Review: Sun Tail Mermaid Monofin & Shark Fin!

IMG_7128.jpgAbout a month ago, I posted that we’d be getting Henry a Mermaid tail or Monofin and Shark Fin from Sun Tail.

 

It arrived about 10 days ago, and I am just now posting because the kids are FINALLY in bed at a reasonable time and I’m not exhausted.

Ok, so i can’t wait until Christmas to give this to Henry! The monofin is super sturdy and well-made.  I tried it on, I won’t lie! Both feet slide into the center area and it’s very snug. I’m not worried about it falling off during an upcoming “shark Henry attack”.

IMG_7129 (2).jpgThe Shark fin is made of lightweight foam and has straps that snap around the wearers torso. From their website, “It provides buoyancy and functions as a floating device for kids just learning to swim, and it’s loads of fun for older, stronger swimmers who just want to play shark in the pool. SwimFin is also a flotation device that complies with international safety standards. And after it has done its job as a learning aid, SwimFin will always find use as a fun water toy!”

If you are looking for a fun gift that encourages your kids to be active, check out SunTail! They have monofins, mermaid tails, shark fins, and all sorts of goodies for the active kiddo (or adult) in your life! Right now my readers receive a 10% discount on your order at www.SunTailMermaid.com by using coupon code: BestGiftEver

http://usfamilycoupons.com/coupon.php?regionid=75&bid=13540&dealid=3452 .@usfg

 

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Holiday and Game Day Fun with Hormel Gatherings Party Trays!

I received free product in exchange for my honest review. I love this time of year- We go to and host so many events: Holiday Parties, Craft Play Dates, College Football and NFL Watching Parties, and of course Coupon Meet Ups!

Snacks are a huge part of any event, so I was stoked when Social Insider and Hormel asked me to review Hormel Gatherings Party Trays. If you’ve never heard of them before, it’s basically a party in a tray! They are an easy, stress-free appetizer option.

IMG_7110.jpgThere are three varieties: Hard Salami & Pepperoni Party Tray, Honey Ham and Turkey Party Tray, and Supreme Party Tray. They all contain Sargento Cheeses and Hormel Meats.

I chose the Honey Ham and Turkey Party Tray for our recent dinner party. We got together to play games and hang out.

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The tray is super sturdy, which is definitely a plus. Each component is packed up in the tray. All you do is open each sealed bag, and arrange the tray in a manner that suits you. Because of the tray and great snap-on lid, I think this would be a great addition to any tail gating event or potluck! Super easy to transport and store any leftovers- But who am I kidding… There won’t be any leftovers.

If you are feeling fancy, you can set out condiments that would go with the meats and cheeses. I mixed up some honey mustard and opened a jar of spicy stone ground mustard.

IMG_7116.jpgHere is the plate that Henry made for one of our guests. For a 6 year old, I’m impressed- He also took the picture with my phone. I love having the kids help with holiday events. It helps them get into the spirit too, and reminds me that these kind of events should be low stress.

Bitty Bird “helped” by stacking up paper napkins and announcing when guests arrived (“Mommy and Daddy, Peoples is in our HOOUSSSEEEE!!”), and Henry helped me by picking up the toys in the living room, taking coats, and getting drinks. He pretended he was a waiter. It was pretty funny. He refused to let me take his picture, but at one point he had a kitchen towel draped over his arm. He has asked that we serve PB Sushi at our next “fancy grown up party”.

Hormel Gatherings Party Trays are available at Walmart, so you can pick one up on your next visit while gathering other party supplies.

I’m giving one reader a chance to share Hormel Gatherings Party Trays at their next get together! One lucky reader will win a coupon for $15 off the purchase of any one Hormel Gatherings Party Tray 28 oz. or larger.

Entering is easy: Just leave a comment with your favorite holiday beverage to serve at parties. I’ll choose one winner on December 5, 2017.

The down side of reviewing….

 

I love reviewing products. If you want to start reviewing products, I have a list of sites here.

