Sunday, December 15, 2013

Homemade Natural Air Freshener

Image by Annabelle Orozco
Air fresheners and room deodorizers have a weird chemical smell because they're made of chemicals. A better option, especially for those who have allergies or asthma, is to make your own natural air freshener.

To make a homemade air freshener:
  • Fill a medium-sized glass jar with natural things that smell good, like cinnamon sticks, orange slices, vanilla extract, ginger, etc.  
  • Fill the jar with water 
  • Dump the contents of the jar into a sauce pan. 
  • Add a half jar of water to the pan. 
  • Bring the mix to a simmer and remove the pan from the heat when your home smells nice.
  • When the mix cools, store the ingredients in a glass jar and keep it refrigerated. When your home needs freshening, reheat the contents on the stove or in the microwave.  Add water as needed.
  • The ingredients will keep for two weeks. 
Instead of heating the ingredients in a saucepan, you can use a slow cooker, mini fondue pot, mug warmer, candle warmer or teapot/coffee pot warmer.

Learn more about making your own natural air freshener here.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Quick Thankgiving Prep

I'm in charge of mashed potatoes this year for Thanksgiving. In the past, I've peel 10-pound sacks of potatoes. This year, I'm trying this trick:

I read somewhere that you should score the potato skins, but I'm not sure if that's necessary.

This trick to quickly peel hard-boiled eggs blew my mind:

Have you tried any of these tricks? Did they work for you?

Monday, September 23, 2013

So Satisfying that It Feels as if You're Cheating

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post brought to you by Green Giant® and MyBlogSpark.

One of the things that makes dieting hard are those horrid cravings. You want something sweet, salty and maybe even a little gooey. Green Giant®, a product of General Mills, has just what you need with its selection of veggies. 

When you want a satisfying, heat up a bowl of broccoli with cheese sauce instead of chips. Here's why: 
  • A serving size of Green Giant® veggies is larger than you think.
  • A bowl of delicious vegetables has the same amount of calories as a handful of chips, but is more filling. 
  • Green Giant® vegetables are seasoned with spices and low-fat sauces. 
  • There are 27 Green Giant® vegetable varieties that are under 100 calories per serving, according to General Mills. 
  • Heating a bowl of vegetables is as simple as opening a bag of chips. 
  • You can be proud of being caught eating a bowl of veggies instead of an unhealthy snack.

Some of my favorite Green Giant® vegetable varieties include: 
  • Broccoli & Cheese Sauce
  • Cauliflower & Cheese Sauce
  • Shoepeg White Corn & Butter Sauce
  • Cut Leaf Spinach & Butter Sauce
  • Baby Brussels Sprouts & Butter Sauce
Green Giant® is so satisfying that your brain and taste buds will think that you're cheating on your diet, but your waistline will know that you're not.

Find out more by learning about the Green Giant Difference.   

Disclosure: The information and prize pack have been provided by Green Giant® through MyBlogSpark.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Betty Crocker goes Gluten-Free

One of the things that I hate about being gluten-free is that you need specialty flours that seem impossible to find to make my favorite treats. And, prepared gluten-free treats are expensive to purchase. Thanks to Betty Crocker, I can still enjoy my favorite gluten-free desserts without breaking the bank.

Over the past few years, Betty Crocker offered mixes to make a gluten-free yellow cake, chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies and brownies (my favorite). Now there are two new additions to the line of gluten-free products: sugar cookie mix and a rice flour blend. (I'm already formulating ideas about how to transform the sugar cookies into snicker doodles!)

I'm a fan of Betty Crocker's gluten-free mixes because they taste great and the end results aren't gritty. The products taste so much like "normal" desserts that I can share them with others without fear that they'll dislike them.

To help me with my gluten-free baking endeavors, I received this awesome baking set:

Thanks, Betty Crocker, for helping make baking fun again!

I add pudding mix to the chocolate cake mix to make it ultra-moist. I've also found that dulce de leche makes a great icing for the yellow cake.  What do you do with the gluten-free mixes?

The information and prize pack have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Natural Skin Care in Your Grocery Store

AVEENO® has a new line of skincare products that leave your skin looking awake, fresh and glowing called the POSITIVELY RADIANT® Collection, which contains the ACTIVE NATURALS® ingredients. This collection includes:

  • POSITIVELY RADIANT® Brightening Cleanser
  • POSITIVELY RADIANT® Skin Brightening Daily Scrub
  • POSITIVELY RADIANT® Daily Cleansing Pads
  • POSITIVELY RADIANT® Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15 or SPF 30
  • POSITIVELY RADIANT® Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 30

AVEENO® was one of the first brands that offered hypoallergenic skincare products in made from high-quality natural ingredients that you could find in regular grocery and drug stores. The POSITIVELY RADIANT® Collection uses a Total Soy Complex to help improve the tone and texture of your skin, brighten it and reduce the appearance of brown spots and blotchiness.

