Thursday, May 31, 2012

John Masters Organics - Skincare @Nubonau

I received various samples from Nubonau: The Natural and Organic Skincare Boutique. Today I am going discuss a couple skincare products from John Masters Organics.

The Linden Blossom Face Creme Cleanser was very thin and I had my doubts about how well it was going to work. It did a fantastic job of hydrating my skin. The smell of rose was very dominant but not over powering, giving it a subtle romantic aroma. I can't get over how much it softened my skin.

The Rose and Apricot Antioxidant Day Creme contains borage oil, aloe vera and Spirulina extract. I didn't know that spirulina nourishes the skin making it an excellent additive to Skincare products. It is also enriched with Apricot, Peach and Rice extract and Oat Kernel to help stimulate pro-collagen production. This is a very light moisturizer. It can be used on normal to dry skin. Considering how much moisture it puts into your skin, I can barely tell it is there. This is a perfect moisturizer to wear underneath your make up, if you wear make up. This gentle moisturizer did not irritate my skin at all.

You can find these products on the Nubonau website. You can also connect with Nubonau on Twitter and Facebook.

Disclaimer: I received product samples from Nubonau: The Natural and Organic Skincare Boutique in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions reflect my personal product experience. Your experience may differ. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Herbal Highlights - #Oregano

Often confused with its close relative Marjoram, oregano is a well loved popular herb.  
In the garden, oregano is a perennial that can grow between 18 and 30 inches tall. It has green hair leaves and white/pink flowers that often show in the fall. The plant enjoys full sun, minimal wind and well-drained soil. Cats like to pee in Oregano plants, at least one of mine tries to frequently.

In the kitchen, this herb flavors many Italian and Mediterranean dishes. We make a Greek salad twice a month and we not only sprinkle a fair amount of Oregano on our salad, but our homemade sauce has a lot of oregano in it.

In aromatherapy and herbal medicine, Oregano oil is used as an immune boost. It is strong however and should be used sparingly as some people find oregano oil overpowering. It also has strong antibacterial properties and is loaded with antioxidants.

Select fresh over dried oregano whenever possible if you want to take advantage of the antioxidants and antibacterial properties of the oil.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Low Carb Bakery - Blueberry Cream Muffin Mix

I received a bag of Baker's Deluxe Blueberry Cream Muffin Mix from the Low Carb Grocery. These muffins contain all natural ingredients and contain no sugar alcohols. The mix contained 2 separate bags of ingredients. Bag #1 contained all of the dry ingredients and Bag #2 contained the blueberries. Aside from dry ingredients the mix called for 1 egg, 1 egg white, 1/4 cup of sour cream, 3/4 cup of water and 3 tbsp of butter. The dollop of sour cream above slightly resembles a heart.

I ran out of muffin cups so instead I made a cake loaf. The kids really enjoyed the taste of the loaf. I've noticed that when it comes to the children that they really don't care if the baked goods are healthy or unhealthy. They love them all the same, which is good considering the amount of healthy foods I have been introducing into home over the last couple years. I found the loaf a little blander then I expected but it was still tasty and very edible. 

Disclaimer: I received this product from the Low Carb Grocery in exchange for a review. I received no compensation for reviewing this product aside from the product itself. All opinions are my honest and based upon my own personal product experience. Your experience may differ. 

Garden Times - The Plot Digger #2

By the time you begin reading this my garden will have been planted for 4 days. I schedule the majority of my posts in advance to accommodate a busy and at times demanding lifestyle.  

The first picture below was taken after a lovely little garden happy friend of mine offered her assistance with a rake on a lovely sunny afternoon that was filled with dirt bikes, barbecues and well... garden happy dirt diggers. We managed to dig out the rest of the garden and makes rows. The next day Mat and I immediately  fertilized and limed the garden. The lime should have been laid in the fall but at least it is in there. The soil is going to be nice and sweet and the plants will be very happy.

The second picture was taken after the garden was fertilized. Mat and I used a fast release 10-10-10 mix. We sifted all of the rows and removed as many rocks as we could. This time when I say "we", I am referring to another garden happy friend who managed to find me and offer her services. The end result is nice fluffy soil. I planted my rows, I still have room for some Broccoli and Chard which I hope to add this week.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Arcona - Toner Tea Bar @Nubonau

I received various organic skincare products from Nubonau: The Natural and Organic Skincare Boutique. I am going to review the Toner Tea Bar by Arcona. This product is made with cosmeceutical-grade ingredients. Arcona is known for having high quality products desired by Hollywood celebrities as alternatives to cosmetic surgery. All Arcona products that are carried on the Nubonau website meet their ingredient promise

Ingredients: Distilled water, glucose polymers, vegetable oils, aloe saponins, yucca extracts, witch hazel extract, black tea leaf extract, green tea extract, white tea extract, lecithin, honey, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, beta-glucosamine, essential oils, raspberry oil, grapefruit seed extract.

