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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Wake Up and Smell The Fair Trade: Green Mountain Coffee

Straight up...anyone who offers me free coffee is guaranteed to become my new best friend. So when this BzzAgent Campaign came across my inbox, I was only too happy to accept.

If you're not familiar with the concept of Fair Trade, essentially, it promotes a higher pay rate to exporters of certain goods to promote sustainability in developing countries. Short version, better pay, better conditions, better way of life.

So that gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling already.  The coffee itself turns up the heat.

I personally adore the smell of brewing's comforting for me. The scent of the Green Mountain Coffee was amazing: rich and smooth, with a cleanness to the aroma that I hadn't found before. And the flavor backs it up. I brew strong, and it was still smooth and clean, without the harsh bitterness I get with a lot of coffees. I had it both hot and iced, with and without creamer, and it was great in all incarnations.

The cost is a bit higher than average, but happy karma, god vibes and great coffee is worth the extra cost. It's become my new treat and secret vice. We will be happy together on many future journeys into Fair Trade Heaven.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Decorate it Forward this Holiday Season with Kmart...and win a $15 gift card!

I received a $15 gift card from Smiley360 in exchange for my review. You'd be amazed how far that $15 can go with all the great deals at Kmart. What's even more awesome is you can holiday shop Kmart from your comfy chair, and reap big rewards. Check out the Shop Your Way Rewards Program. Access to exclusive coupons and discounts, even a early grab at Black Friday deals? Yes, you want this.

It can't be that great, you say? Insane, you say? Hark, the herald website sings. So many pretties from designers like Jaclyn Smith and Sandra Lee, and some fun and innovative decor, like this Lighted Harley Santa Christmas Decoration. I personally thought the latter was fantastic. 

While shopping, I picked up a 2012 St. Jude Holiday Bear Ornament. For every  bear ornament purchased between November 1st and December 25th, $1 goes to St. Jude Children's' Research Hospital. It's only $5, so you can do good even on a budget. Not to mention it's incredibly adorable.

A fun diversion from shopping: The Virtual Ornament Creator. Here's my creation, starring my pretty baby girl:

If you feel lucky, there's even a chance to win a holiday shopping spree with your choice of designer: The Decorate It Forward Sweeps. I can't think of anyone who wouldn't want a trip to either LA or the Big Apple to go shopping with Jaclyn Smith or Sandra Lee. Please, tie me down and make me accept it. I'm in, for sure.

I admit, I hadn't been to Kmart in quite a while. I was amazed at the quality and range of the merchandise. I will be making Kmart a much more consistent shop stop in the future, and Decorating it Forward this Holiday Season!

Now's the good part: You too can get your very own $15 Kmart Gift Card! I'll make it easy for you. All you need to do is comment on this post with what you would like to buy with that lovely gift card. I'll choose a winner at random at 12 pm on December 3, 2012. So scope out the Kmart Holiday Shop, and let me hear you make some noise!

Gorton's Skillet Crisp Tilapia - Not Your Standard Frozen Fish

 Because I'm a BzzAgent, I had the privilege of getting to try Gorton's Skillet Crisp Tilapia frozen fish for free. Darling, I would have paid them. It was just that good.


You just drop it in a frying pan or skillet and cook it up. No fuss, no muss, no drama. But it tastes like you spent a long time on it. My husband despises frozen fish, and it fooled him. It cooks up with a fresh taste, and the breading is lighter than the usual frozen filets. On the flip side, my kids, who ONLY like frozen fish, also gobbled it down.

These are made with whole 5-star filets, none of that chopped fish junk. I went with the Classic Seasonings myself, but there's also a Garlic and Herb variety. And happy day, no MSG, artificial flavors or colors

It also offers an option to bake it in the oven. I tried that method as well. It gets a bit browner, but the taste is still great, and it doesn't dry out.

