Sunday, April 26, 2015

Beauty Review: Orange Blossom Water Toner



Orange Blossom Water Toner
Company Site: website
Product Details: 
Exquisitely delicate and refreshing to skin. You'll find this all-natural toner to be soothing while its astringent and antibacterial properties work to create a radiant and healthy complexion.
The floral water of the Mediterranean. Bottled for natural beauty.
Here's what you can expect with your Orange Blossom Water Toner:
- Skin clarifying properties nurture a radiant glow
- Minimize pore size
- Heal scarring
- Reduce inflammation and treat sun-exposed skin
- Hydrate and soothe skin
- Natural acidity will balance pH levels for healthy moisture and tone
Gentle and perfect for sensitive skin. Fight oil build up and acne-causing bacteria with a natural and proven toner.


Smells so good you'll want to bathe in it! (5 Stars)

For those of us who have really sensitive skin or skin that reacts to just about everything finding a toner is pretty much like seeking the holy grail. I've had a few that were okay but I've never had one that didn't leave my skin feeling a little too dry after use... until now.

I've become a huge fan of the Foxbrim brand since discovering it but this is now my favorite product. Not only does it smell amazing—if you like orange flower or light florals this is gentle and spring-ish, without being cloying—it's gentle. I've been really paring down my skincare routine and toner was the first thing to go but since finding this I've brought it back in. I'm using a facial oil cleanser, then this, then coconut oil to moisturize, camellia oil to treat rosacea on my cheeks, and tea tree oil to treat any acne. For the first time in years I'm managing to keep my skin in a mostly tolerable and happy state.

But this can be used as more than just a face product. I haven't put it in my bath yet but well, as my review title states I'd love to. I've actually dabbed it on like perfume, though it isn't long lasting, and I think it would make a great body spray or that it could be used like a setting spray for makeup if you put it into a spray bottle.



Notes: I received this product for free in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Low Volume 1

Low Volume 1: The Delirium of Hope
Rick Remender (Author), Greg Tocchini (Illustrator)
Graphic Novel, Futuristic
Print (144 pages, IDW)
Millennia ago, mankind fled the earth's surface into the bottomless depths of the darkest oceans. Shielded from a merciless sun's scorching radiation, the human race tried to stave off certain extinction by sending robotic probes far into the galaxy to search for a new home among the stars. Generations later, one family is about to be torn apart in a conflict that will usher in the final race to save humanity from a world beyond hope. Dive into an aquatic fantasy like none you've ever seen before, as writer Rick Remender (Fear Agent, Uncanny Avengers) and artist Greg Tocchini (Last Days of American Crime) bring you a tale mankind's final hour in the cold, deathly dark of the sea. Collects Low #1-6.

Painfully dark in good ways. (4 stars)

It took me a couple of issues to get into LOW. It's so brutal and uncomfortable and yet intensely hopeful. If you enjoy the violence and intrigue of Game of Thrones you'll really dig this book.

LOW isn't something I would have picked up without having heard that it had a kick butt mother as the central protagonist. I'm so glad I was lured on that point because I think every mom can find a piece of themselves in Stel. She's the kind of character who refuses to be told no, won't be convinced there isn't a chance even when everything—really, every dang thing!—says it's impossible. If Stel doesn't wind up saving humanity I will be shocked.

Stel's awesomeness aside I did find the storytelling a bit slow and pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone. The art is perfectly on point through the storytelling, it's visually painful and gripping. When the art moves me as much as the story I can't complain.

If you enjoyed Pretty Deadly's blend of dirty/sexy and off-beat storytelling I'd recommend giving LOW a shot.



