Uncommon Goods Gift Ideas & Giveaway

Christmas is right around the corner and it's high time to finish up the gift buying for this year. I'm not one to spend tons on presents, I really think the season is more about being together.

I also think that if you're going to give something, make it something that person could use or might want. Goodness knows I've gotten my hands on a few things throughout past Christmas's that were less than stellar. (See also... things I found out I was allergic to. Those are the most joyful gifts of all.)

The other type of best gift is the kind I would never find myself but I would love to have found. My mother is great at those gifts, I on the other hand didn't inherit her gift giving ability.

Which makes it all the better than I found a great site that has a variety of products. If y'all are anything like me, it's a little annoying to have to order from 10 different places. I really prefer to get everything done at one time.

So without further rambling from me, here are a few of my favorite gift ideas for this season... all from Uncommon Goods.

To make it more interesting, I'll share my favorite's from Uncommon Good's Christmas Gift sections and then you can share your favorites with me... and there may be a little surprise in it for you at the end. 
1. Coal Gum
2. Healing Stone Mugs
3. State Dish Towels
4. Scratch Map
5. Woodland Animal Pincushion

Every single year for Christmas Jeremy gets some type of coal in his stocking so I couldn't pass adding that to my list of favorites.

When I saw the Healing Stone Mugs the hippie deep within me got really excited. Pregnancy has definitely heightened my hippie-ness. These would be absolutely perfect for the slight hippie to the full fledged hippie in your life. They're just so different, I love the look of the mugs, but the story behind them in just as interesting.

There is also no denying that state anything is popular right now, I've seen shirts and jewelry all over creation. Not only did I find some really neat looking state dish towels, Uncommon Goods also carries region, country, and city. Plus there are aprons! Don't even get me started on aprons.

When I saw the little fox and mouse pincushions I immediately thought of my mother. She always had the tomato pincushion at her sewing machine. Being the child that constantly shoved all her pins deep within the pincushion, I couldn't help but think that she couldn't help but appreciate the gesture of getting some cute new pincushions from her awful-pincushion-treating child.

6. Tube Wringer
7. Love Letter Napkins
8. Oyster Garlic Grater and Oil Dipping Dish
9. Shark Socks

I love the toothpaste tube wringer idea for a stocking stuffer. I remembered hearing year ago that Prince Charles is so cheap that he uses one. Plus this one looks really retro, and I love anything retro. 

The love letter napkins isn't something I'd buy for anyone on my buying list, but more of something I wouldn't mind seeing in my own stocking. I'm a sucker for Sonnets and love old romance, especially how people wrote letters year ago. We just don't do that anymore, but the love letter napkins are a really neat conversation starter for dinner. Especially for a Valentine's dinner setting.

I've seen dipping bowls, and I've seen garlic graters (see also that awful garlic press in my drawer currently - I need this Jeremy) but I haven't seen a grater/dipping bowl combo. I can just imagine grating in some fresh garlic with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar and eating a whole loaf of crusty bread all by myself. If you have a foodie in your life who lives in the kitchen, get them this. The best part is that Uncommon Goods has several of these at different price points... and you can also use them for ginger.

Shark socks, you may be wondering why on earth I would have socks on a favorite gifts list. Well it's a little tradition that I put some funky dress sock in Jeremy's stocking. Turns out he likes them enough to wear them, and this particular shark pair would make a really neat ice breaker. In all seriousness, people are going to say something to you if you are wearing interesting socks. There were even shark slippers, and baby shark slippers. Swoon!

Now I'm more than happy to support a company just because they have cute stuff, but there is so much more to Uncommon Goods.

For one, they are a US based company out of Brooklyn. Their lowest paid seasonal workers start at 50% above minimum wage. They support artists and designers, and half of what they sell is handmade.  If the handmade fact doesn't make you hippie happy, 1/3 of their entire collection incorporates recycled or upcycled materials. 

