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Sunday, 29 May 2016

Geeky T-Shirts That Fit!


I love t-shirts that stand out – wacky, geeky, silly, Whovian…and of course my Beachbody t-shirts that I work be behind off for (literally).

T-ShirtWonderland offers t-shirts in a variety of fits, sizes, logos, and unique designs.

I received the I Can Explain it to you But I Can`t Understand it for You T-Shirt in Medium (Girl T Fit I believe). 



It is a simple saying, however, the print on it seems like good quality, and should not lead to cracking or destruction anytime soon.

The fit is perfect – It is straight, but fits over my hips (which can be a feat some days for tshirts), and is the perfect length for me.  Even if it shrinks an inch or so upwards, it will still be a comfortable fit. 

I find most t-shirts tend to shrink upwards, and then I end up having to wear a tank top underneath so I don`t show my plumbers behind while bending over.

These t-shirts are designed with length and girth in mind – two qualities that I find are difficult to find in a t-shirt these days. 

The fabric itself is pre-shrunken cotton.  So I do not foresee the shrinking issue I see with less quality t-shirts.

They have a variety of cute logos like these ones:



They will also replace or refund your order if you contact them within 24 hours of receiving your t-shirt if it does not fit properly. So they stand behind their products.

Husband stated that he thinks the t-shirt looks cute on me, and we went garage sale hunting on our bikes yesterday morning (25 degrees Celsius at 9am).  The shirt held up to the warmth and sweat, and it passed the armpit test – no sweat marks (happens in the heat with some t-shirts)!



So overall, take a gander and support this small business for their quality & well-fitted t-shirts!


*** I received this product at a reduced or no cost for my fair and fabulous review ***

Meal Planning 1-Doh!-1

So, as part of my Beachbody Programs, they always come with a meal plan for optimal results.  Which I promptly ignore, and go about our normal healthy-ish diet and last minute mish mash dinners of whatever is in the fridge after a long day at work, and the exact same lunches every-single-day because I run out of time in the morning.

Even making a 3 minute smoothie before leaving for work can be a catastrophe some mornings.

Yes - I could make these things the night before...but it never happens. There are too many other fun things to do after work. Like biking, reading, or Netflix.

So, Husband exclaimed a few weeks ago that we should hone in our diets so we can gain optimal biking results.

Thank you, Pinterest and Beachbody for giving me full meal plans for 5 days.  5 days good wholesome nutrition, 2 days, try our best to eat well, with the occasional poutine slip-up.  Poutine *is* Protein and Carbs though, so you really can't exclude it from the weekly diet plan.

So, Week 1, I prepped a Meal Plan designed for the 22 Minute Hard Corps (1200-1500 level) to see how easy it was.

These are the ingredients
I scoured our freezer for meat substitutions (use what we have first), and had to make two trips to ensure I had all the ingredients.

3.5 hours lately (90 minute prep time - my behind!), it was done.  I feel I was so slow because I was also reusing dishes and cleaning them in-between.

I made 10 breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and cut up vegetables for easy snacking (with hummus on the side to encourage fullness and give some yummy taste to the veggies).  I'm SO glad we recently got a slew of extra lunch containers a few weeks ago, as these came in VERY handy.

Organized food!
I have also found it really difficult lately to motivate myself to cook or get lunches ready.  I don't know how many days in a row I had chili for lunch.  It's yummy and nutritious (I make it and freeze it in big batches), but change is good.  Heck, I work in an industry where it's constantly changing! 

I also enjoy trying new recipes, so this meal planning this is up my alley.  


P

The 22 Minute Hard Corps Meal Plan Menu:

Breakfast: Spinach Egg Cups with Steel Cut Oats and 1 cup sliced strawberries
Shakeology Snack: Shakeology with 1 cup frozen raspberries or ½ banana and 2 tsp. nut butter
Lunch (M/W/F): Sesame Chicken with Asparagus
Lunch (T/Th): Quinoa Shrimp Cocktail
Dinner (M/W/F): Bison and Broccoli Stir Fry
Dinner (T/Th): Grilled Turkey Lettuce Wrap
Snacks: 8 walnuts sprinkled with cinnamon and cayenne or hummus with lettuceretty healthy meals!
Here`s my take on week 1:

Breakfast:  I don`t like spinach, but thought this egg recipe would be acceptable. Nope - it was so awful I ended up giving it to the birds; the oatmeal and strawberries were good though!

Husband enjoyed the egg muffins better once he added salt and pepper.

Lunches: I enjoyed both and they were quite filling!

Husband missed out on the Shrimp Salad, which I found was a nice change - filling, yet super healthy.