I went on the Gorton's website for meal ideas and got this glorious recipe for a fish sandwich with a kicky, spicy sauce. It is worth the extra time to make that sauce. I loved it.

Gorton's Skillet Crisp Tilapia will be in my freezer again, and again. A great product from a great company I've used and trusted for a long time.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

At Long Last...The Goody Simple Styles Spin Pin

I said I would go into more detail, and I try not to lie unless my soul is up on Ebay or something. Ahem...

I was a lucky recipient of the Beauty Bloggers VoxBox from Influenster, and the first thing that brought out the long buried cheerleader in me was when I spotted the long requested but never granted wish of the Goody Simple Styles Spin Pin.

I have had long hair for about twenty years. Okay, now that I've gotten over the fact that I'm that old, I'll get to the point. My hair is not only very long (waist length) but very fine. In addition, my eight month old daughter and three year old son seem to ignore the fact that it's attached to my scalp and use it to help them create a Mommy rock climbing wall. I had seen the Spin Pin advertised, and saw it as an answer to my prayers.

Anyone with long, fine hair knows that it won't stay restrained in anything, no matter how tight you wind it. I have made threats to shave my head, but for numerous reasons, did not follow through.

To give the Spin Pin a realistic test, I did what I would normally do: Grab my hair, wind it in a knot, and fasten it in place. It took a couple of tries to get the hang of putting the pins in, but I got it down.

The result:

That bun was SECURE. I did the Willow Smith thing and whipped my hair, but it stayed snug.

I have been using these every day since. The little ones are still playing Tarzan on my hair, but they now have to work for it. I must get more Spin Pins, because it would be a sad day for me if these get lost.

Influenster Strikes Again - The Beauty Blogger VoxBox

I was thrilled to hear I was going to receive the Beauty Blogger VoxBox. However, I had no idea of the wow factor contained within. Scope this:

Is that not a thing of Beauty, indeed?

First off, the Goody Simple Styles Spin Pin. I am not kidding...these have been on my Christmas list for a long time. I have extremely long, extremely fine hair, and two young children who are firmly convinced that its primary purpose is baby bungee cord. I like to keep it pulled back and up to prevent this. I will go into more detail in a later post.

Next to it is proof that prayers are answered. I have been addicted to Bath and Body Works since my teen years, and now they make mini candles. I got Pumpkin Cupcake scented, and let me tell you, it is heavenly. I even got a coupon to get more, so it's all over but the screams of joy. It did burn quickly, though bigger ones can be had.

Next, something I hadn't heard of: Not Your Mother's Smooth Moves Frizz Control Hair Cream. I'll tell you, anything that can take my daughter's rat nest mop that looks like this:
And turn it into this:

Might just find its way into my normal rotation. Very impressive, in my opinion. It smells nice, too.

Kiss Ever Pro Lashes Starter Kit: Proof I lack a key element of femininity. I seriously could not get them onto my own eyes. However, putting them on another person's was easy as pie. They include this little applicator thingy that makes is very simple to keep them lined up. So any fault lies in my lack of skill, not the lashes.

NYC New York Color IndividualEyes Custom Compact: This made me squeal like a tween. As you can see, it is a full palette, and includes a primer that really keeps the color in place. It didn't bug my skin at all, either. I felt all classy and what not, and the instructions showed me where everything goes. This is very good, for as I said before, I lack certain feminine genes. And before you fuss: It costs 4.99. Damned good, I think.

Finally, something I've mentioned before: EBOOST energy powder. The orange is pretty tasty, and it does give you a short term feel-good boost. I do admit to curiosity about the other flavors they have, especially Acai Pomegranate.

I was not cool enough to rate the Vitabath Fragrance Mist or the Boots No.7 Beautiful Skin Skincare system, sniffle. But all of this fun stuff was given to me compliments of Influenster for testing purposes, just to hear what I think, so I can't exactly wail in abject despair too long.

Okay, I'm already over it. THANK YOU, INFLUENSTER!!! So many pretties.