And all the hippies said Amen. 

They do their best as a company to impact the world in a positive way and have a few Non-Profits to boot; RAINN, American Forests, Women for Women International, and Reach Out and Read's. 

I really love the push for companies in our generation to support charities and create a movement back towards US made goods . Which is why I'm more than happy to support a company like Uncommon Goods. Now not only are they awesome and I've spent far too many hours browsing their website, Uncommon Goods is also giving away a $50 gift certificate. Just enter using the widget below and I'll announce next Monday who won!

I was compensated for writing this post about Uncommon Goods. All opinions are my own. 

Purina One 28 Day Challenge

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Purina One, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #ONEDifference http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

If you've read this blog for more than the past few minutes you've probably heard me talk about my dogs. 

Ellie being the queen bee, I've had the old woman since right before I turned 20 and this year she is turning 8... in two short months. So as you can probably guess the little things are starting to show age like her skin and coat. 

Hence the need to change things up a bit, and Purina One's 28 Day Challenge sounded like the perfect test run to see if her food was effecting her, or just how much it was. So off I went to start the challenge, or more like I sent Jeremy to get the food since I had the flu the day we started!

As far as her diet goes she's been a Purina dog since day one, except for a 30 day stint after Maddie died.

She was so depressed that her best friend died that I had to supplement with soft dog food so she'd think it was a treat and eat. Then it was right back to Purina for her.

So when that happened a year ago I talked to a dog nutritionist about what to do and she suggested a better blend of food. Apparently what's commonly offered on the market has a ton of fillers and you'll see your dog eating more of it verses the better varieties of food.

When we initially started the challenge she wasn't too happy with me.

How do I know? Well Ellie doesn't lack in the quirky personality area, she tried to take the food out of the bowl and leave it in my kitchen floor.

I'm not kidding you when I say she's stubborn.

Somewhere in her "Where's my food!" temper tantrum she found out she loved the little lamb bits in the flavor I bought her.

So she ate all the lamb bits, like a little kid hunting for the toy in a box of cereal with marshmallows.

After a few days her insistence that I put her food back in her bowl subsided and she started eating the rest of it. I'm telling you from my experience, it's the only way to win the war with this dog. She's a creature of habit and if you try to break that habit she makes it known! If you want to change the habit you have to outlast her wild ideas of how to break you of that idea.

I won, just so we're clear.

This little hot mess! Notice the triangle of food on the floor. 

When we started the 28 Day Challenge there was a lot I wasn't happy about with her skin. She's always had skin issues, I've tried oatmeal baths, and everything other crazy thing the Internet told me to do. Nothing worked. 

Her hair was also becoming an issue, it was obviously aging and not as soft as it once was. It looked dull and was looking worse as it grew out. 

Ellie's eyes were also showing some age to them, they weren't nearly as bright as they were when she was a puppy. 

Last but surely not least, her weight. She had some extra pudge for sure, nothing big, but enough to get on my radar. Doxies are prone to gain like crazy and it's awful for their backs. 

This is Ellie's please stop taking pictures of me look! Or give me a cookie now, however you prefer to take it. 

Post challenge I can tell a huge difference in Ellie. Her hair is darker and softer. It doesn't look as dull as it did when we started the challenge. 

My absolute favorite change, that I didn't notice until we were gone to Puerto Rico for a week, is that her skin has cleared up. No more scaly patches! Just a smooth puppy dog under all that hair. 

Ellie's eyes look much brighter, and her weight is down a little (I attribute that to the quality of the food being so good that she doesn't need to eat as much to be satisfied). 

The puppy dog's energy levels are even up, whether that be a good thing or not depends on it you live with her. More energy means more energy to express her self. Below is a depiction of how she felt about photos. As in, "Oh you'd like me to sit there with the food in the back? How about here with the food in the front?" 

While we were cleaning the couch this weekend she sat behind me "talking" to complain of the noise level from the upholstery cleaner. Those energy/spunky levels are definitely up! 

