Friday, January 29, 2010

Another Great Green Giveaway From The Body Shop! Welcome Back to the Originals!

Ah, memories... What's old is new again!

I remember many weekends during my high school days, strolling through the local malls with my friends. One mandatory stop each trip was at The Body Shop.  We each had our favorite products, and I'm so happy that The Body Shop has brought back several of their "Originals"!

Eleven favorites are back, and better than ever!  Each one comes in a 100% recycled PET bottles, and contain The Body Shop's signature Community Trade ingredients, including organic aloe.  I'm glad to see more of The Body Shop's products sourcing organic ingredients, like the Nutriganics line that I reviewed.  These are the great classics of the Originals line:
  • Banana Shampoo
  • Banana Conditioner
  • Dewberry Body Lotion
  • Dewberry Bath and Shower Gel
  • Fuzzy Peach Bath and Shower Gel
  • Green Apple Bath and Shower Gel
  • Carrot Moisture Cream
  • Cucumber Freshening Water
  • Cucumber Cleansing Milk
  • Passion Fruit Facial Cleansing Gel
  • Ice Blue Shampoo
These brought back so many memories, and they truly live up to the ones I remembered using years ago.  One sniff of the Fuzzy Peach shower gel was enough to take me back to another decade ;)  One major difference that I noticed, however, is that the shampoos and cleansers seem more concentrated, and easier to lather up.  A little bit really goes a long way, yet they are gentle and non-drying.  My daughter and I absolutely love the Banana Shampoo and Conditioner.  Green Organic Girl described the scent in one word: "Yum!"  My hair, especially, which I heat style, came out so amazingly soft and silky.  I was surprised just how little of each product I actually needed, for my long hair.

Another stand-out product I have to mention is the Carrot Moisture Cream.  I used this for several years, way back when, and this new version is even better than ever.  It's silkier, and easier to apply than what I remember using in high school.  I've been using it as a night cream on my combination skin, and I absolutely love it.  I've been using this in conjunction with the Passion Fruit Facial Cleansing Gel; another favorite blast from the past.  Like the shampoos and shower gels, this one also seems more concentrated, and easier to lather up.  It's gentle, yet removes all of my makeup at the end of the day, and leaves my skin soft, fresh, and clean.  No drying tightness, and no residues.  Just pure and clean.  I love this stuff!

Just in time, there is a special sale going on: enjoy any three of these products from TheBodyShop-USA.com for $20, and free shipping on orders over $60!  I think I may have to stock up on those four favorites of mine ;)

But here is a chance for one lucky reader to win two of these special Originals to enjoy!  One brand new set of the Dewberry Bath and Shower Gel, and Dewberry Body Lotion will be awarded to one reader of this blog :)  

Thank you to everyone who entered! This giveaway has come to a close. Please click here to see the results of our Random.org drawing and to congratulate our winner!

Please be sure to read the complete rules:

To enter this contest, first visit TheBodyShop-USA.com and check out their wonderful array of  products. Then, come back here and please leave a comment below, letting our readers know what Originals product at The Body Shop is your favorite (or one that you would like to try). Please be sure to leave your e-mail address, so I may contact you if you're the lucky winner.

Want extra chances to win?

For additional entries, please first leave a comment about a product you'd like to try from The Body Shop, and then do any of the following, for a maximum of 7 (seven) total entries in this giveaway contest [please be sure to come back and leave a follow-up comment for each of these completed tasks, in order to be counted as an additional entry]:
By entering this contest, you have read and understand the rules and fine print of this contest:
  1. Contest ends Sunday, February 7th, 2009 at 4:00PM EST
  2. Contest open to U.S. residents, and Canadian residents
  3. Giveaway prize pack consists of one (1) bottle of Dewberry Bath & Shower Gel and one (1) bottle of Dewberry Body Lotion, to be awarded to one (1) randomly selected winner.
  4. One (1) winner shall be chosen from the pool of valid comment entries, using Random.org
  5. Winner will be contacted via e-mail, and will provide a U.S. or Canadian mailing address, for the purpose of directly mailing one giveaway prize pack to the winner.
  6. If Winner does not respond via e-mail within 48 hours of the prize drawing, another winner will be selected via Random.org, and new winner will be awarded the prize package.
  7. Approximate retail value of the prize pack: $18.00 USD.
  8. Winner will be announced here on this blog, and on Twitter, and on FaceBook.
  9. No promotional consideration was paid for this post.
Good luck to everyone!! :)





No promotional consideration was paid for this review.
Full-size bottles of all eleven Originals products were provided for free by The Body Shop USA, for the purpose of this review and giveaway.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Going Green With the iPod Touch - Great Mom-Friendly Paperless Apps!

Over the Christmas holidays, there were some really special deals to be had.  On a whim, I checked out the daily Gold Box deal on Amazon.com one day, and scored on a great price on the 8 GB second generation iPod Touch!

