Category: review

Keeping Holiday Meals and Snacks Healthy with Nature’s Touch Frozen Fruits

Keeping Holiday Meals and Snacks Healthy with Nature's Touch Frozen Fruits

This time of year is magical – the lights, the music, extra family time and the overall spirit of Christmas.

Keeping Holiday Meals and Snacks Healthy with Nature's Touch Frozen Fruits

It also brings with it a lot of holiday get togethers, dinners out and indulging in food and drinks that we don’t normally do. While I am all of for indulging (you have to enjoy life too), I am also for moderation. I am sure all of us can remember the times that we let ourselves get a bit carried away, ate too much and indulged in too many sweets and rich food items. How did your stomach feel afterwards? How did you feel overall?

For myself, I get painful stomach aches if I am not careful and it can even cause me to feel nauseated. No one wants to feel this way during the holidays so it is important to ensure that you are still eating right during the day (or at your other meals depending on when your holiday get together is). This means ensuring that you get the right amount of fruits and vegetables – maybe even adding in more at your other meals and at your snacks.

Keeping Holiday Meals and Snacks Healthy with Nature's Touch Frozen Fruits

I love my fruits but I find that they usually go off before we can eat them all, especially now with the weather being so cold (my bananas I purchased on Sunday are brown now by Tuesday!). Frozen fruits are by far the best way to go in our house to ensure we are meeting our nutritional requirements and not wasting food – both of these points being very important to me.

Nature’s Touch is a line of frozen fruits and vegetables that follow strict regulations to ensure the freshest products are prepared for you. The products are all sourced from farmers who comply with strict ethical and hygiene rules and are then passed through sorting to ensure that only the freshest products are taken to the second step – freezing! The products are flash frozen individually quite soon after harvesting to ensure that they remain as fresh as possible.

Keeping Holiday Meals and Snacks Healthy with Nature's Touch Frozen Fruits

We picked up Nature’s Touch frozen mangoes as this is one of our favourite fruits. While we love adding fresh fruit to yogurt, oatmeal and smoothies, there is so much more that you can do with their products. If you are stuck on what to make with them, Nature’s Touch provides a wide range of recipes and ideas on their website to help you out. You can find breakfast, lunch, dinner, appetizers, snacks and so much more – it is actually quite amazing what you can create in the kitchen with their fruits.

Keeping Holiday Meals and Snacks Healthy with Nature's Touch Frozen Fruits

We tried out their mango and strawberry crumble which was an easy to follow and prepare recipe. I was actually preparing this dessert after soccer while making dinner for the family and juggling laundry. Prep time was under ten minutes and then it was in the oven for an hour – there was no stress and very little clean up (win win for me!). It was a huge hit in our house – we loved the sweet taste of the mangoes and were really impressed how they held up in the baking process. It was the perfect blend of healthy sweets and I can’t wait to prepare this dessert and bring it to my family Christmas get together.

What is your favourite go to recipe during the holidays to ensure you are still eating right and focusing on your health?

Make sure to follow Nature’s Touch on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with products, recipes and more.

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned product in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Squishmallows: The Softest and Cutest Plush and Pillow In the World

Squishmallows: The Softest and Cutest Plush and Pillow In the World

I am a texture person, I love to touch and feel everything from clothes, blankets, pillows and plush toys. There is no better feeling in the world then curling up on the couch or in bed with a blanket and pillow that is soft, cuddly and warms you up from the inside out. My kids have learned to appreciate the same thing – how can you resist the embrace of a soft plush?

Enter Squishmallows – adorable plush friends that can double as a pillow (and that you will definitely be wanting to steal from your child when they are not looking – which I have no shame in saying that I did several times!).

Squishmallows: The Softest and Cutest Plush and Pillow In the World

Squishmallows are Japanese inspired plush toys that come in a wide selection of characters that your child can choose from. Each character has a unique background that you can learn more about on their website as you choose your character or on the packaging itself when it arrives (their individual profiles will just melt your heart on the website). They come in a variety of sizes ranging from clips on to 8″, 13″, 16″ and even 20″.

