Thursday, March 26, 2015

Strengthen, Hydrate & Repair Your Locks with the Arvazallia Line of Sulfate Free Hair Care Help

I recently mentioned my hair being a bit worse for wear lately after having a color mishap.  That, paired with the harsh weather, has left it drier than usual and just not looking good at all.

I've been looking for something to help bring it back to life and want to tell you about some good results I've had with the Arvazallia line of hair care products - specifically, the Arvazallia Advanced Hair Repair Moisturizing Shampoo, Arvazallia Advanced Hair Repair Daily Conditioner, and the Arvazallia Hydrating Argan Oil Hair Mask & Deep Conditioner.


Having damaged hair, I definitely didn't want to use anything too harsh on it - and Arvazallia, being free of parabens and sulfates, makes it perfect to use on damaged, dry hair and/or hair that has been colored, has undergone keratin treatments, or has been weakened by using styling tools on it.

The Advanced Hair Repair Moisturizing Shampoo ($17.99) - contains vitamin enriched Argan Oil and Macadamia Oil that thoroughly cleans your hair without stripping it of essential oils. I liked that a little bit was all it took to build up a good lather, it rinsed out easily,and my hair was left shiny,  hydrated, and strong.  



The Advanced Hair Repair Daily Conditioner ($17.99) - is also pumped full of Argan & Macadamia Oils and is designed to seal all the dents and pockets in the hair shaft, that can cause hair to look unhealthy and frizzy.  I found that the conditioner was light enough to use on my fine hair, but very nourishing.  It didn't weigh my hair down at all and the ends were especially left looking healthy. My hair was left soft and very easy to comb through.

I loved the scent of both the shampoo and the conditioner - very pronounced, but I didn't find it overpowering at all.  I liked that I could even smell it the next day.  

Hair masks can either be hit or miss for me since my hair is on the finer side and they can often leave my hair looking greasy and weighed down.  The Arvazallia Hydrating Argan Oil Hair Mask and Deep Conditioner ($16.99) was just the right weight.  I use this once a week for just 5 minutes, and it gives my hair a great shine boost while helping to repair damage - a little definitely goes a long way.  This deep conditioning mask is a great compliment to the shampoo and conditioner.



The Arvazallia line can be used on any type of hair including natural, curly, or permed and can not only help the hair you already have, its ingredients help promote new hair growth. 

While I was happy with Arvazallia, I would like to know if they are cruelty free before I decide if I would purchase in the future, as I prefer products that don't test on animals.  I looked on their website and on other online resources and couldn't find anything, which was disappointing.

Arvazallia has a ton of special offers and product promotions on their Amazon page and you can connect with the socially on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

xoxo,
Gigi





Disclaimer:  I received the above products at no cost in order to facilitate a review.  The above review is based on my own honest experience with, and opinion of, these products and brand. Yours may differ.




  

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Not So Luxurious 700 Thread Count Luxury Organic Egyptian Cotton Sheet Set by Francois et Mimi

Well every now and then I receive a product that just doesn't live up to its hype...and it really brings me no joy having to write a bad review, but as a reviewer, I am committed to share my own honest opinion of, and experience with, the products I try.




Not too long ago, I received a set of 700 Thread Count Luxury Soft Egyptian Cotton Sateen Sheet Set by Francois et Mimi and, while it doesn't say so in the Amazon listing, it does state they're organic on the packaging.

Immediately upon taking them out of the package, I noticed that they didn't feel like the other high count sheets I had, but thought maybe they were just stiff from the packaging so maybe a wash would loosen them up.

Nope - still not soft.  Maybe I needed to just break them in.  They were extra deep, which I liked because of our thicker mattress, but in putting them on the bed, I noticed some loose stitching & random threads hanging out.  The piping it shows in the photo on Amazon is not the piping that comes on the sheets, which is really more like a little stitched fold.  In fact, they're basically stitched like the 300 count $38 sheets we have in our guest room....and aren't nearly as soft.



