Tag Archives: product review

Fat-Bottomed Curls, You Make the Rocking World Go Round

We open on a desperate, despondent, disheveled woman. Her hair is long … limp … and utterly lifeless. Her hair is so straight that it could be mistaken for uncooked spaghetti. Or serve as a carpenter’s level. Or used to draw blueprints of skyscrapers. (You get where I’m going with this, right?)

Desperate, despondent, disheveled woman: “Oh … why, why, WHY must I be cursed with this straight hair? Day in and day out, nothing but pin straight hair just dragging me down. I need some variety!”

Enter me, waving a new-fangled hair device in the woman’s face.

Me: “Hey, chin up, Marcia Brady. I’ve got the solution. Have you ever heard of the InstaWave curling iron by Kiss?”

DDDW: “The InstaWave curling iron by Kiss?”

Me: “Yes, the InstaWave curling iron by Kiss, the revolutionary, fully automatic hair tool that instantly creates beautiful, long-lasting curls with ease.”

DDDW: “What?!!? Aww, come on. Curls that are beautiful AND long-lasting? No way.”

Me: “Yes way! Check out this video.”

DDDW: “Wow. She looks awesome. But I bet she’s a professional hair stylist. What about ordinary schleps … like you and me?”

Me: (laughing condescendingly) “Funny you should ask. Because I’m not just an endorser of the InstaWave. I’m also a client.”


Want to win your own InstaWave curling iron? Well, of course you do. My friend Mel and I are giving one away to one of our lucky readers. And, with so many ways to score an entry, that lucky reader could easily be YOU!

Click HERE to enter!

Hurry! The contest closes on October 15, 2014.

Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Hey! Stop staring at my teeth. My eyes are up here!

And why exactly is everyone staring at my teeth these days? Easy. Because I was recently contacted by the customer-oriented good people at Smile Brilliant to conduct a product review of their high-end tooth bleaching system. Spoiler: I loved it.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever spent any alone time in the bathroom bearing your teeth at your own reflection in the mirror and wishing you had a whiter smile. To those of you sitting on your hands, I think you’re lying. Everyone wants whiter teeth. And everyone needs whiter teeth. Unless, of course, you played a paleontologist on TV in the 90s.

But enough of my tomfoolery. Let me tell you about Smile Brilliant. That’s why we’re all here, isn’t it?


When their company rep first contacted me, I was over the moon. Like I said before, who doesn’t want whiter teeth? So I accepted the job and was immediately sent a product reviewer starter kit.


The kit contained everything I needed to take professional, dentist-quality impressions of my upper and lower teeth (as well as the gels I would be using with my custom trays once I received them). I got to work immediately.


To make the impressions …

  1. Open one BASE paste and one CATALYST paste.
  2. Blend together.
  3. Press into mold and insert in mouth immediately.

(How great do I look here, by the way? … Hello? Christmas card!)

Notice how my hands are super blurry in that middle picture? That’s because you have to MOVE FAST. Once the pastes are combined, they waste no time hardening. Herein lies the reason that you get three sets of the stuff with your starter kit (see picture above). Because some people are spastic and will mess up the first batch by working too slowly.

How did *I* do, you ask? Well, let’s just say all six of my paste containers were empty after I made my impressions. (Sometimes I’m surprised I can dress myself in the morning.) Anyway, here’s what I sent over to Smile Brilliant in their convenient, postage-paid packaging.


And here’s what I got back only days later.


Before opening any of the gel packages, I tried on my new mouth trays. And they fit perfectly. (I wonder if Smile Brilliant makes jeans.) And, with that, I was ready to start illuminating my smile.

To whiten your teeth …

  1. Apply desensitizing gel (if you choose to purchase it) along inner front rim of both trays and wear for 20-60 minutes. 
  2. Apply bleaching gel in the same way and wear for 20 minutes to 3 hours. 

I’m a compulsive overachiever so I maxed out both times and completed the full process three days in a row. And I honestly saw improvement as early as the first day. From there, I whitened every other day until I hit the two week mark (for a total of nine treatments). And that was it. That was all I needed. Unless I want my teeth to glow under a black light. (see Ross Geller above)

Personally, I think my before and after pictures speak for themseLVES.


Seriously, they look AMAZING, don’t they?






Tired of hearing about MY experience?

Wish you could throw a bucket of indelible purple grape juice directly at my glistening teeth?

