Foodie Rhi-flection: Monster Mash Bars Recipe

Sooo I utterly suck at life sometimes and October was a bad month for us financially. It's a long story but here we are at the end of the month and I couldn't afford to grocery shop without dipping into our savings. Before anyone panics... we're fine! There's plenty of food around here and if I needed it I could ask my in-laws to pick me up something... it's just one of those between pay-check spots when nothing seems to go together and I have to get creative.

As luck would have it the recipe I was going to make for last night's Dexter + Snacks night with our friends was one I had everything for... until I went to get the brown sugar out. *facepalm* Crap-on-a-cracker! The hubs was going to run out for some but by the time he'd done that I'd be late and so I went into freak-out mode tearing apart my cupboards for an alternative treat I could make.

As it happens my FIL had dropped by earlier in the day with boxes of cereal for the kids. Count Chocula, Boo Berry, and Frankberry. Pretty much the only food we already had tons of was cold cereal so I decided I had to come up with something to make from them.

The answer... a mash-up of Rice Krispie Treats and Count Chocula. Only I had no idea what I was doing. After a quick search of the web I found something promising on The Marveous Misadventures of a Foodie. Only something went wrong in the process—it could have been the butter I added but I doubt it... cold peanut butter was my best guess—and I was left with a wad of thick marshmallowy peanut butter in the middle of a bunch of cereal. There was much F-bombing going on as I went into more panic. How could I fix it? I was out of marshmallows. My guest would arrive in 40 minutes. I was on the verge of tears. More F-bombs. Lightbulb!

Thus my 'bandage' for the problem actually made them even yummier and inspired the name of the recipe. You might like it, it's definitely a sugar rush and sure to be a hit with kids.


Monster Mash Bars


3 Tablespoons Butter, Plus 1 Tablespoon to grease bowl, Plus 1 Tablespoon to grease pan

4 Cups Mini Marshmallows

1/2 Cup Peanut Butter (note: if using Adam's PB as I did let it hit room temp before using!)

6 Cups Count Chocula Cereal


1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar

1/2 Cup Light Corn Syrup

1/2 Cup Peanut Butter

Orange Gel Food Coloring** (optional)

Grease 13x9 glass pan with butter*, set aside.

Grease large microwave safe bowl with butter and place additional butter inside. Add mini marshmallows to bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, making sure they don't overflow the bowl. Stir in peanut butter and microwave for another minute or until marshmallows are melted. Quickly mix in cereal and pour into prepared pan. Using a spatula or your hand and a piece of parchment paper, gently press mixture into pan until evenly distributed.

While bars are cooling place corn syrup and sugar into a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter. If using Orange Gel Food Coloring about 1/4 teaspoon should do, quickly stir into mixture until smooth. Gently pour mixture over bars in pan from one end to the other. Quickly smooth with a spatula until evenly spread.

Once bars and glaze are cool slice into wedges*** and serve.
* I added butter to the recipe I found because I compared it to the traditional rice krispie treats recipe and didn't like that it was omitted. I also prefer to grease my pans with butter for the sake of taste. I just really dislike cooking spray's aftertaste but you can certainly swap it in if you like it. :)

** I bet you could use regular food coloring but ever since I started using gel I prefer it for the high pigment and less mess factor.

*** You can certainly change the shape! I considered using a skull cookie cutter of mine to make these more festive but didn't have time to get fancy. I chose wedge shapes 'cause it's Halloween and thought of Count Chocula's vampire teeth. ;)

Didn't they turn out colorful? The mix of peanut butter and chocolate was a hit. Now I need to find something to do with the Boo Berry cereal. Gack!
If you try the recipe let me know what you think... I'm really bad at describing what to do when I write one up. Thank goodness it was an adaptation of 3 others put together so I could remember how I made it today. :P Happy Haunting!


