Thursday, August 28, 2014

Vigilant Tea: Certified Organic Green Tea Powder Review and Giveaway!


 Vigilant Tea is a company that specializes in manufacturing organic green tea powder; the owners sought out an alternative to coffee which would provide the same long-lasting energy with better health benefits. Vigilant Tea makes sure that customers receive only the healthiest and best tasting organic green tea powder. They conduct meticulous heavy metal testing on their product, and guarantee optimum nutritional content without toxins, by eliminating the use of pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides. Vigilant Tea's Organic Green Tea Powder comes from China.

I received one 100g pouch (one month supply) of Vigilant Tea's Certified Organic Green Tea for the purpose of this review. Vigilant Tea's Certified Organic Green Tea Powder comes in handy, resealable pouch and contains no other ingredient besides 100% Organic Green Tea -- there are no preservatives, additives, or fillers. This green tea powder is rich in antioxidants, and is very easy to use, with many food applications! All you have to do with the powder is to add 1/2 - 1 teaspoon to hot water, a smoothie, or any other food that you desire. At one serving per day (one teaspoon per serving), a 100g pouch of Organic Green Tea Powder will last you approximately one month.

What are some of the benefits of using Vigilant Tea's Certified Organic Green Tea Powder?

First of all, one teaspoon of the green tea powder contains as much caffeine as an entire cup of coffee. You can cut many of the calories from sweetened coffee drinks (like lattes), as well as any negative side-effects by drinking green tea, while still enjoying the same boost during your morning routine or your late-night study session. Vigilant Tea's Organic Green Tea Powder is great for anyone who is very sensitive to caffeine, or experiences side-effects such as shakes or jitters, because it allows for a slower, more natural absorption of caffeine. You will still feel energized, but it will have a more "organic" feel, rather than the sudden burst of energy that coffee provides. You will not experience the crash and burn that you get from coffee because of this aspect. Using green tea powder instead of brewing tea leaves actually increases the amount of nutrients that you will receive from your beverage. This has been common practice in countries such as Japan and China for centuries. Vigilant Tea's Organic Green Tea Powder contains an active ingredient known as "flavonoids", which are potent antioxidants; you receive many more of them and their beneficial effects when using green tea powder.


As most people know, green tea, in any form, can have a whole host of positive effects. Studies have suggested that green tea can help with the regulation of metabolism and weight control, as well as conditions such as type II diabetes, depression, and cardiovascular disease. Green tea also has implications in protecting DNA from damage, helping to prevent cancer, and working as an anti-allergen product to improve the function of your immune system.Vigilant Tea's Organic Green Tea Powder can be used to make face masks and other beauty products, can be made into lattes or smoothies, and can also be put in many food products.

Right now, you can purchase Vigilant Tea's Certified Organic Green Tea Powder on the Vigilant Tea website, here. A one-month supply (100g) retails for $39.95 and a three-month supply (three bags at 100g each) retails for just $89.95.

I really loved Vigilant Tea's Organic Green Tea Powder; it was much sweeter (in a natural way) than I had anticipated, which is great, because I don't like drinks that are too bitter. I don't know if I have it in me to COMPLETELY replace my morning and afternoon coffee with green tea, but I definitely could substitute it once in awhile, especially if I get more creative with my recipes. I have mostly been adding my green tea powder to water, but now that I have a smoothie maker, I anticipate making some green tea smoothies in the near future. I have enjoyed bringing the green tea in an insulated bottle with me to class, especially when it starts at eight in the morning! Vigilant Tea's Organic Green Tea Powder did give me noticeable energy with just one teaspoon -- it takes a lot of caffeine to make me REALLY awake, but I would definitely say that one teaspoon was comparable to a cup of coffee. It was enough to keep me going through class without nodding off. I like the taste, and the fact that I am not ingesting anything unnatural. I think green tea powder is a lot more healthy than mixed coffee drinks, and I could probably benefit from drinking it more in the future...especially come fall, when my immune system doesn't seem to be up to par! I recommend this product to anyone who is a coffee junkie and wants to try something new, or to anyone who loves a very natural energy boost to help them through a long day.

Interested in learning more about Vigilant Tea? Check out the links below:


One lucky reader will win their very own pouch of Vigilant Tea's Organic Green Tea Powder! All you need to do is enter on the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to U.S. readers, 18 and over, unless you have permission from your parents. Please be honest when submitting Rafflecopter entries -- remember, I DO check all of your entries for verification, and I will throw them out if they are false. If the form has a spot for you to enter information, please provide me with the appropriate username, link, etc so that it is easier for me to verify your entries! I am not responsible for the shipment of the prize, that is the company's duty. I will contact the winner via email (so make sure to use one that you check) and you will have 48 hours to respond with your shipping information. If you have any questions or if the Rafflecopter is not working properly, you can always contact me via Facebook or email (links on the sidebar). Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

PhantomFit Resistance Band Review


PhantomFit is a company that launched recently, this year, founded by two marketing and fitness experts. PhantomFit specializes in manufacturing products that will help both the beginner and the master become more fit and live a healthy lifestyle. Right now, PhantomFit sells two high-quality products: Resistance loop bands and Wrist Wraps. They will be coming out with new products soon, so make sure to check back and see what they come up with! PhantomFit only sells 100% genuine fitness products. 

