Thursday, May 31, 2012

Blogger Post Issues and Upcoming Contest

Dear Readers,

As any of my regular readers know, I have been hosting monthly prize giveaways in recent months. I have one upcoming for June that I was working on yesterday. Obviously, when I need to write and schedule a post (which I do for early morning: 12:02 AM) I need to get the post ready ahead of time, if I want it up on my blog for the 1st. These contest posts take a considerable amount of time to put together, with links, photos etc...

I was finishing up the June contest post yesterday and had tentatively chosen the winner in the previous contest for May and also an update re: winner for one of the April prizes. Tentative winner, as I do wait until the 1st of any month to see if there are last minute entries to add to the mix and then again randomly select a winner. As there aren't usually any entries the last couple of days, it's usually a given that the names that are entered at that point, are all that will be.

After I completed my June 1st contest post, I tried to schedule it and here's where everything went wonky. Blogger posted it on my blog instead. When I tried to remove it, I note that it's still showing up in Reader as of today.

So, just by way of explanation, everyone who enters any of my contests IS in the running and right to the last day of the month. I hope you'll stop by tomorrow to enter the new contest and see who won previously. It might be you!

Sorry for any misunderstandings.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Last Chance to Enter the Fab Foodie Cookbook Contest!

If you haven't already, there's still time to enter the May Fab Foodie Cookbook Contest for a chance to win a collection of 6 fabulous cookbooks valued at over $120. 

Contest closes May 31st.

Stop by the first week in June to find out if you are the winner!

Good luck everyone!!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Desert Essence Castile Liquid Soap


This will be a short review. There isn't much to say about this soap except NOT to buy it!

I had high hopes for this product. I liked the fact that it was recommended not just for hand-washing (as is the case with a lot of liquid soaps) but also for face and body use too. The ingredient list was better than average too as was the price, about $7. for an 8 ounce bottle.

So what's wrong with this soap?

In a word, it STINKS!!! My husband has compared it to the smell of 10W30 (whatever that is) LOL.  It reminds me of that smell when you take your car in for service. How the garage and the mechanics smell. Yes, it really is that gross.

Definitely not something you'd want to shower with and try out on a first date either LOL!!! Unless you're dating a mechanic, they might like it. Sorry, I'm digressing with the garage jokes... No offence intended to anyone in that industry. I've got a lot of respect for good mechanics.

The pump on this product is also poorly designed. It sticks straight out from the bottle so if you don't keep your hand completely covering it when you pump the soap, you end up with it all over the walls, not in your hand. Someone was definitely having a bad day in the design department, when they came up with this one! ;<)

I like to buy green, organic and healthier choices whenever possible and that includes hand soaps. Many of the mainstream liquid hand soaps available are chemical nightmares. But the natural alternatives have to work and they have to be pleasant to use. Desert Essence Castile Liquid Soap is not in that category. It not only stinks and how, it doesn't really clean well either.

If you click through to the product page at their site, you can read what some customers had to say about this product. Maybe relatives? Or people with no sense of smell.

 I know I won't be buying this "stinker" again!

Overall rating for this product: BAD. O out of 5.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mountain Rose Herbs Celestial Tea Strainer

I've never been an avid tea drinker, especially when it comes to herbal teas. But recently, I was reading about the many health benefits of spearmint (click for more info.) and began buying pre-made organic spearmint tea bags from our local food co-op.
Having always used tea bags, I must admit I was skeptical about making tea any other way. Too messy, too much work and time involved. But those tea bags DO stack up, in the compost bin. And more and more, it seemed like such a waste to continue to make tea in bag form, instead of from loose leaves. That string, paper and excess packaging had to go!

I happened to find this interesting and informative video over at YouTube: How to Make Tea with Loose Herbs and for me this was the incentive I needed to finally kick my tea bag habit!

Not only is it easy to make tea from loose herbs, it's also a big $$$ saver. I had been buying 20 organic spearmint tea bags for $6+ a box. I bought a pound of organic spearmint leaves for $9. at Mountain Rose Herbs!

I'm guesstimating I'll be able to make the equivalent of 200+ tea bags with the bag of spearmint tea I now have on hand. A pound of tea is much more than I expected! But it came in a air-tight resealable bag and I drink a cup or two of spearmint tea every day, so it should all be fresh and flavorful to use. The fragrance that came from the package when it arrived at our door was so nice too! Not like the usual "unscented" mail. LOL ;<)

So, on to the gorgeous tea strainer pictured above. This beautiful gadget is also from Mountain Rose Herbs and is featured in the video.  It is so much nicer than those tea balls and plain tea strainers that are the norm.