Wino Wednesday: Cupcake Vineyards Angel Food

Continuing in my blends exploration I decided to try Cupcake Vineyard's Angel Food this past week. A while back I was having a whine about wanting wine and a cupcake after a really rotten day and my friends said why not just have a bottle from Cupcake. I have the smartest friends ever don't I? ;)
I chose Angel Food since I've been on a blends kick and wanted to go white this time around. Here's the details from Cupcake's website:
Winemaker’s Tasting Notes:“Made with premium chardonnay grapes as a base, this proprietary white blend is luscious, aromatic and delightfully reminiscent of an Angel Food cupcake. Flavors of baked Granny Smith apple and hints of toasty vanilla combine for a creamy mouthfeel that has become a signature of Cupcake Vineyards.”

Food Pairing Recommendations:A heavenly pair with white cheddar fondue, pancetta wrapped figs or simply as an aperitif.

Winemaking Notes:Our proprietary Angel Food wine is a delicate blend of white grapes where each variety shows structure, aroma and depth of flavor with a long creamy finish. The grapes are harvested from vineyards in some of California’s finest viticultural areas, each picked for their ability to engender these grapes with distinct characteristics. Each varietal is fermented separately, blended and then put through a unique oak regime that imparts a certain creaminess.

Last week was the premiere of season 2 of American Horror Story so I sat down to enjoy that and my wine but found I really didn't care for Angel Food. (Season 2 of AHS is going to be pretty crazy though!) All I could taste was a bitter apple tone in that first glass. I was really disappointed. Later in the week though I figured I'd give it another go and since I wasn't photographing it for the blog did what I usually do... poured it into a drinking glass... because I'm a rebel like that. lol

Apparently, something about my favorite pewter goblet must have not agreed with Angel Food because it was like trying something completely new. While I wasn't getting the baked apple notes I could catch the hint of vanilla and a subtle green tartness with a mellow finish I wasn't expecting. If Cupcake Vineyard's signature is the creamy mouthfeel I am definitely going to try another one of their wines very soon.

Overall I'd probably only rate Angel Food at a 4 stars because I did like it. I just didn't love it. I'd recommend it for someone who plans to sip it alone or strictly with cheese because of the creamy mouthfeel. I love the color but don't think I'll buy it again.


The Hello Kitty Birthday 'Cake': Tips & Ideas

Last week, the little one—whom my pregnancy with originally spawned this blog—turned 3. When I asked her what kind of cake she wanted her answer was Cinderella and Hello Kitty.

I'm lazy. I love store bought cakes because I'm lazy. And not very artistically talented, unfortunately. lol

So in his snarky way that tends to royally piss me off the hubs said I should do like on all the TV shows and make a Rice Krispie treat and mold it to the shape of a Hello Kitty head. We had very different ideas of what that exactly meant and thank goodness I bought enough Rice Krispies and Marshmallows to make about 8 batches because I ended up needing 3 batches. *facepalm*

Anyway, all that to say that while not flawless, it turned out pretty cute and was actually a big hit.


Check out Influenster's relaunch & turn your social influence into rewards!

Now that I've had several days to get a feel for the newly relaunched Influenster website I had to write about it! Not just because there's a reward for it, but because I was already planning to do it, prizes or not. But first, a little background...

About a year ago, I stumbled upon Influenster when my husband saw something one of his cousins had posted on Facebook about it. He knows how much I enjoy trying new products and writing reviewsI've been doing it for almost 10 years now—and thought it sounded like a program I would like. But I was too busy at that time thanks to my busy book blogging schedule and the involved process of raising kids, being a slave to our menagerie of pets, and taking care of this big house. So I put it off and waited a while, holding the name in the back of my head for a free moment. And I am so glad I finally took the time to join!

I know that many folks join Influenster with only 'FREE STUFF!!!' as a motivating factor and are quickly disappointed when they don't get a Voxbox immediately. But—and I hate letting this secret get out there—I got the very first voxbox that came out after I joined... like less than a month after I joined. Don't hate me... my secret is that if there's an Influenster twitter party during the day, you can bet your butt I'm there. Show them you're going to make the effort to be a social media presence, trust me when I say it makes an impact. Why? Because Influenster's core is the ability to build product awareness for the companies who provide Voxbox products.

