Friday, December 31, 2010

Eight Things Learned from Blogging in 2010 (or the post with the most parenthetical asides)

I'm seeing lots of "year in review" posts from bloggers since we're on the verge of 2011.  Well, that made me want to write one, too. (Peer pressure is a powerful thing--even when you're not a teenager anymore.)  But Moana Saves has only been 'live' since the end of August so my "year in review" would only be "four months in review"--it seemed a bit staged to write something like that.
Instead I thought of writing about what I’ve learned about review blogging since August. So here we go:
1. Social media is a vehicle and not the thing itself
It transports your message and that message is best delivered within the web of relationships that social media creates.  I’m still learning about social media and networking (check it: I’m not a social media maven ((yet)) and am leery of those who call themselves that ((still))) but I’m amazed at how social media connects people in significant ways.
2. Blogging is a process not a product
I’m constantly adjusting the blog interface—tweaks here and there.  And I’m always thinking about content although those changes are still in the works.  I’ve never been the kind of girl who re-arranges the living room furniture although I’m compelled to do the equivalent of that on the blog.  But here’s the important thing: blogging as a process is FUN!  For me, its become a creative outlet (that I truly needed!)--especially when I look back and measure what I’ve learned since the launch of the blog.  This may motivate me to move the living room sofas around and put up some new things on my walls at home . . . nah . . .
3. Writing is the meat and potatoes of review blogging
I hope I don’t get in trouble for saying this.  Good writing and strong writerly voice=fun-to-read, engaging product review.  Good writing is an important component of excellent PR and I’m happy to provide that on the blog (not just talking about myself, peeps—the review bloggers on Moana Saves ROCK!).  I love blogs that reflect this and hope we are in the process of becoming one.
4. Monetizing your blog doesn’t mean you’ll make money
Hahaha. Its true.  While I’m not in this to make big bucks, I’m surprised by all of the different ways to monetize your blog.  However.  Monetizing your blog doesn’t mean you’ll get rich quick.  A blog still needs a steady stream of good content over a long period of time to benefit from monetization.  Which means we haven’t. Yet.  A review blogger who is particularly transparent about affiliate blogging/advertising/etc is Stacie over at Simply Stacie.  You should read her if you’re interested in monetizing your review blog.
5. Blogging ethics are everything
And they can’t be separate from your every day living ethics either.  Some people think that how you act online can be different from how you act in real life.  They aren’t.  Trying to manage your on- and offline personas like that will get you into trouble.  Like some of my sista review bloggers say, “Transparency is everything” and that’s something I truly believe.
6. The power of the product
Its important that a review blogger reviews products that she feels good telling her mother about.  Or her daughter.  Product reviews for the sake of having something to talk about on the blog will come back to bite you.  If I’m offered a product I wouldn’t normally use, I won’t do it and I learned that one by experience (no, I’m not telling you. go ask Alice.  seriously! ((inside joke))).  As a result, I’ve also been drawn to products that make my family ‘greener’ and I think this is because I’ve internalized the responsibility one has as someone who promotes something in a public forum.  What you do says a lot about who you are.  That is not to say that I’m anti-consumerism.  Its more like saying I’m pro careful consumption.  I hope we reflect that philosophy on Moana Saves.
7. I love you guys (sob)
I’m bowled over at how fabulous everyone is in the review blogging community.  Everyone, from seasoned bloggers (thass you, Kailani!) to PR reps, is wonderful and in indirect ways have worked to make Moana Saves a better blog.  THANK YOU!  It has been a pleasure interacting with you!  I love you! (oh wait, that’s getting out of hand.)  Most of all, I appreciate the review bloggers who blindly committed to writing for Moana Saves.  Jayne, Kristen, Lisa and Liz, I love you almost as much as I love Chevy the Super Dog (and that’s a lot!).  Thanks for your careful, engaging reviews and for hanging with me on the blog.
8. I’m long-winded
If you haven’t noticed.
And lastly, mahalo nui loa for reading to the end of this post and for coming to visit us at Moana Saves.  I loves ya and I wish you all the best that 2011 has to offer.  Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Blogging Success Summit 2011

Do you want to start a blog? Do you have one and want to take it to the next level? I just signed up for this conference after reading about it from one of my favorite review bloggers.  I'm completely excited about learning from the blogging pros and I don't have to leave my home to do it!