While I didn't choose the color that was sent to me to review, I liked the color that I did receive because it actually goes with the color scheme in our bedroom.....and while I liked the shade, I can't tell you exactly which one it was as the color wasn't listed on the packaging at all and it really doesn't match any color in the Amazon photos.  These don't appear to be either 'black' or 'dark gray', although I assume it's one of those as those are the closest color matches --- but this shade is somewhere in the middle of the two. So, while I'm not sure which one it's supposed to be.....I do like the color. Whatever it is.

After two more washings over the next couple of weeks, I noticed the sheets never really got any softer and they started pilling.  



Now I know that a high thread count doesn't necessarily mean a high quality sheet....it all depends on the quality of the fiber.  If a higher quality fiber is used in a lower thread count sheet, those sheets could end up being much nicer than a higher thread count using low quality fibers......and that's what I think the problem is here. 

The king size sheets, like I received, list for $249.99 and sell on Amazon for $89.99.  Personally, I would be have been disappointed paying half of that for these sheets and honestly, I'm just not convinced that they are what they're labeled as. 

One thing that's important to me as a consumer is customer service.  I reached out to the company to see if they had any solutions or comments on the issues I was having with their product.  Unfortunately, they never responded to my messages, so I can't really even touch positively on their customer service as far as addressing customer concerns.



So there ya have it.  As with any review, this is just one person's opinion. Do full research and come to your own conclusions. Who knows, you may try these and think they're the greatest thing since sliced bread!!

xoxo,
Gigi







Disclaimer:  I received the above product at no cost in order to facilitate this review.  The above review is based on my own honest experience with, and opinion of, this product.  Yours may differ.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Body Merry Age Defense Neck Cream



Ahhh, the old turkey neck. It's one of those things I don't always notice on myself when looking straight into a mirror or in photos when I'm facing the camera.....but boy is it a shock when I catch myself sideways or in the background of photos.....I think, "Who IS that????!".......then I realize it's ME!!! I haven't been photo-bombed by an escaped side show human-turkey....there isn't some weird apparition in the mirror....that's my neck....(so disregard that email I sent you, Paranormal Studies Institute!!) Now that I've established that it's actually my face, let's see what we can do about it!


No turkey (only my pride) was harmed in the making of this photo!!

Body Merry has come out with Age Defense Neck Cream, a product designed to help us hydrate, firm up, and lift that area we don't pay a lot of attention to, but can creep up on us with age.  

Inside the 1.7oz easy pump tube, you'll find loads of vitamins and antioxidants, including 4% Vitamin C, 5% Glycolic Acid, and Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)!! You'll also find (natural & organic) Royal Jelly, Cocoa Butter, Plant Derived Hyaluronic Acid, Licorice, Avocado Oil, Jojoba Oil, Green Tea, Lemongrass & Rosehip Oil.



You won't find any harsh ingredients, chemicals, parabens, or phthalates.  They also state that there are no fragrances inside, but I think they mean there are no artificial fragrances - because there definitely is a scent to the cream (which I found to not be really pleasant, but it's not awful) -- it reminds me of the smell of grass and tea - but I think if someone buys it based on its claims of "no fragrance", they will be surprised and maybe a little disappointed. I think they should consider rewording this for future packaging.<--and, while I'm being picky, the tiny white font on the back of the label is extremely hard to read



I liked the consistency of the cream and the pump applicator, which didn't over dispense product (which you know by now is one of my big pet peeves when it comes to beauty products.....who likes to waste product??!!) - when I put it on my neck, I instantly feel a slight tingling and tightening, which feels good! That's the part where I usually say something out loud like "Come on, baby...work your magic!" or "Adios turkey face!!" - at which time my husband will call up, "Are you okay??" or "Who are you talking to??!" <---then probably jots down those episodes in his "1000 Reasons Why Gigi Needs To Be Committed" journal I'm sure he keeps somewhere!! 

So have I seen any major long term improvements? No, I can't lie and say that I have, but if there was any product that could rid you of a turkey neck in just a few weeks, people would be lined up to pay 100x the cost of this!! Did it hurt adding it to my skin care repertoire? Absolutely not - I'll keep using it for sure- and who knows what it will do after 8 weeks or several months of using. I like the tightening feel it gives me....and love using it when I'm about to go out for an extra lift. 



