SPONSORED Review: Sun Tail Mermaid

Y’all remember Splash, right?  About the mermaid who became human and walked the streets of New York?  And of course before that there was Hans Christian Andersen’s tale of The Little Mermaid, most recently re-interpreted by Disney.   In our popular imagination, mermaids long to leave the sea to become human, even if only for a little while.
Meanwhile, in the real world, little girls imagine being mermaids.  When I was a little girl back in the carefree 70s, spending hours every summer day in the pool, I had to try to swim with my legs together and just pretend.  But because I am a US Family Guide blogger and get to try products for free in exchange for my honest review, Lorelei’s mermaid dreams are a little more realistic!
Sun Tail makes wearable, swimmable mermaid tails out of swimsuit material.  They come in many colors–the hardest part of this whole process was deciding which one to buy.  In addition to the beautiful tails, they make monofins that fit inside the tail to complete your mermaid swimming experience.
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You can read more details about the product and company by clicking here for my first post from a few weeks ago.  In this post I want to share what Lorelei (and I) thought of the mermaid tail I ordered for her.
First of all, it’s really pretty and comfortable.  Also, it fits very nicely, and she practiced walking in it (without the monofin!), and there is totally enough stretch to make that possible.  The monofin is extremely well-made and durable, with pockets for your feet as well as three straps to make sure it stays on.  The whole thing comes with detailed instructions, and special guards to protect the delicate fabric of the tail from being torn by the monofin.
Unfortunately, it is winter, and we don’t have access to an indoor pool, so the best I can do is promise you (as Lorelei insisted I must) that at our first opportunity we will try the tail out in water to see how it performs.
If you want to make a little girl’s mermaid dream come true this Christmas I have an offer for you:
Receive a 10% discount on your order at www.SunTailMermaid.com by entering this code: BestGiftEver.  (And don’t worry–they haven’t forgotten about little boys as you can see in the picture below.)
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SPONSORED REVIEW: Package from Santa

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A couple of weeks ago I told y’all about this cool company that helps add a little magic to your child’s Christmas.  I received a letter, phone call, and video from Santa–all personalized–in exchange for my honest review.
First of all, let me explain how all this works.  You purchase the package of your choice (all components are available separately–the silver package is what I received and am reviewing here).  Then you customize everything just the way you want it on the website.  This is explained clearly and is very easy.  And you don’t have to do it all at once.  I did the letter first and then came back a couple of days later to figure out the video, and then last of all, the phone call.
There are many, many choices for each component.  I ended up writing my own letter so it was completely personalized.  There are templates to choose instead if you aren’t feeling super creative.  You also get to choose from several videos and telephone calls.  These are personalized with a picture of your child that you upload, and details such as age, birthday, and what they may have done to get on Santa’s nice list this year!
The letter was my (and Lorelei’s) favorite.  She was totally surprised and mystified.  The letter also came with a signed photo of Santa and a Nice List certificate.
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I was a little confused about how the whole phone call thing would work but it’s pretty clever.  You download a free app on your phone and then schedule the call for when you want it to come in.  Then you get a notification when it is scheduled and you have to confirm it.  Once you locate your child you hit a button to accept the call.  And you set a delay that causes a black screen to appear so that it really looks like a phone call coming in!
The video is sent to your email when it is ready and then it’s up to you how and when to share it with your child.  You can purchase it on DVD as well if you like.  The phone call is saved on the app like a voice mail, so you can treasure this experience forever and your child can listen over and over again.
I was impressed by the quality of this product and by the user-friendliness of the process.  I would recommend this either for smaller kids or for fun for non-believers (there are even options aimed specifically at adults!).  I would NOT recommend it to a savvy eight year old who will spot the video/audio editing immediately.
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It’s not too late to order your very own Package from Santa!
Go to the website and save 25% OFF your order when you use FAMS17 at checkout.  Hurry–you have until December 15, 2017!