My parent's dog Rudy is now on week 3 of the 28 Day Challenge and from what I hear he is loving it! We are going to have a family of Purina One puppies around here.

To get a coupon for $3 off your own bag of Purina One to start the 28 Day Challenge follow this link:: http://www.purinaone.com/ONEDifference

You can also find more information on Purina One's Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. 

I'd love to know what you think about the Purina One dog food and to hear that your family has started the challenge. So be sure to come back and comment telling me about your experience! 

The Summer Slim Down & 7-Up Ten Cake

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #TENways

Some of you may know, but not be painfully as aware of it as I am... but we are going to Puerto Rico in a little over two months. 

Just, oh, the pinnacle of swim suit season. 

This slightly Puerto Rican, Puerto Rican (my dad is Puerto Rican) girl is refusing to go to the motherland looking like I just ate a moose and crawled my miserable way back from the bleak winter of the north. 

No, I demand I go out in style not feeling like a bear in hibernation mode. 

Slimming Down for Summer with DPSG Core Four Ten Products

I've enacted a few things to cut back and slim up for summer. 

One of those is replacing a meal or two with a green smoothie. I've also started calorie counting, but also watching my carb/protein intake at the same time. It's easy for me to get carbs, but heavens I can't eat enough protein. 

I really have to be mindful of it. 

There is only one issue with mentally knowing that I'm cutting back. 

I start looking for ways to cheat my heart out. I can't help it, when I say no my mind says cake. 

I did happen to find one awesome "cheat" option that is only ten calories while shopping at Walmart. 

Slimming Down for Summer with DPSG Core Four Ten Products

The biggest problem for my brain is when a snack tastes diet. 

We all know what diet tastes like... fake, slightly cardboard-ish. It's just not good. 

If you happen to love soda though, the Four DPSG Ten beverages are the way to go. A girlfriend of mine recently tried to cut out soda since it's so high calorie. For a mere 10 calories she could still be drinking her beloved Sunkist at lunch every single day without guilt. 

Obviously you've noticed the 10 calorie 7-Up in my photo, and I did say there were four drink options. The others happen to be Sunkist, A&W, and Canada Dry. 

As soon as I  saw the list of drinks that Dr. Pepper Snapple Group had in their Core Four Ten I was instantly hooked, orange soda and lemon lime are my go-to drinks when I want a soda. Plus I adore Canada Dry when I'm not feeling well. 

Jeremy is a root beer person so the A&W was definitely up his ally. (He quit drinking soda several months back due to the calories.)

I chose to bring home the Four DPSG Ten 7-Up first, and honestly I was sure it would be just me drinking this whole case. My husband hates, and I mean HATES diet drinks. He cringes at sugar free and absolutely refuses to use fake sweeteners. I was a bit surprised though, he has drank nearly the entire case and I can count what I've had on a few fingers. (Update: he drank the whole case)

So if that doesn't tell you that the Four Ten beverages are full flavor and are on par with their full calorie counterparts I don't know what will. I seriously can't tell a difference when I compare the Four Ten 7-Up to the original. 

Citrus Angel Food Cake | made with 7-Up TEN #TENways #PMedia #ad via @labride

With a whole case of 10 calorie 7-Up sitting in the fridge, quickly being guzzled by my husband, I had to think of a recipe I could make with it. 

Y'all know how I am. 

If you recall I made these biscuits a few months back that involve 7-up, and would have a big calorie reduction if you're dying for biscuits this close to swim suit season and use the ten calorie 7-Up. 

The biscuits were already made, but I remembered I hadn't had my grandmother's Citrus Angel Food Cake in literally 5 years. 

So instead of buying a cake from the store and slicing it up, I decided to add a little more citrus flavor by using a can of Four DPSG Ten 7-Up in the cake. I must say, it didn't disappoint and I actually prefer the flavor the 7-Up added to the Angel Food Cake. 