The Age Defense Neck Cream is available on Amazon for just $19.99 (lists for $49.99), which I definitely feel is bargain considering the the quality ingredients, size of bottle, and for the effects so far.  Body Merry products are also made in the USA in an FDA registered and GMP compliant facility ---- and is not tested on animals!  It also comes with a 90 day 100% satisfaction guarantee....so try it and see if it works for you risk free, no questions asked, you keep the bottle.

xoxo,
Gigi






Disclaimer:  I received the above product at no cost in order to facilitate this review. The above review is based on my own honest opinion of, and experiece with, this product. Yours may differ. 


Review: The HAI Elite Tong Ceramic Ionic Styler from Beauty Care Choices + Giveaway! US Ends 4/7


I have no hair skills....no talent when it comes to styling, curling, up-doing, or anything with my hair really....with the exception of straightening it........and putting it in a ponytail. That I have down. When it comes to using styling tools in my hair, I really do feel like I am all thumbs -- which kind of makes me a great candidate for reviewing them....because if I can do it, I'm fairly certain anyone can....and if you already have some hair styling talent, well you're really going to breeze through.

I put this to the test recently with the HAI Elite Tong from Beauty Care Choices. This curved flat iron is designed to not only help you create waves and alternating curls, but give you a nice finished look when flipping hair up or under.  You can also use it to make crimped beachy waves like in this video:


The HAI Elite Tong is different from other flat irons as the 2" plates are actually curved! 


This styling tong features:

From Beauty Care Choices

I love the nice sturdy construction of this tong. You can tell it's well made and has a great weight to it without being heavy.  The padded grips make it very easy and comfortable to hold, and I love the nice long cord that swivels, so no knotting up.


It heats up fast and is easy to adjust the temperature with just a touch of the "up" and "down" buttons.  The LED display makes it easy to read what the temperature is (even as it's heating up you can see what the current temp is), and I really like that it will shut off on its own after it hasn't been touched for 30 minutes. I loved that it came with a thermal bag to store it in and to easily take with you when you're on the go.


When I took this tong out of the box, I wasn't quite sure what to do with it (we've already established I have no hair skills!)....so I read the included instructions....and I still wasn't sure what to do with it. While there's a lot of safety and warranty information included with this product (which I appreciated), the only instruction for how to use it was "Keep the iron moving along the strand of hair being straightened to avoid damage from excess heat."  --- but that doesn't tell me if I wrap my hair around it, pull it through my hair, crimp it, or what!! Does it make hair wavy just by moving the iron down it? I then went online to look for videos and tutorials to try and help and that's really where I got an idea of how it could be used.  If I had one suggestion, it would be to include some basic photos/diagrams of the various ways you can use this.

Now that I had an idea of how to use it (thanks, internet!), it was time to try and pull off an actual style. To be completely honest, and I think it was a combination of 40+ years of never mastering a curling iron and finding it a bit awkward, and my hair has recently been through the wringer with a hair coloring mishap, where my hair has gone from blonde and not completely horrible to the shade of a bad cantaloupe with the texture of dried straw.  But that's another post for another day on another product. So my hair was really not having any part of taking a curl. I think it really needs a defibrillator, not a curling iron!


With that being said, I have been using the HAI Elite Tong as a straightening iron and it does an excellent job. I use it on the lowest setting (170') for my hair and it not only helps eliminate the frizzies, but it leaves my hair looking like it had a bit of shine to it again.  The curved plates gave the roots of my hair a lift and, when turned at the ends, I get a nice little flip at the bottom of my hair.  I liked how my hair glided right through the plates without any pulling or loss of hair.

While I wasn't all thumbs when it came to using this styler, I do feel like it's going to take me a bit to get the hang of it to use it for more than straightening my hair....but I'm no quitter...so challenge accepted!


Available for $183, the HAI Elite Tong comes with a 3 year limited warranty, and is available on Beauty Care Choices where you can find hundreds of hair, beauty, skin & nail care products, gift ideas, and more, from countless brands! Shipping is always free on orders of $49 or more (just $7.95 for orders under $49) and their shipping times can't be beat. In fact, 99% of their orders ship the same day the order is placed and delivered within three days!! Now that's fast!