I'd been curious about the iPhone, since they first came out, but I was not ready to jump carriers from T-Mobile over to AT&T, and fork out the estimated $1600 over the course of a two-year contract, in order to have one.  I'm very happy with my current Motorola W490, and the $10 per month it costs to share a family plan with my husband.

Still, I missed the days when I carried a Palm phone, and the convenience of having all of my contacts and calendar with me.  So, when this special deal popped up on the iPod Touch, I jumped on it!  And I wish I had done it sooner ;)

One month later, my iPod Touch is my new best friend.  It follows me everywhere I go.  I love that it's so lightweight, slides into my purse easily, and I can go several days on a single charge.  With the help of the vast library of apps, and the super easy-to-use WiFi connectivity, I've got an army of resources at my fingertips.  Everything from managing three e-mail accounts, to checking my Netflix queue, to peeking at what my friends and family are up to on Facebook; everything is just a swipe and a tap away.

The one thing that has really changed in my life is that I no longer rely on handwritten reminders to myself, scribbled on sticky notes and small scraps of paper, which ultimately get crumpled and forgotten about in my pockets, or at the bottom of my purse.  I'm sure all of you moms out there can relate: just out of the blue, you remember something that you have to do, or something you have to buy.  But of course, it hits you at the wrong time.  For me, it's always when I'm at work, and my grocery list is hanging on my fridge.  Or, I'll remember something five aisles away that I need to pick up, while I'm at the store, and end up forgetting by the time I make it over there.  No more!  Two of my favorite "paperless" apps are Awesome Note, and Grocery iQ.  While the iPod Touch does come with its own Notes app, it's pretty basic.  Awesome Note is definitely my favorite, as it is truly a digitized version of my beloved sticky notes.  They're actually quite cute!  I can easily create any number of virtual sticky notes (complete with their own different fonts and "paper" colors), and I can even organize them into my own custom categories.  Best of all, there is no paper to lose, and no paper to throw away.  Definitely a paperless, green plus for me!  There is a "lite" version that you can test out, but I went ahead and paid for the full version.  Definitely worth it :)

Grocery iQ is another indispensable tool.  No more middle-of-the-week runs to the grocery store, battling with the rush-hour crowds, for things we forgot to buy on our big weekly run.  No more showing up at the store, without my list.  Grocery iQ makes it nearly impossible to forget anything (as long as you remembered to put it on the list, and have your device with you) ;)  Now of course, there are several apps you could use to create your own grocery list, but you'd be retyping that same list, week after week.  Grocery iQ takes out the tedium.  My favorite part of this app is the "Favorites" section.  Tied into a huge database of grocery store products, as managed by Coupons.com, just start typing the name of a product you buy regularly, and the app finds it (and related products).  Then save that item to your Favorites, along with anything else you buy regularly.  Then, when it comes time to create your weekly list, tap those items needed from your list of favorites, and they appear on your shopping list.  Tada!  It's easy to add other items, and just as easy to delete them as well.  You can also e-mail your list, right from your device, to the kind soul taking on the chore of shopping for you that week ;)  As a bonus, there is another button for coupons!  This is an app from Coupons.com, after all.  As long as you've got WiFi access, the app will search for available coupons in your area.  You digitally "clip" the ones you want, and the ones that need to be printed, can be sent directly to your wireless printer, or e-mailed for later printing.  Those special items then appear on your grocery list, along with a reminder that you have a coupon for them!  How neat is that?  As you shop, you tap each item, and it moves to the "Cart" area of your list.  It's also easy to move an item back (just tap it again).  At the end of your trip, press the "Checkout" button, and any unpurchased items remain, forming the start of your shopping list for your next trip to the store.  This is an indispensable app.  Totally worth the $0.99 it costs in the iTunes store.   I haven't touched my paper grocery list pad since ;)

To round out my top three favorite "paperless" apps, number three is the Kindle app from Amazon.com.  I love to read, but it seems like I never have a book with me, when the moment is right (standing in line, sitting in a waiting room, etc).  My bookshelf is also packed two rows deep, and storage space is at a premium, here on this little tropical island in the Florida Keys, and let's face it... the books themselves can be expensive.  I also tend to buy books, and not read them more than once.  Sometimes I'll give them away, but mostly, they end up taking up space in my house.  Welcome to the next generation of eBooks.  I had tried eBooks a few years ago, on my cell phone and Palm devices, but the font was so grainy, and the scrolling jumpy and annoying.  But the technology has really come a long way since.  I'm really happy with the free Kindle app for my iPod Touch.  The font is very crisp, there's a choice of text sizes, and color schemes (white text on black, black text on white, or sepia (my favorite)).  I do also like that since I'm running the Kindle app on my iPod, it's back-lit, and I can read while in bed, which I like to do, before I fall asleep (the real Kindle device, on the other hand, is not back-lit).  Reading with the Kindle is very comfortable.  The text doesn't scroll, which I never really liked in an e-reader anyway, and instead, you have the option of swiping with your finger, or lightly tapping the margin, to turn pages.  It has a very natural feel to it.

