What Does YOUR State Smell Like?

Better Homes & Gardens State WaxI love how a scent can immediately take me back to another time in my life.  The smell of Rave hairspray transports me to the late 80’s and my best friend’s bathroom, where we must have gone through a can of that a week as we tried to see how high we could spray our bangs.  Beef jerky makes me think of my first television job, in Oklahoma.  We shared the building with a newspaper company and the custodians would make beef jerky in the basement.  The number of roaches in that place was unreal!  My sense of smell is strong, for that reason I love candles, and perfume.  Rarely will I pass by a flower without stopping to smell it.  Hyacinths remind me of my grandmother, from England, who had the most lovely garden you’ve ever seen.  Each spring, when these flowers are in bloom, I take a big whiff and WHAM! I’m eight years old again posing for pictures in my grandma’s garden on Easter Sunday.

I’m blessed to have lived in so many wonderful places, all across the country.  Some have more distinct smells than others and Rhode Island is no exception.  What Rhode Island lacks in size, it makes up for in splendor.  So, naturally, I was delighted to be asked to take part in Better Homes and Gardens ‘State Fragrance Contest. ‘  The task?  Use Better Homes and Gardens Scented Wax Warmers and Scented Wax Cubes to come up with a scent original to Rhode Island.

The warmers are available in several different styles and the wax cubes comes in packs of 6, with dozens of scents.  They’re only available at WalMart  and you can get them both for less than $20.  That’s a bargain! 

 

 

There are so many things to love about Rhode Island, but perhaps the most notable is the ocean.  I couldn’t create a “Rhode Island scent” without incorporating our sweet smelling ocean.  Trust me, I love Fall in Little Rhody and those Fall scents are to die for, but there’s a reason we’re called the Ocean State.  For that reason, I decided to stay true to what most people know and love about Rhode Island: The ocean and Del’s lemonade. A scent was born, Sea Breeze Delight. To create this scent I added one cube of Fresh ocean flowers and one cube of  Lemongrass verbana to my wax warmer.  Pure heaven.

 

Some benefits of the wax warmers and BHG scented wax:

  • You can fill your home with your favorite fragrance, for less. For a small space, use just one cube…for a large space, use more!
  • The warmers are attractive and come in several different styles and colors.  Priced at  just $15 and scented wax cube packs, start at only $2 each
  • Safe to use with no flame or soot (great for the workplace, or areas with little ones)
  • Easy to re-use and clean (just wipe clean and pour the wax back into the tray)

I’m not wild about voting contests, but if you’re so inclined, I’d love your support in making Rhode Island’s Sea Breeze Delight the top state scent. If it’s chosen 10 A Mom Knows Best readers will get a $25 Walmart gift card.  Additionally, 10 randomly selected voters will be chosen to win a Wax Warmer and a 6-pack of Wax Cubes. Here’s where you vote:  The Better Homes & Gardens Facebook page.

For those of you living in Rhode Island, what scent would you choose to represent the state?  What about those of you who live elsewhere?

Disclaimer: A gift card was provided to me to purchase the wax warmer and cubes.

Unique Holiday Cards

Do you ever go through the process of choosing the perfect holiday card only to discover that someone else on your card list has chosen the exact same card?  It happens to me almost every single year.  In fact, last year, my sister and I chose the same card.  This year, I don’t have to worry about that.  It could be because I haven’t sent out any cards yet.  Yes, I’ve been totally overwhelmed with a new job, a move, and everything else under the sun and I’ve been slacking.  Big time.  But I also discovered cards by Amy Adele.  Their holiday greetings offer plenty of fun and unique options. The card I created captured my sunny disposition ever since moving to Arizona!  The quality of the cards is top notch and the customer service is terrific.  In fact, the company emailed me to see if it was okay if they slightly altered the font/spacing on the card to make the card look better.  How nice is THAT?

A Treadmill That Takes You Around the World in HD

I’ve logged plenty of treadmill miles while enduring Cleveland’s frigid winters and Arizona’s blazing hot summers.  Most treadmills are pretty boring, that’s why real runners–of which I am definitely not one–always say they prefer to run outside.  I get it, really I do.  I just find it too easy to quit if I’m running outside.

I recently came across this new treadmill that may just be the perfect solution for this travel-loving mama!  The LiveStrong LSPRO2 has Passport media technology.  It sounds really fancy and complicated, but once it is all hooked up, it is amazing and makes workouts fly by!  The Passport system connects to your TV, and it communicates wirelessly with the treadmill.   The treadmill delivers a high-definition experience designed to enhance the cardio workout of even the most serious runners.  All your stats pop up right on the TV screen.  Of course, you also have the option to use it like an old school treadmill, without the Passport media technology, and your information will show up right on the treadmill.

