Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Discovering Essential Oils [@PurtiansPride #EssentialOil Review and Giveaway]

essential oils

I had the chance to try out essential oils recently and it opened my eyes to a whole different world. Although I had heard of them before, I never thought about their importance and how these oils can be so valuable in the home.

When I received this set from Puritan's Pride to review, I initially did the standard approach I thought they would be used for - rubbing it on my skin like perfume. Lavender is especially nice for this. But I started thinking - what ELSE can you do with essential oils?

I received a wide selection and after doing some digging, a couple of the oils really stood out to me. First of all, lavender essential oil does more than just smell nice on your skin, it also works wonders to spritz into a bedroom or closet to freshen up the room. After I got the oils, I purchased some empty spray bottles from the store, and I filled it with many drops of essential oil (I probably used about 5 drops) and filled it up with water. Spraying it all over my bedroom refreshed it and although the scent didn't last, the refreshing aroma certainly did. It was like I had left my window open and fresh spring air had blown through.

Then I also discovered a fantastic purpose for lemongrass essential oil did wonders for a couple of things. First of all, I had sticky tape residue that wasn't coming off on the side door to the balcony of my apartment. I rubbed lemon essential oil on a rag with some water. Then I went over the residue and with a little elbow grease it was cleaned off. AMAZING!

THEN I cut up a TON of onions over the weekend to add to a pizza I was having, but the problem is it funks up the counters pretty badly. So I took another empty spray bottle, added 5 drops of the lemon essential oils, and filled it with water. Then I sprayed the counters and wiped them down again with a clean washcloth. This really took away the onion smell.

There are so many things you can do with essential oils and Puritan's Pride offers a wide selection. Rosewood, Geranium, and Bergamot were the other essential oils I received and they make wonderful room refreshers, perfumes, and so much more.

If you are as curious as I was about what to use essential oils for, feel free to check out some of these links. Be sure to read the labels of what you CAN use essential oils for because some are safe for certain things but not others.

How to Use Essential Oils

101 Ways to Use Essential Oils

Want to find out what essential oil is best for you? Check out Puritan's Pride fun quiz! Plus use this coupon code AROMAMD  It’s good for $5 off a $25 purchase in Aromatherapy.  It expires 6/30/2015.

Best of all and just in time for Mother's Day, I get to giveaway the same products that I received to one lucky reader! Simply enter via Rafflecopter below. Giveaway ends 5/7. You may not get the delivery by Mother's Day but I'm sure your mom (or you!) will appreciate these just the same.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received these items in exchange for my honest review. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Where To Find Some Amazing Hot Chocolate?

cisse cocoa
Although we are moving out of the cool weather season, it isn't too late to take in some last minute hot chocolate moments. I couldn't wait to try out the Cisse Trading Company Hot Chocolate and I know you need to try some before the hot weather comes in to kill the mood.

First I tried out their Semi-Sweet Hot Cocoa. I really like my hot chocolate VERY rich. I don't usually go in the direction of whip cream and marshmallows but I love half and half (or very vanilla Soy) milk in hot chocolate to give it that extra divine taste. This was great tasting chocolate. I do tend to overdo the amount of hot cocoa I put in so it's extra rich tasting, but it was worth it.

The next one I tried was their Dark Chocolate with Cinnamon. I really liked the best as I LOVE cinnamon mixed in with hot chocolate. The cinnamon almost cut the sweet of the hot cocoa which gave it a unique taste that I enjoyed probably more so than the Semi-Sweet Hot Cocoa. I HIGHLY recommend this.

The only unfortunate thing about this great hot chocolate was how fast it went! The two containers of hot chocolate were gone so quickly, but it's at a fairly reasonable price. I mean this isn't the type of drink I have every night, so the price of the hot chocolate runs about $5.99 online. 

But Cisse Trading doesn't JUST do hot chocolate, they offer some really tasty looking baked mixes that you must try out. I can't indulge because they aren't gluten-free but if you don't have to worry about it, I highly recommend you check it out.

Best of all if you want the chance to win some prizes, here's what you can do:

1) Visit this link and look for Cisse Trading and VOTE!