Dinners: These were also both quite tasty.  I substituted the bison with ground beef we already had in the freezer, and added in veggies and just used ground turkey for the turkey and lettuce wraps.  I am not pretending to eat a burger with lettuce buns.

Conclusion:

The directions are straight forward, and I can do what I love best - multi task!  While one thing is cooking, I'm prepping something else, and at the end, we have 30 meals. And save at least an hour every day in time.  And have a healthy dinner ready in 1 minute (heating time) when we get back from cycling after work.



I LOVE the free time after and before work - it has relieved a lot of anxiety and stress.

There isn`t old food in the fridge going to waste, and it definitely saves while grocery shopping. I like having lists and direction, so this makes Systic happy.

I do not say this anymore! 


We both lost a few pounds each, and were full all day long.  If we snacked, veggies and hummus was suffice.

Week 2 was a slight disaster with a Quinoa and Egg casserole - it was so dry and blech - these pucks just went into the garbage.  I admitted it was awful before Husband sighed in relief that he felt it was equally awful.  The lunches and dinners were delightful, however - and only a few substitutions were made with items we already had.

Week 3 I am going to prep today - PREP DAY SUNDAYS!

We have discussed breakfast, and are going with one egg muffin, oatmeal, and fruit.  I`m going to go with the original 21 Day Fix Egg muffin recipe that I used briefly last summer to get more protein into our diets.

And I`m going to use rice and tofu in the Turkey & Cauliflower rice recipe - again - we want to eat healthy, but not compromise taste.  Gagging down healthy food that just doesn`t taste good will not promote longevity of this plan and our health goals.

The rest of the meals are acceptable, and should taste divine!

For anyone wanting to cut down their grocery budget, time spent cooking every day, or meet fitness goals, this whole meal planning thing really IS all it`s cracked up to be!

Just do it!


Thursday, 26 May 2016

Anyone with an iPhone (or any mobile phone) has had that moment where they only have 10% power left, but pictures to take and messages to answer.  Carrying around a charging plug and finding a plug to put it into is not always the best or safest solution.
This NEVER happens to me...
 
Enter the PowerGroov mobile phone charger.  I had one, but Husband put it away somewhere safe – too safe, as we cannot find it.  Enter charger #2 – PowerGroov! 
It has a sleek flat design, and can easily be fit into a pocket, purse, luggage, anywhere, and is highly portable. 

It benefits me by being able to give a quick charge up when my phone goes below 20% and I am not going to be near a wall charger in the near future.  For example, I used it this past weekend camping – It was partially charged as I had charged my phone at home with it first in order to ensure the charger worked properly.  I was able to get my phone from 5% power to 54% power before the charger turned off.  Being able to bring my phone back from the near dead after already charging my phone from 20 to 80% the previous week without recharging the charger = awesome!
 
It does work for my Husband’s Samsung as well – there is an adapter end from the charger that allows for easy transition from an Apple phone to a Samsung phone, so for our household’s quick fix needs, we appreciate the adapter and multi-use we will get out of it.
 
 

Not only can you charge this charger on your desktop or laptop computer via the handy USB cord included, you can also recharge it from wall chargers, and even an awesome camping lantern I have that has a charging port!  Being able to have multiple access points to recharge this charger will come in handy as we get deeper into camping and cycling season.
 
I do like the little built in charging cable – it’s unobtrusive and makes charging a more efficient process.
 
My issue with this charger, however, is that it gets HOT. When it is being charged or charging my phone, the charger case gets quite hot, and I have not been able to figure out a workaround for it (to prevent overheating).  Thankfully it does not cause my phone or the charging cord to get hot…but I do not think that I will be using this charger unsupervised in order to ensure it does not overheat my phone.
**** I received this item at a reduced cost for my fair and fabulous review ***

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Whisk it Up!


Who doesn`t need a good whisk? I had my mother`s whisk for years until I lost it during one of my many moves over the years.  Then downgraded to the Walmart Special, and somehow ended up with one whisk again.

www.trollme.com


Just in time, GikBay (Geekbay) brought forth a trio of stainless steel whisks! 

Husband was quite excited when he realized we had new whisks.  At least they are lightweight, and he only whisked my behind a few times before he started to really look at and realize their quality.  He gives two thumbs up.

My review is a bit more intricate.



The first thing I noticed was their light size – like 10 times lighter than my old whisk. 

Secondly, I noticed the nice stainless steel tube handle with hanging loop at the end for multiple storage options.  We usually just store them in the drawer, but others might hang them for easier access and to keep them from tangling up other kitchen gadgets.



