Category Archives: Product Reviews

Gardenite Garden Hose Nozzle

It’s officially spring even though the weather here in North Carolina keeps trying to make us return to winter. But, with the warmer weather comes yard work galore!

I have more than a few outdoor projects in mind (more on those projects later), but one thing I was seriously lacking in is of the hose sprayer variety. The one I have been using the last couple of years was one I grabbed at Target a few years ago and never really took care of, so I was thinking I was going to replace it with something nicer.

Just at the right time, I was given the opportunity to purchase the Gardenite Garden Hose Nozzle at a discount and I couldn’t have been happier!IMG_0496

The weight of the nozzle was impressive before I even took it out of the package. It gave the impression that it was made of high-quality materials and felt nice in my hand once it was out of the package.

Unlike cheap garden hose nozzles, this one threaded right onto my hose without an issue. Then, it came time to start the flow of the water and test it out.

For this trial, I used the jet stream to wash away some cobwebs from the exterior of my house, and the shower to settle some soil I used to fill some holes in my yard (that’s another post, too). I cycled through several of the other spray patterns and found that they will all be useful in some way as I work through my spring yardwork projects.

The thing that makes this hose nozzle unique is the mechanism used to turn the flow of water on and off. I like that it lets you control the flow of water much better than the “trigger” mechanism of most hose nozzles. When I was working the hose with two hands, it was easy to use. When I started to try to do something else with one hand, it became a little more difficult because of the size of my hands. However, I think it just takes some getting used to, because after a couple of trials, it was easy to manage.

Now, here comes the cool part.  You get a chance to win one of these awesome spray nozzles by entering the giveaway below! Check it out and be sure to enter!

Win a Gardenite Nozzle Hand Sprayer #3


Toddler Eats Chicken

We are lucky. Our girl loves to eat. And, for the most part, she loves to eat what we are eating. That being said, she isn’t big on combining foods. That makes plates with separate compartments ideal!


We only have a few on hand because, let’s face it, we really don’t need a bunch of stuff cluttering up the already limited kitchen space we have. But, the little three compartment plates we have been using don’t always cut it as her appetite increases and when we have meals with more than 3 components. So, when we were given a chance to try the Din Din SMART Silicone Suction Divided Plate, I jumped at the chance!

The plate is heavy silicon and has one extra large suction cup on the back. It has five separate compartments for food, so it was ideal for serving one of our favorite warm-weather meals, grilled chicken and veggie bowls with black rice.

Grilled Chicken Bowl

As you can see, we pile everything into a bowl for the adults, but P being P, she doesn’t usually want everything all combined that well. Enter her new plate! We combined the zucchini, peppers and onions in one compartment, put chicken in the main compartment, black rice in one, a couple of slices of avocado in one, and grilled sweet potato in the other.

She spent about a third of her mealtime pointing out the foods in the various compartments and making sure everything stayed in its own space. In the end, when she started getting bored with eating, she started pulling on the plate and, unlike the rest of our suction cup plates, it stayed put! That alone makes it a great plate in my book! This one is in the rotation and won’t be going anywhere any time soon!


Wrap it Up

I was super excited to be selected for YouCopia’s campaign to review some new kitchen products. My kitchen cabinets and drawers are always a mess so it was exciting to get a chance to use something that could help me get organized.


I chose the StoreMore WrapStand for all my rolls of wraps and boxes of baggies. When it arrived I immediately put it together and got it set up on my kitchen counter. Right now, that is where it is living because it is a little too tall in its conventional position for my upper kitchen cabinets.

I’m deciding now if I’m going to keep it on its side or use it in one of lower cabinets (which would require a little reorganization). But, for now, I’m really enjoying it. I even had enough slots to store by box of gallon bags on its side. It makes it super easy to grab one without having to wrestle with a box in the bottom drawer of my cabinets.


Now, here is the best part. I didn’t just get to try one, I get to give away a YouCopia product so you can give it a try for yourself.

Enter below for your chance!

Win one Youcopia product of your choice #4

How do you tackle your disorganized kitchen? I would love to hear about what you do!

Eyeliner Wars

I like eyeliner. At any given time, I have a few different varieties in my bag. But, over the years, I’ve never been very adventurous when it came to eyeliner color; I stick with black or brown/black.