Every once in a while the product isn’t awesome. When that happens, there area few steps you should take:

  • Email the company or your point of contact and tell them know there are issues. Be precise as to what the issue is- being vague helps nothing. Often times they will not ask you not to review the item.
  • Offer to ship the product back if they email or send you a shipping label (The reviewer shouldn’t have to pay to send an item back). If the company doesn’t want the item back and it is not broken, consider donating it to charity or giving it to a neighbor on your local Buy Nothing group.

Most review websites give you a timetable in which to complete your review and other social media mentions. If you can’t get an answer back from your contact prior to the completion date and you can’t get an answer, you have to post some kind of a review or risk losing your account on the platform or having a negative effect on your standing. And that is where we are right now. I don’t want to lose my account or standing with Tomoson, because for the most part I have had great experiences with their site and tried some really cool products.

IMG_7020.jpgI signed up to review InstantPeel via Tomoson. I was hired to review it on 11/8/17 with 14 days to complete all of the activities (write a blog post and share on social media).  The company was supposed to ship the item to me directly. After 12 days (that leaves me 2 days to try the product, take pics, write a review and post to social media). I messaged the company via Tomoson right away to let them know I was allergic to two of the ingredients and that I needed some advice on next steps ASAP.

That was last night.  I have not heard back from them yet, and since I only have until 12:01AM to complete my tasks, here we are… I have messaged them again, but without any other way to contact them, I’m at an impasse.

img_7021.jpgIMG_7022Yeah, Shrimp Extract. For someone allergic to shellfish, that’s not something I want to rub on my body.

And yes, I did look online for the ingredients before I signed up. The ingredients listed on this Amazon listing for the product are completely different.

And this isn’t really a peel. It’s a gommage (which is French for erase or eraser). A peel sloughs off the dead layers of skin generally by using enzymes or acid (sometimes fruit based like Alpha hydroxy acids). A gommage is treatment applied to the skin, then after a length of time, the skin is rubbed and the product balls up and flakes off the skin.

So here is my review: I don’t have one because I can’t try a skincare product that contains allergens, and given the time frame I was given, I don’t have time to find someone I can test this on.

 

Gorgeous Watches from JORD (Enter to win $100 off!)

One of the perks of blogging is that I get to work with INCREDIBLE brands. I was recently blessed to work with JORD, maker of INCREDIBLE wooden watches.

Wooden watch you ask? Yeah. JORD creates beautiful timepieces focuses “on creating timepieces that are modeled after a modern lifestyle. We value sustainability, efficiency, and experiential living. We make our watches for people who don’t just have somewhere to be, they have somewhere to go.”

I love that in this culture of disposable stuff, JORD watches are made sustainably. The watches are so well-made, crafted and shipped with care. I mean, check out this cool box:

IMG_6880.jpgThe lids slides off to reveal a lovely Dark Sandalwood watch nestled perfectly on a herringbone pillow. I love the Sandalwood watch- The dark, warm wood looks so rich paired with the black and silver face.

In addition, each JORD watch comes with a small brush tipped bottle of finishing oil and a microfiber cloth to clean it.

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JORD makes watches in 13 different woods from Acacia and Koa to Zebrawood! There is really something for everyone. JORD has watches for men and women, and they are offering my readers such an incredible deal: Score 25% off with coupon code”abbyhewes.”

OH, BUT IT GETS BETTER!!! Enter to win a $100 off your JORD watch here. The Sandalwood watch I received has a starting price of just $139 (You can make upgrades to it for an additional amount).

I cannot wait to gift this watch- I have someone special in mind. I know they will love it, just as much as I do.

I’d love to thank Bill and his entire team at JORD as well as the awesome peeps over at USFG for the opportunity to review this beautiful watch. All opinions are my own, and I was not financially compensated.


