Friday, January 28, 2011

Zuii Organic Review


Ah, make up. Can never have enough of it! Considering I've cleared out my huge "full of chemicals" collection, I pretty much have nothing now. I don't mind at all that I have to start from scratch, because now I can make wise choices about what I'm putting on my face. How does applying "Certified Organic flower petals, essential oils, plant extracts, vitamins and minerals" to your skin sound to you? Sounds heavenly to me!

Review
I had a great opportunity to try out some of  Zuii Organic's products. The package I received didn't disappoint! I was treated to a lipstick, lip gloss and 3 eye shadows. My first expression of the product was great. Each item was individually packaged in a little paper box. This reminded me of true high-end cosmetics. I took the packages off and threw them into my recycling bin (it's actually a paper bag which I dump out together with the paper). 

The eye shadows I got are Grape, Jade and Bronze. It's interesting to receive random items, as some colors I would have never chosen, but they actually ended up looking great. I tried Grape first as it's my usual color choice. It has a nice natural shimmer and color. When you want a touch of something on your eyes, but don't want them to stand out too much, it's a great color choice. Bronze, ended up being my favorite eye shadow! It's got a deep shimmery bronze-brown color and looks great as a thick eye liner on both upper and lower eye lids. Jade, didn't suit me too well, because I already have green-ish eyes. Even though most eye-charts say that green is great for green eyes, I find that it doesn't work for me.  (All colors are really off on my photo on the left. Used my pocket camera as my DSLR's battery died. What a difference for the worst it made! But you can still get the general idea from the picture.)

The Jasmin Lip Tint is my favorite product I received! It was my first time trying a natural lip gloss and it's just as good as anything brand-name commercial. I'd say it's even better, because it's a natural/organic lip gloss. It's very shiny, looks classy and tastes good :) Some of the ingredients in it are coconut oil, castor oil, palm wax, bees wax, vitamins c & e, aloe vera, rose hip & orange oils.

In my generation, lipsticks are a bit of an item from the past. Lip gloss is a more popular choice with girls these days. But, I've always had a couple on hand, because lip gloss can only give you a tint and a shimmer, but not color. To make your clean up easier, put a layer of chap stick on your lips first and then a layer of lipstick. If you want a shinier finish, put another layer of clear lip gloss on top of lipstick. Sounds like too much, but you'll have those celebrity looking lips :) The Primrose Lipstick I got is a bit bright for my lips, but with a lip gloss finish it looks pretty nice. 

Overall I'm very happy with Zuii Organic's natural make up line. I'd be very curious to try their organic mascara as I have yet to try a natural mascara! I love that they have bright blue in the color choices. Blue mascara is actually not as crazy as one might think! I used to only use gray, brown and blue mascaras until I realized that black doesn't look bad on me as I initially thought.


Interesting Zuii Organic Facts
- Zuii Organic is 100% Australian company and manufactures their products in Australia as well.
- Zuii range of products is based on “Certified Organic flower petals” essential oils, plant extracts, vitamins and minerals.
- Zuii products are free of parabens, talc, synthetics, petro chemicals, genetically modified ingredients and preservatives.
- Zuii does not test on animals.
- Zuii is certified organic by USDA.
- Zuii says that wearing their make up is like "wearing flowers on your face".
- Zuii Organic's range of products includes eye shadow ($21.75), lipstick ($29.95), lip tints ($24.95), blush ($28.95), mascara ($27.95), foundation ($59.95) and liquid foundation ($44.95).

Connect with Zuii Organic via Facebook

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Weekend Blog Hops & Ongoing Giveaway Linky 1/28

Welcome to My Secret Home! Please leave a comment here and I will always follow you back :)
 (If I already follow you, I might not leave a comment)

Check out my current giveaways.
Best Bath Store (1/31 US&CAN)
CSN Stores $35GC (2/3 US&CAN)
Neat-Oh! ZipBin (2/9 US&CAN)
Roundabouts (2/9 US&CAN)
Sunglass Warehouse (2/10 US&CAN)  
 Enter your giveaways in the linky below (please specify who they're open to - US/CAN/WW)



Promote your giveaways by entering them in the linky below. This linky is ONGOING, meaning that you only have to enter once. I will delete all expired links.

