Momma Told Me: September 2011

Blog Archive

Friday, September 30, 2011

Sadie Jane: Whimsical Interchangeable Sandals Giveaway and Review~ 10/15

Momma Told Me: You can't wear flip flops with everything!

Don't get me wrong, I love shoes. It's simply that, especially with size 11/12 feet, it's most convenient for me to rely on sandals. A good pair of flip flops in Southern California can get 9+ months of good use throughout the year. They're easy to slip into, light enough to grab and stash on the way to a pedicure, the beach, or event in heels, and often extremely affordable. But, even with nicely groomed toes, there are just some places you can't get away with the look. As a child, school was one of them.

It started with laziness and a distinct dislike of socks. I'm not sure why, exactly, but I have avoided socks at all costs (even in the middle of a Rhode Island Winter), since childhood. Most of the socks Momma would buy were the thick Gold Toe pairs with reinforced seams and a wearable fit that would cramp my feet in already snug shoes. I recall, every summer, Momma and I would walk down to the local pool and I'd happily skip and hop along the scalding pavement barefoot. My feet would touch down on sidewalk, or a patch of shade and I'd dance in place, mentally preparing for the next leg of our journey. But when summer would end the flip flops were hid, and it was back to sneakers for the school year. As I grew, which I did often and fast, I quickly learned I would never enjoy the variety of footwear my female peers did. Time after time Momma encouraged me to shop 'boys' departments simply to find a shoe that would fit. So, as an adult, I suppose I've rebelled. Sure, I have a nice collection of expensive 'dress' shoes, but for the most part I rely on my toes to complete my day to day looks.

As much as this Pacific Coast gal loves sandals, and flip flops specifically, I'll freely admit they have their downfalls. Thanks to their price point, they're easy to collect, though it's hard to rely on a single band of plastic or fabric for stylized finishing. Nearly every pair I've ever owned has had the same, chaffing, plastic band in clear, black, or white. And, while it's fun to have prints and characters on the sole, realistically nobody ever sees them. That is precisely where the ingenious styling of Sadie Jane Sandals comes in. They're comfortable, customizable, foam based sandals for the modern woman (or gal). In fact, Sadie Jane takes flip flop clip ons to a whole new level with a shoe system that features two separate parts. Owners can collect soles in various colors, flats, or wedges, as well as choose and swap the fabric ties that turn foam sole into chic fashion.

Sadie Jane sandals offer multiple ways to customize your casual footwear look, though the center of their concept lies within the re-moveable, tie-able, fabric that encourages expression and effectively meets any fashion need. Because no Sadie Jane creations are set in stone you can begin styling with your very first pair. Simply choose a base (black/brown, flat/wedge), then browse the 19 fabrics known as 'scarfs'. Much like an actual scarf, these scraps of fabric serve to dress your feet, and your ankles, when worn in countless arrangements such as the 'Gladiator'. And, while Sadie Jane offers plenty of step-by-step videos to achieve looks such as 'The Diamond' and 'The Triple Twist', perhaps the most fun is the fact you can create your own original looks as well. Pick an inspired print from a collection that spans tropical, modern, and animal themes, then lace up your Sadie Jane's for an affordable Sandal that's anything but boring.

I received a pair of Black Sadie Jane Flats with a Kauai Cutie scarf for review here on Momma Told Me. Soles are available in Women's sizes up to 12, and in Girl's 1- 12/13, for that perfect fit you rarely find in a foam based sandal. While you can shop each piece individually, the ordering system makes it easy to view magnified photos of scarfs within the Sole ordering page. Also unique for a flip flop style shoe, is the option to include a 2" Wedge Sole. Each Sadie Jane order includes a sturdy, laminated, reference card with quick tying tips- no experience necessary! The bottom of my flats are also textured for a little extra grip (though the way I wear my flip flops, this will be gone in no time!). Pairs come styled in traditional 'Triple Twist' style which reminds me most of classic flip flop shoes. The scarf itself easily threads through 3 elastic notches, and is very flexible, making it a breeze to wrap and tie.

