Product Review…New Finish Dishwashing Detergent With Less Harsh Chemicals

 

As one of the lucky Finish Mom Ambassadors, I was lucky enough to have Finish Dishwashing ask me to try their new “less harsh chemical” line of dishwashing detergents.  They are Finish® Power & Free™ and Jet-Dry® Power & Free™.  Developed with little ones in mind (less harsh on their pacifiers, sippy cups, bottles – you know, those items that you find under the couch? These products were just itching to be created.

Finish uses hydrogen peroxide action in the Power & Free™ line, and I was more than impressed with the cleaning quality without using some bizarre chemical.  Seven is six years old now, so I am less fussy about detergents, but when he was a baby, I hand washed everything.  Had this been available THEN, you can bet I would have used it!

Honestly, I wasn’t sure I would be impressed with the cleaning quality, and I certainly didn’t expect it to be better than the original formula.  I should have known better.  If you are a Finish user already, but are looking for something new and improved, with less harsh chemicals to worry about – THIS is it.  They are even winning awards with their Power & Free™ detergents … no small feat!

Parent Tested Parent Approved Seal

Take for example, the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, which is a HIGE accolade.  They’ve also picked up, the Parent Tested Parent Approved Seal, and the 2014 Product of the Year USA award.  In addition, lots of your favorite brands are recommending Finish® Power & Free™ as well, like NUK-USA.

Finish and Nuk

 

 

 

Finish Free Sample

Need to try it yourself?  Finish® is giving away free samples of their Power & Free™ detergent!  Go here to sign up for your FREE sample.  You can also pick up some Finish® and Jet-Dry® coupons here!

Also, you should visit their Facebook page here for updates, coupons, and specials.  For even more, you can find them on YouTube here.

Blueberry Banana Smoothie…and it’s Earth Month!

Did you know it’s Earth Month?

Did you even know there IS an Earth Month?  I mean, yeah, I think we all know there is an Earth Day, but I wasn’t aware we had an entire month devoted to the cause.  I found out just recently, when approached by the folks at Silk (I know! They keep talking to me, hopefully because they love me as much as I love them!) to let you all in on a campaign they are working on.

It’s not about getting you to drink all Silk All The Time.

Although I do, or so it seems.  I can’t get enough of the stuff.

But that’s beside the point.

What I learned THIS time, is that Silk is doing more than their fair share to help keep not just ME healthy, but our PLANET healthy.  Silk loves water and is committed to conserving this natural resource everyday. In fact, drinking Silk not only provides delicious, plant-based nourishment, but also conserves water because producing Silk saves 500 gallons of water per half gallon over conventional dairy milk.  (Don’t ask me how this works…but wow!)

Silk realizes that conserving water is everyone’s responsibility and Earth Month is a timely reminder that we can all do our part. So, on April 4, Silk launched a series of short, animated videos designed to celebrate, inspire and educate people about the importance of water. On that note, Silk is partnering with The Nature Conservancy to help advance water conservation efforts across the U.S. For every “share” of one of Silk’s Earth Month videos, Silk will donate $1 to The Nature Conservancy (up to $20,000).

What does that mean for ME and YOU!  It means SHARE!  Share the link to the videos, everyone gets a better planet.  So easy.  Plus, if you’ll share, you’ll be entered to win a prize pack HERE just for sharing!

Silk also invites consumers to share their fun and nostalgic water-filled moments using the #yaywater hashtag for the chance to win one of 200 indoor or outdoor eco-friendly prize packs or one of five grand prizes.  We all like to win stuff. I know you do.


So… how can we save water ourselves?

Lots of ways.

The most important way, and easiest?

Just be MINDFUL.  Really, to me, that’s the answer to a lot of problems, conservation-wise, friend-wise, family-wise, work-wise, LIFE-wise.  Think.  Think before you DO.