Since joining last year I've received 4 boxes and had 1 get lost in the mail. That's pretty darned good. Just enough to keep me busy without overwhelming me. Not that I wouldn't love more, but I know I can't fit every demographic that every box needs to go to. That's what makes the relaunched site so freaking awesome—it's easier than ever to make sure you get considered for Voxboxes that you will like!

That's my new profile. It allows me to provide information about myself—pretty much the same stuff you see around here—and links to the many social media outlets I use. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube... it's all there so connecting all of my influential outlets are easy to find. If another member wants to see where I blog and which Voxbox Campaigns I've been part of and brand badges I've earned it's all there for her (or him) to find.
In addition to the Voxbox and Brand Badges, there are a new system of Badges to help Influenster match you with the best campaigns for you.

Lifestage Badges are more of a demographic thing. Mine are Mother Bear, Catnip, Do-Good-Er, Wellness, and Influenster Veteran. In other words, these let Influenster and the community know that I'm a mom who does volunteer work, is interested in health and wellness, and has cats. Other Lifestage Badges might let us know that another Influenster is a dog lover, bride-to-be, or college student.

You can have as many Lifestage Badges as you fit and you can update them as your life changes. So if you get married, have a baby, or your pet runs away you can adjust your badges as needed.

In contrast, Expert Badges allow you to select specific areas of interest to you. When you start out you can have up to five and in the future you will be able to unlock more. I'm honestly not sure how that will work yet but there are about 9 total I would fit so I'm looking forward to seeing how that ends up working.

Expert Badges allow you to cater your Influenster experience to areas you might already be highly focused on. For example, here at RhiAlistic I frequently post beauty product reviews, recipes, and write about eco-friendly things to change your lifestyle. So I chose the Eco, Sweet Tooth, and Beauty Queen Expert Badges. There were so many other Expert Badges that might apply to me in other areas that I had a tough time deciding which ones I felt I should choose. From Gadgeteer and Chowhound to Decorator and Fashionista, I could have chosen an area I focus on a little bit here but in the end I decided to pick my other two as areas I have a BIG interest in more in my private life that I hadn't shared on the blog really. It gives me a chance to find motivation to reveal my Gamer side and share my passion for beer, wine, and cocktails with the High Spirits Badge in a more social media sense.

I would highly recommend taking a similar approach if you're new to Influenster so you can grow as a blogger or vlogger. One of the best things I've learned in four years of blogging is that it's good to occasionally mix it up so you don't get bored and your audience doesn't lose interest.

Did you notice those numbers beside each of my Expert Badges? In each area of expertise you have tasks you can do to raise your score. Naturally, in an area you write a lot of reviews, have a vlog dedicated to, or just know enough to answer questions about you will have a higher score. Which is why my High Spirits is kinda low while my Eco and Sweet Tooth are pretty high.

Review pages are so much better this time around. In addition to rating and reviewing products you can find out more about them, tag them, find price ranges, the brand website, and check out the Q and A section where you can ask things about the product or brand and answer ones for those you're an expert on. I love the Average Grade section that shows you what the concensus is amongst the community.

At the moment the Review pages are limited to a series of products fitting each Badge or Campaign category but soon Influenster will be allowing us to add pages for the ones we have something to write about. Which means I can write about any foundation, liqueur, or restaurant that deserves some praise or buyer-beware notation and boost my score. All of the activities you complete now contribute to your overall Influenster score. At the moment mine is 72 which isn't too shabby. The current All Star Members listed range from 82-38 so it looks like my score is about average. Scores update daily so being active within the community as often as possible is a good way to keep yours high.

One of the things I love about Influenster is that you're not required to give raving A+ reviews. If you don't like an item just be honest. I've been doing this long enough to know that honest negative reviews can actually be what sells a product. It sounds crazy but think about it... maybe the thing you hated about that nail polish is exactly why it's a perfect fit for another person. Either way, when you're sharing your experience through your Facebook page or Pinning that new product or mentioning it to your co-workers, you're building product awareness... you're influencing the peeps you brush up against in the social sphere. Who wouldn't want to earn rewards for that?

Do I still have your attention? Good. I know this is a lot of info if you're not yet familiar with Influenster. So on that note I wanted to mention that the newly improved and seriously amazing About page on the website has answers to all of the questions I'm sure you're confused about.