You needn’t stew in your own filthy envy anymore.  Because I’m giving away a gift certificate to Smile Brilliant for $119.95 right here to one lucky, yellow-toothed winner! That’s enough to get everything you need to make your own custom trays plus three syringes of bleaching gel (each good for three uses).

Click HERE to win.

You have until September 9, 2014 to enter.

Okay, let’s recap everything. Shall we?

  1. I LOVE this product and literally noticed a difference after one use.
  2. When making your dental impressions, work fast and have a napkin handy for, well, drool. Did I mention that earlier? (sigh)
  3. Remember that just because you can wear the bleach-filled dental trays for three straight hours doesn’t mean you should wear them for three straight hours. This stuff is the real deal and overkill can result in a little gum tenderness.
  4. Enter the contest, fools. White teeth could be yours by the end of the month!

The ODNT Product Review Procedure:

  • Sometimes I say no … because I am not interested in the product or I don’t think it’s a good fit for me or this blog.
  • Sometimes I say yes … but determine, upon usage, that the product is a fail. So I inform the company and offer the option to part ways rather than receive the bad press. This offer is always accepted.
  • Sometimes I say yes … and I try the product and LOVE it. So I write my review. And you can rest assured that every word, every picture and every video is 100% true.

Because MamaKat asked me to talk about something I learned last month.What’s mine? Home tooth whitening products aren’t all snake oil. This stuff really works!

Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Long, Red Carpety Eyelashes … BOOM! (Here’s how.)

In a recent beauty poll, 88% of women said they wished they had longer, fuller eyelashes.

Okay, fine. You’ve got me. There is actually no statistic for how many women wish they had longer, fuller lashes. I lied. But I’m a woman with a lot of friends. All of whom either wish theirs were longer (the majority of us) or are very proud of their already very well-endowed eyes (insert ugly word for these lucky freaks of nature here).

Over the years, I’ve tried all kinds of mascaras, curling wands, brushes, false eyelashes, snake oily quick-fixes and even some crazy fiber garbage that somehow is supposed to grab onto your existing lashes to lengthen and thicken them. (I ordered it from QVC. It was late. Don’t judge.) But nothing gave me the result I wanted. I wanted effective, I wanted safe, and, most of all, I wanted EASY. So when Fysiko asked me to test out their eyelash serum, I remember thinking “Sure. Why not? As long as it doesn’t cost me anything … or make me grow a tail … I’m in.”

Oh, but I just KNEW it wouldn’t work.

Before I go on, please allow me to teach you everything I know about the eyelash growth cycle: It lasts about 4 months (16 weeks). End of lesson. That said, it takes up to 8 weeks to see your first results and 16 weeks to see your full results with Fysiko. Case in point …


August 2013 – Here I am at the beginning of the experiment. My sparsely-lashed eyes resemble those a child draws to depict a little boy. (My apologies for springing this gender-confusing, horrific image on you so suddenly.)


October 2013 – Flash forward two months. I was hanging with a few friends when one of them unexpectedly leaned in, took a good look at me and said, “Are your eyelashes longer???” I hadn’t told anyone I was guinea-pigging for Fysiko. “Yes,” I replied coyly, fluttering my newly-augmented lashes.


December 2013 – Flash forward to the present. As you can see, these things are so long that I now actually need a brush to tame and manage them which, sadly, I neglected to do prior to this photograph.

The bottom line is … Fysiko works. It’s made from all natural ingredients. And it’s SUPER easy. Just swipe the brush once along your upper lash line at bedtime every night for 16 weeks. At the 16 week mark, you only need to do it two or three times a week to maintain your results.

And, for the record, I’ve been using the same bottle for 4 months now and it still feels like it’s completely full. The packaging says it contains a 6-8 month supply, but I honestly think it’ll go longer. Of course, I was lucky because, as a product tester, I received my bottle free of charge. It sells for $139 which, if broken into 8 months (I still say it’ll last longer), is only about $17 per month. But I’m not pushing anyone to buy it. I’m just telling you about the impressive results I saw with my experience. Especially because I went into it as a big, fat, eyelashless naysayer.

For more information about Fysiko, visit their website and their Facebook page.


Rafiki, George and even King Louie have Nothing on these Modern Monkeys

Once upon a time …

there was a little girl named Vivien. And Vivien had a mother who loved her very much. Vivien’s mother wrote a blog called … well, this is a fairy tale so we’ll just call it ODNT. And, on ODNT, Vivien’s mother wrote about all kinds of interesting people doing all kinds of crazy things in all kinds of far away places. But what Vivien liked best about ODNT were the product reviews. Because sometimes, when she was very, very lucky, the product her mother was sent to review was something unmistakably and truly magnificent. Something that she could keep for her very own.

