Natural Vines Passed the Taste Test

I got a couple of bags of Natural Vines brand licorice – one red and one black – to taste and feature on the blog. I accepted the pitch because it is advertised as “all natural” candy, and my kids LOVE candy. I figured if I can get a healthier alternative than all-sugar Gummi Bears, why not try it?

Of course the kids loved the red Natural Vines bits. They are bite-sized and only 17 calories, so I tried them too, and I am impressed by their sweet but not-too-cloying flavor, like I find in Twizzlers. I’ve never been a Twizzler fan, not even after they built replicas of major national landmarks at the BlogHer conference in San Diego this month. I’m talking the Golden Gate Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. Believe it.

So the red version of Natural Vines was a hit. But nobody in my family would even try the black. We actually opened the bag and smelled it, but no go. Sorry, black licorice. You are taste for very specific people, and we are not them, not even with your naturalness and real licorice extract. I got rid of them using Facebook (what else?) to find a local friend who is into that sort of thing and knows me well enough to not be grossed out that we already opened the bag. Her husband ate them. “I’d buy them,” is his review.

Long story short, I don’t mind giving Natural Vines to the children as a reward if it’s not full of high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors. And I’m secretly glad that they share my distate for black licorice.

I did not receive compensation for this post – only the free product that facilitated the taste test.

Protect Your Kooli at the Pool

As a blogger – I’ve been one for almost 7 years – I often get pitches from companies to include products on my site.  I don’t really have a lot of time to do this, especially if I wanted to review every single product that comes my way.  So when the makers of Kooli approached me, I read the pitch with a skeptical eye.

Kooli keeps swimsuits from snagging and buns from burning on hot poolside surfaces and is certain to top this summer’s must-have lists. Kooli has an attached elastic band that makes it easy to roll, secure and put into a beach bag or purse.  It is made of Neoprene (the lightweight, flexible material used to make wetsuits) and features a soft and comfortable nylon fabric surface.  Kooli is washable, waterproof, slip proof, resistant to chlorine, sand and other similar abrasive surfaces.”

My first thought was “how is this better than a towel?”  So I said yeah, bring it on.  They sent me one in the mail and I brought it to the pool that day.  The kids were down with it and thought it was special.  It rolls up and fits easily in the swim bag.  It kept a little bottom cushioned from the hot concrete, and then he went back into the pool.  The end.

Here’s my opinion:  Kooli is great if you have multiple children and you want to keep the towels for what towels are supposed to do – dry you off.  Plus I guess you can buy a different color for each kid.  And I keep saying kid because hell if I’m sitting on the concrete after hanging out in the pool.  I’m almost 40 (hint my birthday is September 30) and these old bones need at least a chair to relax in if not a lounge chair and a cabana boy fanning me and bringing me a cocktail.  If a Kooli could do that I would be all over it.

Also, if Kooli could make my body look like this I would buy all of them:

Groceries, Schmoceries. Just Get a Houseguest!

This week, and for much of the summer, we have friends staying with us. They are the mom and dad of a family of four – their little boys are staying with family for the summer, and the mom got a job close by, and they are between homes, so what the heck? What are friends for, right?

Well, turns out friends are for cleaning my kitchen, taking out the garbage, hanging out with my while I do my thrice daily stretching routine, accompanying me to events, watching my kids tonight so I can go out with my husband for our 9th wedding anniversary, and for picking up groceries. I’ll tell you what – it is AWESOME. I highly suggest getting some houseguests for when you are feeling extra overwhelmed. All they want in return is a place to sleep and free access to the country club bar.

Alas, they won’t be here forever, so I’ll eventually have to go grocery shopping again. For people like KIM B. – who won the Albertsons gift bag giveaway – they can put it off at least another day because there is a full dinner in that there bag. Thank you to everyone who entered!

When I do a full shopping trip at Albertsons I will tell you alllll about it.