4.29.2012

Product Rhi-view: Palmolive Fresh Sponge [Video]


 
I had sooo much trouble getting this video made it's not even funny. I could seriously write a long whine about it but promise to spare ya. ;)

But it finally got to working and I'm gonna head to bed. Got an awesome book I'm dying to get into before bed. Let me know how lame I sound in my video. lol I wasn't even on camera and I sounded nervous. hehe! Have a good night y'all!


4.24.2012

Getting ready for warmer days... & a recipe!

My baby Sweet Basil plants
Unlike most other parts of the U.S., the area I live isn't actually seeing the end of winter. The grass is getting green, the trees are budding, and we actually have had a huge bloom of mosquitoes already but chances are, we'll see snow again a few more times between now and June. Crazy huh?

Montana just has one of those dramatic climates that experiences very rapid shifts. Especially here in the central part because we're on the high plains. This area is why our state has the nickname 'Big Sky Country'. When I first came here almost 20 years ago it was actually physically disorienting. Granted I was used to the big city where it took 20 minutes of highway driving to get from one end of it to the other so my perspective was very different. After a couple of decades though it's still fascinating.

Tomato starts from school & mint clippings from last fall
Yesterday our temps hit the 80's which is freakishly warm for April. It felt so good after months of being cold. I almost put on shorts. Almost. Instead I made a very simple summer favorite dinner and turned on the dusty fans we'd not used since September. Soon it will be time to wash curtains and shampoo the rugs. In the meantime it's tending the few plants we've got started and dragging the screens out of the garage to combat the bugs that have somehow managed to gets busy breeding already.

I thought I'd quickly share how to throw together the yummy dinner we had last night since it's FAST, delicious, and pretty healthy. It's one of those summer dinners I look forward to all year even though I actually don't care for chicken.


Grilled Chicken and Strawberry-Spinach Salad

• 1 package pre-washed spinach (I prefer the organic Marketside one from Walmart)

• About 12 large strawberries (more or less, to you preference)

• A vinaigrette dressing such as Brianna's Blush Wine Vinaigrette Dressing (very kid friendly) or Kraft Greek Vinaigrette (spicier)

• 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Tastefully Simple Bayou Bourbon Glaze or similar glaze *optional

Grill your chicken breasts, adding the glaze in the last few minutes of cooking or it will char pretty bad. (Personally I loooove charring but my kids and husband don't so my piece is always the last one from the grill). Really you can do any glaze or marinade on the chicken but I find the lighter the better as the salad is where you want your flavor.

This was my REAL dinner plate last night ;)
Put your spinach into a serving bowl. Wash and slice strawberries 'sideways' so they look like hearts or if preferred into eighths for a more slivery shape. Toss the strawberries onto the spinach. Because they weigh more than the spinach leaves I find it best to toss right before serving and then drizzle he dressing over the salad. You can also add finely diced scallions and almond slivers if desired but I'm the only one who can or will eat them so you can also add them on the side for those who might want them. Depending on your tastes or your children (or your dressing choice) you can even add some crumbled feta to the salad.

If you desire you can slice the chicken breasts and lay them on the salad like in a restaurant if unglazed. I prefer mine on the side. The great thing about this dinner is how flexible and to-taste it can be. A lot of people balk at the spinach-strawberry combo but if you like both they're awesome together

You could add another side dish, sometimes I add baked beans or whole wheat rolls but I find a big plate of the salad and chicken is perfect for us. It's very filling and with the fruit and veggies very vitamin-packed. You might even convince your kids that spinach is yummy. ;)

I hope you'll give it a try. It's not quite a recipe but I hope it inspires you to try something new on one of these hot nights in the months to come. As soon as the weather warms I get ravenous for grilled meats and fish paired with green veggies and fruit.


4.17.2012

Cleaning Rhi-flection: Palmolive Fresh Sponge (+ coupon giveaway!)



It's a little funny that I was in the middle of doing dishes when the mailman arrived. I admit I'm a bit compulsive about getting my mail out of the box the instant it arrives (can we say kid at Christmas?) so I was super happy dancing my way back inside to get back to work with my kit from Influenster.


Not only did I get a bottle of new Palmolive Fresh Sponge dishwashing liquid and a new sponge, I have some $1 off coupons to share with you guys so be sure and read the whole post to find out how to get one.

HomeMint Announced!


As you've probably noticed I've been totally geeking on Jewelmint since joining in December. It's crazy how big my collection has gotten. There are other Mints too, but I'm not really much of a shoe wearer and the idea of paying $30 for tee shirts makes my skin crawl. I'm happy with my skincare line so Beautymint doesn't interest me. After hearing rumors that a new celeb backed Mint was coming out I'd hoped a lingerie Mint might be announced—what woman doesn't need more lingerie?—but to my shock and delight Beachmint instead welcomed HomeMint to the family.