Blogging Success Summit 2011 is a special online conference designed to help you master business blogging (brought to you by BlogWorld and Social Media Examiner). Join Technorati CEO Richard Jalichandra, Scott Monty (head of social media, Ford), Brian Clark (Copyblogger), Darren Rowse (author, ProBlogger), Debbie Weil (author, The Corporate Blogging Book), Douglas Karr (co-author, Corporate Blogging for Dummies) experts from Sony, McDonald’s, Cisco, Southwest Airlines and Procter & Gamble; Jay Baer (author, The Now Revolution) and Michael Stelzner (Social Media Examiner)–just to name a few. These are some big names in blogging and in business! Go here for special half-off savings: 

Michael (and his team) have been working for months to bring the best minds in blogging together in this fully online event.  More than 4,400 marketers and business owners from around the world attended his last two summits. Businesses were transformed. In fact, 95% of attendees said they’d attend again. (how cool is that?)
This summit’s focus is to empower you to implement successful blogging strategies, grow a loyal following, generate quality leads and sell with your blog.

Twenty-three of the world’s leading social media superstars will be summit instructors.
Presenters include Technorati CEO Richard Jalichandra, Scott Monty (head of social media, Ford), Darren Rowse (co-author, ProBlogger), Brian Clark (Copyblogger), Michael Stelzner (Social Media Examiner), Debbie Weil (author, The Corporate Blogging Book), Douglas Karr (co-author, Corporate Blogging for Dummies) and experts from McDonald’s, Cisco, Southwest Airlines, Sony and Procter & Gamble.

Attendees at the two last summits included well-known organizations such as General Electric, American Express, Staples, General Mills, Intel, Harvard, San Francisco Giants, Kraft Foods, Hyatt Hotels, Stanford, IDG and Disney. But you don’t need to be a big business to benefit!

This is the world’s largest online blogging event designed to empower marketers and business owners to master blogging. And the great news is it’s a live online conference you can attend from your home or office.  Go now to learn more HERE.


You can get 50% off if you act now. Twenty-three successful blogging pros will show you how to use blogging to market and grow your business.  Remember, the experts teach the sessions live (and it’s all online). So you don’t need to leave your home or office! Go HERE to see how this works.


For a limited time only, they are selling tickets for half price for the first 2500 people who register so don’t delay in purchasing. I paid $297 and was able to break that down into two payments. If you've ever attended an "in real life" conference, you'll know that the conference fees, plane tickets, daily food/incidentals far exceed this total.  While I can't promise this, I suspect that these summit sessions will more than return to me the cost of attending.  Even if I have something going on the day of a session, no problem because as an attendee I'll have access to the videos and transcripts from all of the sessions.  Here are some of the sessions presenters are planning:
  • Turbo-Boosting Your Blog Traffic With Facebook
  • How to Improve Your Search Engine Rankings With Blogging
  • How to Create Compelling Blog Content That Brings People Back Again and Again
  • How to Grow, Engage, and Retain Blog Readers
  • How Big Businesses Are Leveraging the Power of Blogs
As a way of saying “thanks” for checking out the summit, there’s a gift just for marketers called “Building Community with Facebook and Blogs” (valued at $59) waiting for you. Go get it HERE.

I would love for you to join me at the Blogging Success Summit 2011 and here’s to your success!

Winner of the Ruth's Brownie Kitchen Giveaway

Congrats to Erin who was the 53rd person to leave a comment on the Ruth's Brownie Kitchen review and giveaway post!  I've already sent her an email.  And just my own aside: those brownies were SO yummy! Jayne brought me one to sample.  You won't go wrong shopping at Ruth's Brownie Kitchen!

A Book Review: Make Every Second Count (in the New Year!)

Is it even remotely possible that it could be almost 2011? Time has flown, and now it’s time to look back and decide. Did I make the most of 2010?

It’s also time for New Year’s resolutions! Over the years I have made many, and broken them by February. Hmm… Willpower? Motivation? Or is it more simple than that? Planning? Time management?

Robert Bly’s newly revised book entitled Make Every Second Count is an easy read, straight to the point, and quite frankly, very empowering.

We all have 24 hours in a day. What do we do with them? Bly suggests that if you were to log your days, or even videotape yourself, you would be amazed at how much time you waste doing small unnecessary things. He lays out very clearly what you can do to improve your productivity, manage your time better, keep on task, and most importantly: value yourself, and your time!
        