One day, as Vivien was toiling through her daily homework, she heard the doorbell ring. “I’ll get it,” she said running to the door, completely unaware of the surprise that awaited her on the other side. Opening the door, Vivien saw a brown box. It was big enough to fit a basketball inside of it but, when she lifted it, she was shocked to discover it didn’t weigh any more than a loaf of bread. “Mama … Mama!” she called out. “You got another package.” Vivien placed the box on the table by her mother and turned to walk away.

Vivien’s mother smiled knowingly. She knew that Vivien had no idea what was inside. She knew that this time Vivien would be so excited that she might actually want to write the review herself. “Well,” she said to Vivien. “Aren’t you going to open it?”

Vivien’s mouth fell open. “What?” she said. “But YOUR name is on it. What is it, Mama?” Her eyes were simultaneously confused and excited. “Only one way to find out,” answered her mother, who wore a sly grin on her face as she pushed the box toward Vivien.

Vivien tore into the box like a child on Christmas morning.


“Oh, my gosh!!! Sock monkeys! They are sooo cute! I love them both soooo much! Thank you, Mama.”

“I’m glad you like them,” said her mother happily. “But they’re not from me.” Vivien looked up, again confused but still ecstatically clinging to her new stunningly stylish simians. “They were sent here from a company called Patch Products. All the way from Planet Sock Monkey.”

Vivien laughed. “Is there really a place called Planet Sock Monkey, Mama?” she asked her mother. “Well, I’m not sure,” teased her mother. “But I’ll bet if there is, your two new friends, Star Harmonkey and Magenta Beetsch, are two of the coolest monkeys there.”

“I don’t know, Mama,” Vivien interrupted … politely, of course. “What do you mean?” asked her mother. “Well,” Vivien explained, “it looks like there are a whole bunch of crazy monkeys living on that planet. Besides mine, I see a pirate … and a zombie … and a rapper … and even a cute, little nerd!”

Mother and daughter laughed in unison.

“So I wonder why they sent us these two monkeys,” said Vivien’s mother. And she began examining the two adorable creatures. “Oh, that’s easy, Mama,” explained Vivien. “Really?” said her mother quizzically, looking up from her meticulous monkey inspection.

“You see,” said Vivien, “Star Harmonkey is a sweet girl who loves to sing and perform for people. And it says she has a sparkling personality.” Vivien’s mother nodded. “And Magenta Beetsch is a kooky girl who loves music and being a little different from everybody else. And she likes to make her hair weird colors.”

“I think I see what you’re getting at, Vivien,” her mother smiled. “They’re US!!” Vivien shouted. “Awesome!” she squealed, grabbing Magenta and turning to her mother. “I’m going to call this one Magommy. Because she reminds me of YOU, Mama.”


“Wow. So the monkey and I are, like, Bennifer? Okay.” Vivien’s mom, laughed under her breath. “Benni-who???” Vivien asked. “Oh, nothing. It’s a grown-up joke,” her mother answered. And Vivien went back to playing with her tweenage perfection presents.

“Well,” her mother sighed, “I guess I need to start writing these reviews.” And she sat down at her laptop, fingers poised over the keyboard. “Know what, Mama?” Vivien said, hugging her monkeys and looking deeply into their expressive little eyes, “I think you already did!”

The End

Want to win one of these trendsetting little friends for the little monkey in your life? Mel and I are each giving one away right here. Our two lucky winners will get to choose from the six limited edition friends listed above. (More monkeys are coming soon to Planet Sock Monkey.)


Entries will be accepted until the end of Monday, November 11, 2013.


Kiss Bad Hair Days Goodbye (aka The Blog Post Where I Sing)

Mel and I met a lot of great people at the BlogHer13 Expo in Chicago last summer. And one of the biggest exhibitors there had to be Kiss Products. Their friendly experts passed the hours styling hair, sculpting nails and elongating lashes. You were guaranteed to walk out of the booth looking better than you walked in.

They make so many different products (see for yourself) that Mel and I are writing two reviews for them. Last time, we talked about their home gel manicure kit but this time we’re talking about hair dryers … specifically the Kiss Tornado 360. (Read to the end for a special surprise. Two special surprises actually. One of which might just have you moved to tears … delightfully entertained … laughing in shock at my idiocy.)

