Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ho-Ho-Holiday Laundry Tactics With all Mighty Pacs Stainlifters

Disclosure: I received all Mighty Pacs Stainlifters to facilitate this review; all opinions expressed are my own.


There's a dirty secret about having guests for the holidays: laundry! Coming from NYC-metro where we were blessed to have shoddy washers and dryers in most of our apartments and wash and fold when we didn't, I'm still reveling in the face that we have a properly working w/d here in New Hampshire. We hosted nearly 20 people for Thanksgiving, and if this is any indication of what it's like to run a bed and breakfast - WOW! I have a great respect for innkeepers. 

The first few days after Thanksgiving I bumbled around in a stupor, but soon I had to face this reality:
 

Yep, these were a couple of many laundry piles I needed to tackle left over from our festivities. Not only was there bedding, but my family has the lovely habit of leaving clothing behind every single time they visit (sorry dad, I still can't find your shirt!). My friends at team all took mercy on me and asked if I'd like to give all Mighty Pacs Stainlifters a try. We use all anyway, buying the liquid in bulk at BJs so I was happy to have an even easier method for powering through my laundry pile: I just tossed a pac in my laundry then I was on my way.

And yes, the all Mighty Pacs Stainlifters worked just as good as the liquid that I'm used to (we don't use them yet for Grayson's clothes since he has sensitive baby skin!). We were dealing with bodily fluids and greasy cooking stains from Thanksgiving and all got everything out with ease, and smelled wonderful as well. We like how all is dependable and not overly scented plus they were voted 2014 Better Homes and Gardens best new product by consumers. 

To learn more about how all Mightly Pacs Stainlifters can help you this tough holiday stain season, be sure to visit their website and follow on Facebook for the latest product news.

Do you get swamped with laundry during the holidays? What are your tactics for handling it?



Monday, December 15, 2014

Survive Teething With Baby Banana Brush (& a Giveaway!)

Disclosure: I received samples to facilitate this review; all opinions expressed are my own. 

There are certain laws of second child-dom that have come to pass in our household which essentially can be summed up in the following: whatever happened with the first child will be opposite for the second child. For example, Nia was sleep averse, however Gray loves to sleep. Nia was OBSESSED with nursing, however Gray isn't as passionate about it. We barely noticed when Nia teethed, however Gray's teething is epic. 

About that last part: TEETHING.

It is the reason why I mustn't skip coffee in the mornings and why my to-do list is being neglected. Grayson needs LOTS of cuddles and snuggles to get through teething (and the looooong nights!). He has two teeth that popped in already on the bottom, but the two on the top look extremely painful. His gums have been stuck in swollen limbo for over a week. 

If you follow me on social media you've seen Gray with his favorite teethers across my feed:



They're from Baby Banana Brush who I met at Toy Fair earlier this year. Created by Heather Phillips, a fellow mompreneur, after this scary experience with her son, they have been Gray's favorite especially during this brutal rough patch of teething. I was given the original Baby Banana Infant Teething Toothbrush and Octobrush at Toy Fair, which I attended while I was pregnant with Gray, and waited patiently until I was able to use them. They have since become a necessity in our household!

In addition to the Banana and Octobrush, there's also Sharky and the new Cornelius:



Being from Ohio, I'm especially a fan of Cornelius, the cutest mini-ear of corn! When Grayson sees his Baby Banana Brushes he gets very excited, and I love seeing his little, chubby hands reach for them. Here's a quick video of him in action:



Curious about the technical details of Baby Banana Brushes? Here's the breakdown:
  • Made of 100% medical grade silicone (BPA, latex, phthalate, and toxin free!)
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Can be frozen for extra teething relief
  • Baby Banana Brush has amazing accolades and has won awards
  • Very affordable at $8.95, (check the website for retailers which vary by product) 
Now the fun part! I'm excited to be giving away the following Baby Banana Brushes to 4 lucky Harlem Lovebirds readers: Banana, Octobrush, Sharky and Cornelius! The giveaway starts today, Monday, December 15 and runs through Thursday, December 18 with the winner announced on Friday, December 19 (open to U.S. residents only). Enter via the Rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway Good luck!

Be sure to follow Baby Banana Brush on Facebook and Twitter for the latest product news!



Friday, December 12, 2014

Chex Party Mix is a Family Affair

Disclosure: I received promotional items to facilitate this post; all opinions expressed are my own. 