Notes: Review copy received via NetGalley.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Audio Rhi-view: Sentey Flow Headset


Sentey® Flow
Company Site: website
Product Details: Sentey® Headphone Headphones Headset with Microphone Flow foldable for easy storage with detachable 3.5mm audio cable with in-line MIC
For those who like an elegant and modern design, SENTEY® presents FLOW, a new stereo headset that combines mobility, beauty, and excellent sound quality. Comfortable, lightweight, and foldable, FLOW was created to accompany you in your musical adventure wherever that may be. Its in-line microphone and control allow you to talk easily on your mobile phone at home or at work. FLOW is the ideal solution if you want to have music with you all day.
In-Line Control
The Flow headphones features in-line control to allow you to answer calls by pressing the button while being used on a mobile phone as well as play/pause a song when used in a device that support in-line control with music
In-Line Microphone
An in-line omnidirectional microphone that picks up your voice without having to talk directly into it.
Foldable
The Flow headset folds up for easy transport and storage anywhere you want.
Exclusive Sleek design
Comes with a modern, sleek design that highlights simple but functional beauty.




A great value-priced headset! (4 Stars)


I wish I liked earbuds but they just don't cut it for me. I'm constantly knocking them out or losing the rubber tips in my bag. So I much prefer on-ear headsets like the FLOW by Sentey. If you're the same please read on!

I own a $$$ set of well-known brand headphones in a similar style that I like but don't love. They're very heavy and tend to not like my iPad or Samsung phone jack. Who would have thought a headset from a never-heard-of-it brand at 1/10th the price would kick its butt? 

The Sentey FLOW is very light for an on-ear headset which does sacrifice a little but of durability—if you're planning to tote these around in a bag or backpack regularly I recommend finding a protective pouch for them—but as someone who suffers from regular headaches and migraines I really appreciate the weight difference. I regularly listen to audiobooks and music so I want great sound and comfort and the FLOW delivers both. The audio quality is surprisingly awesome and these can get insanely loud if you want to destroy your hearing (which might be one of my goals in life lol). If you're getting these for a kid I highly recommend testing them yourself beforehand to make sure they'll be reasonable and not too loud.

The one flaw they have that I wish they did not is that they lack volume controls so you'll need to control the sound level via your device.

I honestly haven't put the mic to use yet because I dislike talking on the phone enough that I don't get many calls. The cord is generous at about 5' 8" in length. Use multiple devices? I've had no issues with mine which include the aforementioned tablet and phone as well as a desktop and a laptop.

Overall, I think these would be perfect for kids/young adults in the 12+ age range who know how to properly use a headset without damaging their hearing. The light weight, budget friendly cost, and fashionable style make them very teen friendly. I wish they had volume controls and came in more color combos (gray/orange or black/green would be awesome) but otherwise these are fantastic, I would gladly recommend them to my friends and followers.



Notes: I received a complimentary product in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Review: Deathly Hallows Bracelet & Keychain #harrypotter



Wizardry Jewelry Double Pack Silver Keychain And Bracelet Triangle Symbol
Company Site: website
Product Details: Deathly Hallows symbol bracelet and keychain combo


Terrible quality! (1 Star)

I love fandom-centric jewelry that's both obvious enough a fellow fan would know what it was and yet just looks cool to non-fans. So I was eager to check out this set from Graceful Goods that featured the Deathly Hallows symbol from the Harry Potter series. I have previous experience with a monthly geeky jewelry club where I've been really happy with the quality of the items so I was immediately disappointed when I opened my package and immediately saw that not only was the symbol warped and bent on the keychain, the overall quality was awful.

These are made with the cheapest materials possible. Literally, the day I got them I put the keychain on my key ring as I was on my way out the door to the library and when I got home the symbol fell right off the jump ring when I pulled my keys out. The next day I wore the bracelet out to my tabletop gaming night and my friends commented on how cute it was and as I went to turn it so my one friend could look at it the jump ring holding the clasp on fell right off. We all gave a nervous chuckle and I fixed it but it broke again 3 times that evening!!!

These would have been worth giving a couple more stars if they weren't so poorly made. They either have bad quality control or the other reviewers got another product all together. I would NOT recommend this one.



Notes: I received a complimentary product in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Winter is coming... eventually. Get these great touchscreen gloves before then!