It only takes a tiny bit of water to form a slight lather. I applied the lather to my face in upward strokes as instructed on the website. The aroma is pleasant and familiar. I rinsed away the product and as my face began to dry, I noticed a remarkable difference in the tightness of my skin. I strongly feel that with continued use, this product would dramatically shrink my pores and clear up some existing skin problems. The product is a little on the pricey side but a little really does go a long way.

You can find this product and many others like it on the Nubonau website. You can also connect with Nubonau on Twitter and Facebook.


Disclaimer: I received product samples from Nubonau: The Natural and Organic Skincare Boutique in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions reflect my personal product experience. Your experience may differ.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Low Carb Bakery - Caramel Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread

I received a package of Dixie Carb Counters Caramel - Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread Mix from the Low Carb Grocery. This product is low sugar, low carb and low sodium. The package had two bags inside marked Bag #1 and Bag #2. Bag #1 contains the dry ingredients and Bag #2 contained the cinnamon mixture. 

Once I mixed all of the dry ingredients with the extra ingredients that the mixture required (water, egg, egg white), I rolled up the dough into small spoon sized balls. The bag is supposed to make 39 balls and it didn't quite make that much. I might have made the balls a little two big, I ended up producing just under 30 balls. 

I mixed the contents of Bag #2 with the required sour cream, water and butter and then poured the cinnamon mixture over the balls and then put them in the oven. The resulting balls were pretty tasty, they were a tad dry for my taste but some people really like that. These would be good with a low carb glaze if your diet allows.

Disclaimer: I received a few products from the Low Carb Grocery in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own and based upon my personal product experience. Your experience may vary. I received no additional compensation for my post. 

Backyard Berries - #Raspberries Planting Tips

In my back yard Raspberries, Blueberries and Blackberries grow wild every year. In certain areas however, if you want to grow these berries you will need to plant them yourself. 

When selecting a location for your Raspberry garden it is important to keep in mind that your raspberries will remain in this plot for 7 - 10 years. Make sure to place them somewhere that will allow for ease of cultivation year after year and will also not interfere with the rest of your garden.  Raspberries do not like soil that is too acidic. They prefer soil that has a pH of around 6.0, so if your pH is lower than 6.0 you will need to add lime to your garden plot. 

If your winter months are not too severe you can plant your raspberries in the fall. They will begin to grow early in the spring before spring planting conditions are even favorable. I personally find that plants started in the fall are stronger and more resilient.

If you plan on planting in the spring and are ordering from a nursery, place your order in January or February. You can allow the nursery to decide when to ship them to you. They will arrive when it is seasonally appropriate to plant outside.

Disclaimer: Some of these tips came from a book called Country Wisdom and Know How: Everything you need to know to live off the land.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

#Garden Times - The Plot Digger

Finally getting a good days work in on the large garden plot. I can't help but find it interesting to see the hibernating insects, some of which are slowly coming to life as the seasons change. I still don't like to touch them. I don't have a tiller. Instead I dig by hand with a shovel, pick ax and rake. It is a lot of work, but there is a certain solace and appreciation that comes from this practice. I often have a tendency not to wear gardening gloves when I'm digging in the dirt. I really enjoy the feeling of the dirt between my fingers. I enjoyed making mud pies as a child too. This is my progress so far:

A couple more days of intense digging and I should have a nice deep plot dug.

My body aches as it usually does at this stage of the gardening cycle  finish off a gardening session with some counter stretches, some deep breaths. Yoga and gardening go hand in hand. After this plot is finished, the hubby and I clean behind the garage and paint it. Since it is a South facing wall I am going to set up a few planter/beds with my youngest boy. He expressed interest in having his own garden patch and I have been longing to beautify that section of the yard with some practical function.

I'm starting to see some sprouts in the tiny house garden. Lots of radishes have surfaces as well as a couple of spinach sprouts. I did this with some onions I had around the house and I'm pleased to see that they are growing as well.