It definitely made for a light spring/summer dessert that I plan on making again for the entire family at Easter. At least with this lower calorie light dessert we can chomp away slightly less guilty before packing to run off to Puerto Rico for swim suit season. 

Citrus Angel Food Cake | made with 7-Up TEN #TENways #PMedia #ad via @labride

Citrus Angel Food Cake

1 box of Angel Food Cake mix
1 12 oz can of 7-Up TEN
2 11oz cans of mandarin oranges, drained
8 oz container of whip topping (from the frozen food section)

Mix together cake mix and 7-Up in a large bowl following cake mix box directions. Bake according to directions as well. When cake is done allow to cool upside down on a heat proof bottle. (I used a glass hot sauce bottle that fit the opening in the pan.) After cooling slice the cake through the middle and separate the sections.  On the bottom half of the cake arrange most of the mandarin oranges in a single layer, then spoon on half of the whip topping and spread it out evenly. Place top layer back onto the cake and spoon on the remaining whip topping, spreading it around evenly. Decorate the top with remaining mandarin oranges. 

I like to chose the 12 best looking orange slices for the top to remind myself that this serves 12, it definitely helps keep me mindful of portion control. 

This can be subbed for other cake flavors and Four DPSG Ten drink flavors, however, the cake mix and soda are the only ingredients in the cake. Do not add oil or eggs. 


Now if you plan on buying some of the Four DPSG Ten drinks a coupon would definitely help, who doesn't love a discount. 

To get the coupon click here, it will take you to a $0.50 off the purchase of TWO 2 Liter bottles or TWO 4-pack cans of 7UP TEN, A&W TEN, Canada Dry TEN, RC TEN or Sunkist TEN soda. However, if you were to share that digital coupon via email, FB, Twitter (there is a click to share function) you will get brought to a coupon that will get $1.50 off that purchase rather than just $0.50.

The coupon will be available from March 27 to April 17, while supplies last. 

Which of the Four Ten Calorie DPSG products are you the most happy to see offered at 10 Calories? 7UP, Sunkist, A&W and Canada Dry

Embeding Your Memories with YesVideo

When we were growing up my grandparents splurged and bought a video camera, like the big ole bulky black video camera.

The thought reminds me of Full House episodes when the dad is recording the kids.

For years we recorded little life events on VHS, then they upgraded to the smaller camcorder that required a different tape.

It was slightly fancier, but I still cherished those early videos.

To this day I still remember the Christmas my grandparents bought the camera, it was also the Christmas we all got roller blades.

Oh those roller blades! I actually made Jeremy buy me a pair for my birthday last year.

I'm a non-athletic roller blading nerd. There, I've said it, it's out in the open.

I love roller blading but totally suck at it.

If it wasn't for the video I sent in to YesVideo there would be no reliving those days of roller blading up and down the levee... where after picking up so much speed I could only roll into the grass to crash/stop.

The video below is actually one of the 3 highlight videos that were included in my transfer. With it you get a little glimpse into our life in the 90's, it's involved a lot of skating, fireworks, spaghetti, and apparently a temper-tantrum in the closet from my cousin Chris. 
Several months ago I first heard of YesVideo while at a blog conference and was then contacted by a blog friend about sending in a video to them. I absolutely love the concept and quickly received my videos back in DVD form.

There were sharing options online, and YesVideo would even load a clip or two to YouTube for you. It was fabulous and I couldn't think of anything they could do better, until I was told they added an embed feature to their site.

Now, instead of just sharing through Facebook and email I can add in the html right to my own blog posts.

It's actually super easy to do. First sign into your account and click the Watch tab. Once you're there you can chose any clip or chapter you like, or even make a shorter snippet to share.

After you've chosen your footage click the "get embed code" at the bottom of the screen.

After clicking "get embed code" you'll see this pop up...

