Tuesday, September 30, 2014

ChillaVino Wine Chiller Stick Review

The ChillaVino Wine Chiller is a 4 in 1 product that includes a chilling stick, aerator, pourer, and a stopper. It all comes in a neat little storage case that I use to store the pieces between uses.

I prefer to drink my wine chilled, and if it is not already chilled in the refrigerator, I add a cube of ice to my glass. I know I know - "Red wine isn't supposed to be chilled." But hey, I like to break the rules once in awhile. Unfortunately, adding ice to the glass waters down the wine which isn't the most pleasant effect. And storing wine in the fridge isn't exactly ideal. So I was really excited to try the ChillaVino.

ChillaVino Wine Chiller Stick Review ChillaVino Wine Chiller Stick Review

Basically you put the chilling stick in the freezer and when you're ready to open a new bottle of wine, twist the stick onto the aerator/pourer to create the chilling stick. Now -- don't forget to pour a bit of wine out first before you insert the chilling stick, or else you will cause a wine volcano like I did the first time! So remember to follow the instructions and make room for the chilling stick before inserting it.

Once the chilling stick is inserted, leave the bottle sit for at least 5 minutes. This does cool down the wine a bit, however, leaving it longer chills it more. I will say that if you're looking for cold wine, this would be better for keeping already-cold wine chilled while it's sitting out. But don't expect this chilling stick to do all the work and make your wine ice-cold. It's just a chilling stick and it does do the job it's meant for.

ChillaVino Wine Chiller Stick Review

I love that this also comes with the additional accessories. The aerator helps the wine to breathe and get a fuller flavor and aroma. The pourer is dripless and helps to pour a nice glass of wine, and the stopper is really useful for storing leftover wine. These can be used without the chiller stick too, so this really a multi-purpose set of wine accessories. Each piece is easy to clean; I hand wash them, but the product does state that its dishwasher-safe.

The ChillaVino fits in most wine bottles, however I did find one bottle that was too big for it - From the Door County winery, and it was a slightly different sized bottle than normal wines. Thankfully, we were outside on the patio when this occurred and the pourer fell out mid-pour, so no harm no foul. I would just recommend making sure that the ChillaVino fits snug into the bottle to ensure that this won't happen to you.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Prenatal Vinyasa Yoga Workout DVD with Julie Schoen Review

I tried this Prenatal Vinyasa Yoga Workout DVD with the intention of giving it to my pregnant friend...Because yes, it is a 60-minute yoga session intended for pregnant women. However, I found that it was actually kind of perfect for me as an out-of-shape beginner to yoga.

The yoga poses are ones that can benefit anyone with variations offered that make poses easier, safer, and more comfortable for women in all trimesters of pregnancy. They are not all easy poses either - Some are challenging and provide a real workout. There is also some meditation involved that connects mommy to baby, which, although it was meant for pregnant women, I found it soothing just the same. (And hey, hopefully someday, right?)

Prenatal Vinyasa Yoga Workout DVD with Julie Schoen Review

This program was very relaxing and soothing, but also gives muscles a great stretch and helps improve balance and flexibility. Julie Schoen is a certified pre-natal yoga instructor, author, and founder of Yoginiology.com and Mommy Does Yoga. She uses an active vinyasa flow with modified yoga poses to create a workout that helps keep pregnant women active and comfortable.

Julie's voice is very calming and the video is just her in a zen-like room, so there are no distractions. She does use pillows/blankets, a chair, and some accessories like a strap and yoga blocks for a few poses, but she gives alternatives like using a dog leash for the strap and books for the blocks.

Prenatal Vinyasa Yoga Workout DVD with Julie Schoen Review

This is a simple but effective yoga DVD that I would recommend to anyone pregnant or trying to become pregnant.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

PhantomFit Resistance Loop Bands Review

PhantomFit Resistance Loop Bands are durable latex bands that work to strengthen muscles through resistance training. They come in a set of Light, Medium, Heavy, and X-Heavy colored bands in a nice little nylon storage pouch.

