Megali - adjective, noun - adjective 1. great or big in Greek -noun 1.. A nickname derived from my first and middle names

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Green Mountain Coffee Fair Trade Review

BzzAgent has been good to me the last few months.  At one point, I was in six active BzzCampaigns simultaneously.  And while it's true that they "reward [the] most active and influential BzzAgents with access to even more campaigns", entry into a campaign is also dependent upon demographics.  BzzAgent courts companies with the promise of accelerating sales via word of mouth and sometimes those companies want people of a certain age, gender, income level, or location.  Thankfully, I was selected for the Green Mountain Coffee Fair Trade BzzCampaign.

I don't remember when I first started drinking coffee.  Before I liked coffee as a drink, I loved coffee ice cream.  Mmmmmm, Springer Chip!  Basically, I liked stuff that tasted like coffee to be incredibly sweet.  Even today, R jokes with me, "Want some coffee with your sugar?"

Oh, but now.  Now I would fight anyone threatening to take away my Keurig.  I rely heavily on my two cups of coffee in the morning to help get me through the day.

And what better way to start your day than knowing you're making a positive difference?  Green Mountain Coffee features the most Fair Trade Certified coffees in the United States.  People say that life isn't fair.  But those committed to Fair Trade goods and products are trying to ensure that adage doesn't apply.   Just as so many of us are removed several generations from thinking about where the meat we eat comes from, we also don't really ponder the people and communities making the gifts we buy and harvesting the coffee we consume.  We can't take for granted that the workers receive a living wage, that the workers aren't children as young as Slim (age 5), that the companies aren't abusing the resources of the land the workers call home without regard to how it impacts the environment.  As it states in the embedded Fair Trade: Every Purchase Matters YouTube video, "When you buy Fair Trade Certified Goods, you're making a choice that means quality products, improved lives, and protection of the environment."  Receiving fair trade certification means adherence to environmental, labor, and developmental standards.  The goal?  That with fair trade, they get a fair deal.  Green Mountain puts it simply, "Coffee is more than just something to drink. It connects us to each other, and to the rest of the world."

Look for the symbol to the left to ensure you're buying a Fair Trade Certified product. 

Green Mountain offers a wide selection of Fair Trade coffees.  Amongst my favorites are Vermont Country Blend, available year round and Pumpkin Spice, a coffee that embodies Fall, which is a limited edition only available in the, you guessed it, Fall.  Perfect for the upcoming holidays and snowy Winter days are their limited edition Gingerbread and Spicy Eggnog flavors.  Start your day with a cup and help brew a better world.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Burt's Bees Natural Skin Solutions Review

I'm pretty darn loyal when it comes to products that I love.

When I buy cosmetics, the place I turn to most often is Clinique. Why? That's where my mom and my bff's (or bfts anyway - best friend that summer) mom took us to welcome us to the world of makeup before we started sixth grade.

Other favorite companies include Aveda, Origins, and Burt's Bees.

I was invited to be part of the BzzAgent Burt's Bees Natural Skin Solutions for Sensitive Skin BzzCampaign. Obviously, I was super excited.  If you're not familiar with Burt's Bees, please go to your local grocery store and pick something to test out - in different stores across the country, I've noticed they're ordinarily placed at an endcap by the pharmacy. Some of the reasons that I'm such a fan are because Burt's Bees takes social responsibility, the environment, and as they put it, the Greater Good seriously. Admirable.  Plus, they make things for me and the kids that I vastly prefer over the competition.  Their Beeswax Lip Balm Tube beats Chapstick and the Baby Bee Diaper Ointment is one of the best smelling (as in, I would totally wear a lotion that smelled like it - hint, hint Burt's Bees!) and fast healing "heinie creams" (what we call it in our house) I've tried on the kiddos.

The haul from BzzAgent was pretty impressive - I received a full size Sensitive Daily Moisturizing Cream, a full size  Sensitive Facial Cleanser, product samples of the moisturizer with a coupon, and regular coupons. 