HomeMint is a collection of home goods and art curated and designed by Justin Timberlake and interior designer and celebrity stylist, Estee Stanley.

I don't recall when or where but I'm certain the only time I've heard of Estee was actually from Justin in an interview or something. As with the other Mint brands it looks like the pair make a great design and curation team so I'm looking forward to seeing what they'll offer when they launch.
HomeMint will work a little differently than it's sisters, instead of credits that are equal to pieces membership fees are just that. It makes perfect sense considering the range of home items they could offer.
HomeMint shoppers will be able to purchase products at non-member pricing or pay a monthly membership fee of $9.99, which can be used as a credit towards any purchase. It pays to be a member! Membership benefits include exclusive member pricing, early access to limited edition products and personalized selections each month matched to their individual style.

We have variety! The HomeMint collection will include a wide range of prices from $10 for accessories to $10,000 for unique objects and art.
 

A hint of what prices to anticipate from an  ELLE DECOR interview with Timberlake and Stanley gives the impression that most HomeMint items will be about what you'd expect in a department store with a member's and non-member's price. The previewed pieces themselves are lovely but I'd be lying if I called them affordable on my budget.

Please feel free to join HomeMint using my referral link for early access, there's no credit card or anything required yet so don't worry about being charged. It's just spreading the word at this point but there's a giveaway coming up so it's well worth looking into before the full launch.

I have to giggle a little because I'm still raising an eyebrow at that ELLE DECOR photo of Justin Timberlake with all those fabric swatches. The man is massively talented already but now he's going to sell me throw pillows and candlesticks? What can't he do? lol :)

Have a terrific day everyone and let me know what you think of HomeMint's sneak peeks so far.






Note: This post is not sponsored by Beachmint/HomeMint but does contain a referral link.

4.13.2012

The Friday Five: It Ain't Easy Being Green!

image credit: hortongrou

The Friday Five: It Ain't Easy Being Green!
With April being a month of awareness building for ecological causes it seemed fitting to make this week's Friday Five a list of the most helpful tips I've received in trying to make my lifestyle and home greener.

1. Start small.

One of the most difficult parts of going green is being able to put it into perspective. Not every person, or family, can go green overnight. It can be very intimidating at first so start small! In my case I decided to pick one room in my home to start with and work on it first. For me the easiest was the laundry room. Our dryer broke down last spring so when we shopped for a new one we made sure we chose Energy Star rated appliances. We also made the switch to eco-friendly products including Biokleen's All-Temperature Citrus Laundry Liquid and using oxygen bleach instead of chlorine bleach. I'm still in the market for a great eco-friendly fabric softner or static reducer.

2. Do what you can, don't sweat what you can't.

image credit: jaylopez
A couple of years ago I started saving up all of our plastics and cardboard for recycling. When my bags were full I went online to look up the hours of the recycling plant so I could decide when to take them. Only to find out the local one doesn't recycle plastics. The nearest plastic recycling facility is a four hour drive away... and you have to PAY them to recycle your plastics. :( Sometimes there are going to be things that due to location, health conditions, or cost you won't be able to do. So do what you can and try not to worry about the things that are not within your means, doing just one thing makes a difference!

3. Buy used and vintage.

I'm embarrassed and a little sickened to admit how many partical board bookshelves and other cheap-o furniture bits I've thrown away. They just don't last! So many things are made from cheap materials in factories in this day and age it's no wonder the seams unravel or the bookshelves collapse. Yet the antique furniture that belonged to my great-grandparents, while a bit scuffed and worn looking, is in great shape! While not always the most cost effective option (ie. when buying in an antique store), a yard sale or thrift shop find might last you a lifetime. Sometimes all they need is a good coat of paint or a washing. Some of my favorite pieces of clothing are vintage finds from thrift shops. Figure out what used goods are suitable for you and spend your money there instead of buying the cheap stuff in department stores that will get thrown away next year.

4. Reduce, Reuse, READ!

It sounds like obvious advice but I decided instead of reading individual articles—especially on the internet—about going green, I made a point to pick a topic and start reading about it. My big area of needing to greenify is in the cleaning process. So I picked up Make Your Place: Affordable & Sustainable Nesting Skills and Easy Green Living: The Ultimate Guide to Simple, Eco-Friendly Choices for You and Your Home to get started. I've made some of my household cleaners from scratch and found out one of my old favorites (vinegar!) is a great one. So if you want to focus on greener eating pick up some cookbooks focusing on organics or green gardening, or if reusing and upcycling is what you want to get better about find some great books on how to make good use of your old stuff.