RULES
- specify PRIZE
- specify END DATE
- specify who the giveaway is open to i.e. US (United States), CAN (Canada) or WW (Worldwide)
- link to the actual gveaway post 

Example - Amazon $15GC (11/11 US/CAN) 

Sunglass Warehouse Review & Giveaway 2/10 US/CAN


For a while I really wanted a $300 pair of designer sunglasses. Fortunately, when I looked, I didn't find anything I liked (I'm that picky...). I know now that there is no point in spending that much money. We barely even get much sun in Vancouver. And sunglasses are not just accessories. They are a must have item needed for protecting our eyes and vision from harmful UV rays. As long as they have maximum UV protection, they are good enough sunglasses already. Since then, I stopped being too picky and settled for cheap sunglasses. I don't need to feel guilty if my son breaks a pair or if they go out of fashion, because they are easily replaceable.

Review
Sunglass Warehouse has hundreds of sunglasses for women and men and all of them are under $20! I quickly chose which ones I wanted to review, as I don't really experiment much with different shapes. I just go for what I know looks classy and feels comfortable. Maybe I should start experimenting more! I chose these women's sunglasses in a brown frame. When I received the package, I was very impressed with these sunglasses. For only $13.56, they look even better than on the picture, have maximum UV400 protection and don't feel like they are too cheap in general. I was also a bit worried that they might not fit well, since I was getting these sunglasses online and couldn't try them on first, but to my delight they fit great. I'm very happy with my sunglasses and can't wait for summer to come to start wearing them.

If you are not to sure how to choose the right sunglasses, Sunglass Warehouse has pages on choosing sunglasses based on your skin tones and choosing sunglasses for your face shape. I should have probably consulted with these pages first, as according to them I should have chosen cat-eye sunglasses. I will keep it in mind for future reference as I actually kinda like the way these look.  If you want to get sunglasses for your man, they have categories such as mirrored sunglasses and motorcycle sunglasses. So many to choose from! And you can't really go wrong with their prices. Within US, they offer free shipping for orders over $25. That guarantees you 2 pairs!



Giveaway Prize:
One lucky winner will receive a pair of sunglasses of their choice

How to enter: 
- Leave your e-mail address in every comment or make it visible in Blogger 
- Complete the mandatory entry and leave a separate comment for each bonus entry
- For Facebook entries leave your first name and initial; for Twitter entries leave your Twitter name

MANDATORY entry
- visit Sunglass Warehouse and tell me which ones you would choose if you won

EXTRA entries
- follow My Secret Home publicly via Google Friend Connect
- subscribe via e-mail & confirm (2 entries)
- subscribe via RSS reader
- subscribe to Sunglass Warehouse blog via RSS reader 
- add me as a friend on Facebook
- like My Secret Home on Facebook
- like Sunglass Warehouse on Facebook
- follow My Secret Home on Twitter
- follow Sunglass Warehouse on Twitter
- tweet (1 time per day) - Win a pair of Sunglass Warehouse sunglasses of you choice US&CAN Ends 2/10 #Giveaway @mysecrethome http://bit.ly/e0eD0F (leave direct link)
- grab my button & tell me where I can find it

Rules:
This giveaway is open to residents of USA & CANADA and will end on February 10, 2010 at 11:59PM PST. The winner will be determined randomly via random.org. The winner will have 48 hours to respond back or another winner will be chosen.

Disclosure: I did not receive any compensation to write this post. I received a free product mentioned above in order to provide my honest opinion. I am in no way responsible for shipping of the prize.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Roundabouts Cupcake Sleeves Review & Giveaway 2/9 US/CAN



Internet is an amazing place for finding the most interesting, innovative products you would probably never see in most stores. I thoroughly enjoy browsing through companies of interest and discovering the newest products. Today's topic is baking. Do you love to bake? I know I do, even though I rarely do it. On the menu today are hamburger cupcakes!

Review
Ever heard of Roundabouts Cupcake Sleeves? The idea of these sleeves is to transform regular cupcakes into anything you can imagine, such as hamburgers, popcorn or even sushi rolls. I was curious to review a set and received the Lil' Burger decorative sleeves for my review. They come in a dozen and are designed to fit a standard size cupcake.

So why would you want a set of Roundabouts? Main reason for me is to get it for the kids. They go crazy over anything unusual. I think it would be an amazing addition to a birthday party to decorate cupcakes as something funky like pirates. And who needs a birthday cake when you can have cool individual cupcakes? I have yet to throw my son a party since he's still a baby, but I'll keep these in mind for the future. I think he'll enjoy some "fire trucks" on his plate. 