While the provided instructions, and step-by-step videos make it easy to follow basic styling, I enjoyed experimenting the most. Because the scarf can be doubled, or worn at full length, the shoes offer a versatile wrap-around option that reminds me of Gladiator or Ballerina fashions. The biggest plus? With well endowed, size 11/12, feet I ca often feel self conscious about wearing sandals. Sadie Jane enables me to tie and wrap the scarf in ways that, I feel, make my feet look less long, and more feminine. The scarfs are also extremely comfortable to wear, soft against the skin, and made from a breathable polyester blend. The soles themselves are a little rigid to break into, but seem to wear well and form to one's foot. With an asking price of $30 for a Flat Pair (includes 1 scarf) and $36 for a Wedge Pair, I'm on the edge about the price. However, in general, a good pair of foam based sandals can last me years of daily use, and I love that I can also buy 'bling' alongside my scarves. In general, I love the concept and product, but hope to see the collection grow more, to continue the interest in swapping looks.

What Daughter Says: Thanks to Sadie Jane you can enjoy the convenience and comfort of Sandals with the freedom to change your mood, and look.

One Momma Told Me follower will win a pair of Sadie Jane Sandals!

Friday Giveaway Link Up/ LINKY

Blog POP! has officially announced their Winter Event, titled 'Christmas Wishes', the general theme will be luxury gifting. Expect some awesome prizes and product features! (Momma's already booked and typing up posts!) Keep an eye out for our adorable custom buttons, and be sure to drop by the Facebook page and say 'Hi'!

A reminder that you may browse hundreds of giveaways, daily link ups, and giveaways at our other blog Just Contest Stuff! Use the easy submit tabs at the top of Just Contest Stuff to submit your own giveaways for more exposure!

Enjoy the LINKY !

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sante Gourmet Snack and Salad Nuts, Giveaway and Review~ 10/14

Momma Told Me: Celebrate Life.

The concept behind Sante Nuts is a simple one. Live each day to it's fullest, and never take a single hurdle, breath, or moment for granted. All that from a company that produces nuts? Absolutely! And, while Momma most certainly does not go around handing out daisies and hugs, her personal symbol is the circa 70's 'peace' sign. An image that defined an era, and an attitude to love one another and not sweat the small stuff. After all, when you've had a life like Momma's it's hard to validate getting upset over spilt milk, or an appointment missed. The fact is that every day is a challenge, and brings forth it's own seat of experiences for the purpose of learning, living, and growing. Even during our toughest days we stick it out, knowing, there is almost always something beyond it.

Sante Nuts creator, Sara Tidhar, understands this through her relate-able trials as a single mother and provider for her children. In 2005, the newly divorced mother added another title to her list of roles; entrepreneur. She began to cook, until she, with the encouragement of her children, devised a way to generate extra income. Sara would produce her roasted nuts, in small batches, with her grandmother's recipes, and sell them locally for extra income. As it turned out, her grandfather had also dealt in spices, by trade, and she was quite skilled with the process of seasoning. In an attempt to turn a new leaf, in a tough time, she sought to honor her heritage and family with roasted snack nuts unlike any other on the market.

As these stories tend to go, word of Sara's seasoned nuts began to spread, and a following quickly grew. Before long her small time sales to local Silicon Valley cafes had spread to a full on roasting endeavor. When a National Grocery chain sampled these delicious blends it was all over, poor single-mom Sara was bombarded with orders for cases (by the hundreds). Overwhelmed, it was time for more than a brand name, but the institution of a snack staple company, and Sante Specialty Nuts was born. Many of the first employees hired to Sante still work for Sara, now six years later, and the brand exemplifies perseverance and celebration in even the roughest times. Using her grandmother's recipes, Sara ensures all of her nuts are still slow roasted by hand in small batches. Because her recipes call for less (organic canola) oil, these blends tend to be lower in fat, and offer packages with more nut per ounce. Many of the blends feature an additively sweet, wafer thin, coating of sugar that provides a satisfying crunch fans enjoy on the go and in salads.