So, months ago, when I received the Mally Beauty Evercolor Starlight Waterproof Eyeliner in a shade they call Sailor, I wasn’t sure what to think. Let’s face it, navy blue eyeliner isn’t exactly adventurous, but it wasn’t a shade I had thought much about. However, I gave it a try and it quickly became my favorite “everyday” eyeliner. I used it so much that the pencil became shorter and shorter. But, at $17 to replace it, I decided I should use it until it was too short to use before I dropped the money for a new one. I know, $17 isn’t much, but I’m a teacher, so I have to make sure I  get every penny of my money out of something before I replace it.

Fast forward, and I head out of town for a weekend to meet up with my family in Western Maryland. The first thing my sister tells me after I get out of the car is that she has forgotten her makeup bag, so we need to go shopping. I tell her not to worry about it, she can use mine. I mean, what are sisters for? Right? So we go about our evening, head to bed, and the next morning, it hits me that even though I made sure I packed everything into my makeup bag for the trip, I never actually picked up the makeup bag and put it into the duffel we had packed for the trip.

So, off we went! We decided the mall would be the best place to start, even though it seemed they fell a little short in the department store market. Fortunately, there was a BonTon on the backside of the mall, and the girl at the Clinique counter got me hooked up with a BB cream sample and my sister with her regular foundation and concealer. She powdered us up and then we went off for less expensive eye products. We ended up settling on a low cost waterproof mascara that we knew would come in handy at the beach and I decided to try a lower cost version of navy blue eyeliner by purchasing Maybelline New York Define-A-Line Eyeliner. This is actually the brand of brown/black eyeliner I use, so I decided it would probably be the best way to go.

This eyeliner goes on great! It is super smooth and because you turn it out rather than having to sharpen it, it’s super low maintenance. Since I like this eyeliner, I decided to see how it would stand up in head-to-head (or eye-to-eye) matchup with the Mally eyeliner.


I started out by applying one of the eyeliners to each eye as part of my regular makeup routine. Then I photographed myself as a baseline for how each eyeliner looked compared to the other. At this point, there is no real difference. The only thing I really notice when I look closely is that the Maybelline has a slightly brighter color than the Mally. Satisfied that I didn’t look too crazy wearing two different eyeliners, I went about my day.


I really almost forgot that I was wearing two different eyeliners. That is, until I went into the bathroom to get changed before my run. And that’s when I noticed the difference. Look below. See that smudge under my Maybelline eye? I had noticed that once or twice before, but typically after I had been in a sweaty situation. I just assumed it was the eyeliner running from that. After all, it isn’t waterproof like the Mally eyeliner. But, since I had been in my office all day, and hadn’t exerted myself or gotten overly warm, I realized this was a problem. After all, nobody wants dark blue circles under their eyes, right?


As a result of this little test, I decided that they Mally eyeliner really is worth every penny, so treated myself this week by ordering a new one. The best part was that I found out the price dropped and it is down to $12.95 on Amazon right nowI can’t wait to get it!

See how others are treating themselves this week by checking out Olives ‘n Wine!


Product Review: Hemp Hearts

A few weeks ago I was sent a complimentary sample of Hemp Hearts courtesy of Swaggable. I really didn’t know what  to expect from them, but through doing a little reading, I discovered that Hemp Hearts are shelled hemp seeds. Removing the outer layer of the seed allows for a softer texture that is easy to chew.

When my sample arrived, I tasted them on their own first. The package recommends sprinkling Hemp Hearts over cereal, yogurt, or salad. After I realized how mild the flavor is, I decided to go with sprinkling the package into my yogurt to add a little bulk. They matched with my yogurt perfectly! The slight nuttiness of the Hemp Hearts added another dimension of flavor and the texture of the seeds made me feel like I was eating just a little more than my normal morning snack.

Great, high-protein snack option!

Great, high-protein snack option!

Now, let’s talk about the nutritional value of Hemp Hearts. I did a little research on both the Manitoba Harvest website and using the app Fooducate. Hemp seeds are a little higher in fat (just like other nuts and seeds), but hemp seeds are a great source of fiber and protein. A 3 tablespoon serving of Hemp Hearts provides you with 10 grams of protein. I don’t think my trial size was quite that large of a serving, but once I add in the protein from the yogurt, that’s a good serving of protein for one snack.