I received one set of PhantomFit Resistance Bands for the purpose of conducting this review. Although my workouts and lifestyle changes haven't been going exactly as planned, I have been trying to integrate more physical activities since this summer, to combat long hours of sedentary studying. I had heard of resistance bands and had seen them used in some at-home workout videos, as well as at workout classes offered at my school, but I had never ventured into trying them. 

What does PhantomFit's Resistance Band Kit come with?
  • One Blue "light" band
  • One Red "medium" band
  • One Green "heavy" band
  • One Black "x-heavy" band
You will also receive a nylon carrying case to hold your resistance bands, which is perfect for transporting them to the gym or to your workout classes. You will also receive a free mp3 download with PhantomFit's favorite songs to get your next workout up to speed!

These resistance bands are made from a very durable latex and are clearly labeled for optimum use. They are resistant to snapping (made to be long-lasting) and they are lightweight and super portable.  You will be surprised at all the benefits you can get in a workout from using resistance bands. They can be used for arm, ankle, and leg workouts alike. If you aren't very fit or you want to start your workout slowly, you can start with the blue, "light" band and work your way up through the different resistance levels that PhantomFit's kit offers. You can also combine different bands to create new workouts. This is really a cost effective way to improve your strength.

PhantomFit's Resistance Bands can be used in conjunction with any sort of exercise that you are familiar or comfortable with. Some examples are using the resistance bands instead of weights for bicep curls, or during your squats and lungs. They are also great for stretching. If you search the Internet, you can also find new exercises that are compatible with resistance bands if you want to expand on your old workout. Adding these bands is helpful for even the most fit athletes, as varying your workout targets new muscles in different ways to help build strength. Resistance bands can help improve your stamina, range of motion, and flexibility. They are often used as simple physical therapy exercises that you can perform at home. Many people use resistance bands to help nurture torn ligaments or sprained muscles. PhantomFit's Resistance Bands are also great for use in Crossfit exercises and yoga sessions!

Resistance bands can be combined with other types of equipment for an even more versatile exercise routine. Since they are so light-weight, they are easy to transport and great to bring on trips, if you want to pack light but still be able to workout when you get to your destination. They are fun to use at home by yourself, or at the gym or classes -- anything goes!

Right now, you can purchase the PhantomFit Resistance Band kit on Amazon, here, for just $13.99; if you have Amazon Prime, you will qualify for free shipping. You have nothing to lose, because PhantomFit Resistance Bands come with a 100%, hassle-free money back guarantee! If one breaks, it will be replaced (but I highly doubt you'll have to worry about that).

PhantomFit's Resistance Band Kit has many awesome features. I love that it came with a little carrying case, and that there are so many options for different resistances. I have been starting with the light and medium bands as I work my way back into exercising and strength training, but I appreciate being able to challenge myself, or having the other bands to work into as I get stronger. Resistance bands are great for both men and women -- my boyfriend has been sharing them with me as he too starts to get back into working out, and loves the extra challenge that they offer. We both like switching up the combinations of bands. I find that the resistance bands are different than the ones with handles, giving a little less range of motion for certain exercises. They are very durable, and I never feel like they are going to snap or injure me. I have mostly used them in my upper body for stretching and biceps curls, but I have also been starting to try using them with more yoga and pilates-inspired workouts. I just got a new yoga mat, so I am excited to try this new winning combination. I have found a ton of videos online that give me even more ideas of how to use the resistance bands to add variety to my workout. I have been using them only at home, but once fitness classes start back up at school, I will bring them with me. I also think this is a great tool to bring with you to a private beach, because the bands aren't hard to transport at all and can be used in almost any setting. Overall, I am really pleased with the PhantomFit Resistance Band kit, and so is my boyfriend. I would recommend this as an inexpensive way to try a new workout, or as a gift for a friend who is active.

Interested in learning more about PhantomFit and their products? Check out the links below:


I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, August 25, 2014

eSutras Organics Golden Flax Seed: Review


eSutras Organics is a company based out of Chicago, IL, that specializes in manufacturing and selling natural health and wellness products, as well as vegetarian foods. All of their products are created in a USDA-certified organic factory right in Chicago. eSutras Organics works with farmers and fair-trade manufacturers to obtain the highest-quality, natural ingredients. This company was created with the idea in mind of providing consumers with an eco-friendly alternative to health and beauty products. Everything is created in small batches and is given an affordable price. eSutras Organics gives 10% of profits back to the people and the communities who support their business.

eSutras Organics has something for everyone, including items such as:

  • Chocolate and Cocoa
  • Teas and Tisanes
  • Spices and Seasonings
  • Gourmet Salts and Dips
  • Oils and Condiments
  • Botanicals and Herbs
  • Sugars and Sweeteners
  • Supplements
  • Essential Oils
  • Skin and Hair Care
  • Superfoods

 I received one 8 oz. bottle of eSutras Organics' Golden Flax Seed for the purpose of this review. I was excited to receive this product because I have heard about many of the benefits that flax seed can bring. I have tried flax seed only on muffins that I have purchased in the past, but never had a bottle to try on any other types of food at home. 

