Sunday, 22 July 2012

Product Review - FitBit

Fits in a tiny portion of the palm of my hand!
The Husband was using a pedometer as part of a global challenge to increase the activity level of the employees at work. Throughout our discussions about it, we decided it would be a good thing to continue with after the challenge was over, and I wanted in on it too. Enter... his and hers versions of the FitBit. The FitBit is so small, it barely takes up all of the room up front in the middle of my bra. Yes, that's where I wear it. If you're the braless sort you could always use your belt, but I like the Mae West feeling I get when I check my cleavage for my daily progress.

But the teeny size of it is only one of the many attributes I love about this thing. Within days I knew it was a relationship I wanted to continue (kind of like the one with The Husband) so I signed up for the Premium service almost right away. The detailed analysis lets me see how my calories are spread throughout the day and by nutrient. Feeling puffy? That's because you ate over 3,000 mg of sodium yesterday, silly!

If you're not into excessive tracking (and why wouldn't you be? Numbers are nifty!) you can just use the regular service to learn that yes, you do move less than you should. And that's OK, because once you've got a benchmark, you can work on gradually moving a little more every day. Since I started using it, I've started challenging myself to do things like use the stairs to and from the subway for an additional 10 flights of stairs a day. If I'm a little low on my step count, I go for a walk after dinner. If it's really high, I have a small glass of wine.

I love my FitBit and recommend it to anyone fighting the good fight against the sedentary lifestyle.

This is not a sponsored post, no compensation has been received. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Favors and Flavors: Breastfeeding resources and supplies

“How can something that’s supposed to come naturally be so hard?”

Countless new mothers have asked themselves that question. When I think back to the early days of motherhood, I remember frustration the most. Well, that and sleep deprivation. I delivered via c-section, something known to hinder the production of breastmilk in the early days. I knew breastmilk was the best food for my baby, but my body didn’t get the memo.

I was tempted to pack it in a bunch of times, but something inside me told me I had to keep going. A combination of Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle and A LOT of time with the baby and the breast pump finally did the trick. I went on to have a two-year breastfeeding relationship with my daughter and I don’t regret a single second I spent making it work.

There are a lot of places you can order herbs from online, but I haven’t seen selection like the one available at Favors and Flavors anywhere. Products to increase milk supply, new mom essentials and supportive articles for new parents – it’s all there!

If you’re a new mom in need of breastfeeding resources NOW, check out Favors and Flavors for the help you need at home, without leaving your home.

Disclosure: This content is sponsored by Favors and Flavors. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Monday, 23 April 2012

Incentria pays you to pass the time online

There's roughly a zillion "get-paid-to" sites out there and from what I can tell so far, Incentria is no different. A couple of users have posted testimonials You're never going to be able to quit your day job while earning a penny at a time, even if it is only for 10 seconds of "work."

A word of warning: The ads available for view in the paid to click area have set off my virus protection warning twice. I didn't catch which ad(s) were the culprit, and at the risk of a lengthy restoration process I think I'll avoid trying to duplicate the error.

Having said that, there's banner ads available that I'm testing to see if they have any low-effort, highly lucrative results. I'm running one until the end of May to see if there is any reward. If I do suddenly become a rich beyond my wildest dreams with my Incentria efforts, I'll be sure to fill you in on the details.

Disclosure: This post is not sponsored by Incentria. However, as a member of the program I do earn a small commission if you register using the links provided.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Hotel Review: Hampton Inn, Niagara Falls

Two bedroom family suite. Image from HERE
We were repeat visitors to The Hampton Inn by Hilton at the Falls for Easter weekend. Traveling with children presents unique challenges. When a very little person is tagging along, you've usually got an early bedtime on your hands. A traditional hotel room dictates a vewy, vewy quiet evening for Mom and Dad. For a  reasonable rate, the Hampton offers a two bedroom family suite. I don't know if it's true of all of these rooms, but for both of our stays the room has also had a balcony in an indoor atrium. This allowed us to put our daughter to bed and still have some time together.

The Hampton is located behind the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark Resort. They offer packages for waterpark passes and discounted dining at the resort restaurants. A hearty breakfast is included in the room rate, complete with eggs, omelets and sausage patties. The most pleasant surprise was the fresh fruit station. Fresh fruit? From a free breakfast buffet? It's true! There is otherwise no restaurant in the hotel, but the dining and attractions of Clifton Hill are just a few minutes walk away. Oh, and so are the Falls. It's just up the street from the Rainbow Bridge crossing to Niagara Falls, NY.

The staff is helpful and friendly, even when the request is kind of odd ball ("Where can we find a night light?") and little touches like chocolate Easter eggs for the kids at check in are greatly appreciated. As is the free coffee and tea available when you need a morning pick-me-up. Or an afternoon one. Because though my sleeping quarters were very comfortable, when your child decides 5:30 is the best time to start the day, multiple cups of coffee are the only way to survive. There is also a pool, hot tub and sauna in the indoor atrium. It's a bit noisy sitting on the balcony while the pool is in use, but the 10:00 pool closing time is strictly enforced.

