The Mom Next Door

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Smooth Shave and Soft, Hydrated Skin


This time of year my skin gets really dry. Between the dry fall/winter air and the effects of the passed summer sun, my legs end up feeling like sandpaper even after I shave. I've also had a lot of problems getting a really close shave and get tired of having to shave every other day. I've tried so many shave gels and creams for a closer shave and on top of that moisturizers to rehydrate my skin. Up until now, I never thought about a shave oil. 

I tested Somersets line of shave oils and I'm actually impressed! 

Somersets has both a men's line as well as a women's line of shave oils. There's Extra Sensitive for legs and underarms and Extra Delicate for bikini area in the women's line and Tough Stubble, Maximum Glide Sensitive, and Maximum Glide Original  for men. 

These shave oils are a combination of essential oils that, when absorbed into the skin, is going to rehydrate and bring out your skin's natural glow while they also get you a closer shave and soften hairs so you don't have to shave as often. The oil prevents nicks and cuts and best of all, no razor burn! 

The instructions say to use about 4-5 drops of the oil and that the bottle will typically last you a month. I was kind of skeptical about that, but it's true! A little bit of the oil goes a long way! My husband had recently picked up a cheaper brand of razors than I usually use and I was getting frustrated with them because they seemed like they just didn't do a very good job. So I knew they would be great to help me test this shave oil. Impressively enough, even though I used the terrible razors, after using Somersets shave oil, my legs were smoother than they had been in a long time! Not only did I get such a close shave that it took a few days before stubble was noticeable, but my legs were soft, smooth, and skin was healthy looking (not dull). So the proof is in the pudding (so to speak). It's not the razor that gives you a closer shave, it's all about what you use WITH the razor. 

As for the men's shave oil, my husband suffers from dry skin, which is why most of the time, he doesn't shave very much. When he does shave, he has dry patches of skin. This stuff is so amazing that it's taken care of that problem entirely. 

Essentially, you end up skipping the step of moisturizing after you get out of the shower, because Somersets shave oil takes care of that step while you are shaving!

More info on Somersets Shave Oils:

For men:
  • All-natural, vegan ingredients such as Tea Tree, Aloe Vera, Juniper Berry, Camomile and Cedar Wood Oils that are only plant extracted and never tested on animals
  • Choose from Maximum Glide Shaving Oils in Original, Extra Sensitive, or Tough Stubble
  • No cuts or razor burn; Somersets offers “the world’s most comfortable shave”
  • Up to 90 shaves from one compact bottle, only 3-4 drops per shave
  • No water needed, making them ideal for home, gym, and travel
  • Hand luggage and TSA friendly
 For women:
  • All-natural Tea Tree, Aloe Vera, Lavender and Rosemary that are only plant extracted and never tested on animals
  • Choose from Extra Sensitive for Legs and Underarm or Delicate for Bikini Area
  • No cuts or razor burn; Somersets offers “the world’s most comfortable shave”
  • Up to 90 shaves from one compact bottle, 5-6 drops per leg
  • No water needed, making them ideal for on-the-go touch ups
  • Easy to fit in a small purse or clutch
  • TSA friendly

Somersets Shaving Oils for Men and Women are available online at www.somersetsusa.com as well as Walgreens, Target.comJet.com as well as several regional chains and select independent stores.


*Disclosure: This product was received in exchange for an honest, unbiased, review. The reviews and or opinions on this blog are 100% my own. No monitory compensation was received and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising . 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Me: A Compendium Fill In Journal For Kids


I always kept a journal when I was a kid, but I have to say, my journals were nowhere near this fun!
Me: A Compendium is a fill in journal for kids, that is more than just lines on a paper. There are illustrations and full prompts that will be fun for your kids to fill out and makes a great keepsake and something to look back on as your kids get older. I think this would be a really great way to see how your child's tastes and likes and dislikes change with the years. You would always purchase one for each year of school, having them fill them out through out the year (or during the summer), and give them all 12 books as a graduation gift. 

The slipcover comes off and behind it are secret questions not only on the inside slip cover, but also on the cover of the book itself!

There are prompts to draw what you think you will look like when you are 50, Draw your facial expressions for how you feel about the listed items, Your favorite holiday, and many more. 

I'm not going to lie, I actually really like this book and would totally fill one out for myself. I'm giving it to my daughter as part of her birthday gift and I think she is really going to love it as much as I do. 


