Showing posts with label Product Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Product Reviews. Show all posts

Sunday, June 16, 2019

The How & Why of Chia Seeds

why to add chia seeds to your daily diet and how to do so
Adapted from a Pixabay image
Today I"m going to review how I use chia seeds and why I use these powerhouses of nutrition (a slight hint there) in my daily diet.   First though, what exactly are chia seeds?   They are actually the seeds from the chia plant (Salvia hispanica) which is a plant native to Mexico and Guatemala.   The name chia is in fact the ancient Mayan word for strength and they were a staple food for both the Mayans and Aztecs.

The chia seeds 'strength' comes from it's nutritional contents.   For such a little seed it packs a mighty nutritional punch.  They contain a large amount of fibre, quality protein, omega 3 and several essential minerals and antioxidants.

It certainly seems like something cool to add to your diet right?  The only question now is how.   I brought some chia seeds to use last year, but before I got a chance to use them my husband brought me home a chia pudding to try.   I did NOT like it!   I then left the chia seeds in the cupboard unopened, I'm sure some of you can relate to that happening!

So what changed?   As many of you know beginning January 2018 I embarked on a journey to reset my health, fitness and lose some of my excess weight.   At the beginning of the year I was looking at the chia seeds and thought - I'll pop a teaspoon into my morning protein shake.   This was upped to 2 teaspoons in my shake.

Now to be honest I couldn't tell you if it was helping my health at all, but it certainly wasn't hurting it and you can't really beat good nutrition.

Around this time my daughter was following a fitness guru on Instagram and brought home some chia seeds because she was going to put a tablespoon into a liter of water every day and drink them.  Her face when I opened the cupboard and showed her that I already had chia seeds was priceless (any mom to a teen will appreciate that moment!)

Last month I was on holiday and at the hotel they offered a buffet style breakfast - one of the offerings was a small bircher muesli in the bottom of a shot glass filled with yogurt and topped with chia seeds (about a teaspoon of them).  I had one with my breakfast every day I stayed there and it was delicious - might be time to try chia pudding again!

We are now entering winter here in Australia which means porridge season and this past week I have been adding a couple of teaspoons of chia seeds to my oats and almond milk before cooking it.   It tastes delicious.

If you're baking for a vegan chia seeds can also be used as an egg substitute (I haven't tried this yet).   You simply add 1 tablespoon of chia seeds to 3 tablespoons of water and leave to sit for 20 minutes.

Now you know both how to use chia seeds in your diet and why to use them - will you be getting some anytime soon?


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Friday, June 14, 2019

Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker Reviewed

An inexpensive rice cooker that everyone should have in their kitchen!

Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker Reviewed
I love rice, but I always hated the mess on my stove-top created by the sputtering pan.  I have several friends who have commented over the years, that their rice would burn on the stove if they cooked it according to the package instructions.

On the stovetop, Riceland Rice, the brand I prefer, should be cooked on a low boil, covered for 15 minutes.  You are not supposed to lift the lid or stir the rice for 20 minutes.  I have always believed my rice did not burn simply because of my brand of cookware, and not because my friends were doing anything wrong.

Regardless of the cleanup required, I cook rice frequently.  After all, cleanup is just a part of cooking and I do enjoy cooking.  

When my children were in school, there were mothers who found their solution by buying a rice cooker.  However, it wasn't until this last Mother's Day that I discovered the real beauty of a rice cooker in my own kitchen when my son gifted me with a Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker.


Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker Review


 Hamilton Beach (37518) Rice Cooker,
4 Cups uncooked resulting in 8 Cups Cooked
Comes with Steam & Rinse Basket
Check Availablity & Price
See Below for Newer Model
I want to start by saying, I really love this rice cooker and I wish I had it decades ago.  It is so easy to cook and clean with this fabulous little cooker.  Plus, it doesn't take up very much storage room.  Because I use it often, I leave mine out on the counter, but it would be small enough to store in a standard kitchen cabinet.

I have yet to experiment with all that this beauty can do for me, but cooking the rice without a mess is enough for me to recommend this cooker to anyone.  It came with a small steamer basket, which I look forward to testing soon by steaming fresh vegetables.  The basket can also be used as a colander for rinsing.

You can cook white or brown rice, beans, hot cereal, hot soup and grains in the cooker, in addition to steaming vegetables.

The cooking pot has a nonstick coating and is dishwasher safe.

Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker Review


To Cook White Rice in the Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker

Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker Reviewed
  • Simply add 1 cup white rice, 1 teaspoon of butter, dash of salt and 2 cups boiling water into the cooker pot.  
  • Set the pot into the cooker and close the lid.  
  • Plug in the Rice Cooker
  • Select Warm, then Select White Rice
The cooker will auto set the timer to the default timing and auto-adjusts the time as it cooks.  (usually takes about 35 minutes to cook the rice according to my recipe, but let the cooker auto-adjust itself) 

When it has finished cooking, the cooker automatically switches over to a warming cycle to keep the rice warm until you are ready to serve.