Livestrong LSPRO2

This is unlike any machine I’ve ever tried before in that the HD quality, real scenery and ambient sounds really make a world of difference (no generic scene views!).  The LiveStrong LSPRO2 comes with both the American Southwest and Northern Italy scenery, so you can hike the Grand Canyon and run through the rolling hills of Italy in the same day. More sceneries are available for purchase. So what’s it like to exercise on the LSPRO2?  It’s tough to describe, but imagine doing a killer workout in your own personal I-MAX theater.

Pretty cool, huh?  You really need to try it out for yourself, though, because–at $2,000– it’s a big investment.  A word of warning, not all big athletic stores carry this, so call around before you spend your whole day looking for one.

Not only are you doing something good for yourself when you buy this machine, but, with each purchase of the LSPRO2, money is donated to the Lance Armstrong Foundation to support the 28 million people living with cancer today.  Awesome.

 Disclaimer: FitFluential LLC compensated me for this sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


The Gift That Makes Everyone Happy

Since my family is all spread out–and so are my friends–I’m always struggling with the perfect gift to send over the holidays.  Growing up, my parents would often rely on Hickory Farms to send to long distance friends or to bring to holiday parties.  In my opinion, it’s the perfect gift for the person who has everything because you know you’ll be having unexpected company and the food won’t go to waste.  I’ve never been disappointed with a gift from Hickory Farms.  Whether it’s their fresh fruit, savory meats, or delicious cheeses, their food is always tasty and the presentation is spectacular.  And for that person who has a sweet tooth?  Hickory Farms has amazing cookies and chocolates.  As part of the Mom Central Hickory Farms blog tour, I received the Orchard’s Bounty Gift Basket.  I love that it combines fruit, meat & cheese!

Orchard's Bounty Gift BasketWhile searching the Hickory Farms website, or visiting one of their familiar mall kiosks during the holidays, you’ll notice there is something in every price range, making this a perfect gift for just about everyone on my list…and the $3 shipping is a nice bonus!  I hate it when you spend a bunch of money on a gift, then shipping costs another 10 bucks.

If, like me, you’re a little more likely to spend your money with companies that give back, you’ll love this: For every Party Planner Gift Box sold, Hickory Farms will donate $5.00 to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign, a national nonprofit that hopes to end childhood hunger in America.  Hickory Farms also provides free military shipping to military APO/FPO addresses on select products, allowing our troops across the globe to share in the holiday spirit & traditions.  Love that!

Disclaimer: I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Hickory Farms and received a product sample to facilitate my review.  All opinions are my own.

Phix NATURAL Energy Drink

PhixLet me start off by saying that I’m a tad bit leery of anything that claims to give you energy.  I have friends that down red bull and, frankly, it scares the heck out of me.  Maybe it’s flashbacks to all those NoDoz I took in college.  Well, recently I was sent a few boxes of Phix Energy Drink Mix.  I’ll admit it, I was sceptacle.  Phix, however, appealed to me because it is natural…blending green tea antioxidants, energy-restoring NADH, and yerba maté for enhanced vigor, plus vitamins and minerals. I recently started a job where I’m anchoring a morning show.  The last time I anchored a morning show, in Cleveland, I relied on coffee to get me through the day.  It works, for a bit, but then you crash and hit a wall.  A cat-nap turns into a 3 hour slumber!

I was willing to give Phix a try.  I can honestly say, it did its job.  About 30 minutes after drinking it I felt much more alert. It was as if I had a long-lasting energy boost, without crashing…and no jitters!  The Phix packets are super convenient to take to work or the gym; they come in packets and you can just dump them in your water bottle and shake.

GIVEAWAY & DISCOUNT ON YOUR NEXT PURCHASE:

One winner will receive 3 boxes of Phix and a coupon for 25% off a future purchase. To enter, just “Like” the Phix Energy Facebook Page and Follow Phix on Twitter. Leave a comment for each and you’ll be entered to win!

For an extra entry, tweet this Giveaway:
I entered to win the Phix Energy Drink Giveaway @aMomKnowsBest. You should too! http://www.aMomKnowsBest.com #win #Giveaway @thePHIXisin

Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry below. Giveaway ends December 15th. Only valid with U.S. residents.

 

Disclaimer: MomSelect & Phix provided me with samples in order to facilitate this review.  All opinions are 100% my own.

The Skinny on FullBars

I first tried a FullBar about 18 months ago.  I was anchoring the evening shows in Providence.  I had gotten really busy and didn’t have time to eat and I was starving.  I’m almost always in a good mood, unless I’m hungry or tired.  Those in my inner circle know this about me.  So, whenever I would start getting testy (rare, I promise) my boss would give me food.  This was actually pretty genius on his part…and kind, too!