For example:

Brushing teeth:  Do you really need to run the water the entire time you are brushing your teeth?  No.  So turn it off.  Just rinse at the end – that saves more than you realize.  And heck, why not turn nightly brushing into a family routine? All brush together!  Just in my family of 3, if we brushed together, only rinsing once done, we could save our household usage by over a thousand gallons of water in a year.

Showering:  We all love long, hot, showers.  I know. I do too.  But shortening your shower by even two minutes saves 18 liters PER SHOWER.  So, let me tell you what I’ve been doing.  Music.  Instead of just showering for 10-12 minutes, I plug in my iPhone, and sync it to my shower Bluetooth speaker.  2 of my favorite songs later (not admitting the two, sorry), and I am out.  That knocks anywhere from 3-5 minutes off of a shower.  Good stuff, right?

Doing Dishes:  Instead of filling up your entire sink with water, use a large plastic bowl or tub in the sink and fill it instead.  Still gets the job done, and saves more water than you may think!

Of course, if you are so minded, you could install a low-flow toilet, a more efficient dishwasher or washing machine, and reduced water shower heads.  All great ideas.  But the ones above require NO handiwork.  Just a little thought, and we should all have time and energy for that.

Now…onto that Smoothie.

Because I learned about the whole saving of water by using Silk versus milk, I subbed Silk in to one of my favorite smoothies, and it turned out so much better than imagined.

Blueberries.  Bananas.  Blueberry Banana Smoothies.

It’s one of Seven’s favorite combinations, and I’m just pleased I can make something yummy (and healthy!) in one single contraption.  A recipe with ONE step?  Sold.

Hope you are too!

blueberry-banana-smoothie

 

Blueberry Banana Smoothie

  • 1 banana
  • 3/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup Silk Vanilla Almondmilk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup ice

Combine all ingredients in a blender; blend until smooth.

 

Now, about that giveaway!  As I mentioned, if you will Share the link to the videos, I will enter you for a giveaway.  Should be super easy!  Just leave a comment, letting me know where you shared (Facebook or Twittter) and voila – you are entered to win a conservation kit of your own!  Good luck!

Silk wants you to help us celebrate water! Every time you share one of Silk’s water conservation videos, Silk will donate $1 to The Nature Conservancy (up to $20,000) to help with water conservation efforts.

I was compensated for this post but the views and opinions expressed in this post are solely mine. WhiteWave is providing the prizes for this program at no cost to me. This giveaway is not administered by WhiteWave or its affiliates, but solely by myself.

Shrimp Spring Rolls from SeaPak…Product Review

I was recently contacted by the folks at Sam’s Club to see if I would be willing to tell you guys about some of the cool things they have coming up in stores…primarily about their in store tasting of some great seafood products!

 

Sam’s Club® Seafood to Savor

Sam’s Club is helping families across America add more seafood to their dinnertime menus with seven weeks of easy meal solutions.

Since the end of February, Sam’s Club has been handing out tasty seafood samples, along with a great recipe guide.With dishes ranging from classics like Fish & Chips, to soon-to-be family favorites like parmesan tilapia, families will find them easy to prepare any day of the week. Find the full schedule of events below.

Sample delicious seafood at Sam’s Club® every weekend from February 27 – April 11. Just look for the demo cart in your local Sam’s Club freezer section and grab your sample! Along with tasty bites of the featured recipe, demo associates will be handing out a recipe guide with complete instructions on how to make them.

Seafood recipes range from classics like Fish & Chips to soon to be family favorites like Italian swai and Parmesan tilapia. All the recipes are easy to prepare any day of the week. A full schedule of events is below. Not a Sam’s Club member, but want to try a recipe? Click through to their website download a free one day membership pass. Chances are you’ll want to sign up for a full year right away!

Okay, so…Shrimp Spring Rolls.

Week 6 - Shrimp Spring Rolls

 

This was the product I was asked to sample, and sample I did.  Good gracious, did I ever.  Honestly, I always shudder just a bit when I am faced with frozen foods, as sometimes you just get a gross, stale, not nearly as nice as the box picture result.