I received a sampling of 4 Sante varieties for review here on Momma Told Me; Candied Pecans, Candied Walnuts, Garlic Almonds, and Roasted Salted Pecans. The website seems to lack a product locator, and refers the customer to an online based storefront. This makes me wonder if Sante nuts are sold in grocery chains, as the tale began, or if Sara has chosen to distribute Sante exclusively online. In either case, these 4-5oz pouches are entirely resealable, thanks to an easy open zipper, and retail around $4.29-$5.29/unit. I'm glad the price point is so reasonable because after trying them, I can see how they'd become addictive as a snack. The portion is generous, but it's not a far stretch to think I could consume an entire pouch in one sitting (they're that good). As far as pitching these candies nuts for cooking, or salads, they're premium in flavor and quality, but would be well marketed in an alternate 'topping' format. I have to manually crumble and crush the nuts when baking and serving them in salads. It's not a big deal, but having them pre-crushed is an additional option I'd gladly pay for.

When it comes to playing favorites, this was a hard one. Each flavor was dramatically different, and well suited to various cravings. I enjoyed that nearly all nuts, for snacking, where whole, with very few broken or fragmented nuts. This is no doubt thanks to the small batch attention each variety receives. Sante's Candied Pecans are sweetened with pure cane sugar and considered all natural, gluten free, and kosher. Here the texture of the nut is the primary champion with a delightful crunch that engages and adds instant character to any dish. The brand's Garlic Almonds pack the zing of much more than garlic, with a tangy blend of herbs and spices that reminds me of old fashioned Italian Comfort Foods. They're the perfect go-to snack to curb tough afternoon cravings and have surprising warmth that sneaks up on you! And, because Sante Nuts are so inspiring, the website features a variety of mouthwatering recipes just about anyone can pull off. Read up on Food and Wine pairing suggestions, or submit your own recipe for further interaction, and remember to always celebrate life! Now through December 16th, 2011 save 25% on your orders through with Coupon Code 2011-Blog-044.

What Daughter Says: Sante's inspired candied nuts demonstrate a passion and perseverance that's present in each bite. Celebrate healthy, flavorful, snacking with Sante!

One lucky Momma Told Me follower will win a 3 Pack of their choice of Sante nuts!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pür Minerals: 5 Piece Beauty-To-Go Collection Giveaway And Review~ 10/12

Momma Told Me: It would be nice if cosmetics could actually make your skin healthier; instead of simply covering up the flaws, actually fixing them.

I love color. I was one of those little girls who would try to 'dye' Barbie's hair with fruit juice and markers, or doodle elaborate faux tattoos out of boredom in class. Perhaps it was the creative gene I inherited from Momma, or purely a method of escape from a reality I found far too rigid and dull. Interestingly enough I had little interest in shadow or blush, when I finally became of age to wear them. The entire concept of cosmetics, for beauty, was overwhelming to me. Momma hadn't been the sort to sit me down and discuss the season's latest trends, while braiding my hair, and swapping makeup techniques. And, while I loved to make everything and everyone else colorful, I was too introverted to express myself on my own canvas. In high school I was afraid wayward eyeliner or excessive rouge could damage my already fragile social status, and my skin rebelled enough, without being caked in a myriad of chemicals and synthetics.

Today, I look forward to putting makeup on. Not as a necessity because I feel baron without it, but because I embrace the opportunity to express myself on an ever changing canvas. And while my fickle skin has cooled considerably since school, I've still inherited Momma's sensitive pores. While I'd love to say I can spend $20 on a palette of 200 shades, and get away with actually using it- the occasions where that is true are few and far between. Luckily, since switching to an all mineral cosmetic line-up, my complexion's been much more stable. The unfortunate thing about mineral based cosmetics if that it often requires 'brand shopping'. While I love the ease of wear for one company's foundation, they may have a limited, or non existent, selection of shadows or blush. Many companies are also branching out to include mineral cosmetics, which serves to further saturate the market with ubiquitous claims that serve no purpose other than to confuse the consumer with a smoke and mirror effect.