The only thing that made me nervous about the room itself was the TVs on the dressers. For child safety, and since they're flat screens anyway, I'd feel more comfortable if they were wall mounted. Overall, the hotel is reasonably priced, clean, in a great location with free parking, near all the popular, family-friendly attractions of Niagara Falls. I know I'll be staying at The Hampton Inn by Hilton at the Falls for years to come, and highly recommend it to anyone visiting Niagara Falls.

This is not a sponsored post, no compensation has been received. All opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

App of the Week: Flashlight

The first time I saw the Flashlight App I thought it was goofy, but I downloaded it anyway. Because the AppSmitten Newsletter told me it was cool, and I listen to AppSmitten. The "How-To" is pretty self-explanatory. What's not evident on first download is how often you'll use it. Like when you drop your keys in the theatre (at the movie that you learned about on Flixster - see, it call comes together!) or you get halfway up the stairs and your loving spouse turns off the light. It's a simple but effective way to shed a little light on things. Ha! Me so punny.

From the App Store description:

Flashlight uses the LED light on iPhone 4 and fills your screen with bright white light to illuminate your world when you find yourself in a dark spot or concert.

- Use LED light on iPhone 4, including as a strobe light
- Full white screen
- Open to the effect of your choice
- Custom color (defaults to Bondi Blue)
- Slide/flick up and down to dim the screen
- Slide with two fingers to change the speed of effects
- Customize every screen and colors

How do I find out about the latest and greatest in cool apps? OK, this one isn't necessarily "cool," but it sure is handy... Anyway, it's the appSmitten newsletter, a free service that picks the world's finest apps and  delivers them right to my inbox. Pick the device, pick the categories you want to hear about and poof! There they are. Want a summary of your very own? Sign up for the appSmitten newsletter today!

Disclosure: This review is not sponsored by Flashlight. However, I am an AppSmitten affiliate. If you sign up for the newsletter using the link provided, I earn a small commission.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Review: Longo's Chicken Pad Thai Meal Kit

I avoid boxed dinners because the sodium levels are nearly always too high to mesh well with The Husband's high blood pressure. I enjoy cooking from scratch and my family eats well as a result. Having said that, I don't think convenience foods in moderation will pave the path to hell, it's just a matter of finding ones that taste good. I'm a fan of Pad Thai and I was ordering from Grocery Gateway, which is supplied by Longo's, so I thought I'd give their Chicken Pad Thai Meal Kit a shot. 

I will say the ingredients looked fantastic. The vegetables looked crisp and fresh and it was really a appetizing presentation out of the box. It was dead simple to prepare, as a meal kit should be. I know generally North Americans eat more meat products than we should, but it really did seem a little light on the chicken. There were four tenders in a meal kit meant to feed two adults. I think if I were to buy one again, I'd toss in a few frozen shrimp to bulk things up a little.

The most important question is, obviously, how did it taste? It was... OK. I wasn't expecting it to be as good as my favourite Thai restaurant or anything, but I found the seasonings pretty bland, and while the appearance and the freshness of the veggies was a nice surprise, I would have loved to see more of them. At $9.99 for the kit, with 610 mg of sodium per serving and flavour that was just... OK, I don't think I'll be picking this one up again.

This is not a sponsored post, no compensation has been received. All opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, 9 March 2012

App of the Week: Cook's Illustrated - The Best of Everything

Since I post weeknight recipes and meal plans every week on Life with a Parasite - The Facebook Page, you might guess I'm a big fan of all things food. That guess would be correct! When my AppSmitten newsletter arrived this week with the subject line "The best of everything food related" I could barely contain my excitement. Especially when I saw the Cook's Illustrated app.

If you're not a PBS geek, you might not know the wonder of America's Test Kitchen, and that's too bad for you because it's pure foodie gold. They test recipes, gadgets and kitchen wares to share the best and the best value with viewers. The app puts that body of knowledge into your phone! From the website:
  • 50 of our all-time best recipes, covering appetizers and main courses to side dishes, breakfasts, and desserts
  • Browse recipes by cuisine or category
  • Recipe overview videos for every recipe
  • Dozens of taste test reviews for supermarket ingredients
  • Shopping list feature expandable to accommodate additional items
  • Start and manage multiple kitchen timers
  • Organize recipes and ingredient reviews in your “Favorites”
  • Share free recipes and ingredient reviews via email or Facebook
AND! If you already subscribe to (and of course I do!), you get enhanced access:
  • Members can log in to access all members-only recipes and ingredient reviews
  • Favorites content automatically synched up with members' Favorites content organized online
So far my favourite feature is the ability to add items directly from the ingredient list to the shopping list. *Love* I can't wait to get to know this app better. I think we're going to be the very best of friends.

Disclosure: This review is not sponsored by Cook's Illustrated. However, I am an AppSmitten affiliate. If you sign up for the newsletter (and you should, because you learn about awesome apps) using the links provided, I earn a small commission.