I didn't realize that I needed to bake cup cakes in paper cupcake liners. I'm on a bit of a tight budget for spending and wasn't able to get any at the moment. I wasn't sure if this is a must-do step or not, and decided to save these sleeves until I can make them properly. This is actually great, as I'll have a chance to surprise someone with these on a special occasion. I have lots of kids' birthdays coming up and can't wait to make these little "burgers" for someone's special day.

If you are wondering how to decorate cupcakes to get them just right. Well, there's no right or wrong. You can use your own imagination! But if (like me) you don't have much of an imagination when it comes to decorating, you can use a quick instructions list included in the package. I learned that to make brown frosting for a burger cupcake you will need to mix vanilla frosting with yellow, red and blue food colorings in a ratio of 5:2:1. Sounds easy enough to me!

Here are some cool sleeves which caught my attention. I really like the pirate styled one.




Interesting Roundabouts Facts
- Roundabouts are made and designed in the USA.
- Sleeves are 8.5" wide and 1-3/8" tall, designed to fit a standard size cupcake.
- Personalized and custom Roundabouts® sleeves are available
- Simple instructions are printed on a clever cupboard door hanger
- Roundabouts use durable archival-quality, acid-free stock.
- Roundabouts packaging is designed to minimize waste and is 100% recyclable.
- Roundabouts Sleeves start at $8.99 for a dozen
- Roundabouts Sleeves are anti-microbial, water resistant and are bleach free.


Giveaway Prize:
One lucky winner will receive a Roundabouts Cupcake Sleeves of their choice (RV $8.99)

How to enter: 
- Leave your e-mail address in every comment or make it visible in Blogger 
- Complete the mandatory entry and leave a separate comment for each bonus entry
- For Facebook entries leave your first name and initial; for Twitter entries leave your Twitter name

MANDATORY entry
- visit Roundabouts and tell me which one you would choose if you won

EXTRA entries
- follow My Secret Home publicly via Google Friend Connect
- subscribe via e-mail & confirm (2 entries)
- subscribe via RSS reader
- add me as a friend on Facebook
- like My Secret Home on Facebook
- like Roundabouts on Facebook
- follow My Secret Home on Twitter
- follow Roundabouts on Twitter
- tweet (1 time per day) - #Giveaway @mysecrethome - Win a package of Roundabouts Cupcake Sleeves US&CAN Ends 2/9 http://bit.ly/h6UsAb (leave direct link)
- grab my button & tell me where I can find it

Rules:
This giveaway is open to residents of USA & CANADA and will end on February 9, 2010 at 11:59PM PST. The winner will be determined randomly via random.org. The winner will have 48 hours to respond back or another winner will be chosen.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product review & giveaway Disclosure.
Sponsored by Tomoson.com

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Neat-Oh! ZipBin Review & Giveaway 2/9 US/CAN


How often do you come across an item which can be used as a toy AND as storage? I was very intrigued when I came across a company with a very fitting name - Neat-Oh! They specialize in themed toy storage boxes which can also be used as play mats. Storage is a big problem at our apartment. My son's toys are starting to pile up and I have no place to store them. We have limited space and as much as I'd like for him to have his own room with furniture, it's not happening.  

Neat-Oh! has declared January as a storage month! Post-Christmas time is always chaotic with all the new toys kids received as presents. Could a simple ZipBin solve all of your problems? I got to test one of their storage toy bins and I'm ready to share whether these bins will or will not make it easier for you in the house.

Review
Neat-Oh! has many cool looking themed storage zip bins ranging from Lego, Hot Wheels, Real Relics to Barbie. I was tempted to get a Dinosaur ZipBin, but decided to go for something more appropriate for my 21 month old little guy. I chose a Large Lego Duplo ZipBin as he loves to play with Duplo. This bin measures 16.5 x 12.8 x 10 inches and the mat is 35 x 31.5 inches. They have many others sizes, but I wanted the biggest one so it could store everything.

When the box came, little guy took the initiative to pull the bin out of the box. It only took us a second to put it together. It's a large place mat with zippers on the sides, once you zip it up, it transforms into a box. Little guy didn't understand what the box is for and crawled inside thinking that it's for him! He looked adorable in the box and it just shows you how much you can store in this toy box. I took him out and showed him that it's for storing toys, not babies. He liked the idea and started throwing his toys in, and then he got back in! What a funny little guy. I re-transformed the zip bin into a place mat and it ended up being a very generous size. Definitely enough to play on, even enough for a couple of kids.