Socially, you can connect with Beauty Care Choices the following ways:

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest

Tumblr


Beauty Care Choices would like to give a My Fab Fit Forties reader the opportunity to win a HAI Elite Tong for themselves! 

Ready to enter to win, just fill out the form below and you're set! Only one entry per person/email/IP please.  Winner will be randomly drawn and contacted by email once the winning entry has been verified.  Winner then has 48 hours to respond before another winner will need to be drawn.

This giveaway is open to US only and will end on April 7, 2015 at 11:59pm.

Good luck!

xoxo,
Gigi


HAI Elite Tong Styler











Disclaimer:  I was provided the above product at no cost in order to facilitate a review.  My review is based on my own honest opinion of, and experience with, this product - yours may differ.  My Fab Fit Forties is not responsible for prize fulfillment.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

It's a "Thanks For Following" Giveaway! Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card! US/Can Ends 4/3


Whenever I come into a little fun money, I like to spread the the wealth ....so I donated to my favorite charities, but I also want to thank you guys for being great.  I mean seriously - there's never been any blog drama, no nastiness on social media, or any other craziness that ever made me want to pull my hair out in the over two years I've been at this!  Now some would say that's a sign of a boring, non-ire raising blog....but just between you and me, I'm okay with that! Next stop, Dullsville....all aboaaaaaaaaaard!!! {Yawn}



So....let's have a "just because" giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card - if winner is from US, you'll have your choice of physical card or e-gift code. Canadian winner will get a e-gift code. <---and if there's any way we can give you Justin Bieber back.......


Just fill out the form below and you'll be in to win! One entry per person/email/IP please. Winner will be drawn randomly and contacted by email once winning entry has been verified.  Winner then has 48 hours to respond or another winner will need to be drawn.

Good luck!

xoxo,
Gigi




$25 Amazon Gift Card US/Can






Disclaimer: Open to US & Canada.  If randomly drawn name resides in Canada, they will need to answer a basic skills question, per Canadian sweepstakes law, before they are declared the winner. This giveaway is not associated with Amazon or any social media network. My Fab Fit Forties is solely responsible for prize fulfillment.

Indulge Mindfully with Gluten Free Cookies, Bake Mixes & More from GinnyBakes #Sponsored


This is a sponsored post written on behalf of GinnyBakes
- all opinions are my own.

I know one of the hardest things when striving to live a healthier lifestyle is feeling like you must give up treats you love.  Often times, we can psych ourselves right off the wagon when running down the list of all the things we think we have to deprive ourselves of.  As you know, I spent years (decades!) on every diet trying to get a quick fix.  The only thing that worked for me was eating whatever I wanted....... just eating it mindfully.  Knowing what I was putting in my mouth....what was in it, how can it fuel me, and how could it harm me.  So, 40+ pounds gone later.....I stand by my belief that you can eat anything, even treats you might think are off-limits, and live a happy, healthy life.

Holistic Nutritionist (and mom of 4), Ginny Simon, has taken her love of delicious, nutritious, whole & organic food and developed a wonderful line of desserts.  ginnybakes is the perfect solution for those of us who want to lead a healthy lifestyle........but also have a wicked sweet tooth, or anyone who might have special dietary needs that can't eat ingredients found in most cookies & treats found in the grocery store. 



ginnybakes cookie and bars are certified gluten free, organic, and non-gmo. They are also certified kosher, and any of their treats marked vegan are 100% vegan certified - using no animal products or by-products. You won't find any preservatives, chemicals, or refined sugars in ginnybakes treats.

I recently was able to try a variety of ginnybakes products and, let me tell you, there were no shortage of people offering to take part in a taste test.  So, since sharing is caring, I brewed some coffee & tea and invited some friends and neighbors over to share the goodies.


I tried the following items:

Chocolate Chip Love Cookies 
- Chocolate Chip Macadamia Love Cookies
- Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bliss Cookies
- Coconut Oatmeal Bliss Cookies
- Double Chocolate Happiness Cookies
- Buttercrisp Love Cookies
- Dreamy Vegan Delight Cookies
- Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bliss ginnyminis
- Lovely Brownie Bliss Bake Mix
- Chocolate Chip Love Bake Mix




There were two stand-out favorites among the cookie-testers.......first up:  the Chocolate Chip Love - which happens to be the very first cookie developed by ginnybakes (after weeks of experimenting to find just the right blend of ingredients)! She sure did! Home run!They're crispy and so flavorful - you really can taste every single ingredient!



