2/26/15

Anavita Moisturizing Anti-Wrinkle Cream Review & Giveaway


This winter has brought a lot of snow and blustery cold days this year. Between the dry indoor air and the frigid outdoor wind--my skin skin has really suffered. As I am staring down another birthday on the all-too-near--horizon--I am also battling a few (too many) new fine lines and wrinkles on my face and neck. Since I have become much more aware of the chemical risks of the products I use in my daily health and beauty routines--I try to limit exposures to some of the proven bad guys in my anti-wrinkle cream as well. I was excited to try the Anavita Moisturing Anti-Wrinkle Cream recently--and I am even more excited to be able to offer my readers a discount and an opportunity to win a package of the Anavita Moisturizing Anti Wrinkle Cream as well!

I received a full sized product sample for use in my review. All opinions and experiences are my own. 

A little information about the Anavita Moisturizing Anti-Wrinkle Cream.  Anavita  Moisturizing Anti-Wrinkle Cream offers a unique skin care formula which stimulates collagen production and rebuilds the cellular matrix of the skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, using three clinically proven ingredients - a super-absorbent form of hyaluronic acid, Argireline (5%), and Matrixyl .  Anavita  Moisturizing Anti-Wrinkle Cream is paraben free, sulfate free, phthalate free, oil free, alcohol free, and is not tested on animals. The product claims to be suitable for all skin types--and suitable for both daytime and nighttime use.


My experiences with Anavita Moisturizing Anti-Wrinkle Cream. I followed the package instructions and washed  with my normal cleanser--and then applied the Anavita Moisturizing Anti-Wrinkle Cream.  The cream has a light, almost medicinal scent--but, is not unpleasant and the scent fades quickly.  I was most impressed by the texture of the cream.  It is very thick and creamy--but, was not at all oily or heavy and it absorbed quickly and completely during application.  There was no moisturizer residue to wash away from my hands--in fact I generally massaged any leftover cream from my fingertips onto the backs of my hands.

Some moisturizing creams feel heavy and seal the skin so much that foundation and makeup seem to slip off .  I loved the way the Anavita Moisturizing Anti-Wrinkle Cream absorbed and formed a nice base for my regular makeup products.  The product claims that users may notice visible results in 2-4 weeks.  After my first week, I do feel that my skin is better hydrated and softer and smoother to the touch.  I have always had fairly sensitive skin; but have not suffered any skin irritation or breakouts from this product.


Would I recommend Anavita Moisturizing Anti-Wrinkle Cream? I love the way the product absorbs and moisturizes.  I look forward to visible results--and do plan to continue using this moisturizer as a day moisturizer.  Unfortunately, I do have to add a sunscreen product as this moisturizer does not offer any sun protection.  I am not quite ready to give up my nighttime moisturizer--but, may do just that if the visible results are clear in the upcoming weeks!

I also like the fact that Anavita offers a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee on this product.  Skin care product results vary so much from person to person.  Products that work perfectly for me may cause skin irritation or little results in another. 

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This post is sponsored by Brandbacker.

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2/25/15

All Natural Green Food Coloring Dye Alternatives for St. Patrick's Day



St. Patrick's Day is a big holiday for our family--and a very fun holiday for the kids.  While we love all of the fun, cooking for kids ideas popping up on Pinterest and on our favorite blogs; we aren't such fans of the health risks of artificial food colorings and dyes.  We thought we would put together a list of our favorite, all natural, green food coloring and food dye alternatives for St. Patrick's Day!

Some of our posts may contain affiliate links.  However, we only link to brands and items which we have personally used and feel add value to the post.

All Natural, Commercial Food Dyes 

I have not had a lot of success with commercial, all natural food colorings and dyes--but, many people stand by them!  While I have used India Tree--it is a lot more difficult for me to blend colors for successful results.  Especially for a bright, St. Patrick's Day green.  I do; however, like the India Tree Jimmies and Decorating Sugars !