I like that there are 3 sizes – so I don`t have to use a small whisk in a large bowl, or a large whisk in a teeny bowl.  Avoiding awkward cooking situations is important to me.

They clean nicely and so far have not been streaky after washing them with soap and water – no working dishwasher in this household, therefore I cannot comment on how they deal with a 2-3 hour dishwasher cycle.

These have been perfect for creating my weekly meal preps (eggs galore), sauces, and salad dressing. 

The ends of the loops have quite the gap in them – but this is to help avoid lumping and clumping at the ends, providing an easier hand whisking experience.

Overall, I feel this is a great price for the quality and weight(lessness) of these whisks. 


*** I received this product at a reduced cost for my fair and fabulous review ***




Thursday, 19 May 2016

Welcome to Our OrBlue Kitchen


OrBlue is an expert in kitchen utensils that you want (and didn't know you wanted).

I recently have several acquired several of their products, and use them constantly, having shuffled our older worn our (or el-cheapo) utensils to the storage room, recycling, or the camping bin.  

I like to cook, but I also like my utensils not melting or working as they ought to.  It is also nice to have modernized kitchen gadgets to give it a more updated feel. 

It is also quite difficult these days to find quality products without selling your first born, arm, and nose. 

Today I will review five of OrBlues newest additions to my kitchen!




I used to have a round plastic spaghetti measurer, and over the years misplaced it, unable to locate one whenever I perused the local kitchen supply stores.

Since then, I have just guessed how much pasta to make – and in general, I just make too much spaghetti, leaving leftovers for the dogs and parrots.

This stainless steel pasta measurer is a fabulous kitchen tool!  It has a sleek design, and is easy to store either flat in a drawer or hanging up via its handy hanging hole.

There are 4 holes – from one to four servings, and the serving sizes are perfect.  Since we started using this measurer, our servings have been less, but we have also felt less immobile after a good plate of spaghetti. 

For portion control, this is a must-have in any kitchen!

It cleans well, and dries spot free.


I have this old plastic pasta scoop whose only purpose is to scoop and stir spaghetti.  Beyond that, it is a big mess and not worth the hassle.

OrBlue’s pasta scoop is multi-purpose, and as I like to think outside the box, has uses beyond spaghetti, spiral pasta, or linguini. 

It also makes a great scoop for vegetables, salads, and more. 

The strainer basket on the bottom is a nice feature, as it drains water from pasta (or vegetables), without anything getting stuck within the grooves. 

The handle is sturdy and quite comfortable – made from a nice soft material.  The handle and fork are made from stainless steel and seem to be great quality.

The ease of cleaning the forks of this scoop is 100x easier than our old plastic scoop – pasta goo wipes off without a struggle.  On a side note, it seems to be resistant to water marks, so it actually looks clean once dried.

Once your scoop is clean and ready to be put away, it can be placed in a drawer or hung up via its handy hook hole!

Professional Quality Silicone Pastry & Basting Brush


I have tried the el-cheapo Basting Brushes, Basting Brushes that twist onto BBQ Sauce bottles, and even acrylic basting brushes – with results that do the job, but do not do the job well.

My OrBlue basting brush is beautiful.  It has a sleek design, long handle, separate bristles, and matches my other main kitchen utensils – matching sets are important to my husband, and quality is important to me.

The bristles work smoothly over a multitude of surfaces – whether it be applying BBQ sauce on the Bar-B-Cue, basting a chicken that is roasting in the oven, or even slathering butter on corn on the cob – these bristles do not fail. For example, last night we had corn on the cob, and the comparison of applying butter with our old brush vs this brush were quite evident.  The butter doesn`t get stuck in the bristles where they meet the base, excess butter easily rubs back into its container, and it allowed for an easy full application of butter instead of the sporadic and clumpy layer we normally have.

The handle is also quite comfortable to grip, having a slight ergonomic angle to it.  It also has a nice length, allowing your arm to stay at a distance from hotter surfaces if you are basting in the middle of cooking a meal.

With respect to cleaning – just as we learned with our butter experience, the bristles are so easy to clean, we do not have to worry about excess butter or sauce remaining in the crevices between the bristles.

You cannot go wrong with this basting brush – it will be the last one you will own!


Flexible Dual-Sided Silicone Spatula Green




We all have THOSE spatulas – the ones that we get from the dollar store, or have had since we moved out and can`t fathom getting rid of despite their shabby condition and lack of productivity within a kitchen setting.

Step in my new kitchen friend – OrBlue`s fabulous double ended spatula! 

The first thing I noticed was how durable and sturdy the silicone is – definitely slap worthy.