The other hit of the group, and my personal favorite, was the Double Chocolate Happiness.  If your favorite part of a brownie is the crispy top, then you are going to love this cookie because that's exactly what it reminds me of.  



....and check out the ingredients - organic butter, organic gluten-free brown rice flour, organic dark chocolate chips, organic evaporated cane juice, organic liquid eggs, organic dark brown sugar, organic cacao powder, organic pure vanilla extract, baking soda, sea salt, organic potato starch, citric acid, baking powder -- all words you can pronounce ---- and know what they are!! Look on the back of a standard box of cookies and you won't be able to say the same!

The Oatmeal Bliss, Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bliss, and Chocolate Chip Macadamia Love cookies were all major hits as well. Again, you can truly taste the quality ingredients with every bite.  The Buttercrisp cookie is a perfectly simple delight - with no nuts or chips. This was the cookie of choice to pair with a nice cuppa tea!  

There really weren't any misses in this entire batch although we all thought that the Vegan Delights were a bit too salty, but that could have just been an isolated batch since everything that comes out of the ginnybakes kitchen is hand made!!

You heard right....everything - is - hand - made! The artisan bakers at ginnybakes are up before the sun, to bake each and every one of the cookies that goes into the box! ginnybakes also sources only the best organic, non-gmo, and gluten free ingredients available so you can feel good about indulging!

Love the smell of fresh baked cookies & brownies, but don't have the time to go shopping for all the organic ingredients? No problem - ginnybakes has you covered with their line of bake mixes!



I whipped up a batch of Lovely Brownie Bliss bars and it couldn't have been easier....just add an egg, coconut oil, and water into the mix...bake...cool...
.and...voila!  I will say that I was on the fence about these after making the mistake of licking the batter spoon. It was really grassy/earthy tasting and I was taken aback.....and I know, I know....you shouldn't eat raw batter...but the chocolate gooey-ness was just staring at me....almost daring me!! Once the brownies were out of the oven, cooled, and cut - they not only smelled wonderful, they tasted phenomenal. Moist (with that crumbly crunchy top I love) and a great blend of chocolate and coconut. So good!



Not only will you find bake mixes and cookies (including perfectly portioned individual bags of ginnyminis), you'll also find crumbles (which make a great yogurt add in - or just enjoy a handful on its own as a quick snack!), individual packs of two cookies (one for you, one for a friend), and ginnybars (perfect for on the go). 



The ginnybakes website is full of wonderful information - from the story of Ginny and her family, who fuel her passion for healthy home cooked meals & baking, to the process of how these treats are made, the full ingredient lists, and a search function for finding ginnybakes near you!


Price wise, the cookies sell in the $5.99-$6.49 range and the baking mixes are $7.49. Now, before you head out to pick up some of these cookies & treats, make sure you print out this money saving coupon! Want to save even more? When you're visiting the ginnybakes website, sign up to be part of the ginnybakes community, and you can save $5.00 off of your next purchase!!

ginnybakes is very active on social media - so please connect with them through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or Google+

I also wanted to mention that the woman behind ginnybakes, Ginny Simon, has a wonderful blog - full of gorgeous photos, recipes, travel, beauty, and inspiration.  It's very easy to start reading her blog and then, before you know it, an hour has passed and you've found five new places you want to travel to, have been inspired to run, discovered a new way to do your hair, and have a sudden hankering for brussels sprouts!! 

I hope you all will take the opportunity to fall in love with ginnybakes products yourself and enjoy every bite as you mindfully indulge in these treats born out of a true desire to help us all live happier, healthier lives!

What do you like best about the ginnybakes line of desserts? What cookie would you reach for first?

xoxo,
Gigi



Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post written on behalf of ginnybakes.  I received product at no cost in order to facilitate my review and compensation as a thank you for my participation in this campaign.  The above post is based on my own honest opinion of, and experience with, these products. Yours may differ.