Green Chlorophyll

 
Yes--you can buy liquid, green chlorophyll--and it will certainly give foods and light drinks a green hue in small amounts.  The product is sold as a dietary supplement.  Be sure to read the package labeling and instructions as only a few drops are necessary in use as a colorant--and only a small amount is recommended for ingestion.  Some varieties are available with mint flavoring added--while others are "unflavored".  The product itself does have a earthy/green taste--so it may actually work best as a coloring for minty frostings or foods.  Also--be sure to read the product labels carefully.  Not all chlorophyll supplements are all natural or organically sourced!

Matcha Green Tea Powder 

Matcha Green Tea Powder does have a slight taste (and some are more earthen and grainy than others)--but, I find that it works very well in coloring cookies and baked goods.  It offers a nice, light green hue for frosting as well. Again--you will need to research the brands to find one with organically sourced ingredients.  Also, keep in mind that Matcha Green Tea contains natural caffeine as well.

Wheatgrass Powder


Wheatgrass also has a bit of an "outdoorsy" taste--but, it blends very smoothly into recipes and the flavor is mild enough to be masked by fruit, chocolate or vanilla.  Also--be sure to look for organically sourced products.

Spinach or Kale Vegetable Powders


 
First of all--vegetable powders are literally powdered vegetables.  These powders smell & taste like their vegetable counterparts--in concentrated form.  A little of these powders go a long way and should only be used in recipes with scent/taste masking ingredients!  Check the ingredient list and be sure to look for all natural, organic powders.

Fresh Greens
Using fresh, organic spinach, kale or field greens is a bit more work--but, if you have them on hand--they do make convenient, all natural green food coloring alternatives.  Either put the green leaves through a juicer or puree in food processor--then add a little of the green to the food you seek to color.  Again--there will be a bit of a "green" taste to the mix--especially if you use a stronger green such as kale--so use the minimum amount and add it to foods with flavors able to hide the green!


These dye alternatives also work well in coloring the seasonal green beer.  Again--a little of these dyes goes a long way--especially in a light colored beer or pale ale!

Book Review & Giveaway: The Sparks, Book One of the Feud Trilogy, by Kyle Prue


My middle daughter and I have become fantasy novel fans over the past few years.  The theme is one of her favorites--provided the fantasy world has a slight basis in reality.  We discovered The Sparks, the first book in a fantasy trilogy, from new author Kyle Prue--and we were very interested in reading and reviewing since Prue himself is a senior in high school.  What did we think of Kyle Prue's first novel, The Sparks?

I received a complimentary copy of this book for use in our review.  We also have an extra copy for one reader to win in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post!  All opinions and experiences are our own!

Quick Summary of The Sparks:  Book One of The Feud Triology by Kyle Prue:  In Feud: The Sparks, readers are introduced to three ancient houses blessed with unique abilities and charged with the protection of a great city. Three houses feuding for power despite heavy casualties. And one great evil that could destroy them all.  

The Sparks follows Neil, a member of the Vapros clan, as he struggles to live up to the expectations of his father and become a significant player in the feud of the clans. But when Neil discovers an evil far more powerful than the feuding families, he must overcome the fighting to try and save the people of the once great city of Altryon.

Prue launches The Feud Trilogy quite successfully in The Sparks.   Kyle Prue creates a well developed fantasy world for this trilogy.  Prue incorporates very visual settings and scenes with a cast of rather believable characters to welcome readers into his fantasy city of Altryon.  Action begins within the first few pages and carries on to the end.  While this first book does conclude much of its  storyline--it leaves the readers with much reason to follow the characters toward the next book.  Prue does an excellent job creating character interest and leaving a future for the trilogy, all while providing a complete story in the first book. 

Prue is a talented writer and storyteller--who knows his audience.  Readers will encounter some real world teen and young adult issues in Prue's fantasy world.  While his characters face fictional perils and situations; young adult readers will identify with some of the teen/young adult emotions and personal struggles faced.  Prue keeps the book fun and interesting for adults and young adults alike--but, keeps the characters true to themselves and true to their ages a bit as well.

Would I recommend The Sparks:  Book One of The Feud Trilogy by Kyle Prue?  This is an incredible first book for a young author.Do not let the author's age discourage you from reading this book--it is more than worth your time.  Some of the scenes are bit graphic in nature--and Prue's writing makes the scenes very visual and real--so I would recommend it for teens and young adults.  While this first book does stand alone in its storyline--you will want to continue the characters' journeys into the next book. 