FullBar promises to do a lot that, frankly, I’m not really interested in.  From its website, “fullbar, being inspired by weight-loss surgery, uses the same fullness principles of surgery to fill your stomach with less food. This causes you to feel full and satisfied on smaller amounts of food, resulting in consuming less calories and helping you lose weight.” I’m not trying to lose weight, so I’m not really concerned with all that stuff (now, if FullBars could make my body look like Brooke Burke’s, I’d buy them by the case!)

Here’s the deal.  I like fast, easy, food–that’s good for me–and that I can eat on the run.  I’m a busy mom and sometimes I forget or don’t have time to sit down to a full meal.  I need something that is going to give me enough energy until I get a chance to have a real meal and get rid of that pit in my stomach.  I’m a fan of Luna bars, Fiber One bars and FullBars.  They all pass the taste test (but taste very different).   I think Fullbars taste like a mix of rice krispy treat & rice cake. My 22 mos. old daughter loved them and kept asking for a bite.  Could I lose weight with FullBars? Not sure. But if you are looking for a snack and a healthier alternative to a lot of other stuff you could nosh on, you might want to give FullBars a try!

HappiTaps, for the Tech-loving toddler!

HappiTapsBear

Warning!! Introducing your child to HappiTaps may mean you’ll be seeing a lot less of your Iphone. On the flip side, it’s sure to provide lots of giggles, heartwarming moments, and some uninterrupted “mommy time.”  HappiTapps pairs up technology with teddy for a winning combo!

Like most toddlers, my daughter loves to play on my Iphone.  Her favorite thing to do is watch YouTube videos and listen to music.  Recently, she’s been waking up saying, “Bear,” and before bed she says, “Night Night, Bear.”  I’ve never before reviewed an app, but the new Infantino HappiTaps Beary Happi app had so many neat toddler friendly features, I was excited to test it out.  Clearly, it’s a hit with my daughter!

Features:

  • 3D computer animation in conjunction with the iPhone/iPod Touch cutting technology to create a toy that reacts to a child’s life moments
  • Over 150 different expressions to keep kids engaged and learning
    • Tell jokes, share fun facts, tell stories, sing songs, teach educational tidbits
    • Beary Happi also loves to laugh, wink, make faces and of course he eats and sleeps
  • Full of games and activities for engaging play
  • 2 Play modes
    • Toddler Mode – Hides the navigation so toddlers cruise carefree from 1 activity to the next
    • Manual Mode – Let’s kids choose between the 7 games and activities
  • The cover features a lock for the home button to ensure kids stay within the app
  • Age: 18+ months

What exactly are HappiTaps?

HappiTaps are a toy/app hybrid. Infantino/Step 2  created a winning combination, merging kids  fascination with technology and an adorable snuggle buddy to create an interactive companion.  Brilliant, I say!

Beary Happi is the very first HappiTap. Put your Iphone or Ipod inside and download the free app to make him “come to life”.

I’ve already downloaded the HappiTap app and am eager to get my bear case that will wrap around my Iphone.  I know my daughter will go crazy over it!  We are just beginning to learn about all the features as we navigate through the app.  I’m torn because I think this would make the perfect stocking stuffer for her–once the bear arrives–but I’m so excited to see her reaction that I don’t think I can wait until Christmas!  😆  At a retail price of just $19.99 plus free shipping, this makes a great gift for nieces and nephews too!

 

Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Infantino HappiTaps and received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.  All opinions  are my own.

 

 

Breakfast Burrito with Skillet Bacon Jam

We make some mean breakfast burritos around my house.  And when we aren’t making breakfast burritos, we make breakfast sandwiches.  They usually consist of a whole grain English muffin, one egg, a piece of bacon, a slice of Vermont cheddar and a dab of hot sauce, sometimes some avocado.  This morning I changed things up a bit because I came across a new product that I’ve been dying to try.  Skillet Bacon Jam.  I wish I could stick a wick in it and light this little container, so the entire house would smell as good as what’s inside this jar.

bacon jam

 

To get this this container of awesomeness, the company says you take a “big bunch of really, really good bacon and render it down…add a bunch of spices, onions, etc. and let it simmer for about 6 hours, give it a quick puree, blast chill it…take a left turn, and end up in pure bacon heaven.”  If you like bacon, you will love this stuff!

It made a great addition to my breakfast tortilla.  Here’s the recipe.

  • One Tortilla Land tortilla (I could never find these on the East Coast, so my MIL would send them to me from Arizona)
  • 2 eggs
  • Cheese (whatever kind you like best)
  • 1/4 avocado
  • hot sauce
  • Spread a little bacon jam on your tortilla, add eggs,  cheese, avocado & hot sauce

If you’re not into breakfast burritos, and you are looking for a little inspiration, check out  Skillet Street Food’s website for some fun recipes using  bacon jam.  Let me know what you think of it! You can also email the company directly at eat@skilletstreetfood.com.