*Disclosure: This product was received in exchange for an honest, unbiased, review. The reviews and or opinions on this blog are 100% my own. No monitory compensation was received and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising . 

DegustaBox September 2016 {Unboxing}

*Contains affiliate link*


It's no secret that DegustaBox is my favorite food subscription box. For starters, they really pack these boxes full of our favorite brands as well as brands that are new to us. A lot of the things in the box have been out for a while, where others are fresh new products that have just hit shelves. The best part is that for the price of the box, you are getting the products for a fraction of the price you find them in stores. It's a really great deal. 

September's box was, once again, an awesome box with lots of products that we got to try for the first time. 

BustaNut are flavorful peanuts with a name that makes you snicker. I cannot even tell you the amount of terrible pun and immature jokes that flew around my house while my husband was eating these, but I digress. The flavors are unique and oh so delicious. Maple Bacon had just the right sweetness to them and combined the two popular flavors very well. The Bourbon had a nice kick to them and it was my favorite of the two flavors. Of course, this company makes a bunch of different snacks in addition to the peanuts. 


I love shortbread cookies! My daughter helps me make homemade shortbread cookies for Christmas. So when I discovered that we got not one, but two little boxes of shortbread cookies, I was on cloud 9. The chocolate chip cookies were my favorite (of course), but I was surprised how much I liked the pure butter with a pinch of sea salt. They were crisp and buttery and a perfect little snack to have with my mug of hot tea or hot cocoa. 

If you've been following me for a while, you know I'm a bit of a fitness freak. I'm into eating healthy and my favorite breakfast is oatmeal or an oatmeal bar. They are filling and I've always loved the flavor possibilities. So I was excited to try this Toosum gluten-free oatmeal bar. At only 100 calories and in my favorite flavor Cranberry & Acai, this made a great post workout breakfast. Every ingredient in these bars are natural with nothing artificial. I also like that it's low in sugar. I need to stock up on these, especially the banana and coconut! 



I'll admit, I have never tried any kinds of chutneys or curds and I was a little afraid to try them because while I'm usually pretty into trying new foods, I just had never had them before and wasn't sure what to use them on or in. I went all in and tried them and now that I have, I don't know how it took me so long. I've discovered that these are amazing on sandwiches and especially with fresh, homemade bread! My favorite is a toss up between the sweet tomato & chili and the caramelized red onion. The lemon curd is a sweeter flavor which I think would be best used on an angel food cake or muffins. I haven't experimented too far with these yet, but I'm looking forward to finding new foods to combine these with.


I just recently heard about ZolliDrops, which are candies that are sugar free, dairy free, gluten free, vegan, kosher, and made with natural flavors and colors. Believe it or not, the master mind behind these healthier alternative candies is an 11 year old girl! They are supposed to be a little treat for after meals that help clean your teeth. My kids certainly loved them. I thought they were good, myself, since I don't like anything real sweet and I'm not a big candy eater. The drops (they also have lollipops), have only a slight sweetness to them. The sweetness isn't over powering and it's more like eating fresh fruit, with less sugar and more of the fruit flavor. The only issue I had with these is that they are very sticky and we had problems getting the wrappers off. 


Entenmann's Little Bites have been around for quite a while. I remember my mom buying packages of these in blueberry flavor for my dad's lunches. This is the first time I've tried the chocolate chip flavor, though and they were just as good, if not better, than the blueberry. How can you not love tiny, bite sized muffins? There were 4 muffins in the package (I ate one, obviously) at 190 calories. 


I didn't expect the taste I got from these chips. I opened the bag, dipped the first chip in some salsa, and expected a savory flavor, but what I got was actually a sweet flavor. These popped corn chips  were a lot more like rice cakes than chips. They were light and airy, but they weren't salty like I expected. They had a sweeter flavor to them. They were still good with salsa, honestly, but they are definitely much better alone. I would love to try their Smokin' Jalapeno White Cheddar flavor.



I went all Food Network Chef and combined the next three ingredients. While none of these things usually go together, I made a surprisingly good dish with them and the only thing I added was smoked sausage. 

I sauteed the smoked sausage with the Rustic Ratatouille One Pot Cooking Sauce from Hak's Packs, then layered over the cooked Quinoa Fusilli by Sam Mills, and added a little bit of the Nando's Peri-Peri for a little extra kick. The Peri-Peri is a spicy sauce that is perfect for chicken, but it was spectacular with my smoked sausage. The Ratatouille sauce is so versatile it's amazing. You get 4 servings from one packet and all you have to do is add a pound of meat or veggies of your choice. It's savory and when combined with pasta is super filling. 