SPONSORED: Shop Healtop

About six weeks ago I was given the opportunity to try some products from Healtop, which the company’s founder describes as “a company dedicated to increasing health & wellness through natural, efficient and effective proven supplements, vitamins, skincare products, and more.”  You can read more about the people behind Healtop and the philosophy of the company right here.
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As a U.S. Family Guide blogger, I agreed to provide an honest review of the products they sent me.  I picked the bundle of products for women over 45.
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My bundle arrived with the items in pretty floral packaging and I could already smell them before I opened them  (That’s a good thing–I LOVE the way they smell!)  My bundle had face cream, body cream, and a bottle of some kind of liquid supplement called “Balance.”
I didn’t really know what to make of the supplement but I know what to do with face and body creams so I started using those right away.  They are made of all natural ingredients and like I said they smelled wonderful.  I really enjoyed using them,  especially the face cream.  When you get older and your skin gets drier sometimes it has almost a thirsty feeling, you know?  And this cream really satisfies this.  I think coconut oil is its base ingredient and it’s a little hard to get used to because it is kind of shiny going on, but once it is absorbed there is no greasy feel to it at all.
So I loved the externally applied Healtop products, but let’s talk about the supplement.  Balance has a lot of herbs in it you might have heard of like Dong Quai, Black Cohosh, and Elderberry.  I didn’t really know what it was supposed to do, but I said I’d try it so I started taking a dose morning and night (twenty drops of it in water).  I am still taking it and I think I will have to buy more when it’s gone because . . . WOW.
I had to engage in some very physical tasks after I started taking this involving carrying heavy things up steep stairs multiple times for about five days.  Y’all, I had SO MUCH ENERGY.  I have been feeling old and draggy for quite awhile now and all of a sudden I was just invigorated! I wasn’t doing anything different other than taking this Balance stuff.   So I am sold.
If you are lucky enough NOT to be over 45, they haven’t forgotten about you.  Check out these bundles:
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Plus you can buy any products individually.  Take a look right here to see all that Healtop has to offer!
 

SPONSORED: Package from Santa

Anyone my age remembers with what joy and excitement they greeted the arrival of the Sears Wish Book.  My sister and I would sit on the floor, catalog open on the coffee table, feasting our eyes on the offerings and circling things in pen as we paged through.  Next would come the yearly tradition of writing letters to Santa to tell him what we had chosen, letters hopefully dropped into the mailbox with aspirational addresses like “Snowy Lane, North Pole.”  The only answer we expected was the hoped-for gift under the tree.
But what if your children could really get a letter from Santa?  THEY CAN!
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As I’ve mentioned before, I am a U.S. Family Guide blogger and therefore get to share special offers with you in exchange for my honest review.  Today I’m offering you a discount on a very special Christmas experience for your child.  Here’s what the company wants me to share with you:
Start a new and memorable tradition this Christmas with PackageFromSanta.com, the ONLY Santa memory service that does it ALL! Personalized LETTERS, PACKAGES, CALLS and VIDEOS from SANTA! 
Do you want to see your children’s face light up in amazement when they get a personalized letter from Santa Claus? Of course you do! This not just a letter from Santa. It’s an amazing experience – it’s joy, memories, wonder and happiness in a box! You can choose a specific letter theme and then customize it yourself to include details that only Santa would know! 
Every package also comes with a FREE personalized CALL and VIDEO FROM SANTA that can be scheduled any time. 
PFS has an A+ Rating with the BBB due to their unmatched high-touch customer service so you can be confident that you are making a wise purchase. They have real people on the phone ready to help answer questions. 
Click here to see a video to learn more about this very special Santa memory service that will be a part of my family for years to come! 
The Silver Package ($24.95) comes in a red box & includes:
Personalized Letter from Santa
BONUS! Personalized Video from Santa (retail $9.99)
BONUS! Personalized Phone Call from Santa to a cell phone OR land line! (retail $9.99)
Personalized Nice List Certificate
Autographed Santa Claus Photo
Autographed Rudolph Photo
Genuine North Pole Stamp
…and so much more!
It also comes with a 60-Day Money-Back Guarantee. Wow! They are THAT confident your child will LOVE it! 
There are 3 different packages offered, so you can choose a price point that works with your budget.
I will be receiving the Silver package, which I will be receiving for free in exchange for offering this information to you and posting an honest review after my package arrives.
My readers can save with this offer, either now or after you read my review: Order for your child at at PackageFromSanta.com and save 25% OFF when you use FAMS17 at checkout.
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Sponsored Review: LipSense Lasts!