Not this time.

SeaPak makes these incredible Shrimp Spring Rolls, and not only are they quick and easy to prepare, they taste so fresh.  Crispy outsides (I even baked mine versus frying, since I am on a diet), and they fit into my calorie watching.  They’d be perfect for a party, tailgate, Easter, even?  Everyone loves appetizers, and why not take advantage of such a convenient product?  Just a few minutes in the oven and voila…good eating!

Week 6 - Shrimp Spring Rolls

 

Sam’s Club® Seafood to Savor 

So…how would YOU use these Spring Rolls?  Throw me some ideas!  And don’t forget, get to Sam’s Club and SAMPLE!  Everyone love a free sample, right??  Of course!

Roast Beef, Mozzarella,and Ranch Mayo Sandwich

I was recently approached by Hidden Valley Ranch (the ONLY Ranch in my opinion) to come up with a simple use for one of their many products. I’ve done several recipes for them in the past, including a reverse take on the classic chicken wing, but this time, I thought…why overthink it?

Sometimes it’s the simplest things – like a sandwich – that make the best meals. This sandwich, this roast beef, and mozzarella sandwich topped with a Ranch Mayo is about the best thing I’ve had on a bread. The devil is in the details here, it’s all about the quality of the ingredients you use.

rb3

I started with thickly sliced deli roast beef – nice and pink. My favorite is Boar’s Head, and while it is a little pricy, it really is delicious. I also used fresh mozzarella. Sure, you could make it yourself, but if you have access to a good grocery, you can pick up mozzarella sealed in water, like Bel Gioioso. Trust me, you don’t really want to use the hard brick mozzarella here. I also used the bottled Hickory Bacon and Onion Hidden Valley Ranch to amp up my mayonnaise, which added a great deal of flavor, and really complimented the roast beef. I piled on fresh arugula, and of course, used a fresh French baguette, with a thin layer of butter spread on each piece. Yum. You really can’t beat this delectable sandwich…it’s hearty, full of flavor, and makes a delicious dinner or lunch. Give it a try – I doubt you’ll look at a pricy restaurant sandwich quite the same again…you can make it exponentially better yourself at home.

rb1

Roast Beef, Mozzarella, & Ranch Mayo Baguette Sandwiches

makes 4 large sandwiches

  • 1 bakery “Take & Bake” style French loaf, 22-24 inches long
  • 1 pound deli thick sliced roast beef
  • 8 slices fresh mozzarella
  • butter, melted
  • 1 tomato, sliced (I used roma)
  • 1 handful arugula
  • Spiced mayo (recipe to follow)

Preheat oven to 350. Cut the loaf into four 6 inch lengths. Halve each piece lengthwise, and spread with melted butter on each of the cut sides. lay open faced on a baking sheet. Top the four bottom halves with equal amounts of the roast beef and two slices of mozzarella. Bake for 5-7 minutes, or until mozzarella is melted. Once melted, remove from oven and top with tomato, arugula, cilantro, and Ranch mayo. Serve and enjoy!

Hidden Valley Ranch Mayonnaise

  • Farmhouse Originals Hickory Bacon and Onion1/4 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons Hickory Bacon and Onion Hidden Valley Ranch

Combine all ingredients and allow to rest for one hour or more.

rb2

From dressings and dips to sandwich spreads and side dish solutions, the special blend of herbs and spices makes Hidden Valley the perfect addition to any recipe. For more delectable ranch recipes, visit www.hiddenvalley.com.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Hidden Valley Ranch. The opinions and text are all mine.

Getting in Shape and Dressing the Part…an Albion Fit Giveaway

 

I  mentioned a week or two ago that I have started a new diet and exercise plan.  So far, so good – I am sticking with classes and with my new trainer, I am watching the calories and carbs, I am drinking more water, and I am seeing the difference in the way my clothes fit.

