Saturday, March 28, 2015

Leaffusion Tea Infuser Review




I have cut down on coffee a lot within the past year, so tea is my drink of choice when I need something warm. It one of those things that helps me relax.

I prefer buying loose leaf tea because it's cheaper and it usually tastes more fresh.
However, finding an Infuser that seeps the tea out correctly can be a total pain...and I have gone through many.

I recently tried Leaffusion and I am incredibly impressed with this adorable Infuser.

Pros:
It is easy to open and close.
The design is sleek and fits in any cup or mug.
It is relatively easy to clean.
Depending on the type of tea you use (or the strength you prefer), you can brew the same batch of tea twice.

Cons:
There are a few bits of tea that will escape the holes.
I know this bothers some tea drinkers but it doesn't bother me.

If you drink tea, definitely think about Leaffusion.





***Disclosure: I received this product complimentary from Leaffusion for my honest review. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

That time I made a playlist of Songs That Remind Me of You...


This is the strangest Selfie I have ever taken with one of my drawings...
...it's also from like three years ago.


Have you ever heard a song and it instantly reminds you of someone?
...Maybe it's even someone from your past.
This happens to me all of the time and I don't think I'll ever escape it.

So Naturally, I decided to make an anonymous playlist of songs that remind me of someone.
I'm calling it anonymous because I won't state which songs reminds me of who and if their in my present or past life.

Here it goes, "Songs That Remind Me of You..."

1. "Gravel," Ani Difranco.
2. "Anchors Away," the Bouncing Souls.
3. "Don't say Nuthin," The Roots.
4. "Wonderwall," Oasis.
5. "The Quiet Things that No one ever Knows," Brand New.
6. "Such Great Heights," The Postal Service.
7. "Gypsy," Fleetwood Mac.
8. "Right Side of the Bed," Atreyu.
9. "Sheena is a Punk Rocker," The Ramones.
10. "Cemetery," Say Anything.
11. "Can't Be Saved," Senses Fail.
12. "Stupid Kid," Alkaline Trio.
13. "Rebel Yell," Billy Idol.
14. "Salty Dog," Flogging Molly.
15. "Bugatti," Ace Hood.

...this list could go on but I'll stop here for now.

Do you have a list of songs that remind you of someone?
I would love to hear what is on your play list.



Sunday, March 15, 2015

Review: Kiva Paprika



I love spicy things and switching up my spice routine in my home cooking.
If you read one of my last blog post, I posted about how I have been working on getting healthy so far this year.
One of the ways I have been doing that is by eating real food, lots of veggies and quality proteins...

I'll admit, I got bored really quick by spicing my food the same way over and over again.

Then, I found Kiva Sweet Smoked and Hot Smoked Spanish Paprika.
I freakin' love this stuff.
It goes well on anything, above you can see me using it on my favorite free range hard boiled eggs and on some slow cooked Chicken I made with a Tikka Masala blend.

I prefer the Sweet Smoked to the Hot Smoked version, even though I have more of a spicy/savor palette.
...The peppers to make this stuff are even imported from the La Vera Region of Spain.

I am even more impressed with the price and Kiva's mission,
"At Kiva, we strive to provide you with innovative food from around the world that is great tasting, healthy and of the highest quality. We are committed to using only ingredients that are sourced directly from local farmers that practice sustainable and eco-friendly methods." -via Kiva Health Foods

Their products are also all verified NON-GMO. :)
I plan on trying their saffron and vanilla beans next.

Got a favorite spice?
Have you tried Kiva before?



***Disclosure: I received this product complimentary from Kiva for my honest review. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Discover with Doctor Cool: Real Bug Dig Kit Review



A Scorpion, a Spiny Spider, a Fortune Beetle...

These bugs are buried inside a bright green beetle-shaped digging brick just waiting to be dug up by little hands.



Almost every afternoon, I plan an "Afternoon Activity" for my Preschoolers. The activities revolve around Books, Art, Science, Music and reviewing their Numbers and Letters. The Lovely people over at Discover with Dr.Cool sent me their Real Bug Dig Kit for my kiddos to play with and they absolutely loved it!

I will admit, Rule #2 on the playground is: "No playing with the bugs!"
But this kit made playing with the bugs an attainable thing as the Bugs could not be harmed or sting anyone.





The kit comes with:
-Your beetle to Dig up (which includes a scorpion, a spider and a beetle specimen).
-Tools: A magnifying Glass, Plastic Digger and a Brush to brush away excess dirt.
-An Activity Booklet with Bug themed Related Puzzles and Games.
-An Adventure Guide that teaches kids all sorts of fun facts about Insects.

I did this activity with ten children.
My kids and I read some of the information in the Adventure Guide then they took turns digging into the Beetle.
I gave them spoons as another option to dig with.
It took the kids about 25 minutes to dig out the bugs.
After we dug them out, we gave them a "bath" in a clear cup of water.
Once the specimens were "clean," the kids took turns looking at them under the magnifying glass and passing them around.
Shortly after we tied up the lesson by coloring pictures of Scorpions. Many of them ended up colored pink.
There was a lot of, "Mom! Dad! We dug up bugs today!" as their parents picked them up.

Would I recommend this kit?
Absolutely!

This kit and the lesson easily entertained my three/four year old preschoolers for almost an hour.
In 2013, this kit won the Brain Toy Gold Award - Academic's Choice 2013. It's educational and fun!

Also, it's incredibly easy to clean up, just sweep up the chalky dirt and wipe down the table and you're done.
If you would like to check out this kit and others, you can visit "Discover with Dr. Cool" here.