The Benefits of Soy

While soy isn’t necessarily the greatest ingredient to consume, according to some physicians, it offers great benefits for your skin. After noticing that people working in soybean factories always seem to have hands with evenly toned and smooth skin, the scientists at AVEENO® figured out a way to process the bean so it retains its integrity and offers long-term benefits.
Soy benefits the skin because of the isoflavones in it, compounds that have an estrogen-like chemical structure and biologic activity. These compounds help your skin maintain a hormonal balance, acts as an antioxidant, stimulates collagen and are enzyme inhibitors.

The Benefits of Oats

Oats have been a natural remedy for sensitive skin for ages because of the way they relieve skin that’s irritated, dry and itch. AVEENO®’s scientists create colloidal oatmeal with a special milling process so the products protect your skin and attract moisture. In addition to sooth your skin, the oat extracts help nourish it.

My AVEENO® Experience

For this post, AVEENO® generously sent me the following products to test:

  • POSITIVELY RADIANT® Brightening Cleanser
  • POSITIVELY RADIANT® Skin Brightening Daily Scrub
  • POSITIVELY RADIANT® Daily Cleansing Pads
  • POSITIVELY RADIANT® Daily Moisturizer SPF 30
  • POSITIVELY RADIANT® Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 30
  • Daily Moisturizing Lotion
  • Daily Moisturizing Lotion with SPF 15
  • Daily Moisturizing Body Wash
Thanks, AVEENO!

I have sensitive skin, so I appreciate that the cleansers don’t contain soap, but effectively removes dirt, oil and makeup. Their fresh scent is nice, too! 

The face wash shimmers!

The body lotions are 100 percent scent-free. They don’t feel greasy at all, or slimy. The winter left my skin dry, so my skin soaked in the lotion like a sponge. Plus, all the moisturizers are oil-free, so I don’t have to worry about them clogging my pores. Because the products are hypoallergenic and noncomedogenic (won’t block pores), they’re safe to use every day.  

At first, I was unsure of the tinted moisturizer because it came with a medium tint and I have fair skin. Since the coverage is sheer (unless you really load it onto your face) my skin didn’t look strange. In fact, it kind of gave me a sun-kissed look. The tinted moisturizer with SPF felt heavier on my face than the non-tinted one, but I think that’s because I don’t wear makeup that often. 

Overall, I recommend AVEENO® products whether you have sensitive skin or not. It seems great for all skin types, and the brand makes skincare simple and sun care a no-brainer. 

This sponsored post is brought to you by AVEENO® and Latina Bloggers Connect. The opinions and views expressed are 100% my own.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Teeth Whitener Review

I recently had the pleasure of trying out a new teeth whitening product, the REVIVE Teeth Whitening System, courtesy of the White Lotus Dental Spa, the official carrier of REVIVE.

I used a mild-strength at-home whitening kit, which contains a 10 percent hydrogen peroxide whitening gel. These are the results:

Before I started using REVIVE
About a month later
Almost two months later

The company claims that you can see results in as little as five days. Since I used the mild kit, however, I think it took longer for me.

When I first started to use the gel, my molars were sensitive to cold foods. The Desensitizing Gel, however, helped with that. After a couple of weeks, the sensitivity went away and I didn't need the special gel.

One of the things that I have to emphasize is to use a little bit of gel, like the instructions indicate. The main reason: it tastes nasty. The first time I used the whitening gel, I used too much and foamed at the mouth like a rabid dog (because of the hydrogen peroxide). If you only use a bit, the gel won't seep past the whitening trays, and you won't taste it.

The normal kit comes with two syringes filled with whitening gel. Because I used a small amount of gel at a time, it's taken me almost two months to complete the treatments.

My overall experience with REVIVE is positive. I only have one concern about it -- the printed instructions are confusing. They state to start using the gel once a day for 30 minutes, but then you can increase the number of treatments that you do per day, as well as the length of the treatments. I told the representative I worked with about my confusion and she made some good, straightforward recommendations. In the end, I used the whitening gel once a day for 60 minutes.

If you're curious about teeth whitening and have never tried it, REVIVE is a safe way to start. As always, talk to your dentist about anything that relates to the care of your teeth and gums.

I received the REVIVE Teeth Whitening System for free in exchange for a review. All the views and opinions expressed are 100 percent my  own.