Flax seed has long been known to be a "superfood", given its potent combination of three main components: alpha linolenic acids, fiber, and lignans. Alpha linolenic acid is a variety of Omega-3 fatty acid, which are the "good" fats. Lignans contain antioxidants and plant estrogen. We all know how important fiber is, and flax seed really packs a punch, containing both the soluble and insoluble types (per WebMD). eSutra Organics' Golden Flax Seed is best used when ground in a coffee grinder, and sprinkled over your favorite foods. They suggest putting it on smoothies, salads, soup, or even cereal. I have seen a lot of people put it on sandwiches, baked goods, and yogurts or parfaits. You can really put it on anything that you desire, or even eat it plain. eSutras Organics suggests refrigerating your flax seed grounds to retain optimal freshness. If you are going to add the Golden Flax seed to cooked cereal or grain dishes, they also suggest that you do this at the end of cooking, since the flax seeds will thicken your liquid. 

What are the potential benefits of the Golden Flax Seed?

Many! One of the greatest benefits that it can have is to aid in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system, given its antioxidant properties. Everyone knows that fish oil and Omega-3 are great for heart health, but rarely do we think of flax seed as containing these important ingredients. The Golden Flax Seed also has implications in being preventative against certain types of cancer, such as prostate, colon, and breast. The alpha linolenic acid found in the flax seeds has been shown to inhibit tumor growth in animal models. Flax Seed can also help with regulating metabolism and can act as a natural laxative. It can help lower cholesterol levels and may be beneficial to people suffering from diabetes. The fiber content serves as a great source of energy and nutrition. Flax seed may have preventative properties against strokes and blood clot formation. It is also great for easing inflammatory conditions and some skin conditions.

 eSutras Organics' Golden Flax Seed contains, per 8 oz. container, 23 servings. Each serving is one tbsp and has 55 calories, 4g of fat, 0mg of cholesterol, 3mg of sodium, 3g of carbs, and 2g of protein. The only ingredient is organic golden flax seed -- there are no preservatives or additives. The container has a top which allows you to pour or sprinkle the flax seeds on your food. Right now, you can purchase eSutras Organics' Golden Flax Seed on their website, here, for just $5.00. For the size of the container, this is really a steal!

 I was really pleased with eSutras Organics' Golden Flax Seed. I love the design of the container -- I just leave it out on the counter to inspire myself to sprinkle it on random foods as I am making lunch or dinner, as if it were any other seasoning. I feel like if you get in a habit of doing this, it just becomes second nature. I love adding the Golden Flax Seed to baked goods, salads, and certain sandwiches the most...I didn't really get into the cereal part. It is relatively tasteless, so it really will go with just about any type of food. It is such an easy step to take to improve your health in so many ways that I wonder why more people aren't doing it. I love knowing that I am giving my body that extra layer of protection against disease. It is nice to know that this particular flax seed is made in the United States and is organic and cruelty free. You can really tell that this company cares about providing a high-quality product. I would suggest the Golden Flax Seed to anyone who is facing one of the conditions listed above, or who wants to engage in preventative healthcare. You won't regret it, because it is one change you can make that won't involve any time or thought.

Interested in learning more about eSutras Organics? Check out the links below:


I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Apothecary Extracts: Tea Tree Oil Review


 Apothecary Extracts is a company that was recently founded in 2013, which specializes in selling essential oils. Their founders wanted to produce essential oils which were not diluted or filled with unnecessary ingredients. Apothecary Extracts only manufactures high-quality essential oils with safe extraction processes and the highest potency.

Currently, Apothecary Extracts carries 100% Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil; I was lucky enough to receive a 4 fl. oz bottle for the purpose of this review. Tea Tree Oil has many benefits that I was unaware of, and I had never used this particular oil before. I am very pleased that I was given this opportunity, because I love it.

 What is Tea Tree Oil?

Tea Tree Oil (melaleuca alternifolia) comes from a tree that is native to Australia. It is harvested from the leaves of this plant, and has been in use for centuries. People have used tea tree oil for medicinal and topical purposes.

Apothecary Extracts' Tea Tree Oil contains no artificial coloring or fragrance; it also does not contain chemicals, preservatives, parabens, petroleum, or mineral oil. It is all-natural, and has been tested by gas chromatography for purity and safety. This particular formulation contains less than 15 cineole and over 30 terpinen-4-ol, which meets and exceeds the standards set for essential oils. The plant at which Apothecary Extracts' Tea Tree Oil is produced has received awards for its conservation farming practices; at the plant, they use organic fertilizers, minimal pesticides, and other things to reduce their ecological footprint. This Tea Tree Oil is colorless-pale yellow and has been extracted by steam distillation. Apothecary Extracts' Tea Tree Oil comes in a dark bottle with a euro style dropper. It has a medium to strong scent with tones of mint and spice. 