That was the goal.  Feel better, look better.

One thing I didn’t really think about though, was what to wear while exercising.  The thing is, with a class full of women, it’s important (is it just me?) to look good.  Look like you belong.  Look like you can sweat for an hour straight without dying.

I don’t have the right clothes for that.

Or rather, I didn’t.

Thankfully, I was approached by Albion Fit, who offered to suit me up in some awesome workout gear.

The Petal Pant-Black/Sweet Stripe

Yes, I have purchased things from department stores, and they are a little less expensive, so, I will be honest…I was skeptical at first of the clothes and pricing at Albion Fit.  I’m a frugal chick, so, I am always wary.

One wear and I know it is worth every penny.

Charade Rashguard

Albion’s mission is to provide WOMEN with the most luxurious, flattering, and hassle-free  FITNESS AND LEISURE apparel on the market.  They are family owned.  They believe in quality, fair practices, green living.  And did I say quality?

The quality is exceptional.  The seams are tight, perfectly stitched, stretchable, breathable, and cute as heck.  You can feel the difference – these clothes will stand up to any abuse you throw at them.

Like I said, worth it.

One thing I can’t believe is this – and you won’t believe me either…the pants.  The Go Long Leggings in black.

These pants are somehow slimming, despite being form fitting.  For some reason (magic? voodoo?) they hug me, and keep my tummy tight, and yet there is no dreaded muffin top.  Where does the belly GO?  I can’t tell you.  But I would consider wearing these bad boys to the grocery store if I didn’t stick to the mantra that Tights Are Not Pants.  Leggings Are Not Pants.

Not. pants.

I am also thrilled with the jacket – how cute is this style called the Sweet Stripe Full Zip?  The ruffles dress up the standard hoodie, and who doesn’t love a hoodie?  I’ve been asked in class if I get hot, and the truth is – NO.  Like I mentioned, these clothes are very breathable, and I don’t get any hotter than if I were wearing a tee shirt.  As I don’t like to bear my arms yet (that day is coming, I’m working the triceps!) I prefer wearing a jacket right now, and this jacket is my favorite by far.  But Albion has lots of great ones to choose from!

Once my arms are where I want them to be – this shirt, The Tiebreaker,  is coming home with me.  it is MINE.  The ties are such a neat detail, and I can’t wait to wear it!

Tiebreaker Top

This top is also great – called the Love Racer – love the piping on it!  So much fun, and really flattering!

Love Racer, Silver

Discount Code & Giveaway

Thanks to Albion Fit, I have a special discount code for ANY of you who would like to try out their amazing line of fitness wear – and I highly recommend you do.  It’s for 15% off! Just use doughmesstic15 at checkout to SAVE through April 3!  One better maybe?

How about $100 Albion Fit GIVEAWAY?

That’s right!

Just enter below for a chance to win a $100 Gift Certificate to use at Albion Fit on anything you like.  What’s floating your boat?  Leave a comment here and you are entered to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Disclaimer:  I was supplied review items from Albion Fit.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

A Shiny, Happy, Giveaway

 

I’ve been saving something special, you guys.

In just a few short weeks, it will be Mother’s Day, and I don’t know about you, but I have the hardest time picking out something for my own mom.  I also have no idea what I might want for myself, if, umm, someone were to buy me a Mother’s Day gift.

I’m here to help you with that.  I know what you want.  I know what your mom wants.

One of these.

fruit-bowl

I never knew I was a fancy dish lover.  And then Beatriz Ball  sent me one of these beauties, the VENTO Oval Deep Fruit Bowl, and ever since, I am obsessed.  I’ve even purchased more for my own collection, because it’s just so stinking gorgeous.

In addition to the beautiful designs, all of the pieces are:

 

  •      Made of eco-friendly, 100% recycled aluminum.
  •      Easy care, never tarnish, never polish!
  •      Chill or warm foods up to 350 degrees.