I was a sophomore in high school when I first discovered makeup.  I remember how much fun I had experimenting back then.  I can even remember the name of my favorite lipstick!

Nowadays, though, makeup is a special occasion thing for me.  So you might find it surprising that I am writing a review of a lip product that I received in exchange for my honest opinion.

And it’s a pretty glowing review, y’all.  When I do take time to put on makeup, I reach for lipstick first.  And what’s always so frustrating is how soon the lipstick wears off.  That’s why I am absolutely thrilled with LipSense, which is billed as being “waterproof, kiss-proof, and smear-proof.”  It’s also lead-free, wax free, cruelty free, gluten free, vegan, and kosher.  Pretty impressive, huh?
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As you can see in the picture above, LipSense comes in tubes with an applicator wand.  I received two tubes, one of a color and the second of a gloss.  You apply the color in three layers to start, then wait a few seconds before finishing off with the gloss.  They are meant to be worn together, and there are so many fun combinations of shades you can try.

In case I haven’t been clear, I really love this stuff.  I like the wand because it gives you control to stay in the lines while applying.  I like the colors I chose.  But most of all, I like how long LipSense stays on my lips.  It really does stay on through a good part of a day, even through eating.  The advertising states that it should last for 4-18 hours.  Mine has always lasted longer than four hours.  It’s amazing!

Sponsored: Who Likes to Play Board Games?

Y’all, I loved to play them when I was little.  I was always begging my parents to play, with minimal success.  And now that I have a kid begging me to play LIFE, I totally understand where they were coming from!
There are board games designed to be fun for children and adults of all ages, though, and as a U.S. Family Guide Blogger, I’ve been given the opportunity to share one of them (plus a coupon!) with you!
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Here’s what they want you to know:
Watch Ya’ Mouth Throwdown Edition is the evolution of the original, wildly popular, hilarious Watch Ya’ Mouth game. Rather than just speak phrases, players now go head-to-head with hilarious and challenging tasks – while wearing mouthpieces. Throwdown Edition takes competition – and laughter – to the next level and builds on the multigenerational gaming phenomena.

Throwdown Edition has already been Awarded Top Holiday Toy of 2017 by Toy Insider & selected for the 2017 Amazon Holiday Toy List.Want a hilarious family game to play during the Holidays? Your search is over.
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And my readers can click here to use this discount: 15% off Coupon Code: 15THROWDOWN 
I’ll be receiving this game in exchange for my honest review, which I will post here after my family and I have a chance to play it!
 

KANGEAUX Helps You Go: Sponsored Review

Oh, y’all, I feel so bad about this.  I received this product in exchange for my honest review, and somehow I did not get around to writing the review in a timely manner.  Now it appears that the company may have suspended operations.

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And I hate that, because not only did I like the product, but it’s a Knoxville company (something I didn’t learn until after the fact).

This much of the website is still up and you should take a look.  If you are from Knoxville you will probably see some places you recognize in the promotional video.  If you find the product interesting you might want to follow the company on Facebook in case they make a comeback.

I received two carriers to try, and I gave one to my son who is always doing things like hiking and caving.  He was especially impressed with how strong it was.

I keep mine in my car for hiking.  I’ve used it to carry my phone and my water bottle.  The website suggests tons of other uses.  It is very versatile and yes, quite strong and secure.  I didn’t have any fears that my phone would drop along the trail.

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The company was still operational as late as November so I am still hopeful they will reopen.  Keep your eyes open for Kangeaux products in the future.

3DLIGHTFX 3D Deco Lights: Sponsored Review

So, y’all, I am WAY behind in my reviews for US Family Guide (I am always behind).  I received this product in December in exchange for my honest review.