Unlike most spatulas, this is one piece, so you do not have to worry about bacteria and gross food bits becoming permanently embedded where the spatula part usually meets the handle. 

Another feature is it has two usable ends – a scraping spatula end for scraping bowls or pans, and a spoon end for mixing or scooping.

The other night I was doing our first meal prep (5 days worth of meals made in 3 hours for 2 people).  I was using all the stove elements, and constantly cleaning, scraping, scooping, and prepping.  This spatula was amazing!  The scraping power is perfect – anything I scrape off of it actually comes off, so I was able to use it for my entire meal prep without having to actually clean it a multitude of times. I stirred rice, quinoa, and oatmeal, scooped egg into muffin tins, and then some. 

I love versatile and efficient gadgets, and this is a must have for any kitchen!

It feels nice in my hands, and I am able to use it for long periods of time without my hand cramping or feeling unnatural.


It is also super easy to clean – soap and water does the job, and again, there are no crevices for bits of food to get stuck into, making this a seamless spatula from beginning to end. 

Kitchen Scissors


In our kitchen, we have your basic kitchen scissors that come in that Canadian Tire Special knife pack (with knife block).  They are ok, but nothing special.

OrBlue`s multi purpose culinary scissors are pretty swanky at first sight.  They are made from stainless steel, rust proof, and when washed, do not show water marks.

They also have a good weight to them due to the multitude of utilitarian uses they have.

The handles are quite diverse, being utilized as a screwdriver, bottle opener, and nut cracker – not a replacement for a tool box, but these scissors are multi purpose tools for camping or outdoor BBQ fun!

I have been able to cut meat (chicken, steak, fish), fruit, vegetables, and even the top of the milk container with ease in a clean straight line.

It even has a slot in one of the scissor blades that acts as a peeler for fish, fruit, or vegetables! 

The scissors *do* come apart, however, they are a bit tricky to put back together – it has to be at the right angle and takes practice (and patience).  If you are cutting and have the scissors opened TOO wide, they also have a tendency to come apart – so be aware of this while using them.

The handy case is magnetic, so these scissors are a staple on our fridge now – being quickly accessible for whatever we require them for. 

******

Conculsion

I have many OrBlue kitchen products, and they never cease to please our family – sleek in design and quality, the prices are fabulous, and I would not hesitate to recommend any of their products to our friends, family, and beyond.

*** I received these products at a reduced cost for my fair and fabulous review ***


Monday, 16 May 2016

The Elephants Have Entered The Building!


I instantly loved the pattern of this Indian Tapestry as soon as I saw it.

Once it arrived, I was surprised when I opened up the tapestry bag to find that the material itself was about as thin as a normal bed sheet.  I thought that it would be a thicker woven material – it is not.



Nonetheless I really like the Elephant and floral design.  It fits in perfectly in our living room where we are using it as a couch throw thanks to owning to dogs who shed.  Our d├ęcor is grey, black, and red, so it does not seem out of place.

Back to the dog thing, however, it does tend to pick up hair quite easily on the black sections.



If it weren’t such a  lightweight material, we would use this as a bed cover, but it’s not quite soft enough to be a sheet that would be comfortable to curl up in, and being on top of the bed, it would not lay flat once someone gets onto or into bed.

The hemmed edges are a bit subpar, and I can see that I will have to hem them as they come undone (pictured below) – the stitches are crooked and a bit less skilled than I would do if I were hemming a sheet.



The pillow cover was a nice touch with a zipper for a pillow insert, but is not our style, so it will be repurposed.



So it is not perfect, but suits our current needs and I like the colour and design. 

If you like this design and are okay with its quality, it can be purchased on Amazon.


*** I received this product at a reduced cost for my fair and fabulous review ***

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

The 7 Day Jamberry Challenge!


I was invited to complete a 7 day Jamberry Challenge.

What does this entail, you ask?

Rachael Christopher, my lovely Jamberry representative sent me one wrap to use (one for each hand) - 4 fingers on each hand were painted with my Sally Hansen Nail Polish - the other nails had wraps applied.

7 days without touching up my painted nails.  I knew this challenge would drive me mental from the beginning.   I dislike my nail tips when they become dishevelled, hence touch ups are generally required throughout the week.

The wraps were simple to apply:
- Cut the wrap in half (one for each nail)
- Remove the wrap from the plastic backing
- Blow dry the wrap for 15-20 seconds until it is pliable
- Apply the wrap to nail, pressing down firmly
- Blow dry the nail for another 15-20 seconds
- Press down again to seal the wrap in place
- Trim and File the top of the nail
- Voila!

My job was okay - it was a bit bumpy at the bottom edge, but that's more of a learning curve vs the actual product.