After using these almost exclusively for more than a month, I can say that I mostly love them, but would totally love them with some minor tweaks.  The moisturizer lives up to its name!  I used it before sitting down to write and just now, as I was typing, I rubbed my cheeks.  I want to say they feel silky and smooth, but then my brain automatically starts reciting the Adam Sandler bit where he fights with himself about shampoo and conditioner.  So, instead I'll use a cliche - they feel as soft as a baby's bottom.  I wish there was SPF included though.  I'm also not gung ho over pump dispensers because I feel that there's always stuff left at the bottom that won't pump up.  However, their Web site states their "packages are designed to hold just enough product for you to use up before it expires, so you don't end up throwing out half used tubes and jars."  I haven't finished the container yet, so I can't verify that claim.  The cleanser is a soap-free creamy cleanser and makes a complements the cream well.  I've attempted to eliminate Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, which is a lather producer that is never on Burt's Bees ingredient list.  Even without lather or soap, it removed my makeup and any dirt accrued through my day, but I don't know that it cleansed away oil, as I had some pimples that required enlisting other products.  Perhaps I'm spoiled by the Burt's Bees mirace worker Natural Acne Solutions Targeted Spot Treatment and expected the same results.

Each product deserves a trial, particularly if you have sensitive skin.  The Sensitive Facial Cleanser retails for $10.00 and the Sensitive Daily Moisturizing Cream lists for $15.00.  They can be purchased online or check the locator for nearby stores.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Mary Pickford.  Source: WikiCommons/Taken from the Alfred Cheney Johnston Collection at the U.S. Library of Congress

While at the gym recently, I came to a realization: I have a serious case of body dysmorphia ... in reverse.  I'm not blind to the fact that I'm overweight, but the reflection I see doesn't quite match the me that is captured on film.  I still see the thinner me from a few years ago despite not fitting in those clothes anymore; I still feel like the me who can run for miles and miles even if I haven't even been running much lately.  I was doing lunges and watching my form in the mirror and my focus was on my strong legs when it hit me.  Sure, I know that I'm heavy, but oftentimes the positives that I remember outweigh (ha! pun not intended) the negatives that exist and I feel imbued with confidence.  However, when I see pictures I'm in, I'm smacked with reality. Maybe I wouldn't necessarily call it reverse body dysmorphic disorder.  It's probably more akin to denial.

I'll be the first to admit that as a tired mom, I don't always put the greatest care into my looks anymore.  Between two kids, five animals, and being a virtual single mother during the workweek as R travels from state to state, I seldom get a full night's sleep lately.  Being exhausted means I don't always want to put on makeup or style my hair.  Motherhood doesn't negate beauty, but I feel that being a zombie mom can.  I don't want to lose sight of outward displays of femininity as a factor in who I am/somthing that's important to me.  Worse still, fatigue sometimes means I don't have the desire to exercise.  Which especially stinks, because when I do workout, I don't regret it - I feel better and actually increase my energy! Stupid Catch-22.

To break out of the situation I've become ensnared in, I'm setting some goals so that I can fit my mental picture of myself.  I want to be dedicated towards improving my health and living my definition of beauty.  And here's some of the ways I'm going to do that:

- Participate in the Heartland 39.3 Series next Spring.  Training for three half-marathons that occur in the space of one month will be good for my body and for some meditative time to myself.
- Go to the beauty counter and buy new makeup.  I honestly cannot remember when I last bought cosmetics.  I think updating my style and getting out of this beauty rut will do wonders for my perception of my appearance.
- Find a motto that works.  Right now, it's "Go Forward!"  It was taken from an article that I read about Alison Sweeney in a fitness magazine this past Summer.  I don't recall which magazine it was (but this online article tells me it was SELF).  Don't say, "‘I want my body back!’ ... ‘Why go back? Go forward! Be the best you that you can be today. That might be thinner and more toned than ever.’!”
- Only eat what I love AND eat only when I'm hungry.  As one of my favorite bloggers, Tricia of Endurance Isn't Only Physical, says, "It's pretty easy to splurge on junk simply because it's in front of you."   Do I love cake?  No, not really.  Pie is much better.  Holding out for the food that I truly enjoy and paying attention to my body's hunger signs establishes better eating habits.  It also means I can stop finishing the boys' leftovers just because they're there. 

What beauty, fitness, and/or weight loss goals have you set?  What's worked and what hasn't?