Saturday, December 31, 2022

Happy Holidays and a Wonderful New Year

Unfortunately, I’m ending the year about the way I began, with my health dominating. I just had ankle reconstruction and have not gotten through all the products I’ve gotten the last few months. Truthfully, this is the only story I’ve done since the surgery and painkillers do not go with wine and spirits, so I’m afraid most of those are going to have to wait. Here’s what I have enjoyed lately.

Coconut for a purpose…

The benefits of coconut oil can go on and on. The top of the list for me is as a moisturizer. I’ve yet to find anything that can make my skin retain moisture like it.  It’s also a great hair conditioner, sunblock, cooking oil and more.

Dignity Raw Coconut Oil does all these things as good, or better, than the rest, but its history makes it much more in need of purchase. As the name suggests, it’s about bringing dignity to by helping those living in poverty with a sustainable business. A partnership of engineers from the Philippines and the United States worked on the best way to create this product and bring jobs to those who need it.

You can help by purchasing Dignity Raw Coconut.  

Filling a purpose in beauty care…

Another cause being addressed in product is in Puff Cuff Male. This company addresses the beauty needs of men of color, with products specific to the texture of their hair and beards. They also give back by donating one dollar from every sale of their “I Support Black Business”apparel to Know Your Rights Camp, African American Policy Forum, and Grassroots Law Project.

I received a selection of products from PCM, including their signature Puff Cuff, a gentle way of putting thick hair behind you. I tried the moisturizer and loved the way it felt on my skin and body, and had a male friend check out the beard conditioner and brush, which he is still using.

You can purchase Puff Cuff Male here.

Hold that cup…

Anyone who has tried to balance a suitcase, cell phone, and water bottle will be happy to see the Riemont Drink Caddy. This gadget will hold to drinks or a drink and a cellphone.

The thing about this holder that is different from the others I’ve had is that it is a soft material rather than a hard plastic. It’s easy to store and isn’t subject to the breakage of the hard ones. It is available on Amazon

An answer for vegan cream cheese lovers…

I’ve actually wanted to try The Original Sunflower Cream Cheese ever since I heard about it, so I was happy to receive a selection. I really enjoyed the original and, since I need to limit my dairy, it is a nice to have another option for “cream cheese.”

You can purchase Spero’s Original Cream Cheese online. It also comes in Herb, Goat Cheese, and Strawberry.

Another vegan idea…

Chef Woo Ramen is plant-based meal in a cup that contains 20 mg protein. The healthy amount is thanks to peas, and despite flavors such as “beef” and “chicken,” there is no actual meat.

The Sweet Chili was too spicy for me, but a friend who enjoys more heat than I do really enjoyed it. Iiked the Roasted Chicken and Braised Beef. This dish is not only quick and easy to make, but Walmart is selling them for only $2, making it an inexpensive, healthy meal.

My favorite vegan dish of the month…

One product stood out among the others this month for vegan meals. Chi Foods Plant-Based Pork is quite impressive in taste and ease of use. It just needs to be heated and added to whatever you want. The organic ingredients include items like fava beans and inchi nuts.

I took a package of the Italian, heated it in my marina sauce, and poured it over linguine. It was delicious! No one could guess that there wasn’t meat in my meat sauce. The Original and Chorizo (works well in tacos) are also good.

You can buy Chi Foods on their website.

Tasty treats you’ll love…

My sweet tooth is not a secret, so cookies are always welcome here. The best ones I’ve had in a long time came from Little Red Kitchen Bake Shop. They arrived fresh and stayed soft, with two cookies packaged together.  

My favorite was the Chocolate Chip… Double Chocolate Peppermint… Molasses Spice… I guess I really can’t decide. I may have to grab another from the freezer (yes, they freeze well) to see.

You can order cookies from Little Red Kitchen on their website.

A wine to add to my favorites…

I’ve previously talked about my favorite wine, which is a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. I was just introduced to another from that region, and has moved onto the favorite list. This family-owned, sustainable winery has perfected the country’s most exportable drink.

The organic Babich Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc has that distinguishable taste of kiwi, lime, and green apple, with a bit of earthiness you only get from that varietal. It’s also priced around only $15 a bottle.