Rice Cooker Vs. Instant Pot


I want to note that I do have an Instant Pot, which I also love.  The 8 cup rice cooker is perfect for rice or sides.  It is smaller and lighter-weight than my Instant Pot, which makes it much easier to store.  However, I could never cook my Minestrone Soup in it.  I need my Instant Pot for complete dinner size meals.  

If you have space for both, I highly recommend having both the 8 cup Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker and the 6 Qt. Instant Pot Pressure Cooker.

Note: A few days ago, I needed a housewarming gift and thought this would be the perfect gift. However, I noted that my model (37518) was no longer available "new". Therefore, I purchased (37519 - shown on the far right below). Other than a slightly different color control panel, it is exactly the same in size and function.  



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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Fabric Pots Reviewed

Gardening In Fabric Pots

garden vegetables
Could these grow in a cloth container?
Image courtesy of pixabay.com
Do you have a garden? Have you considered growing in fabric pots? Let's review the possibilities. 

I am familiar with the concept of container gardening and have tried it a few times over the years. Until recently, I was not aware that another option is to grow my vegetables, herbs or flowers in a fabric pot. Now, that sounds interesting!

The advantage to using a cloth container is that it allows for better aeration for the roots and better drainage, too. From what I glean from the description of the brand that I am interested in using; transplanting from them allows for a better chance of the plant not going into shock. I am thinking it might work well for starting a small tree to be planted elsewhere when it gets some height to it. 

I love that there are so many options for sizes to grow in, too. A fabric pot can be as small as one gallon or as large as 100 gallons. (Now that is a huge bag!) Personally, I am drawn to the 7 gallon size because I think it offers some real versatility. It also seems to be a very popular size with other gardeners, too. The pots made from cloth would also fit in places that a standard pot or container might not. They won't be as heavy to move, either. 

The possibility of using these little fabric pots over and over again appeals to me. When the growing season is over they can be laundered and saved for the next batch of gardening. Granted, we can do the same thing with clay, resin and plastic pots but the bags would take up much less storage space when not being used. Storage can be a problem for most of us especially the urban gardeners who need to grow their items on a small patio or balcony. 

How about you? Did you know that fabric pots were even an option? Would you be willing to try them out? I am going to give them a try.




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Sunday, June 9, 2019

Thermos Stainless King Travel Tumblers & Travel Mugs Review

Image: Thermos Stainless Steel Travel Mugs & Tumblers for Home, Office and Travel - copyright 2019 Margaret Schindel
Today I'm reviewing my favorite Thermos insulated stainless steel travel cups. I use mine every day, whether I'm at home, at work, or on the road. Staying hydrated is important to everyone's health and wellness. If you're on a keto diet or low carb diet, you need to drink even more water to help avoid damage to your kidneys. So, to help me drink enough water daily, I keep a Thermos Stainless King Vacuum-insulated Stainless Steel Travel Tumbler and a Thermos stainless steel hydration bottle next to me so I can take sips of water and hot or cold decaf or green tea throughout the day and refill the containers as needed.

Several years ago, my husband and I decided to replace our motley collection of plastic and probably BPA-laden water bottles and travel mugs (most of them free swag from employers and trade shows) with high quality, vacuum-insulated stainless steel bottles and mugs that had the features we care about.

We really liked our new Thermos stainless steel hydration bottles, so we ordered two Thermos Stainless King Travel Tumblers to try out. We loved them so much that we ordered three more, one for my husband's office, one for my office and an extra for home. So, now have five of these wonderful stainless steel travel cups, in Electric Blue, Cranberry, Midnight Blue, Raspberry and Matte Black. (The Matte Black cup isn't in my photos because my husband keeps it at his office.)

Prefer a Travel Mug With a Handle?

The Thermos Stainless King Travel Mug is identical to the travel tumbler except it has a handle.

Thermos Stainless King Travel Mug 16 Ounces - Pine Green - photo courtesy of Amazon.com

Why I Love Thermos Stainless King Travel Tumblers and Travel Mugs

Large Capacity

Both the stainless steel travel tumbler and the travel mug version with the handle hold a generous 16 ounces of your favorite hot or cold beverage. Both the tumbler and the mug are 7.8" tall and 3.3" wide (excluding the handle on the travel mug), tapering down to 2-5/8" wide at the base so they fit in most cup holders.

Keeps Hot Drinks Hot and Cold Drinks Cold

I love being able to use my Thermos travel tumbler for hot or iced tea or coffee, hot or chilled apple cider, hot cocoa, cold milk or any other non-carbonated drink I'm in the mood to drink.

Thermos' Vacuum Insulation Technology

The most important criterion in choosing a travel mug or tumbler is how long it can maintain the temperature of whatever beverage you put into it. Thermos’s vacuum insulation technology and double-wall stainless steel construction mean that hot drinks stay hot for up to 7 hours and cold drinks stay cold for up to 18 hours if you preheat or pre-chill the travel tumbler with hot or cold water for 5 to 10 minutes just before filling it with your beverage.

Travel Tumbler Exterior Stays at Room Temperature

Whether you fill it with a hot or cold beverage, the outside temperature of the tumbler is not affected by the temperature of its contents. (Of course, if you take it outside on a very hot or very cold day, the exterior of any metal container will get hotter or colder, based on the temperature of its environment.)