I'm excited to see how this turns out.
It is my first time planting an onion base.

Radish Sprouts!

The Ginger Mint came back this year quite strong.

Handmade Felted Soap from Tangled Organics

I stumbled upon a very interesting shop on Etsy. Tangled Organics offers handmade soaps that are felted with hand-dyed silk/wool fibers. The colors of the fibers are so beautiful and every bar is different. These soaps are not only beautiful and artistic, but it is also completely functional. It can be used as a natural antibacterial exfoliating cleanser. I received a bar of Citrus Lavender soap from Tangled Organics. It is absolutely stunning. Made with saponified safflower, sunflower, palm and coconut oils this soap cleans without stripping the body of its natural oils. It was fun to use, I had flashbacks of being a child, playing in the bath tub with a bath mitt. It took a while to get a decent lather at first but that was rectified quickly. The texture of the wool against the soap and my skin is interesting. It isn't scratchy like I thought it would be. Instead, it is slightly similar to a wash cloth. I really enjoy the how the lavender and the citrus oils blend together. They are very complimentary. I showed this bar to a very dear friend and she also loved the smell of the bar and the whole idea behind felted soap a great deal. I thought she might, she is an avid knitter and hand spins her own yarn.

Disclaimer: I received a bar of felted soap in exchange for my honest review of the product. I received no additional compensation. All opinions are my own and based upon my personal product experience. Your experience may differ from my experience. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Everest Nutrition - Krill Oil

What is Krill? Antarctic Krill is a shrimp-like crustacean that lives deep in the ocean. This oil was tested by an independent laboratory and compared to fish oil. It was found that it contains 54 times more antioxidants then normal fish oil. In fact, in comparison to Fish oil, Krill Oil contains the richest supply of DHA and EPA in phospholipid form. Phospholipids are much more absorbable by the body. Everest Nutrition Krill Oil is harvested and collected in its natural environment, the pristine waters of Antarctica. They are virtually free of toxins and other impurities. While they are safe for almost everyone. If you are pregnant or have a shellfish allergy, you should speak with your doctor before taking Krill Oil.

I recently received some Krill Oil to review. One thing worth noting is that with certain varieties of fish oil, I found myself with a bit of indigestion. Often depending on the capsule and the strength of the formula I ended up tasting it for hours afterwards. Sometimes it can be quite unpleasant.

When I opened up the bottle, I immediately noticed the dark reddish color of the oil. The hubby examined the jar and was happy to note that it provided effective aide with PMS symptoms. Not like I need that... The recommended daily dose is two capsules a day with food, preferably in the morning with breakfast. I spent the first couple days weening myself on to help my body adjust to the additional nutrients. I have felt very good while taking these and I will continue to do so.

Disclaimer: I received a couple bottles of Krill Oil in exchange for my honest review of the product. I received no additional compensation for this review or giveaway. This review is based upon my personal experience with the product. Your experience with this product may differ from my experience. Originally posted on my primary blog Music and Mommies.

Friday, May 11, 2012

John Masters Organics - Shampoo and Conditioner

I received various product samples from Nubonau: The Natural and Organic Skincare Boutique. Today, I am going to discuss three of the John Masters Organics products that were in my sample pack. 

Lavender Rosemary Shampoo for normal hair has a thick dark rich consistency  like a hot oil. It smelled divine. It didn't seem to have the greatest coverage but it did a remarkable job cleansing my hair despite that fact. Lavender Avocado Intensive Conditioner was a thick white creme that replenished moisture to my hair while removing all tangles. Did I mention it smelled fantastic. Between these two products my hair is soft, silky and hydrated. Even though I desperately need a hair cut, this shampoo and conditioner set help revitalize my hair and restore bounce that I didn't know still lived within these strands. Sometimes, I get build up/dry skin on my scalp. Not only did it clarify, but it balanced my oil production. Normally if I wash my hair in the evening, I produce too much oil at night and wake up with oily bangs and hair that is weighed down. I woke up this morning and it was as though I just washed my hair within the hour. It is full of life, I just can't get over it. I will certainly buy this product.

You can find these products on the Nubonau website. You can also connect with Nubonau on Twitter and Facebook.