Texting Gloves from iGotTech
Company Site: website
Product Details: TEXTING GLOVES ~ Decide to type smart in the cold! No more numb fingers in the name of wintertime texting.
SMART TOUCH GLOVES ~ You'll LOVE the luxurious, soft feel of this premium material and brushed interior.
SMARTPHONE GLOVES ~ Buy a couple pairs now! Everyone in the family gets cold outside, but who can let their phone go? You've got 'em covered.
WINTER TOUCHSCREEN GLOVES ~ Our latest "Touch-nology" is all wrapped up in your fingertips for smart, fun, warm smarphone love oudoors.


My new MUST HAVE for winter! (5 Stars)

I just did spring cleaning and was pleased to not have to donate a dozen pairs of worthless gloves... because I did it last year. Instead, I got to tuck away an awesome new pair to use once the snow flies again. Living in the windy high plains of Montana—sorry to disappoint, we're not as mountainous as the rest of the world thinks—I dread going outside in the winter because the dry climate is hard on hands. If you want to be able to use your phone outside that was previously what you were stuck with unless you paid an arm and a leg for fancy touch-screen friendly gloves that weren't even very nice.

So when I got the chance to try a pair of the SmartTech Gloves from iGotTech I was really excited. Granted winter has pretty much ended for us, but hey, it snowed this past Monday... winter is always coming where I live. ;)


To my delight these are not only attractive and very well made, they're sooooo soft inside! But if they're all that they suck at the touch-screen stuff right? Wrong! I have iPads and a Samsung Galaxy phone and they worked really well with both. I did find that with the tablets I did need to tap a little harder than I'm used to, but I believe that's because I use it less for typing than I do with my phone.

If you've been looking for a reasonably priced set of touch-screen friendly gloves that are warm, attractive, and work well look no further!



Notes: I received a complimentary product in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Organic Dandelion Root Tea


Organic Dandelion Root Tea from Kiss Me Organics

Company Site: website
Product Details: SUPPORTS HEALTHY DIGESTION, KIDNEY HEALTH & LIVER FUNCTION Detox the liver and kidneys from toxins that can build up over time. Healthy digestion helps the body to absorb more nutrients and improve physical and cognitive functions.
RAW & ORGANIC Raw Dandelion Root is extremely nutrient rich and provides more vital minerals and vitamins to your body when compared to roasted Dandelion Root.
VITAMIN RICH Raw Dandelion root is rich in Vitamins A, C, D and B-complex plus Iron, Potassium and Zinc. A diet rich in these nutrients can help treat mood disorders, liver disorders and boost a weakened immune system.
HIBISCUS & CINNAMON While enhancing the earthy flavor, and adding a hint of flowery sweetness to every cup; Hibiscus has been shown to help regulate blood pressure and Cinnamon has been shown to regulate blood sugar and reduce bad cholesterol.

Ingredients:  Organic Dandelion Root, Organic Hibiscus, Organic Cinnamon


Humble weed using its powers for good. (4 Stars)
 
Growing up I never would have thought to put a dandelion in my mouth no matter how many I plucked and brought into the house as gifts for my mother. As with many seemingly humble plants the dandelion has a reputation among health nut circles for being a 'superfood' and is often used for helping detox the liver and kidneys. While I haven't researched such claims I'm always up for trying new teas and added health benefits are a plus so I decided to give it a go with this one from Kiss Me Organics.

As this was my first experience with dandelion root I wasn't sure what to expect. I've seen it used in coffee replacement recipes and detox waters that included cranberries and lemon so I wasn't sure whether to expect a tart and green taste or something more herbal and smokey. Even with the addition of hibiscus—which I love for it's bright floral berry-ish flavor—and cinnamon it's actually quite bland in taste. It definitely has a mild green flavor, one that I actually don't find off-putting but neither do I find it delicious.

Since I found myself quite ambivalent to the taste I have been using it as my liquid in smoothies and I've been double bagging it with a cranberry-vanilla tea bag to make a stronger, more flavorful cuppa. In the latter I don't even notice the taste and in the former it's just a back note that lets me drink it without feeling like I have to force myself to do so.


In terms of the health benefits, I honestly cannot claim to have noticed any but it has been my experience that taking a supplement (and therefore a larger dose) is more likely to be effective than drinking a tea. That said, if you enjoy leafy, herbal teas that are mild drinking several cups of this in a day wouldn't be a chore.

