Product Review: Carefree Acti-fresh Pantiliners

I have a hypothesis. It’s that EVERYONE enjoys getting surprises in the mail.  And I was recently fortunate enough to open my mailbox to find this:

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Yep, yep, yep.  I’ve been given the opportunity to sample free swag, and I’m sharing what I’ve learned with YOU, dear readers.  I’ll be honest, I’m not generally someone that uses pantiliners, so I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the Carefree acti-fresh pantiliners.  I committed to trying them out for two weeks in the name of research.

One of the first things that I noticed was that despite being labled as “unscented,” these pantiliners do have a faint fragrance.  It isn’t strong, and it definitely isn’t upleasant (picture a nice, soft, powdery, rose scent), but it’s there.  I personally prefer the faint the scent.  And really, it is so light that it might as well be unscented.

The packaging claims that the pantiliners are so thin that “you’ll forget you’re wearing a liner.”  I’m pretty aware of all things comfort related (the “Princess and the Pea” could totally have been written about me), and I found this claim to be true. The liners are paper-thin with no prickly edges.  It’s pretty much like you’re just wearing underwear.  (If you don’t wear underwear, then this product probably isn’t for you, but no judgement here).

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Perhaps most important, I did actually find that these made me feel a bit…..*ahem*…….fresher.  These really did seem to help keep everything dry and lady-like.  I sort of know what these feminine hygiene brands mean now when they talk about “added confidence.”  I don’t know yet if I’d wear one every day, but there are several scenarios where I might just have to bring some of these along with me:

*Workouts

*Extra-long work days

*Long flights (think about it, it could be like having new underwear on a 20 hour flight, but much less awkward in those tiny bathrooms)

*Extra-hot summer days

Really, my ONLY complaint about these liners is that wearing them every day doesn’t seem very environmentally friendly. Hey Carefree…..can you fix that for me?  I’ll be first in line for the compostible version!

 

*I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Spring Favorites

DSC_0996I originally titled this post March favorites. That should give you a good indication of where brain is at this point. Sadly, I can’t even blame the child this time.

The weather guys, is.a.amazing. I love it, I’m ready for it. We have started eating lighter foods and taking evening walks. I actually took pictures of a cucumber salad that is pretty much a spring/summer staple in our house. Sadly, I only took pictures of half the process. So I will be making that again this week and posting it soon. In lieu of the food recipe I will be showing you some things that I have come to love this spring. I tried to choose a mix of beauty, bath and food items. Let’s get to it!

YES to Coconuts body wash and Cetaphil Lotion

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This body wash is everything to me right now. I love the scent of coconuts anytime but during the spring and summer it’s my go-to scent for body wash. When I smelled this in the store it instantly reminded me of visiting my grandparents in New York and getting coquito from the cart. As far as body wash goes it’s standard. I don’t have a very high standard for body wash. It needs to get me clean, not dry out of my skin and smell good. This does all over those things. The bottle says it’s made with oil. For some reason, I assumed it would be creamy but it is a very runny body wash. My skin was super soft after so I guess it is pretty moisturizing. Let’s be honest though, it’s the scent that got  me. Sadly, the scent did not linger on my skin. I may need to pair it with the lotion.

Cetaphil Lotion

True story, this lotion kind of surprised me. I threw it in my suitcase to use on vacation because the bottle was small. I have been using it every night, before bed, since we got home and my hands are completely smooth. I don’t even know how this little bottle of magic got into my house. Clearly, God felt bad for my sad sally hands and dropped it off. Bonus, Cetaphil is hella cheap. A 16oz bottle is about $11.

Primal Pit Paste and Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue

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Primal Pit Paste is a natural deodorant. I have a bad history with natural deodorant. Normally, they either don’t work or they make me break out in an awful rash. This does neither. I use the scent Thyme and Lemongrass and I can still smell it when I am getting ready for bed. They also make a lavender scent which smells amazing but I feel like I need to reapply by 5PM. The only downside is that it can be hard to find in the store. The one thing that I both love and hate about Pit Paste is that all the ingredients are things I have in my kitchen. Seriously, I should just make it and stop paying someone else to do it.