Apothecary Extracts' Tea Tree Oil should only be applied topically, and is not for ingestion. The company suggests doing a skin test before using this product if you are unfamiliar with Tea Tree Oil. All you have to is to dilute the oil with another oil such as olive oil or coconut oil (4 parts olive/coconut to one part tea tree oil), and test by spreading on a small patch of skin. You should avoid applying the Tea Tree Oil to any broken skin, or skin that is overly irritated.

What can Apothecary Extracts' Tea Tree Oil do for you? 

It has so many potential uses! Tea Tree Oil is an antimicrobial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal agent. It can be used topically to help fight infections, or it can be applied to any surface in your home to kill off microorganisms. It has been used in vapor therapy to help combat measles, sinus infections, viral infections, etc. It can also help against conditions such as toe fungus or yeast infections. Apothecary Extracts states that their Tea Tree Oil may be effective against helping to fight MRSA infections. This Tea Tree Oil is also great for other conditions affecting your hair and skin, such as: dandruff, acne, psoriasis, lice, cold sores, etc. It can also be used on pets that have fleas (which I will definitely try in the future if the need arises). Apothecary Extracts' Tea Tree Oil can also be used for household cleaning, as a natural alternative to chemical-ridden cleaners. Apothecary Extracts gives you tips and hints for creating household products in their guide. You can make a whole host of things, such as detergent, shower spray, kitchen cleaners, and bathroom disinfectants. You can also make body products which are very effective cleaners, such as shampoo, lotion, or body wash.

Right now, you can purchase the Apothecary Extracts' Tea Tree Oil here, on Amazon, for just $24.99/4 fl oz. bottle, with free shipping! If you are interested in trying the benefits of Tea Tree Oil, you can do so without worrying. If you are at all unsatisfied with your product, Apothecary Extracts offers a 30-day, 110% money-back guarantee -- no questions asked! They are committed to providing great customer service. Each bottle of Apothecary Extracts' Tea Tree Oil comes with a 100-page guide that outlines different uses and recipes.

I found that there many times where Apothecary Extracts' Tea Tree Oil is now something I reach for. I feel like the bottle will last us a long time, even with frequent uses. I love the packaging and the fact that this Tea Tree Oil is not loaded with artificial ingredients, fragrances, or coloring. I try to avoid using chemicals on my skin as much as possible, since I know I am getting enough of them through makeup alone! The consistency of the oil is thin, and although it initially has that "oily" texture, it quickly is absorbed into the skin, and leaves your skin feeling refreshed and more comfortable. I am not a huge fan of the scent...I find it to be pretty over-powering, albeit natural. It does linger for awhile as well, and I can see it being irritating to people who are sensitive to strong smells. That being said, the scent does not detract from this Tea Tree Oil's healing properties. My boyfriend has been using it on his irritated feet, and although there was no change for me to photograph, he felt like it really helped with his infection, and sped up the healing process. I have been putting it on the side of my face to try and treat what I believe are stress-related bouts of mild acne; I think that it may be helping. I am glad that I have this product on hand for the future, especially in winter, when I start to come down with every sickness that pops up. 

Apothecary Extracts' Tea Tree Oil is a really effective, natural cleaner as well. I used it on my bathroom sink and my kitchen counters so far. Again, aside from the smell, it did a great job at removing debris and (hopefully) bacteria. I would love to try making it into a shower spray or body wash. The tips that Apothecary Extracts includes are very helpful. Overall, I was extremely pleased with this product, and will definitely be using it for more purposes in the future!

Interested in learning more about Apothecary Extracts and their products? Check out the links below:

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Natural Goal: Rhodiola Rosea Premium Dietary Supplement

Natural Goal is a company based out of Beaverton, OR, that was established in 2013. Natural Goal specializes in manufacturing dietary/nutritional supplements with high-quality ingredients at reasonable prices. Their supplements are made in GMP-certified, state-of-the-art facilities with the latest technology. Natural Goal's products are stored in climate-controlled warehouses and are 100% natural. Natural Goal has already established a great reputation with customers since opening their doors. They sell a wide variety of unique supplements that will aid in just about everything. 

