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June 28, 2007

Skin MD™ Natural Shielding Lotion

I've got the driest skin on the planet. Seriously, come summer time (and mid-winter) I become lizard woman if I'm not a slave to my moisturizers. I'm also quite fickle about my moisturizers...I'm sort-of gullible when it comes to beauty product advertising. I want to believe that I can look 10 years younger with the right lipstick. Never mind that most days I can't be bothered with lipstick. So when I hear that a certain brand of lotion or cream is the end-all, be-all for keeping skin soft, I'm all over it.

The folks over at 21st Century Formulations must have gotten wind of my lizard skin, because they kindly offered me the chance to try their new Skin MD™ Natural Shielding Lotion, billed as the Ultimate Dry Skin Solution. I've been using it for a couple of months now - and I've got to say, I see a huge improvement in the way my skin retains moisture. I guess the way it works is that it forms a natural barrier on the skin - which keeps moisture in, and keeps other products from harming the skin.

They sent me this video to prove their point - It shows Skin MD Natural protecting skin from rock-dissolving acid!

Dude, I don't know about all that action, but I really like the fact that it contains aloe, Arnica Montana, and chamomile. It has been a really, truly effective way to keep my skin looking and feeling hydrated. Finally, a lotion that lives up to the hype. I'm a believer. At $25 a bottle, it isn't cheap - but well worth the cost.

To get your own, visit 21st Century Formulations on the web, or call 1-800-540-4790

June 26, 2007

Mother Talk Blog Tour - The 24-Hour Pharmacist

Today is Three Kid Circus Auditions' turn to review The 24-Hour Pharmacist, from the author of the syndicated column "Dear Pharmacist," Suzy Cohen, R.Ph. I was intrigued by the subtitle right off the bat:

Look Younger, Feel Healthier, and Save Time and Money - No Doctor Required! Natural Secrets for Total Body Health from Behind the Counter

Cohen breaks it down with humor. Five sections, entitled Above the Waist, Above the Neck, Below the Waist, And Everything in Between, and Think Outside the Pill are further divided with chapters that tackle some of the most common reasons that people seek doctors (and end up on prescription medicines.)

From suggestions for snoring and dealing with dandruff, to overcoming fatigue and anxiety and lessening joint pain from arthritis, The 24-Hour Pharmacist is full of great information that is accessible, presented in easy-to-understand language.

The 24-Hour Pharmacist is a fascinating read. I recognized myself immediately in several of the chapters, and started scribbling notes in margins and turning down pages. There is truly something for everyone in this book. Cohen gives specific recommendations for supplements and other natural products, discusses the benefits and possible side-effects of each, and points readers to convenient sources.

In this prescription drug culture, it is nice to know that many of the everyday issues we deal with, from heartburn to insomnia, can be addressed without a pill. I highly recommend this fantastic resource.

For other Mother Talk reviews, check out the roundup here. To get your own copy, click here: The 24-Hour Pharmacist.

June 25, 2007

Kaboom Cleaners

When the hot mamas over at the Parent Bloggers Network asked me to review Kaboom Shower, Tub & Tile Cleaner and Kaboom Never Scrub! - I was embarrassingly into it. Who gets excited about these things? Shower cleaning spray? Toilet cleaning solution? What is wrong with me?

Fine, I'll admit it. I hate cleaning my bathroom...and the number one reason is the hellish fumes from chemicals. Look, I've almost Super Mom'ed myself a few times, and while it would be cool if I was able to produce cleaning solutions from my fingertips, the reality is I'd probably just kill a few brain and lung cells, and maybe hallucinate for a few days. Or die. CLEANING YOUR BATHROOM IMPROPERLY CAN RESULT IN DEATH - did you know that? All the more reason to avoid it like the plague. Or, you know, make your husband do it.

So, with my reluctance to do the whole bathroom-as-gas-chamber thing (who designed my bathrooms with zero natural ventilation?) it is unsurprising that I have a soap scum issue. And the occasional under-the-rim cleaning issues. I'm not going to elaborate further. Try not to dwell. Doo dee doo dee doo, la la la. Moving on --

So, when the offer to try this Kaboom stuff out for free came, I checked out the website, and lo and behold, look who's hawking this stuff? It is that OxyClean and Orange-Glo guy! He's like the Emeril of cleaning products. He's personally responsible for my initial purchase of OxyClean, which I just freaking can't do without. He's so enthusiastic about cleaning. Which, personally, is pretty hot - hey baby, I got a soap scummy shower with your name all over it. Heh.

When the products arrived, I was eager to see if they could do what they claimed to do. I'm not a big fan of in-tank chemicals for the toilet - it always seems like the kids are forgetting to close the lid, and the dog and cat have been known to drink from the toilet frequently. I gave it a try, though, and I will say, this stuff totally works. I've got a sparkling bowl, and my hysteria over keeping the lid down so that no one drinks the water AND TOTALLY DIES OMG is really unfounded.

As the box recommends:

Bowl water not harmful to children or pets. However it is not recommended that pets regularly drink from the toilet.