Another cool new feature of Influenster's new website is the dashboard. You can see in the above image how I just did the Halloween Survey under Recent Activity, that I'm working on The Influenster Relaunch program (that's what this post is for) in my Fun File, and the Plan of Attack section that has activity suggestions to boost my score. It makes it super easy to find out what I need to work on like Brand Challenges, sharing Review Pages, and which Voxbox campaign I'm currently on.
Additionally, you can see that I currently have five invitations available to send to friends—or one of you followers who thinks it's something you'd love to try—so they can join Influenster. If you're interested please feel free to leave a comment here since I invited most of my friends from my private life before the site changed to being invite-only.
Voxboxes will still be the same but finding and working on your Brand Challenges and earning Brand Badges and chances to get extra goodies is more streamlined. It's easier to see what Mandatory Tasks (ie. the post-campaign survey) you need to complete and now there are Bonus Tasks like sharing your unboxing video or creating a Pinterest board featuring the products from the Voxbox. I'm not sure but I'm betting Bonus Tasks give extra points to your overall score.
On the right hand side you can see the Brand Challenges that fall into a Voxbox's contents. These are much the same, but it's a lot easier to tell if you've completed them or not. New icons tell you when you've completed them and when you have not.
As an example, you can see the NECTRESSE Brand Challenge page. The Show More button will give you all of the info you need to complete each task like using a specific phrase in your blog title or posting a certain kind of product picture on Instagram. You also find out the details of the Challenge Prize, I've won several of them in the past and find that the tasks make for good content on days when I don't have a lot to say otherwise. While the Challenge Prize might not always be something big and many have a very limited chance of winning, if you make the effort to complete all of the challenge tasks chances are you'll have some extra goodies coming your way. Sometimes the prize is simply a guaranteed chance at a future Voxbox which is the best one if you ask me. ;)
Overall, the newly relaunched Influenster website is top notch. For veterans, like myself, it might take some time familiarizing yourself with the new features but it's a lot of fun. I think the increased interactive features which allow us to connect to one another will be a big boon in finding products to try (as my Rhi-flection earlier this week mentioned) and making spreading the word about favorites much easier. If you're brand new to the site congratulations on joining a fun and innnovative community of influential people just like you! There's a lot to do, it's tons of fun if you enjoy sharing your product and brand experiences, and the perks are just icing on the cake.
Congrats on the newly relaunched site Influenster! I love it and look forward to more exciting campaigns and finally getting the community interactivity I've been craving.


Boozey Rhi-flection: Apothic 2010 Red

I am far from being a wine aficionado. When it comes to choosing an alcoholic beverage—or any beverage, come to think of it—I'm very much a mood-based drinker. Some days a cold beer is just the thing, others I'd rather just drop a shot of schnapps (butterscotch is my favorite) into hot cocoa and sip. But having grown up in the Pacific Northwest where wineries abound, I've always had a soft spot for wine. Even as a kid I had a bit of a fascination with the stuff. I can recall vividly leaning over a beautiful etched and gold-rimmed glass my mother used for special occasions to smell the wine she was drinking when I was probably about 5-years-old. It stuck with me for years.
For my anniversary last week I decided to treat myself to a bottle of wine and having seen great reviews of Apothic Red on Influenster's newly redesigned and relaunched website I decided to give it a go.
Apothic 2010 Red

The brambly spice of Zinfandel, dark fruit flavors of Syrah, the bold notes of Cabernet Sauvignon and the smooth elegance of Merlot unite to create this captivating red blend.

Apothic Red reveals intense fruit aromas and flavors of rhubarb and black cherry, complemented by hints of mocha, chocolate, brown spice and vanilla. The plush, velvety mouthfeel and the smooth finish round out this intriguing, full-bodied red blend.

