Thursday, July 21, 2016

Comparing 3 Essential Oil Companies

I was recently approached by two different essential oil companies, Alayna Naturals and Pure Body Naturals, to receive their Top 6 Essential Oils at a discount in exchange for my honest review.  Since the two kits looked almost identical, I thought this was the perfect chance to compare these two companies and really see if they offered the same quality of oils.  Here’s what I found:

Price: Pure Body Naturals is a teeny bit less expensive – but only by about a dollar.  Not much of a difference.

Scent: When essential oils are collected, manufacturers can speed up the collection process by using a combination of high heat and/or high pressure.  Unfortunately, this produces a lower grade of essential oil.  When it comes to oils, “Slow and steady wins the race”.  Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to determine if high heat or pressure was used when comparing Peppermint Oils!  When you smell peppermint oil, you want the oil to be more similar to that of a mint plant than of a candy cane.  A candy cane smell means that either high heat or high pressure (or both!) was used in the process.  Thankfully, both Alayna Naturals and Pure Body Naturals had very herb-y smelling Peppermint Oils.  Side note, our Majestic Pure smelled just like bottled candy canes!

Evaporation: Alayna Naturals claims that these are 100% pure essential oils with no additives, fillers, bases, or carriers added.  Pure Body Naturals doesn’t make any sort of claim on the pureness of their oils – in fact, most of their product description is used to advertise their other products and not the product on the page.  I compared the Peppermint oils for the two companies, plus threw in a 3rd company, Majestic Pure.  I also happened to have a 4 oz bottle of Peppermint oil from Pure Body Naturals, so I thought, “Why not?!”.  They should end up being identical.. right??  Maybe??

For each test, I tried to place one drop onto a white standard sheet of construction paper.  If an essential oil is truly pure, it will eventually evaporate without leaving an oily ring or residue behind.  You can see in the first picture, after just 30 minutes, the Alayna Naturals has already almost fully evaporated, but it has left behind an oily ring with a white residue inside – and wrinkled the paper underneath it.  Essential oils should NOT completely evaporate that quickly!  This outcome alone makes me wonder if I really want to be using the oil on myself, even in a carrier oil!

Evaporation Test of Peppermint Oil. (After 30 minutes, After 24 hours)
The other two essential oils are slowly working, as expected.  After 24 hours, everything has fully evaporated, but the Pure Body Naturals has left the biggest oil residue of them all.  Interestingly enough, the 4 oz Pure Body Naturals hasn’t left any residue?!  There’s definitely some consistency issues going on with this company.

Evaporation Test of Lavender Oil. (After 30 minutes, After 24 hours)
The same tests with Lavender oil had almost the same results – except all 3 brands ended up leaving an oily residue behind.  I’m beginning to wonder if you can truly find a quality essential oil on Amazon L

pH: I’ll be honest, I have no idea if pH even matters when it comes to essential oils.  I tried doing research on it, but all I’ve been able to locate is how you can use essential oils to alter your own pH.  If anyone has any insight on acceptable pH ranges, I’d love to hear from you!  Since we had pH strips, we decided just to see if there was a difference – and there was!  In each case, Pure Body Naturals came up a good .5-.75 more acidic than Alayna Naturals.  In every Pure Body Naturals oil, the pH was less than 5.0.

Packaging: From the outside, these bottles looked identical, so I was surprised to experience so much of a difference when actually using them.  The dropper for Alayna Naturals is really hard control.  Every time I tried to get just one drop out, I ended up spilling the oil all over the paper – and myself.  (So, I apologize for the mess in my photos).  The Alayna Naturals oils just seemed so thin and difficult to manipulate, unlike any other essential oils that I've used in the past.

Density Issues between Tea Tree Oils
Our last test happened purely on accident.  While combing some off the different Tea Tree oils together in a glass vial to make some household cleaner, I noticed that one essential oil was clearly floating on another.  If these are all the same essential oils, their densities should all be pretty comparable, right?  So, I went ahead and filled three clear glass vials halfway with water and gently dropped the essential oil on top.  Pure Body Naturals and Majestic pure worked exactly as expected – the oil stayed on top of the water and did not combine.  Alayna Naturals, however, immediately mixed right in with the water, leaving behind a swirly vortex of chemical-looking trails.

In the end, I strongly have to warn you – DO NOT buy Alayna Naturals!  I still have mixed feelings about the other two companies, between Majestic Pure failing the scent test and the oily residue left behind with all brands on the lavender oil.  I just don't know!  What brand of essential oils do you prefer?  Let me know in the comments - I'd love to put more to the test!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Color Run 5k at Columbus, OH on July 23rd!

Two years ago, I took the plunge to "run" my first 5k - and fell in love.  Let's be honest, I hate running - but there are so many novelty 5k's out there that incorporate so much fun into the event that you don't hate every minute of it!  From bubbles to foam to COLOR, there's so many fun ways to make running actually fun.  The Color Run is probably the best known fun 5k around, and I am excited to share $5 off The Color Run registration with all of my readers - so read on to save on The Color Run tickets!