Buy The Sparks on Amazon in Paperback

OR--Purchase the book from Kyle Prue’s store on his official website (linked). Enter the code ‘BLOG25’ to receive 25% off an autographed copy, signed by Kyle Prue! 
NOTE: This code will not work on purchases made on Amazon.  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
 Kyle Prue decided to write Feud: The Sparks one sleepless night of summer vacation when he was 15. Realizing he was losing inspiration to read, he endeavored to write something that he and his peers wouldn’t be able to put down. He plans to complete the trilogy with The Flames and The Ashes. Currently a high school senior, Kyle is a varsity swimmer, founder of the improv club, and involved in mock trial. Also, as a dedicated member of the film club, he spends his weekends writing and editing film.

An actor and comedian, Kyle trains at Second City Comedy Club in Chicago, where a number of SNL actors have gotten their start, and performs improv at LA Connection in Los Angeles. Kyle lives with his family in Naples, Florida.  


Would you like to Win a Copy of The Sparks by Kyle Prue?
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2/24/15

February Wordless Wednesday Link Up: Another Snow Day


I think we have had one full week of school in our little corner of the world since early December.  One full week of school.  Last week--we actually had two 4-day weekends.  After a day of school yesterday, it looks like the girls will be home again today due to "extreme wind chills".   Last week was a little tough.

We cooked.....
Asian Salad and Homemade Crab Rangoons...

We did some lazy animal watching.....



The middle one took a selfie or 8,000....on her sister's ipod...and my phone...




The youngest documented her latest STEM project...


(i.e. the Valentine's box incorporating two simple machines and a book theme for all of those Harry Potter fans)...


I'm hoping that the day back to school yesterday improved the girls' moods--and sisterly tolerance. 

Otherwise....I may just join Elsa in hiding....


Have a wonderful day--and stay WARM!

Ready to join the Wordless Wednesday link up for this week?  


2/23/15

Breakfast on the Go Idea: Breakfast Soft Taco Recipe


What's for breakfast? Our mornings are usually pretty hectic--even our weekend mornings.  Either I'm awake hours before everyone else to cook something for breakfast--or the girls fall into a cold cereal or cereal bar habit....or we are destined to hit a fast food drive-thru.  This quick and easy breakfast soft taco recipe is similar to our old sausage, breakfast burrito recipe--but, we've made it a bit healthier!  These tacos are filling enough for a weekend breakfast--yet, fast and easy enough for a take-and-go, weekday meal.  

Ingredients for a Breakfast Soft Taco:
1/2 lb. Turkey Breakfast Sausage
2 1/2 c. Chopped Green, Yellow, and Red Peppers and Yellow Onions (I use a frozen 3-Pepper and Onion Blend)
8 Eggs, Lightly Beaten or an Equivalent Amount of Egg Whites
1/8 tsp. Pepper
1/4 tsp. Coriander
1/2 tsp. Chili Powder
1/4 tsp. Cumin
1/4 c. Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese (I use a blend of Vermont White Cheddar and other Sharp Cheddar Cheeses)
4 Whole Grain or Ezekial Tortillas, warmed
Topping Ideas:  Diced tomatoes, sliced avocados, jalapenos, green taco sauce, sriracha sauce or sour cream (Toppings are optional--we generally skip the toppings and just use a little tomatillo salsa!)

Instructions for Breakfast Burrito Recipe with Sausage:
Brown the Turkey Sausage.  In a large skillet, crumble the sausage and fry over medium heat until browned and cooked through. Turkey sausage is really lean--you may need to add a bit of water to the pan as it fries to avoid over browning.

Saute the Vegetables.  Add the vegetables and the spices directly to the sausage pan and cook until the vegetables are tender.

Scramble in the Eggs.  Add the beaten eggs or egg whites to the sausage and vegetable mixture. Scramble and stir until the eggs are set.  Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the eggs and remove from heat.


Prepare the breakfast burritos.  Divide the egg mixture into four equal portions.  Place the egg mixture onto one half of the tortilla wrap, add optional toppings or sauces, and fold over taco style. Serve warm or wrap tightly in foil to take along on the go.

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