2) You will need to register your vote with your email and once you get the confirmation, forward your confirmation to cissegiveaway@gmail.com.

3) There are winners every week so you have a good chance to win prizes from Cisse Trading! You can vote now through May 19th.

I really think you will enjoy their hot chocolate (and other baked goods if you aren't gluten-free!), so make sure you find out where you can purchase Cisse Hot Chocolate at a store near you or you can purchase them online by following this link.  Make sure you follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

I received the above mentioned items in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

An Excellent Coffee Subscription You Must Try

One thing I love to have on occasion is afternoon coffee. I'm not usually extremely affected by caffeine late in the day like a lot of people, so it's fun to treat myself now and again outside of my usual coffee routine. So when I had the chance to review the subscription box service Bean Box, I knew this would be the right fit for me.

When I received the box, there were four bags of specialty coffees for me to try. Each little bag contained about 1.8 ounces, which is just about pretty decently sized pot of coffee. I don't usually make more than 6 cups in the afternoon anyways, so this worked out fine.

Each packet of coffee was very flavorful to me. I think this turned out to be great afternoon coffee, because it wasn't too dark. Medium roasts work a bit better for me late in the day (strangely enough, I know, because medium roasts tend to have more caffeine). I like the chance to try a variety of blends from different roasters too. One thing that was really cool to learn is that Bean Box selects coffee from Seattle's top rated roasters each month.

One thing that I really like about Bean Box Coffee is that if you love a coffee you've tried, you can purchase a single bag off their website. The price of a subscription isn't bad either. For the amount of coffee I received, it's $20.00 per month. For one 12 ounce bag, it's also $20.00 per month. The price of subscription go up from there. I would highly recommend purchasing a 12 ounce bag subscription, because you can tell them the type of roast you want (light, medium, dark, or all roasts).

Right now they are also having a special Mother's Day subscription box just in time for May 10th (don't forget!). Give your mom the gift of Seattle's coffee with a one month, three month, six month, or twelve month subscription box. Even better with this special Mother's Day subscription box order your mom will get a Rip Van Winkle cookie along with it! Purchase yours now by clicking the following link (and you'll get the chance to add a special message with your order too!).

I love when a subscription box is at a great price, so make sure you check out what Bean Box has to offer and subscribe today.  You can also sign up for their newsletter, like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter or Instragam.

I am also excited to announce that I get to giveaway one free month of Bean Box to one lucky winner! Enter via Rafflecopter below. Ends 5/7.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 I received the above products in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Low Price Electronics

Remember my review some months ago about the FoxSmart.Club? They continue to offer amazing prices on some really cool items (one thing that just caught my eye was their Bluetooth speaker for only $38! You should go check it out!

I am so happy to partner with them again to bring you another amazing giveaway! This time you have the chance to win a 6 Outlet Swivel Surge Protector and it will be the next best thing you will own. I have had mine for a couple of months now and it's so convenient (especially near the television where a TON of cords go). I love having just one little hub where you can plug things in, and plus I can maneuver the outlet to the side, if I need to save space.

You can purchase your own now for $15.00. But make sure you  enter this great giveaway to win one of your own. Enter via Rafflecopter. Giveaway ends 4/30. US Only. 18 or older.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I did not receive compensation of any kind for this giveaway.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Mantry - A Food Subscription Box We Can All Enjoy [Review]

Okay, Mantry-Shmantry. When I opened this up and spotted the amazingness that was in this box, I couldn't see why I, a lady, could enjoy this myself. Men and women unite, here is a subscription box we can ALL enjoy. 

I love the set up this box arrives in too. First it comes in a wooden crate that is chocked full of food and other goodies. When I unpacked everything, I didn't know what I wanted to try first.

Can you see those lime chili pistachios?? My family and I finished these off in one sitting. They had a spice to them and then the zing of the lime. They were phenomenal tasting. It was really spicy though. But I love spicy foods so this was right up my alley! Plus my mom and older brother loved these too!