The Color Run Columbus - 2014
In 2015, The Color Run switched up their 5k a little bit by not only having color stations, but SHINE stations, too!  The Shine stations left runners sparkly and shiny.  Even more exciting, my daughter was able to lead a color throw alongside of the DJ at the after party.  We had a blast!

The Color Run Columbus - 2015

I cannot wait to see what The Color Run has in store for us on July 23rd, 2016 - and I hope to see you all there!

Save $5 at using promo code TCRCOLUMBUS4 - Only works for The Color Run registration in Columbus, OH

Friday, December 11, 2015

Hot Italian Premio Sausage Chili

I recently received a coupon from Influenster for a free package of Premio sausage, so I have been on a mission to find a yummy, new recipe to use it on - and I officially have found it!

In the past, I've always used ground beef in my chilis, but the thought of using sausage sounded like an interesting way to literally spice things up!  I adapted this recipe from HelloFresh (which I will gush about soon!) to include Premio's Hot Italian Sausage - and it's been a hit in my family!  I've never made chili so much from scratch before, but wow - you sure can taste the difference!  Onto the recipe...

1 package Premio Hot Italian Sausage
1 red onion
1 clove garlic
1 green bell pepper
1 bunch scallions
1 can black beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 packet vegetable stock concentrate
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cumin
Olive oil
Sour cream

1 - Prep the ingredients: Half, peel, and dice the onion.  Core, seed, and remove the white ribs from the bell pepper, then finely dice.  Mince or grate the garlic.  Thinly slice the scallions, keeping the greens and whites separate.  Drain and rinse the black beans.
2 - Heat a drizzle of oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.  Add the Premio sausage to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes, turning occasionally, until browned.  Set aside, then slice into 1/2 inch rounds once cool enough to handle.
3 - Heat another drizzle of oil in the same pan over medium-high heat.  Add the onions, peppers, and scallion whites to the pan and cook, tossing for 4-5 minutes, until softened.  Add the garlic, cumin, and chili powder to the pan and cook for 1-2 more minutes, until fragrant.
4 - Add the diced tomatoes, black beans, vegetable stock concentrate, oregano, and 2 cups water to the pan.  Bring to boil, then reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir the Premio sausage into the pan.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.
5 - Serve the chili divided between bowls (we serve it on Fritos!), dolloped with sour cream and garnished with scallion greens.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

My Influenster Comfort VoxBox

Comfort VoxBox

Influenster has graced me with yet another one of their amazing VoxBox's - this time it's all about Comfort, just in time for the cold season!  There's lots of goodies to be found in this VoxBox, so let's get it unboxed!

Ragu Old World Style Traditional Sauce

Looks like we are started off here on the wrong foot.  I was sent both a FREE coupon and a $ off coupon towards Ragu sauces - unfortunately, they can only be used at Safeway and other stores that aren't in my area.  Looks like I'll need to give these away... hmmm... do I sense a giveaway?

Annie's Homegrown Organic Soups

This was the first product our family decided we needed to try immediately!  Annie's new organic soups are available in 5 delicious flavors, all packed with 100% Annie's goodness, like fun, bunny-shaped pasta.  Although we didn't have any of Annie's signature cheddar bunnies available to use as croutons, these Organicasaurus puffs worked out quite well!  I've never found a tomato soup other than Campbell's that I truly enjoyed, until now!  Annie's Organic Tomato Soup was creamy and delicious - without too much of a tomato-y taste to it.  We can't wait to try out the other flavors!

Tide Ultra Stain Release Free

Tide's New Ultra Stain Release FREE helps remove 99% of everyday stains AND it's free of dyes and perfumes!  I'll be honest - I like my laundry to smell, so I normally shy away from the detergents that are free of fragrances.  However, it's always nice to have some sensitive laundry detergents on hand when I am washing a load of delicates or fabrics that will be used with babies.  Not to mention, the sale they had going on at Target, with a gift card offer, a Cartwheel % off, plus a store coupon made for a deal I couldn't pass up!

Fiber Choice Immunity Support Fruity Bites

With winter right around the corner, I am doing everything I can to boost my immune system and get ready for the onslaught of germs.  Fiber Choice Immunity Support Fruity Bites help support overall well-being by supporting your digestive health and your immune system, combined!  Unfortunately, I am not quite sure what I did with my sample packet that was included in my VoxBox, so I'll have to get back to you on what I thought of these...

Fisher Nut Exactly Snack Bites

If you love snacking, Fisher Nut Exactly Snack Bites claim that they were made just for you!  Fisher Nut combined wholesome ingredients like roasted almond, whole grain popcorn, and milk chocolate together into one delicious, bite-sized snack.  At only 15 calories per bite and no artificial preservatives, it's a snack you can feel good about!  When I first tried the snack bites, I was unsure of how much I really liked them - however I found it near impossible to stop snacking once I started!  These snack bites are the ideal mix of salty and sweet to leave you feeling satisfied.