Bare Mineral Complexion Rescue, like everything else I love, makes my skin less dry. If you haven’t noticed by now I am really preoccupied by how dry my skin is all the time. I didn’t have high hopes for this product. I have tried a lot of Bare Minerals products and not loved or even like any of them. This has light coverage, buildable to medium and hydrates skin. It has weird texture. When you squeeze it out, it looks really creamy but once you start to blend it becomes almost water-like. It gives a very natural look and feels light weight. I think it’s going to be great for summer.

Pantene Co-Wash

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I have a confession: I haven’t shampooed my hair since last November. I switched over to co-washing and never looked back. Co-washing, or conditioner washing, has completely transformed my, you guessed it, dry curly hair. The only downside you have to be careful what kind of styling products you use. Nothing with silicone in it. Co-wash doesn’t have the detergent that regular shampoo does, so it can’t remove silicone buildup. I have tried a lot of brands of co-wash brands, Pantene works just as well, if not better than some salon brands and it’s only $5 for 24oz.

Vanilla Almond Milk and Love Grown Power O’s

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I hated almond milk until this week. Truth. Lauren told me to try the vanilla almond milk and now I am obsessed. She said it tasted like marshmallows and that is the best description. I have been putting it in my ice coffee and it is the best. I have to admit that it is pretty delish on cereal too. Currently I have three gallons of almond milk in my fridge. That is multiple brands of half gallon containers. We are doing a taste off  – post to follow.

Love Grown Power O’s

Let’s cut to the chase – I think this cereal tastes like Cheerios and my wife thinks it tastes like beans. I do not detect any hint of beans. It’s crunchy, delish and healthier than your average cereal which makes me feel better when I snack on it before bed. Combined with vanilla almond milk, it is satisfying sweet snack.

 

Green Beauty

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I have a confession to make.  I have always been a bit of a hippie.  Back in junior high, I used to slather myself in patchouli oil and spend my free time picking up garbage from the neighborhood for fun.  To this day, I completely geek out over folks that raise alpacas or live in tiny homes.  I would totally vacation at a one of those communes where folks spend their days working the land, composting, and living in a yurt or whatever.

Having said that, I still live in the real world where being presentable matters.  Also…I said that I’d vacation on a commune, not live there permanently.  I enjoy my life of luxury, thankyouverymuch.

At this point, you might be asking yourself if there’s a point to all of this.  Actually, yes. The point is that back in the day, “green beauty” typically meant a very small selection of products that were difficult to find outside of organic markets and weren’t always effective.  But more and more beauty brands are wising up to the fact that many women want to limit their exposure to toxins and support companies with strong values.  This has led to a massive increase in the number of products that offer greener products without sacrificing efficacy or luxury.

Today I’m going to share some of my favorite “green” beauty products.  I won’t pretend to be a purist.  I use plenty of non-green products, but I prefer healthier options if they work as well as the less safe alternatives.  I truly believe that each product mentioned here is up to the job.

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1. The Honest Company Shampoo & Body Wash – This is hands-down my new favorite product. I actually really love everything from The Honest Company, but this is my favorite. The sweet orange vanilla fragrance smells delish and this shampoo strikes the right balance when it comes to cleansing.  I find that many shampoos either strip my hair of moisture or leave me feeling greasy.  After using this one, my hair felt full and soft with less frizz than normal.  Also, I’m lazy so if I can combine shampoo and body wash in one product, I’m sold.

Free of: SLS, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, fragrances, dyes, sodium chloride, formaldehyde, MEA, DEA, TEA, & most common allergens

Other notes: For each purchase the company donates to families in need, No animal testing

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2. Kiss My Face Liquid Rock Deodorant – Ok.  So natural deodorant is a bit of a touchy subject because as much as I indulge my inner hippie, I definitely don’t want to be the stinky hippie.  This deodorant does the trick.  It lacks the aluminum that makes so many traditional anti-perspirants controversial, and still keeps me stink-free.  I like that it smells like lavender and doesn’t stain my clothes.

Free of: aluminum chlorohydrate, parabens, propylene glycol, animal ingredients, artifical fragrance

Other notes: cruelty-free, no animal testing, Note: This is a deodorant and not an anti-perspirant, so I approve it for everyday use…I do NOT recommend using this when you run that marathon in August.