PhantomFit Resistance Loop Bands Review

These loop bands work for everything from physical therapy exercises to intense resistance training.They are great for squats, lunges, arm and leg workouts, and stretching exercises. I did have to do some online searching to find some ideas on what workouts to use these for, and my favorite one was the side-to-side exercise. Boy, does it really work your hip and thigh muscles! I also enjoy using these bands for arm stretching and toning.

PhantomFit Resistance Loop Bands Review
The Light and Medium bands are enough for me at this time, and I can't imagine even being able to use X-Heavy! But it's nice to have all the different resistance levels in this set. They are snap-resistant and heavy-duty, plus they're lightweight and easy to throw in your gym bag.

My only recommendation is to include maybe a card or booklet with some examples of different exercises that can be done with these bands. However, PhantomFit does include a free download of some great workout music with your purchase, so that is a nice bonus.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Number One Glucosamine Review

Number One Glucosamine is a Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM supplement which promotes healthy joints and connective tissues. These substances naturally occur in our bodies, but they get decreased over the years, causing discomfort and pain.

Number One Glucosamine Review

This supplement helps to build cartilage and protect joints, maintain healthy joints, minimize joint pain, and give joints more elasticity. I had my dad review it since he needs to take a glucosamine supplement for his joints. The first thing he noticed is that Number One Glucosamine doesn't contain any additives or fillers, like the sodium that his former brand contained. He was very happy about this since he is watching his salt intake.

So far his only complaint is that it's a hassle to take this supplement 3 times per day so he often doesn't get the full dosage into his daily regimen. He would no doubt have better results if he would take the full dosage every day. Aside from this, he said it is a high-quality supplement that he plans to continue taking (and promised he would try harder to get in all 3 pills a day!)

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

+Lifeguard Mini 1 Portable Charger Review

The +Lifeguard Mini 1 portable charger is an external battery designed to charge cell phones, tablets, and gaming devices. It comes with a micro USB cable and a lightning 8-pin cable (Apple compatible) to charge several different devices from Androids to iPhones. The 3000mAh capacity fully charges devices in 1.5 - 2.5 hours.

This device has been my saving grace when traveling and day trips. Since I use my phone's camera to take all my photos and instagram them, my battery runs out very fast. Thankfully I now have a backup to charge my phone so I'm not left without a camera or contact with friends and family. This charger is very sturdy with an impact-resistant aluminum shell. I've dropped it once and it didn't even get a dent. It's also a nice size to stick in your bag or purse, although I do wish it was just a bit lighter.

+Lifeguard Mini 1 Portable Charger Review
Not only does this work with my phone, but it also charges my Kindle Fire and my digital camera. I use my USB wall charger to re-charge it, which does take several hours so I leave it to charge all night. I recommend using a wall charger vs. a computer which takes way longer (up to 10 hours) to charge.

One thing I would have liked to see included with this is a bag or case to carry both the external battery and cord together when I travel. I use an old sunglasses travel bag which works fine, it's just not as sleek as I would like. But, I'm so happy to have this backup to charge up my phone on the go. It works great, is very sturdy and durable, and is a nice size for travel.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Aflac: Time Well Spent - Save Money by Researching Health Benefits

Open enrollment is coming soon, and that means choosing a health benefits package for the year. So where do you start, how do you decide which plan to choose?

I remember the first year I had to choose a health plan through my employer, I had so many questions - What's a deductible, what does out-of-pocket maximum mean, how do I know what's covered and what's not? I attended the benefits education session provided by Human Resources and stayed afterward to ask all my questions. I also spoke with other co-workers, researched online, and asked family members for advice.

Now, even though I understand all of the terms of benefits packages, it's still difficult to decide which plan will be the wisest choice for me financially and for my life stage. During open enrollment, I compare the costs and coverage to last year to see what's changed and what has stayed the same. I also attend the education session that's provided at my workplace and ask any questions I can think of. However, the last few years I've opted for the same plan each year just because I'm familiar with it and know more about it than other plans. The 2014 Aflac Open Enrollment Survey found that 90% of workers are doing the same thing and "auto-enrolling" each year. I've been choosing the plan with the most coverage and highest monthly premiums, but this year I didn't (and likely won't) meet the deductible or use much coverage so I could have saved money on premiums by choosing a different plan. This is just one of the ways that researching benefits options can be time well spent.