The designs are all incredible – I adore this collection above, called Vento – but I am also obsessed with the Forest collection.  The ice bucket looks like a silvery, perfect tree stump, doesn’t it?  I think I need ALL of the pieces in this series for my new Tree Cottage we are building.  Don’t you?  A sweet cottage with pewter tree art lining the kitchen walls?  So what it’s impractical for a vacation cottage in the woods?  It’s lovely, and that’s what I want!

What do YOU want?

You want to win that little pretty up there for you or your Mom?  You should.  And here’s how to do it.

Leave me a comment here, letting me know you’d like to have it.  Do that, and you’re entered to win.

For another entry, please share this post with your friends, either on Facebook or Twitter (or both), then return here and let me know you did so.  Each share counts, so if you share it on both sites, that counts as two entries.

Of course, I’d LOVE to have you as a Fan on Facebook.  Become one?  Ask your friends to become one?  The more friends I have there, to more great giveaways I’ll be able to have, and we all love giveaways, right?  So, come on over and join me!  Do that, and you’ve gained yet another entry…just be sure to leave me a comment here letting me know you did.

Good Luck!

Disclaimer:  As mentioned, I was provided product to review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  Prize is courtesy of and is shipped by Beatriz Ball. ERV $136.  US addresses only, please, sorry internationals.  Contest is open until April 3, 2014 at 11:59pm EST.  Good Luck!

Butternut Squash & Caramelized Onion Popovers with Goat Cheese Crumble

Yes, yes, I know.  This sounds way fussier than I typically am.  Butternut Squash & Caramelized Popovers sound like something on a menu somewhere.  Somewhere…fancy.

And yet here we are.

butternut-popover

Why the change?

Well, because sometimes, I just like to throw you a little curveball and see what happens.

Kidding!

Really, these popovers aren’t fussy at all, in fact, they take no longer to whip up than any of my other 547 popover recipes.  A little caramelized onion, your basic, non-sweet popover batter, and something new – Veggie Blend Ins Butternut Squash puree.

I was sent this new product (along with their carrot and spinach varieties), and asked to sneak it in to a recipe.  You know, to add some veggies in places we don’t typically see them, so that we get our fair share of the good stuff without even realizing it.

Popovers are one of our staples here in my house, sweet or savory, so I decided I’d give the butternut squash a go in a batch one afternoon.  Paired with sweet, caramelized onions and a topping of goat cheese crumbles, this is one savory popover that really packs the flavor.  And so, so easy.  The packets of pureed veggies are small enough to be convenient, and large enough to make a great add-in to so many things.  Like mac & cheese, for example.  Or pasta sauce.  Or brownies?  Yep, even brownies.  Veggie Blend Ins teamed up with cookbook author Jessica Seinfeld to develop a bunch of clever recipes using the purees, so, if you’ve got a picky eater that turns their nose up at anything vegetable related, this is a great way to slip some in on him.  Who can turn down a brownie or mac & cheese?

NO. BODY.  That’s who.

Until then, here are the popovers…Give them a try!

veggie-blend-in-popover

Butternut Squash & Caramelized Onion Popovers with Goat Cheese Crumble

makes 12

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup Butternut Squash puree (I used Veggie Blend Ins)
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced and caramelized
  • Crumbled Goat Cheese or Feta, to top

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Prepare a large, evenly divide the butter into a 12 cup Mini-Popover Pan. Place the pan in the oven for 3 minutes to melt the butter. Remove when melted. Spray each vessel with cooking spray to prevent any sticking.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the milk. Add in the flour, salt and puree, stir to combine. Fold in the caramelized onions. Pour batter evenly into the popover pans. (I poured mine almost to the top of each vessel.)
  3. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350. Bake an additional 20-25 minutes, or until all are puffed and golden brown.
  4. Remove from oven, top with Goat Cheese or Feta, serve and enjoy!

