16 June, 2012

The Zero Scale Review

     As far as losing weight goes, I'm never very successful.  I just love food too much.  Whether that is part of some rocky past that I need to work through or whether it's more of a love that I need to control, I am not sure.  But I sure do love food.  I love cheese and meat and fries, I love chowder and pasta with sauce.  If it's savory, I love it.
     This love of food does not do well for my waist line or my scale.  In fact, my last scale broke. I'm pretty sure it broke from heart break, lol.  But it was unreliable.  I would step on it some days and it would say something 20 pounds different than the day before or vice versa.  I hope I wasn't changing weight that fast!  So, getting fed up with never knowing if I really was gaining or losing, I went searching.  And it didn't take me long to come across the Zero Scale.
     The idea behind it was intriguing.  Basically, it will only tell you what you really weight if you let it.  What it WILL tell you is how many days have passed since your last or initial weigh-in and how much yo have gained or lost.
     So far, I love my scale for being honest, but I also hate my scale for being honest.  Apparently, I have gained 10 lbs since I have had it *sigh*  However, I usually weigh myself in the morning in my undies before eating anything, and I just weighed myself in the late evening holding a bulky camera fully dressed.  So I'll just pretend that the camera and my clothes added a couple pounds.  But I know it is accurate because I have felt myself gaining weight.  My shirts are getting tighter and I haven't exactly been watching calories.
     What I love most about this bathroom scale is that instead of looking at a huge number, you are just seeing small manageable numbers, like -2 or +1, so you don't need to get overwhelmed with how much you need to lose, but instead you can think about what you did that week and if it worked or not.
     How the scale works is this:
     There is a switch in the back to turn it on, you can choose pounds or kilograms.  There is also a rest button.  You turn the scale on and tap the scale once for profile 1, twice for 2, three times for 3 and four times for 4.  You can also tap it quickly five times to see your actual weight.  After you are on a profile, you weight for a few seconds and it will say 0.o.  You then step on the scale and it will become your profile.  Then every time that you weigh yourself, you use the same user profile an it will tell you what you have gained or lost and in how many days.  First it tells you how much since your last weigh-in, then it switches to your total from the start.
     As part of this product testing, I was also sent a Zero Scale Pedometer, which I love.  It is a great tool for tracking steps and distance.  I'm hoping that the calorie counter isn't accurate because it says that I burn about 80-100 calories per day, which, YIKES!  Is it even possible to burn so few calories?  I hope not.  If so, I guess I can see why I am not doing well on weight loss!  But it;s a good size, stays on well for the most part and is easy to forget.  It's never a nuisance.
     Over-all, I adore my new scale and pedometer set!  They are super easy to use and to read.  They aren't expensive easier as far as these type products go.  The scale is $49.99 and the pedometer is $14.99 on the Zero Scale Website.
     What do you love most about your bathroom scale?

Except for the product(s) given to me for the purpose of reviewing, I received no compensation for this post.  All opinions are 100% my own.

14 June, 2012

Zaggora Hot Pants Review

     I'm kinda what you would call a couch potato.  The likelihood of me getting up and running a mile before breakfast anytime in my life is like the likelihood of watching a snow shower in the middle of July.  It COULD happen, but very doubtful.  I'd really much rather browse the Internet all day or cuddle up and watch a movie.
     But doing those things won't help with my pants size, which is always going up it seems.  I tried eating only salads and sandwiches and according to my scale, I was losing pounds, twelve in fact... but my pants were still snug.  I didn't get it and it was very frustrating.  I'm back on the salad/sandwich diet in an effort to again lose weight.  Hopefully I can add some exercise soon.  But for now, the only real helper I am gonna have with my pants size shrinking are my Viva Hot Pants.
      If you haven't heard of Hot Pants, they are a unique tool in helping to shed pant sizes.  Zaggora, the makers of Hot Pants claim that these pants help you to lose two pant sizes in two weeks.  I was skeptical, no lie.  I usually am very skeptical of things that promise results with little effort beyond normal every day activity.  So I asked the awesome people of Zaggora if they wouldn't mind me testing a pair.  They were super nice and were more than happy to see what I thought of them.
     At first when I got them, I tried them on and thought "Oh Dear, I think I got the wrong size!"  However, it didn't stop me from squeezing my fat heiny into them and they did in fact fit.  I wore them faithfully and hoped that somewhere in Zaggora's claim there was some truth.  After a week of wearing them (yes, I washed them), I am shocked by what I've experienced.
      First of all, the pants sound like Styrofoam rubbing together when you move, and they will make you sweat.  Even just sitting at the computer for most of the day, I sweat.  And during the first day, they really did feel "hot".  The sweating seems to have gone away slightly with every day that I wear them.  But not only did I sweat, I actually did lose at least one pant size!
     I know because I have these panties that are always so tight that they make me feel sick.  I keep them and wear them because I honestly planned to lose weight and fit into them just fine.  Sadly, the scale says I have gained 8 lbs and that's not so encouraging.  But amazingly, after a week in the Hot Pants, I can wear the panties with NO sickness.  They feel perfectly fine, even with the 8 pound gain!  Astounding!
     Also after a week, my Hot Pants themselves go on much easier and feel better while I am wearing them.  I am so impressed, I will be wearing these every day for a while.  I can even wear them under my normal pants, at church, or even out if I dare!  I absolutely love the color and style.  They just look like something you would wear to the gym, which puts it in my head all day that I should be moving.  I like that.  I will update later on how they are doing in a few weeks.
     Here is a little something to leave you with, from th Zaggora website:

     What's your favorite minimal-effort weight loss or slimming tip or product?

Summer on the Cheap

     One of the benefits of being a blogger is that you come across some really frugal ideas for everything from meals to clothes.  I love finding cheap ideas and especially ones that fit into my life.
     Being that today is the first official day of Summer Vacation in our house, we are all pumped about the months to come.  This summer we have decided that we will make every day a fun and exciting day without spending a lot of money.  The family even got together and made a list of 365 free things to do.  We've decided to see how many we can knock out and how far we can stretch that ever dwindling dollar.  Maybe we can even fit a whole year of fun into seventy-six days.
     Today we visited family, played outside, had fun with a pillow pile, planned a vacation (a free one at that!), planned a party, and visited the dollar store.  Tomorrow we will visit another relative for her birthday, do some window shopping, and hopefully get in some swimming and hiking.  I hope to do four or five things every day.  It will be a hard challenge, but one that I hope will make me a better parent at the end of the day.  Maybe it will even make me a better Auntie and friend!
     Now, I won't lie, in this economy, I'm probably crazy to think that even with all these "free" activities we will be able to do them all.  For one thing, there is gas to consider.  It costs me $5 to go to the next town over and back and $10 for the more exciting areas a few miles beyond that.  It will cost small amounts for each craft we do or snack we make.  All those little bits add up when you live check to check.  So this year I plan to use every trick I have.  With resources like the newspaper with it's coupons, promotioncode.org with it's discount codes, and other online sites that offer community forums with free categories.  I definitely will be on the look out for ways to slim down on our summer fun.  And in a few months, we are going to start all over with Winter!
     What about you?  Are your kids out for the summer?  Do you have big plans?

12 June, 2012

Paper Coterie Giveaway!

     Before I got a printer for Christmas last year, I would take one day a year to print and organize any and all photos that were taken in the previous year.  Then I would stick them on whatever shelf or in whatever box that I had deemed worthy and occasionally through-out the year I would take them out and flip through them.  For a while I tried to scrapbook them, but it seems I have little time for that nowadays.  As of now I am attempting to finally hang them in elaborate displays throughout my home, but my kids like to tear the frames off the walls.  What's a mom to do?
     Well, one could turn to Paper Coterie for help.  They have tons of ideas for memory storing.  They have cards and calendars, canvases and growth charts, and even boxes that look like books to hold all your special mementos in!  They also have journals, planners, and photo books.  All of these are such wonderful ways of incorporating favorite photos into daily life without half-ruined picture displays or boxes of barely seen snapshots.
     One in particular caught my eye.  It is the black My Life photo book.  I was thrilled when Paper Coterie offered a gift code for one of my readers to get one of these books for their own.  I'm so jealous.  Just look at how beautiful it is:
It comes with 32 pages that hold about 129 photos  with a plastic cover, all coilbound with an elastic enclosure.  The black makes the photos pop, don't you think?  Alright, you want to win one?  Just follow the Rafflecopter below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