13.1% Alcohol

Remember when I said I wasn't a wine nerd? Well, I'm definitely not. I enjoy every glass but rarely make a fuss over where it came from and all that. Which is why recently I've been picking up blends, so I can take the guess work out of which variety I should try. Other drinkers might love the puzzle of figuring out what notes and flavors they're experiencing—admittedly, I'm that way about perfumes—but I mostly just want to sip my wine and relax without feeling compelled to over-analyze it.
Which is why I absolutely loved APOTHIC RED. Aside from its pretty label and general simplicity it seemed sophisticated without being pretentious. I don't always like reds, although they've grown on me the older I get, and yet this was just a heady blend of rich flavor that seduced me. One of my big turn-offs with many reds if how they feel in my mouth and APOTHIC RED's claim of a 'plush, velvety mouthfeel' is exactly what I was thinking to call it before I checked the website for its description.
Paired with a dessert like Red Velvet Cake or as a compliment to a perfectly seered steak it would be divine but I have a Pears in Red Wine recipe I think this would be perfect for. That said, the very best pairing I could think for APOTHIC RED is a novel and a chair by the fire.
I will definitely be picking up APOTHIC 2010 RED again just for myself but think it would be the perfect inexpensive bottle—I paid about $9 for mine—to gift to a hostess you don't know very well. It's a decadent bottle for the price and as a blend could please both wine geeks and newbies alike. I was even thinking it'd make the perfect wine for the upcoming Halloween holiday... you can find lots of cool printable (or purchasable) labels to give a wine bottle a new name, Vampire's Blood or Chateau de Dracula anyone?


Eco Rhi-flection: CleanWell Natural Hand Sanitizer Wipes

It's cold season and sure enough, as I sit here I'm on day 6 of one and miserable. Mine seems to have been brought on by last week's 80 degree Monday dropping to mid-30's and windy/rainy/snowy Wednesday wreaking havoc on my immune system. But then... I wasn't thinking about wiping my hands down after being at my kid's football game and then hitting the convenience store for a lottery ticket afterward (I was feeling lucky after they won the game but all I got out of it was this cold lol). If I had been on the ball I'd have given CleanWell's Natural Hand Sanitizer Wipes a go as soon as I got out of the frigid outdoors to combat the germs and maybe not be feeling so awful today.

I haven't commented on it on the blog yet but something I've recently been trying out in my household cleaners is one that is Thyme based. Its antibacterial properties make it a safer, natural alternative to the nasty chemical germ fighters that upset my asthma and cause skin irritation.

Similarly, CleanWell's Natural Hand Sanitizing Wipes use a patented Thyme formulation to kill germs without the use of alcohol and other harsh chemicals. They contain aloe too, so they leave your hands soft. But what I personally love about them is that the wipes are biodegradable, which means I can swipe them over my toddler's hands before they dry out and then toss them, knowing they're not contributing to long-term waste. And don't worry, our Naturals Voxbox sample size isn't the only way you can get them.

CleanWell Natural Hand Sanitizing Wipes can be purchased in boxes of the individual packs if you'd like them that way but I'd personally recommend the Pocket Packs (containing 10 wipes each) for stowing in purses, diaper bags, and backpacks. You can also buy them in Canisters of 40 wipes that's be great for the car. If you don't care for the herbal Original scent, there's also Orange Vanilla wipes. They also have Hand Sanitizer Sprays if you don't care for wipes.

While I love a certain other company's foaming hand soaps because of their yummy scents and antibacterial buttkicking, I'm actually planning to switch to CleanWell's once I can find a local store that carries them. Their Natural Antibacterial Foaming Handsoap has the same germ destroying NATURAL & NON-TOXIC ingredients and comes in more luscious fragrances including Lavender, Ginger Bergamot, and Spearmint Lime. I can still enjoy soaps that smell good and fight bacteria but feel good about the ecofriendly qualities as well. Does it get any better than that?

So what are you waiting for? Go check out the CleanWell website and learn more about the benefits of switching to naturally derived ingredients that will hopefully help during this rotten season of colds and flus. And, on that note... I'm off to make some warm licorice tea with honey, my own natural cold symptom fighter. ;)

Note: I received this product through Influenster's Voxbox program which provides members with free products in exchange for honest reviews. All opinions shared here are my own and not influenced by the freeness of the product. If you'd like to know more about how Influenster works please visit their website.