Rivaling Starbucks…

My countertop currently looks like a local coffee shop thanks to a carton I received from Jordan's Skinny Syrups. I confess to using some of these before, but I am slowly discovering many more flavors – and I haven’t yet touched the cocktail mixes.

On my current recommendation list: White Chocolate Mocha, which is especially good with Macadamia’s White Chocolate Mocha Peppermint Milk; Sugar Cookie, a delicious flavor that isn’t as sweet as it sounds; and Salted Carmel Mocha, a nice combination of flavors that also comes in a sauce for the top of your latte, hot chocolate, or ice cream.

You can purchase these at Amazon. Stay tuned for more flavors next month.

This post contains affiliate links. If you are looking for more, check out these links. Not only will you find some unique things, but you’ll help me out as I get a commission on these.

My Amazon Influencer Shop

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Healthy Choices

I know most people associated getting healthy with January, but it’s something I try to think about every day. I love my desserts while making sure my body also gets healthy foods and products. It’s all about moderation and I believe that’s what should be stressed from the beginning.


Just what my eyes need…

When I was approached by Cornea Care to try their products, I didn’t have to think long about that one. I am under treatment for dry eyes as well as heliotrope eyes and have a lot of eye pain.

I can honestly say I am overwhelmed with how soothing these products have been for me. I start my day with the Rise Wipes, which have hyaluronic acid and tea tree oil. After wiping my eyes, I then use the wipe on the rest of my face. I use Rest, the self-heating eye mask, every night before I go to sleep and Rescue cooling masks whenever my eyes need a little extra relief.

While Cornea Care products do not contain any medication, I still suggest you check with your eye doctor before using it. You can purchase these products on Amazon.


Cooking fun with the kids…

I haven’t met too many kids who weren’t excited and anxious to join in cooking. The founders of I’m The Chef Too have found a good way to package this.

Since I don’t have any school aged children, I asked some friends to check this out with their kids.  I gave them the Volcano Chocolate Cake box. It was something that the kids were interested in and the were learning as they were being entertained.

The kids did learn from the activity, but the Volcano Chocolate Cake was pretty quick to put together and the children lost patience then having to wait to eat it. It sounds like this particular one was better for older children with more patience, and the younger ones were better off with one of the other options.

You’ll find plenty of choices on the I’m The Chef Too website if you want to give it a try.


Keep those electrolytes on track…

I am always on the lookout for protein and sports drinks so I agreed to give Karviva Ace Sports drinks a try. I am impressed by the ingredients and nutritional value, loaded with antioxidants. I do confess I had mixed feelings about whether or not I liked the taste, but considering I finished two bottles, I can’t say it was bad!

You can purchase Karviva Ace Sports Drinks on Amazon.


A garlic lover’s friend…

I’m still making it through the cases of barbecue rubs, spices, and sauces I’ve received. This month I picked up Burn Pit BBQ Ground Pounder all-purpose garlic for a quick air-fry dinner.

All I did was put my chicken wings in a Ziploc with the spice mix to coat, and then put them in my air fryer for 30 minutes. While they were in there, I sliced up some potatoes, spritzed some olive oil, and sprinkled them with the seasoning. I put them in the air fryer for the last 15 minutes.

It was delicious, but I do have to warn you that its as condensed powder, so you don’t need to use too much. Purchase Burn Pit BBQ products at Amazon.


Another veteran-owned barbecue to try…

WarPig BBQ makes award-winning barbecue sauces and donates a portion of profits to veteran-focused charities. I tried their SNAFU sauce on my pulled pork last week and it was really good. It was fruity with a bit of a kick.

You can purchase WarPig BBq products on their website


This post contains affiliate links. If you are looking for more, check out these links. Not only will you find some unique things, but you’ll help me out as I get a commission on these:

My Amazon Influencer Shop

Sunday, July 31, 2022

A Little of Everything

July has always included a lot of tequila, since National Tequila Day is on my birthday (24th). Things are a bit different this year as I’m cutting down on spirits as I have started a new treatment. I’m hoping to get to the point where I am not apologizing for running late on everything because I wasn’t feeling well! In the meantime, be patient with me. Everything I like will eventually make it to this blog.