Disclaimer: I received product samples from Nubonau: The Natural and Organic Skincare Boutique in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions reflect my personal product experience. Your experience may differ. This review was originally posted on

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Dawn of the Outdoor Garden Times ♥

Last week I dug a small bed, crafted a pallet garden and planted a few cooler weather plants. I am excited to watch the new life grow. I'm a little late starting my big plot though, I'm digging away slowly by hand. This year I am only planting potatoes and peas in the my large backyard plot and perhaps a row of beans. They grow the best in our native soil and the animals seem to leave those 3 crops alone. I'm keeping the plants that I've noticed get eat more frequently closer to the house in hopes of deterring some of the animals.

I read a neat little trick in Organic Gardening Magazine about herding slugs away from your crops with tiny compost piles. I might give that a try this year.

Eve Organics Beauty - Papaya Citrus Masque

This Citrus masque from Eve Organics is made with top quality ingredients. I was quite pleased to read that the primary ingredient is Aloe Vera Juice. The masque smells mildly of Aloe Vera Juice and the aroma of various fruit essences and citrus oils pops through the blend. It is a very nice mixture and it creates a tropical citrus experience. The day I used this masque I had a light sunburn on my cheeks and nose that I gained while digging in my garden. I was very grateful when using it that this masque was aloe based. After using the masque my skin felt rejuvenated, replenished and tighter.

It states on the package that it is completely normal to feel a slight tingling when utilizing this product. On the website it states that not only is it normal but it is expected to feel a tingling sensation on account of the naturally occurring alpha hydroxy acids. I didn't really notice any tingling but again, I was slightly sunburnt. The product did worked beautifully! Thank you to Eve Organics Beauty for developing a great product.

Disclaimer: I was sent this product to review in exchange for my honest review of the product. All opinions are based on my own personal product experience. I received no additional compensation. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Vitasoy Fortified Soy Beverage

The disadvantages of living in a small town is often reflected in limited product supplies at the local grocery store or market place. After some searching, I managed to find Vitasoy at my local Sobey's chapter.  After exchanging the product coupons that I received from Vitasoy for the purpose of this review, I came home with 3 different varieties of Soy Milk: Original, Lite - Original and Vanilla. Out of the three flavors of Vitasoy, the Vanilla was my favorite. It was very smooth and although I find that soy milk has a sweeter taste in general, the sweetness wasn't overbearing at all.

Because I consume soy in other products, I often change up my milk beverages to allow for more variety in my diet. I believe it is important to balance my diet. One thing I have always appreciated with a soy beverage is the consistency of the beverage. It is the most milk-like, non dairy product out of all of them in my experience. I do however appreciate the uniqueness of flavor among all of the different milk substitutes.

I am a heavy tea drinker and although I drink most teas plain, I usually add some kind of milk to a cup of black tea. I noticed that it would curdle slightly when I added it to a cup of tea or even coffee. Naturally, I googled this and as it turns out, it is quite common. It happens because of the temperature extremes between the two liquids. To rectify this many people suggest, warming up the milk you plan on adding to your tea... or adding the hot liquid to the cold and not the other way around. Or, you could forget about your tea like I do... add the milk to it when it is cold and heat them both up again. Plenty of methods to accommodate any mood.

Vitasoy only uses organic soy beans that contain NO genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The soy milk is fortified with calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12. It is high in protein, contains potassium and isoflavones that can help lower your cholesterol.

Canadian citizens can find Vitasoy Canada on Twitter and Facebook.
US citizens can find Vitasoy US on Twitter.

Disclaimer: I received product coupons for the purpose of this review from Vitasoy. No additional compensation was received. All opinions are honest and derive from my experience with the product. Your experience may vary. Originally posted on my primary blog Music and Mommies.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Crio Bru - Cocoa That Brews Like Coffee

Crio Bru is 100% Cocoa that brews like Coffee in either a coffee percolator or French Press. Although the cocoa beans are roasted, many of the benefits that are found in the raw bean like high antioxidants and minerals are still found in a cup of Crio Bru. Unlike many other hot beverages on the market, Crio Bru contains little or no caffeine. It does however contain a stimulate that is closely related to caffeine, called Theobromine. It increases energy slowly without the common jitters that occurs with caffeinated beverages. To learn more about the effects of Theobromine and the differences and similarities between it and its cousin caffeine, please refer to Crio Bru's FAQ page

I received the following products from Crio Bru to review. 
The Chocolate Covered Crio Beans are rich, crunchy and delicious. They taste mild and are not bitter like than a coffee bean. The outer chocolate layer is thick and the consistency reminds me slightly of a truffle. They make a wonderful little treat to satisfy that little chocolate craving without overindulging. 