No "Sweating" Even When Filled With Ice-Cold Drinks

Even if you fill it with ice cubes and a cold beverage, this stainless steel travel tumbler doesn't "sweat" — i.e., condensation doesn't form on the outside of the mug. So, I never have to use a coaster under this tumbler to protect my antique mahogany dining table, coffee table or end tables.

The DrinkLock sealing lid has two openings

Leak-proof Lid

Thermos' DrinkLock sealing lid makes this travel mug leak-proof (unless you don't close the lid properly or reassemble it correctly after taking it apart for cleaning).

Dual Openings for Easy Access

There are slots on opposite sides of the lid that are controlled by a single lever. Sliding the lever to the side opens or closes both drinking slots simultaneously. So, when you pick up this travel tumbler, one of the openings will be no more than 1/4 turn away from your mouth.

Built-in Tea Bag Hook

The underside of the lid has a clever built-in hook for wrapping a tea bag string around or attaching the chain of a loose-leaf tea infuser.

Attractive and Functional Design

This vacuum-insulated stainless steel travel tumbler's graceful shape not only looks good but also feels good. The narrower "waist" (where the Thermos logo is) makes it easier for my small hand to hold this wide cup securely. Hand-washing is recommended and the surface colors and finishes stay looking great for years if you don't put these mugs in the dishwasher. There's also a great selection of colors to choose from:
  • Electric Blue (AKA Royal Blue)
  • Cranberry
  • Midnight Blue
  • Raspberry
  • Stainless Steel (Matte)
  • Pine Green
  • Army Green
  • Cranberry
  • Matte Black
  • Smoke (Grey)


Follow the Care and Use Instructions to Enjoy Your Thermos Stainless Cups For Many Years 

We bought the oldest of our Thermos travel tumblers, the Cranberry and Midnight Blue ones, in 2015. As you can see, after four years they've held up extremely well. However, to keep your Thermos travel tumbler or mug looking and functioning well, it's important to follow the manufacturer's care and usage instructions.

Hand Wash Your Cup in Warm, Soapy Water

Although these Thermos stainless steel travel tumblers and mugs are top-rack dishwasher safe in terms of their function, the company recommends hand washing them with mild soap and warm water to preserve their attractive appearance.

Worn finish on bottom edges of Cranberry cup after
dishwasher vs. like-new finish on hand washed blue cup
A few months ago, I found out the hard way what happens if you wash one in your dishwasher. I was feeling lazy and decided to put our Cranberry tumbler in the top rack of the dishwasher as an experiment. After washing it in the dishwasher this way a few times, I realized that the shiny, colorful finish had begun to wear off around the edges on the bottom of the cup.

Fortunately, the finish on the sides of the Cranberry tumbler still looks fine and the bottom hasn't gotten any worse since I went back to hand washing it. You can see in the photo that the bottom of my Royal Blue cup, which has always been hand washed, still looks like it did the day it arrived from Amazon.

I hand wash my Thermos travel tumblers with mild yet effective sulfate-free Puracy Natural Liquid Dish Soap, a soft sponge and long-handled OXO Good Grips Bottle Brush.

Don't Use Cleansers That Are Abrasive or Contain Chlorine Bleach

Abrasive cleansers (including dishwasher detergents), scrubbing sponges, etc., can dull or even wear away the finish on your Thermos travel tumbler or mug. (That is exactly what happened to the bottom of my Cranberry cup after I washed it in the top rack of my dishwasher a few times.)

The company also says not to use bleach or any products containing chlorine on these containers. Over time, some beverages, such as tea, can stain the gasket and seal if the lid is not washed promptly and thoroughly. Fortunately, replacement gaskets and seals are available.

If You Disassemble the Lid For Cleaning, Make Sure to Reassemble It Correctly

I don't disassemble the lid every time I wash my travel tumbler, but I do so fairly frequently to make sure I've cleaned it thoroughly. If you don't reassemble it correctly, your travel mug won't be able to maintain the temperature of your beverages as well and the lid may leak. I highly recommend reading and following the Thermos Vacuum Insulated Mug and Tumbler Care and Use Guide.





Thermos Stainless King vacuum-insulated stainless steel travel tumblers and mugs reviewed by Margaret Schindel



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Saturday, June 1, 2019

Zazzle's Grocery Tote Bags Make The Perfect Library Bags

owl grocery tote bag adult library bag
Purchase through Zazzle
Today I'm going to review how great Zazzle's grocery tote bags are as adult library bags.   I recently came back from a visit with my mom that prompted me to write this review as she is still using a bag I designed for her (that can be found in my Hooting Owls Zazzle Store) back in 2013.

My mum has always loved owls so I decided to create a tote bag for her with an owl design on it for Christmas 2013.   When I gave it to her she decided it would be her library bag.   Now my mum is an avid user of the library, not only that when I stay with her, my brother stays with her or her grandchildren stay with her we all use the library ... and her library bag.

Now this bag has had it's strength severely tested over the years as it has been extremely overloaded with books especially when a few of us have been staying at the same time!   It is still going strong and there's no sign of any distress whatsoever.