I had to knock a star off my review first because I didn't really love the tea but also because every single time I have opened one of the tea bag wrappers I've been generously dusted with the tea itself. A lot of it becomes a dusty mess outside of the bag that bursts out when you open the paper wrapping. I would recommend opening them over a sink or trash bin to avoid having a fine brown dust all over your clothes. Otherwise, I recommend this product for anyone looking to add a potentially beneficial tea to their wellness regimen. Give a Pinterest search for dandelion root for some ideas of how to incorporate this in other ways.



Notes: I received a complimentary product in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Review: Relax Essential Oil blend from Mia Mariu [+ #giveaway!]


Add this to your routine if you suffer from insomnia, anxiety, and stress! (5 Stars)

If you've been following me for the past couple of months you may or may not have seen my post about what I'm going through trying to take on an anxiety disorder. Suffice it to say that what was once a personality quirk—being a worry-wart—has become something much bigger than the amusing little eccentricity it used to be. But if there's anything I know can help from years of struggling with stress and anxiety, it's that taking good care of your body can really help your mind.

To combat my troubles I've been focusing a lot of my energies into changes I can handle in my environment and lifestyle. For example, getting rid of clutter that always makes my house feel dirty when really it's just disorganized. I've also been attending therapy and using various other means to help when anxiety attacks occur. One of those additions to my routine has been the Relax essential oil blend from Mia Mariu.

While I really love making my own blends with essential oils this was one case where having a premade and ready to use product was what I really needed. Both at night to help with my insomnia and when anxiety attacks strike I've been putting a few drops in my palms and massaging it into my shoulders and neck. For me, these are the areas I carry the most tension and they also keep the aromatherapy factor high thanks to proximity to my nose.

A luxurious blend of carrier oils including soothing apricot and healing rosehip, it's gentle and so good for your skin. The aroma-therapeutic qualities of lavendar, sandalwood, cedarwood, and clary sage make it excellent for meditation, menstrual tension relief, and sleep issues. I've become a huge fan and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a drug-free product to use for self massage to aid with anxiety.

Find out more about Mia Mariu Therapeutic Essential Oils:


Restore harmony in mind and body… Unleash the healing power of 100% organic therapeutic essential oils! Packed with pure botanical essences, these organic oils provide amazing psychological and physical therapeutic benefits.

Relax Essential Oil Key Ingredients:

Lavender - has been cherished for its unmistakable aroma and therapeutic properties for thousands of years. It is widely used for its calming and relaxing qualities and helps ease muscle tension in the head and neck.

Sandalwood - found only in Hawaii and it delivers a variety of benefits. It promotes healthy & smooth skin, reduces the appearance of scars and blemishes, enhances mood and promotes sleep and frequently used in meditation for its grounding and uplifting properties.

Cedarwood - Known for promoting healthy skin and clear breathing, Cedarwood has a warm, woody, balsamic fragrance that relaxes the mind and body and is perfect for massage therapy.

Clary Sage - known for its mood-lightening properties and ability to ease monthly menstrual cycles. It has a warm, herbal scent that is uplifting and relaxing, making it a perfect choice for supporting a normal, healthy attitude during PMS.

Sweet Almond Oil - known to be high in moisturizing fatty acids (Omega 6 and Omega 9), excellent emollient high in oleic and linoleic, ideal in the treatment of dry skin, helps skin balance loss and absorption of moisture providing a smooth skin feel. It is antioxidant rich, high in Vitamin E, fat and protein content along with containing many essential nutrients.

Apricot Oil -Similar soothing properties as almond oil. Apricot oil is a favorite oil for mothers and babies because of its ability to soothe chaffed skin gently. It is quickly absorbed into the skin; it is often used as massage oil to deliver benefits such as reducing stress, pain and inflammation and instilling an overall sense of well-being. Apricot kernel oil is also very mild and non-irritating, making it suitable for children and infant massage. It is cold-pressed from the dried seeds of the fruit of the apricot tree. This natural oil is light-colored and fragrant, imparting a somewhat nutty aroma.