Copy and paste that code right into your site and you will have your home movies right! 
It's seriously that simple.

With YesVideo's new embed code y'all are a lot more likely to see the silly stories I talk about, rather than just reading the words. We all know pictures are better than typed words, and videos are better than pictures. So save your memories and send in your old home videos.

Plus I didn't know this until after I had sent in my video, but after signing up I started getting discount offers every week... and we all know how much we love a good emailed discount code.

Have you used YesVideo? If you could save one family memory what would it be? 

I was compensated for writing this post about YesVideo's new embed feature. All opinions are my own.

Influenster JaDore Voxbox Review

As part of a little Valentine Day fun I recently received the JaDore Voxbox from Influenster. 

I swear these boxes are like a drug, everything in them is affordable and I always instantly have to have more the minute I run out. 

This particular box, before completing my entire review I had run out of one product and bought more, it's that good. 

So what was in this box? Let's get right to the important stuff...

Boots Botanics Shine Away Ionic Clay Mask

This is a mineral rich clay mask, and I'll warn you ahead of time... the texture isn't as thick as you usually get. However, it works better than any other clay mask I ever used, so much so I've used it once a week for nearly a month now and could seriously tell a difference the week I didn't have time to use it. The oceanic clay in this mask exhibits a negative charge that helps to draw out impurities. You can honestly see that it did it's job when you take it off, my blackhead are always gone. It doesn't dry out your skin at all, so much so that I had to remind myself to put on my night cream about 10 minutes later. 

For the price of this, and the fact that it works so well, I'd say ditch whatever mask you're using if you have acne prone or hormonal skin and buy a case of this. I'll definitely be hunting more down when I run out. 

Hershey's Kisses

Do I even need to say what I think about Hershey's? They are addictive and I've never eaten a bad one. I actually caught myself midnight snacking on these last night and completely forgot about my chocolate binge until I was in the shower trying to remember what I needed to log in food app.... turns out those little Kisses almost slipped past my memory. 

Frizz Ease 3-Day-Straight Flat Iron Spray

It says that price on the card, but I paid around $8 for some at WalMart. This stuff, oh my word I am addicted to this! Since moving to South Louisiana 3 years ago I have hated every non winter month with a vengeance. Humidity is an understatement here, but this little bottle of happiness has solved that. My hair literally will stay straight all day long, no kinking, no funky cow lick curling... straight. Now it will stay for 3 days, I can't go that long without washing my oil prone scalp, but it was board straight for two days even with sleeping in a pony tail and putting my bangs back in a clippy. I was actually planning to spend major bucks for a Keratin treatment and was looking to book an appointment when I got this in the mail. This happens to be the little bottle I ran out of and recently replaced, I am not kidding when I say that if they ever try to take this off the market I will do a major over stock up of it! 

Kiss Looks So Natural Lashes

Everyone seems to be into false eyelashes these days, but for a non-Real Housewives of Anywhere lady it just isn't a daily option. I remember trying some on year ago and they looked so awful and fake. These actually look better than my real lashes because the ends are tapered. They are also very lightweight and not overly noticeable, at least in the sense that you look ridiculous and have on fake lashes in the most obvious way possible. These happen to be sold at CVS and Walgreens nationwide, so they are easy to track down and get a few more sets! 

Red Rose Simply Indulgent Teas

$4.99 for a carton of 20
I was sent their Creme Caramel and the Lemon Chiffon. Personally I'm a caramal flan flavor maniac and the Creme Caramel was right up my ally. These teas are amazingly tasty and caffeine free, so you can feel like you're indulging at night before bed and not stay awake for hours (like coffee does me). I even added some of my caramel coffee syrup to it and it just make it even tastier! 