My suggestion, facing this, is to invest in a Starter Kit of Mineral Cosmetics. This option is budget friendly, and enables you to sample a variety of products to cherry pick what works best for you, and establish a brand loyalty. It's my general opinion that brands which specialize in Mineral Based Cosmetics alone are more likely to have a better grasp of formulations and execution, though you will occasionally find a hidden gem amongst an unlikely source. One thing is for certain, though; mineral cosmetics are usually lumped at the top of the price point chain. A few years back, I believe it was on some form of late night programming, I was introduced to PUR Minerals. The rambling infomercial was one of the first promoting mineral cosmetics, and I was quite the mineral virgin. It was partially due to this programming that I established a general belief that mineral cosmetics could not only flawlessly cover, but repair and protect the skin. And that is where a correction needs to be made. Beware imitations, PUR Minerals is the original, and only, brand that harneses powerhouse ingredients, such as Ceretin Complex and Waltheria Extract to work behind the scenes to correct, prevent and interrupt your skin concerns–from lines and discoloration to blemishes and more!

It wasn't long after that night that I received a PUR Minerals Starter Kit as a gift from a thoughtful relative. The compacts seemed miniscule, and I was skeptical of a product that promised to make my skin more beautiful immediately, and continue to work on it's health during wear. As it turns out their Original 4-In-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup Foundation was not only free of harsh chemical dyes, alcohol, fragrances, or preserves, but went on so light it was hard to tell I was even wearing makeup! It was also incredibly clean in application, and the brand's 'Dip, Draw, Dust' practice is one I still use today. Both PUR Minerals Primers and Powders feature vitamin enriched formulas and powerful age defying compounds that nourish the skin, in addition to aid a complete beauty finish. In clinical studies and trials over 89% of women surveyed said they experienced noticeable improvement in skin clarity, and 95% reported a decrease in the visibility of fine lines upon using PUR Minerals for a period of 8 weeks.

Thanks to our connection with Rafflecopter, our wonderful giveaway engine, we had a chance to receive the (yet to hit shelves) NEW 5 Piece Beauty-To-Go Collection! Soon to replace the brand's Start Now Collection, this kit carries a retail value near $70, and will emerge with an introductory price of $37. As a prior PUR convert, and supporter of mineral based cosmetics, I highly encourage any new, or experienced, mineral users to invest in this brand's starter kit. It's rare a mineral company offers a sampler of their products at such a steep discount, and most consumers gladly pay retail value for the chance to merely try quality mineral cosmetics. This particular 5 Piece Collection includes; Correcting Primer, 4-In-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup, Mineral Glow, Mascara and Chisel Brush with 10 skin tone options. The entire kit comes bundled in a gift ready box with chic pink packaging and easy to follow PUR application tips, for flawless coverage.

Interestingly I found the Mineral Makeup and Glow portions seemed more significant than my initial starter kit, years back. It's hard to get hung up on quantity, when the formula wears and covers so smooth, but you can expect .15oz of product. The sleek silver toned compacts are plastic, with clear viewing windows. I would have preferred to find a mirror on the inside, but understand the cut when marketing such high end cosmetics at a starter discount. A big plus here is the inclusion of SPF-15 protection! PUR's Chisel Brush is a must have, for application, and very versatile. The easy to grip, wide base, enables angled application and easy jawline navigation. It's also precisely the perfect width for my T-Zone, making highlights a breeze. PUR's Correcting Primer is a slick, quick absorbing, formulation that I feel enhances the overall impact of their Foundation and Glow. Without it the impact seems less dimensional, and I believe pre-powder application should always be followed with a proper barrier for continued pore health.

In general, the mascara tends to stick out as the weak link here. It doesn't quite fit in with the other products, and is lacking my familiar angled brush. The benefit, though, is that it's ultra-compact for stashing in a pocket, or purse for emergency touch-ups. In all, I have a very fair complexion, and struggle often with various 'glow' products. They either make me look orange, or burnt. PUR Minerals wears very light, and layers beautifully, for a natural look that highlights physical features and beauty, more than covering it up. The result is a soft finish that's extremely feminine and touch worthy. I've trusted the brand with my foundation for years and am happy to report their product and efforts have not changed. The Start Now, 5 Piece Beauty-To-Go Collection is a wonderful gift for the upcoming holiday season, or affordable treat to one's self.

What Daughter Says: Discover Mineral Makeup that can actually work to repair your skin, while providing flawless coverage. Give PUR Minerals a test drive with one of their affordable Starter Kits.

One Momma Told Me follower will receive a PUR Minerals 5 Piece Beauty-To-Go Collection, thanks to PUR Minerals and Rafflecopter!