Grapeseed Oil - used as a base oil for many creams and lotions. It is the preferred carrier oils for many massage therapists because of its light, satin like finish. It also has some astringent qualities and is good for oily, acne prone skin.

Jojoba Oil – used as a favorite carrier oil. It closely resembles the sebum of the skin, and is rich in vitamin E; thus promoting a glowing complexion.

Rosehip Oil - extremely high in essential fatty acids and is known to help treat dry, irritated, weathered skin. It is also suitable for treating burns, scars and stretch marks.

Macadamia Oil - in addition to its moisturizing benefit, it is a nutrient-dense oil which is packed with antioxidants and essential fatty acids that protect your skin and helps promote healing process after a sunburn or other types of skin damage. As an added bonus, Macadamia oil mimics your skin’s natural oils, making it an ideal match for maintaining your glow.

Coconut Oil - an excellent massage oil for the skin as well as it acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skin. It is a safe solution for preventing dryness and flaking of the skin, delays the appearance of wrinkles and sagging of the skin.







Notes: I received a complimentary product in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Eco Rhi-view: Vanilla Mint Deodorant Creme from Bella Organics [+ #giveaway!]

Vanilla Mint Deodorant Creme
Company Site: website
Product Details: Organic, chemical-free cream deodorant that really works! Organic arrowroot powder absorbs wetness naturally. Organic Shea butter soothes and moisturizes dry skin. Coconut oil has natural anti-bacterial properties as well as soothes and conditions the skin. Organic peppermint and organic tea tree essential oils provide anti-bacterial and germ-killing anti-septic properties. It leaves you feeling confidently cool, fresh and clean.

Ingredients: Organic Shea Butter, Organic Arrowroot Powder, (Vegan), Organic Sunflower Oil, Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, Aluminum-Free Baking Soda, Organic Peppermint Essential Oil, Organic Vanilla Extract, Organic Tea Tree Essential Oil.

Check out Bella Organics Deodorant Creme in several other scents like The Woods, Lavender Vanilla, or Lemongrass Bergamot.



Smells amazing, feels even better, but might not be for you if... (4 Stars)

If you read the blog with any regularity you know that finding high quality, affordable, and effective eco-friendly solutions for personal care is a passion of mine. That trifecta of desires is always a challenge but the most elusive product to replace traditional ones so far has been a deodorant that I like enough to permanently switch. Since I hit puberty a long, long time ago, I've been a pretty profuse sweater. As in... I spent most of my life up until clinical strength antiperspirants became readily available at the drugstore changing my shirts at midday. I can live with being a wet mess, as I work from home, but smelling like a sack of onions is not my idea of a good time. If I can't stand the smell of me a product isn't right for me.

All that said, I might have needed a full size product to be sure this wasn't perfect for me. I absolutely love the smell. I'm not usually a big vanilla seeker but the combo of vanilla and mint is awesome. The formula is so very gentle which is the main reason I would recommend Bella Organics' Deodorant Creme. My skin is very sensitive and reactive both face and body and my skin loved this creme. I had no adverse reactions to it which is a miracle. I have, however, had to go back to twice a day shirt changes, washing my underarms morning and night and reapplying the creme at bedtime and in the morning... and it's still not enough to fully combat my body odor.

Chances are I would need to use it for several months of detox, as it currently stands at 9 days in I am at the bottom of the sample pot and am not fully sold on it as the right product for me. But, I do feel that if you're looking for a gentle product to try when you've had no luck with other natural/organic products this is one of the best I've tried. It's not sticky, leaves your skin very soft, and smells terrific.


Would you like to try a sample? Leave a comment telling me what product you're having the hardest time replacing with an eco-friendly option (including an email address to contact you at) for a chance to win one.

• US addresses only
• Must be 18 or older
• Ends at midnight MST on 04/14/15. Winner will be selected on 04/15/15.
• Winner will have 48 hours to claim prize or another winner will be chosen.



Notes: I received a complimentary sample in exchange for an honest review.