Simple things, such as making a list, having and keeping a realistic schedule, prioritizing, having goals written down and clearly planned out, reducing clutter, organizing, delegating, and identifying time wasters, such as television, reading gossip, or worrying. (Do I waste time doing that? Nah…) 
In this newer edition, he also reviews technology as it has come about and how you can make the most of the internet, Facebook and other social networking sites, smartphones, office equipment, etc. without having information overload in our high- paced world. He lists key websites for saving time and money while you travel, managing your resources, and reviews many software programs that he has found useful.  While Bly is an impressive work-aholic and businessman, he stresses not being one if it doesn’t make you happy, and not getting burnt out. He reviews what you can do to relax, be focused, and stay physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy.
        
Does Bly know what he’s talking about? Absolutely. He’s one of the most productive, highly paid executives in the country. And even though I’m not a highly paid executive in a suit with my own personal office and affixed shower, every principle he lays out I can apply to my job as CEO and President of my home and family.

Now, if you will excuse me, I’m going to go rearrange my kitchen, clean out my closet, spend quality time with my kids, write more reviews, blog, make dinner, fold the laundry, and take a shower...with the door locked.

To preview and purchase Robery Bly’s newly revised book Make Every Second Count go HERE.
            
* I was not paid to read this book, but was given a copy to write this review. I would never review something I didn’t think was useful or valuable to myself or to you, so don’t worry (it's a waste of time!).

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Day Wishes

Wishing you the Merriest of Christmases this year!

Winner of Tropical Traditions Gold Label Extra Virgin Coconut Oil . . .

 . . . is taylorbagels, #71! Congrats and watch for my email!

A Review and Giveaway: Headbands Made by Heather B

I recently found myself in a hairstyling slump. Every day before sending my daughters to school I would quickly put their hair in a plain-old ponytail and send them out the door. Thanks to Heather B's handmade crocheted items I found a great new accessory for hairstyling!

Photobucket This hair accessory is a handmade three strand headband with a flower attached. I love the versatility of this hair item! First, you can tie the headband as tight or loose as you want which is great for my three daughters and their differing head sizes. Second, this delicate flower really differentiates between a "plain" ponytail and a ponytail with flare! Now when we're in a rush I can tie this cute headband on, with or without a ponytail, and it adds a unique flair to the day's hairstyle.

One of the qualities I really liked was that the flower can slide along the strands for positioning. We had a great time trying all sorts of hairstyles from a simple headband to crown French braids and a “headband” braid with the strands included in the braid. My one alteration to the headband was that since my kids are young they kept touching the flower and moving it around. To keep it in position I used a small clip or bobby-pin under the flower.
 
This headband is a beautiful handmade addition to our hairstyling accessories. Each piece comes in the color of your choice from a selection of beautiful merino blend yarn listed HERE. Heather B's Etsy shop also offers many other products including little maryjane shoes for babies and this little cap for boys. Isn't it adorable? This cap almost makes me want to move from my tropical island to a cooler climate. Key word being "almost!"
 
To BUY a handmade headband (or any other adorable crocheted product) from Heather B, click HERE.

Heather B has provided one 3 strand flower headband in rose bisque to give away to a lucky Moana Saves reader!  To WIN follow the mandatory entry requirement below and any optional ones you'd like:

You must be a Moana Saves Google Connect follower to enter this giveaway.  To earn a mandatory entry visit Heather B's Etsy shop HERE and return and comment on this post by telling me what product you would purchase. (Mandatory means that if you don't do this first, all of your other entries will be disqualified.)

To earn an additional entry, do one (or all) of the following and leave a separate comment on this post for each thing you do:

1. Follow MoanaSaves on Twitter.

2. Tweet about this giveaway (limit one tweet per day) using the following (leave the tweet URL in your comment):
#Win a handmade 3 strand flower headband in rose bisque from @moanasaves #etsy #giveaway ends1/7 http://bit.ly/gaQgpl

3. Blog about this giveaway and include your blog post URL in a comment. 

4. Like the Moana Saves Facebook page.

5. Subscribe to the Moana Saves feed via RSS reader and/or email updates.

Only one person per email/household/IPaddress can enter this giveaway.  He/she must be 18+ years old and reside in the U.S.  This giveaway ends on Friday, 1/7/10 at 11:59 PM HST (Hawaii Standard Time).  One winner will be chosen randomly via Random.org.  I will notify the winners via email and he/she must respond to claim the prize within 48 hours or I will draw another winner.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com and sponsored by Favorite Wigs Shop Name Brand Wigs at Low Prices! Large Wig Selection of Estetica Wigs, Quality Wigs. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product review & giveaway Disclosure.