Next was the chocolate. Oh boy this was good. We chased the pistachios with the chocolate and the flavors really REALLY complimented each other. The chocolate had a bit of a spice to it too and it tasted unbelievable. It had a milk chocolate-y taste to it also, so it wasn't overly super tasteless.

Next was the chicken rub! I actually had bought chicken for dinner the next night and used it. I slathered on some rub and olive oil on this chicken from the store. It tasted pretty good! Although I do regret the olive oil addition because I think that took away from the taste of the chicken rub.  When I tried it again about a week later, I was really pleased about the chicken rub overall. It smelled spicy and good and it enhanced the chicken.

I also tried the Aurelias Churizo, which is Spanish dried sausage. I cut it up into pepperoni kind of slices and added it to a spaghetti dinner. Whoa, you do NOT need a whole lot of these to add spice to your spaghetti. I added two whole sausages sliced up and it actually overwhelmed everything in the sauce, but the taste was really good so forgave it.  I am not usually a fan of this type of meat, but I really enjoyed it in the sauce. Very spicy and flavorful! If you aren't much of a meat eater I would recommend you use this for adding spice to sauces or anything that needs to simmer a while for flavor. This brings out so much flavor and spice to sauces!

I haven't had the chance to try out the Texan Grapefruit Shrub, but I do plan on trying it this weekend. It looks like it makes a really good cocktail. Also I haven't had the Vert Piquante sauce yet either.

Overall, the Mantry is an amazing subscription box that both men AND women can subscribe to and really enjoy. The amount of food you get in one box is incredible. This would make a fantastic gift for someone. This is unlike any other subscription box I've tried because you get full sized items, and it opened my eyes to products I may not have tried before.

The only downside is that it is a little pricey. It costs $75.00 per month. If you can afford it or you want to purchase a nice gift for the guy in your life, this is the subscription box to purchase. Visit Mantry.com to subscribe and to learn more about this subscription box. You can also like them on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.

I received this subscription box in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Handmade Gluten-Free Treats You Will Love!

I'm always on the hunt for the next best treat to entice my palate. So I couldn't wait to try out these handmade treats by Silverland Bakery.

I love a company with a heart and Silverland Bakery hand makes their items just like they did when they started out 30 years ago.  “It takes a pregnant engineer who’s fed up with her job and determined to pass some tradition down to her kids. Thirty years ago, Athena Uslander, with her nimble engineer‘s hands and tradition-craving mother’s heart, left her job for her passion.”  Read more about the company and their history by following this link.

There were some flavors I received by the Silverland Bakery that were total winners and some I wasn't a huge fan of, but the bottom line I can tell you about this bakery is that they have such an wide variety of brownies and raw bars to enjoy.

I tried three different gluten-free brownies in particular and these were especially phenomenal. The gluten-free lemon was one of my favorites and this was tart, but sweet. The texture was soft. The gluten-free caramel was fabulously messy and gooey and tasty while the flourless chocolate brownie proves you can never go wrong with too much chocolate . Overall, I think the brownies were a complete win for me. They offer a 12 piece tray of two by two squares that you can so easily enjoy with any gluten-free family member. It is a little bit expensive (about $32.95 plus shipping) but these are so worth it. You get a nicely sized brownie as well, and I know you won't be disappointed.

Their raw bars were a very interesting experience. And the one thing I love about them is that they are vegan, wheat free, dairy free and have no added sugar. Some flavors are definitely better than others, though. I wasn't an enormous fan of the apricot bar, but they have a peanut butter and jelly one that is very tasty! I really think that these raw bars would make for a fantastic accompaniment to a hike or something, because they are so healthy, filling, and good for you at the same time. Make sure you check it out!

Overall, Silverland Bakery really knows how to bake and I was so happy to try these brownies and raw bars. Visit their website to make a purchase for your next celebration!

Best of all I get to giveaway one pound box of goodies to one lucky reader! Enter via Rafflecopter below. Giveaway ends May 4th. US only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received the above mentioned products in exchange for my honest review. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

My Newest Tech Hope-to-Have: A Touch Screen Laptop @BestBuy

I seem to choose the short straw when it comes to computers. Either that or I'm really rough on technology. So it goes without saying that ever since my current laptop started dying out I've been looking around for the next one I plan on getting. It may not be any time soon for me, but I've already spotted a laptop that I am yearning for and keeping my eye on.  And this laptop is no short straw.