07 June, 2012

GlassesUSA.com - A Great Way to Go

     So let me tell you all a little about something.  My kids hate me.  I say this because it must be so.  Everything of mine gets ruined very quickly.  It doesn't matter if it is a Dollar Tree pair of tweezers or a $40 jacket.  If my kids see it and it belongs to me, it is instantly a target.
     A couple years ago, I got an eye test done because my vision was a bit fuzzy around the edges.  I could see fine for most general purposes, but sometimes I would have trouble reading the street signs until I was right up on them.  Turns out that my eyes, though bothersome, were not bad.  I had been given a small prescription and sent on my way.
     I mistakenly thought my insurance would cover the cost of glasses.  I mean, I drive my kids around and make my income on the computer, glasses are a very important part of day to day life.  But I was wrong.  Turns out that I would have to buy glasses at the whopping cost of $85 for THE CHEAPEST pair in the eye care center.  It took me a year to come up with enough money to get a pair.  So imagine my resentment when they were broken after about two months of having them.
     So I went looking around online for affordable replacements because I knew online would be better this time around to save both time and money.  One of the very first stops in my travels was GlassesUSA.com.  The first thing I noticed was how easy the site is to navigate.  The categories are right there as soon as the page loads: Men's, Women's, Multifocal and RX.  When you click on your category, a pop-down menu gives you more options.  You can choose to browse either by frame type, shape, size, style, material or lens type.
     I look best in rectangular frames, so I looked to see what they had.  And of course, to cut time, I also sorted results by price.  And right away, I saw these:
     They look almost identical to the prescription glasses I just lost.  Score!  And they are $46 cheaper than the cheapest pair at my local eye center.  That's less than half!  Are all the glasses on GlassesUSA that inexpensive?  Of course not, you have your more expensive glasses just like any other place, BUT the point is that you have the choice.  Pay $85 out of pocket for a pair at the office or $38 for this pair, that was MY choice to make and I sure do love choices.
     And in case you aren't sure what looks best on you, they have a Virtual Mirror feature so you can see on your own face how they will look.  I decided to try on the Sherrie eyeglasses from above.  And although I can see perfectly well that the photo of myself is a bad one, I can also see that the glasses are a great fit :)  And if you are brave enough, you can share that virtual image photo to get opinions from others about what fit might be best for you.  Why don't you try it out for yourself:
     If you have been thinking that you might like to order glasses, I would suggest you do it now while they have a Father's Day buy one get one promotion.  Just use the code FATHERSBOGO to get a second pair for free!
Other great coupons are:
Take 15% off + get free shipping on your entire order (orders over $50).   Code: FS15
Take 10% off any order of prescription glasses. Code: Blog10
     There are more deals under their coupon section.  They also offer 110% lowest price guarantee, 100% satisfaction guarantee and a generous refer-a-friend program.  You can also check them out on Facebook and Twitter.  They are definitely worth looking into if you need a pair.  Do you wear glasses?  Where do you get them?

FaceCaddy Giveaway

     A few days ago, I told you about the FaceCaddy and how it has helped me deal with my jaw discomfort after a recent plague of TMJ.  Well, I am off the steroids now and my TMJ pain is gone, but alas, the pain in my tooth has partially returned.  I guess it was a little bit of both *shrug*  I will be using the FaceCaddy a lot in the next several weeks as I await my EKG and the results of that to see if I can go under anesthesia to have the tooth removed.
     It really is a nice soothing comfort to have heat when I need it without anything tying up my hands.  And now John Lucas (the creator of the FaceCaddy) and myself would love to help you out by giving away a FaceCaddy on Just 10 More Minutes?  It can be used to relieve jaw pain from surgery, TMJ, dental trauma, or something more along the lines of migraines or hot flashes.  A woman I talked to considered buying one for her son who has trouble sleeping at night because he tends to overheat in the head and face.  I also talked to a fellow blogger mom who thought it might be useful to drape over her neck while working long hours at the computer.  Genius!  I will definitely be keeping these ideas on hand.
      So let's get on with the giveaway!  Up for grabs is a ZebraCaddy.  Don't you just love the color?  Because we adore the Rafflecopter widget so much, we will be using it for every giveaway on this blog, so just click and go!  Good luck :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

05 June, 2012

A Coupon Code and an Upcoming Giveaway!

      Have you ever heard of 39dollarglasses.com?  I came across them while looking for replacement glasses.    I was surprised to see such low prices.  I have shopped around quite a bit for glasses and most the glasses I see online start at about $65.  There are some exceptions, but most start there.
     39dollarglasses.com start at, you guessed it, $39.  While browsing the selection, I don't think I saw any over $109, which is about what I would spend to get the cheaper-end glasses at the local eye care center.  But most of the glasses I saw were just $39.
     I got in touch with the store and was pleasantly surprised to receive a gift code to share with my readers!  Not only that, but they were nice enough to offer up a pair of glasses too!  So stay tuned for a giveaway for any prescription eye glasses or sunglasses with a value of up to $75.00 and in the meantime, please enjoy this code for 10% off.