Here is an idea of what Natural Goal has to offer, along with a brief description:
  •  100% Pure Oregano Oil - Immune, digestive, respiratory, and joint health
  • Green Tea Extract - Heart and immune health, relaxation and well-being
  • L-arginine Premium - Heart health
  • Acidophilus Probiotic Ultra - Promotes good bacteria
  •  Maca Premium - Stamina, immune health, reproductive health
  • Menopause Support - Skin, libido, mood and energy promotion
  • Milk Thistle Extract - Immune support
  • Prenatal Ultra Blend - Healthy development
  • Probiotic Ultra Blend - GI health promotion
  • Ultimate Candida Complex - Immune and micro health
  • Ultimate Primrose Oil - Hormone production, helps with skin condition and more
  • Ultimate Digestive Enzymes - Helps with digestion
  • Ultimate Pycnogenol Complex Immune, vascular, joint health and more
  •  Ultimate Vitamin B Complex - Helps with immune system, regulation of metabolism, promotes healthy cholesterol levels and more
  • Ultimate Vitamin E Complex - Helps with skin and aging, protects against free radical damage and helps with blood circulation

 I was lucky enough to receive one bottle of Natural Goal's Rhodiola Rosea Premium for the purpose of this review, in exchange for my honest opinion. One bottle contains sixty capsules, which is enough for a one to two month supply. I was excited to review this particular supplement because I had never heard of it before, and I thought the boost in energy would be great to help me get through my classes this semester.

What can Rhodiola Rosea Premium potentially do for you?

Rhodiola Rosea has, apparently, been used for medicinal purposes for centuries in different cultures; it is a flowering plant that grows in many cold regions around the world. It has been classified as an adaptogenic herb, which simply means that it can help your body adapt to different stressors. The Rhodioloa Rosea root extract is great for a variety of conditions. It can help elevate energy levels and enhance mental clarity; not only does it fight fatigue - it also helps increase your endurance for physical activities. Rhodiola Rosea can help improve your mood and enhance your memory. It is also great for anyone who is trying to fight off illness or recover from illness, as it has implications in boosting immune system health and preventing infections. It can help ward off stress and keep your body functioning at its best. Rhodiola Rosea can also help improve sexual function.

Natural Goal's Rhodiola Rosea is 100% natural, and is made with premium quality ingredients. These ingredients have been vigorously tested for quality, purity, and potency. This is the highest potency formulation. Natural Goal's Rhodiola Rosea Premium is a vegan/vegetarian product, and contains the following ingredients:

Rhodiola (rhodiola rosea) extract (Root) (Standardized to min. 3% Total Rosavins and min. 1% Salidrosides) - 500 mg, Cellulose (capsule), Cellulose, Silica and Magnesium Stearate (vegetable source)

This Rhodiola Rosea Premium supplement is easy to take. All you have to do is take 1 Vcap one to two times daily. It is recommended that you take this supplement along with food. As always with any supplement, these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, and this supplement is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases. You should always consult your doctor before starting a new supplement, especially if you are taking other medications or if you are nursing or pregnant.

I began taking the Rhodiola Rosea Premium supplement from Natural Goal just about two weeks ago, and so far, I have been loving the results. I take it at least once a day, and sometimes two, depending on what I am doing that day. The pills are average-size (I have trouble swallowing any pills, but that's just me), and I take them with breakfast, dinner, or both. I have found that Rhodiola Rosea gives me a natural energy boost; it isn't as profound as the energy that I receive from energy drinks, but I'd much rather take the pills that are better for my body. I find that it helps me stay alert and oriented during medical school classes, and long into the night, when I am studying for tests. I felt like I got optimum energy when I took two capsules a day. It is hard to tell whether it is helping me de-stress, or reducing my anxiety levels, because they haven't quite peaked yet. I would say that it is keeping me focused and on task more than anything, and it keeps me from falling asleep when I am laying down and studying or trying to study past midnight. I think that it does a great job for the price of the supplement, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants a natural alternative for staying awake and getting things done.

Right now, you can purchase the Rhodiola Rosea Premium Dietary Supplement on Amazon, here, for just $16.99; Amazon Prime members qualify for free shipping! Natural Goal offers a lifetime, 100% money-back guarantee with no hassles, so you don't need to worry about giving their products a try.

Interested in learning more about Natural Goal and their products? Check out the links below:

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Bellemain 12-Cup Nonstick Madeleine Pan: Review

I was lucky enough to receive a Bellemain 12-Cup Nonstick Madeleine Pan for free, in exchange for this review and my honest opinion. I was intrigued by this pan, because I had never heard of Madeleine cookies before, and I am definitely one for trying new things -- especially desserts! My baking skills are a work in progress, but I am trying to transition away from boxed mixes and into crafting up my own treats. Granted, I don't have a lot of spare time, but every once in awhile it is fun to bake to reduce stress...and to make the apartment smell amazing! The only type of pans I have for baking are cookie sheets and cupcake tins; moving into an apartment without a huge budget means that you get to put together a bunch of cooking supplies from relatives... you don't always have a specific pot or pan that you need for every recipe.

What is a Madeleine cookie?

It turns out that it is a traditional French dessert, with a sponge-cake base, and a special ridged back, which resembles a shell. This design comes from the mold or pan that you bake the cakes in. Traditionally, they are said to be made with nuts, and some newer varieties use lemon zest and/or coconut. I found a great recipe for Madeleine cookies, courtesy of This recipe is enough for twelve cookies, which is what the standard pan can hold. It is as follows:
  •  2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions (from

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Butter and flour 12 (3 inch) madeleine molds; set aside.