Veggie Blend Ins

Do you have trouble getting your family to eat more veggies?  Luckily, I don’t, but you can NEVER have too many!  I’m really impressed with the quality, flavor, packaging sizes – just all around convenience…I can see us using these in so many ways!

You can purchase Veggie Blend Ins here.

  • Contains 9 puree pouches – 3 carrot pouches, 3 spinach pouches and 3 butternut squash pouches
  • 100% vegetable puree, just one ingredient
  • No additives or preservatives
  • Easily add veggies into your favorite meals, snacks, smoothies and desserts
  • Blends right in so your favorite foods still taste delicious

Have a great Sunday!

Changing Reality & Learning to Bloom

Things have changed for me lately.  A lot.  I’m not one of those people who likes to talk about physical fitness, about diets, or about anything of the sort.

I like to talk about cake. Cookies.  Brownies made with bacon and caramel.

But here’s the thing…talking about it is ONE thing, eating it, and plenty of it, is entirely another.

As a food blogger, and a food blogger who tackles the indulgent types of recipes I do, I’ve had more than my fair share.  Slowly, over the past year, I’ve watched my weight climb nearly twenty pounds – and that was from a weight I didn’t particular care for in the first place.  Every new cookie recipe, every new cheesecake – I ate it.  I tasted it in each stage of it’s creation, and then in its completion.  And sadly, I avoided the scales because I just didn’t want to know.  I could still fit in my clothes, though they were tighter, but for the first time, I could SEE the weight.  I had a belly, and that’s not something I’ve every really had.  I’m a bigger girl – sturdy, broad, but not a belly.  I carry my weight all over, which I guess is fortunate, but what it comes down to is this– I was fat.

Not good.

So about a month ago, I took a deep breath and stepped on the scales.

Awful.  Just – not good.  I was 5 pounds lighter than my heaviest weight ever…and the pictures from that time of my life were horrid.  I was embarrassed that I let myself get into this shape.  Things had to change.

The following Monday I began a new way of life.

I joined our local fitness club, and jumped into a class called RIPPED.  It’s mostly kickboxing, weights, some dancing, cardio.  It’s miserable.  It’s an hour long curse-fest, but I do it.  I go, even when I don’t want to. I dread it all day, but then feel so much better about myself when I get home.

On top of that, I started a diet.

I’ve always struggled with my weight, in part because of my PCOS, which makes my sugar not really process properly, and in part because I truly enjoy wonderful foods.  Learning where to draw the line is what I am now doing.  Not just a diet – but a new way of thinking about food in general.

A huge help in my weight loss/ healthy eating has stemmed from an app, called LoseIt, that I downloaded to my iPhone.  It keeps track of my daily exercise, my food intake (it has thousands of foods, even restaurant dishes and specialized brands), and rewards me, lets me know how many days it should be until I reach goal,  allows me to record my weight, and KEEPS ME HONEST.  I will seriously not eat a candy bar, just because of the guilt I feel when having to add it into the app.

The diet I am on is roughly 1200 calories, and I’ve curbed the carbs, upped the protein and fiber, and cut out caffeine except for a couple of restaurant visits.  One big boost for me has been cereal (and no, not sugary cereals), and using Silk Vanilla Almondmilk on it.  It’s become a bit of a routine – I take my son to school, then I come home and have a banana and a small bowl of cereal with Silk.  It makes me feel like I am doing something good for my body, treating myself well, and taking care of myself, inside and out.  Blooming, as Silk would say.

silk-products

Since starting the diet and exercise plan, I’ve not missed a single RIPPED class (it’s twice a week, whoa!), and as of yesterday, I’ve hired a trainer to help me two more days per week to slim my waist, tone up, and get a BUTT.  I’ve always wanted one!  And for the diet, I’ve stuck to it.  I allow myself to cheat once or twice on the weekends, otherwise, I feel like I will give up, and life is more than being thin, right?  Sometimes life is about cake.  So I do still eat it, just not every day!