 
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3. Dr. Bronner’s All-One Bar Soap – This is a great bar soap that as far as I can tell is about as green as you can get.  The ingredients list is super short and mostly contains various plant-based oils.  This is nice for that “squeaky clean” feeling and comes in a number of fragrances.

Free of: I don’t have a list of what’s not in this soap, but as I said…it’s mostly just a bunch of natural oils that make up the ingredients.

Other notes: Oregon Tilth Certified Organic, Non-GMO Project Certified, No Animal Testing, 100% Vegan, Packaging is Printed on 100% post consumer waste paper to “relieve stress on our working forests.”

 

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4. Lulu Organics Hair Powder – This hair powder is perfect for second (or third or fourth) day hair.  It isn’t a spray like most which makes it a little easier to avoid having a huge spot of white powder in one spot.  It does a decent job of soaking up excess oil and the lavender clary sage scent is nice and subtle.

Free of: Again, I don’t have a list of what it doesn’t contain, but the ingredients are pretty straightforward.  It is made of corn starch, baking soda and other natural powders and essential oils.  I’d say you’re pretty safe with this one.

Other notes: USDA and Oregon Tilth Certified Organic, No Animal Testing

 
So there are 4 great products to keep you smelling fresh while saving the world.  I have a follow-up post planned that will focus on some of my favorite green makeup and perfume products as well.  In the meantime, I’d love to hear some of your recommendations.

 

 

 

This ain’t your mommas fried chicken…

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You guys may have noticed the blog is going through some changes. If this were a person we would be in that awkward puberty phase. Soon we will emerge a beautiful swan. We are moving the blog so we will have greater control over our content and make the blog for better for you guys. There are still more changes coming. One of the changes that I am most excited about is our new recipe formatting. The recipes will now look more uniform and be easier for you to print. Unfortunately, making the changes has been eating up more of my time than I thought. Add house shopping and a sick/teething baby and I have been unable to post. But that changes today!

Well this is definitely not my momma’s fried chicken. Which I have tried many times to replicate. Without success. At this point I’m pretty sure my mom possess some sort of sea witch magic and her chicken is unattainable. This chicken is crispy, delish and gluten free, if that’s your jam. Peanut couldn’t get enough. One note about the recipe. I seasoned the chicken with Adobo because I’m Puerto Rican and we put Adobo on everything. You can substitute any seasonings you like for it. But I would suggest trying it because Adobo is delicious.  Let’s get started.

Fried Chicken Wings

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Fried Chicken Wings

Ingredients

  • 1lb Chicken Wings
  • 2 Cups Potato Starch
  • Adobo Seasoning
  • Oil for Frying

Instructions

  1. Fill dutch oven or other heavy bottom pot about halfway with oil.
  2. Heat to about 240 degrees. If you don't have a thermometer, you will know the oil is ready when you insert a wooden spoon into the oil and begins to bubble.
  3. Place wings in a large bowl and season with Adobo.
  4. Mix the wings with your hands to make sure seasoning is distributed evenly
  5. Place potato starch in a 1 gallon plastic bag or large brown paper bag
  6. Add several wings and shake vigorously to coat, place wings back in bowl
  7. Repeat step until all wings have been coated with starch
  8. Place several wings in oil and fry for 5 minutes. Do not place too many wings in at once or it will lower the temperature of your oil
  9. Remove and place on a paper towel or napkin covered plate.
  10. Repeat process until all wings have been fried for 5 minutes.
  11. When wings are done, crank the heat to high and wait about 10 minutes or until temperature is 320 degrees.
  12. In small batches again fry until wings are crispy and cooked through
http://runningonlaughter.com/2015/04/04/this-aint-your-mommas-fried-chicken/

 

 

Service announcement

Hello everyone! Sorry I have not been posting. Weirdly for not posting lately I have been really busy with the blog. Thankfully Lauren is keeping up better than I am.

Lauren and I are making some big changes on the back end of the blog. This will eventually lead to some awesome changes on the front end. Unfortunately right now, it just looks a little bit awkward. Bear with us.

Also I have a half finished post on fried chicken wings. That shit is good. Hopefully that will be completed in the next 24 hours. If not, you can call my son and complain to him. It’s his fault.