Works great too. It has a wide rim that fits even a large cup or mug and it is made of stainless steel. I've also used it with a teapot when I'm making more than one cup of tea. I let the tea steep for 10 minutes covered; then remove the strainer. Easy to clean and it only costs $7. A very good value.

Here is some additional information about this tea strainer from the Mountain Rose Herbs site:

Celestial Tea Strainer: Savor tea in style with this versatile stainless steel tea strainer warmly decorated around the rim in a beautiful celestial motif.
Equally suitable for all sizes of mugs, and fits well on small tea pots. Simply place a small amount of material into the steel mesh canister and submerge into a cup of hot water to brew your favorite infusion. Dimension of the actual infuser meshis 2" and dimension of outer rim is 3.75"

If you've been holding off kicking the tea bag habit, do check out the video above and also take a browse over at the Mountain Rose Herbs website.  I'm very impressed with the quality of the products they sell and their company's many green initiatives are commendable and far-reaching.

This tea strainer would also make a wonderful gift. Perhaps to go with a package or two of favorite tea/ blend. Mountain Rose Herbs has many wonderful teas to choose from. Also herbal cosmetics and remedies, essential oils, tea pots, herbs, spices, bulk's definitely worth a visit!

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

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mountain Green Dishwashing Liquid

I'm always on the look-out for green cleaners, detergents and dishwashing liquids that truly do "walk the talk" when it comes to being a good product to buy.

As we all know, that's not always the case with some so-called "green" products and companies. An example of this: Seventh Generation dishwashing liquid.

Fortunately, there are companies who are offering alternatives to main-stream, chemically-laden cleaners that we can feel better about using. And that still do a good job of cleaning!

I recently tried: Mountain Green Baby Bottle & Dishwashing Liquid for the first time. I had been doing an online search (again) for some better choices for dishwashing liquid products. 

I found the Mountain Green brand over at I was impressed by the very short ingredient list for this product and all the other information provided at the site that were all pluses about trying this product.

Click through to the product page to read (a lot of good information here) and judge for yourself.

Here is some of the general information provided: Mountain Green products are all natural and skin sensitive. This dishwashing liquid is accredited by Leaping Bunny and Feingold organizations.

Why would you want to leave harsh chemical residue on the plates, glasses and untensils you use every day? Not good for you or the planet. Mountain Green diswashing liquid is just as effective with out uneccesary toxins. 

All Mountain Green products are free of harsh chemicals, phosphates, phosphorous, enzymes, PEG, polycarboxylates, benzene, cocamide DEA, chlorine, SLS parabens and artificial dyes. 

Dishwashing liquid available in Orange Burst, Green Apple and Baby Free and Clear (the type with no-scent I've tried so far) in 25 oz bottles.

After my own research, I was ready to give it a try.

 In terms of cleaning dishes effectively, Mountain Green Dishwashing Liquid does a great job! My criteria for any dishsoap is the "grease-cutting" factor. If it doesn't work when it comes to effectively removing oil and grease, it's off the list for future purchases. This product delivered!

 No residue or scent left behind, after rinsing dishes.

It has a very low-level of sudsing but as I'm finding out, having a lot of soap-suds can be an indication of some undesirable ingredients in products like sodium lauryl sulphate, a definite no-no, for so many reasons. I can live without suds if the dishes are clean; it just takes a bit of getting used to, after years unfortunately (sigh....) of using mainstream, sudsy dishwashing liquids.

Reasonably priced too. A 25 fl. oz. bottle at is $4.75. Price is no longer an excuse for buying those main-stream brands that leave a lot to be desired.

If you've been looking for a green dishwashing liquid that you can feel good about using, is reasonably priced and that really works, you might want to give this one a try!

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

Monday, May 7, 2012

HP Deskjet 3052A Printer

I've been without a printer for quite a while but a couple of weeks ago, I finally bought a replacement : the HP Deskjet 3052A.

Very reasonably priced at Walmart Canada online on sale for only $50 when I bought it. Our local Walmart store had a very limited supply of printers in-store, so I had to go the online route. But the printer arrived in only a couple of days, so no long wait to get it!