According to the 2014 Aflac Open Enrollment Survey, 41% of employees spent 15 minutes or less researching their benefits options during the 2013 open enrollment session, and 24% spent five minutes or less. Imagine the costly mistakes that can be made by only spending a few minutes choosing your benefits plan! The money you could save each year can be used on household expenses, hobbies, or even a once-in-a-lifetime experience like skydiving. (Some extra cash sure would have come in handy when I went skydiving last year!) On the other end of the spectrum, making sure that you and your family are covered well is also important, so research can help to sustain your quality of life with the right coverage too.

Aflac: Time Well Spent - Save Money by Researching Health Benefits - You could go skydiving with the money you save!Aflac: Time Well Spent - Save Money by Researching Health Benefits - You could go skydiving with the money you save!

Aflac Incorporated provides individual and group voluntary insurance policies which are designed to supplement major medical plans. Policyholders are paid directly for unexpected costs associated with a covered illness, injury, or loss; In addition, cash benefits can be used to help pay rent, gas, groceries, childcare or other expenses a worker may have. Aflac offers accident, dental, vision, life, cancer, intensive care, and more voluntary insurance policies. Read more about open enrollment and the importance of voluntary insurance in the Aflac WorkForces Report: http://afl.ac/BH6ZR.

And remember - This year during open enrollment, don't "duck" out of your responsibility to research your insurance options. Spend the time comparing each plan and decide what's really right for you and your family. I promise, it will be time well spent!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Bifidus Best Advanced Probiotic Supplement Review

Bifidus Best Advanced Probiotic Supplement Review Probiotics balance out the microflora in the gut to improve the function of the digestive tract. And a healthy digestive tract leads to a stronger immune system. Probiotics can and should be taken by everyone to keep the gut healthy, but it's especially helpful to improve food allergies, inflammation, yeast infections, acid reflux, and irritable bowel syndrome (which I myself suffer from.)

When I was first diagnosed with IBS, my doctor recommended probiotics to keep my system balanced. I find that when there are periods of time where I don't take any, my symptoms flare up. But when taking an effective probiotic supplement like this one, I don't experience any attacks and rarely have discomfort. The best part is that it's helping me to digest dairy, which due to IBS commonly causes flare-ups.

Bifidus Best Advanced Probiotic contains 5.06 billion CFU, referring to the number of active, live organisms (as opposed to some other brands that count all bacteria even dead and inactive.) The formula also has a new delivery technology that protects the strains in stomach acid so the effects are felt quickly. I notice a difference right away when I take this in the morning, and it helps all day long. I've been taking this probiotic for several weeks and have been able to eat more dairy than I have in a long time without experiencing flare-ups afterward. My movements are regular and normalized and I feel really good.

When looking for a probiotic, make sure you choose a high quality supplement with a large number of live organisms.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Free Coffee on National Coffee Day - September 29th

Free Coffee - National Coffee Day - Monday, September 29th

Have a case of the Mondays? September 29th is "National Coffee Day" which means you can score free or cheap coffee to keep you awake!

  • Dunkin’ Donuts: Free medium cup of Dark Roast Coffee on September 29. Then from September 30 to October 5, get a medium size Dark Roast for the special price of 99¢. 
    National Coffee Day Deals - Kangaroo Express - Monday, September 29
  • Kangaroo Express: A 12 oz. cup of Bean Street Coffee costs just 1¢ from 6 - 10 a.m. on Monday.
  • Krispy Kreme: Free cup of 12 oz. coffee, or get $1 off a mocha, latte, or ice coffee.
  • McDonald’s: Free small McCafĂ© coffee from 9/16 - 9/29 during the location’s breakfast hours—generally from around 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
  • Peet’s Coffee & Tea: Participating stores are giving free samples of coffee and espresso, and all beverages are available on a buy-one-get-one-free basis; also, bags of coffee (ground or whole bean) are discounted by $2 apiece at Peet’s on Monday.
  • Tim Horton’s: Any size coffee costs $1 from September 22 to 29.

Do you know of any other National Coffee Day deals? Let us know in the comments below!