     If you decide to stop in today, they are also having a coupon for a limited time to celebrate their 11th anniversary to get you 15% off (coupon codes can not be stacked).


Tom's of Maine Review

     This is embarrassing to say, but I will say it anyway... I have never taken as much care with my teeth as I should have.  I was never made to get into the habit of frequent brushing and flossing as a child and so I just never made it a routine.  Mix that with my faulty memory and you have someone with a really bad sense of dental responsibility.  Add someone with poor dental practices to four young children, and well... you get four young children with bad teeth.  So very sad but also so very true.
     Recently, I saw Baby Bee smile and noticed some tartar build-up by her gum line.  So I went to scrape the tartar away and was shocked to see chips of tooth fall off the front of her teeth.  I had unveiled a discolored pit in her front teeth and I felt terrible.  I felt terrible for not brushing her teeth for her and also for scraping it off so carelessly. I never would have imagined that her teeth would be so bad at just barely two years old.
      We went and saw the dentist.  They contributed it to night time nursing without wiping her mouth out afterward.  WIC told me that there was no way it could have been that because of how far back in her mouth the milk would have been.  So who knows what caused it to be so very bad.  Maybe it's the last few sips of soda she always steals from me when my bottle is running close to empty.  Maybe it was the nursing.  Maybe it was just that her genes make for brittle teeth in the first place.
     Whatever it was, I was ashamed and I was concerned.  Here she is, only two years old and already needing fillings on her baby teeth.  We have a referral to a place a couple hours away to get her fillings done.  The likely hood of getting there in this economy any time soon is unlikely.  That is possibly the most scary thing.  To get there, it would cost us $35 and 5 hours.  Doesn't seem like a lot, but lately it seems like we scrape just to get gas for work the next town over.  So I know it will be weeks before we can afford to go and in the mean time, I want to make sure her little teeth don't fall apart on me.
      So I went looking for help at Tom's of Maine because I love that they are local to me.  And by local to me, I mean slightly further away from me than Falmouth is, lol.  But they are a Maine company none the less and so my loyalties must lie with them.  As I was browsing through their products, I saw one that instantly caught my eye.  It's called Silly Strawberry Children's Anticavity Fluoride Toothpaste.  It struck my fancy because Streaker is so sensitive to mint that she will cry, so strawberry flavoring sounded like a great option.
     I was thrilled when Tom's of Maine allowed me to try some to help protect Baby Bee's teeth.  It came super quick.  I first let the Big One and Baby Bee try it.  They both had very different opinions of it.  It should be known that whenever I seem excited about something, the Big One makes it a point to be very unexcited.  Her very word to describe it was "horrible".  *eye roll*
     Baby Bee however, seemed to be completely indifferent.  She didn't dislike it, nor did she seem to love it.  So I tried it on Streaker and she adores it!  She loved that it wasn't minty and didn't hurt her tongue.    She thought it tasted just like strawberries.  I thought it had a nice taste, it wasn't too strong or too subtle.
     The toothpaste itself is a light peachy cream color, an off-white.  I don't know why that surprised me seeing as how it's an all natural toothpaste, but it did.  Every ingredient in the toothpaste serves a purpose.  The glycerin is a moistener, the water and calcium carbonate are for consistency and mild abrasion.  The silica is for stain removal and the natural flavors are obviously for the taste.  Two more ingredients act to thicken and to be a dispersant.  Did you know that some natural flavors in other products can mean something as gross as anal gland juice?  Yeah... you've probably eaten anal gland juice *gag*.  That's why I am so glad that Tom's of Maine uses natural flavors from actual strawberries and other plants, NOT animals.
     You can find a list of all the ingredients that they use here, along with what the ingredient is used for.  How awesome is that?  You can also check out what other products and options that they have.  For instance, this same toothpaste which also comes in Orange-Mango comes in fluoride and non-fluoride varieties.  Tom's of Maine toothpastes also have the option of being ordered SLS-free.  On top of that, they make soap, deodorant and floss too!
     There are so many awesome things to say about Tom's of Maine that I just couldn't say it all here.  From the volunteer work, to their eco-friendly strides... Tom's of Maine is what every company should strive to be.  I am so proud to say that I am state-mates with such a wonderful group of people.  Please check them out of Facebook, Twitter, Youtube or their Good Matters Blog.

Except for the product(s) given to me for the purpose of reviewing, I received no compensation for this post.  All opinions are 100% my own. 