Now, I’ll admit. When I first received my review product, I had no idea what a unique hair tool I held in my hands.  Yes, it’s sleek. Yes, it’s powerful. Of course, lots of hair dryers can make those claims. Right? Right. But they don’t all offer this next feature.

Here’s where the whole 360 thing comes in. In Suuuuperrrr Sloooo-Moooo.

In addition to the standard concentration attachment, the Kiss Tornado 360 also comes with a patented rotating air nozzle attachment. To quote their website, “The rotating air booster creates spiral airflow movement that evenly distributes heat and prevents the risk of spot heat damage.” You know what that means, right? It means you’ll never again burn yourself (or your child) by lingering too long in one spot. So it protects your scalp and your hair from heat damage. (Somewhere my daughter just let out a huge cheer.)

And there are lots of other great features about the Kiss Tornado 360:

  • 3 heat settings
  • 2 speed settings
  • A cool shot button
  • Ceramic tourmaline technology reduces frizz & enhances shine
  • Thanks to the 360 feature, it dries hair three times faster because it covers an area four times larger leaving you more time to read quality blogs like AccordingToMags.com &  OldDogNewTits.com.

Honestly, my daughter and I love the Kiss hair dryer so much that I was inspired to put it to song. So I dusted off my guitar and got to work. Wanna hear? (I’m just going to assume you are all nodding in enthusiastic unison.) Remember, I love my show tunes. Here goes …

Alright, fine. Maybe you’re laughing at me. But I bet you still want your own Kiss Tornado 360 hair dryer. And Mel and I can make that happen. Right here. Right now. Beacause we’re giving away two hair dryers to two lucky winner. All you have to do is click the link below.


Please note that, by simply clicking the ‘Tweet the Giveaway’ option,  you can earn TEN ENTRIES A DAY for this promotion. The contest ends on Thursday, October 24, 2013.

Good luck, guys!


That Suburban Momma

“Save Anything” (Not to be confused with the 80s John Cusack movie)

I love food. All kinds. (Remember I’m from New Orleans.) And the idea of wasting it always upsets me. I’m the person who makes her family eat the leftovers. The one who crafts creative “recipes” with the odds and ends of the refrigerator and pantry. Who’s even been known to wrap up the remaining slab of the canned cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving. Sure, I’m frugal …. but I also LOVE FOOD! And I think it all should get the chance to fulfill its destiny and be eaten.

Enter the FoodSaver 2244, the “market leader in the vacuum packaging category in the housewares industry.” Mel and I are lucky enough to be reviewing this killer kitchen tool today. It couldn’t be any easier to use, by the way. Which is why this video of me using it is only 22 seconds. You’ve got 22 seconds, right?

Too busy to watch the video? (Liar.) Fine, here’s how it works:

  1. Place food in bag.*
  2. Insert open end into FoodSaver, close and lock.
  3. Press “vacuum seal.”

*When using rolls, cut to size needed for food plus three extra inches, insert open end and press “seal” to create a custom bag then follow above steps.

There are lots of longer, incredibly detailed videos on YouTube about using all of the different FoodSaver models. And if you ever find yourself struggling with insomnia, I highly recommend looking them up. Mine’s not going to win any Academy Awards either. But again, it’s only 22 seconds. Because that’s the actual time I needed to demonstrate saving that avocado’s life. (I know. I’m a hero.)

Other cool stuff about the FoodSaver:

  • All of their products are sold on FoodSaver.com but many can also be found at local stores like Target.
  • The system comes with a vacuum tube that works with its airtight containers.
  • Their bags and containers have been proven to save food five times longer than the tired methods I’ve been using for years.
  • It’s easy to take in and out of the cabinet for quick use because it’s compact and lightweight.
  • By eliminating the money spent on wasted food and offering the ability to buy in bulk confidently, FoodSaver can save the average family up to $2700 a year! (My family would love to save $2700 a year. What would we buy with that money? A quick Google search yielded “$2700 robot bartender.” Game on.)
  • The money you save using a FoodSaver enables you to buy a robot bartender. (Duh.)

Seriously, I see me getting right to work with this machine. Just think of all the delicious foods I could save! Everything from mango and pineapple to chicken and shrimp to pastas and soups. OMG, and the cheese! Great Caesar’s Ghost, the cheese! Gouda, Danish Bleu, Formaggio di Capra, Robiola Bosina … there’s so much to save … and so little time!!! (Actually, there’s plenty of time. Because, as I just demonstrated above, it only takes 22 seconds per save.) BUT I REALLY NEED TO GET STARTED …. NOW!!!