There was some wine…

The photos of Trapiche Winery of Argentina, where they do not use any chemicals or herbicides near the grapes, are incredible. It’s a winery that started in 1883 and followed automated as needed through the years. Despite doing all this, they have managed to keep to a very reasonable price point.

If you are looking for a budget Malbec, Trapiche’s 2021 is a good deal at $7.99. It’s full of dark fruit, yet is quite light for a red wine. The Vintage Cabernet Sauvignon is a similar price and a bargain if you are looking for a richer wine. You’ll find more notes of the oak cask in this one.           

For something just a little sweeter, and even more environmentally friendly, you’ll want to check out Sandy Giovese. It’s a play on the Italian grape that’s an easy to drink red, especially in the summer, Sangiovese. This is red fruit in its ripeness. It’s the red wine you can chill without feeling like you are doing something wrong.

It’s easy to chill Sandy Giovese because it’s in a box that can stay in your refrigerator for up to a month after you open it. It’s environmentally friendly as the one box contains the equivalent to four bottles of wine, making it much easier to bring to a party or barbecue.  

Start with the prep…

Before you drink the wine, you need to prep the food. I love the Fab Slabs cutting boards I received. These look good and still smell like fresh wood when you take them out of the box thanks to their construction from the Australian Camphor Laurel Tree. They are also practical with naturally antibacterial properties.

Fab Slabs come in a selection of sizes. They are constructed from a solid slab of would with tight grains, so they are easy to clean. You can shop for them on Amazon.


Get ready for back to school…

Dino Bars
are the latest snacks to try for back to school. They are all-natural bars made from fruit. Hemp hearts, and oats without nuts, gluten, dairy, artificial flavors, or soy.

The best part about Dino bars? The wrapping is edible! No garbage created from this snack.  Straight from a three-year-old: the blueberry tastes like chocolate so start there if you are having a tough time deciding.

Buy Dino Bars on Amazon.

Tea time…

Whether you want it cold or hot, the benefits of tea have been touted for centuries. I’ve seen some creative blends over the years, but the ones I received recently focus on a popular fruit this summer, mango.

Mark T. Wendell’s Mango Black Tea is so filled with fruit flavor (you can see the pieces of mango) that Teddy, my mango loving Yorkie, kept trying to get the tin open! Drinking it definitely made me feel like I was at an afternoon tea and a luxury hotel.

The Amazon Mango Green Tea from Mark T. Wendell wasn’t quite as intense. I added a little honey to it and it made a refreshing iced tea.

Sip and Slay is the other brand of mango tea I received. This blend was also fruit filled and delicious. It’s an interesting brand, founded on the belief that every woman should have more self-care, love, and positive vibes in their life. I absolutely love their reusable plastic tea bag to put their loose tea in.


Coffee for a cause…

I was planning on taking a break from reviewing coffee but it’s hard to resist a good cause. Veteran   owned Liberty Beans Coffee donates $1 of every bag sold of their 68W Dark Roast (my favorite) to the USO to support the men and women of the U.S. Military.

You can find all the Liberty Beans coffee and gift sets on their website

I love this birthday gift…

When I saw the Zoku Slush and Shake Maker on television, I immediately put it on my Amazon Wish List. My daughter and son-in-law bought it for my birthday, and I love it. I’ve made a few slushes with just juice, but my favorite drink so far was a “Frappuccino” with just chilled coffee and chocolate soy milk. You can get yours on Amazon for about the cost of three of those drinks.


This post contains affiliate links. If you are looking for more, check out these links. Not only will you find some unique things, but you’ll help me out as I get a commission on these:


My Amazon Influencer Shop


Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Time to Barbecue (in or out)

I’ve seen a lot of my mail carrier and FedEx this last month. I haven’t even gotten to half of it, but I did discover some fantastic products that I wanted to pass along.


The perfect tote…

You can use this Urban Originals for just about anything. It’s even large enough for my 10 lb. Yorkie! It’s vegan leather, making it light and easy to clean. I especially love the color combinations in this Riviera Stripes Tote. It also matches my luggage and just about anything I would wear.

Visit the Urban Originals website to see more of their unique and fun bags. They can also be purchased at department stores such as Macy’s and Nordstrom.