***Disclosure: I received this product complimentary from Discover with Doctor Cool for my honest review. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

That time I committed to my Health



Liz Lemon (Tina Fey's character on 30 Rock) and I always looked at food the same.
I would do anything for a good cheese, glass of wine or carbs in general. For the most part I over ate and even when I didn't, my schedule was so hectic I would skip meals or eat food that was incredibly bad for me.

Over the years, my unhealthy eating habits starting take a toll on me physically and mentally.
In graduate school, I would justify eating total garbage because I could "work it off" later. Between the stress of school/work/my personal life along with my eating habits, I gained a lot of weight.

I hated being "bigger," but it became incredibly hard for me to loose weight and my self-esteem really suffered.
After Graduate school and running around at a job I hated for eight months, I lost 35 pounds.
Meanwhile, I was shoveling sugar free energy drinks and chai tea loaded with espresso shots into my system.

I still never had any energy, no matter how active I was or how much caffeine I drank.
Three-Four months after all that weight loss I became pregnant with M.

I completely changed my eating habits again. I carried around snap peas and almonds to snack on. I attempted to drink my weight in water. I did not gain weight while pregnant at any sort of unhealthy rate, yet I had a doctor making comments because she thought I was fat....

"Do you eat donuts? Cookies? Stay away from Pizza. Try to eat vegetables. Maybe try salads."
At one moment, I physically wanted to scream, "No B*tch, I don't eat donuts. I just lost 35 pounds!!"
...But instead I cried to my husband I couldn't take it anymore (because she repeatedly made comments like this at me after showing up 45 minutes late to her office) and we immediately switched doctors (at 7 months pregnant)!

Having M was the best thing ever. However, like many woman will say your body is just different after having a baby. Since I never wore maternity clothes because of my original weight loss, I was back to wearing my old clothes immediately but I knew I could do better for myself and my body. I knew I could eat better.

Around the time M turned 11 months, I started a Super foods Nutrition program that helped me achieve something I did not know I could achieve. Today, I am on day 59 on the program. Yesterday I took this photo of myself and finally noticed I have lost "weight" on my face....



What you don't see in this photo are the tears that swelled up in my eyes over finally seeing my progress.

In 59 days I have lost the following inches off my body:
Neck: 1 inch.
Upper Arms: 1 inch on each arm.
Chest: 7 inches off my bust.
Diaphragm: 4.5 inches.
Waist: 7 inches.
Abdomen: 3 inches.
Buttocks: 3 inches.
Upper Thighs: 3 inches off each thigh.
Calves: Half in an inch off each thigh, gained muscle.
Knees: an inch off.


I have lost almost 35 inches off my body in two months. Two months!


I am not drinking caffeine. I started doing Cardio when I hadn't done Cardio in three years.
I am drinking lots of water and working on getting a better sleep schedule. Toxins are leaving my body. Meal prepping and not buying processed foods is just something out of habit for me.

I am incredibly excited about my progress even though this has been very very hard for me.
Looking forward to what the next month brings.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Alpha Grillers Best Garlic Press and Peeler Review



I love Garlic. It's one of my absolute favorite things to cook with.

The lovely people over at Alpha Grillers, sent me their "Best Garlic Press and Peeler" Set to review and let me just tell you...I am completely in love.

I love using fresh garlic but I have a real distain for peeling and mincing garlic.
It seems to take forever, my hands smell and I start to lose patience.
With the Peeler, I just stick the garlic in a little rubber tube, roll it around, and the skin pops right off.
Next, I pop that cleaned clove in the press, push down and voila! Minced garlic in a flash.

While making chicken to slow cook in my crock pot, I minced several cloves of garlic in a matter of minutes.

The only con I had with the press is that it was a little hard to clean at first. Then, I realized it's dishwasher safe!

Other cool things about this Press & Peeler Combo:
- It is ranked as a #1 best seller on amazon!
- It comes in a really nice box for gifting.
- It has a lifetime guarantee, love it or you get your money back.
- It comes with an ebook full of Recipes: "50 Delicious Recipes Using Crushed and Sliced Garlic."
- Your hands don't end up smelly using it!
- You can also use it to press fresh ginger.

You can get your very own here:
Alpha Grillers Garlic Press and Peeler Set
...and check out Alpha Grillers on FB!

#AlphaGrillers



***Disclosure: I received this product complimentary from Alpha Grillers. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

I'm not THAT Mom...


M's first Halloween as a Burrito, 2014.


I'm not "THAT" Mom...



You know...
...the one that always seems to have her sh*t together.
...the one who seems to always have her meals prepped, laundry cleaned and folded, and the house sparkling clean.
...the one who just looked like she stepped out of a salon because her hair and makeup is always done.
...the one who always is on top of her schedule and can get to every event she's invited to.

But I completely have absolute respect and admiration for those moms.
Meanwhile, I'm trying to make sure I have time to shower.

My son turned one this month and physically can get into anything he wants to.
At 11 months, he discovered he can completely climb the staircase to the top.

His other party tricks include: breaking baby gates, climbing the entertainment center, shredding bills, grabbing at blinds, throwing food into his mouth while simultaneously clapping and attacking anything with blinking lights.

To say I'm exhausted between his tricks and working with my preschoolers during the week is an understatement. I have been thinking a lot about the concept of being a mom and telling other Moms how to parent for some reason. Because at this young stage of a child's life, I feel like the majority of Moms are doing the best that they can.

I don't have the time to look presentable all the time, but my child's bottles will always be sanitized and hopefully he will be wearing matching socks.

The reason I felt compelled to write about not being "That Mom" who seems on top of things is because I just want other Moms to feel okay about this. Yes, many Moms are tired. Is that news? No. So offer her a cup of coffee or offer to babysit, she will probably thank you.