It has been washed on countless occasions over the last five and a half years and I do believe that the design may be a little faded (although it looked more faded in real life than the photos when it was brand new), but I can't be sure.

There's only been one occasion when this bag caused any distress and that was when my mother thought she'd lost it.   Luckily it's a distinctive design and one of the local ladies at the supermarket recognized it when mum left it in the trolley and gave it to her the next time she saw her!   Definitely a great reason to get a customized tote bag!

I cannot recommend these tote bags enough, in fact I've already reviewed them here on Review This, but having recently used this bag again and realizing how long it has been regularly used I felt it needed to be reviewed again.


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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Hoopla Review: Free Streaming Service For Movies, Books, Television & More!

Cutting the cord is not quite as easy as it seems! Well, cutting the cable cord by cancelling cable TV is easy, but finding free economical and quality content can be a search. However, it is a rewarding search when discovering services such as Hoopla which offers free content which appeals to the entire household.
Collage of Hoopla features: credits, movies

What Is Hoopla?


Hoopla is the free online streaming service which offers a wonderful mix of free content including:

  • Movies
  • Television
  • Audiobooks
  • eBooks
  • Comics
  • Music


Your library card is the key to access Hoopla. Each patron has a monthly access limit quantified by credits. I have 20 credits per month and one credit equals one title. Just as with a physical library checkout, Hoopla requires the "return" of the item in 3 days.


Is Hoopla Free?

Yes and no or yes with an asterisk.
Yes, because there are no upfront fees, contracts or subscriptions.
No, because your library pays for access to Hoopla and your tax dollars pay for the library.

How Do I Access Hoopla?


Hoopla is accessed through your library card. Check the digital services offered by your local library to see if Hoopla is offered. Note: Super Sleuth Margaret Schindel of Review This Reviews! discovered when I reviewed the free streaming service of Kanopy it appeared the library did not offer Kanopy, but she found it actually was offered when the service was searched for on the app.

So check with your library, the library website and on the Hoopla App - Hoopla Digital (another reason cutting the cable cord can be a little more work!) Hoopla is very accessible. It can be accessed via desktop,  iPhone, iPad, Android devices and Apple devices, Fire TV and Apple TV.

What Is The Difference Between Hoopla And Kanopy?

It is apples to oranges regarding content which is a bonus for the user! Each offers different content with Kanopy having a strong selection of documentaries and classic cinema and Hoopla offers more mainstream content with a robust catalog from the British Broadcasting Company (BBC.)

The main difference is the content from Hoopla can be downloaded! Excellent for those with an unstable internet collection or travelling. Listening to audiobooks when travelling is a breeze when the book can be downloaded to your phone.

BBC Fan Alert!

If you are a fan of television and movies by the BBC then Hoopla will not disappoint. Was it so long ago when I would seek, search and find an older BBC series on DVD at the library and then go through the checkout hoops of:


  • Putting the series on hold
  • In numerical order 
  • Find a parking space
  • Pay for the parking space
  • Checkout the DVD
  • Return on time
  • Wait for the next DVD to be available
  • Checkout the next DVD
  • Rinse and repeat
Along with the BBC content there is a large selection of British movies and television by Acorn TV. Acorn TV offers original British content including comedies, mysteries and drama series.




Streaming is so much easier especially for binge viewing!

My first Hoopla checkout is RBG , documentary of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.




Free Alternatives To Cable TV




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Saturday, May 25, 2019

Boys Minecraft 3-piece Pajama Set Review


April brought my grandson David's 10th birthday. While pondering what to get him for a gift, I remembered that he is a fan of Minecraft. 

Shopping for his birthday gift, and not knowing what Minecraft items he already has (since we live 6 hours apart), I spotted this set of pajamas with the Minecraft design. Perfect! Growing kids can always use pajamas and other articles of clothing. 




Minecraft Pajama Set


Set available at Target

The set I purchased at Target is a 3-piece set consisting of a graphic sleeping tee with the Minecraft design, sleeping shorts for warm weather and sleeping pants for cool nights. The pajamas are made from 100% cotton and both bottoms have a full elastic waistband.

The set comes in gray and green with a short-sleeve top. The top has a big graphic of Minecraft and the long pants have Minecraft designs all over it. The short pants are green and the top and long pants are gray. 

What is Minecraft?

Source: Pixabay

Minecraft is a video game about placing blocks and going on adventures. It's an open-ended game that allows players to decide what they want to do by themselves. Or they can play with other players online.  

There are two modes. The creative mode gives players limitless resources they can use to build whatever they can imagine. The Survival Mode lets the players explore the world and mine its resources to feed, house and defend themselves.

There is no one way to play Minecraft. It is a game that lets the players use their imaginations. It pleases me as a grandmother to know this is a game that encourages a child's imagination. In addition to the games, Minecraft also now includes groups of toys, books, clothing, and other related products.


The Birthday Boy


David adores Minecraft as he is a very imaginative and creative child. Therefore, he was delighted with his Minecraft design pajamas 'grandma' gave him for his tenth birthday. 