Mr. Lovebird and I are college sweethearts and there are certain things that despite knowing each other all our adult lives thus far that I'm still surprised to discover about him. One of those things is that prior to meeting me he had never had Chex Party Mix. 

Shocking, I know. 

Growing up in Columbus, Ohio I do not recall a time that I didn't have Chex Party Mix in my life. It's inextricably linked to my childhood, and I have early memories of enjoying it - picking out the Wheat Chex and peanuts to snack on, especially. There is so much nostalgia wrapped up in eating it and while you can definitely pick up the bagged version, which didn't exist when I was a kid, something about mixing everything together and waiting the full hour for it to cook (don't forget to stir every 15 minutes!) lends itself to socializing and anticipation with your family. 

My own Harlem Lovebirds wooden spoon?! I may have got tears in my eyes when I received this.
With my family's recent move to New Hampshire, while I missed a special Chex event back in NYC, the team was kind enough to send a care package up to New  England for me and my family. It was perfect timing as I had about 20 guests arriving for Thanksgiving and since we're not a big "snacky" family, but our guests were, when they started inquiring about which snacks we'd have on hand, making Chex Party Mix was a no brainer. 


My sister Lauren helped me out while the rest of the family hung out and salivated waited patiently for the Chex Party Mix to finish. Lauren took her measuring job VERY seriously and was so focused - a woman after my own heart!


I have to interject that I'm a kitchen tech nerd and loved the fact that our oven has two timers so I could set one for the full 60 minutes required then the other for 15 minute intervals as a reminder to stir. Next step into blissdom? DOUBLE OVENS. A girl can dream!

When the Chex Party Mix was done it had to cool. THE. HARDEST. PART. It came out perfectly (to me) although my mom and sisters agreed that I should've picked even smaller pretzels. They were literally called "tiny twists" so I'm not sure how much smaller they were supposed to be O_o Anywho... I didn't include the bagel chips or mixed nuts as the recipe calls for. Plain peanuts were what we used growing up so I stuck with those.

The Chex Party Mix didn't last long. I call that success! I really should've doubled the recipe cause people kept coming by the pantry asking where it was. This cook had other things to make and with one oven, another batch of just wasn't going to happen. I had intentions of making Muddy Buddies too (anyone else remember that?), but you know how that goes . . .

To find all the Chex recipes visit their website and be sure to follow on Facebook and Twitter

Is Chex Party Mix part of your family's holiday staples? What do you like to mix in yours?





Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Squeaky Wheel #14: Replacing the BEST Can Opener Ever

I went back to take a look at my last Squeaky Wheel post and was surprised to see it's been over a year since I wrote one. This one is a quickie but it's oh so good and I hope it inspires you to do something similar:

I'm not a materialistic person. I'm happier having an awesome, memorable life experience than having things. With this being said, I am particular about investing in simple things that work well. For example, companies like Oxo and Simple Human make my heart sing and while some might think they're pricey I'm of the belief that it's better to invest in a quality item that you don't have to replace rather than get something cheap that might break easily and need replaced often. 

Enter my search for the perfect can opener. 

I've been married for 5 years and as part of our wedding gifts received a Kitchen Aid set of kitchen utensils which included a can opener. I'm familiar with Kitchen Aid from their line of mixers (I LOVE mine and use it regularly) and while they're built to last some of the items in the utensils set were not including the can opener. I was surprised when it just completely snapped apart when trying to open a can. 

We then moved on to a couple others which promptly broke as well, and even got to the point where in the interim of searching for a comfortable can opener used tools from our tool kit to open cans in desperation. 

I just wanted an awesome can opener that didn't make me feel stressed out (or end up with red fingers)! I turned to Amazon and after reading many reviews settled on this Zyliss Lock N' Lift Can Opener.  Growing up I remembered my mom having a Zyliss, and I did what any typical Amazon shopper does and read the reviews. Nearly 1,000 reviews ya'll with an average of 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. I didn't realize people were just as passionate as I was about can openers!

I ordered it and it was everything it promised to be: it handled our industrial-sized BJs cans with ease and was comfortable to grip.

Then. 

I don't know how it happened, but the spring locking mechanism popped off a few weeks ago and with the holiday season approaching (meaning LOTS of cans to open) I panicked and went back to Amazon to see exactly how long ago I ordered it and what could be done. 