Speaking of vegan…

Parma, the vegan parmesan cheese, has some new flavors. One that you must get is the Parma Jalapeno Bacon. It is perfect on popcorn!

You can buy Parma Jalapeno Bacon, as well as their other options, on Amazon.




Turn on the grill… or air fryer… or crockpot…

I received a lot of barbecue rub this last month. I have not gotten to all of it yet, but I did want to share some my friends and I used for cooking and really enjoyed. Rubs are an easy way to spice up your meat and chicken. I know they are great for the grill. I also tried them out with some other methods.

The Casa M. Spice products excited me with the idea that they had specific items for different products. They are also low in sodium. I didn’t have to decide which one to use on which meat (though you certainly can mix and match). I decided to do a pulled pork with Casa M. Spice Whole Hog rub in the crockpot.

The pork came out tender and delicious. I did add a bit more rub at the end for added flavor as I don’t think I was generous enough at the beginning.

I also did some wings with two other Casa M. Spice rubs. I put Pecking Order on the drumettes and Chain Reaction on the wings. I cooked them in the air fryer (15 minutes on each side). They were moist and flavorful, with a bit of crisp on the skin. The Peking order was a perfect mix of flavor while Chain Reaction was hotter, but not four alarm. I’d recommend them both. I have a few more of their products to try.


Keep it hot…

Burn Pit BBQ also sent some rubs, but to avoid confusion, I’m saving those for next month. My friend, Leslie, didn't want to wait to try the Burn Pit BBQ Hot Brass Sauce. She got creative and used it to make a spicy pork fried rice. 

I hope the rest of their products are as good as this on, which you can buy on Amazon


Pour the wine... 


Yalumba Y Series Viognier is definitely a pick of mine for summer drinking. It’s light and just the amount of dryness so that it is filled with citrus and apricot, and not too sweet. I have to add that I had planned on sampling some other wines but couldn’t get my friends to put this South Australian find down until the bottle was empty!

This delicious wine is available in the U.S. and only costs about $15


Don’t forget the sunscreen…

I never leave the house without sunscreen, and I always want one that is gentle on my skin yet provides good coverage. SunPlus lived up to these demands. It’s light and blends easy and it doesn’t burn my eyes. This sunblock, which has been used at luxury resorts such as the Ritz Carlton Bacara in Santa Barbara, is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants so it can also help make your skin look younger.

SunPlus products are available on their website.


I couldn’t live without …

I’ve started including a favorite product I’ve discovered at the end of these columns and this month it’s Palmer’s Skin Therapy Oil. I loved this product and use it from head to toe. It is fantastic at moisturizing without leaving you oily. It also fades scars and truly heals skin. It’s also under $10, unlike the other scar fading creams and lotions.

Buy Palmer’s Skin Therapy Oil at Amazon.


This post contains affiliate links. If you are looking for more, check out these links. Not only will you find some unique things, but you’ll help me out as I get a commission on these:


My Amazon Influencer Shop


Monday, April 25, 2022

Even More Coffee and Wine

When a trend hits, it hits, and that’s the case in the past year with two popular products: canned wine and spiked coffee. I received some more this past month and enjoyed them enough to pass them along.  

The ideal spritzer…

I’m old enough to remember the white wine spritzer days, when adding club soda to wine was an acceptable way of having a “light” drink. This idea has come back in an even more convenient way.

Wine Water is perfect for your summer tote. It’s just French wine and sparkling water. There is no sugar or artificial flavors. A can is only 69 calories and a low alcohol of 4.9% so you can imbibe without feeling like you are drinking too much.

The Sauvignon Blanc Wine Water is my favorite. It’s very flavorful with distinct citrus, notably grapefruit and lemon.


A special cold brew...


The other trend I am seeing a lot of is spiked coffee, but Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream is the first cold brew one I’ve tried.

These coffees are cold brewed and infused with whiskey and natural flavors, like cocoa. They come in cans so they are easy to transport and will give you a caffeine boost with your cocktail.

The Original is very good, but much stronger than I expected (it is 12.5 ABV). I prefer the Mocha to drink straight. I also suggest making a “Frappuccino” with ice and a blender. You won’t be sorry.