*Note: Turned out that David's mom was even more delighted with my gift choice as, unknown to me, new pajamas for him were very much needed. (That 'growing kid' thing :>)

Now David can think about his Minecraft toys while he's drifting off to sleep in his Minecraft pajamas.



(c) Wednesday Elf




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Friday, May 24, 2019

Mailbox Ball Flag Automatic Visual Mail Signal Reviewed

How to know when your mail has arrived!  When the ball is up, you've got mail.

Mailbox Ball Flag Automatic Visual Mail Signal Reviewed
I love our mailbox ball that lets me know at a glance whether our mail has arrived or not.  Our postman comes at different times each day.  Before we installed the mailbox ball signal, I had no way of knowing when there was mail in the box.  I always hated walking to the mailbox just to find it empty.  That meant a second trip to the mailbox would be required and no guarantee the mail would be there then either.  It was especially annoying if I was watching for a particular delivery.  I would end up walking to the box several times in one day to check the mail.

The Mailbox Ball Signal is a very simple, yet ingenious, design.  As the mailbox door is opened, it hits the ball and the ball pops up.  After I retrieve the mail for the day, I place the ball back down into it's holder slot.  

We have had the mailbox ball for many years now and I don't believe I have ever had a false signal, therefore, based on our experience, wind or weather will not make it flip up.  Only the mailbox door opening will actually displace the ball from the holder. 




Mailbox Ball Mail Signal Installation and Information


 Miles Kimball AVM-01 Automatic Visual Mail SignalCheck Price Installing the mailbox ball is easy.  You simply bolt it onto the existing mailbox door handle, using the hardware included in the package.

You can also see in the image on the right how the ball is set into the holding slot.

The ball is a bright yellow and is easily visible from our front windows.  Now, I can comfortably check whether the mail has arrived from inside my home.  No more wasted trips to the mailbox.


One Important Note:  You do need a standard mailbox that has the dual latches, one on the top of the mailbox and one on the door.  You can easily see the latch on the mailbox in the color image above. 

Mailbox Ball Flag Automatic Visual Mail Signal Reviewed






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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Dr. Gingiva Toothpaste: A Review

A Toothpaste for Sensitive Gums

Dr. Gingiva Toothpaste: A Review
Photo © B. Radisavljevic
It's hard to review a product as ordinary as toothpaste.  I'm not one of those cheery TV promoters that gets really bubbly about everyday household products. I use them and when I like a product, I keep using it.

I have difficult teeth with deep pockets in my gums that need special deep cleaning every three months. The process of brushing my teeth often leaves me with bleeding gums around my worst tooth.  In the past few months I have tried many different kinds of toothpastes.

A Search for the Right Toothpaste


I used to use The Dirt regularly for a long time. It's a toothpowder which I reviewed about a year ago here. I didn't get any new cavities during that year, but my gums started bleeding on and off near my problem tooth as the deep pocket got harder to clean. So after I ran out of my last order of The Dirt, I decided to try the sample packs of toothpaste my dentist was giving away.

First I tried Colgate Enamel Health Fresh Mint Flavor. I really enjoyed its cool flavor. Like The Dirt, it was supposed to strengthen my tooth enamel and polish my teeth. But also like The Dirt, it it did not address bleeding gums. Still I went looking for it on Amazon because I really liked the taste. When I got to Amazon I discovered Dr. Gingiva Toothpaste in the suggested products. I started comparing ingredients.

What's Different about Dr. Gingiva Toothpaste?


Colgate Enamel Health's active ingredient is sodium fluoride. The active ingredient in Dr. Gingiva is stannous fluoride. According to the Oral B web site information, of the two, only stannous fluoride protects against tartar buildup, gingivitis, erosion, and sensitivity. It also protects the teeth against plaque buildup by keeping plaque from sticking to the teeth. It keeps the bacteria that cause gingivitis from breeding in your mouth.

Another thing that made me want to try this was the addition of Chinese herbs that also addressed gum health. It's flavored with spearmint -- my very favorite mint, so I was pretty sure I would like using it. The customer reviews were almost all favorable, so I went ahead and ordered one package. I could have gotten a sale price by ordering four before June 15, 2019, but I wanted to be sure I liked it first.

My order came three days ago. Dr. Gingiva agrees with my mouth so far. I like the taste. My teeth feel very clean. So far my gums are not bleeding, but only time will tell if that lasts. They didn't bleed every day before -- only sometimes.

I do want to share two other things you should know. First, there is a warning that your teeth may take on a slight greenish tinge that a dentist would be able to remove. So far that hasn't bothered the reviewers.

The other thing you should know is that the reviewers are very motivated to give positive reviews. The company offers a reward of two free tubes of toothpaste, including tubes of their other brands -- Teagrance for bad breath and LMZ Herbal for toothache treatment. The customer chooses. So keep that in mind when you read the reviews. Of course, if one doesn't like the toothpaste, one probably wouldn't want more of it -- even if it's free. My offer came with my order. I did not receive any free toothpaste. I paid for the tube I'm reviewing here. Instructions for reviewing the product on Amazon came with my order.

Disclaimer: This product has not been proven to prevent or cure any disease. If you need oral health advice, be sure to consult your dentist or oral hygienist..





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Saturday, May 18, 2019

Review of EltaMD® and Colorescience® Mineral-Based Physical Sunscreens

Photo of my favorite EltaMD and Colorescience mineral physical sunscreen products
I’ve known for many years that it’s important to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection whenever you go outdoors, rain or shine. (I didn't learn about the importance of applying SPF indoors as well until this year.)

When I was 20, I found out the hard way that you can get burned even on a gray, cloudy day. A friend and I had planned a day at the beach to do a little tanning. (In our defense, that was in the 1970s, when people were much less aware of sun damage than they are today. That, and we were young and foolish and more focused on our looks than on our health.) The day of our beach outing turned out to be cool and heavily overcast, but we were determined to get some color. So, we put on our bikinis anyway and lay on our towels, shivering, for several hours. We were both fair-skinned and soon discovered the error of our ways. By the next morning we were as red as lobsters! That full-body sunburn was so painful that I had to go to my summer job bra-less all that week (ah, the good old ‘70s!), wearing only the loosest dresses I could find so the least material possible would touch my roasted skin.

Four decades later my dad developed skin cancer late in life, thanks to his years in the Navy during World War II. So, I’ve become pretty obsessive about wearing SPF 30 or higher every day.

I apply a physical sunscreen from EltaMD® to my face, neck and hands every morning a few minutes after finish applying my skin care. Then I use a Colorescience® brush-on powdered mineral sunscreen every two hours to make sure I'm protected throughout the day from damaging UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) ultraviolet rays, as well as from the HEV ("blue light") emitted by screens from mobile phones and other digital devices, including TVs.

Sunscreen With Broad-Spectrum UVA/UVB Protection Is Your Best Anti-Aging Product

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in human beings. But Wearing sunscreen protects not only against skin cancer but also against wrinkles. People often mistake my age as being 20 years younger than my actual 65 years, and I attribute my youthful looks to a combination of luck (good genes) and faithful use of sunscreen. Using a well-formulated, safe, high SPF mineral sunscreen daily will do more to prevent wrinkles than any other beauty product.

The American Cancer Society advises using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection. Sunburn is mostly caused by UVB rays, which can damage skin cells' DNA directly and are thought to cause most skin cancers. If you have fine lines, wrinkles or hyperpigmentation (brown spots or patches), blame them on UVA rays. They also cause damage to skin cells' DNA, cause them to age prematurely and are thought to play a role in certain skin cancers.

The last letter can help you remember which ultraviolet rays your skin vs. age your skin: A is for Aging (UVA) and B is for Burning (UVB).

Moisturizers with SPF Don't Protect Nearly as Well as Physical Sunscreens

Many people look for moisturizers and makeup with SPF to avoid applying both a moisturizer and a sunscreen. But leading dermatologists say that's not a good idea.
  • Moisturizers are designed to soak into the skin to restore moisture balance and, depending on the product, to deliver ingredients deeper into the skin. But the purpose of sunscreen is to form a protective shield on top of the skin. The safest and most effective sunscreens use minerals such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that form a physical barrier against damaging UVA/UVB ultraviolet rays. 
  • The FDA regulates sunscreen as a drug. Since they require a certain amount of SPF in a formula to  and in order to meet the agency's requirements for effectiveness, there isn't much room for other active ingredients. With a moisturizer, between using such a small amount (compared to sunscreen) and the dilution of the SPF by the moisturizer, you're effectively getting less significantly lower SPF protection than the number on the packaging.

The Dangers of Using Chemical Sunscreens  

Dermatologists recommend wearing sunscreen on your face, neck, hands and any other exposed skin all day, every day, except when you’re sleeping. They also recommend physical mineral-based sunscreens that rely on zinc oxide and/or titanium oxide for sun protection, sit on the surface of the skin and reflect UV light instead of chemical sunscreens that penetrate the skin and absorb UV light. Another advantage of physical sunscreens is that, unlike chemical sunscreens, they provide protection immediately.

Recently, a preliminary study by the FDA found that the active ingredients (avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, and ecamsule) in four popular chemical sunscreens were absorbed into the test subjects’ bloodstreams in higher concentrations than the agency’s threshold of toxicological concern. And the EWG (the Environmental Working Group), which publishes a highly respected annual sunscreen guide that grades products on safety, currently says both oxybenzone and octinoxate are chemical UV filters with "high toxicity concerns."

It's Hard to Find Physical Sunscreens That Look and Feel Great

Since that time, I've tried many physical sunscreen products over the years, from drugstore brands to fancy Sephora buys, in my quest for one that:
  • Provides broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection
  • Doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin
  • Doesn’t cause breakouts
  • Doesn’t feel or look heavy or chalky
  • Contains zinc oxide and/or titanium oxide
  • Doesn’t leave that ghoulish, slightly iridescent white cast typical of high-SPF mineral sunscreens containing zinc oxide. 
Until a few months ago, none of the ones I tried met all my requirements,. Then, finally, I found my "holy grail" facial sunscreen!