Happy Hour Craft – Part 1

I’ll admit it…..I really enjoy a cocktail at the end of a long day.  Or a short day. Or any kind of day really. A good drink is just a nice way to unwind in the evenings.  The only problem is that I’m left with empty bottles and no clue what to do with them.  I’m no great environmentalist, but that doesn’t mean that I love the idea of my liquor bottles clogging up landfills.  So I thought that it would be fun to find uses for various items in a new series of crafts based on Happy Hour.  I also expect them to be simple enough that you can successfully accomplish them DURING Happy Hour if you’re so inclined.  Because really….isn’t everything better with wine?

The first of these crafts is so simple that I’m not even sure that you can really call it a “craft.”  It’s more like a two step process that leaves you with a cute soap dispenser.  This one is great for a man (or woman) cave, personalized gift, or even just adding some fun to your guest bathroom.

Supplies:

1) 1 liquor bottle

2) 1 standard pump

3) soap

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Did you know that most standard liquor bottles are the perfect size for your standard soap dispenser pump?  True story! You can find a pump at any home improvement store.  Then, just fill your empty bottle with your favorite soap and screw on the pump.  Voila! Instant gift for the whiskey connoisseur in your life.

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Now if you’ll excuse me, my faithful assistant is informing me that my allotted blogging time is up.  Apparently it is now playtime.

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Quick and Easy Meatballs

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We finally getting our life back together after vacation. The house is clean (ish), we are cooking regularly again and Peanut is back on his sleep schedule. I also finally got a chance to take him to tot time. I try to go pretty regularly to make sure Peanut gets a chance to run around and socialize with other kids. Apparently, it had been too long for Peanut. I debated whether or not to take him since he seemed tired. But decided he would sleep better for it. We were also trying a new place. At first Mason was pretty shy and clung to my leg. After about 30 minutes though he was practically running from activity to activity while throwing his back with a wild, maniacal laugh. Needless to say we will be returning.

Today’s recipe is quick and easy meatballs. I don’t know why but Peanut really loves meatballs. Whenever I am worried he is not eating enough meat I make meatballs since I know they will be devoured in minutes. He is kind of weird kid. If you offer him vegetables or chicken fingers. He will choose veggies – every time. I realize there are worse problems to have when it comes to a child’s eating habits.

Whenever I make meatballs for a potluck I just buy the pre-made ones and make my own sauce. For my family though I try to stick to the homemade kind. The ongredients in the store bought kind bug me. 1. Why are there so many ingredients? 2. Why are so many of them soy?  I have even seen meatballs with high fructose corn syrup. What the what guys? Why is this at thing. These meatballs take 30 minutes so you can throw them together pretty last minute. We have eaten them hoagies, spaghetti and in soups. Make extra and freeze them then you will have them on hand and dinner will even less time.

Quick and Easy Meatballs

Ingredients

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1lb Ground Beef

2 cloves Garlic

 1/4 cup Heavy Cream (Milk also works)

2 Eggs

1 cup Breadcrumbs (Panko is also delish)

1 1/2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. Place all ingredients in medium size bowl and mix with hands

2. Form into balls – I made them about the size of a golf ball but you do you. If you make them larger you may need to adjust the cook time.

3. Place on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil.

4. Bake for 20 minutes.

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As you can see my kitchen helper is not about that patient life and was ready to dig in.

Non-toxic Spring Cleaning

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Hey there!

Is anyone else loving this warmer, sunnier weather?  I’m so happy that the snow is finally starting to thaw.  The fresh air makes it so much easier to focus on all those things that I’ve been neglecting over the winter.

Now that it’s getting closer to summer BBQ weather, I have to make sure that my house is ready for company and impromtu parties.  And you know what that means?  Spring cleaning.

One thing that I hate about spring cleaning is the nasty, toxic chemicals that are in almost everything.  I want something that will scour my bathroom, but I’d rather not scour my lungs at the same time.  Luckily, it’s so cheap and easy to make really nice cleaning products at home with safer alternatives.  Today, I’m going to share my favorite recipe for a simple bathroom cleanser.