With all of that considered, these are a winner, but then also consider that Hemp Hearts are only minimally processed and are certified by the Non-GMO Project. That makes me personally very happy!  I’m planning to pick up a bag soon and figure out how else I can use them! I’m thinking some healthy baking might be in my future…

Product Review: Emergen-C Flavors

Let me clear, I really like Emergen-C. I don’t take one daily, but I turn to it whenever I’m starting to feel like I might be getting sick and I drink one a day when I enter taper mode at the end of a plan.  I also turn to it when I’m just feeling a little run-down. I’ve always enjoyed the orange and tangerine flavors and hadn’t really branched out because I know what I like.

I use my Keurig because I like my Emergen-C hot.  I add a packet to a mug and hit the button for the smallest serving on my Keurig.  I feel like this gives me the perfect ratio of water to Emergen-C, so it always has a good flavor.

Last year I received a couple of packets in one of my race bags at some point. I received a raspberry packet and and Immune+ mixed citrus packet.  The mixed citrus was fine. The raspberry was not. It just had kind of a cloying taste to it. I decided to stick with the citrus flavors after that.

However, my good friend, Melanie, is an Emergen-C ambassador and this past week, she brought me some new flavors to try, açaí berry and mixed berry.  So, over the last couple of days I’ve had one each morning to let you know my thoughts.


I tried the açaí berry first.  When the hot water started to hit the Emergen-C in the cup the smell brought me back to sick days in my Grandma’s kitchen as a child.  She would make us hot jello to drink. We loved it.  This smelled so much like that, I couldn’t believe it.  Then, I tasted it.  This flavor of Emergen-C has a great flavor! It had a great berry taste and it was not overly sweet. I was a big fan!

This morning, I tried the mixed berry packet.  It was good.  It had a good berry flavor, but didn’t seem as flavorful as the açaí berry.  It also was not too sweet.

I liked both of these flavors, but in terms of which one I liked best, the açaí berry flavor definitely wins out! I’ll definitely add that flavor into my purchasing rotation!

Change is Inevitable

Yesterday, when I logged in to Garmin Connect to make sure I had updated all of my runs for the week, I found that I had the option to see something new and very different from what I was used to seeing. So I decided to give it a shot.  Here are my first impressions…

1. It’s clean!
Here is a screenshot of my new dashboard under the Modern version of Garmin Connect.

Screen shot 2014-06-17 at 5.40.02 AM


The option to see the boxes in mini view or to even change the way your information is shown within the boxes makes for a more streamlined experience when using Garmin Connect

2. It’s much easier to see all of your information in one spot.
In the classic version, you could see your most recent run with a list beside it of all past runs. In order to see other content, you had to use the drop down menus to navigate around.

Screen shot 2014-06-17 at 5.57.48 AM


Now, most of your information is going to be readily available on your customized dashboard upon logging in to Garmin Connect.

3. It’s fairly easy to navigate.
I did the quick tour when I first logged in and unfortunately, it wasn’t super helpful. However, with sidebar navigation for the few things that aren’t already available on the dashboard, it was pretty simple to find the reports section and how to adjust my settings (including making a temporary switch back to the classic view if you decide you aren’t quite ready to make the switch to modern).

In addition, each of the boxes on your dashboard comes with individual settings.  These settings allow you to do things like change the view in your activities window to a list view, the most recent view, or minimize that box if it is a feature you don’t want to work with.

Screen shot 2014-06-17 at 5.56.56 AM

The list view in the activities window

4. It has “more” options
Okay, I should preface this by saying that this may exist in the classic version of Garmin Connect, but I had never seen it. When you click the search icon in the activities window it opens a view of a map with other routes on it.

Screen shot 2014-06-17 at 5.56.17 AM

For me, this was something that had been missing from my Garmin Connect experience. I love the idea that if I’m looking for a new route, I can look here to find one.  This may be even more useful when I travel!

In terms of my overall impression of the modern version of Garmin Connect, I’m happy with it so far. I feel like it has so much potential to allow me to analyze and plan my fitness in a much more thoughtful way.  With  the classic version, the potential may have been there, but it was never front and center like it is with the new dashboard feature. I’m excited to get in there and play around a little more!