Squishmallows: The Softest and Cutest Plush and Pillow In the World

We chose Puff, the blue Penguin, as our newest friend to come live with us. His profile told us he is a techy penguin who loves the internet and is always searching for the newest thing. He loves to build and code, not to mention loves extra marshmallows in his cocoa. He is also a bit silly – making him the perfect companion for our youngest as their personalities definitely jive and not to mention that adorable face of Puffs!

Squishmallows: The Softest and Cutest Plush and Pillow In the World

Nothing could have prepared us for just how soft the plush truly is. Puff was the perfect size to cuddle and carry around during the day but he also made the best pillow to relax with while watching television (not going to lie – I did steal him several times when my youngest wasn’t looking as you can tell from above!). I found myself just running my hands over the surface of the plush many times, it is the best feeling ever.

Even better? The plush is washable! So no worries about picking up germs, getting dirty and all of those other things that kids are famous for. Puff never lost shape, regardless if he was used as a pillow all night or carried around during the day.

Looking to have a special new cuddle plush for a child in your life? Squishmallows come in a wide range of products that will make excellent stocking stuffers and gifts for any child during the holidays.

Make sure to visit their website and to follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with the newest plushes and more!

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned product in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Step Into Your Moxie Book Review

The word moxie has become synonymous with vigor, verve, pep, courage, nerve, aggressiveness, skill, and know-how, and in Step Into Your Moxie, leadership coach Alexia Vernon presents a soul-stirring call to action for women to speak up for themselves and the ideas and issues that matter most to them.

Step Into Your Moxie Book Review

About Step Into Your Moxie

“I love the word moxie because it suggests a way of thinking, a way of feeling, and a way of behaving that activates speaking up and disrupting the status quo,” writes Alexia. “This is what Step into Your Moxie is all about — amplifying your voice, visibility, and influence in the world — even if, especially if, you have previously struggled to do so in your work, your community, and your personal life. My desire, during our journey together, is for you to discover, and never forget, that you can walk into any room, or onto any stage, and speak with moxie — and inspire other people to do the same.”

Through her coaching and training programs and extensive speaking engagements, Alexia, who was dubbed a “Moxie Maven” by the Obama White House Office of Public Engagement for her potent approach to empowering women, has helped tens of thousands of individuals speak with power and impact at work and in business, with their friends and family, onstage, on camera, and above all, to themselves. In Step into Your Moxie, she distills the communication discoveries she has made throughout her dynamic career into simple, effective, and practical recommendations women can use to experience deep and lasting transformation in all facets of their communication.

Wise, witty, and with just the right amount of woo, Step into Your Moxie is a book women want by their side as they have that daring conversation, give an important presentation, run for office, or tell the people closest to them to step back from those boundaries they’ve just trespassed. Whether they are at the start of their careers, messily shuffling between work and motherhood, or established leaders looking to mentor other women, Step into Your Moxie is a refreshingly playful self-help book that has the power to make women laugh, quite possibly make them cry, and above all, help them speak with unshakeable presence and undeniable impact so they can create the legacy they were born to make.

My Thoughts

“We love seeing raw truth and openness in other people, but we’re afraid to let them see it in us. We’re afraid that our trust isn’t enough – that what we have to offer isn’t enough without the bells and whistles, without editing, and impressing” – Brene Brown

Step Into Your Moxie is a definite must have, powerful book for women of all ages to read, re-read and re-read again one more time.

I feel like too often as a woman we are told to act and speak in a way that reflects what society feels we as women should do. It is usually the complete opposite of what our body and mind tells us to do but we have become used to following suit. This can be supressing how we feel at work and at home, taking on extra work because we feel obligated to, not standing up for ourselves, apologizing for having an opinion and the list can go on.

I found myself over and over in this book. I am the bunny (definitely not the dragon) and if you want to learn that definition you have to read the book! I can often be found to start sentences with an apology, I overthink everything and because I hate to disappoint others, I take on things I shouldn’t, I don’t say no and I have a hard time creating boundaries. Whew – that was a lot to get off my chest! Where has that left me? Not feeling confident in myself and resentful at times.

While this book can be seen as a tool for obtaining leadership roles, I think this is an excellent tool and resource for taking charge in all areas of your life. As you work through each chapter, there is a section where you can reflect, work through problems (which in turn helps you to learn a lot more about yourself) and help you to develop stronger professional and personal skills. Each chapter builds upon the previous one and if you get stuck, she re-directs you back to a previous chapter for review.

