avid reader and it's one of my favorite activities, so when I was given the opportunity to review Maria Murnane's newest book, Wait for the rain, I jumped at it!
If you like to read and haven't heard of Maria Murnane you are missing out. I have read every book she has written and I absolutely adore her books. They're along the same vein of Emily Giffin, Jennifer Wiener, Jane Green, etc...I just received the book today, so look for my review in a few days.