Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Summer Fun Products to Add to Your Travels

The rain has finally stopped in the Midwest and the temperatures have started to soar. Summer is definitely here. With the season has come a lot of products I don’t usually get. So, pull up a chair and get ready to take some notes!

Timi & Leslie Bag
When I was first asked if I wanted a sample of the Timi & Leslie diaper bags – used by many celebrities – I was quick to turn it down. Then, on the PR rep’s urging, I took a look at the bags on the site and I was sold. They are beautiful and functional as both diaper bags and travel bags.

I recently took my Hannah Pastel bag on my Croatia trip and I loved it. It has a separate zippered sac and clutch purse, and lots of pockets. I loved the outside pockets for my water bottle and cell phone.

For those of you that actually need a diaper bag, it also has a changing pad, an insulated bottle tote, and a stroller strap.

Pick up your own Timi & Leslie bag here. I love the lilac and navy.

InsectLogic Natural Bug Repel Gel
Yes, this all natural gel appears to work. I had it on for two nights and did not get a single bite, despite it being a mosquito filled summer (thanks to the rain). The only downside is that it does smell slightly like bug spray, but much less than others and it’s gentler on your skin.

Blue Chair Bay Rum
Kenny Chesney's Blue Chair Bay has two new rums and they are well worth picking up. The Banana Rum Cream is a cocktail of its own and, in the lazy days of summer, it’s nice to just pour something over ice and not have to start mixing.

The Blue Chair Bay Vanilla Rum is also quite good, though I found it too sweet on its own. Pour in some soda – plain was fine for me – and you’ll be good to go.

Visit the Blue Chair Bay Rum website for more information.

Nolet’s Gin
I know many people say that gin and tonic is a summertime drink, but it happens to be my favorite cocktail any time of year. I had yet to try Nolet’s Silver Gin and was excited when I received the bottle. It didn’t let me down. It’s a nice combo of floral and fruit, but enough juniper that you have no doubt what spirit it is.

Oliver Winery Soft Red
If you are looking for an inexpensive ($7.50) wine for summer barbecues that will work on its own or fruity for sangria, look no further than Oliver Winery’s Soft Red. It’s a bit sweet and a bit fruity, but neither is powerful. It’s a very easy drinking wine.

Woodbridge Pinot Grigio by Robert Mondavi
Here’s the answer for those who prefer the whites. Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi not only has a selection of low budget white wines, but they come in 1.5 leader bottles. The Pinot Grigio is a nice light one you can drink on its own, or mix into a white sangria. (I love white sangria with peaches and pears.)

Check out all the 1.5 liter Woodbridge wines available.

Cork Pops VinOice
I remember when the Corksicle came out. I thought it was a great invention and I still do. Now, I’ve got VinOice in front of me. It works in a similar method, chilling the wine from within quickly, without diluting it. The difference is that this product also has a pouring spot that closes to keep the wine fresher. I’ve also found that I can get more uses out of it than I did the Corksicle so at under $30, it’s a good deal.

ZeroWater Tumbler
One of the most important things I’ve learned about traveling is staying hydrated, especially when drinking wine. I confess that I’ve done my damage on the landfills with plastic water bottles. ZeroWater Tumbler has changed that for me.

This container is not only BPA-free and leak resistant, but it filters the water for me, an important step because I drink a lot of water and I’m choosy about the taste. At only $15 it will save you from purchasing many plastic water bottles.

ZeroWater Tumbler can be purchased on Amazon

As is always my policy, I don’t write about things I don’t like so not all products I receive will be featured.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Taste, Wear, and Feel Great

I had quite an unusual mix of products to write about this month, from wine and spirits to make-up and clothing. I even had a little nose spray with some big benefits.

Uncommon Vodka by Deep Eddy
Deep Eddy Vodka sent me a bottle of their straight stuff (smooth and fruitier than most plain vodkas) and a mix of some slightly different flavors. I have to admit, in this world filled with flavored vodkas, I was quite impressed with these offerings. They also run only about $20 a bottle.