Another Fireman’s special blend…

I really enjoy the Fire Department Coffee Vanilla Bean Bourbon so I was more than happy to try their latest, Irish Cream.

The Fire Department Coffee Irish Whiskey did not disappoint. It’s also delicious and available in ground or beans. All you need to do is top it with a little whip cream and you have a ready-made Irish Coffee.

Let’s not forget that beyond the tasty drinks Fire Department Coffee uses profits to help first responders. You can order directly through their website.


Make your own lattes (my favorite gift) …

Speaking of coffee, I received a Christmas gift that I use at least once every day.

I’ve previously purchased frothers and they either didn’t work well or didn’t last long. This Instapot one is different. It’s a 4 in 1 so you can warm, foam cold, foam warm, or warm and thick foam. I’ve tried it with different types of milk, and it works quickly to make my morning lattes.

You can purchase the Instapot Frother at Amazon.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Happy 2022!

I know the last few years have been very strange for all of us. I hope that things start to normalize soon, whatever the “new normal” may be.

I’m trying to catch up on the products I have for testing, but also wanted to write a bit about a not so new bargain brand of cosmetics I fell in love with. As usual, there are affiliate links in this column and I always appreciate earning a little when my readers click on them.

Spread the fruit…

A selection of jam is something that’s always in my house. Whether it’s on an English muffin or a waffle, with peanut butter, cream cheese, or on its own, I love spreadable fruit. The only problem is that many brands are filled with tons of sugar and additives.

I was more than happy to try Crofter’s Organic in three of my favorite flavors: cherry, raspberry, and peach. Crofter’s is a family business that not only makes organic fruit spreads that are low in calories and sugar, and don’t cost a fortune.

 I loved all the flavors. You can purchase Crofter’s Organic fruit spreads at your local store, or on Amazon.

I’ll have the sweet potatoes…

Since gluten-free became as much of a lifestyle for some as it is a health issue for others, I’ve seen vodkas made from a lot of different products (I was not a fan of the milk). Most don’t really taste much different than what you are used to and, let’s face it, vodka doesn’t have a huge flavor profile to the untrained mouth.

I was intrigued by a vodka made from produce I eat all the time: sweet potatoes. It’s not an easy one to make as it requires 10 pounds of sweet potatoes to make one bottles, plus harvesting, curing, cleaning, cooking, and fermenting before the distillation even begins.

The question here is whether all this work is worth it. In my opinion, yes. This central California distillery has been around since 1917 and is known for its farming as well as award-winning spirits. This is another winner, with a hint of the potato’s sweetness that makes me think of getting out the cinnamon and marshmallows. That makes it a great addition to a Bloody Mary.

At about $30, Corbin Cash Sweet Potato Vodka is reasonable and well worth trying.

More peanut butter and chocolate to love…

Peanut butter is a food group of its own around here and I use PBFit products all the time. My favorite is the peanut butter chocolate blend. I love to mix it and pour it over pancakes, or add some powder to my cereal. I have made smoothies with it, but I always added in protein powder – until now.

PBFit now has Chocolate Plus, a peanut and plant protein powder with chocolate. Three scoops has only 150 calories with a whopping 20 grams of protein. There are no sugar alcohols and the sugar content is still only at five grams. Since its protein comes from peas, it’s also vegan and dairy free (the chocolate is from cacao powder, not chocolate made with milk).

I mix mine with soy or cashew milk, and a frozen banana. PBFit Chocolate Plus is available on here.

My makeup discovery is also a bargain…

It was a tough year and I started looking at ways to save money. Even though I wasn’t wearing a lot of makeup, I realized the brand I was using did cost quite a bit more than most. I decided that would be one of the first budget cuts I would made.

I did some experimenting and fell in love with e.l.f. cosmetics. They cost about a tenth of what my previous brand did and I actually found I liked them better-especially the putty. It is the best smoothing primer I’ve ever had. All of these items are less than $10, and some half of that! Just click on the pictures below to purchase.

Here’s a list of my favorites:

Poreless Putty Primer


(It goes on great with the Flawless Face Brush)

Hydrating Camo Concealer

No Budge Shadow Stick

Mist & Set