04 June, 2012

FaceCaddy Review

     In the next month or so, you can expect to see a lot about looking good and feeling great on my blog.  I have decided that this is a now or never thing.  I'm either going to choose to take care of myself now or it's just never going to happen.  So after my recent bout of jaw pain after a dental visit, I knew I needed to get proactive instead of just taking whatever was handed to me (the pain!) like I always do.
     So when the pain didn't go away, I saw the dentist.
     When the dentist couldn't pull the tooth, I saw the doctor.
     And when the doctor said the pain might last two to three weeks because it was actually TMJ and NOT the tooth, I saw the pharmacist.
     Somewhere in the middle of all that, I researched ways to make the excruciating pain in my head go away.  Sometimes the medicine that I was on just wouldn't take all the pain away.  I found out later that it was due to my singing.  I can't help it, singing to me is like breathing or eating.  I do it mindlessly and I can't live without it.  But it wasn't helping the Temporomandibular joint that was causing me so much discomfort.
     But back to my research.  I found mouth pieces to stop jaw clenching and teeth grinding at night.  There was lots of success attributed to them, but it wasn't for me.  I don't grit my teeth unless I am stressed out over something in the moment and I don't think it is even possible for me to grind my teeth because they fit so perfectly inside each other with no wiggle room.  I also came across pillows which looked comfy and pain gel which just looked like a scam.

      Then I came across a site for TMJ sufferers, called TMJ Hope, and saw something that looked promising.  It's called the FaceCaddy by CaddyWraps.  It's a device that you wrap around your head and it holds gel packs that can be frozen or heated to relieve discomfort. The man who developed CaddyWraps was gracious enough to let me try one out.
     At  first, I wasn't sure that I would find much use in it.  I had a hard time making the gel pads warm enough without disobeying the instructions to not go over fifty seconds in the microwave.  I also thought that the wrap almost hurt my jaw because it held me too tightly.  But like anything, practice was all it took.  I loosened the wrap so it would not hold my jaw too tightly and I nuked the gel packs individually for fifty seconds with no pauses (I think my microwave is a smaller wattage than most) and it worked well.
     Luckily for me, my doctor was a smart woman and put me on Prednisone to help boost the healing process and I have been nearly pain free for the last two days.  But before that, I would wake with pain in my jaw that just hurt terribly.  So while waiting for my pain meds to kick in, I would apply the FaceCaddy and it would help sooth away the discomfort.  The gel packs stayed warm just long enough.  If the pain meds wouldn't have worked as quickly, I may have had to re-nuke the gel packs, but just as the meds kicked in, the gel packs lost their heat.  I would guess that the real heat of it lasted about a half hour which was just right.
     I decided not to try the freeze option because my teeth are very sensitive to the cold, but the gel seems to be the same gel that is in most ice packs and stays pliable when frozen.  For anyone without sensitive teeth, I imagine it would work wonders.
     The FaceCaddy looks almost like a pair of fabric sunglasses with Velcro on the ends.  On the inside of each "lens" part of the eyeglass shape is a pocket that the gel packs go into.  You fold the pack, then insert and unfold.  Sounds a touch complicated, but the packs go in so easy and unfold easy too.  To use it, you place the middle part under your chin and wrap it up over your head so that the rounded parts fall over your jaw and ears, not toward your face.  Then you attach the Velcro straps together.
     I like that you don't have to hold a rice bag or a bag of peas to your face.  It is completely hands-free.  As a busy mom who is always having to break up fights or find missing toys and clean up spills, it is a blessing to have something that allows me to do that.
     The gel packs are the perfect size.  They are just the size of my hands, which are smaller than average, and fit on the side of my face just as comfortably as my hand would.  CaddyWraps also has an EyesCaddy and a BackCaddy.  I can't wait to see if they come up with KneeCaddies or AnkleCaddies!  To keep up with CaddyWraps, you can catch them on Facebook or Twitter.
     Interested?  The FaceCaddy sells for $24.99 and come in black, pink, zebra and paisley (above).  The gel packs also sell individually for $9.99 so that you can always have a pair in the freezer or ready to nuke when you start to feel the need to rewarm or cool back down.  If you want one of your own, you can also stay tuned for a giveaway in the next couple days.  I'm so happy that CaddyWraps has agreed to give one of my readers their very own.  They sure do aim to please!
     So tell me, do you suffer from TMJ Disorder or other debilitating jaw pain?  How do you usually deal with it?

Except for the product(s) given to me for the purpose of reviewing, I received no compensation for this post.  All opinions are 100% my own. 
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