What? You guys know I’m kidding. It’s Herve, for Pete’s sake!

All in all, it’s a great product. And, like I said in the title, I really think it could “Save Anything.” Which reminds me, I did actually make one FoodSaver video for you guys. But it’s nothing like the others on YouTube. I’m a child of the 80s. And these are my references.

Forget Peter Gabriel. If I were wooing a new friend today, I’d totally bring my FoodSaver.

Wanna win a little something personal from Mel and me? Well, sure you do. We love you guys for reading. Which is why Mel and I are each going to make a little something special in our kitchens and send it to you … FoodSaver’d, of course. We’ll be taking entries through Thursday, October  17, 2013.


Good luck, guys. Until next time, I’ll be saving the world. One avocado at a time!


Talking ‘Bout My G-G-Generator

It’s not often that I write a product review that has my dad and Dave so jazzed. I knew they would be. Which is why I was so excited when I first told them we were getting an outdoor generator. From Ryobi. They thought I was kidding. “Seriously? You’re getting a generator?? In the middle of hurricane season???” I didn’t think you could actually earn “street cred” with your father and your spouse but, thanks to Ryobi, I think I’m just a little bit cooler in their eyes now.

And speaking of coolness, don’t you hate when the power goes out at your house and you’re left sitting there like an idiot sweating in the dark with no lighting, no television and, most importantly, no frozen snacks? Me, too. But that won’t be happening at my house anymore.

We literally just dodged Tropical Storm Karen last weekend. I was actually a little afraid we’d be test driving our new machine for real. Here in New Orleans, these weather-related power outages are pretty commonplace six months out of every year. Hurricane Katrina aside, even smaller storms like Gustav (2008) and Isaac (2012) knocked out my power for nearly a week. (Seriously, I wrote this post last year during an extended power outage. About wanting a generator!) Because people with generators are usually very popular in this part of the world during hurricane season. (Maybe I’ll get crowned power outage queen this year, you guys!)

But enough of my tomfoolery. Let’s take a look my new Ryobi RYi2200 generator, shall we?


1. It’s SMALL, especially considering the power it generates. (Cute kid not included.)


2. It’s LIGHTWEIGHT. (Remember, I am pathetically weak.) That means, lots of two-men jobs can now be handled by just one (wo-)man.


3. It’s ridiculously PORTABLE. (In case you ever need to run it through a crowded airport.)

Compact size, light weight and portability. All very nice features in a generator. Because, unlike me, not everyone is using them in the middle of natural disasters. Generators are also great for camping, tailgating, remote construction and all kinds of other outdoor activities. (Should I be concerned that my stupid brain goes immediately to a backyard space walk?)

The Ryobi RYi2200 offers all kinds of great features:

  • Quiet Operation (You can talk over it without yelling.)
  • Clean Power (So it’s safe for sensitive electronics.)
  • Fuel Efficient (The auto idle mode allows it to run longer when less power is needed.)
  • Parallel-Kit Capable (Hook two units together for twice the power.)
  • Warning Indicators (So there’ll be no oil shortages or overloads on your watch.)
  • Three-Year Warranty
Q: But, Michele, what can I power with a Ryobi RYi2200?
A: With 2200 starting watts and 1800 running watts, the generator has the power to run all of these smaller things simultaneously.


OR a choice of larger ones individually, such as a microwave, a computer monitor, a refrigerator or a radiant heater. The generator even comes with a small set of cables that enable you to charge a car battery.

But don’t just take my word for it. Let’s see this machine in action. Once you add the oil and gas, it’s easy to start. I tried it several times and it never took me more than a few spastic yanks I decided not to share on film pulls.

It’s simple to power the things you really need.

As well as the ones you really want. (Notice the blender is louder than the  generator.)

Oh, and I can’t write a review about a generator without including this bit of information. “USING A GENERATOR INDOORS CAN KILL YOU IN MINUTES.” That’s written right on the box. As with all generators, please remember to operate your machine outside in a fully-ventilated area and run extension cords into your home to power whatever you need.

So, if you’re looking for a way to power your home, your car or just some of your stuff outside of a standard electrical setting, I’d absolutely recommend the Ryobi RYi2200. And, if you need more convincing, there are lots of other video product reviews (with dudes in them) on YouTube saying the same. Or you can just visit their website by clicking here.