Deep Eddy Cranberry Vodka
What a great idea? After all, we put cranberry in vodka. It was my favorite – not too tart, not too sweet. After we were done tasting, I put some club soda in it and enjoyed an easy cocktail.

Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka
This was totally unexpected. We all agreed that it wasn’t at all sweet, but it had more tea flavor than any tea vodka we’d ever had. Perfect for the tea – not sweet tea – lover.

Deep Eddy Ruby Red Vodka
I have to plead citrus allergy so I didn’t have a lot, but this was a big hit with my friends. They expected grapefruit to be sour, but this was definitely a delicious pink grapefruit.

Deep Eddy Lemon Vodka
Again, I just did a sip, but this caused a very interesting battle – the men said it was the best of the four, the women still loved the Ruby Red more.

Stolen Rum
Stolen Rum is advertised as “smoke and coffee,” implying that these are the flavors this rum takes on through a complex process. First, it’s blended by hand in Trinidad with Fenugreek, Columbian Coffee, and Madagascar Vanilla before it’s aged in oak barrels that were once used for bourbon. After a minimum of two years, the rum is passed through smoking American Hardwood, giving it a hint of whiskey.

I do agree that Stolen is complex and delicious in flavor and I’d definitely say it’s whiskey-like. The only problem I found was that, as rum, I expected it to have more substance and some sweetness. Stolen is one of those products that is well-worth getting, but not what it’s made for. You’ll be disappointed if you dilute it. Serve it neat and savor the flavor.

Wine to Go
The weather is beautiful and you’re heading out for a picnic or a day at the beach. You don’t have one of those solid wine holders. Honestly, how many people really do? How do you get your wine there without risking broken glass and lugging corkscrews? That’s where Nuvino comes in.

Nuvino makes pouches of wine that travel easily in your cooler, don’t break, and serve well. They come in a nice variety: Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, South African Chardonnay, Australian Red Blend, and Argentinian Malbec. They only sent the Malbec for me to try and it was very good. The only downside is the MSP is $6, but if you shop around, you can get them for around $4 @. Each pouch is a full glass

A Scotch Treat for Dad
With Father’s Day around the corner, you might be looking for a really special gift for a special Scotch lover. Macallan has the answer. Their Rare Cask is definitely something special. You’ll immediately get the sweet notes on the nose, from vanilla to caramel. As you sip it slowly, and it must be sipped, the Applewood and citrus start to appear perhaps from the sherry oak casks that were used. Macallan Rare Cask is as smooth as a Scotch can get, almost to the point of cognac (thank you, sherry casks). You’ll pay for this privilege at $300 a bottle, but isn’t a dad worth it?

Work or Play
I am always ready to try out easy travel pieces of clothing and that’s what Sofibella provides, whether you are on the tennis court, in the gym, or in an airplane. These pieces have it all: UV Protection, Anti-Bacterial Properties, and a Stay-Dry Agent. The fabric Sofibella uses is also very comfortable, yet I found the tank and crops also gave me support. I also loved the light weight micro flare cardigan. It is perfect for quickly “dressing up” an outfit without adding weight (something you don’t want in the heat of the summer).

No Fuss Make-Up
I am a fan of bareMinerals makeup and I probably always will be. My one complaint is that I find I need 2-3 different products to complete the natural look. That’s too much when traveling. Now that I’ve tried Jessica Robertson Collection Bronzing Powder , I have a new travel go to. This product is convenient and makes my skin feel good, with a glow. It’s a natural looking tint that acts as both makeup and bronzer. Best of all, it comes in an easy to carry compact. Prices vary from $20-$25 and it’s well worth it.

Help for Allergies
My allergies are horrible in the spring and fall. I take allergy medicine, but sometimes it’s not enough. Rather than adding in some sleep-inducing Benadryl, I’ve started using saline nasal sprays. I also like to have one in my Ziploc for the plane as the humidity deprived air can dry out my nose. I was more than happy to try Boogie Mist Sterile Saline Nasal Spray, Fresh Scent, 2 Ounce and it works very well. It also, comes in a grape flavor so you can get the kids to keep their nasal passages clear and maybe prevent a cold or two.