Supplies:

1 cup baking soda

1/4 cup castile soap (I like Dr. Bronner’s)

1/2 cup water

1-2 tablespoon(s) white vinegar

3/4 tsp essential oil (I use tea tree for its cleansing properties)

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Slowly mix together the baking soda, water, and castile soap.  Next, add the vinegar and essential oil.  Pour the mixture into your container of choice.  I personally like to use a repurposed squirt top bottle (dish soap bottle, shower gel bottle, whatev) because it’s easier to use for cleaning.

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The water and baking soda will separate a bit, so just give your container a little shake before using it.  Take that, soap scum!

 

 

Green Smoothies

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Hey Guys! We just got back from vacation and now I need vacation from vacation. We spent a week in Florida visiting my family. It was great to see my family and of course they were excited to see Peanut. But guys, lets be real for moment. The highlight for me was seeing Harry Potter World. If you are fan of the movies/books  and you have the opportunity to go then GO! It was seriously awesome; like walking into the movie. I rode the Hogwarts express and went to Honeydukes. Sorry, my nerd is showing.

Anyways, back on topic. We went on vacation. Peanut got to go to Disney World. For him, the whole vacation was about the Dumbo rode and riding trains. He loves trains. So getting to see and ride so many was really exciting. The one thing we did not do was eat a lot vegetables. So when we came home we really wanted to eat something healthy. B has also wanted me to start making her green smoothies. I was fortunate Kris at The Nerdy Chick lent me her Vitamix to try out. It’s awesome and now on my wishlist.

So today I have two green smoothie recipes. Peanut is obsessed with these smoothies. As soon as I poured the Berry Green Smoothie into a glass he lost his ability to chill.

Pineapple Banana Green Smoothie

Ingredients

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1 Cup Greens (I used a mix of Kale, Spinach and Chard)

1 Banana
3/4 Cup Pineapple Chunks

1/4 Cup Coconut Milk (Almond, Soy or Cows Milk will work too)

6-8 Ice Cubes

Directions:

Wash greens then add everything to the blender. Blend until smooth. Devour.

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Berry Green Smoothie

Ingredients

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1 Cup Greens

1/2 Cup Frozen mix berries

1 Banana

1/2 cup Pineapple

1/4 cup Coconut Milk

4-6 Ice Cubes

Directions:

Wash greens then add everything to the blender. Blend until smooth. Devour.

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Baby Approved!

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Balancing Act

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As I write this post, I’m recovering from jet lag AND daylight savings.  I got hit with this double whammy because I spent most of the week out in L.A. for my company’s Diversity Summit.  The event was actually really wonderful.  I work for a pretty conservative company, but I have to admit that I’ve never been more proud of it than I was this week.  It was awesome to see my company prove its dedication to diversity and inclusion by recognizing so many awesome individuals.  Our teams were recognized for everything from recruitment events for under-served communities to providing education and support services for transgender individuals and their families.  So the severe exhaustion is worth it this time.

One of the sessions that I got to attend at the summit was about “Women in Leadership.”  A large portion of the session was devoted to finding some semblance of work/life balance.  Now, before I jump into a discussion of balance, I want to get on my soapbox for a minute…….

Why is it that career discussions targeted to women are the only times that I ever hear about “work/life balance?”  This actually really bugs me because the unspoken assumption seems to be that things like family and home are “women’s work.”  Why don’t we help everyone find work/life balance?  I’m sure most men would welcome permission to spend more time with their kids, and I’d bet money that having an equal partner at home would really help women find this elusive “balance” much more easily.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, we can move on.  One thing that I really enjoyed about this activity is that it didn’t simply separate things into “work” and “life.”  Instead, it took a much more holistic approach and really focused on the many areas that add up to a fulfilling life: career, money, health, social life, family, personal growth (to include spirituality), and fun.  We rated each category from 1-10 to see where we felt things stand today.  This makes it very clear where your life may be out of balance.

I find that whenever I’m not living up to my own standards in a given area, it’s because I feel like I don’t have enough time.  In reality, it is more like this (just replace “internet” with “Orange is the New Black marathon”):

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The truth is, I don’t have it all figured out. I find that I particularly struggle in the “health” category because I routinely ignore my own good advice.  It’s also OK if everything isn’t always working out like you’ve planned.  Sometimes certain areas just have to take priority over others.  The point is to just be aware of how you’re spending your time so that you can create your own version of success.

What tips do you have for maintaining balance?

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