Overall, I'm pleased with this printer, so far.

Top priority: the print quality is excellent.

I tested it by printing this photo first:

I set the printer to a regular plain paper, normal setting for test purposes, not a photo type paper or best quality. Not only was the photo clear, it came out of the printer completely dry and in a matter of seconds! Impressive.

I also made some new biz cards as another print test:
Again, printed (a whole sheet of 10 cards) very fast. This card doesn't show up nearly as well here as it really is. The colors and text are very bright and crisp.

In terms of ink usage, again seems good so far. I've had printers in the past that have just "sucked up" ink, even with simple plain black and white printing being the most common use I had. I just checked the levels now, after a couple weeks of use and they are down to about 3/4 full so not bad. I did have several items to print, that had been on the "wait list" LOL.

Set-up of this printer was fairly easy except for the fact that the print "quick" instruction page left me high and dry, when it came to using a USB connection instead of the wireless mode, which HP seems to be pushing.

I finally figured out (I'm no techie) to go to my computer device page and to continue set-up via that route, including downloading a driver to use for this printer.

I know a lot of people prefer the convenience of wireless these days but I don't think it's as secure as a wired connection for internet etc..especially when it's no biggie to have a USB cable connection, at home.

I also didn't appreciate that HP had one of those checklists during set-up where they had "conveniently" pre-selected a number of sites to subscribe me to for: coupons, Bing search engine etc...I noticed this one (been there before with other products) and chose the custom option and took off these add-ons, which I did not chose myself and did not want either. Why companies do things like that is a mystery to me. I'm turned off by being told what I want to subscribe to, etc...let the consumer decide HP!

The plastic used in this printer is a bit "flimsy" but I guess that's the case for a lot of  printers. It's also quite noisy when it's printing but I can put up with that when the print quality is as good as this one is.

Here's some additional basic information about this product from the site:

Easily print, scan and copy everyday documents with this wireless e-all-in-one inkjet printer that delivers dependable performance. Use mobile printing solutions, like the AirPrint app for iPad, iPhone or iPod touch and HP ePrint, to wirelessly print files and photos directly from your smartphone. Produce documents that feature laser-quality text and vivid color graphics, thanks to the high print resolution. Reduce energy consumption and conserve resources with HP Auto-Off Technology that shuts down your printer when it's inactive. Make the most of your workspace, thanks to the compact footprint that is designed to fit in tight places. Print Technology: Inkjet Maximum Print Speed Black: 20.0 ppm Maximum Print Speed Color: 16.0 ppm Network Ready: Yes. is currently selling this printer for $86. with free shipping. If you can get it via Walmart though,it was a better price, at least when I bought it. I'm not sure if that would be the case with Walmart in the U.S. I couldn't find this exact model at either.

If you are looking for a basic inkjet printer that has good print quality and is easy to set-up and use, you might want to check out the HP Deskjet 3052A Printer . So far, I'm happy with mine!

Overall rating for this product: Good. 3 out of 5.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

MRLR May "Fab Foodie" Cookbook Contest (and April winners!)

I am so excited about this month's prize giveaway!

 I LOVE cookbooks and I'm thrilled to be able to offer this beautiful collection of 6 fabulous new cookbooks as this month's prize.

The winner will receive all 6 cookbooks, valued at over $120 !!!

To enter the contest, leave a comment below. And in keeping with the foodie theme, name your all-time favorite cookie with your comment, to be eligible to win.

No anonymous comments please. Please sign in with your blog account to enter if at all possible.

And check back the first week of June to find out if you are the winner! If you are the winner, you have two weeks to claim your prize.

Winner will be chosen by a random system.

Contest open to residents of the U.S. and Canada.

Here are my mini-reviews of the contest cookbooks:

Quick and Easy Vegan Slow Cooking by Carla Kelly ($17.95 U.S./CDN $21.95) : If you are a vegan, vegetarian or wannabee for either, this is a new cookbook you'll definitely want to check out. Combining the ease and convenience of one-pot slow-cooking with a wide array of tempting, all-vegan recipes. The book also includes a handy "to serve with" section that offers 30 pages of side dishes, salads and breads to round out your slow-cooker dinner creations! An attractive, easy to use recipe format throughout. By the author of The Quick and Easy Vegan Bake Sale. Great for meat-eaters too, looking to add some new non-meat options to their recipe repertoire.