As a thank you for reading today, Mel (who just reviewed a  Ryobi power washer) and I want to offer you a chance to win another great Ryobi product. So, we’re giving away TWO collapsible Ryobi lawn & leaf bags* … just in time for fall! They’re perfect for collecting debris, leaves and other trash or can be used for sports equipment or even laundry. (What? I know a family with eight kids!)


*If this item is unavailable at time of order, another product of similar value with be substituted. Contest ends Monday, October 14, 2013.

Good luck, you guys! 


“So easy … a SPAZ could do it.” (Courtesy of The Martin Agency, GEICO, 2004. Sort of.)

Raise your hand if you’ve heard of the gel manicure. (looking around room at a sea of jagged talons covered in chipped polish) Okay, fine. So you’ve heard of gel manicures, but have you ever actually tried one? If you’re like me, regular nail polish stays on just long enough for you to screw the top back on the bottle, right? We’re lucky if we get even ONE day out of it, right? It’s maddening! Are you as tired of this exercise in FUTILITY as I am?!!? (getting a little carried away) CAN I GET AN AMEN?!!? (being reminded by Mel that I need to calm down)

Enter the gel nail revolution.

A few of my local friends and I discovered it at a nail salon a few years ago. In short, your nails are painted with a different type of polish and cured with an LED lamp. So, they’re instantly dry. And, even better, they last  … are you ready for this? … for WEEKS!

YOU:  Shut up! That’s awesome, Michele. But I’d really rather save money and do my nails at home.

ME: Um, YOU shut up … and keep reading.

Kiss Products, my new friends from BlogHer13, actually sell a home gel nail kit. Yes, I said HOME. And having had a few salon gel manicures myself, I just had to try it. Which I did today.


Seriously, it’s as easy as 1 … 2 … 3. Well, I mean there are three steps that each have three parts within them. Which I realize is actually nine steps. But that makes it sound hard, and it’s really not, so instead I just … you know what? Look at the pictures below. They explain it way better than I can.


Step ONE: A) Paint nails with BASE COAT. B) Dry fingers for (I’m with Mel on this one) twice the suggested time under the LED lamp. C) Dry thumb (always double the time).


Step TWO: A) Paint nails with COLOR COAT. B) Dry fingers. C) Dry thumb. For deeper color, repeat.


Step THREE: A) Paint nails with TOP COAT. B) Dry fingers. C) Dry thumb. If nails still feel tacky after a while, soak a cotton ball in regular nail polish remover (crazy, huh?) and rub them down.

Are you more of a live action person? Are my static, inanimate photos putting you to sleep? Fine. Then check out the Instagram video my daughter helped me make.

(I smell an Oscar.)

Click here to view:


It might look like a lot but I promise it’s not. The few extra minutes you spend painting your nails with the gel polish actually saves you time. How? Because you’re not having to redo your freaking … frigging … useless as the popcorn setting on my microwave … chipped manicure every couple of days.

Think of it this way. It’s like when people (and I say people because I’m never kitchen savvy enough to do this) prepare huge portions of some delicious homemade family favorite to freeze for later in the week. Sure, it takes longer to make more food when you’re initially preparing it, but the reward of simply getting to defrost and heat it again later in the week is  killer, right? (Again, I really have no idea. “Later in the week,” my family will be eating frozen pizza from Target.)

YOU: But … but … but is it just as good as a salon gel manicure, Michele?

ME: Geez! Stop poking me. I’m trying to … just … fine! You know what? The finish and durability so far has been just as good as a salon gel mani. The only real difference I see is that the polish isn’t applied as flawlessly. And that’s really more the fault of … well, me, right? 


Don’t make fun. If I hadn’t been wearing those glasses, I probably would have completely missed my nails.

So I give two decently gel-manicured thumbs up for the Kiss gel nails kit. Of course, as with anything, practice makes perfect. And, kids, listen to your teachers … because neatness counts here. Oh, and Kiss does much more than nails, by the way. Check out the Kiss website to see all their products.

Wanna try some Kiss Products for yourself?

Mel and I are giving away TWO prize packages courtesy of Kiss. Each package includes a Kiss Tornado 360  hair dryer and a pack of Kiss EverEZLashes. Your hair and your eyes will thank you for it. (Not literally though. That would be terrifying.)


The contest ends on Thursday, October 10, 2013. You can earn extra entries by leaving blog comments, following everybody on Facebook and Twitter and, best of all, tweeting about the contest to spread the love. There’s even a button on the rafflecopter to make it super easy. If only everything had a super easy button …

Good luck, everyone!