Here are my days in progression:

Day 1 - all clear!
Day 2 - both Sally & Jamberry are holding out!


Day 3 - my thumb nails are starting to chip

Day 4 - my other nails are following suit and chipping - this is driving Systic crazy

Day 5 - the top and bottom of my painted nails are chipping; Jamberry is staying in place
Day 6 - the Force is NOT with my painted nails. 

                                       
Day 7 - painted nails are a hot mess - Merlin is not impressed with them either

So, all in all, my Jamberry nails, despite my first application not being perfect, lasted all week long. They didn't curl up or come off, and at least one of my nails looked good all week.

To add some fun to normal painted nails, Jamberry nails are the bomb diggity!  

I also won Rachael's Recent Jamberry FB Contest and had troubles choosing 4 wrap pages!  



I opted for 2 cycling wraps (one is a cyclist biking on a path - the other is gears), a double decker bus wrap, and of course - a wrap with feathers (and stripes).

They are all so beautiful and I can't wait to Jam with myself in the bathroom while doing my nails! 

My tactic will be 2 or 3 wraps per hand with the remaining nails being painted (I have a LOT of nail polish thanks to Topbox) - but at least now I can use some nail colours that are...odd (orange, green)...without them looking weird. 

Like and Join Rachael's Jamberry page  for her upcoming May 15/16 Jamberry Party!  You don't want to miss out on all the fun :)  

I am so stoked about Jamberry wraps now - they are a must in my beauty supplies now :)

Thank you to my new British acquaintence, Rachael, for this awesome opportunity!  

****I received this product at a reduced cost for my fair and fabulous review ***


Wednesday, 4 May 2016

My Topbox Review - April 2015




April's Topbox was full of some new products from companies I have not tried in the past.

For $12 a month, you get 4-5 beauty product samples (one is usually full size), either a surprise or chosen brand box.



OFRA Cosmetics - Lipliner

Water resistant pencil suitable for the most sensitive eye & lip areas.  Created with a synthetic beeswax base for a smooth, soft and long lasting application.

1.13g $17.25.  Available at OFRAcosmetics.com 

I don't use lip liner, so this is another eye liner to add to my collection.  

Initially, I found the tip quick sharp the first few applications, but it is getting better with use.

I use it with light pink and beige/cream eye shadow as a change from my normal black eye liner. 

It doesn't leave residue on my lower brow like some other eye liners, so that in itself makes it a decent product. 



PUR-Lisse - Blue Lotus 4-in-11 Eye Adore Serum

Apply day and night, using your ring finger, lightly tap (to reduce tugging) a small pump of serum around eye area.  

15ml $65.  Available at Shop.Purlisse.com

This eye cream is a medium thickness that requires very little to cover the under, side, and lower parts of the eye skin.  

After using this for almost a month, I've barely gone through 1/3 of the sample bottle.

It has a light scent to it, but nothing irritating.  

It dries quickly, and I can definitely see the fine lines around my eyes diminish after application.

If it weren't for the price point, I would definitely add this to my regular skin care routine!


Orofluido - Beauty Elixir

For all hair types, with a pure luxuriance that envelops your hair.  Three organic natural oils in an equisite mixture with a pleasant silky texture, that absorbed rapidly, leaving no residue in the hair.  
25ml $17.81.  Find a salon near you at Orofluido.com

Normally hair oils don't like my hair, leaving it lank and greasy looking.  My hair is thin and long - not a good combination with oil.  

This mixture has a lovely sweet scent - which covered up a shampoo/conditioner combination I'm currently reviewing (and don't like the smell of). 

I put about 3 globs of the thick oil in my hair ends, and brush it throughout my hair for even distribution. 

It leaves my hair looking healthier and swooshy - whether or not I have time to blow dry it in the morning.

I would definitely incorporate this into my beauty regime once this is finished. 


Lise Watier Cosmetiques Inc. - Sublimessence High Concentration Age-Defying Serum

Apply on clean skin, morning and night, before your regular skincare routine.  Smooth in gently all over face.  

28ml $84.  Available at The Bay, Sears, Shoppers Drug Mart, and LiseWatier.ca

This serum has a delicious scent that doesn't linger under the nose or on the skin.  

It is a thin-medium thickness serum, which requires a couple of finger fulls to cover my entire face.  In 2 weeks, the sample size was finished, therefore the full size would last less than 2 months.

It dries extremely quickly - in under a minute - leaving me a bit more time to get my skincare routine completed in an orderly and efficient manner.  

I haven't really noticed any difference from my normal serums, so it isn't much better than the $15-$20 serums I have from companies like Yalmeh and Garnier.