This one was a little weird for me. I love water. I love sparkling water. This one has a taste that I just couldn't get past. Sparkling Bitters is exactly that. It's sparking water with the addition of tonic bitters. it's definitely an acquired taste, in my opinion. There's just something about bitter water that I don't care for. It could just be the flavor I got as lemon obviously has a bitter taste on it's own sometimes. I think the peach flavor might be much better, so I'm going to get myself a few of the peach and give that one a go. One thing is for sure, I definitely want to keep trying to like this because as it turns out, bitters are important to our health! 



*Disclosure: This product was received in exchange for an honest, unbiased, review. The reviews and or opinions on this blog are 100% my own. No monitory compensation was received and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising .  

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Celestial Seasonings Wellness Tea {Review}


I have a confession to make: I am a little bit of a tea addict.

Okay, so it's not that bad of a confession. As a matter of fact, tea is great for your overall health. I guess my love for tea came when I was younger and my mother would make me tea when I was sick. The warmth soothed my throat, it tasted great, and it relaxed me. Through the years, tea has come a long way and has been proven to be beneficial to your health. My go-to brand has always been Celestial Seasonings. Their Sleepytime tea has always helped relax to me sleep at night even when I'm not sick.

Celestial Seasonings has released a new line of wellness teas that will not only help prevent you from getting sick, but will help ease the symptoms if you do.

It's imperative, in my opinion, to stock up on wellness teas this time of year. Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Echinacea Complete Care tea is great to drink anytime. Echineacea is a flower, but it's been classified as an herb used over the centuries to combat cancer, alleviate pain, help with your digestive system, improves skin problems, helps as an anti-inflammatory,relieves upper respitory issues, improves mental health, fights infection, and boosts your immune system.

Now you see how this is a cold and flu season "must have"?



I drink this tea anytime of day, but the herbs in Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime tea helps relax you which makes them especially great teas to drink before bed. That's typically when I reach for my Sleepytime Extra, which promotes relaxation and has calming valerian added to it. It's perfect for after a stressful day. As we all know, stress can wear not only our minds down, but our bodies as well. often times, keeping us from getting a good nights sleep. And when our body wears down, our immune systems aren't in top notch condition to protect us from getting sick. Sip some sleepytime extra an hour before bed, to help relax the senses and calm your soul. This is why Sleepytime has been a part of my bedtime routine for years. 

As for the rare times when I do get a cold or flu, Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Sinus Soother and Throat Tamer teas are there to rescue me and soothe the symptoms that keep me from feeling my best. 

Throat Tamer eases my sore throat and Sinus Soother helps me to breathe better. 

All Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Wellness teas taste great and have the added bonus of being good for you. 

AS SEEN IN


*Disclosure: This product was received in exchange for an honest, unbiased, review. The reviews and or opinions on this blog are 100% my own. No monitory compensation was received and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising .  

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Fun (Easy) Ways to Earn Amazon Gift Cards

*This post may contain affiliate links*



There are hundreds of ways to earn Amazon gift cards and I think I've pretty much tried them all at this point. Some work, some don't. Some take forever to earn cards, some are almost instant. I am constantly stock piling Amazon gift cards and with the holiday season coming up, they certainly come in handy and can save you a ton of money. I've been using mine to buy center pieces and decorations for my vow renewal as well as party decorations for my kiddos birthday. They also come in handy when I feel like dipping into my 300+ book wish list on Amazon. Yeah, I love books THAT much.

I've compiled a list below of my personal favorite ways to earn Amazon gift cards. 



I just recently discovered Dealspotr and I already earned a $10 gift card the first day by being an influencer. It's amazing how easy it is. Dealspotr is a site where you find and post deals that can help you and others save money. Think of Groupon or RetailMeNot, but on a larger scale and completely sourced by it's 30,000 (and growing) members. 

You earn points a number of ways such as posting deals you find to online stores, spotting (curating) deals, flagging invalid deals, commenting helpful tips on deals, referring new members, and much more. The amount of points you earn will be based on a number of factors, for instance if you post a new deal for one of the online stores featured that day, you can earn +50% - +200% more points. Of course, the better the deal, the more points you get even if they aren't a featured store. 