Aloha Friday #165

from Kailani's blog:

Welcome to this week’s edition of Aloha Friday. In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that we take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So I thought that on Fridays I would take it easy on posting, too.

Therefore, I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response. If you’d like to participate, just post your own question on your blog and leave your link below. Don’t forget to visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

My question/statement: What's your favorite food at Christmas time?

My answer: This year, everything!  We're staying with my fabulous in-laws and Grandma Jean is a wonderful cook!  I'm feeling very blessed this year, from having a healthy family and starting this blog to traveling to be with loved ones this seasons.  Merry Christmas to you all!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Review and Giveaway of Kathryn The Grape, Just Like Magic

 Growing up is hard to do. When my kids are sick, frustrated, embarrassed, or in whatever pain life inflicts during the long journey to adulthood, I often wish I could trade places with them for that moment because it hurts me to see them suffer. Ultimately, if this “trade” were possible, it would not help our children in any way because they need to go through trials to get stronger, develop character, and learn the game of life. However, along the way, I always welcome motivational/inspirational tidbits of “magic” that can help us raise our children in the rollercoaster ride of life.

Kathryn The Grape, Just Like Magic is a magical children’s book I would recommend as a perfect “read together” for all families with children. It was written by Kathryn Cloward and Jody Duhamel and illustrated by Christine Winscott, published by kandonpublishing in 2010 and retails for $16.99. It is a vibrantly illustrated 40 page purple hard cover book. My daughters who are 3 & 6 years old have enjoyed repeatedly reading this book with me. The story is about Kathryn and her magical butterfly friend Maggie and how they overcome the daily challenges of childhood such as nervousness, fears of a monster under the bed, and befriending classmates who are lonely or sad. The book has its own website http://www.kathrynthegrape.com/ where one can learn more about the book and sample just how cute the illustrations are. On the Kathryn the Grape blog, you'll find links to Kathryn the Grape printable coloring pages to download.  Through awesome pictures and a fun storyline, young readers will “discover their own inner strength and fearlessness, learn about making new friends, and learn the importance of helping others." I feel that families who make this book a part of their reading collection will be able to use this story as a conversation starter with their children when teaching basic values.  Because of the “magic” and colors spread evenly though the whole book, I see it as unforgettable story to refer to when children have challenging days.

True Story: Two weeks ago I ran my first marathon. I had been training for it so I thought I would finish it without much of a struggle. At mile twenty (which is the number of miles we had trained up to), I hit the wall and wanted to give up. It was a very small race in the country with only 14 runners total so there were no people cheering us on at water stations on the side of the road like you see at big marathons. It was all up to each of the runners individually to get through the run. By mile twenty all of us were all spread out so I had no one I could see in front of me nor in back of me. It was just me and my tired legs pounding the pavement in the hot sun all by myself. It was grueling and became a battle of the mind more than my body! I had to walk for a few minutes then I would push myself to run for a ½ mile or so and then walk again and tell myself to keep going and not stop because I was almost there and it had been a lifelong goal to do a marathon. When there were about 2 ½ miles left I started thinking “I think I can, I think I can….keep running…..don’t stop…I think I can, I think I can."  I thought of the Little Engine that Could, I thought of how hard I had trained, I thought of my kids at the finish line. Out of the blue from my subconscious, I kid you not, came a LOUD, “I AM THE MAGICAL Kathryn the Grape!” which is a line from the book. Honestly, it made me laugh and I thought, “The book IS Magic!” and then laughed again. I was SO tired, SO ready to be done with the long run and then I thought of the other parts of the book that I hope my daughters will remember for the rest of their lives such as “the magic lives inside of you!” and “everyone is magical." I guess I had read the book enough times for the certain lines to become part of my inner storage of backup motivation! So, for the rest of the race I alternated between “I think I can, I think I can…. I am magic, keep running….don’t stop," repeating them over and over again. I got through the race and was able proudly able to check something off of my bucket list! Mahalo for the inspiration, Kathryn the Grape!

BUY IT
To purchase Kathryn The Grape, Just Like Magic for your child (or for yourself!), click here or you can buy the book from your favorite online bookstore like Amazon.

WIN IT
The authors have generously offered one lucky Moana Saves reader an autographed copy of Kathryn the Grape, Just like Magic of their own!

To earn a mandatory entry, follow Kathryn the Grape on Twitter here. Mandatory means that if you don't do this first, all of your other entries will be disqualified.  Make sure to leave a comment saying you've done this as well as your twitter handle.