Now, the Kaboom Shower, Tub & Tile Cleaner - I am fume-phobic, remember? But this stuff actually has a fairly pleasant aroma, for a cleaner, and it didn't leave me with watering eyes and wheezing lungs. Even better, it didn't take much of it to completely dissolve the soap scum on my tile shower, and it even cleaned the orange stains from my grout. Woo hoo! You just spray it on and let it sit for a couple of minutes, and then wipe. Awesome.

I enjoyed MY Kaboom experience... to read what other reviewers had to say, visit the Parent Bloggers Network review roundup. To find out more about Kaboom products, visit their website.

June 18, 2007

eHarmony Marriage

When the Parent Bloggers Network offered the chance to take a look at eHarmony's new Online Marriage Counseling Alternative, I was pretty excited. Like many couples post-kids, we rarely take time to focus on our marriage. And even though we are very much in love, there are plenty of areas where we, like most couples, could use some strategy and guidance to help make our marriage even better.

With our busy schedules, tight finances, and lack of red-hot burning issues between us, we've never been motivated to pursue counseling together. We'd rather spend the time and money needed for a counseling session on a babysitter, so we can talk amongst ourselves. But over the years, we've learned to avoid certain topics, and we've put up walls around sensitive issues - nothing major, but things that really need to be aired out.

You know how it is... sometimes starting the conversation is a thousand times harder than talking it out, once the subject is raised. A good counselor will help identify these 'hidden' issues, and will help facilitate the conversation, opening those doors so that you can get to the bottom of it, together. I've heard that one of the problems with couples therapy can be personality and trust issues between one or both partners and the counselor as well. Add to that the assumption that therapy means something is wrong, and you have a recipe for avoidance.

The folks at eHarmony recognize the different reasons that people seek out marriage counseling. While many people wait for their pants to catch on fire before turning to counseling, others use counseling from the first months of marriage to help build their relationship skills. Some, like me, want to tune up their marriage, throw some light into those dark corners and mend any broken seams. There is something for everyone here.

One of the most recognized dating services on the internet, eHarmony is tapping into great market with eHarmony Marriage. Like with their dating service, eHarmony offers a comprehensive, highly individualized questionnaire that will identify your strengths and weaknesses, resulting in a very clear plan of action for improving your marriage.

The second step is the Marriage Profile. After individually filling out your own questionnaire, eHarmony puts together a marriage profile. My own profile was dead-on, and I eagerly read through the resulting information. There are pages and pages of great, insightful information and personalized plans to act on included with the profile. I was quite impressed.

The third step on eHarmony Marriage takes you through twelve 20-minute online video exercises. I didn't have the chance to view them all, but I enjoyed the ones I watched. They were entertaining, not preachy at all, and featured couples-in-the-street and sketches that helped illustrated the subject at hand. The video exercises also give personalized feedback and activities, which is a great way to reinforce the subject, and help you get the most out of the information.

Honestly, what really appealed to my internet-addicted, nerdy heart was the fact that this information is online. You can curl up with your honey in your bed after the kids go to sleep and view a video or two. You can be inspired or prodded to raise these important subjects without dragging anyone to a counselor's office. This is good stuff.

For the purpose of this review, I went through the process without my husband - but I'm convinced that eHarmony Marriage is exactly what we need to put a new spring in our steps. I can't wait to see how our relationship will improve.

For other reviews, check out the Parent Bloggers Network. And to find out more from eHarmony Marriage, click to visit.

June 11, 2007

Get A Hobby!

Today is my stop on the Parent Bloggers Network blog tour for Tina Barseghian's fantastic Get a Hobby! I'm giving a shout-out to my girls over at PBN, because we've been reviewing some awesome books lately, and this latest addition is no exception. I expected a dry listing of possible time-wasters when I saw the title in an email. Boy, was I wrong.

Get a Hobby! kicks off with a no-pressure, humorous quiz to help uncover the traits that will help you choose a hobby. Once you've got your 'tags' to work with, you can start scanning though the pages, where Barseghian presents 101 different activities that can, according to the spine of the book, " your life."

With diversions ranging from the predictable - scrapbooking and model making - to the eyebrow raising hobbies of deep-frying and puppetry, Get a Hobby! takes a light-hearted approach while providing solid information on how to get started.

"Each hobby entry provides a playful mix of information: overviews, histories, and sample projects to hep you get your hobby on, plus profiles of dedicated hobbyists and resources that'll help take you to the next level."

My parents are working together at their home staging business, and with all the togetherness, they are making each other sort-of nuts. I'm going to be marching over to their house and placing this book on the coffee table. See, my sister and I have been suggesting different activities to both of them for years - ideas to get them out of the house and into their own little universe. They are both creative, but with different skills and motivations. Get a Hobby! is perfect for the semi-retired empty nester...but it is just as exciting to my kids. They've been gleefully flipping the pages and egging me on to set up Urban Animal Husbandry - My quiz revealed I would do well raising African Violets, not chickens.

There truly is something for everyone in this fun, inspiring book. Know someone who needs a boost? As the back cover notes:

Get a Hobby! might just be the inspiration you've been looking for.

To pick up a copy, click here!. To see what other Parent Bloggers are saying about Get a Hobby! - go visit PBN. Take a moment and leave a comment on this entry - PBN is giving away a copy of Get a Hobby! plus a $100 gift certificate. Go go go!