Dealspotr also gives you a personalized feed, similar to your Facebook feed, so you can see deals that interest you without filtering through those you don't. Have a favorite dealspotr influencer? You can follow them!



I've been doing M+ Rewards for about two - three years now and have redeemed points for Amazon, Dominos, and even Game Stop gift cards. You can even redeem points for physical items like bluray players. 

M+ Rewards are points that you earn when you use and interact with certain apps. They can be anything from news apps to games and you get points for doing things you already do. For instance, although it's no longer a participating app, when I first started, The Weather Channel app let you earn points by simply logging in every day and just checking out radar and extended forecasts. Apps like Where's Waldo and Family Feud reward you points for basically having fun and playing a game. You can also earn a large amount of points pretty quickly by doing surveys in the mThoughts app as well as checking into places with the mPlaces app. I earn points pretty quickly and have cashed in a lot of gift cards from them. The best part is, once you sign up, the points you earn transfer to each app you use so you can just keep earning all day long and all the points in all the apps will combine on your profile. 




Crowdtap takes a little bit of time, but not only can you earn Amazon gift cards, you also can sample full size products as well (which in turn earns you more points towards gift cards).  To earn points on Crowdtap, you participate in discussions, polls, submit photos, and more about brands you love. You can apply for samplings as well. I've received razors and shaving cream, shampoo and conditioner, Always Pads, and a plethora of other things from them. I've also earned over $350 in gift cards. It's a great way to give your opinion on brands and earn gift cards for it. 




If you are a sports fan, you will love Louder Rewards. Louder is a series of sports team apps where you can earn points by reading articles and answering trivia questions about your favorite teams. I have the Louder Pittsburgh Steelers app on my phone for example, and not only can you earn gift cards, but you can redeem your points for awesome team swag like shirts, shoes, hats, home decor, and more! You can earn even more points by downloaded other apps through the Louder Rewards app. In addition to earning rewards, you can also win cool swag. 

Curently they have baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, and football as well as college teams and if you are a fan of multiple teams, you can earn points in multiple apps. 

Find Louder Rewards in the App Store and Google Play



Must Haves for Cold And Flu Season

*Contains affiliate links*




It's that time again, moms! Cold and flu season is upon us and pretty soon our littles will be bringing it home and sharing with everyone else in the family. Whether you are looking for something to help prevent cold and flu or help ease the symptoms and get rid of it, there are a few must haves that you will want to stock up on. 

I've complied a list of Must Haves that I always keep around the house to take care of my family when the sickies hit. 


Wellness Tea

By now, everyone should know that herbal tea is very beneficial to your health. From helping with weight loss and reproductive health, to easing cold and flu symptoms. We stock our pantry full of Celestial Seasonings teas all year long and among the many flavors and mixes we have are a few boxes of their wellness teas like Sinus Soother and Complete Care Wellness, designed to help with your overall health. 


No Touch Thermometer

Thermometers have come a long way through the years. I remember the ones we had in our home as kids where we had to put them under our arm or tongue an typically, they weren't all that accurate. When my daughter was born, I moved up to the in-ear thermometer, which was better, but not by much. Now, I use the Braun No Touch Thermometer and it's amazing how far technology has come! 

The Braun No Touch Thermometer is something all parents need to have in their home. Now you don't have to worry about waking your baby or child to get their temp. All you have to do is hold the thermometer about an inch from the forehead and hold the button. Within seconds, it will not only give you your child's temp, but it will light up green if your child's temp is good, yellow if it's on the high side, and red if your child need immediate medical attention. It's honestly so easy to use, that my children can use it on themselves. 


Hand Sanitizer

Germs stick to everything we touch. This is how we bring them home and pass them onto others. All we need to do is touch a door knob that a coworker or classmate who is sick just touched and then unknowingly touch our face and bam, we end up sick ourselves. The best way to prevent this from happening is to make sure we keep our hands washed during this time of year when germs are running rampant. Knowing that there are times and places that we can't just run to the restroom to wash up, the best way to keep clean is to keep hand sanitizer with you. Purell makes convenient travel size bottles that you can attach to your backpack, purse, or keys and is there when you need it. Use them after touching shopping carts, doorknobs, the office fax machine, or where ever else germs linger. 