It's the HP Envy TouchSmart 15.6” touch screen laptop. Ever since I've owned a smart phone and, more recently, a tablet, I've been fighting the urge to poke my fingers at the computer screen to launch an app. When nothing happens I have to remind myself that the touch screen technology hasn't exactly reached my own computer already. But it will one day, I promise you that.

What I really like about this particular laptop is that appeals to my inner gamer. I don't have the time to lately mostly because my own laptop acts like a total dinosaur when it tries to launch a game. (Seriously, what fun is a game if it takes an hour to launch?) But the HP Envy Touchsmart screen has a processor meant to deliver the best gaming and entertainment experience with the AMD FX Special Edition APU. Smart-sounding talk aside, that basically means that game urge I get occasionally would finally be satisfied.

Also I'm a multi-tasker and I have a million things going at once usually. This laptop is perfect for that. This Quick AMD FX processor makes daily tasks such as watching videos or streaming movies a lot easier. My Hulu or Crackle obsession will no longer get frozen halfway through the movie.

 So while my birthday and Christmas are both way far away (my birthday is in December), I feel like it wouldn't hurt to start dropping hints now. Ahem, so if you would like to purchase this particular laptop for a loved one, you can get this at Best Buy with FREE shipping. You can also get FREE store pickup. The amazing-ness just doesn't stop does it? Just saunter over to this Best Buy link here and clicky-clicky.

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

Unique and Hot Salsas You Should Try!

Remember Mrs. Renfro's Salsa? Well, if you don't, I sure do! And I've had the chance to join together again to review some of their newest items and even give four salsas away to one lucky reader. Make sure you read my previous review first.

Of the four sauces I tried, one has intimidated me a little bit and I haven't had the chance (ahem, or nerve) to try it yet. But the three I've tried, were so good.

Ghost Pepper Barbecue Sauce (Purchase for $3.25)

Okay, so this is the one I am so nervous about trying. It's supposed to be extremely hot, but I really enjoyed their Chipotle Barbecue Sauce, so I know this must be good. But am I chicken or what? I usually love hot stuff!

Habanero Salsa (Purchase for $3.25)

This salsa turned out really, really good. It wasn't watery at all, which is kind of what I notice about certain salsas. It was spicy, and tomato-ey and worked well as a dip with some chips I had the chance to try.

Tequila Salsa (Purchase for $3.25)

I actually tried this with a recipe of mine that calls for salsa on top. I was nicely surprised! Actually, this salsa has a sweet tinge to it, along with spicy, so it made for an interesting experience.

Chipotle Barbecue Sauce (Purchase for $3.25)

Call me strange, but I love barbecue sauce on broccoli. Especially with mustard stirred in. Basically, anything that can taste away from the actual taste of broccoli is good in my book. But this is particularly good - it isn't too spicy, but just enough tang and sweet barbecue flavor to make it very tasty.

Overall, you must look for Mrs. Renfro's Salsa in stores. I found it at my local Safeway so my fingers crossed they are in a store near you. What I love about this brand is the variety of flavors that you can expect out of them and the good ingredients they use in their sauces and salsas. Good ingredients mean a LOT to me. Plus, they are a very good price.

Make sure you visit their website to get great recipes and find out what else they have to offer by shopping on their website. You can also like them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Best of all, I get to giveaway four sauces of your choice to one of my lucky readers! Enter via Rafflecopter below.  Giveaway end on 4/26.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received the above products in exchange for my honest review.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Linkon Power Bank Portable Charger - Perfect for Travellers!

 I couldn't wait to try the Linkon Power Bank portable charger. It's the newest and greatest thing in my life right next to my texting gloves.

A few weeks ago, I was stuck on my bus going on home behind a terrible line of traffic thanks to thunderstorm that hit during the afternoon. It was AWFUL. It took me about an hour to just go about one mile. I was THIS close to walking.

As I watched the battery drain from my phone as I kept in touch with family to let them know where I was, I wanted a portable charger with me so I didn't have to worry about the battery running low and my phone turning off. Have you ever been in this scenario? It's a terrible feeling!

When I had the chance to review a portable charger, I jumped at the chance. The Linkon Portable Charger is sleek and portable. It came with a light gray velvet-y feeling holder and in the box there was the main charger hub, a power cord that goes into the power bank, and two little "stubs" as I like to call them that can fit into an Android phone or an iPhone (like I have).

It was pretty uncomplicated to use. You basically plug the main white cord into the power bank (you plug the USB end into the "out" part if you are charging your device) and I used the iPhone little stub and attached that to the other end of the white cord and plugged into my phone. I was actually able to start charging my phone the second I opened the power bank out of the box because it had about 3/4ths of a charge left.

Which brings me to the little display! The display which shows you numbers 1 - 100 in red digits will tell you how much of a charge is left in the power bank. If you charge it up all the way, I can last you several days (I was below 50% when I started to charge it again after a few days of using it, so you probably could use it longer than just a few days; I would say a fully charged power bank can last you 5 days up to a week, but I'm sort of guesstimating).

I noticed if I was using my phone while it plugged into the power bank it didn't charge very fast. As long as I left my phone alone it didn't take long to charge. It does however take long to charge the power bank. This is pretty easy to do, you use the tiny stub that looks more fitting for an Android phone and plug that into the other end of the IN part of the Linkon charger. And then you plug the USB end of the cord into a computer. It can take a couple of hours or more to charge this device but it's worth the time.

Overall, this is exactly what I'm hoping for. The only major issue is these tiny little stubs that go with the Linkon power bank will be so EASY for me too lose. They are so tiny and I wish the carrier that came with this device had a zipper or something. Since I carry a purse with me, this power cord is also very convenient and easy to carry.

I highly recommend this for anyone who hates worrying about losing a charge on your phone. Even if you don't travel a lot, I highly recommend this for anyone who has a semi-lengthy commute or something. You can purchase your charger by visiting Amazon.com. Right now they run about $34.97.

I received this product in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Gift Idea: Jackpot Candle [My Review]

Jackpot Candle, Gift Idea
Getting the Jackpot Candle felt a little bit like getting a cereal box or crackerjack box that I know has a prize inside. I'm not supposed to tear open the box and just dig out the prize, but wait patiently until it reveals itself! I can't promise I was always that patient as a kid, but I did take my time with this candle and let the good smells fill the room before digging in the wax to reveal my prize!

With Jackpot Candle, you have the chance to chose your favorite scent along with the type of jewelry you would like. For me, I chose earrings, although you have the chance to select earrings, necklace, or a bracelet.

Once you get your candle, you just burn it like a regular candle. Once it burns down a bit, your prize is revealed! Then you go onto their website Jackpot Candles and find out the value of your jewelry. Simple as that and lots of fun!

Not only was it exciting to reveal my jewelry, one the best parts of the candle was the aroma! I chose cinnamon as my candle smell and it really made my living room smell wonderful! One thing I noticed was that the flame in the candle would really go up high and it did make me kind of nervous. I ended up leaving it in the kitchen where I keep a lot less paper.Once I started burning it regularly and it burned down more, it was just fine.

When I did reveal the prize, I couldn't wait to figure out what it was worth! It was worth about $23.00. And honestly this is about what I spend on jewelry anyways. The earrings I received weren't really my style, so I decided to give to a friend who has a little girl who would love it.

Overall, Jackpot Candle is a fun experience. You get a prize INSIDE of a candle. How cool is that? It's worth a try, no matter what kind of jewelry you receive, and best of all, you get a fabulous smelling candle in the process.

To purchase your own candle, visit Jackpot Candle's website. Make sure you also follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.   

Best of all, I get to giveaway a candle to one of my lucky readers! Enter via Rafflecopter below. The giveaway ends 4/24.

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

I received this candle in exchange for my honest review.