Wellness Rhi-view: Essential Oils from InstaNatural



On a budget? Love using essential oils? You gotta check out InstaNatural! (5 stars)

I'm a huge fan of essential oils for use around the home. I make most of my own household cleaners and many of my personal care items in which I like to include essential oils of some kind. Because they're inexpensive and effective, basics like Lemon Essential Oil and Peppermint Essential Oil are two of my favorites. Lemon is wonderful in homemade dish soap or dusting spray, while I prefer peppermint in my baking soda hair rinse (I've been no-poo for 9 months) and in my carpet deodorizing powder.

Which brings me to what I thought of the essential oils from InstaNatural. Having had previous experience with the brand's skincare line I knew I would be getting top quality and once again InstaNatural did not disappoint.

The lemon oil smells amazing and has made an awesome addition to my Everything Cleaner (a blend of castille soap, white vinegar, and water with tea tree and lemon essential oils).

The peppermint oil on the other hand is more suited to body product use but be warned it is powerful, a little bit goes a very long way! One of my favorite ways to use it is in the shower, a couple of drops in my hair wash is very soothing for migraines but can also be added to a carrier oil and massaged on the back of the neck or back of the knees to ease the nausea some of us get with them.

Overall, I was really impressed with the quality and for the price you just cannot beat them. I will definitely be adding their Lavender to my collection as soon as I need to restock mine.


Looking for affordable essential oil basics? Check out InstaNatural's Lemon and Peppermint.


About Lemon Essential Oil: Lemon Essential Oil is extracted from the rinds of lemon, which lends its fresh citrus fragrance. This cold-pressed oil has a strong bright scent that is both refreshing and uplifting. Its astringent and purifying properties also make it a great aid to help cleanse and tone the skin, while delivering a boost of Vitamin C antioxidant benefits.
Ingredient: 100% Pure Cold-Pressed Lemon Essential Oil (Citrus Limon)

About Peppermint Oil: Peppermint Essential Oil is a multi-purpose oil that cools, energizes and refreshes the body and mind. This steam-distilled oil is extracted from dried or fresh leaves from the Mentha Piperita herb, giving it a sharp, menthol fragrance. Its pleasantly sweet and minty aroma makes it a premium choice for aromatherapy to improve the mind and lift the spirits.
Ingredient: 100% Pure Steam-Distilled Peppermint Essential Oil (Mentha Piperita)



Notes: I received these products for free in exchange for an honest review.


More great products from Instanatural:


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Review: Edward Scissorhands Volume 1: Parts Unknown

Edward Scissorhands Volume 1: Parts Unknown Kate Leth (Author), Drew Rausch (Illustrator)

Science Fiction, Graphic Novel
Release Date: June 15th, 2015
Print (124 pages, IDW)
An all-new adventure revisiting Edward Scissorhands' two decades after the end of the fan-favorite movie! In a castle just outside a sleepy suburban town, a brilliant inventor created Edward Scissorhands... but left him tragically unfinished. Two generations of exile have left Edward digging through abandoned experiments, but once he wakes up a creature left buried, he discovers he isn't the only one missing a vital piece. As Edward tries to fix a grave mistake, he comes face-to-face with a teenage girl who was sure he was only myth... despite the stories her grandmother told her about the man she could never touch.

A charming revisiting of a childhood favorite. (4 stars)

When it comes to Edward Scissorhands I am of the mind that either you love it or you're wrong. So I was really excited to dive into a new adventure with one of my childhood favorite characters. I anticipated something a bit darker than Parts Unknown turned out to be and yet I love that it's just spooky enough but not scary enough that I could hand this to an 8-year-old to read.

The story is surprisingly endearing. There was a page in particular that made me misty in which Megan unwittingly says something hurtful to Edward and when she apologizes she says, "I don't mean to hurt anybody on purpose, either". It was so real and relatable and in the spirit of the film I was instantly sold from there on. Drew Rausch was a perfect choice for this book. While I don't really dig his style it's Burton-esque enough to really work perfectly here.

Overall, a really charming revisitation of an old friend that's a great way to share it with your own kid.



Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.



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