Soup

Everyone knows that soup is the universal comfort food when you are sick, and chicken noodle especially is packed with vitamins that help strengthen your immune system and ease cold and flu symptoms. My favorite to stock up on has always been Lipton Soup Mixes and Lipton Cup-a-Soups. Not only are they quick and easy to make, but they just remind me of when I would get sick as a small child and my mom or grandma would make them for me. I remember instantly feeling better and my kids now have that same feeling when I make it for them. 


Essential Oils & Diffuser 

In the last year, I've become obsessed with the benefits of using essential oils, not just to freshing the air in my home, but to use in cleaners, beauty products, and especially for health and relaxation. When you're sick, it's hard to relax and get a good night's sleep. There are so many essential oils out there that relax you and sooth you to sleep when used in an oil diffuser. Not only do the scents help you with sleep, but you can find some that will help with congestion and the mist diffusers emit takes care of dry air that irritates and inflames the lining in our noses that makes it burn or hurt when we breathe. A lot of us suffer through dry air once we turn our heat on in the winter and diffusers - even without the oils- can really help with air quality. 

Some essential oils can even be used on the body to relax muscles and help with ear infections.


Tissues 

This one is definitely an obvious one. This time of year we keep pretty well stocked in boxes of tissues, placing one in the bathroom, each of the kid's rooms, and a box or two in our living area. I even go the extra mile and keep travel size packages in my purse, the vehicle, and my daughter's backpack. Kleenex is our brand of choice because it's a brand that's soft and reliable, and you can get boxes in different sizes which make it easier put smaller boxes in the kid's rooms, bigger boxes in the rooms we are in the most, and smaller packages in our travel bags. 


Lozenges/Throat Spray

I really dislike when I don't really feel sick, but I just can't get past a sore throat. It makes me miserable. You can't eat or drink anything and even talking is a pain (literally and figuratively speaking). This is why I make sure I have Chloraseptic Lozenges and Chloraseptic Spray for instant relief of a sore throat. The lozenges are great for when I'm out of the house and need relief, and the spray is great for those mornings that I'm running late or at night before bed. Sometimes you only have one symptom and since most medicines are designed to fight multiple symptoms together, it's hard to treat your ailment without unneeded medicines that sometimes don't even help and can make you feel worse. This is why, in addition to my general cold and flu products in my medicine cabinet, I keep Chloraseptic Throat products on hand. 


Herbal Packs

My routine when I'm home sick is to make myself a mug of hot tea, a bowl of soup, and wrap myself in an herbal scarf. The scarf I have can be used cold or heated in the microwave and helps various ailments. I use it cold when I have a migraine, but I use it the most warmed up and wrapped around my neck when I have sore muscles from a cold or flu. The smell of the herbs help sooth my symptoms and the warmth helps relax me as well as keep me warm. The one I have even has pockets on it to put my hands in! So it's great to throw on when I run out to get my daughter off to school during the winter. Prefer something smaller than a scarf? You can purchase smaller packs or even make your own! 



Monday, September 12, 2016

Unlock the Weird with Ripley's Believe it or Not! {Review}

*Contains affiliate link*


Ripley's Believe it or Not has released another volume in their popular book series. Unlocking the Weird is an eye catching hard cover book with 256 pages full of weird facts from all over the world. 

Separated into 10 categories -Believe It!, World, Animals, Body, Pop Culture, Transportation, Feats, Art, Food, and Beyond Belief - are thousands of interesting tid bits that are fun for any age. All the stories in this book are 100% true and hand picked by Ripley's Believe it or Not. 



Read about:
~ Niamh Geaney, who has discovered multiple doppelgangers that look exactly like her.
~Matilda, the two-year old tabby cat with huge alien like eyes
~An image of actor Clint Eastwood made entirely out of 12 gauge shotgun shells
~A woman who only eats sand.

And many, many more!


I've always loved the Ripley's Believe it or Not books. They are always a fun coffee table book and everyone who visits loves flipping through the pages to read weird, fun, and true facts. And I love seeing the look on their face when they discover something new and unusual. I'll be honest, some things in the Ripley's books are not for those with weak stomachs as there are some facts that are pretty gross, but I'm always fascinated at the things this world produces that no one would have ever thought possible. 

Add this book to your library or give it as a gift this holiday season. Either way, everyone you know is sure to love it!


*Disclosure: This product was received in exchange for an honest, unbiased, review. The reviews and or opinions on this blog are 100% my own. No monitory compensation was received and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising .