Thursday, April 30, 2020

An Assortment of Goodies for your Inside and Out

A lot of products have come in the last month or two. I’m catching up as fast as I can, but I always want to try something before I promote. When it comes to health and beauty products, that means trying a few times.

As always, my policy that is I write about the good things I want to pass along. Anyone who sends products for sampling knows that it will only be written about if I like it. That goes the same for my Amazon Influencer page

Hello, Miss Spa…
I love finding good skin care that I can buy (for a reasonable price) in my local drugstore. Miss Spa sent me two products that are going to continue to be part of my beauty routine.

Hydration Hookup is a “skin quenching serum.” It contains Hydraulic Acid and CoQ10. I used it on my face for two weeks and I really like the results. Though I didn’t feel it hydrating enough for my face, a serum should be followed by a moisturizer and I just made it a richer one for my dry skin. What I did see was that my skin was a bit smoother and a few wrinkles started to fade.

The Miss Spa Rich Face lived up to all its claims as an illuminating mask for skin. It’s filled with 24K gold and peptides. I definitely felt it every time I used it. My skin was brighter and healthier looking. This is another product that will remain by my bathroom vanity.

A little CBD for every body…
My experience with CBD products has not been very positive. I’ve tried some tinctures, oils, and lotions, and never felt anything positive for my body inside or out. I had pretty much given up, but the folks at CBD Living were insistent that I try their products.

CBD Living products are 100 mg Broad Spectrum CBD. They are vegan, soy-free, GMO free, and cruelty-free. What they sent me was one of each of the items in their travel line.

I wouldn’t say I’m ready to go off any medications or find myself cured of any chronic disease, but I did find some benefit to their products. The one that helped me the most was the Salve. I’ve been having some problems with an old injury on my foot and ankle and rubbing just a tiny bit on there before bed each night has definitely helped me sleep better.

While I didn’t find it to have a long-lasting affect, I do believe the Freeze, a roll-on gel for sore muscles, worked at least as well as my Icy Hot – without the smell.

As for the lotion and lip balms, they feel good on my skin and time will tell if the natural hemp extract has any other affect.

Chill that wine…
VinOice is a must for wine-lovers. I will always have one in my freezer so that I don’t have to worry if I have the bottle, I want to open chilled. All I need to do is pop the cork, slip the VinOice in, and my wine chills as it pours.

This product is great because it’s not just to get your wine cold. You can leave it in to keep the wine cold. Then, you can leave it in for storage, without drips.  You can purchase one on Amazon for yourself or as the perfect housewarming gift.

Another delicious crème…
I have been a huge fan of the Appalachian Sippin Creams, especially the Pumpkin Spice Latte, which inspired this recipe. Sugarlands Distilling sent me another sample which I think tops them all.

Banana Pudding Sippin Cream is definitely dessert in a glass, but, at 40 proof, you’ll get into a lot of trouble if you have too many portions. It’s a powerful banana daiquiri that doesn’t require the work. I really love this liqueur.

I also want to mention that Cork Pops, the maker of VinOice, and Sugarlands Distilling are two of the distilleries who are now making hand sanitizer. You can read about distilleries who have gotten into the hand sanitizer business on my story here.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Back with Delicious Finds

Hello, Everyone!

Yes, it’s been awhile. I apologize, but I’ve been recovering from what I hope will be my last back surgery! I have been staying home for months, since I have a compromised immune system and needed to go off my meds for surgery.

Now, I am feeling better and back on my meds and everyone is told to stay home! I’m confident we’ll get out of our houses eventually. I can tell you, from someone who has been social distancing since December, it can be done. Hang in there.

One thing that has kept me entertained is the selection of products that have come to my door. There have been some really good ones these past two months. As usual, there are links to them, and you can find anything sold on Amazon on my influencer page. I always appreciate the support. It’s helpful to earn a little from these items – and I only put what I like on there.