Baby Rhi-flection: SheaMoisture Baby Bar Soap

If you suffer with sensitive skin, as my household does, you know it can take years to find a great soap. Not just one that doesn't irritate, one that leaves your skin feeling better. We've used many products over the years but it's proven difficult to find one that works for the many skin issues we've got in our household:
  • Body Acne
  • Eczema
  • Keratosis Pilaris
  • Dry climate = dry skin
With these troubles plagueing us we're always in the market for something that makes our skin happy. We have found one (another brand) that we like very much for our toddler who suffers from both eczema and very bad K.P. but it's not in a bar form which makes it less suitable for the rest of us who are showerers. Enter Shea Moisture's Organic Raw Shea Butter Baby Eczema Bar Soap.
As it happens the week my Naturals Voxbox arrived the rash my son has had around his nose was at its worst, we weren't 100% sure it wasn't something ooky since it wasn't responding to any treatments we'd tried so he was off to see the doctor about it. Eczema, the doc proclaimed and then wrote a prescription for a cream that costs $170. I about fainted when the pharmacy told me that. (Pardon the random hair that fell into the photo but he's 12 and didn't want his photo taken for this so it was one shot and 'go away mom').
Alas, so far the Shea Moisture Baby Eczema Bar hasn't made a significantly visible improvement to this spot after a week of use (it actually is redder at the moment) but it's less bumpy and flaky.
From big brother on to baby sister... who has the worst Keratosis Pilaris I've ever seen on someone so young. :( Both she and my husband (it runs in his family) suffer from bad outbreaks of it when the seasons change. After only two uses her K.P. had significantly settled down and was no longer visible! Which means we've found a product that will work for all of us but most importantly... is also good for the Earth. It's been a challenge finding products that meet all of our needs that also make me feel good in a social sense. :)
With many chain retailers carrying Shea Moisture's products and there being so many of them I can't wait to see what other organic treasures I can share with my family.

In addition to being organic and containing the very best ingredients like shea butter and argan oil, the bar smells heavenly! If you love the warm scents of Frankincense and Myrrh you will want to lather this one up twice just to luxuriate in how lovely it smells.

I highly recommend Shea Moisture's Raw Shea Butter Baby Eczema Bar Soap to families with sensitive skinned kiddos who suffer from eczema or K.P. because it has worked so well for ours while meeting our other needs. Especially if you want to use something that's both good for you and our planet!


Note: I received this product through Influenster's Voxbox program which provides members with free products in exchange for honest reviews. All opinions shared here are my own and not influenced by the freeness of the product. If you'd like to know more about how Influenster works please visit their website.


Mommy Solution Rhi-flection: The Original™ Dish Drying Mat

I'd be lying if I said I enjoyed cleaning. At all. And my least favorite chore of all is doing dishes. But I'm a stay-at-home mom and no one else in the household is jumping up and down asking if they can pretty please help me with the dishes. Which means I'm ever in the market for things that make doing that dastardly deed easier.
I don't run my dishwasher unless it's full because that's the most ecofriendly way to do things. Which means that between loads I often need an item that can't wait. I also have several serving pieces and vintage items that I prefer to hand wash due to their size or delicacy. That's where The Original Dish Drying Mat comes in so handy.

It's 16"x18" (also available in 18"x24" XL size) so it doesn't take up too much room on my counter, which is a must. Our home has very little counter space—and has to have been designed by a man, 'cause no woman would be foolish enough to make that mistake—so everything needs to fit nicely on my counter. I do wish that there were a version that was a bit longer and rectangular, to fit alongside my sink from end to end but it's not bad either.
The one I received through Influenster was in the cream shade but it also comes in a sage green, steel grey, and red so chances are you'll find one that looks nice with your kitchen colors too.

The mat is made with 'a thin layer of foam between two layers of high quality, super absorbent microfiber' making it both able to cushion delicate items like my French press and able to hold 4 times its weight in water. It can also be used under a dishrack or appliances to prevent scratches and scuffing.

It's well suited to awkward sized and delicate items that can't go in the dishwasher like my non-stick pancake pan and fruit bowl. I do find that items like the fruit bowl fog up and don't dry well unless a gap is left underneath the rim using a spoon. For best results just hand dry items like that after they've had a few minutes to drip the excess onto the mat.