Bubble, Bubble … No Toil, No Trouble

Fine. I took a few liberties with that infamous Shakespearian line but I did it all in the name of commerce. And soda. So I don’t think he would have minded.

Remember BlogHer13, the conference Mel and I attended in Chicago last July? Well, one of the many great companies we met there at the Expo was SodaStream USA. And thank goodness for that. In the weeks following the conference, we reached out to one of their incredibly cool reps (yes, I realize that sounds buttkissish, but I actually mean it!) about doing a joint product review and giveaway on our blogs … and SodaStream said YES! I immediately had visions of my kids carrying me around on their shoulders for weeks. We were getting a home soda machine!

So you can imagine how difficult it was for me to contain myself when that big box arrived on my doorstep. And I knew their homework and extracurriculars wouldn’t allow us to open it (and give it the proper pageantry) until the weekend. I nearly exploded. Much like a well-carbonated bottle of SodaStream when shaken. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

When Saturday morning rolled around, Dave and I could hardly control our excitement. So we grabbed the big box and ran into the kitchen so we could surprise the kids.



We all immediately began tearing through the box and checking out all the flavors inside. (You were very generous, SodaStream. Thanks.) Setting up the machine took literally two minutes. The shipping box was huge because of all the flavor bottles but the machine itself is no bigger than a standard coffee maker. Actually, it’s lighter and smaller than mine in every direction except height. And it doesn’t even plug into the wall. So moving it in and out of a cabinet is no big deal if you don’t want another appliance on your counter.

The kids each picked a favorite flavor: Cola for Dean and Root Beer for Vivien. Dave made both back to back in less than three minutes. And that included clean up and drinking time! They all liked the cola. (I’m going on record as saying I liked it better than “the real thing” but I’m purely a diet soda drinker.) They also loved the root beer. Even my parents, who conveniently stopped by during the taste test, loved it. They said it tastes like old-fashioned root beer, like New Orleans’ own Barq’s brand. There’s no higher praise for root beer in these parts.

When everybody finally backed away from the machine, I tried the Crystal Light Fruit Punch. It was good (“tastes just like Kool-Aid!” says Vivien) and it makes me really look forward to trying some of the other diet flavors like Diet Cranberry Raspberry, Diet Cola with Lime and Diet Green Tea Pomegranate Peach. Seriously, there are over 60 flavors of cola, tea, lemonade, punch, energy drink, flavored water, etc. Or you can omit the flavor and just make your own sparkling water at home. Personally, I’m looking forward to making a little rum punch or maybe a white sangria sometime soon with the Sparking Orange Pineapple. (Who’s with me?)

And speaking of all their flavors, I took this next part about their Sodamix brand right off their website. “Regular Sodamix flavors contain less sugar, calories, carbohydrates and sodium than national drink brands. Regular flavors contain no high-fructose corn syrup, and are sweetened with a blend of sugar and sucralose. Diet Sodamix flavors contain no sugar, no aspartame and are sweetened with Splenda® brand sweetener. Sparkling Naturals are sweetened exclusively with cane sugar.” The flavor bottles sold at SodaStreamUSA.com and retail locations like Target cost about $5-7 per unit and they make 50 servings each. (That’s 10 to 14 cents a glass, no calculators needed.) And, at the end of that flavor bottle, ONE 16.9 oz. container will go into my recycle bin, instead of FIFTY 7.5 oz. cans. You get the idea, right?

Still not convinced? How about this 15 second demonstration video my adorable daughter made of herself using the machine? It’s just THAT easy.

Click HERE to view.

So, let’s recap the SodaStream benefits.

  1. No more flat soda.

  2. Better ingredients.

  3. Less expensive.

  4. More Earth-friendly.

  5. SOOO easy!


Wait, what? You expect me to just GIVE ONE AWAY? That’s insane. It’s crazy really. Because Mel and I are actually going to give TWO away! (Say thank you to SodaStream, everybody!) Each of the prize packages includes the following items:

  • Fountain Jet – winner’s choice of black/silver, red/silver or white
  • 1 carbonating bottle, reusable for up to 3 years
  • Reusable carbonator to fizz up to 60L of soda
  • Variety 6-pack of popular sample-size flavors
  • 3 full-sized flavors of the winner’s choice

CLICK HERE for a chance to win your own SodaStream! 


Good luck, everyone. Share the love and tell your friends.