  • Melt butter and let cool to room temperature. 

  • In a small mixing bowl, beat eggs, vanilla and salt at high speed until light. 

  • Beating constantly, gradually add sugar; and continue beating at high speed until mixture is thick and pale and ribbons form in bowl when beaters are lifted, 5 to 10 minutes. 

  • Sift flour into egg mixture 1/3 at a time, gently folding after each addition. 

  • Add lemon zest and pour melted butter around edge of batter. Quickly but gently fold butter into batter. Spoon batter into molds; it will mound slightly above tops.

  • Bake 14 to 17 minutes, or until cakes are golden and the tops spring back when gently pressed with your fingertip. 

  • Use the tip of the knife to loosen madeleines from pan; invert onto rack. Immediately sprinkle warm cookies with granulated sugar. Madeleines are best eaten the day they're baked. Leftover madeleines are wonderful when dunked into coffee or tea. 

  • Variation: Chocolate Madeleines: Omit lemon zest. Increase sugar to 1/2 cup. Substitute 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder for 2 tablespoons of the flour; sift into batter with flour.

The Bellemain 12-Cup Nonstick Madeleine Pan is great for perfecting madeleines, or for taking your first attempt. This pan is nice and sturdy, and is made from strong, durable carbon steel. What's great about this material? It is often used in cookware such as woks, which have to get up to very high temperatures. Carbon steel has high heat conductivity, while having a low risk of becoming damaged through denting or bending. This pan has the design to last for years of use, and will help beginner bakers achieve more evenly cooked madeleines -- you'll be party ready in no time!

 Besides having great baking speed and precision, the Bellemain 12-Cup Nonstick Madeleine Pan, is, as it name suggests, non-stick. Having a non-stick surface makes cleaning this pan so much easier; now you won't have to scrub cookie edges out of the pan for several days until it is usable again. This non-stick feature also helps the madeleine cookies to perfect their shape. It is often difficult to get the shell-shaped pattern while also maintaining structural integrity. The Bellemain 12-Cup Nonstick Madeleine Pan will help you create twelve flawless cookies without burnt edges or damages. This pan can also go into the dishwasher for safe cleaning.

Right now, you can purchase the Bellemain 12-Cup Nonstick Madeleine Pan on Amazon, here. Shipping with this company is very fast and customer service is pleasant and timely. 

My madeleines did not turn out as beautiful as those that I have seen in other pictures, so I couldn't get myself to take a picture of them. Definitely still a progress! I really enjoyed having this non-stick pan, for many reasons. The first is that it is not flimsy, and you can tell it is made from high-quality materials. I think that the depth of the molds is perfect. Non-stick anything is a life saver, especially when you have limited time. Even though my madeleines did not turn out to be the best (presentation wise), they were so easy to remove from the pan. I expected the filling to get stuck in the indentations within each shell, but I was surprised to find there was little to none left in the mold ..clean up was a breeze!

The molds in the Bellemain 12-Cup Nonstick Madeleine Pan review are very cute, and at the same time, fancy. These cookies would make a great addition to any shower or birthday party. I loved how evenly and quickly the pan heated up. I would love to try pouring other mixtures into this pan, to try multiple variations of madeleines. I think that you could easily build a whole bunch of things. Overall, I am extremely satisfied with the quality of this pan. It really stuck to its claim of being non-stick!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Green Virgin Products' Soap Nuts Liquid Laundry Detergent and Fabric Softener: Review

 Green Virgin Products

Green Virgin Products is a company based out of Tampa, Florida, that was started in 2009. The owners of Green Virgin Products decided to create a line of non-toxic, natural laundry detergents and fabric softeners after coming to the realization that the major brands offered on the market today are far from eco-friendly. They pride themselves on the manufacturing of top-notch products which are carcinogen free for reasonable prices. What's even better? Green Virgin Products offer products which are not only healthier and safer, but also just as effective as leading brands. 

Green Virgin Products carries such things as:
  •  Moringa Powder - for natural energy and clarity
  • Moringa Tea
  • Moringa Capsules
  • Moringa Oil
  • GVP Formula 433 All Purpose Cleaner
  • Mineral Salts Deodorant Stone
  • Soap Nut Bar Soap
  • Stainless Steel Water Bottles
  • Stainless Steel Baby Bottles

I was lucky enough to receive a bottle of Green Virgin Products' Soap Nuts Liquid Laundry Detergent and Fabric Softener for the purpose of this review, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was excited to try a natural laundry detergent, as they are few and far between. I have tried anti-allergen detergent and natural laundry strips, but I have never tried laundry detergent made from soap nuts. In fact, I didn't even know what soap nuts were previous to receiving them!