Ladies Wood Watch
—————————————————————————- Wood Watches by JORD

Winterize your Skin Care Frugally

 

It’s finally cold here in San Diego (it’s 55 degrees and I am wearing a sweater as I type this)! So besides peppermint mochas and sweaters, it’s time to look forward to some changes to our skin care routines.

Recently I was excited to add two new products in my #selfcareSunday routine. Each Sunday night after the kids are in bed (and Mr. is watching the latest episode of Star Trek Discovery), I give myself a DIY facial and do a few other fun self care rituals (like a mani/pedi, or a body mask and body scrub). I play some music on my phone and spend about an hour just focusing on me.

IMG_0245.jpgThe first new product was Anavita Renewing Foaming Facial Cleanser. It smells GREAT. It has orange essential oil, as well as a slew of other botanicals (Aloe Vera, Chamomile, and Olive Leaf). It’s 99.8% natural and contains 70% organic products! It foams up providing a healthy lather and left my skin feeling clean and hydrated. The best part is you only need 1 pump to clean your entire face and neck, so a 6 ounce bottle will last a few months!

IMG_0244.jpgIMG_0248.jpgAfter my face was nice and clean, I was onto my next step, was the Alana Mitchell Quick Comeback Masque. It was hard to photograph, but the little container has two parts, the bottom looks like a tiny cotton ball, and the top is liquid. You depress the top of the package until the liquid releases into the bottom. The liquid mixes with the fluff to dissolve the fluff and make a cool masque that helps with plumping, tightening, and firming lines and wrinkles. You can either remove the masque with warm water or you can do what I did, which was to peel it off.

IMG_0249.jpgAhh, the satisfying sense of completion when it’s time to peel a masque off, amirite? My face felt so much better, it’s hard to describe, other than nourished and healthy.

Not to be done in just two steps, it was time to move onto the moisturizing mask for my neck and chest. The skin on your neck and chest ages a lot faster than our faces, since most of use neglect to moisturize and cleanse those delicate areas like we do with our faces.  I like to use Valentia Ultra Plumping Hydration mask.  It contains silk protein amino acids, hyaluronic acid (which is a humectant), as well as other botanically to protect and moisturize. To remove, I used a warm, wet microfiber towel.

IMG_0256.jpgAfter all the masques and such, it’s time for a few spritzes of Insta natural Vitamin C Toner followed by Insta Natural Vitamin C Serum.

I really recommend indulging in your own #selfcareSunday or whatever day of the week works best for you. A little time to yourself to focus on you and your needs is just what every person needs. Maybe it’s not a DIY facial, maybe it’s playing a video game, cooking a favorite meal, getting a massage, going for a walk, or hitting the gym. Doing something you enjoy every week that helps you recharge is an awesome way to reduce stress.

Thanks to the awesome peeps over at Tomoson, Anavita, and Alana Mitchell Skin Care for the cleaner and masque. I feel a kindred spirit with Alana Mitchell. As a mom of a child with autism, life can be hard, especially in the first year of diagnosis with all of the changes like doctor’s appointments, therapy appointments, IEP meetings, and changes in life to help support your child and give them all they need to succeed. I really relish and embrace each Sunday night when I can focus on helping heal and restore my spirit. I throughly enjoyed her masque and I can’t wait to try her other products!

 

Good, Clean (House) Fun with Oh Goodness!

Screen Shot 2017-11-11 at 9.09.01 PM.pngDoes anyone really like to clean? I like when my house is clean, but I do not look forward to actually cleaning my house.

I don’t enjoy spraying who knows what surfactants, artificial fragrances (or worse, “natural” flavoring or scents like castoreum..eww), or harsh chemicals (the thought of bleach makes my eyes water). And yet, I’m not one who wants to spend hours mixing up my own house cleaning products.

IMG_0242.jpgSo when Annie from Oh Goodness contacted me to tell me about her awesome products, I was down to try their awesome DIY cleaning kits.