Wellll…results?  I’m down a bunch of inches, and 15 pounds!  I have a goal in mind (actually 3) and I try to keep those in mind every time I pass the candy aisle and head for the veggies.  My big goal is to lose an additional 34 more pounds, but I’d settle for 24.  Heck, 14 more pounds is my little goal, and I’m fine with that, too.  Baby steps.  I already feel better, my clothes fit much better, and I feel like I LOOK better.  I even got complimented today on my looks, and I was thrilled!  How cool is that?

So, in no way am I a trendsetter.  Lots of folks are dieticians, trainers, coaches, experts…but I’m not.  I just know what is working for me, and I’m proud of that.  The working out, the diet, the Silk – It’s all doing wonders for me in so many ways…and I can’t say enough good things about that.

Maybe I’ll be brave enough to update you again on the results next month, when I’m hoping to be down another 12 pounds.  Fingers crossed!

 

For more about SILK

 

Thumb_ae35e070-9e3d-11e3-850a-22000af93a2d

I was approached by Silk, to let all of you in on their #MyBloom campaign. What is it?  Well, in a nutshell, it’s about healthy changes, like the ones I have been making.  Silk is made from plants, and like those plants, when YOU are getting everything you need to be healthy – you bloom.  Perhaps you feel stronger, lighter, more focused.  Maybe blooming means you are ready to take on the world.  What does it mean to you to bloom?  There’s really no wrong answer.

I used to turn my nose up at anything “milk” that wasn’t MILK.  Until I tasted Silk.  It’s like…melted ice cream?  So smooth and rich – I love it, and love that it’s so good for me.  I don’t really do well with dairy, so this is a godsend.  You can check out the Silk Taste Might Surprise You video here on YouTube.

What’s so good about Silk?  Lots of things.

Now – your turn to try it!  Sign up for a coupon! All new registrants will receive $0.75 off any Silk half gallon! When you register, you can also look forward to more coupons delivered to your inbox plus a special birthday offer, news of Silk sweepstakes and promotions, plus, monthly chances to win a year’s supply of Silk! Just click here to grab those coupons!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

Get Some Sleep!

This may not be the first thing you want to read on a MONDAY…but SLEEP.

Sleep, sleep, sleep.

You want a  nap now, don’t you?  I bet you do.  It’s cold out, probably raining or snowing wherever you are (of course!), and after too short of a weekend, you would just like to call it a day and hit the sack.

I hear you.

But…hang in there.

After all, it’s National Sleep Awareness Week, and thanks to Procter and Gamble, I got to attend a mini-conference on all things sleep a few days ago, at the P&G Headquarters in Cincinnati.

Did you even know that P&G is in Cincy?  I didn’t.  I just assumed the titanic company would be headquartered somewhere like Chicago, or LA, or New York.  A BIG city.  But no, quaint and efficient Cincinnati is their home, and has been since Day One.  Why change a good thing?

We had a ball visiting – we were treated to a super fun hotel, called the 21c Museum Hotel in downtown.  Art was everywhere, and so were giant yellow penguins!  A cocktail party with photo opps and BEDS, more penguins, and a fantastic signature cocktail was a great way to kick off our stay, so that we could mix and mingle with the other bloggers from across the country. 

PGtrip1PGtrip2

After the party?  SNUGGIES in our rooms!  Did I seriously post photos of myself in it?  Ummm….well, yeah.  I blame the signature cocktails.

The next morning we were treated to breakfast in bed, then off we went to the P&G Headquarters.  Let me say right off…could this place have been cleaner or smelled any better?  No.  THAT, my friends, was as impressive as a tour through the archives of all things P&G!  (By the way, I took this picture of the façade with my iPhone, then used the Waterlogue App to make it all watercolory.  Cool, right?)