We’ll announce the winners* after the contest closes on Tuesday, October 1, 2013.

*Winner needs a continental US shipping address. Sorry, Greenland. 😦


My Week Without Stress or Anxiety. Here’s How It Went.

stress /’stres/ n.

  1. a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, etc.
  2. something that causes strong feelings of worry or anxiety
  3. physical force or pressure

Stress. I absolutely hate this word. Not because I don’t like the sound of it, like cloth or ointment. I really just hate it because it’s one of the most overused words in the English language. And, for the record, I’ll bet the words “estrés,” “le stress” and “stresas” are also sweeping the nations of Spain, France and Lithuania. Because it’s everywhere.

We all have stress, are stressed and feel stressed. We can be stressed out in general or stressed about something in particular. We stress over things but, at the same time, we can be under a great deal of stress. We get stress headaches, stress fractures, and stress knots in our backs and necks. We’re stress eaters. We measure our stress levels with stress tests. And, from there, we graduate to stress management. All the while craving stress relief. Because all we really want is to be stress-free.

And that’s what today’s post is all about.

Remember the conference I attended with Mel last July? The one in Chicago where we made connections with killer companies like Monster and others you’re going to be hearing about here soon? Yeah? Well, one such killer company (which is a weird way to describe them since they’re all about health and healing) is Boiron USA, a world leader in homeopathic medicine, something I’ve been into since becoming a mom. My kids used these natural alternatives as wee ones for everything from colic to teething to cradle cap. And, if they could use them, why not me?

Mel and I met their lovely rep at the Boiron booth and the three of us hit it off right away. I knew it was a match made in Heaven when she handed me a sample of one of their premier products.


“Wow! Say that three times fast,” we said. “Oscillococcinum, Oscillococcinum, Oscillococcinum,” she replied, with the ease of someone reciting a child’s nursery rhyme.

I was impressed. And now I couldn’t stop thinking of Beetlejuice.

After talking to her a while, we learned that Boiron actually has a whole online catalog of homeopathic remedies for everything from allergies to circulatory issues to digestive problems – to name only a few. She sent us away with a handful of products and encouraged us to visit their website to see if there were any other things we wanted to test drive. (Check out everything they have to offer!) Culling down the choices was no small task but we finally made our decisions. Mel wanted relief from her chronic headaches and I wanted to try something to quiet the voices in my headexorcise my demons … deal with my occasional case of (wait for it) the vapors. Everyone needs a little calming agent now and then, right? (Of course, right.)

So here’s what she sent me:


Anxious to get started, I dove right in. And did I EVER put that stuff to the test? Here are just a few things I’ve had to deal with since beginning with Boiron:

  • a five-hour visit to the DMV (yes, you read correctly)
  • a three-hour shopping “spree” at Wal-Mart
  • a car accident involving a valet driver wrecking my car
  • a visit to the insurance adjuster, body shop and Enterprise Rent-A-Car
  • a new consultation with an orthodontist for Vivien (yes, she needs braces)
  • a child’s sickness involving a third trip to the doctor
  • single parenting as Dave had a work thing that took him out of town
  • PMS (there I said it, right here on the internet)

Q: Did the alternative medicine work?

A: Well, I would have to say … yes, it did. I was a little sleepy the first day, which probably had nothing to do with the meds. (Next time I have insomnia, I’m visiting you guys, DMV.) From there, I never felt sleepy and managed to move from one unsavory destination to the next without screaming any obscenities and losing my cool. I got a little sloppy with my dosages over the weekend. (That is one thing you really need to remember with alternative medicines. It’s often about maintaining natural levels in your system so the dosages are frequent and consistent throughout the day.)  As such, I did become “highly agitated” over misplacing my cell phone recently. “Highly.” Apparently, my phone is more important to me than my car, Viv’s teeth or cramps. Good to know.

Q: Would I recommend the alternative medicine to a friend?

A. Absolutely. But you need to keep in mind that, just as with prescription medication, every person and every situation is different. And what works for one may not for another. But it’s a very nice experiment that I would encourage anyone to try before considering stronger, more complicated options. What have you got to lose?

 Wanna try Boiron’s Homeopathic Meds for Yourself?

You can win a prize pack of Boiron’s most popular products including Oscillococcinum, Chestal cough syrup, Arnicare, coupons and the Easy Guide to Homeopathic Medicines, their consumer booklet that describes the benefits of homeopathic medicines and lists their full menu of products.

Click HERE to enter.