Just Add Water & Change the World on World Water Day + Giveaway! US - Ends 4/2 #WaterEffect


Think about how much we use waters during the normal course of our everyday lives.....drinking, bathing, cooking, flushing the toilet, doing laundry, dishes, washing the car, watering the grass & garden, filling our pools.....without really even thinking about it or blinking an eye.  Water is just one of those things we have become so used to having at our disposal, we can (understandably) take it for granted and forget just how lucky we are to have clean water at our fingertips 24/7.

Not everyone is so fortunate. In fact, approximately 748,000,000 people in the world don't have access to this clean, life sustaining resource.  That's more than 2.5 times the population of the United States.  Sadly, a child dies every 5 minutes as a result of diarrhea caused by contaminated water, poor sanitation, and unsafe hygiene practices.  Since 1993, in an effort to help shed light on the water crisis around the world, the United Nations General Assembly declared March 22 "World Water Day".

I'm happy to join with an organization I truly believe in, World Vision, to help bring awareness to this worldwide crisis and remind us all to remember just how precious water is.  I'll be sharing ways we can help others obtain clean water.....and how we can conserve water in our own lives.

Did you know that the average American shower lasts 8.2 minutes? At 5 minutes, that shower has already used more than an entire day's worth of water for the average person in a developing country's slum. (Source: water.org)


Here are a few ways we can conserve water in our own households:

* Make sure the water level matches the size of your laundry load

* Check your faucets for drips -- one drip every second adds up to 5 wasted gallons a day

* Adjust your lawn mower to cut grass at 1.5" - 2". Taller grass shades roots & holds moisture better than shorter grass

* Consider washing your dog(s) outside where the grass can also benefit and the water isn't just going down the drain

* When running a bath, plug the drain before turning on the water, then adjust the temperature as the tub fills

* If you accidentally drop ice cubes, don't throw in the sink - toss in a houseplant or throw outside for the grass instead

* When washing your hands, turn off the water while we're lathering (same with brushing teeth)



  
There are also lots of ideas on how we can help give back & gift water to those who need it around the world, thanks to World Vision.

* Consider eating out less and give a donation in the amount of money you saved by eating in. A pledge of just $25 a month will provide 6 people with clean water every year

* Kids can pitch in too by running lemonade Stand with proceeds going towards giving clean, life saving water to others. 

* Organize a mall walk to bring awareness of the significant time women in developing countries spend bringing water to their families.  The time women in North America spend shopping is equal to the amount of time many women devote to collecting water in other parts of the world. We're talking nearly 200 million hours!! (Source: SaveTheWater.org)

* Help spread the word about clean water access on social media by using the hashtags #WaterEffect and #WaterNow.  Last year, World Water Day posts reached up to 700,000,000 people -- let's try and break that record this year!!



One fun way to give and give back is through the World Vision gift catalog --- full of beautiful fair trade products, directly benefiting those who need it the most. You can find jewelry, totes, coffee & spices, and more! 


I received a beautiful Royal Silk Scarf  - in gorgeous sweeping shades of blue, turquoise, and purple, making it a beautiful reminder of just how important water is to the citizens of the world. It's the perfect longer length, so you can wear it a number of ways! It looks great and, most importantly, it helps provide sustainable income to the villagers of Ma Chau, in Vietnam, who weave each beautiful scarf. Because each one is handmade, no two scarves will ever be the same! These scarves can be purchased for a suggested gift of $95, which includes the cost of the scarf and a tax-deductible donation that goes to help those who need it the most. 



In honor of World Water Day, March 22, World Vision would like to give one lucky My Fab Fit Forties reader the opportunity to win the same silk scarf as well as a World Vision umbrella, designed specially for World Water Day!



This giveaway is open to US only, 18+, and will end on April 2, 2015 at 11:59pm.

If you're ready to enter, just fill out the form below.  Only one entry per person/email/IP please. Winner is randomly drawn and will be contacted by email once winning entry has been verified.  Winner then has 48 hours to respond or another winner will need to be drawn.

Good luck!!

xoxo,
Gigi



World Vision Silk Scarf & Umbrella








Disclaimer:  I received the above items as a thank you for participating in this campaign. No other form of compensation was received.  My Fab Fit Forties is not responsible for prize fulfillment in this giveaway.