Vaseline Men Spray Lotion

Jeremy doesn't use much lotion so I was a little worried I wouldn't get him to try this out, it was quite the opposite of that. While he won't let me video him using it, he isn't a fan of being all over my blog and social media, he has kept this bottle on his bathroom counter since we got it in the mail... meaning he loves it. I even tried it out, before reading about the scent, and it is a wonderful moisturizer. I need to go and get some of this that's intended for women so I don't smell so manly the next time I use it. Most men I know are bad about moisturizing, this product can solve that. With easy application and a great smell men will love it.

Of the products mentioned, which are you the most likely to try?  

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Original BOS Review

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While I was not compensated monetarily for this review, I was provided the product from Original BOS. 

Before I even get started about what I think about Original BOS, I know it's intended mainly for whiskey but I'm not exactly a drinker. I just personally really dislike ice.

Original Balls of Steel happens to be a drink cooler meant to replace ice.

Therefore, it's a match made in my ice disliking drink heaven.

Which mainly consists of water and lemonade, but I don't like my lemonade watered down any less.

This product is also mainly marketed towards men, but I happen to not be one of those? Well, I'll point this out to you, who buys gifts for our men? The women.

Original Balls of Steel also does something as I company I can gladly support, cancer. Granted the support is for testicular cancer, but cancer none the less. Being from a family that appears to be partial towards cancer (breast & prostate) I am more than happy to promote anyone who helps fight the cause by giving money towards research.

It just so happens that their product quite hilariously fits their cancer cause.

Back to Balls of Steel though, when I pulled up in my driveway a week or so ago I knew just what sitting at my door and couldn't wait to pop it into the freezer.

Original BOS touts to chill drinks quickly without dilution. After 90 minutes in my freezer I quickly popped them into some room temperature water just to see how well they worked.

I wasn't too concerned with whether or not it was watering anything down at the moment, let's be honest ice in water isn't exactly the enemy.

With a minute or so of plopping BOS into my glass drinking glass none the less I was not only glad my glass didn't shatter, I was soon sipping on cool tap water. Score! Needless to say they've since dwelled in my 32 oz water bottle I tote to work everyday.

So, they work, but why buy them over those plastic cubes you can get a the grocery store every summer?

For one they look way nicer, and you can get them engraved. Unlike the plastic ice cubes these chill for much longer.

Next up, those whiskey stones that were popular for so long... BOS not only cools better, they also weigh less. Plus they don't pick up freezer odor like those nasty stones tend to do. It doesn't hurt that they are also cheaper.

Each ball weighs in at a whooping 1/2 ounce each, and is less likely to crack a glass when plunked into a nice glass (as opposed to those darn stones). Plus one set of Balls of Steel has the cooling power of 6 ice cubes, which means no more fighting the ice tray.

I'll admit, fighting the ice trays takes up about 90% of my reasoning when I actually want ice in a drink. I tend to forgo it and drink room temp water over fighting ice trays. Maybe you have an ice maker, well this doesn't dilute. Either way BOS wins the argument.

You might be wondering who on Earth you should buy some for? Maybe you aren't a big drinker, no problem these also work on nonalcoholic drinks. They are drink coolers, no matter the liquid.

Do you know someone who likes running in all of the races that benefit cancer research? Buy a set of these for them, Original Balls of Steel is quite particular about which organizations they partner with. They want their money to be utilized the best it can and therefore it is split up amongst several testicular cancer research organizations. Most of us know someone who has been to MD Anderson, BOS donates to them too. So why not support the country's top cancer research programs?

You could just donate yourself, but we all know if you show up somewhere drinking with strange little metal balls in your drink it will lead to a little chat about, said, strange balls. Other than blogger recommendations over the years the number one thing that has caused me to purchase something is by word of mouth. If I saw someone using these I would probably think that I too needed some steel balls and completely forsake all homemade ice.

It's a fact.

So if you could give a pair of Original BOS to anyone as a gift... who and why? 

Like I said before, I wasn't paid for this but I do love to promote a company who makes a great product and supports a worthy cause. I wouldn't suggest you buy them if I didn't love them:)