But back to sleep.  Like I said, it’s National Sleep Awareness Week, and if you are anything at all like me, you could use a better night’s sleep.  It’s okay – we all do.  We are so stressed out from work, hobbies, school, errands, bills – it adds up.  But from what I learned at the conference, and from pure common sense – NOT getting enough sleep, and GOOD sleep makes the stress even worse.

I’m not sure why we negate sleep like we do – it seems to fall in rankings to eating well and exercise, but it really should mean more to us.  Without sleep, our bodies can’t regroup, can’t rest, can’t be our best.  The average adult should be getting a good 7 to 9 hours per night…and most of us are far less than that.  I know I get that, usually…but not always.  My husband?  I don’t know how but he survives on about 5 and 1/2 hours.  I couldn’t do it.  All of us are different though, and we all have different needs.

As I write this though, I feel like I could sleep a good three days.  Maybe more.

So, how do we get better sleep?  I know for me it is often hard to fall asleep, which results in tossing and turning.  That’s aggravating.  But the folks at P&G have some advice and some products that could help both of us.

Get some exercise.  Exercise does the body good, and also tires us out.  A tired body sleeps.  So take a hike, take the stairs, do some jumping jacks…just do something, and sleep will more easily find you.

Eat well, and don’t eat late.  We all know this.  Snacking before bedtime does nothing for us.  Try to eat your dinner and then call it quits.

Set a bedtime routine.  Maybe grab a shower at the same time each night, light a candle, listen to some soothing music.  Just be as consistent as possible, and your body will recognize the signals and know it’s time to sleep.

Get comfortable.  Good sheets, good pillows, cool temperature (under 70 or less is best) and a dark room free of electronics (I know, the horror!) will lead to better sleep.  Give it a try!

Block it out.  Have you tried a white noise machine?  I know it sounds silly, but these things really do seem to work.  Even in a quiet environment there’s something soothing about that faint, non-thinking sound.

Soothe your senses.  Smells of honey, lavender, and jasmine are great to encourage sleep, so stock up.  In support of the National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep Awareness Week™ 2014, March 2-9, P&G Fabric Care is launching the Sweet Dreams Collection, including Tide® plus a touch of Downy™ Sweet Dreams™, Downy® UNSTOPABLES® Dreams™, Downy Infusions® Sweet Dreams™, and Bounce® Sweet Dreams™, which can transform your bedtime fabrics to help you relax so you can fall asleep.  Febreze has a new line of products called that feature these scents.  Sprays, air fresheners, candles, you name it.  They smell incredible – so soft.  Tide, Downy, and Bounce all have a sleepy scent now as well, so toss those sheets and jammies in the wash with the new line and drift off to dreamland.  My favorite of the products?  Downy UnStopables.  I’ve LOVED these things since Day One and can’t say enough good things about them.  They LAST for weeks.  Turns out, as you use the sheets or towels, the soft scent gets rubbed from the fibers and KEEPS on smelling fresh.  Weeks I tell you.  I love being able to open my bedroom door and smelling the clean smell.  Now that there’s a Sweet Dreams scent?  I’m in heaven.

In support of the National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep Awareness Week™ 2014, March 2-9, P&G Fabric Care is launching the Sweet Dreams Collection, including Tide® plus a touch of Downy™ Sweet Dreams™, Downy® UNSTOPABLES® Dreams™, Downy Infusions® Sweet Dreams™, and Bounce® Sweet Dreams™, which can transform your bedtime fabrics to help you relax so you can fall asleep. (Photo: Business Wire)

 

Still can’t sleep?  Try ZzzQuil.  It’s non-habit forming (I should know!) and really does help.  It’s just for sleep, and I don’t feel that groggy feeling in the morning like I do with other brands.  Sometimes we all need a little help…so why not give it a try?

So…what do YOU do to get better sleep?  Do you have trouble at night?  Have you tried any of these new products?  If so, I’d love to hear what you thought.

And Hey…wake up!  You can sleep tonight…I hope!

By: ifood.tv