This is an amazing book for women (and in many ways men) with no age limits. I actually wish I had read this in my teens when I first started to develop insecurities in myself, my voice and my opinions. It is full of tools, resources, life examples and more. Alexia uses humour and real life examples to relate to you on an individual level – you feel as if you know a part of her at the end and recognize many moments in yourself. It is a book that you will come back to more than once and leave feeling empowered and ready to take charge (but not in a dragon lady kind of way!) of your personal and work life. A definite must read!

You can purchase a copy of Step Into Your Moxie on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Alexia Vernon is the author of Step into Your Moxie. Branded a “Moxie Maven” by President Obama’s White House Office of Public Engagement, she is a sought-after speaking and leadership coach who delivers transformational keynotes and corporate trainings for Fortune 500 companies and other professional groups and organizations, including the United Nations and TEDx. Alexia holds graduate and undergraduate degrees in women’s studies and has been featured on CNN, NBC, ABC, and CBS and in publications like Forbes Woman, Women’s Health, and The European Business Review. Visit her online at http://www.alexiavernon.com.

Question and Answer

What does it mean to “step into your moxie”?

Stepping into your moxie is the ability to walk into any room, or onto any stage, present your ideas, unapologetically, and have them move people to take action. I love the word moxie because it suggests a way of thinking, a way of feeling, and a way of behaving that activates speaking up and disrupting the status quo. This is what Step into Your Moxie is all about — amplifying your voice, visibility, and influence in the world — even if, especially if, you have previously struggled to do so in your work, your community, or in your personal life.

Are you somebody who was born with a lot of moxie?

Oh. Heck. No. Fortunately, moxie is a mindset, heartset, and skill set that you can develop, because I was most definitely not born with it. During the first quarter of my life, I experienced an on-again-off-again relationship — with my own voice. One moment I felt like I was tap-dancing on eggshells, striving to be liked, give the right answers, and not be called out for failing to be enough of whatever I conjectured other people wanted me to be. Then at other times, often in close proximity to those former times, I had an insufferable need to be recognized and praised for my achievements. I knew I was born to make a big, positive impact on the world, but until I learned how to redirect away from thinking about what other people were thinking of me — and toward making the impact I professed that I wanted to make — most of the time when I spoke my voice quavered, I used diminishing words and body language, and my speaking did not move people to take action.

Why is Step into Your Moxie relevant to women during this historical moment?

While shopping Step into Your Moxie to publishers, some of the feedback I received was, “I’m not sure women’s empowerment or citizens’ marches and protests will still be a thing by the time the book comes out.” Then, while writing the book, #MeToo and #TimesUp happened, millions of Americans continued to march on behalf of #BlackLivesMatter, #MarchForOurLives, and #KeepFamiliesTogether, and so forth. However, while women have marched and spoken up and out on behalf of themselves and others, it’s one thing to go to a rally or broadcast your views in an angry (or empowering) social media post. It’s an altogether different thing to tell yourself, and actually believe, that you possess the power and ability to advocate for yourself — especially if you are in an environment, professionally or personally, in which the people around you are complicit in maintaining the status quo. Media outlets such as CNN, PBS, and Inc. predicted that 2018 would be “the year of the woman,” but how many of us really feel like we have the moxie we need to consistently speak up, tell our truth, and create the future we want for ourselves and our loved ones? In Step into Your Moxie, I give women a pathway to cultivate their personal power so they can use it to speak up for themselves and the issues and causes that matter most to them. As I say in the book, when you step into your moxie, it is an act of divine service to yourself—and also to the world.

You say that at any given moment, most of us are strolling around with at least one of three voices prattling on in our heads — the Critic, the Cop, or the Cheerleader. Please give us a brief description of each of these self-talk voices.

The Critic – When the Critic in your head holds the mic, you never believe you are enough. I’m not smart enough. I’m not experienced enough. I’m not skinny enough. I’m not curvy enough. I’m not hairless enough. (Okay, maybe that last one is just my Critic speaking.) You doubt your decisions and the choices you have before you. You feel as if, in every moment, the world is seeing you as a contestant on a reality TV show the minute she lands in the bottom two — and everyone watching, including the contestant, knows she’s about to lose and be voted off.