When you use a towel or dishrack to hold your hand-washed dishes do you ever find that you wind up with bad soak through? When I've used towels under my dishrack I find they get musty and stinky from excess moisture if I don't change them everyday. That's a lot of laundry (which negates the ecofriendliness of hand-washing)! With the Original Dish Drying Mat I was surprised to find that though there was moisture around the mat from my splashes, none of the water from the dishes soaked through to the countertop.

When you're finished, just hang the Original Dish Drying Mat by the attached loop to dry. It's a big enough loop it fit nicely here on the cupboard knob next to my sink. Once it's dry it folds in three and stores nicely in a towel drawer or in my favored location, under the sink. It should be washed frequently though. It's machine washable and you can find the specific instructions to do so on the website. The one thing that seems to be an overall no-no for the mat is heat. Low drying heat, do not iron, not to be used as a hot pad or oven mitt... yep, best to avoid high temps.
Now that I've become a fan of the Original Dish Drying Mat—which can be found at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for only $4.99 making it quite the bargain—I'm looking forward to trying more great items from The Original. The Original makes some other really cool cleaning, dish, and laundry solutions from their Wrinkle Release Dryer Towel to their Dish Drying Gloves. I'm thinking awesome stocking stuffers and hostess gifts during the upcoming holiday season!

Note: I received this product through Influenster's Voxbox program which provides members with free products in exchange for honest reviews. All opinions shared here are my own and not influenced by the freeness of the product. If you'd like to know more about how Influenster works please visit their website.


Beauty Rhi-view: LypSyl Intense Protection LypMoisturizer™

LypSyl LypMoisturizer Lip Balm, Intense Protection
Product Information: Created with pure Swedish beeswax, organic shea butter and vitamins A and E for long-lasting, deep-penetrating moisture and lip care protection. LypSyl Intense Protection LypMoisturizer™ helps moisturize, soften and protect your lips naturally. The unique one-hand slide allows for quick application. And, the oversize application tip ensures this ultra- light formula spreads evenly for better lip coverage.
• Fresh minty flavor.
• Not tested on animals!
Priced at around $3
Ingredients: Mineral Oil, Petrolatum, Paraffin, Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Ceresin, Beeswax, Flavor, Certified Organic Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E Acetate), Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A Palmitate), Bixa Orellana Seed Extract
Company Website: Lypsyl

Great moisture but read the ingredients... (4 stars)

If you're looking for a lipbalm that provides great moisture and can hold up to dry climates LypSyl's Intense Protection LypMoisture is terrific. I love the one-hand slider shaped like a bee on the side and it has a lovely minty flavor. The big beef I have with it is that it contains petrolatum which is controversially known as something Natural product purists, specifically those who want organics, might not want to use.

Petrolatum is really on the lower risk side as far as toxicity and harmfulness goes but if you've been following the blog for long you know I'm a stickler for reading the ingredients and watching for things that pose risks or cause irritation. Aside from that these are all ingredients you should love, especially the Shea and coconut oil which are both are great moisturizers.

Here in Montana we've had a freaky unusual warm spell and there've been bad fires all around making our already naturally dry air much worse. My lips are usually always struggling to stay moist so I routinely apply lipbalm throughout the day and a lick coat before bed each night. I've really loved LypSyl because it has such a unique shape which makes sure I get even coverage. Not only that... it lasts! After my first application in the morning it's survived through my breakfast and coffee and into lunch time before I need more.

While I would recommend LypSyl Intense Protection LypMoisture for just about anyone who's not allergic to beeswax (I actually know someone who is), I would specifically recommend this one for men. It doesn't contain SPF which I would recommend having in your lipbalm if you work outside but the shape, size, and non-girly tube make it a great one for dudes. I especially think guys will love the single-hand slide (that little gold bee on the side) and mint flavor.

Note: I received this product through Influenster's Voxbox program which provides members with free products in exchange for honest reviews. All opinions shared here are my own and not influenced by the freeness of the product. If you'd like to know more about how Influenster works please visit their website.
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