Soap Nuts are actually berries which come from the Chinese Soap Berry Tree. In Green Virgin Products' Laundry Detergent and Fabric Softener, all-natural, harvested and dried soap nuts are used, without the addition of any chemicals. Where do soap nuts get their name from? Evidently they contain a substance which is soap-like in nature, called saponin. The saponin that Green Virgin Products uses has been extracted with water and put through filters to remove tannins. This natural laundry detergent is hypoallergenic, which makes it a great pick for anyone who has very sensitive skin, allergies, or sensitivity to perfumes and chemicals in standard detergents. It is made right here in the United States. Green Virgin Products uses the HIGHEST QUALITY, USDA Certified Organic Sapindus Mukorossi Soap Nuts. 

Green Virgin Products' Soap Nuts Liquid Laundry Detergent comes in a small, 8 fluid ounce container, with a convenient pump for dispersing. The detergent is highly concentrated. This bottle is enough for an average of 120 loads of wash if you are using a high efficiency washing machine and are washing standard sized loads. 

Green Virgin Products' Soap Nuts Liquid Laundry Detergent contains the following ingredients:

Sapindus Mukorossi Soap Nut liquid, made from USDA certified organic soap nuts (skin deep database rated 0) caprylyl glycol (skin deep database rated 0) and phenethylalcohol. (skin deep database rated 1)

Green Virgin Products follows a scale that I find very interesting and informative - the Skin Deep Database. They have chosen ratings which are low on this scale, indicating that they have the lowest levels of toxicity. Green Virgin Products offers very low risk preservatives, which achieve lower scores than any other liquid soap nuts product. 

Soap nuts are also commonly used raw, and not in the liquid form, using special bags for the washer. This is still a great, all-natural alternative, but it is far more time-consuming. Liquid Soap Nuts are hassle-free, easy to store/use, and are very effective. In an independent study, Liquid Soap Nuts by Green Virgin Products were found to clean 300% more than competing soap nut brands.

All you have to do to use the Soap Nuts Liquid Laundry Detergent and Fabric Softener is to add three pumps to a top loader washing machine, and two pumps for any high efficiency washing machine. Soiled or larger loads may require more pumps, depending on your washing machine.

In addition to functioning as a laundry detergent, the Soap Nuts also make for a great "all-purpose" cleaner. Since the liquid is very concentrated, you will have to dilute it; then you can use it to wash windows, counter-tops, and more! This is a great alternative to many cleaning sprays, as you won't have to worry about using it around pets or children. I love all-natural cleaning products, because they seem to have a leg up when it comes to efficacy -- I can never get my counters as clean when I use many of the sprays sold in grocery stores.

Right now, you can purchase Green Virgin Products' Soap Nuts on the Green Virgin Products' website for just $18.95/ 8 oz. bottle, $34.95/ 16 oz. bottle, or $.50 for a sample size that will wash up to six loads! You have nothing to risk by trying Green Virgin Products' Soap Nuts, because if you are unhappy at ALL with the product, they offer a 90-day money-back guarantee, which means they really stand behind their brand!

My favorite thing about Soap Nuts Liquid Laundry Detergent and Fabric Softener is the fact that it is toxin-free, and is created to be hypoallergenic. Although detergents such as Purex do not bother me, there are other brands (especially store brands), which really irritate my skin. I can become red and itchy if I use a detergent that is full of chemicals or perfumes. I had nothing to worry about with Green Virgin Products' Soap Nuts; my sensitive skin was not bothered at all. I don't know about you, but I am always wary of ultra concentrated products. I feel like only using two pumps on a standard load of laundry just isn't going to cut it -- but I was definitely proved wrong. I do laundry a lot..more than I should in an apartment with only two I tend to err on the side of heavier loads. Still, two pumps was enough to leave my clothes looking unsoiled and fresh. I like the fact that I don't have to put in fabric softener in addition to detergent when using the Soap Nuts (something I often do to keep my clothes softer and smelling better). I like knowing that I am using a product which is not possibly sending toxins and carcinogens into my body. However, I was not a huge fan of the scent of Soap Nuts. Keep in mind, I have a very heightened sense of smell -- but I found Soap Nuts to smell like more of a cleaner than a laundry detergent. It smells almost vinegary. However, once you wash your clothes, they come out without the vinegar smell, so it clearly doesn't absorb into the fabric. I guess as long as my clothes are being cleaned and my skin is being protected from chemicals, I can deal without having a light, tropical smell. I would love to see if they could make variations of this product using essential oils or natural, non-irritating fragrances, as I'm sure you cannot make it inherently fragrance-free. The Soap Nuts are super easy to store, which is another plus -- you don't need a ton of room for a huge container of detergent and softener, as this will fit on any small shelf. With the amount that you use per load, you are probably saving money over time, and definitely getting convenience. I don't know about you, but I used to hate carrying huge containers of detergent back to my college dorm when I didn't have a car.

Interested in learning more about Green Virgin Products? Check out the links below:

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Mia Mariu's Skin Nourishing Oil - Review & Giveaway!

mia mari

Mia Mariu is a health and beauty company based out of Dallas, Texas. Their mission is to provide "beauty and health in harmony", from the inside out. Mia Mariu offers a line of reasonably priced, natural cosmetics, botanical skin care, fragrances and nutritional supplements; all of these products are innovative and top-notch (professional quality!). Mia Mariu also offers the option of becoming a Mia Adviser, which is a home-based business opportunity.