The Mom 100 Cookbook by Katie Workman ($16.95 U.S./CDN $19.95): The sub-title for this book, 100 Recipes that Every Mom Needs in Her Back Pocket, says it all! A family-style cookbook with a definite "kid friendly" recipe emphasis. Would make a great gift for any mom on your list. Serving up the must -have comfort recipes including: Fudgy One-Pot Brownies, Lunchbox Wraps, Corn Chowder, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Variations, Caesar Salad and many more. Over 300 pages with tempting color photos throughout. Some good tips for "change-ups" and vegetarian options too. Also numerous suggestions for getting the kids involved with the cooking! A fun cookbook.

Popcorn Treats by Hannah Miles ($15.95 U.S./CDN $18.95): What a fun and rather unique cookbook this is! A must-have for all popcorn lovers (and who isn't??). In addition to a variety of sweet and savory flavoured popcorn ideas, the book also includes recipes for: popcorn cookies, rocky road popcorn slice, popcorn pie, even popcorn lollipops! Tempting photos throughout this 64 page cookbook.

Pop Party. 40 Fabulous Cake Pops, Props and Cakes by Clare O'Connell ($19.95 U.S./CDN $23.95) : If you are planning a special birthday or other celebration and are looking for some show-stopping handmade sweet treats to make; this is a cookbook you'll enjoy checking out. So what exactly is a Cake Pop? Moist, delectable cake "bites" decorated to match a party's theme, usually served on long sticks and embellished with all kinds of fanciful icings and decorations. There are: Turtle Pops, Tiger Pops, Crocodile Pops, Tiered Cake addition to several gorgeous cakes including a Pink Ruffle Cake that would be a big hit at a baby shower or for your little princess' next birthday party. Instructions for other types of party decorations are also included: paper roses, pinwheels, cake bunting, pom-poms... A stunning and visually appealing presentation throughout.

The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook by Cheryl and Griffith Day ($24.95 U.S./CDN $29.95) : To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Back in the Day Bakery (a Savannah, Georgia landmark) authors/owners Cheryl and Griffith Day have put together a collection of some of their customers all time fav recipes. Down-home Southern treats that are tempting and sure to please. Recipes included many of the "baking basics/must-haves": Blueberry Muffins, Brown Sugar Banana Bread, 'Nana Cream Pie, Chocolate Chip the oh so decadent choices: Drunk Blondies, Red Velvet Cake, Chocolate Bread, Pecan Brittle...the list goes on and on. Over 200 pages of recipes, cooking tips and shared recipe origins and memorable moments. This is Southern-comfort cooking with stick-to-the ribs" appeal. Definitely not for diet days though LOL. A great gift idea for your favorite baker too.

American Bar by William Yeoward ($24.95 U.S./CDN $28.95): If you've always wanted an easy-to-follow home guide to making those amazing, upscale cocktails. The kind served in some of the finest hotels and bars in the world. Then this is a book you won't want to miss. The author takes his readers on a tour of 5 of his all time fav, iconic bars: The Connaght Bar, Annabel's, Berkeley Blue Bar, Beaufort Bar at the Savoy and The American Bar at the Savoy. From each of these places, Yeoward chooses his favorite cocktail recipes to share. Over 100 cocktail recipes are included: Amber Manhattan,Gin Lane, Absinthe Drip (oh, that sounds intriguing!), JF Julep, The Connaght Martini to name but a few. The book also includes some of the author's favorite personal recipes for canapes, suggestions for glassware and presentation and numerous tips and techniques. Would be a wonderful house-warming gift to accompany a bottle of the host's favorite spirits. Beautiful photos and presentation throughout.

Stop by the Thomas Allen website to read more about all of these fabulous cookbooks and browse  their other wonderful,top-quality book choices too. And if you can't wait to see if you've won the contest, there are ordering options for all of these books at Thomas Allen & Son.


And the April Earth Month winner's of the two Nature Clean Gift Sets are:

Brenda/Mullin Ave Workshop and Jessica/The Middle Class Mom.

Update June 1st. Jessica has not claimed her prize so a new winner has been chosen: Jen at Muddy Boot Dreams is the alternate winner.
Congrats Brenda and Jen!

Please email your mailing address to: MRLR at and I'll get your prizes sent out.
Good luck in the Fab Foodie Contest and Happy Cooking! :<) 
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