Thursday, September 25, 2014

MuvUSA iPhone 5 Armband Review

MuvUSA's iPhone 5 Armband was designed with professional quality in mind. It is made to fit an iPhone 5, although it fits my Android (LG Spectrum) really well too. It is also the right size for an iPod Touch. The openings at the top are in the perfect spot for my phone and the screen protector is sensitive enough to make using the touch screen easy. It is also water and sweat resistant, so it protects the device too.
MuvUSA iPhone 5 Armband ReviewMuvUSA iPhone 5 Armband Review

The quality of this armband is impressive. Between the heavy-duty velcro that keeps the band from slipping even under the weight of a heavier phone, to the durable materials and quality-stitched edging, this can withstand the wear and tear from any workout. The openings are all reinforced so they are tear-resistant, and the neoprene is really thick and comfortable around my arm. Mine still looks brand new and I've been using it every time I walk my dog or workout. There is a high-visibility reflective border around the screen protector which is really important to me when I walk outside, and a key holder that's very convenient too.

MuvUSA iPhone 5 Armband Review

My only wish for this product is that the band had a longer length so it would fit better around my arm. But besides that, this is my favorite new workout accessory and seems like it was made to last.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Gurin Salon Model Ceramic Flat Iron Review

Gurin's Salon Model Ceramic Flat Iron is a 1.25" hair straightener. It has tourmaline plates which create a shiny, silky finish. The plates are "floating" which diminishes hair pulling as your hair glides through. It has adjustable temperature from 140 to 450F.

Some of the features I like about this flat iron is the high-quality durable construction, textured grip on the handles, the swivel cord which makes the straightening process easier, and the red velvet storage pouch that came with it. The iron works really well and leaves my hair shiny and smooth. It heats up quickly and the handles stay cool. This flat iron is very affordable and well worth the cost.

Gurin Salon Model Ceramic Flat Iron Review

I did notice a couple downfalls, like that the temperature dial and on/off switch are in-between the two handles. You can reach them without touching the hot plates, but you have to really maneuver your fingers to reach. The other downfall is the lack of a mechanism that holds the handles closed when not in use. But I suppose since it comes with a storage bag, it's not needed. I just like to be able to close my flat iron and throw it in my hair tools organizer once it cools off.

I have straight, fine hair and you wouldn't think I need a straightener, but honestly I think anyone can benefit from a flat iron. It seals my hair cuticles and makes my hair look so shiny and healthy. It's even a nice refresher for "2nd day" hair to make it look polished. I also learned to use the flat iron to curl and crimp my hair. There are tons of ideas online, but the one I like is alternating the direction of the iron down each section of hair to create waves (see below.) Start by flipping the iron up and hold for a few seconds, then move down about an inch and flip the opposite way. This will create a "crimp" in your hair. Repeat all the way down and then move to another section.
How to Make Wavy Hair With Flat Iron

I received this product to provide an honest review via Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, September 22, 2014

ForteBellezza Pink Eyelash Curler Review

ForteBellezza's pink eyelash curler is an ergonomically designed curler that works with any type and size of eyelid. The handle is "spring-loaded" so it stays in the open position until you close it around your lashes, or until you latch it with the travel-friendly latch. The body is made of a high-quality stainless steel and the handles are a pink non-slip plastic.

ForteBellezza Pink Eyelash Curler ReviewForteBellezza Pink Eyelash Curler Review

I always thought a curler was a curler, but I had no idea there could be one that didn't pinch my skin! This fits comfortably along my lash line and doesn't pinch or catch my skin whatsoever. The pad is wide enough that it catches all my lashes, even the tiny inner ones. And it's "non-stick" so my lashes don't get stuck to it either. I am very impressed with how well this curls my lashes and lengthens them without giving them a crimped or creased look.