You can find just about anything in the Mia Mariu catalog, whether you are searching for a gift or something for yourself.  Their botanical beauty line includes products such as anti-aging serums, a refreshing foaming gel cleanser, and a microdermabrasion set -- all for transforming your skin into something more hydrated and radiant. Their line of nutritional supplements includes products such as a digestive aid, calcium, essential minerals, weight management, and more. These supplements will help you find a better state of health and wellness. Mia Mariu carries several types of perfumes and accessories, such as makeup brushes. Their mineral makeup line is extraordinarily diverse, including things such as: primers, concealers, foundation, blush, hydrating stick gloss, lip liners, loose shadow liner, studio pintel pots, eyeliners, and more! They offer a full array of shades and colors that will work for every skin type.

Mia Mariu was generous enough to send me a 4 fl oz. bottle of their Skin Nourishing Oil, which is a brand new product! This is the first time that I have tried a Mia Mariu product, but I have heard many great things from friends and fellow bloggers. Their whole makeup line looks incredible to me, and I'm sure I will to buy some in the future to let you all know what I think about it! I was excited to review the Skin Nourishing Oil, because as summer comes to an end (even though I don't want to admit it), fall will start to set in. My combination skin transforms from more oily in the summer to intensely dry in the fall and winter. This is the perfect thing to put that to an end!

Mia Mariu's Skin Nourishing Oil has a blend of nutrients from a host of essential oils that is specially formulated to skin your skin firm, yet soft and radiant. It has the ability to become absorbed quickly into your skin to provide maximum moisture and hydration without blocking your pores and causing breakouts and irritation. It is sensitive enough to be used on any skin or hair type. It can not only make your skin appear more radiant, but also more youthful, as it has ingredients which help spur collagen production. In addition to these properties, Mia Mariu's Skin Nourishing Oil also contains Chamomile, Cucumber, and Lavender extracts which have implications in healing and moisturizing, and are also effective as anti-inflammatory agents.

Mia Mariu's Skin Nourishing Oil contains the following ingredients:

Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Citrus Medica Limonum Peel Extract, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Tocopherol, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Dersea Gratissima (Avocado) Fruit Extract, Squalane, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Extract

You can use the Nourishing Skin Oil anywhere on your face, body, or even in your hair! It has a non-irritating formula that is paraben-free and child safe. The bottle claims that it is "fragrance free", and I have to disagree with that. It may be CHEMICAL free, but there is a distinct fragrance that comes from all of the fruit oil extracts -- it is a very pleasant and diminutive odor that is very invigorating and refreshing. It makes you feel energized and ready for the day.

As you can see from the pictures (without makeup, I apologize for the hot mess I am!), Mia Mariu's Skin Nourishing Oil is definitely absorbed quickly by your skin. It is rather thin and spreads easily, but leaves no oily residue in its wake. As I said above, the fragrance is really pleasant, unlike many facial oils and serums that I have tested in the past. It did not cause my sensitive skin to break not, nor did it increase the redness on my face OR irritate my eyes - a big plus! I have been applying the Skin Nourishing Oil as part of my beauty regimen, right before bed and right before I apply my basic moisturizer for the day. It does not interfere with the application of makeup -- in fact, I think it actually helps my foundation go on a bit easier. It makes my skin feel incredibly soft and moisturized, from the inside out. I have been putting it mostly on my face, but also on my feet, where I have some cracked skin. I think I may try it on my stretch marks, because I am a firm believer that one can never use TOO MANY products on stretch marks at one given point in time. This is quickly becoming one of my favorite facial products, simply because of the way it makes my skin feel and because of the ingredient list. I have never found another facial product that has so many fruit extracts and no chemicals. I have always believed that the oils from fruit, seeds, and nuts are the best thing for your skin (if you aren't allergic) -- because they are natural! Your skin can tell the difference, I swear. I also have never found another facial serum that smells so subtly good. Two thumbs up overall! I can't wait to try more Mia Mariu products in the future.

Interested in learning more about Mia Mariu and their products? Check out the links below:


 One lucky reader will win a bottle of Mia Mariu's Skin Nourishing Oil, courtesy of Mia Mariu! All you need to do is enter on the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to U.S. readers, 18 and over, unless you have permission from your parents. Please be honest when submitting Rafflecopter entries -- remember, I DO check all of your entries for verification, and I will throw them out if they are false. If the form has a spot for you to enter information, please provide me with the appropriate username, link, etc so that it is easier for me to verify your entries! I am not responsible for the shipment of the prize, that is the company's duty. I will contact the winner via email (so make sure to use one that you check) and you will have 48 hours to respond with your shipping information. If you have any questions or if the Rafflecopter is not working properly, you can always contact me via Facebook or email (links on the sidebar). Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.