EltaMD® UV Physical Tinted Facial Sunscreen

EltaMD® UV Physical Tinted Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 41 is water-resistant for 80 minutes, oil-free (so it doesn’t break me out) and, because it’s tinted and uses transparent zinc oxide (along with titanium dioxide), it doesn’t leave that awful purplish-white cast on my skin. After putting moisturizer on my dry skin, I let it soak in for a couple of minutes before applying the sunscreen to my face. This tinted version evens out my complexion like a sheer BB cream for a my-skin-but-better look on days when I go without makeup. It also works perfectly as a primer under my sheer foundation. In fact, I first learned about this product from a well-known makeup artist on YouTube who says it's her favorite primer!

The beautiful formulation make it feel more like skincare than a mineral sunscreen, so I actually enjoy using it every day. It costs more than a drugstore sunscreen, but after trying more than a dozen physical sunscreens that failed to meet my requirements, I’m happy to pay the price for one that does everything I need it to and also doubles (triples?) as a BB cream and a makeup primer.

I wear light-medium foundation colors. If you are Asian or African-American, you might prefer EltaMD® UV Elements Broad-Spectrum SPF 44, which has a darker, warmer tint as well as hyaluronic acid for hydration. If your skin is fair, you might want to try EltaMD® UV Replenish Broad-Spectrum SPF 44. Although the zinc oxide and titanium dioxide in this untinted formula make it white when applied, some reviewers claim the whitish cast goes away after a few minutes. I have found that the best way to apply untinted mineral sunscreens containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide is to apply them in two thin layers, rubbing each layer in very well.

Note: EltaMD® has many other facial sunscreen products, including two clear, untinted sunscreen formulas. I was sent a sample of UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 (untinted version) and it's quite lovely. (The company's product names can be confusing. For example, how can there be a tinted version of a "clear" sunscreen?) Unfortunately, only the three products I mentioned above are 100% physical, chemical-free facial sunscreen formulas. The active ingredients in all the others, including the two clear, untinted facial sunscreen formulas and the SPF 31 lip balm, contain chemical (octinoxate) as well as mineral (titanium dioxide) UV filters.

A Less Expensive Option for Medium Skin Tones

Before I discovered EltaMD® UV Physical Tinted Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 41 earlier this year, my everyday sunscreen was Australian Gold® Botanical SPF 50 Tinted Face Mineral Lotion. It's a very good sunscreen that meets most of my criteria. The finish is a bit too matte for my dry skin and the tint is a bit darker than my skin tone, so it's not ideal for year-round wear. But I still wear it sometimes in the summer to give my complexion a bit of that healthy, warm glow, especially if I'm going to the beach. And it's inexpensive enough for me to apply to the exposed skin on body as well as my face, neck and hands.

HEV (Blue Light) From Digital Devices Can Damage Skin As Much As – Or More Than – UVA and UVB Combined

High-energy visible (HEV) light (AKA “blue light”) is emitted by our mobile phones, computers, TVs and other digital devices. Many of us are in front of some type of digital screen for much of our day (and evening). A recent study found that HEV light can cause as much skin damage as UVA and UVB light combined (eek!). Fortunately, a few sunscreens block HEV as well as UVA/UVB light.

SPF Needs to Be Reapplied Every 90 Minutes, All Day Long

Sunscreen becomes ineffective within 90 minutes of being exposed to air and light, so it needs to be reapplied frequently throughout the day. But very few people actually do that unless they're sunbathing, since carrying around a bottle of sunscreen everywhere you go and reapplying it every couple of hours isn’t really practical for most of us – especially if we’re wearing makeup.

Colorescience® Sunforgettable® Total Protection™ Brush-On Shield SPF 50 Makes It Easy To Keep Your Skin Protected All Day 

I was delighted to discover Colorescience® Sunforgettable® Total Protection™ Brush-On Shield SPF 50. It’s a powdered mineral sunscreen that comes in a convenient, portable tube of powder with a built-in brush. Thanks to the company’s proprietary EnviroScreen™ Technology, this do-it-all powder protects against UVA, UVB, HEV and IR (infrared) rays and also environmental pollution! It's available in four shades to suit a range of skin tones.

How to "Prime" the Built-In Brush With Powder and Apply Colorescience® Sunforgettable® Total Protection™ Brush-On Shield SPF 50

The first time you open it, remove the cap, push down the sleeve that protects the bristles, remove and discard the rubber band, slide the sleeve back up over the bristles and re-cap the tube. To use the product, first hold the tube with the cap facing down and the clear end with the powder facing up. Tap the cap end of the tube forcefully against a hard surface a few times (tap it 5-10 times the first time you use it) to move some powder into the brush. Remove the cap, push down the sleeve to expose the brush and flick your finger across the bristles to make sure the powder is flowing. (If not, re-cap the tube and tap the cap a few more times.) Then, swirling the bristles across your skin in circular motions, apply the powder to your face and neck in multiple passes for at least 60 seconds. Done! Then I apply the powder to my hands and any other exposed skin.