What a lovely French Press!
Crio Bru also carries a line of French Presses. They sent me a 34 oz Bodum Brazil French Press. Having never used one before and was pleased with the simplicity of operation.  I placed a few scoops of Crio Bru at the bottom of the press. I then filled the container up with the desired amount of hot (not boiling) water. Afterwards it was steeped for 4 minutes and then pressed slowly, repeat as desired. 

As you can see the granules are very coarse.
Time to begin pressing the Cocoa
The taste of the both varieties of cocoa was very delicious. It was a nice and refreshing change to have a cup of cocoa in the morning with a light breakfast. I couldn't help but feel a little spoiled... like I was having dessert for breakfast. The cinnamon in the Cavella Dark Roast was a pleasing addition to the flavor of the brew. It blended well with the subtle hint of coconut.

My husband has taken a liking to both varieties. He is the larger coffee drinker out of the both of has and enjoys mixing a blend of coffee and Crio Bru. It is nice to see him cut down on his caffeine intake and replace parts of it with something so healthy and delicious. While the Vega Real and Cavella Dark Roast are both great on their own, I really enjoy it with a variety of different milk substitutes. They specify on the website that it tastes wonderful with cream as well.

Disclaimer: I received all of the products above for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received. All product information was derived from the company website and all opinions are my own and based upon my experience. Your experience may differ. 

Vans Food - Gluten Free Waffles

As you know, I live in a small town and sometimes it can be difficult to find certain products. I was lucky to find two different flavors of Gluten Free Waffles from Van's Natural Foods, Blueberry and Original. They are Dairy and Egg Free.

They are a little more expensive then most waffles but the quality of ingredients is higher. This expense actually consciously works in my favor. Because I am aware of how costly they are, I have a tendency to to limit my waffle intake to 1 waffle and I am more likely to select healthy, plentiful toppings to allow for a more balanced breakfast. I found that with waffles that were made with refined, lesser quality ingredients; I was reluctant to seek for a topic aside from a cheap sugar syrup and I would often have multiple waffles to fill the void. This resulted in me consuming lots of empty calories.

The texture was certainly denser then other store bought varieties of waffles but no too dense to effect the taste.  My breakfast this morning consisted of a Van's Waffle, with a very light drizzling of ginger syrup, a tablespoon of plain yogurt and some granola with dried fruit. This was topped off with a light dusting of pumpkin and chia seeds. It was absolutely delightful.

You can find Van's Natural Foods on Facebook.

Disclaimer: I received free product coupons from Van's for the purpose of this review. All opinions are honest and relative to my personal experience. I received no additional compensation for this review. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Moody Sisters Organic Skincare

Moody Sisters is an Organic Skincare Shop on Etsy. It is owned by sisters, Jess and Whitney. The sisters make handcrafted Organic products in their own kitchens using reliable ingredients, unlike those found in many mass produced skin care products. All of their products are preservative free, paraben free and 100% organic.

I received a couple products from Moody Sisters, a powder deodorant and a face & body whip. I have been looking for a deodorant for a long time that is made from natural ingredients that works. I have found myself opposed to the feel of a glycerin based deodorant so that narrows my choices a great deal when you can't stand how a product feels on your body. I must say, I was thrilled to find a nice natural deodorant that works as well as this one does. It smells nice and isn't overbearing. The downfall is that a powder deodorant is terribly messy. Be careful when you open the container so you don't spill it everywhere. It is very easy to do. I recommend washing your underarms first and applying in the nude. Make sure that the powder is absorbed into your skin before you put your clothes on so you don't get powder marks all over them. While you may have to apply a bit more often then you would a stick of store bought deodorant, it is so worth the extra effort rid myself of the harsh chemicals over such a thin, gland filled, sensitive area of my body.

The Face and Body Whip smells divine. I was alarmed by the consistency when I first opened up the jar. It looked a little bit like cookie dough or dry mashed potatoes. Thus moisturizer did not let me down at all. I've been using it after bath and I have had so many compliments about the beautiful citrus aroma while wearing it. It really hydrates my skin and doesn't leave any unpleasant residue. I even put a tiny dab on my finger tips and rub into my hair to give those dry/damaged ends a little moisture. 

Disclaimer: I received a couple products from Moody Sisters to sample for the purpose of this review. I received no other compensation for this review and all opinions are my own. Originally posted on my primary blog Music and Mommies.