5. Set goals and get everyone involved in meeting them.

Building a greener lifestyle isn't an overnight thing. Nor is it a one-man war. Start with your kids! One of my earliest goals in being greener was using less electricity. If you're a mom you know how difficult that can be with kids. When I catch lights and electronics left on or the big kids standing in front of the fridge browsing I put on my mean mom pants. What they're learning through the reminders is that a) mom loves to yell (lol), b) it's good for the polar bears, and c) wasting money on unneeded lighting or refridgerator cooling means less money we can spend on trips for ice cream or to see a movie. It ain't easy being green (to quote my favorite Muppet) but when everyone is trying it's not as difficult. If that means explaining it to your kids as 'we're saving electricity to save money for fun things' it's a start. Spending that little extra on the Biokleen products or eco-friendly body care brands can be as much about taking care of the environment as protecting our bodies from toxic ingredients, or so I'm teaching the hubs.

I hope this year as Earth Day approaches you'll find these tips helpful in finding ways to live a little greener. Every little bit is good so don't feel bad if you fed you kids organic strawberries but left a light on over the sink one night. Like most things in life, being a friend to the environment can be a balancing act. Just do the best you can and don't let others guilt you on the things you cannot.

4.04.2012

Unboxing: March "Joie de Vivre" Cravebox


Once again my Cravebox disappointed me... not in the contents but in the delivery. Why bother calling it the March box if I get it on the 30th? :( The good news is this box has proved to be my favorite so far!


The theme for this box was a bit more theme-y and IMHO that worked in it's favor. I'm all about life's simple pleasures and this month's box was a good fit for my tastes/desires. Lip balm, mascara, tea bags, a beverage, and a wrinkle cream were all nice choices for this box.


The now familiar—and in my case LOVED—Mereadesso brand brings their Lip Treats. A two-pack retails for $28! While these won't likely replace my favorite EOS lip spheres the formula is exceptional. Buttery soft and no waxy residue. I wouldn't mind them in 'flavors' but clear and flavorless (unscented) formulas are the brand's trademark.



The most interesting addition to the box for me is a can of Mercy, a beverage designed to help prevent a hangover. Not that I drink that often or that much but if I do and have a bit too much there's no one to call on the next morning to help take care of our kids. As most parents know, there's nothing like trying to wrangle a tween and a toddler through the morning routine when you've got a headache and cotton mouth. It's caffeine free and after reading all of the info on it I'm excited to give it a try. At about $3 a can it's not going to set me back a bunch if I decide it's something I want to stock for that couple of times a year I have a bottle of wine... or three. :P I just have to check and make sure the herbal components won't interfere with my anti-seizure meds, of course!


When I'm not enjoying a frothy Guinness or deep, dark mug of coffee I'm probably drinking tea. I prefer herbal teas mostly, especially minty varieties. But somehow I'd never heard of Mighty Leaf tea. We received a single gab of three of their varieties to try. Organic Breakfast, Green Tea Tropical, and Organic Mint Melagne. I was really impressed with the quality of the tea, the bags themselves and that each had a specific (and different) brew time suggested on the back. I never know how long is best for which type! So far I've tried the Breakfast and Tropical teas, liked the latter, didn't care for the former. Can't wait to try the Mint. They even have a Chocolate Mint Truffle tea I'm going to have to try! At roughly 66¢ per bag these aren't too badly priced so these three were a value of about $2.


At $21.99 retail, Puristics Intensive Eye Treatment is an intriguing inclusion in March's box. I had just seen Puristics somewhere online I think but hadn't taken the time to read more about them. Everything seems to be claiming to be organic or natural or eco-friendly of late and wading through the pretenders is exhausting. I actually had just started the search for an eye product so this was eerily well timed for me. All this squinting as I blog seems to be giving me a few fine lines around my eyes. ;) I'm going to research the company more, specially since they also have a feminine care line (tampons, etc.) and will hopefully feature them later this month!


If there's one cosmetic product I would miss if there was ever an apocalypse it's mascara! You can pinch your cheeks and bite your lips for a little color but nothing accentuates your face like lush lashes. Everyone has different needs with their mascara though so I tend to switch mine up frequently. I love trying new ones! This month's box featured NYX's new Boudior Mascara in Pin-Up Tease. It came in a cute little black lace bag too. ;) The Pin-Up Tease formula is one of seven different ones in the Boudior collection which includes other aptly named mascaras like Za Za Zu and Provocateur. Each has unique qualities but Pin-Up Tease's is to darken and curl lashes. While I found it clumps my lashes up badly and flakes after several hours of wear it's so lightweight my lashes feel bare. It also dries to a glossy, patent leather black that I kind of like. At $6 it's one worth checking out if you're looking for a curling formula, I didn't even have to curl my lashes to get a nice curve to them and when curled they looked fab.

So overall, a satisfying box. I ended up trying to try the Puristics before I could get this post up and the pump on the darned thing is broken. I'm really disappointed there. Ah well. Best get this up but be on the look out for more thorough reviews later this month!


The Rhialist (Rhianna Walker) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.