After playing with the bin, I put it back together and found a perfect spot for it on the bottom of our book shelf. Usually this shelf is a mess, because when we clean up we just throw all the toys there. This bin fit right in! I love how it looks! Way less cluttered than before. It's super easy clean up too. Instead of arranging toys neatly on the shelf (which I don't have time for), I can just throw them in the box and it looks tidy. Little guy loves to help with clean up as well. This ZipBin comes with a lid which has velcro straps on the side to make sure the lid won't come off. And it has open slots on the side for easy carrying.

Mommy and baby tested, Neat-Oh! ZipBin gets a 10/10 from us!



Giveaway Prize:
One lucky winner will receive a Neat-Oh! ZipBin of their choice

How to enter: 
- Leave your e-mail address in every comment or make it visible in Blogger 
- Complete the mandatory entry and leave a separate comment for each bonus entry
- For Facebook entries leave your first name and initial; for Twitter entries leave your Twitter name

MANDATORY entry
- visit Neat-Oh! and tell me which ZipBin you would choose if you won

EXTRA entries
- follow My Secret Home publicly via Google Friend Connect
- subscribe via e-mail & confirm (2 entries)
- subscribe via RSS reader
- add me as a friend on Facebook
- like My Secret Home on Facebook
- like Neat-Oh! on Facebook
- follow My Secret Home on Twitter
- follow Neat-Oh! on Twitter
- tweet (1 time per day) - Win a Neat-Oh! ZipBin of your choice to make storing your kid's toys easy! US&CAN Ends 2/9 #Giveaway @mysecrethome http://bit.ly/e7FODs (leave direct link)
- grab my button & tell me where I can find it

Rules:
This giveaway is open to residents of USA & CANADA and will end on February 9, 2010 at 11:59PM PST. The winner will be determined randomly via random.org. The winner will have 48 hours to respond back or another winner will be chosen.

Disclosure: I did not receive any compensation to write this post. I received a free product mentioned above in order to provide my honest opinion. I am in no way responsible for shipping of the prize.

Monday, January 24, 2011

*From Scratch* Pledge & Basic Pancakes Recipe

It's so easy to open up a package of pre-made pancake mix and just add water or milk. I used to often make pancakes and crepes as a kid. Back then, ready-to-go packages didn't exist and food was as fresh as it could have been. Until a couple days ago, I have not made pancakes from scratch in about 10 years! I did always get packages which asked for milk, eggs and butter. And it just occurred to me, since I'm adding all fresh ingredients anyways, why can't I use my own flour and sugar?
I followed Joy Of Baking's simple recipe and my pancakes turned out delicious! 

All you need is:
1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons (28 grams) granulated white sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup (240 ml) milk
2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter, melted
Plus extra melted butter for greasing the pan.

Mix dry ingredients in one bowl and wet in another. Gently stir everything together and you are ready to go! You'll get about 6 large pancakes.

Recipe & Image Source: Joy of Baking

P.S. The best packages pancakes I've tried are the President's Choice Organics

In 2011 I am taking a Make/Bake From Scratch Pledge! I will try to avoid any kinds of packages as much as I can. I do have some in the pantry which I have to use up. But I've gone through all of them to make sure there is no MSG in the ingredient list. MSG is a big no-no for me as it gives me headaches and stomachaches and is bad for people in general!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Winners - PinkCherry and Envirosax

The winner of PinkCherry  is - #434 snobrdnchik


The winner of Envirosax is - #250 Jennifer Hunt

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Weekend Blog Hops & Ongoing Giveaway Linky 1/21

Welcome to My Secret Home! Please leave a comment here and I will always follow you back :)
 (If I already follow you, I might not leave a comment)

Check out my current giveaways.
Best Bath Store (1/31 US&CAN)
CSN Stores $35GC (2/3 US&CAN)
 Enter your giveaways in the linky below (please specify who they're open to - US/CAN/WW)



Promote your giveaways by entering them in the linky below. This linky is ONGOING, meaning that you only have to enter once. I will delete all expired links.

RULES
- specify PRIZE
- specify END DATE
- specify who the giveaway is open to i.e. US (United States), CAN (Canada) or WW (Worldwide)
- link to the actual gveaway post 

Example - Amazon $15GC (11/11 US/CAN)