Do you wish you could receive VoxBox's from Influenster, too?  It's easy!  Just click this link to sign up, and start receiving your very own products to test out and review, too!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

We interrupt your latest broadcast to bring you... more reviews!

Full Time Energy Super Fruit and Berry Weight Loss Blend

Over the past year, I've lost 25 pounds and would love to continue to trend and lose even more.  That's why, when I was offered to receive Full Time Energy Weight Loss Blend free of charge in exchange for my honest review, I was stoked to give it a try!  I've used other products with Raspberry Ketones and Garcinia Cambogia in them in the past, with varying negative results.  Either the products have suppressed my appetite so much that I get physically ill when I try to eat (which isn't good - our bodies need fuel!), or they have no effect on me what-so-ever.

Sadly, this product falls into the latter category.  When I first received the product, I put it straight into my refrigerator, because I was worried about the taste.  I know refrigerating liquids can help them go down more smoothly, so I was hoping it'd help.  The next morning, I filled up the cap and took a swig.  Surprisingly, this stuff doesn't taste all that bad!

After a few hours, I realized that I never felt a burst of energy, and I was STARVING.  It was as if this product actually increased my appetite, rather than suppressing it - which I have also experienced in Garcinia Cambogia products in the past.  Different products affect everyone's bodies a little different, unfortunately this just isn't the product for me.

Valentina Paris Hand Painted Wine Glasses

If you ever are looking to say, "Just one glass", yet drink half of your bottle of wine, these glasses are your ticket!

Seriously though, these hand painted wine glasses are beautiful.  I received them for free of charge in exchange for my honest review, and love being able to pull them out when company comes over.  The only problem is that they are so large they don't even fit in my cupboards!  Thankfully, they are gorgeous enough that I don't mind them sitting out - they serve a double purpose as a decorative piece!

50 Assorted Craft Sanding Sticks

I do a lot of crafting, so when I was offered to review the above pictured craft sanding sticks at a discount, I knew it would be a great deal and motivation to get some more of my projects complete!

These sanding sticks are just as expected - they come in all different shapes, grits, and colors and work just like all of the nail files that I've purchased in the past.  If you use nail files regularly in your crafting, I highly suggest picking up this bulk assortment on Amazon at

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Glow 2 Go Self-Tanning Towelettes

Awhile back, Thermalabs approached me to try out their Glow2Go Self-Tanning Towelettes in exchange for my honest review - unfortunately, I don't think they're going to enjoy my review too much.  I normally use St. Tropez's Self Tan Bronzing Mousse, but that can get expensive, so I was excited to possibly find a more inexpensive option.

The towelettes come in trendy gold-toned packaging.  The instructions say to unfold and apply towelette all over your body as needed.  Pretty simple, so I started right away!  One of the first things I noticed was that unpleasant self-tan odor that comes with the majority of self tanning products on the market.  I have been lucky enough to find a few brands that don't leave you smelling like a fake bake, but this is not one of them.  I then was surprised to see how quickly the towelette felt dry, as if all of the product had been used up.  I ended up using THREE towelettes, just to do my legs!  So, when I originally I thought that this box would give me 20 applications of a golden glow.. now I am down to just 5 more, and that's only if I want to self-tan my legs and nothing else.

Although I was disappointed with how many towelettes I had to use, I was still willing to stick with the product if the results were phenomenal.  So, I waited the directed 4 hours, and took after photos.  Upon comparison....

I don't see a single difference.  Maybe I was already too tan to start with, and this works better on pale skin?  Thankfully, I didn't get the streaks that other users have complained about, but I feel that might be because I used SO MUCH of the product until I knew I was completely covered.  I also could smell my legs for the rest of the day until I finally took a shower to wash the scent away.

In the end, I've gotta be honest - I do not recommend this product.  For the price and the results, it just doesn't seem worth it, at least not for me!  If you do want to still check it out, it's available on Amazon at

Friday, August 21, 2015

Zahler Kidophilus Liquid, Advanced Childrens Probiotic

My daughter has to take Miralax quite often to stay regular, and I've always wanted another (more natural) option to help with her tummy troubles. So, when Apex Nutrition offered to send me this Children's Probiotic drink, I jumped at a chance to give her another option to help with her tummy troubles. Let me start off by saying this stuff is great! I don't have to worry about her taking it too often or the fact that she loves it so much she wants to take it daily. She enjoys the flavor of the product - and often is the one to remind me that she wants to take her "liquid medicine"!

We are down to only using Miralax about once a week - which is a great improvement compared to where we were before this product. With starting school in a couple weeks, I also am hoping this will help her fight off some of the bugs she might pick up from other students.

I received this product at a discount in exchange for my honest review, but I have to also say, this company is AMAZING to work with. My first bottle arrived with the seal broken, leaking all over my box. As soon as I contacted them to let them know about the issue, they immediately sent me a replacement bottle + some company swag. They were truly upset that the product arrived in the condition that it did, and you could just see their high level of commitment to the brand! If you'd like to check out Zahler Kidophilus Liquid, the Advanced Childrens Probiotic, it's available on Amazon at