Here is the company’s description of their unique nightlights:  3DLIGHTFX 3D Deco Lights are the perfect gift. They have a full range of comic book, super hero, Disney Princess, sports and car lights that look as though they are popping right out of the wall! They are battery operated and cool to the touch so you can place them any where in the room! Your kids will love having these in their rooms and they’re also the perfect editions to a den, family room, man’s cave or office!

So, I was pretty excited about this because I requested the Darth Vader light, and John has kind of a thing about Darth Vader.  He already has a 2.5 foot high model that talks standing on his desk.  So this seemed like it would be a great addition.

But then it arrived and we were just kind of underwhelmed.  To be honest, I don’t think I really understood this product completely before I saw it in person.  You are supposed to attach it to the wall and it comes with a transparent sticker to look like it’s bursting through and the wall is cracking.  Which might be cool in a kid’s room but we really didn’t want to do that.  And the mask is asymmetrical because it is supposed to look like it’s only partway through the wall I guess, but since we are not using the sticker it doesn’t make a lot of sense.  It does have light up red eyes but it doesn’t talk to you in Darth Vader’s voice or anything if you are into that sort of thing.

So I guess what I am saying is that there is nothing at all WRONG with this product.  It’s just that we did not like it as much as we were expecting to.  And keep in mind that there are many other options and they may be more appealing to you.  You can check them out right here.

Walk in Her Sandals: A Path to Greater Holiness

Don’t laugh, but high up there on my list of personal goals is a desire for greater holiness.  I’ve known a few holy people in my life–have you?  They radiate peace and God’s love and you feel blessed to be in their presence.  I’d like to be one of those people, but they are rare.

I’d also like to be the kind of person with a prayer routine, or the kind who keeps a prayer journal, or attends daily Mass and/or adoration, or has a spiritual director.  While other women are envious of the well-kept houses and perfectly behaved children they see on Facebook and Pinterest, I’m jealous of the spirituality of the Catholic women I have encountered online.

Wow, how messed up does that sound?

As a someone who delights in reading and learning, you would think that at least I could manage some regular spiritual reading.  Yet the inspirational books with scriptural reflections for each day lie unopened on my nightstand, and my pile of unread religious books grows ever higher.  Whenever I manage to open one of those books, I fall asleep within minutes.

Life is busy and life is hard, and most of the time I have to content myself with at least the notion that I am living my faith through my actions instead of devoting time to prayer and spiritual reading.  I think that’s a bit of a cop out, though, and that’s one reason I was grateful for the opportunity I was given to read A Walk in Her Sandals: Experiencing Christ’s Passion through the Eyes of Women.

In exchange for my honest reflections and as part of my participation in the Siena Sisters blog hop, I received an advance copy of this creative take on the Passion of Jesus.  One thing I AM good with is deadlines so I was able to make time to read this book so I could share it with you.

Not that it was a big sacrifice.  I really enjoyed reading it, and I stayed awake too.  Written in sections by a team of ten Catholic women, this book is meant to be used as a Lenten study, either for an individual or a small group.  It is divided into six chapters, each showcasing a spiritual gift unique to women with accompanying scripture and exegesis, personal reflections, suggestions for prayer, questions for group discussion, and guidance for evangelization.

The heart of the book for me, though, were the stories that make up an imaginative thread that gives the book its title and its life.  Each chapter introduces us to some of the women who knew Jesus or his disciples, and invites us to experience the events of Holy Week through their eyes.  I’ve read things like this before, and they can easily seem a little too precious, but these stories were well done, the women carefully characterized, the narrative compelling and moving as each woman encountered Jesus and His message in her own way.  I just loved these stories.  They really brought the scripture, which  I of course have heard hundreds of times, to life in a new and exciting way for me.

I recommend you go here and order Walk in Her Sandals before Lent.  I plan to read it again myself at that time, and maybe I will be able to move a little further down that road to holiness by Easter.

This post is part of the CWBN Siena Sisters Blog Hop.  Click the picture below to see what everyone else had to say about Walk in Her Sandals.

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