Product Reviews

20TIMinutes

20TIMinutes was founded, and is hosted by my friend, Tim McCarthy, and is a podcast that focuses on mental health with a sense or humor. 🧠😄

It airs every Tuesday on all major podcasting apps. 🗣

Each week, Tim has a different person do his introduction. A few weeks back, he asked if I would be interested, and I obviously say, “yes!”

It probably doesn’t come as a surprise, that Braylon was also interested in being involved. You can check out just some of the outtakes below.

Battling to be the center of attention.

I was going through old photos on my phone, and I stumbled upon this one from December 2014. 🗓

Randall and I had flew up to Boston from Charlotte for a long weekend, and we had met up with Tim, and his awesome wife, Lindsay. 🍻

Lindsay, Randall, Me & Tim
  • I miss nights out with friends.
  • If you haven’t already, you should definitely check out his podcast.
  • Take a lesson from my buddy Tim, and don’t forget to tell people how you much love them. He often references that on his podcast, as he signs off with “I love you guys”
  • On the other hand, if you don’t actually love someone, don’t tell them that you love them… especially if there’s like a proposal involved. Things could get weird. 🥴
  • Back on a serious note… far too often people that you think might be receiving praise, gratitude and support, and just overall “doing well”, often aren’t, and you never know how powerful your small act of kindness just might be. 🤗

Bye for now.

I love you all.

*quickly checks my 4 followers to make sure that’s accurate 😬

Dine, Product Reviews

Faves, Finds & Flops

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This post, along with how I imagine most others will end up being, will be a little bit of everything. Hopefully it won’t be too all over the place, but that’s essentially how my brain (and my life) seem to work. Enjoy! Also, I had every intention of finishing this last night and posting it yesterday, but that clearly did not happen.  Anyways, here we go…

Dono&Dono Baby Playtime Pillow – Braylon isn’t a huge fan of being flat on his back. He had been doing pretty well being on his back when he was playing on his Little Sport Star All Star Gym, but figured I would give this pillow a try. Not sure if I can give all the credit to the pillow, but he definitely seems to be lasting longer and enjoying himself more. Love that the pillow is machine wash friendly. I’ll never understand when things like athletic wear or something involving children do not scream convenience.

Here’s the little guy in action:

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Photo taken 3.28.18

Swedish Fish Mini Tropical – I really really like Swedish Fish. Always have. Always will. Randall had sent me a screenshot of the tropical version and I knew I HAD to get my hands on them. Luckily, before I knew it the grocery store that I frequent got them in, so I didn’t have to do too much hunting. I just looked them online and a number of websites are sold out out of them. The flavors are Pina Colada, Tropical Island, Beachy Punch, and Passion Fruit. Helloooo, summer!
Donut Ice Cream Sandwich at KNEAD Doughnuts – It’s no question that I love donuts.  It’s also no question that I love ice cream.  When the two have the opportunity to meet, something magical can happen, especially if both the doughnuts and ice cream are exceptional.  Sometimes, when there’s “mashups” one of the products will be mediocre and man, what a let down.  However, the doughnut from KNEAD and ice cream from Warwick Ice Cream was a match made in my sweet tooth heaven.

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Perfection. 

Speaking of ice cream, I haven’t been there yet, but every Friday until August 31st, Wright’s Dairy Farm & Bakery has a Pop Up Scoop Shop from 3pm-7pm.  This is from the Facebook Event page:

“Cone or Cup? Whipped Cream or Hot fudge? Join us for 14 weeks of delicious (from scratch), farmstead ice cream! Each week we’ll have chocolate and vanilla, 2 rotating flavors, a featured sundae, and a whole lot of toppings! Follow us on Instagram, for the reveal of the Special flavors and Sundae each week!”

The Cookie Rookie’s S’mores Cookies – My Mom was in town earlier this week for a few days and she made the S’Mores Cookies from The Cookie Rookie and they were SO good. They seemed pretty easy to make, but hey, my only job was eating them. The main “hack” here is that the recipe suggests using pre-made refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough. The hardest part looked like crumbling the graham crackers and if you really wanted to, I’m pretty sure stores sell it that way.

Peapod Grocery Delivery – My Mom recently ordered us some deliveries from Peapod.  I always thought why would I need someone to bring groceries to my house when I can just go down the road and get them myself?  Then, I had Braylon and I more than understood it. A lot of the time I dread going to the grocery store.  Mainly,  because no matter how hard I try, I just never go in with a solid plan.  More often times than not, I’m hungry when I go, which is a huge no no.  We had another delivery since the first one my Mom had placed for us….I love it!  They offer $20 off your first order of $75 (I can’t make out of the grocery store spending less than this anyways!) or more and the first 60 days delivery is free.  You just need to enter 60DAYSFREE in the promotional code box at checkout.

Hello Fresh – My friend, Mary, introduced me to Hello Fresh a few months back.  I had been seeing a handful of different meal kit delivery companies and had been wanting to try one so took her recommendation on this one.  Plus, Hello Fresh provides their customers with the option to gift three free meals to friends.  Who doesn’t love free?!  Speaking of, if you’re interested in receiving your first week free (3 meals for 2 people) let me know.  No gimmicks or anything like that.  You just need to remember to either skip the next week if you don’t want that particular one or just cancel altogether.  I had been ordering pretty consistently, but depending on what I have going on that week I do end up skipping sometimes.  Some of them require a bit more prep work than others.  The great part about that is you can preview the ingredients and recipes prior to placing your order.  They also provide you with additional insight on each kit that could most definitely ensure that the meals that you are ordering are the best fit for you!

Hungryroot – Years back, before they expanded, I had tried a few things from Hungryroot.  Since then, they’ve grown and have a lot more options.

All of this came in the box…

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It normally would have cost $99, but it was half off.  All of this made:

  • Three Bean Sweet Potato Chili: 2 servings
    • While I would prefer to just make my own chili, the flavor on this was pretty good.
  • Kale Salad Guac Burger: 2 servings
    • While there was enough for two servings, I could have eaten all of the salad with my burger rather than splitting the salad between the two burgers.  Loved the flavors and haven’t had a veggie burger quite like this before — it was great though!
  • Creamy Corn Cauliflower Risotto: 2 servings
    • This was pretty good.  I had some one night (with something else) and then the rest of it the next day for lunch.
  • Crispy Coconut Breakfast Hash: 2 servings
    • My Mom was in town during this one so we split it.  We both liked the flavor.  She cooked the sweet potatoes a little longer than suggested and utilized more than 4 tablespoons of the curry.  They give you much more than 4 tablespoons and 4 tablespoons would be like nothing.  Still can’t figure this out.
  • Kale Pesto Beet Noodles: 2 servings
    • This was meant to be a side dish.  I did split this one up.  I used ALL of the pesto sauce…homegirl is not on board with this only 4 tablespoons madness.  Sometimes I struggle with eating beats so having a strong flavor like pesto to mask it a bit was perfect for me.
  • Spicy Tofu Quinoa Bowl: 2 servings
    • There was enough tofu for two servings, but not enough quinoa, so either I was missing something or the portion of quinoa was supposed to be really really small.  I did really like this though.  The tofu had a great flavor and consistency.   You didn’t need to cook anything — just mix the tofu into the quinoa bowl and voila!
  • Pad Thai Fried Rice: 2 servings
    • I ate this all in one serving. If I was going to split it up, I feel like I would have needed to add additional vegetables or meat to it.
  • Sweet Potato Mac’n Cheese: 2 servings
    • While I enjoyed this dish, calling it mac n cheese is an incredible stretch if you ask me.  I like to think of myself as a mac n cheese connoisseur and that does not mean that I discriminate against a vegan version or a version that does not utilize pasta. The cashew cheese had minimal flavor even when I added more than than the recommended 4 tablespoons.  I love sweet potatoes, but you really can’t put cubed sweet potatoes in a dish that you are calling mac n cheese to give me my fix.  Don’t get me wrong, I did eat it, but just think it should be called something else — cheesy sweet potatoes?
  • Peanut Butter Cookies
    • I ate these in the car one day.  They were pretty good.  I’ve had something similar to them before for sure.
  • Almond Chickpea Cookie Dough
    • I haven’t tried this cooked yet, but straight out of the container I was pretty surprised with how tasty this was.  Will definitely need to throw some in the oven to give it the true test.

All in all, I liked what came in the box.  There are two different options as far as the quantities that you receive and you do have the option to select exactly what you want.  All of the goodies come with a little book that has all of the recipes for the month – even the ones that you didn’t get in your order.  Everything was extremely easy to make, which I REALLY enjoyed.  These days I seem to have less and less time so anything that’s quick AND tasty is a win in my book!   I’m on the fence as to whether or not I will order again.  $49 was a steal that I couldn’t pass up! Based off of the portions, I would think if a couple is sharing all of the things they would definitely be adding some additional ingredients or other menu items to their meals 😉

I want to hear from YOU! Products I need to try?  Places I should go?  Any and everything you name it! 

 

Mama, Product Reviews

Faves, Finds & Flops: Mama Edition 1.0

fullsizeoutput_2b39.jpegIf you’re anything like me you’re overwhelmed by creating and / or purchasing from a Baby Registry. I was super excited to start mine once we found out we were expecting. I quickly realized how time consuming it was…and that was before I even stepped inside the store. One of the reasons I chose Babies ‘R Us was due to the great perks they offered. Unfortunately, the closer I got to my due date, the closer the store got to closing. Using my completion discount became a little tricky and they decided not to honor hundreds of dollars in rewards that I had accumulated. Needless to say, I was pretty disappointed.

I was also registered at Amazon. If I knew someone that was getting ready to register now, I would definitely recommend Amazon and then choosing one with a storefront as well (ex. Target or BuyBuyBaby!). You can easily sync all of your registries on The Bump making it easy to see all of your wish list items at the same time.

If you or someone you know needs any help, feel free to point them in my direction or maybe my Mom’s…I think she outdid me with the amount of time and effort she put into preparing for Braylon’s arrival!

Here are 12 products that I wanted to share with you. As I am sure you can imagine, there’s definitely some additional “mama products” that I am using a lot right now and more will continue to be added into our daily routines.

Be on the lookout for “non mama products” too! ❤

Storksak Sandy Diaper Bag – Braylon’s Daddy got this bag for us and I absolutely love it!  The pockets on the inside and outside are perfectly sized and placed.  The bag comes with a high quality changing mat and food and bottle bag. It’s a great size and easily attaches to my stroller via the stroller straps.

Jeep Everyday Backpack Diaper Bag – I couldn’t make my mind up on whether or not I wanted a bag or a backpack, so wound up with both.  The backpack doesn’t have as much space, but most definitely holds all of the essentials and is great option depending on what we have on the agenda for the day. I’m only 54 days in to this whole Mom thing, but imagine that both bags will get plenty of use!

Vitafusion Prenatal Gummy Vitamins – After I left the Doctor Office confirming my pregnancy (because 4 at home tests were not enough) I stopped by CVS and purchased some prenatal vitamins from The Honest Company. I am not sure if it was because I was still early on and extremely nauseous the majority of the time, but the vitamins did not seem to be sitting well with me. I ended up switching to the gummy vitamins from Vitafusion and LOVED them. Yes, I feel like a child taking them, but whatever. I’m just about seven weeks postpartum and still enjoying them.

Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter – My best friend, Ashley, gave this to me in October and I have been using it ever since.  The majority of the time, I used it on my whole body rather than just the belly.  Whether or not this butter was the reason I did not get any stretch marks during my pregnancy will always remain a mystery.  Either way, I enjoyed the fact that it was fragrance fee, the consistency and how it made my skin feel and look.

Gerber’s Knit Burp Cloths – The color / print of the ones that I have are a little different than what you see in the below (I think they may have been a Babies R Us exclusive), but highly recommend these. I loved the material and how they absorb the milk so easily. I have a handful of flannel ones from Gerber and Koala Baby, all of which work well, but the material of the ones below has been my personal fave!

The First Years Night Cravings Bottle Warmer & Cooler – I haven’t taken full advantage of this product’s features just yet. Behind the bottle warmer portion, two bottles can be kept cool, so you could easily have the bottles in the nursery with you and then pop them into the warmer for your convenience. I am mostly still breastfeeding, but have given Braylon bottles, so I’ve used the warmer to heat them up. Where we live right now, Braylon’s room is not far from the kitchen, so having this in the nursery is not entirely necessary, but this would be a great feature depending on the layout of the house. At some point I may find that I will take full advantage though!

Munchkin Steam Guard Microwave Sterilizer – Easy to use and store when not in use. You add 7 ounces of water to the container, throw it in the microwave with two minutes with the bottles, pacifiers, breast pump parts, etc. and then let it sit for another 10 minutes and voila!

Fisher-Price Auto Rock ‘n Play Sleeper – Braylon really really likes this. A little too much. I’ve basically made myself crazy with all of the things that I’ve read on the do’s and do not’s of sleeping and people have mixed feelings (uhhh, beliefs?) on this product, but this thing has been marvelous in our house so far.

NOTE: On May 15th, this magical device turned off (with the baby in it) and will not turn back on.  I’ve completed the form on Fisher Price’s website and hoping to hear back soon.  I’ve read a number of consumer reviews that said they replaced it, so fingers crossed. *tears, tears and more tears* 

Baby Trend Skyview Plus Travel System – I haven’t utilized the stroller in it’s full capacity, but so far so good for the most part. I wish the “peek-a-boo” window made it a little easier to see the baby and that it had velcro on the flap to keep it open (considering adding my own). Only complaint with the car seat, when securing him into the seat, you have to hold the two buckles perfectly aligned over one another to pop it into place…and it’s a little tricky, but with time I’ve gotten better at it.  The car seat is 11 pounds (assuming this is average?!), so now I’m lugging around 33 pounds – talk about a bonus workout!

Jensen Portable CD Player – I just purchased this today! I’ve been meaning to pick up one or order one online since my baby shower when I got three different CDs (see below). I love the size of it and excited that it has Bluetooth capabilities too. We’ve already tried it out and so far both Mommy and Baby love it.

Rockabye Baby Lullaby Renditions – I received the Jay Z and Rihanna versions at my baby shower and FINALLY heard them for the first time today. LOVE them and would definitely recommend. I also received this Hip Hop CD, which has songs from Outkast, Salt N Pepa, Eminem and more!


Spacedye Hug The Belly Maternity Long Legging – If you’re pregnant, know someone who is pregnant, planning to get pregnant, heck even if you’re not pregnant… I can’t recommend these pants from Beyond Yoga enough. They are on sale for $57.50 (normally $115) and if you use code oRNrpX at checkout, you’ll get an additional 15% off. If the code gives you any trouble just click here. NOTE: You can use the 15% off anything, not just *these* pants.

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What are your favorite products that you use as a Mom?! Any must try products in general? I’m open to anything — food, books, gadgets…you name it!

Product Reviews

TRESemmé, TRESemmé, Ooh La La

When I think of TRESemmé, I always think of this…

And now, thanks to their lastest spokeslady, I think of Chrissy Teigen…

When I received a full size complimentary bottle of shampoo and conditioner from their newish Beauty-Full Volume Reverse Wash System, I was pretty pumped. Pumped to pump up the volume. *sigh* So lame.

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Thanks, Influenster!

I was immediately intrigued when I saw TRESemmé Beauty-Full Volume collection. I mean, it makes sense and made me think why wouldn’t I want to reverse my routine. I love the smell of both the shampoo and conditioner. I also loved the way both products made my hair feel and look.

I wouldn’t say that my hair had a lot more volume than what I was used to. However, the the line promises to soften hair by conditioning first and shampooing second to wash away the weight. This is supposed to leave hair smooth and polished, but still full of bounce. I will definitely agree with that. I have a good bit of hair, but my hair is fine…hey, I wasn’t expecting it to work a miracle. My only complaint, is that the conditioner is smaller than the shampoo…and everyone knows you always run out of conditioner first, so there’s no doubt it will happen with this pair.

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I would definitely recommend the product and plan on purchasing.  Bonus that the bottles perfectly coordinated with this Splits59 sports bra.  😉

Dine, Product Reviews

Teach Me Your Ways

Some weeks I’m better than others when it comes to grocery shopping and planning. Let’s be honest, the majority of the time, I let my busy schedule get the best of me. I saw these 3-Compartment Bento Boxes from Prefer Green on Tomoson the other day and figured it would give me the motivation I needed to stay on track. Well, at least do a little bit better.

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They arrived in perfect condition, which I was happy about after reading some reviewers that weren’t as lucky.  The boxes are are a little bit thinner than I had expected, but I am sure they will keep up just fine over time.  And, if not, Prefer Green offers a lifetime guarantee and will send you new ones at any time – no questions asked!

For me, it was mandatory that the containers were microwaveable and dishwasher safe.  It is definitely a bonus that they are also BPA free.

For the set of 10 at $14.99….I think they should do the trick!

I actually really enjoy cooking (like baking even better), but don’t often make the time to plan in advance and frequently find myself picking up something to go or making something that may not be the best choice. When I did 30 Clean last February, I felt like so much time was taken towards planning and prepping and I’d end up a little frustrated.  However, if I enjoyed the final product it was worth it.  If I found myself following a recipe, putting in the time and effort and not liking the food…UGH, the worst.  In an ideal world, I would just have food from Luna’s Living Kitchen in Charlotte everyday all day and life would be just grand.

I know A LOT of my friends are very healthy eaters and know how to stay on track.  What are some of your favorite things to prep on Saturday or Sunday so you make better choices during your busy week?  The cupcakes and donuts aren’t going anywhere, so keeping the majority of my choices “better” will have me feeling a little less guilty of my sugar addiction.

C’mon, don’t hold ’em back… I need help! 🙂 

Product Reviews

Smells Like Tender Romance

“It’s a sad woman who buys her own perfume.” – Lena Jaeger

Thanks to Influenster and Ralph Lauren I didn’t have to… at least not this time!

I absolutely love getting packages in the mail. I stalk the tracking information like a little kid who can’t sleep on Christmas Eve. Awaiting my free sample of Ralph Lauren’s Tender Romance proved to be no exception.

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It’s here, IT’S HERE!

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Love is in the air. Literally.

I immediately opened the box so I could give it a try. Loved it. I had Randall smell it as well and he gave it two thumbs up as well (not literally).

I have their “Midnight Romance” which I love and surely “Tender Romance” did not disappoint either. Since it was a sample size it didn’t have a spray nozzle, but I know the full size does, which is a necessity in my opinion.

I would definitely recommend purchasing this for yourself or as a gift.  I think it’s sweet and floral scent would appeal to the masses.

I received this product complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Product Reviews

ALOHA Only Means Hello to Me

Let’s be serious… I don’t wake up flawless.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m obsessed with ALOHA‘s Daily Good Greens. It’s a Whole Food Powder that promises to energize, boost the immune system, detoxify and hydrate. I’ve had it just about every day since November 1st and hate when I go a day without it. I first tried Aloha back in October of 2014. If my memory serves me correctly, I saw a sponsored Tweet about the Free Trial.

It was love at first sip and it gets me just a little bit closer to making me FEEL flawless each morning.

BeyonceALOHA is the Beyonce of the Whole Food Powders.

I buy the Blend Box which has the Original Blend, Chocolate Blend and Berry Blend.

Aloha also has “The Foundation” which is a 5 Capsule Nutrient Pack. I’ve purchased this before and liked this as well, but wanted to stick to just one thing for now. 🙂 Last, but definitely not least, they have a Superfood Chocolate Bar that is made with raw and real food ingredients. It’s organic, has hundreds of nutrients from superfood greens, is a serving of fruits / vegetables, high in skin beautifying antioxidants, sweetened ONLY by mineral rich coconut sugar and made with 60% fair trade certified cacao. Um, yes!

You can read all about their products, find great recipes and get a free trial by checking out their website.  They’ve got a great online magazine that covers all sorts of great topics. For example, today’s “How to Drink Alcohol Without Ruining Your Healthy Diet“. Um, yes please!

I’m super excited to announce that as of today I am an “ALOHA Ambassador”.  What’s in it for you? Don’t worry there’s something 😉 When you use the code “DANICOTE” you’ll get 20% off of all your orders.

If you’re ever looking for great options to add the ALOHA Daily Greens to here’s a few different options:

  1. Check out the “Recipes” portion of the website.
  2. Social Media — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr. Along with the hashtags #alohamoment #myaloha.
  3. Yours truly! I’m happy to let you know all the fun smoothie combinations that I make on a daily basis. I will end up posting more from here on out as well.

ALOHA only means hello to me… no farewell for this girl! ❤