I was wary when I pulled up my account and saw this:


2011?! I doubted it was covered under some type of warranty (if that even existed), but I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask and sent the following message to Zyliss:


Click to enlarge

The next day. The. next. day. WHA?! I got this reply:



Then this arrived in all its glory (I didn't even have to send in the old one or the receipt as I offered!):



I was so excited, Mr. Lovebird thought I had won Publisher's Clearing House. 

Simple things I tell ya. That's all it takes!

I'm now back to happily opening my cans. 

Thank you Zyliss for your awesome customer service and making this cook super happy!

Do you share my passion for a particular kitchen gadget?



P.S. Click here for a recent cringe-worthy example of how *not* to be a squeaky wheel. Can you believe this guy?

Monday, December 8, 2014

GoodBelly's Helping Me Take Care of Myself

Disclosure: I received free products to facilitate this review; all opinions expressed are my own. 



I admit like many moms I don't always take care of myself as I should (including eating things like this!). Across social media I see reminders to moms encouraging them to put their oxygen mask on first, but it's definitely not priority for me. As a result when there's an area I can make a small change I'll take it so when GoodBelly asked me to give their new probiotics a try I decided to go for it.

GoodBelly is non-GMO, soy and dairy free while select quarts are gluten-free (noted by their green caps) and contains the Lactobacillus plantarum 299v strain. While probiotics have made popular news in recent years I had yet to try them. Knowing that I'm not always eating right I've been lucky not to have too many tummy troubles and am pretty regular (thank goodness!) so I figured it really wouldn't hurt anything to give GoodBelly a try. I hadn't recalled seeing them in the store before and the store locator on the website showed my closest grocer had them, but upon visiting (and asking the clerk to check when I didn't see them), it turned out they didn't so I went to another grocer a bit farther who did. 

Image Credit: GoodBelly
First, I tried the drink; my store only carried Tropical Orange, but there are many other flavors available as seen on GoodBelly's website. Containing 26g sugar per 8oz. serving (more than OJ) I found Tropical Orange was cloyingly sweet. I inquired with GoodBelly about the effects of cutting it with water and they confirmed it wouldn't diminish its effectiveness. I completed the 4-servings carton over the course of a week then moved onto the Plus Shot


With only 9g of sugar per serving, delicious flavors such as mango and pomegranate/blackberry and contained in a cute package, I found it much easiser to take the shots than the drink. While I didn't complete 12 consecutive days as part of GoodBelly's 12 Day Challenge that's currently running, I did find it an easy way on my commute taking Nia to school to do something good for myself although Nia would often ask for one for herself, but I told her it was mommy's special medicine (can't moms ever have anything???). GoodBelly also contains other essential vitamins such as Vitamin A, C, Calcium and B12. After taking it I didn't notice a difference in my tummy's status, but I appreciated having an easy way to keep things balanced, something I see fans on GoodBelly's Facebook wall tout constantly. 



Interested in trying GoodBelly? Visit their website to find the retailer nearest you and be sure to follow on Facebook and Twitter

Have you ever tried probiotics? What was your experience?  
 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Baby's First Christmas Tree Edition


Monday, December 1, 2014

My Blogger Christmas Wish List

I'm pretty relaxed when it comes to snagging up deals for holiday gift giving and while I've taken advantage of a few sales (including this one) I wanted to quickly pop in and share a few of my favorite items for bloggers this Christmas season. 

Take a look:


1// Whitney English Day Designer - designed by mompreneur Whitney who I met at Alt Summit in January, I appreciate the form and function of this goal-oriented planner which addresses both work and family responsibilities. The style pictured is the one I ordered and is currently sold out but a few other designs were just made available today.

2// Jackery Giant+ - this is my new best friend! I now have no excuse to be without power ever which is so important as a blogger. I have to stay connected and this is super powerful, portable and affordable. There are smaller versions available but this is the one I have.

3// Holstee Manifesto - this comes in poster size as well as cards and is a powerful reminder to live your dreams.

4// Seagate Backup Plus Slim - I've lost a hard drive 2x and while the 2nd time I had it backed up the drive was super bulky so I upgraded to this and never looked back.

5// Bossy Ceramic Mug - a fun reminder, no?

6// Ponder by Kelly Moore - this new style comes in several colors and is a workhorse. I need a bag for my Mac Book Air, DSLR and my diaper clutch. This fits the bill!

What's the #1 item on your Christmas wish list this year? Any of the items on my wish list look familiar to you?

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