Category :Reviews

Tuesday In Review: Kiehls Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque

Time to get to the beauty stuff.  Today I’m sharing with you one of my favorite products – Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque.  I use this mask once every two weeks or so to deep clean my skin.  I’ve been loyal to this product for years because I find it has the perfect balance of deep cleaning and sensitivity.  It doesn’t irritate my skin *true, it’s a little red after use, but it is a clay mask – those things dry stuff up* and it really cleans down into my pores.  It gets rid of a lot of ingrained dirt from make-up and just plain life and really takes it all out and dries it all up.

Since it is a clay mask make sure you follow with a rich moisturizer.  You don’t want that dryness to continue otherwise your skin will not be healthy.  But it’s great to deep clean.  And here’s an awesome thing I do:  if you feel a zit coming on, or one pops out unexpectedly, put just a dab of this over it about 10 minutes before bed *so it has some time to dry a little*  then sleep on it.  In the morning that zit will be deader than the vampires in True Blood after the true death.  So, dead.  Basically.

Tuesday In Review: Uncle Goose Blocks

Finding great children’s toys is hard, harder than I thought it would be.  You want them to be educational, and to promote creativity, but you also want them to be fun.  And if you’re of a foreign language, you’d also like them to be in Polish.  To get Polish toys it’s not as simple as going down to the local toy store.  Here, when I find them I have to snatch them up.  Enter the Uncle Goose blocks.  

They’re handmade and non-toxic.  The company is 30 years young and is comprised of artisans who personally make these toys.  I think that supporting local business and craftsmen is important.  And though the U.S.A. isn’t local to me per se, I like that it’s not made overseas like almost everything else these days.  They come in regular English, but best of all they come in specialty sets as well.  There are dozens of foreign language sets to choose from, and there’s also two braille sets.  Made of real wood, they are sturdy and hefty – and won’t break easily.  And I love that Baby can grow with them.

Right now, she flings them around, and puts them in and out of the box.  But as she grows, the words, letters, and numbers written on them in Polish will be fantastic teaching tools.  Already she loves when I describe each color for her and stack them to build a tower *which she can them demolish*   Yes, I could go to a local big toy store and get plastic blocks *and risk a toxic recall – everyone remembers that fiasco* – but they wouldn’t be handmade, and most of all they wouldn’t be Polish.  So essentially, if you need a specialty set of blocks – get these.  They’re completely worth the slightly higher price point.

Tuesday In Review: David’s Tea

Okay, so far I’ve been reviewing only things I really like.  And I know I should review things I don’t as well, but right now I have a plethora of things I enjoy and I’d rather share those with you first.

Disclaimer:  I’m a huge tea aficionado!  I looooove tea. 

I’d love to review all of David’s Teas, but well I don’t own them all, nor do I have the resources to own them all.  So hey David’s Tea, if you’re reading this and you’d like me to review your teas one by one or in groups send me a packet and I’d love to do so.   Now with that shameless self promotion aside, let’s get to it shall we?

David’s Tea in general:  A hip, urban loose leaf tea shop.  It’s clean, bright, filled with knowledgeable young staff and provides a simple but good product.  By simple, I mean it provides just tea and tea accessories.  It’s a specialty shop, but with a Starbucks kind of feel.  There are several specialty tea shops in my neighborhood *I know, where do I live right?*  but I always go here.

I go here because for several reasons.  First, the place is very bright and clean with large windows, and provides plenty of space for customers to mill around *especially helpful when you have a stroller* Some other specialty places look dark, or are small and unfortunately I can not enter with a stroller occupied by a curious mind and two busy hands that will take that beautiful teapot and smash it on the ground given the opportunity.

Second, they have great deals and selection.  I bought this tumbler because it comes with an amazing incentive.  You buy it and get your first tea free, then every time you come back with it you get your choice of their on tap teas for only $1.  So really, it pays for itself in three visits – not counting the first one where you bought it.  Companies really underestimate the value of incentives, and that’s another reason the other shops are bypassed – they offer no incentive to come in.  

And lastly, customer service.  I had a service issue *won’t go into detail*  and when I voiced my dissatisfaction I was taken seriously and offered a customer appreciation.  That’s important.  I want to go to a company that really cares about it’s reputation and customer base.

This would really all be for naught if the product was shoddy.  But it’s not.  The tea is always of great quality and whatever you get, it’s very flavorful.  I’m not a fan of every tea, but I can’t deny that each one has a distinct aroma and flavor.  And that’s why, despite the slightly hipster rep of David’s Tea *which I’m not a huge fan of*, I’ll continue to go there and enjoy their tea.

Tuesday In Review: The Essential Bib

My little one’s Mally Bib

 Sorry this is one day late!

If you’re having a baby, get yourself this bib.  If you know someone who’s having a baby, get them this bib.  But make sure you two talk, ’cause you only need one.  This is the essential bib.  It’s reversible and the other side has a food catcher, but the really awesome feature of this is that it’s washable leather.  It’s very durable and heavy enough that it stays put when you put it on baby.  But the best is that during the multiple feedings of a typical day – meals plus snacks – you pop this puppy on and when you’re done stick it under the tap, or wipe it down and it’s good to go.  There’s no need to get a fresh one, or scrub, or really put any effort into it at all. Wipe and stick it on your fridge *it’s got a magnet* and it’s dry for the next round.

I’ve bought this for two friends with babes and they’ve both said that the worst thing that has happened to them is that they forgot it at a grandparents house and had to go without for a few days.   I’ve used this bib from Baby’s very first solid meal and it’s still going strong.  When she grows out of it I’m getting this one in a toddler size.

Tuesday In Review: Cosco Right Size Umbrella Stroller

My Cosco Right Size Umbrella Stroller.

 Sorry this is a little late.  My brain overheated yesterday and also possibly got a little too excited in my vacation state.

I’ve got this little stroller for one purpose:  it’s folds down to almost nothing and therefore is a great occasional stroller.  This doesn’t have a basket, or anywhere to put your keys.  So it’s very light on features.  But it’s really about portability.  It folds to the size of walking umbrella and takes up almost no room at all in the trunk.  So for a trip or a day out when you don’t think you’ll need a super stroller and trunk space is at a premium this is the way to go.  It’s a great stroller to take to my Mom’s house for example.  Throw it in the trunk and I have plenty of room for all my other things.  Or if we go up north or camp, we’ll probably bring this puppy along as well. 

Picture from the Toys’r’us website.

Plus, I like the fun monkey pattern!

Tuesday In Review: Asics GT-2150

I’m an avid runner.  But I’ve also had more than my fair share of foot problems.  And therefore the right shoe is a big deal for me.  Now, I just need a little stability and a lot of cushioning.  So these have been my go-to shoe for the past 6 years.  Every year, Asics comes out with a new version of the same shoe – it’s essentially the same thing with a little tweak here and there as technology and understanding increases.  Every time I need a new pair of running shoes, I simply go get the newest version of the GT-2100 series.  My latest purchase – a bit ago – was this pair of GT 2150s.  I love how it’ s like running on air.  My old pair lasted about 2 1/2 years!  That’s a lot of time when you’re clocking in about 6-7 hours of running a week. 

True, I don’t run marathons but I do put my shoes through their paces *pardon the pun* and I need something that can keep my feet in good working order.  Like I said, I need major cushioning and these babies have never disappointed.  I’ve found that each version has kept their cushioning longer than any other shoes I’ve had – and I’ve worn New Balance, Nike, and Saucony before.  The stability isn’t super, which is bad if you’re a severe over or under pronator, but if you just need a moderate amount of support then these should do you well.

On a purely girl note, these shoes come in the blue you see above, as well as pink and purple!  So we can be as girlie as we want!

Tuesday In Review: Especially For Kids Trendsport Stroller

Here’s my stroller with some stuff in the cup holder and basket.

I’m an urban mom without a car.  So I need a stroller that’s light, durable, narrow and easy to handle.  This one is pretty good at delivering those things at a great price tag!

First, lightness, it’s really very light in terms of weight.  You can easily lift it with one hand while holding baby in the other.  The only thing is that when folded, it’s an awkward shape that’s a little hard to manage getting in and out the door.  I find it easier to just move it open *without baby* and then break it down just before going into a trunk *on the rare occasions that I’m in a car*  But since I don’t have a car and I mostly use it on buses and subways, that’s not a very important feature for me.

This tiny little stroller that feels so light makes you wonder if it won’t fly apart at any moment, but it’s actually quite deceiving.  I’ve put this thing through all the paces – running to catch a bus, bumps, muddy parks, bangs, drops, and lots of other stuff – and it’s held up great throughout.  Everything is very flexible and I think that’s what makes it so durable.

It’s not as easy to handle as some other strollers I’ve seen.  I’ve seen parents jogging with stollers in one hand, talking on the phone and maneuvering the stroller in front of them like a jet plane fighter *in my mind they’re very maneuverable – don’t know whether that’s based on fact*.  This one is not like that.   You can’t use one hand on it – it needs two.  It’s pretty good; I can talk on the phone while on the sidewalk and manage as long as I’m not moving too quickly.  And in terms of pure maneuverability, as long as you use two hands you can twist and turn this thing very easily.  But here’s the thing, this stroller is about half – if not less – the price of those other strollers.  And that is a big selling point to me!

I have to say though that the cup holders are an absolute joke!  There are two cup holders for the adult and one for the baby.  I’ve never used the one for the baby – she gets  a drink while she needs it and then I drop it in the basket.  And the adult holders are really for things like phones and keys.  Don’t put a cup in there!  The construction of this stroller makes it that the tiniest bump sends hot liquid everywhere *luckily there’s a canopy to protect baby*.  To me this isn’t a big deal.  I usually like to sit and enjoy my coffee and not drink on the run.  And I often use it as an excuse to do just that.

The feature that I just love though is how narrow it is.  On the bus and subway I take up hardly any room.  Other strollers look as narrow, but when you look at the wheels they spread and take up a lot of space.  I like that the narrow construction allows me to get on the bus when others can’t *rush hour* and that I show respect to other patrons by not occupying the entire bus.  I like that I can tuck myself and baby into a corner of the train and nobody – us included – is inconvenienced.  This is also true for stores, cafes, and restaurants.  The narrow build lets me get through aisles and corners and crevices easily.  Whether it’s in between clothes racks, or in and around tables to get to the backyard patio, this stroller does a great job or getting us where we want to go. 

Picture of the stroller from Toys’r’us.

Some might say that it’s not about others it’s about me, but I like to show respect to my fellow city dwellers, and it makes me feel better to try to accommodate others in a reasonable fashion. To me, that means not having a tank of a stroller. And despite the narrow frame, it’s quite sturdy. It isn’t as sturdy as a tank, but then again I’m not going into war.

Tuesday In Review: The Best Flip Flops

These are about 5 years old.

These flip flops from Abercrombi&Fitch are the best flip flops I have ever found.  I don’t say that lightly.  I have very sensitive feet, and a foot that’s not shaped like regular folks.  Mine are long and narrow.  And I’ve found that any flip flops I ever wore – including Havaianas, I’m sad to say –  would chafe in between my toes.  But more than that the strap at the top would rub off my skin.  Gross, I know.  But I’m just tellin’ it like it is.  I would be skinned alive by flip flops within a matter of minutes. 

Then I bought this white pair.  I was really hesitant to buy a pair of flip flops for $40 *I’m a cheap skate you see*  But I was in desperate need of comfy flip flops at the time as my foot was injured and I couldn’t wear regular shoes.  So I tried them on and forked over my credit card.  And boy am I glad I did!  These shoes are nicely cushioned which makes walking around a pleasure, and the fabric strap is sooooo gentle on my delicate feet.  It was so nice and refreshing to walk around without my feet hurting.

I liked them so much that I took them backpacking with me.  For three months they were subjected to ocean, mud, rain, being crammed into tiny regions of my pack, folding, smushing, communal bathroom floors,  and general abuse.  And they held up beautifully!  All I have to do is use some soap and water, and a little scrubbing makes these 5 year old flip flops look like they do in that picture.  Actually, I took that picture after I scrubbed them just a couple of weeks ago.

I liked them so much that the next year I bought another pair, this time in navy.

About 4 years old.

And I’m happy to say, they have held up just as well.  Though Drake the Dog has managed to chew them up a little. His favorite thing to do is grab them, run into the yard and whip them back and forth like he’s killing some small game.  Hence the little puncture marks in the picture.

Picture from official website.

They have changed the pattern on the fabric strap since I purchased mine, but these are the same style, make and material.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I’ll respond as soon as I can.

Tuesday In Review: BabyHawk Mei Tai Baby Carrier

Me carrying Baby in my own BabyHawk.

Mondays have a freshness to them (Make-up Mondays, etc), Wednesdays are ‘hump’ days (Weddings Wednesday) , Thursdays are ‘awkward and awesome’, Fridays are for fashion and friends, Saturdays are well awesome, and Sundays are lazy.  Tuesdays are never mentioned.  Tuesdays are the black sheep, the underdog, the slightly forgotten.  I always root for the underdog. So on that note, I’m starting Tuesday In Review.  On Tuesday every week, I’ll review something.  It could be fashion, lifestyle, electronic, mommy or child related.  Frankly, everything is up for grabs.

Therefore, without further ado I give you the BabyHawk.

From the official website.

The BabyHawk is just one brand that makes a Mei Tai style baby carrier. Out of all the carriers this has been my absolute favorite.  At first the price kind of made me hesitant *anything over $50 makes me tremble* , but after trying it I think it’s the best piece of baby gear ever.  And I seriously consider it a must-have for parents.

It’s made of a strong fabric that’s really easy to clean – I just threw it in the washing machine.  And it came out looking great.  Also, it’s rated to carry up to a 4 year old.  You can wear newborns and babes on the front, and as they get bigger move them onto the back.

The thing that sort of frightened me at first was that the strapping looked really complicated.  But I put that aside and figured I’d deal with it.  And to my surprise, the first time I tried to put baby in it I was severely overtired, hot and cranky, and I still managed to do in under two minutes.  Within a matter of three attempts, I was a pro and could whip Baby on in less than 30 seconds.  The strapping looks complicated, but if you just follow the instructions once, you’ll see that it’s actually really intuitive.  It just makes sense.

The best thing about it is that most of Baby’s weight is on my hips.  With other carriers *Bjorn, etc* I’ve found that the weight is on my shoulders.  For a man, that’s great since they tend to have a lot of strength there, Husband for example loves it.  But I’ve found that I get fairly tired under the strain on my shoulders, especially as she grows.  I prefer to have her weight carried by my hips.  It’s easier and allows me to go about my business for extended periods of time.

I carry it in my stroller basket when I know Baby is going through teething or a fussy period.  That way when we’re out and she wants to be held and cuddled, I can just strap it on and continue doing what I’m doing.  The world doesn’t have to come to a screeching halt.

And of course, it has a really cute design for me to show off!   But what’s cool about that, is that it’s reversible; so my husband can wear the plain gray outside so he doesn’t feel silly sporting around a pretty pink pattern.  ‘Cause you know, he’s so macho!

If you’re in Toronto, you can get the BabyHawk at Evy Mama and they’ll teach you how to use it too! And while you’re there get fitted for a nursing/maternity bra.  The ladies are super helpful and they’ll set you up with something suitable for your life and budget.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

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