The Cop – The Cop, as Cops are wont to do, polices your decision making and turns everything into a dichotomy. In other words, there are a maximum of two options in any situation — and they are at odds with each other. There are good people and bad people. There’s the right vocation; all others are my karmic mismatch. I can be a rock star, or I can be the roadie. When your Cop directs the show in your head, she strives to make everything black-and-white. As a result, you forget that most of life exists in the gray, too often underused, space between these extremes.

The Cheerleader – The Cheerleader is, as the name suggests, extremely adept at cheering you on. She tells you messages like: I’m cool with my client’s passive-aggressive emails or I can pull a second consecutive all-nighter to get that financial report done. Now the Cheerleader voice, in moderation, isn’t such a bad thing. In moments when you have to bulldoze through something uncomfortable and necessary, you definitely want to empower this voice. However, when you go to her by default rather than by design, ultimately, you are going to feel frustrated, get sick, wear out, and step out of your moxie because you aren’t addressing the real issues in your life.

In Step into Your Moxie, I also introduce the Coach, the voice you want to invite in to your mental menagerie to talk back to your Critic, Cop, or Cheerleader. I also share how to empower the Coach to turn your inner monologues into dialogues, rewrite your mental script, and prompt feelings that support your most high-powered speaking. Through this process, you’ll also be set up to address the source of your unproductive self-talk. And if you want to use equal parts heart-centered and high-impact communication, you must shift self-talk from self-critical to self-compassionate.

What advice can you offer women who need to have a daring conversation but aren’t sure where or how to begin?

This is one of my favorite chapters in the book, “Conflict Is the Pits, Until It Isn’t.” When you find yourself in situations in which you know conflict is possible, and similarly know that a conversation needs to happen to prevent you from feeling like you are trying to tread water in a sinkhole, you have four choices. First, you can avoid the conversation. Second, you can wing the conversation. Third, you can mentally script what you plan to say, and have the conversation over and over in your head. Or fourth, you can plan out your conversation, role-play it, and then show up and have it. Clearly, my preference is for readers to choose number four. In order for it to feel like a viable option, it’s important to shift from seeing the kind of conversation you know you need to have as “difficult” to seeing it as “daring.” For difficult conversations happen when you see yourself as the recipient of conflict (real or perceived) rather than as the cocreator of your situation. When you choose compassion, curiosity, creativity, and collaboration, you shift a difficult conversation into a daring one.

How has becoming the mother of a daughter shaped your views on women, communication, and leadership?

There is so much I want for my daughter. I want her to be able to be tender — and fierce. To trust her instincts. To speak up and be seen as assertive — rather than bossy. And, above all, for her opportunities to be dictated by her aptitude and hard work, and not because she did or did not win the genetic lottery. At the time of the book’s publication, my daughter is four-and-a-half — the same age I was when I spoke up about the sexual abuse I was experiencing in my family. Every day I strive to integrate my desire to protect my daughter from what I experienced with my matching desire for her to take risks, fail, dust herself off, and try again. Like me, my daughter is already experiencing a bit of her own on-again-off-again relationship with her voice. While she confidently tells her father and me her opinions, and fortunately, she’s got one on almost everything, during her preschool class play at the end of the year she froze up on stage. Even though we talk about sensation and how to play nicely with it when you feel uncomfortable being visible, her stage fright got the better of her. So, one of my biggest lessons has been sharing my teachings and experiences with my daughter and then unhooking from the outcome. I remind myself (or at least, try to remind myself!) she is on her own journey — that I need to let her have her own moxie-building experiences, good and bad.

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of the above mentioned book. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Take Painting With Your Child to a New Level with Paint-Sation Easel

Goliath Games Logo

I loved to paint as a child and still enjoy this hobby in my adult years. I find it relaxing, it calms my mind and helps to re-focus my mind when I am feeling stressed or overwhelmed. It is one of my go to activities in my toughest moments. I have always encouraged my children to be creative, to get their hands dirty with paint and to let their creative side flow when they paint. While they may not have developed the same passion for art and art history as their Mom, they love to paint for fun.

The only drawback? The mess!