She sent me their Glowing Collection, which contains the reusable glass containers, ingredients and directions to make:

You Shine Dishwashing Powder (35-40 loads)

You Sparkle All Purpose Spray (16 ounces)

You’re Brilliant Scrub (8 ounces)

The one thing I like is that I know all of these ingredients. I use them all in other ways around the house. It’s all non-toxic (but that doesn’t mean you should eat it- DON’T EAT IT), it’s easy to make, and it actually cleans! I’m sure you’ve read online and seen all over Pinterest how you can clean your kitchen with peroxide, baking soda, vinegar, etc. Those are all great, but I’ve never had results with those ingredients like I have with my Oh Goodness kit.

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mix, mix, mix, mix and here are my finished products!

15 minutes after opening the box, reading the directions, (stopping to make a snack for the kids) and mixing, I was in business. I cook 90% of our meals, so my kitchen is always in need of some kind of cleaning.

I started with the kitchen sink. I have no before picture, but let’s just say it was.. icky.

A liberal scoop of You’re Brilliant Soft Scrub, and a quick scrub of the sink with a sponge and ta da:IMG_0236Can you hear the Angels singing? I can! I even scrubbed the black flange into the garbage disposal that keeps the whirling chunks of food from flying out of the garbage disposal.

The You Sparkle All Purpose Spray got my counters clean like whoah, and the entire house fills with the bright scent of lemons every time I run the dishwasher (which is seriously two times a day)..

I love that the containers are recyclable and reusable. The littler bottles the coconut soap and essential oil came in got a good scrubbing and the kids use them in their toy kitchen.

Oh Goodness wants to share their cleaning glory with two of my readers! Entering is easy.  Click here, or use the Rafflecopter link below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’ll choose two winners on 11/20/17- Remember, you can’t win if you don’t enter!

Carry your Big Kid with Free Loader

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TA DA!

Last month I posted that we were going to test out a new baby/kiddo carrier now that Bitty Bird isn’t so Bitty any more.

We took the FreeLoader to her birthday party, and Daddy wore her while the kids played and frolicked on the play ground (Bitty was getting tired of walking and running at this point- She needed “Daddy uppies!”).

The Freeloader is awesome for bigger kids.

  • Carrying capacity: 25-80 lbs.
  • Minimum Age: 2 ½ years
  • Standing height: 33″-50″ tall
 Per Mr. Hewes (The hus-bear), the Freeloader is lightweight, easy to take off and put on. I will add though, it’s a two person job getting your kiddo strapped in.

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Bitty had an awesome time (She is screaming “Whee Daddy!!” in this photo) being strapped into the Freeloader. It has a 5 point harness that snaps at the child’s back.

It was pretty warm that day, but thankfully the back of the carrier is open back in design and air flows through pretty well.

It’s got a chest buckle, and ergonomic waist strap. Combine that with the nice, comfy padded straps, The Freeloader makes carrying bigger kids easier.

We offered Lil’ Man a ride, but he declined. He was too busy having adventures in the creekbed.

The Freeloader is small enough to carry-on and stows away neatly, making it perfect for air travel, road trips and more! See more at http://www.myfreeloader.com/ and find Freeloader on facebook.

Thanks to Freeloader and the great folks at USFG, you can save on your Freeloader! Freeloader FUN with the Family – 10% off your Freeloader Child Carrier when you enter the code “freeloaderfun” Take your children on the adventures of their dreams!

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Daddy, come on! Time for adventures!

Thankfully, the Freeloader is lightweight (5.8 lbs) and folds up flat- It’s going to be a staple for our late summer and fall adventures into nature! It fits in Miss Sally (My Nissan Versa) with tons of room to spare! It travels well too!

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Oh, and for those who are curious, Bitty Bird had a Batman Birthday Party. She loves 1965 Adam West Batman. We all wore Batman shirts, and I made her a full circle skirt from Batman printed cotton. She had on a crinoline under it.

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Photo by Clicks by Christine/Christine Boyce

And of course, the only picture of me, is me and Bitty getting into the cooler to get the kids more water! But I’m wearing a Batman shirt!

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