Note: This brush-on sunscreen powder gets rave reviews on the Colorescience website. On Amazon there are quite a few critical reviews complaining about the dispensing mechanism, but I follow these directions and have never found it to be a problem.

The Delicate Skin Around Your Eyes Needs Protection, Too!

Chemical sunscreens shouldn’t be used near your eyes, so for many years, sunglasses were my only sun protection for the delicate skin around my eyes. That’s why, even though I have no wrinkles on the rest of my face, I do have crow’s feet.

Fortunately, it’s fine to apply physical mineral sunscreen around your peepers. Most days, I just apply my EltaMD® UV Physical Tinted Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 41 around my eyes as well as the rest of my face, neck and hands. When I’m wearing makeup, however, I prefer to use Colorescience® Total Eye™ 3-in-1 Anti-Aging Renewal Therapy SPF 35. This mineral-based sunscreen and eye treatment, a favorite among beauty influencers, provides skincare benefits as well as sun protection. It reduces puffiness, hydrates, tightens, serves as a peach-toned color corrector when worn under concealer and adds a nice brow bone highlight. (One well-known Youtube beauty influencer mixes it with her concealer.)

As a bonus, Colorescience® Total Eye™ 3-in-1 is also an eye shadow primer. (After applying any eye shadow primer, I always dust my lids and brow bone with translucent powder before applying my eye shadow to minimize creasing and make blending easier.)  And it can also be used at night as an eye treatment, although I don’t use it for that.

Even though it's spendy, you only need a very small amount for both eyes. And, since I only use it when I'm wearing makeup, a tube lasts me for quite a while.




Wear Sunscreen Indoors as Well as Outdoors, in Rain, Shine or Snow

It’s important to wear SPF 365 days a year, both indoors and outdoors. While UVB rays are strongest midday (noon to 2 pm) and can be blocked by glass windows, the UVA rays that cause our skin to age prematurely emit at the same strength 24/7 and penetrate glass. So, you are exposed to damaging ultraviolet rays even if you’re inside a building or car.

Helpful Articles on Protecting Your Skin Against UVA, UVB and HEV light

American Cancer Society, "What Is Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation?"
Allure, "Sunscreen Tips: This Is When and Where You Should Be Wearing SPF"
CNN, "Majority of sunscreens could flunk proposed FDA standards for safety and efficacy, report to say"
Forbes, "How Sunscreen Chemicals Can Get Into Your Blood"
EWG (the Environmental Working Group), "The Trouble With Ingredients in Sunscreens"
Byrdie, "Ask a Dermatologist: Are Moisturizers With SPF Actually Effective?"
DERMASCOPE, "Fact or Fiction: Skin damage caused by HEV light may be as harmful as the damage caused by UVA and UVB light combined."


EltaMD and Colorescience physical sunscreens reviewed by Margaret Schindel.



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Friday, May 17, 2019

Aveda Tea Reviewed

 Aveda Tea Reviewed
Aveda is a name we normally associate with cosmetics, skin care and hair products.  However, did you know that Aveda also offers a fabulous organic tea?

Several years ago, my daughter gave me the gift of Aveda tea on Mother's Day.  I was hesitant to try the tea.  I thought there was no way a cosmetic manufacturer could possibly offer a good cup of tea.  After all, there are companies who have excelled in tea production for decades.  Wouldn't they be a better source for a great cup of tea?  Well, those were my thoughts until I actually tried a cup of Aveda Comforting Tea.  

Aveda Comforting Tea is easily my favorite herbal tea now! 


Aveda Comforting Tea ~ A Lovely Cup of Tea


 Aveda Comforting Tea Bags - 20x1.8g/0.06ozCheck PriceAveda tea is made from licorice root and peppermint.  I admit, hearing "licorice" turned me off at first.  It made me think of licorice candy which I am not fond of eating.  But, since it was a gift from my daughter, I wasn't going to be a jerk and not try it that Mother's Day long ago.  After all, she was standing there saying "Mom, you have got to try this tea!  You are going to love it!!!".  Well, she was right!  (of course)

Besides the delicious taste, there are several other reasons I would recommend the Aveda tea.

  • No Sugar Needed
  • Caffeine-free
  • 100% Organic 
  • Drink Hot or Iced   

Aveda tea is "my one weakness".

Won't you join me for a lovely cup of Aveda Comforting Tea?  You won't be sorry.


Note:  You may have recognized the phrase I used above, "my one weakness" as a quote from Lark Rise to Candleford.  Dorcas Lane uses that descriptive phrase several times in the movie which always makes me laugh.  She seems to have many "one weaknesses" and I guess I do too!


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As you may already know, I am not the only tea loving Contributor on Review This Reviews!  



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The Manatea Tea Infuser and Mug Gift Set is really cute - I love the casual look of the mug and the 'go with the flow' inscription


Why drink peppermint tea? As well as being delicious this tea has a myriad of health benefits.

Looking for good medicinal teas? You can't do much better than Lifestyle Awareness teas. Here's my review after trying them.

There are many great hot tea blends and hot tea recipes. It is often hard to choose a favorite hot tea, so we simply must sample them all!




Aveda Tea Reviewed by:
House of Sylvestermouse





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