Kids have this amazing way of spilling paint, spilling water, dripping paint on the table – I could go on with this list but I am sure you know this story? And then there is the set up of the entire paint station and then the clean up! It can sometimes take more time to set up and clean up a painting session for your child then the actual time they have actively spent painting. I know at times this has deterred me from whipping out the paint and getting creative with my kids because let’s face it, who has all of that extra time?

Take Painting With Your Child to a New Level with Paint-Sation Easel

The Paint-Sation Easel was designed in mind for busy families who want to encourage their child’s creative side but want to eliminate the amount of time they spend setting and cleaning up and the mess in between. We all want to have fun and paint but between work, school, extra-curricular activities, we may not have the time nor desire to put into activities that can be messy for young child. This easel eliminates all of that – the set up is easy and there is NO mess.

Take Painting With Your Child to a New Level with Paint-Sation Easel

The easel breaks apart into two halves and was quite easy to assemble – it was a simple connection on both the left and right side that our youngest child could pop together on his own. The paint pods attached to the sides of the easel (it can hold up to five) but it did not throw off the weight of the easel or make it tilt or fall to one side.

Take Painting With Your Child to a New Level with Paint-Sation Easel

The paint pods themselves are the real miracle workers, they are completely drip and spill free. Yes you heard that correctly – drip and spill free! I was amazed by this, I couldn’t quite figure out how they contained that much paint but it never dripped out even as we had it attached to the easel and at an angle that any other painting pod would have spilled everywhere at. The pods almost appeared to have bristles in them that helped hold the paint in but we weren’t entirely sure what they were (and trust me we tried everything to figure it out!). It did not affect our child being able to get enough paint on his paintbrush in order to paint which I thought may happen as it is designed not to drip or spill.

Take Painting With Your Child to a New Level with Paint-Sation Easel

The Paint-Sation Easel was a huge hit in our house both for our son and for us as parents. We were a little anxious at first and still put paper under the easel but not one drop was spilled from the pods or from the easel onto the paper. It made cleaning up a dream – the pods were covered back up, easel broken down into its halves and back into the box it went for his next paint session. We have never had such worry free, easy and fun painting time together before.

The Paint-Sation set is every artistic parent and child’s dream come true!

Learn more about the Paint-Sation Easel on the Goliath Games website. Make sure to follow them on Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date with the newest activities, games and more.

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned product in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Bring Back Family Game Night 80s Style with Hydro Strike

Pressman Toys

Do you have fast fingers and enjoy a watery blast? Do you have a passion for competition? Then Hydro Strike from Pressman Toy is the game for you!

Hydro Strike originally made its debut in the 80s and has made a brand new come back for the holiday season in 2018.

Bring Back Family Game Night 80s Style with Hydro Strike

The game is played with two players (it is recommended for ages seven and up but I think an advanced motor skills child at the age of five would love it) where the goal of the game is to be the first person to score five goals. Participants use the pinball like pieces on the bottom of each side of the game to shoot the ball at their opponents net. If they score, their opponent gets a splash of water in the face.

Bring Back Family Game Night 80s Style with Hydro Strike

Our kids LOVED this game. Not only was it full of action and competition, if they scored their brother was squirted with water (the ultimate goal in their minds!). Bear in mind, it isn’t a face full of water (so please don’t be worried about soaked floors and tables) but a small stream that you aren’t expecting and the boys loved it. If by some chance it didn’t go off, they made sure they got each other!

Bring Back Family Game Night 80s Style with Hydro Strike

The actual game piece is made of strong plastic with a see through blue middle that almost reminds me of a skating rink. On each end the players have to squeeze the handles in order to shoot the balls in pinball style to the other side. We had the kids play on the floor because they would get super competitive and would shoot the balls so hard that the game (and them) would slide back and forth across the floor.

The kids had all of us engaged and laughing with this game, it is hands on and encourages you to talk, laugh and even tease each other. Our dog was even getting involved in the action as she couldn’t figure out what they were doing and loved cleaning up the water on the floor (again it wasn’t a lot, you could easily wipe it up with your sleeve and not have a soaked sleeve). This game was a definite hit with all members of our family, young and old.

Do you want to learn more about Hydro Strike (and other exciting new games), head over to the Pressman Toys website. Have a child or grandchild that this would be perfect for this holiday season? You can purchase this game at Amazon and Target.

Make sure you follow Pressman Toys on Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date with all the newest toys and games.

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned game in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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