Downloading new books is super easy, and the orders show up in your Amazon.com account history.  I also like the "try before you buy" feature; you can download the first chapter of any Kindle book for free.  There is a huge selection of Kindle-ready books, and the prices are very reasonable.  I had lent out my entire hardback collection of the Twilight series, and I'm not sure when I might get those back again... LOL!  But I was in the mood to read Eclipse one more time.  I ended up buying it through my Kindle app for about $4.00!  It was also instantly delivered to my iPod Touch.  No delivery trucks involved there!  Within minutes, I was reading Eclipse again ;)  Fast forward a few weeks later, and I've since been turned onto the Sookie Stackhouse series.  Lo and behold, the entire eight-volume "box set" was available for Kindle for about $24, also instantly delivered!  Now that was a bargain!  That was great, being able to carry the entire set of books with me, on a recent trip to California.  Not having to try to fit even one real book in my carry-on luggage was a blessing!  I'm looking forward to adding to my eBook library, and reducing my carbon footprint at the same time, by choosing digital over paper.

I'm really enjoying my iPod Touch, and experimenting with the cool apps out there.  The iPod really has come a long way, from being a portable music player.  Hubby recently bought himself the Google Nexus One Android phone.  It's pretty neat too, but I still like my iPod Touch.  Should the iPhone ever become available to use on T-Mobile, I may consider upgrading to one.  For now, I'm very happy with my current arrangement, and I hope those of you considering an iPod Touch will make the leap ;)

No promotional consideration was paid for this post.  This is a review of personal purchases/downloads of apps from the Apple iTunes store.  


iPod image courtesy of ottawa-gaming.com.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Book Review: The Gorgeously Green Diet by Sophie Uliano

The Gorgeously Green Diet: How to Live Lean and GreenHappy New Year, everyone! 

We're counting down to 2010, after what began as a rather whirlwind adventure through 2009.  I feel very blessed to have a healthy family, a great job that I love, and we're on the hunt to buy our first home, with plans to transform it into our own little green corner of the universe :)

Every day, we try to find new ways to live a little greener.  It's surprisingly easy to do, if you just put your mind to it.  Over the holidays, we reused boxes for wrapping gifts, gift bags that we received were passed along to others, and we made sure that whatever gift packaging and wrapping was left over was sent out for recycling, whenever possible.  Even envelopes from Christmas cards were recycled, and the cards we always keep (they make great custom gift tags next year).  All of that took very little extra effort, but made a big impact on our family's waste reduction, letting us end the year with a lighter holiday carbon footprint :)

As we look to the coming year, many of us choose new goals.  One of the big ones, of course, is dieting.  A big thank you to Penguin Group USA for sending me a copy of The Gorgeously Green Diet: How to Live Lean and Green by Sophie Uliano.  This is the second book for Uliano, whose first book is the New York Times bestseller Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life.  Uliano has appeared on Oprah, The View, and Good Morning America as an eco-expert.  She readily admits that it's impossible to be a "Green Girl" all the time, but we can empower ourselves, and make choices every day to keep ourselves and the planet healthy.  Unlike most diet books out there, Uliano advocates finding the right balance between our health, our pocketbooks, and our ideal weight.  Much like the message that I try to send to you, the Gorgeously Green Diet focuses on taking "small, everyday steps" that fit our schedules and budgets.  I certainly do not pay $9 for organic strawberries in the dead of winter, and Uliano doesn't believe in spending that kind of money, either.  This book is all about taking a practical approach, picking and choosing ideas that fit into your own lifestyle, so that we can all be healthy, gorgeous, and green.

While the title of the book may lead you to believe it's all about dieting, the book is actually very comprehensive, and includes great tips on how to live greener and healthier overall.  Combined with great, easy recipes, eating plans and menu ideas, are also very informative sidebars, covering everything from keeping your fridge coils clean to keep your fridge running efficiently, to saving money by using white vinegar as a rinse agent in your dishwasher (and a fully loaded automatic dishwasher does, in fact, clean more efficiently than washing dishes by hand).

This is a highly recommended guide to green living (not just for dieting), and I can already see myself giving away copies of this book to friends.  Uliano does a great job, packing this book full of practical, realistic ideas for eating healthier, and living greener, that even the busiest person could make use of.  I really do like that the author understands that we can't always pick the greenest options, and she guides readers through making the next best choices.

With the long weekend ahead, I'm looking forward to trying some of Uliano's do-it-yourself home skin care treatments.  The Bananarama Nourishing Face Mask, and the Banana and Coconut Hair and Scalp Treatment are on my list ;)  I think my four-year-old daughter would enjoy smearing herself in bananas, right alongside mommy, too!

Wishing everyone all the best in 2010!!  Let's all strive to do our part to live a little greener :)





No promotional consideration was paid for this review. One copy of this book was provided for free by Penguin Group USA for review.

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