ForteBellezza Pink Eyelash Curler Review

I do leave the latch undone except when traveling, just because I don't like the pad getting creased. However, I did find that the extra pad I have that is permanently "creased" from remaining latched still works just as well. I just keep that one aside for when I'm traveling.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

InstaNatural Deep Cleansing Facial Oil Review

InstaNatural is a company that formulates beauty products using natural and organic ingredients, so they are gentle on the skin. I have never used a cleansing oil before, but just had to give their new Deep Cleansing Facial Oil a try. Basically it is an oil that melts away dirt, makeup, and impurities without removing skin's natural oils or messing with your pH balance. Active ingredients include: Jojoba oil, Olive oil, Lavender essential oil, Hemp oil, Sea Buckthorn oil, and Pink Grapefruit oil.

The oil is a yellow-ish thick oil that comes out with a pump. I was a bit scared to try it because when you think of oil, you think it will make your skin more oily. I have combination skin so I get lots of shine in my t-zone and a combo of dryness and oiliness in my cheeks. I applied 2-3 pumps of oil to a cotton pad and spread it around my face, then rinsed with warm water per the instructions. It removed all of my makeup and didn't leave an oily residue like I was expecting. My skin felt soft and moisturized and not at all irritated or greasy.

InstaNatural Deep Cleansing Facial Oil Review
The real test, though, was the next day. I could not believe how good my skin looked the next morning, and it was way less shiny all day than it usually looks. I didn't even have to put on a powder to combat the shine. So surprisingly, this cleansing oil actually made my skin less oily. I feel like the secret is that instead of stripping natural oils like many harsh products do, this keeps them intact so the skin isn't working even harder to overcompensate and produce more oil. That's the vicious cycle of many harsh acne and oil-fighting products.

I also use this oil to remove my lipstick and mascara. I found that for use as an eye makeup remover, it was easiest to put a squirt of oil on my fingers and apply to my closed eyelid, and then take the cotton pad to wipe the makeup off. Otherwise it seems like the cotton pad soaks up too much of the product before it gets to my makeup. It only took a couple squirts to get both eyes completely clean, plus it didn't irritate or sting my eyes at all.

I am pleasantly surprised with this product and I recommend giving it a try to see how it works for you.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

MIRA Stainless Steel Insulated Food Jar Review

The MIRA Stainless Steel Food Jar is a vacuum insulated jar with premium grade 18/8 stainless steel interior. It keeps food hot for 5 hours or cold for 10 hours. It is a large 10 oz size which is perfect for soup or a side dish/snack to take to work or school.

MIRA Stainless Steel Insulated Food Jar Review
The great thing about this jar is that it's BPA and phtalate free, so it keeps food safe and free of toxins. The jar itself is very heavy-duty and durable. I like to use it for things like pickles and olives, veggies, eggs, or chicken salad. It's wide enough that you can fit your hand in to grab snacks from the bottom, and the seal works really well and doesn't leak. I love the pastel green color and it fits nicely in my lunch bag. 

MIRA Stainless Steel Insulated Food Jar Review
This jar kept my food nice and cold all day at work until I was ready to eat it. I haven't yet used it for soup or chili, but I plan to use it more for hot foods this Fall. I love how large it is, it holds lots of food. The only downfall is that it's not dishwasher safe, but it's really easy to clean since it does have such a wide mouth, so it only takes a minute to wash it out.


I received this product in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Complete Anti-Aging Moisturizer by Foxbrim Review

Complete Anti-Aging Moisturizer by Foxbrim Review Foxbrim's Complete Anti-Aging Moisturizer contains a 1% Retinol complex with vitamin A and antioxidants. Normally, Retinol can cause dryness, flaking, and/or irritation of the skin, but the Retinol in this moisturizer is pure and formulated with soothing natural antioxidants so it is safe even for sensitive skin. I myself have sensitive skin and often experience irritation in my cheeks, but my skin was been LOVING this formula. And I have not experienced any irritation or redness whatsoever.

Before using this, my skin had been breaking out with little bumps on my forehead and along my jawline but it's all cleared up and smooth again after just a few weeks of use. My face also looks more plump and younger. This moisturizer works for everything from acne and blemishes to wrinkles and dryness.

I've been using it every night after Foxbrim's hyaluronic acid serum, and my skin looks and feels great. I am definitely going to continue using it. It's made of 100% natural and organic ingredients with no parabens or additives. My only complaint is that I wish the 1 oz. bottle was bigger since I use it so often!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.