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Personalized Picture Puzzles from Piczzle

puzzle

I love getting–and giving–personalized gifts.  I’m always on the hunt for that unique item that is going to bring a smile to someone’s face each time they look at it.  In this digital age, it’s easier than over to personalize just about anything, but sometimes, the item you receive doesn’t look quite as good as  the item you ordered!  The opposite was true for me when I received my Piczzle photo puzzle.

Prices for a personalized jigsaw puzzle start at less than $20.  You can create puzzles in several different shapes and even add fancy borders & messages. The sizes range from six pieces (great for kids) to 2,000 pieces!  With the holidays coming up, this seems like a perfect gift for that person who has everything.

I have a large family, so to get us all together for a picture is quite a chore.  Last year, we were able to pull it off,  and it’s a moment I treasure.  I knew, immediately, I wanted to capture that moment with a Piczzle puzzle.  It’s a keepsake my family will treasure, and I plan to give it to my parents when we are all in Arizona this Christmas.

Piczzle

Aside from the fact that the puzzle looks even better put together (picture quality), I love that the pieces are strong…not flimsy like you’ll see with some other puzzles.  Since my daughter is constantly cutting teeth and shoving things in her mouth, this is a huge bonus!  😉

Disclaimer: I received the 100 piece puzzle shown above in order to facilitate this review.  All opinions–good and bad–are 100% my own.

VTech Connect-to-Cell Phone System (Home Phone Convenience Without the Cost!)

Vtech connect to cell

Maybe I’ve been out of the loop, but I didn’t even know a product existed that allowed you to use your cell phone like a home phone.  My family hasn’t had a landline in four years; we just didn’t think it made sense.  I have to admit, though, sometimes the mad search for my ringing cell phone is frustrating.  By the time I find it, the person has hung up!  My friends and family complain that I’m the hardest person to get a hold of, but it’s impossible to be glued to my cell phone at all times.  Even if it is by my said, I often need two hands to do housework, play with my daughter, or get ready.  So when VTech’s Connect-to-Cell Phone System showed up at my door, I couldn’t wait to try it!  Even my husband (who rarely comments on anything associated with my blog) thought the system was brilliant.  Then again, this was something he could really benefit from since he works from home.

Key features of the VTech DS6421-3 Connect-to-Cell:

  • Push-To-Talk acts as a multiple handset walkie talkie system to instantly communicate with any or all of the handsets within the system.
  • HD Audio provides an extended frequency band allowing for the signal to be reproduced and tuned for a fuller and clearer sound.
  • Make and receive landline and cellular calls – Connects to BLUETOOTH enabled cell phones to make and receive calls with the ease  of a home phone system. Two cell phones can be actively connected to the base. Cell calls can be made or received from either of these two active cell phones. Pair four different cell phones to the base unit.
  • Voice Announce Caller ID audibly announces the name and number of the caller on all of the handsets and base unit. (how cool is that??) No need to find the handset to see who is calling.   Makes screening calls that much easier (love it!)
  • With the touch of a button, the handset speakerphones makes hands-free conversations easy.
  • Expandable up to 12 handsets using only one phone jack.
  • Access your cellular phonebook directory – Download your cellular phonebook directory to this cordless phone system.  Dial a landline or cellular call from the directory for easy access. Stores over 6000 directories from up to four different cell phones. No need to input names and numbers into your cordless phone. (Thank Goodness!)
  • Pair four different cell phones (or headsets) and have two devices actively connected. Cellular calls can be made or received from either of the two active cell phones. Landline service not required, works great for cellular only households.

There are so many more great features, you can check them out for yourself, by going to VTech’s website here.

As the holidays approach, I knew things around the house would be getting even busier–and messier–making all the features of VTech’s phone system that much more appealing.

In a recent holiday survey, Vtech found:

  • 46% of respondents said they would spend more time with family/friends if they had an extra set of hands to get things done (51% of all females); higher with moms at 48%.  37% of respondents said clean the house quicker; 47% of moms
  • 31% of respondents said phone calls ranked the highest as the biggest distractions to getting more done at home during the holidays.  24% of respondents (48% of moms and 40% of dads) said kids needs/events
  • 81% of respondents (92% of parents) ranked a device that could help you multi-task and get more things done  as very/somewhat important

I guess I’m not the only frazzled parent out there who wishes I had more hands!  After trying out VTech’s Connect-to-Cell phone system, I’m thinking it might just be the perfect gift for some of those hard to buy for people on my list this year.

Disclaimer:  I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of VTech and received a product sample to facilitate my review.  As always, all opinions–good and bad–are my own.

 

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