Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Last Week to Enter the MRLR March Giveaway!

If you haven't already, there's still time to enter to win a free (click to enter) CreaClip haircutting tool  in the  March Prize Giveaway at My Real Life Reviews.

There will also be a new contest coming up the first week in April, with an Earth Month theme, so stay tuned!

Good luck! :<)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Giovanni L.A. Natural Styling Gel (for strong hold)

I've been searching for a better option when it comes to hair gel for a long time.

I recently tried: Giovanni L.A. Natural Styling Gel for Strong Hold and I'm so glad that I did!

Unlike the "chemical soup" that is the norm for most hair gel products, Giovanni L.A. Natural Styling Gel contains these ingredients:

Aqua(purified water),Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Rosemary(Rosemarinus Officinalis)Oil, Nettle(Urtica Dioica)oil,Thyme(Thymus Vulgaris) Oil, Salvia Sclarea (Clary)Leaf Extract, Chamomile anthemis nobilis flower)oil,Lavender(Lavandula Angustifolia), Coltsfoot leaf(tussilago fargara),Yarrow Achillea Millefolium)oil,Mallow(Malya Sylvestris),Horsetail(Equisetum arvense)oil, Soybean Protein(Glycine Soja),PVP/VA Copolymer, Hydroxyethylcelllulose(plant derived), Tocopherol(Vitamin E),Phenoxethanol,Citric Acid(corn), Grapefruit Seed(citrus derived), Fragrance (includes Essential Oil)

Note the first two main ingredients in particular: purified water and aloe vera leaf juice...followed by several organic source botanicals and plant-based preservatives. 


Compare this to a mainstream popular "herbal" hair gel brand ingredient list:

Herbal Essence Totally Twisted Hair Scrunching Gel:

Water, PVP, Laureth 23, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Extract (Flower/Leaf/Stem), Crassula Argentea Leaf Extract, Fragrance, VP/Dimethylaminoethylmethacrylate Copolymer, Triisopropanolamine, Carbomer, PEG 12 Dimethicone, Methylparaben, DMDM Hydantoin, Propylparaben, Disodium EDTA

Yikes, I know what my preference is!

It's so gratifying to see that there are now companies who are tackling products like hair gel and other styling products and creating formulas that don't make a consumer cringe reading the ingredients; let alone applying them to our hair. I also wonder just how flammable some of these mainstream products could be! I'm guessing that could be a concern as well.

Of course, being a more natural product is great ingredient/health-wise but it still has to work! And Giovanni L.A. Natural Styling Gel works just as well, maybe even better than any other mainstream hair gel that I've used. And I've tried a lot of them over the years.

My hair looks smooth, not sticky or crunchy after applying a small amount of this product and allowing it to dry. It also washes out completely and doesn't seem to leave any build-up which can be a problem with similar products.

Giovanni is a cruelty-free company; again that's important to me. You can read more about their product standards and also check out their complete product line at their website. Yes, there is a little "sound-off icon" on their homepage if you prefer quiet browsing, like I do. LOL

I also found a great price for a 3 pk. of this hair gel over at Amazon. A little does go a long way, but if you want to stock up, this is a real bargain at less than $24. currently for 3 full- sized tubes (6.8 oz/200 ml each). Packaging (as photographed on Amazon) is different but this is the same product/ingedient list.

Overall rating for this product: Excellent. 5 out of 5.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Nature Clean Pure-Sensitive Shampoo and Conditioner


I've tried a lot of shampoos and conditioners over the years. I recently tested: Nature Clean: Pure-Sensitive Shampoo and Conditioner and I have been happy with the results.

My hair tends to be frizzy when the humid or rainy days arrive. With Nature Clean Pure-Sensitive it's been "behaving" a lot better, even when the weather isn't LOL. I've also noted that my hair tends to stay cleaner for a day or two longer now. Easy to style. And there is no scent (at all!) in these two products; I appreciate that too.

I switched to  "natural" types of shampoos and conditioners (whenever possible) many years ago. Some are better than others when it comes to ingredients, performance, scent...On all counts, I feel good about using Nature Clean Pure-Sensitive Shampoo and Conditioner. One addition I would like to see: a line of "organics" for their skin and hair care products.

The natural cosmetic/hair-care industry is growing by the day. Consumers ARE questioning not just what they are eating now but also what they are ingesting through their skin, hair, lungs...it all adds up. It all impacts our health.  At the same time, products still have to work well and get the job done!

In terms of ingredients for Nature Clean Pure-Sensitive Shampoo and Conditioner and the 99% plus claim of "natural"; I did some research online recently. One by one, I checked the ingredients in the shampoo. All acceptable (some very good) from what I read in terms of safety, biodegradability... and without the use of parabens,sulphates, fragrance, dyes and other questionable ingredients.

Stop by the Nature Clean website to read more about their complete product line that includes household cleaners, personal care, laundry care and much more.

I don't think there is such a thing as an absolutely "pure" shampoo or conditioner that would actually work. But from what I've found out about Nature Clean products, they are doing a good job of providing both. Products that are free of so many of the ingredients that consumers are being advised to avoid without compromising on how they perform.

By way of comparison, here's the ingredient list for:

 Nature Clean Pure-Sensitive Shampoo- "Ingredients: Water/Eau/Aqua, Cocoglucoside, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, Glycerin, Xanthan Gum, Sapindus Mukurossi Peel Extract, Chondrus Chrispus (Carageenan), Citric Acid, Beta-Glucan, Bisabolol, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate."

And for another popular and top-rated  "pure and natural" shampoo:

L'Oreal EverPure Smooth Shampoo Rosemary and Juniper-"Aqua/Water/Eau, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycol Distearate, Divinyldimethicone/Dimethicone Copolymer, Glycereth 26, Decyl Glucoside, Parfum/Fragrance, Polyquaternium 7, PPG 5 Ceteth 20, Amodimethicone, Polyquaternium 10, Methylparaben, PEG 55 Propylene Glycol Oceate, Propylene Glycol, Carbomer, C11 15 Pareth 7, Benzophenone 3, Benzyl Salicylate, Hexylcinnamal, Glycerin Trideceth 12, Laureth 9, C12 13 Pareth 23, Linalool, Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), C12 13 Pareth 3, Limonene, Benzyl Alcohol, Juniperus Communis Fruit Oil, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Oil (Rosemary), Methylisothiazolinone, Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid"

You be the judge.

Lovely name, L'Oreal but....I'm not impressed! 

This is just one of many examples of questionable "pure and natural" haircare products that I've checked out online. I'm so thankful for ingredient lists and the Internet too. Companies and their products have to be accountable now if they expect to survive and grow.

As is usually the case: Buyer beware. It's so worth it to be an informed, savvy shopper.

We send a clear message to companies with every dollar spent!

Overall rating for these products: Very Good. 4 out of 5.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hawaiian Alaea Sea Salt

Salt. The salt of the earth...

...and such a basic staple seasoning/food for most people.

But the types and quality of culinary salt varieties available is growing by the day. Salt in recent years has been taken to a whole new level for many "foodies" and food-lovers in general.

I recently found out about Hawaiian Alaea Sea Salt. I've been using sea salt for many years. I gave up using regular commercial "table salt" a long time ago. Regular commercial table salt is often heavily processed/mined from land-based areas and has "free-flow" anti-caking ingredients added to it, so that it will...flows freely. LOL

Sea salt is the result of a water-evaporation method of extracting salt from sea water. But again, how that process is accomplished varies quite a bit. Some definitely better than others.

I was impressed with what Hawaiian Alaea Sea Salt had to say about their own method of processing salt. Also the addition of alaea (an edible Hawaiian red clay) to their salt, results in a higher mineral content and adds a beautiful coral orange color. The photo above doesn't do the color justice but it was the one I found on the company's website.

You can read the background of Hawaiian Alaea Sea Salt here and also check out the company's complete product line. I also want to try their Margarita Gold Salt! Wow, what a color boost that would add to any dish.

As far as taste Hawaiian Alaea Sea Salt has a pleasant, mild flavour. I have it in a grinder set to medium-fine grind and a little goes a long way in terms of perking up the taste of various foods.

Yes, I know. Too much salt is not good for any of us. But when salt is part of a recipe or for enhancing the flavor of foods, I want to use a good quality salt that I can feel better about ingesting. And I feel good about using Hawaiian Alaea Sea Salt!

Reasonably priced too. The 16 oz. bag shown above is available at the company's website for $ 7.99 . There are also sample sizes for all their products available. I like that! So it's possible to try several and taste-test before buying a larger bag. 

The 16 oz. bag lasts a long time even for a salt- lover like me! LOL

Another interesting site I found with a lot of information about various salt types is SaltWorks. Fascinating reading actually, especially if you love cooking as much as I do. Saltworks also sells Hawaiian Alaea Sea Salt as part of their product line.

Overall rating for this product: Very Good. 4 out of 5.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Midnight in Paris DVD

I've been a fan of Woody Allen for a long time. He never fails to surprise and delight me with the range of talents and ideas that he brings to his work. And there are so many movies that he's directed, written and/or starred in to enjoy!  
 Midnight in Paris is no exception. I loved (almost) everything about this movie.

It has a story with a timeless message. We can be happy wherever we are. Life is what we make of it, right here and right now. Seeking happiness in other places (and in the case of the main character in this story: other eras) never really lasts. But what a fun trip it was to go on, watching this story unfold.

Visually, this movie is such a treat. The beauty of Paris portrayed in the present and from the perspective of the 1920's is breathtaking. There is a dreamy quality to this film throughout.

Loved the costumes and the mesmerizing musical score too. My kind of music....classical jazz and Cole Porter, play on! 

Life is but a dream for the lead character Gil (Owen Wilson). Night after night... wishes granted. Visiting legendary haunts with some of his literary idols from the past, Gil is transported to another time and place. And a place in time that he doesn't really want to come back from to face the problems in his own 21st century life including a fiancee and in-laws that leave much to be desired.

There is also a sadness to this story. Not just the voice but also the heart and soul of Woody Allen come through the main character's thoughts and words. It is obvious that there are personal memories woven into many scenes of this film. Maybe some "could have beens" and perhaps regrets for him too. It made the movie even more memorable and touching for me. I teared up a time or two watching and considering Woody Allen's mindset as the final cut rolled. 

The only negative for me. Some of the acting was a bit "stilted" for lack of a better word when it came to present-day interactions between Owen Wilson and his fiancee in the movie Rachel McAdams. I found some of the dialogue and interaction between these two characters a bit over the top at times, tedious...I was always happy when the story slipped back into the world of the 1920's and Gil's vivid imagination.

This is an escape and "feel good" movie of the very best kind.

I could imagine seeing this movie in a big old theatre. The kind that still has chandeliers, velvet seats and heavy drapes on the stage. For a matinee performance, even better. Stopping in for a break from a busy city street and day. That would really enhance the experience. It's just that kind of film.

"Paris is a city that lends itself to daydreaming, to walking the streets and imagining all sorts of magic, a quality that Woody Allen understands perfectly. Midnight in Paris is Allen's charming reverie about just that quality, with a screenwriter hero named Gil (Owen Wilson) who strolls the lanes of Paris with his head in the clouds and walks right into his own best fantasy. Gil is there with his materialistic fiancée (Rachel McAdams) and her unpleasant parents, taking a break from his financially rewarding but spiritually unfulfilling Hollywood career--and he can't stop thinking that all he wants to do is quit the movies, move to Paris, and write that novel he's been meaning to finish. You know, be like his heroes in the bohemian Paris of the 1920s. "

"At age 75--with more than 40 films under his belt--Allen has created a film that literally glows. Its dazzling cinematography, inventive plot, and Parisian score, combined with the top-notch acting and set-design, makes for an almost-perfect film, one that's not only clever and thought-provoking, but also entertaining and accessible--even to mainstream audiences."

"Refreshing break from melting buildings, crumbling sidewalks, 50 car pileups, crude, rude humor and stacks of shot up bad guys. A breath of fresh air."

Here, here on that last quote!!!

If you enjoy romance and nostalgia at it's best. Perhaps dream of Paris now and from days gone by? And if you love to be transported by a story (sans the guts and gore!) you won't want to miss: Midnight in Paris.

It is a departure from most stories/films created by Woody Allen, but in a good way.

And if you've never been a Woody Allen fan, this might be the one that changes your mind.

Overall rating for this DVD: Very Good. 4 out of 5.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Embraced by the Light by Betty J. Eadie

I was browsing over at Amazon the other day and happend to click my way to the product page for Embraced by the Light by Betty J. Eadie. I had written a review of this book at my poetry blog, a couple of years ago. You can read that post at My Poetic Path: Embraced by the Light.

What surprised me when I checked out this book again was the fact that it is still a very popular book (first published in 1994) and continues to be either "loved" or "highly suspect" when it comes to many readers/reviewers. At least that's seems to be the case, based on the 200 + reviews at Amazon. And some of those reviews written as recently as a few days ago, I noted.

I can't really add anything to what I've already written here in my previous review of this book. I still think it's "hogwash" of the very worst kind. And I still find it hard to believe that anyone would find the author of this book credible, after reading this book. And if they also researched the author's bio in more detail as I did at the time.

If you've already read this book, I'd be curious to know your opinion of it? Did it ring true in your opinion? Or did you also share my opinion that it was a work of fiction being touted as a near-death, true experience, by this author? And a very lucrative experience $$$- wise too.

Overall rating for this book: BAD. 0 out of 5.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March Prize Draw at My Real Life Reviews

For the March prize here at My Real Life Reviews; I am so pleased to be able to offer one of my absolute favorite products as my first prize in the monthly giveaways: the CreaClip!

The CreaClip has been very well-received by millions of fans from around the world and for good reasons.  This innovative hair-cutting tool can save you and your family hundreds of dollars every year! Visit the CreaClip site to see more testimonials and watch helpful instructional videos for dozens of hairstyles. Makes a wonderful gift too.

Speaking of gifts, I can only imagine what some parents "shell out" every month or so, for kid's haircuts, in addition to their own. The CreaClip can easily put an end to that "cash-drain". A savings of mega $$$, in no time at all!

And SO easy to use; the CreaClip actually makes cutting hair at home a fun experience. I know, because I've used it many times already!You can read my full review with photos of the CreaClip here. I'm not surprised that this review is in my top 5 read reviews, week after week.

To enter to win a free CreaClip (retail price: $29.95 and includes free postage and handling ) leave a comment for this post.

That's it. That's all. Easy peasy!  :<)

One entry per person. Open to all readers, wherever you live!
The winner will be chosen at the end of the month, by a random generated system.
**I know a lot of people aren't comfortable sharing their email addresses on sites/blogs (me included!) so I'm just going to post the winner of each draw, the first week of the following month.Check back then and if you are the winner, send along your mailing info. to my email address: MRLR at myway dot com and I will get your prize sent out! **

Winners will have one month to claim their prize. If not claimed, I'll pick another winner.

And DO spread the word on your blogs,Facebook, Twitter, site pages... Stay tuned for next month's prize draw too. Just in time for Earth Month!

Thank you for your continued support and readership, here at My Real Life Reviews. It's been very gratifying to see the continued increase in monthly visitors and from all over the world.

Good luck with the draw! G :<)
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