My favorite discovery this year…

Since receiving samples of bNutty, I hardly go a day without having some. I always loved peanut butter, but this product takes it to a new level. Here’s a breakdown of the flavors of gourmet peanut butter I tasted with a few friends:

Totally Toffee-Toffee bits, milk chocolate, and almonds.
Just a little bit of sweet crunch in a tasty peanut butter.

Skinny Dip-Granola, various other nuts, and honey.
This has a lot of delicious flavors going on. I put some in my plain yogurt!

Irresistible Pretzel-Gluten-free pretzels and white chocolate.
We all thought this was very good, but not a good dipper. Take out your spoon or maybe put some on ice cream.

Blissful Blueberries-Blueberries, and milk chocolate.
My friends liked this, and I loved it. In fact, since I opened the jar it’s been the one I gravitate to constantly. With the blueberries, it tastes like peanut butter and jam!

Joyful Cranberries-Dried cranberries, white chocolate, and milk chocolate.
This was the favorite for everyone. The combination of the cranberries and chocolate was just perfect sweet and tart. They sent me a small jar of this and it barely made it through the tasting!

Simply Salted Caramel-Creamy caramel and pink Himalayan salt.
This one was a bit salty for my taste, with more salt than caramel. One friend who likes salty snacks thought it was good.

I have been eating these continually. I will have some on an English muffin for breakfast, or on brownie crackers for a snack, they are also good for dipping pretzels or spreading on a tortilla before you roll it up.

These gourmet peanut butters are good for you with low in sugar. The ingredients are all natural and have health benefits (ok, maybe not the toffee, but that’s a tiny amount).  They are also very reasonably priced, and you can get them on Amazon.

The Ultimate in Chocolate…
There’s one other thing on top of my treat list with peanut butter and that’s chocolate. I like a good deep, dark chocolate most of all. T’oak definitely fit the bill.

T’oak chocolate is not inexpensive, but you understand it when you hear about the detailed process to make the chocolate. It is made with beans from cacao growers in Piedra de Plata, Ecuador, where they practice “dry farming.” Similar to the way they do it in wine, they let nature take its course and do not irrigate. The resulting beans will vary each year, according to the weather.

Barrel aging (whisky and tequila) also brings out a unique flavor in the T’oak chocolate bar. Each bar is from a single roasted cocoa bean and, like fine wine, will mature with age.

In order for me to understand how all this affects their chocolate, T’oak sent me a selection from different years.

Rain Forest 2017 is dark and not too bitter, with mild hints of tobacco and coffee.

El Nino 2016 is my favorite of the plain chocolate as it’s smoother and a bit fruity, with a touch of sweetness.

Rain Forest 2015 is complex, without a bitter start, but coffee on the finish, followed by some smooth sweetness.

The T’oak Tequila Chocolate is delicious. You can taste the spirit, but not so much that it takes away from the rich dark chocolate, but enough that it makes it last longer on your palate.

You can purchase T'oak Chocolate through their website

Cognac and coffee? Yes, please…
While we are on the subject of tasty combinations, Grand Brulot VSOP Cognac Café is another one I’ve tried this past month.

This comes from Tardy Cognac and it starts with a blend of Blanc and Colombard grapes, from which an 80 proof VSOP Cognac is created. The cognac ages for 4-5 years. Meanwhile, 100% Robusta Ecuadorian coffee bean essence is blended with a brandy. That sits for just a few months before it is blended together with the cognac.

This is one I really want to have around for an after-dinner drink, in coffee, over ice cream, or in a martini. It’s not rich like Kahlua and the flavors are much more solid. I’m not sure a non-coffee drinker would enjoy it, but I certainly do. It sells for about $40. 

A Gluten-Free Vodka…
If you are looking for a gluten-free vodka, I recommend Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka. I agree with its award-winning as it’s flavorful with some sweetness, for a perfect mixer or on the rocks spirit. The extra taste comes from using champagne yeast with locally sourced Pennsylvania potatoes.

This vodka is completely handcrafted and totally gluten-free.