To earn an additional entry, do one (or all) of the following and leave a separate comment for each thing you do:

1. Follow Moana Saves on Twitter.

2. Tweet about this giveaway (limit one tweet per day) using the following (leave the tweet URL in your comment):
#Win Kathryn the Grape, Just Like Magic (hardcover childrens book) from @kathrynthegrape and @moanasaves ends 1/7 http://bit.ly/i2HKV6

3. Become a Google Friend Connect follower of Moana Saves (in the side bar).

4. Like the Kathryn the Grape Facebook page.

5. Like the Moana Saves Facebook page.

6. Follow Moana Saves on Networked Blogs (in the side bar).

7. Subscribe to the Moana Saves feed via RSS reader and/or email updates.

Only one person per email/household/IPaddress can enter this giveaway.  He/she must be 18+ years old and reside in the U.S.  This giveaway ends on Friday, January 7th at 11:59 PM HST (Hawaii Standard Time).  One winner will be chosen randomly via Random.org.  I will notify the winner via email and he/she must respond to claim the prize within 48 hours or I will draw another winner.

Mahalo to the authors for providing Kathryn the Grape: Just Like Magic for review.  I did not receive compensation for this post.  Any and all opinions here are my own.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordless Wendesday: Mele Kalikimaka

Hawaii_Christmas (16)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hoover FloorMate SpinScrub Review and Giveaway

Ok, so I fibbed a little.  I mentioned that this vacuum was bionic goodness.  Its not bionic (is anything after the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman?) but its chockful of goodness!  I have been very lucky to be able to review the Hoover FloorMate SpinScrub Bagless Vacuum.  I'm going to tell you about the FloorMate but I have to put this machine in the context of 20 some odd years of non-professional vacuuming experience.  
I don't like vacuuming.  It's not fun.  As satisfying as it is to have a clean floor, over the years I've been at the mercy of second-hand vacuums and newer ones that were fairly competent but oh-so-heavy to push around the house.  And then there's the hair.  You know how people use vacuums based how well they pick up pet hair?  Well, my line in the sand is human hair.  I have a lot of hair.  The hub has a lot of hair.  We made daughters who have a lot of hair.  That's a lot of hair on the bathroom floors, the bedroom carpets, even the kitchen floor.  We shed a lot and all that hair wraps around the beater bar under the vacuum until I have to upend the machine and cut all of that hair out of the bristles every few uses.  Not fun.  Secondly, we treat sweeping/vacuuming and mopping as two separate operations--both of which take awhile and sometimes cancel out the other so that we're always chasing after a completely clean floor.

Enter the Hoover FloorMate--and this is exactly what it looked like when the FedEx guy brought it except you can't see the beacon of light shining down upon it like I did.  It is easy to use, easy to clean and easy to store.  Its like Hoover made it for moms like me!  Here are some features of this machine (info from the Hoover website):
  • New Multi-Purpose SpinScrub® Technology - exclusive Hoover® patented counter-rotating brushes gently wash and scrub hard floors from all angles
  • SpinScrub® brushes - designed to deliver the best clean while gently scrubbing sealed wood and vinyl, grout and tile
  • Dual Tank Technology - keeps clean and dirty water separate so you never put dirty water back on the floor
  • Quick Drying Power - squeegee dries floors quickly so you can get right back to living on them
  • 13" Wide Cleaning Path - wide cleaning path covers more surface area and shortens cleaning time
  • Removable nozzles and brushes - for easy cleaning and maintenance
  • Beltless design - no belts to replace
  • Deluxe Handle with Fingertip Trigger Control - comfortable, ergonomic grip with trigger right at your fingertips lets you easily distribute detergent when and where it's needed
  • Simple Mode Selection - turn the dial for stage 1 vacuuming, stage 2 washing, and stage 3 drying
  • 27' Power Cord with Quick Release - vacuum a large room without re-plugging, release entire cord with a quick flip of a lever
  • Folding Handle - makes storage a snap, perfect for small spaces
  • Rubber Wheels - glide gently over surfaces and won't scratch hard flooring
Out of the box, it was very easy to use.  Second born and I read the manual, familiarizing ourselves with every part of the machine.  In particular, we both liked how easily the water tanks pull out for hassle-free clean-up and how the nozzle releases allow for easy cleaning of the 'underneath' parts.  Switching from wet wash to drying or vacuuming is easy with the mode selector dial; the handle release pedal and on/off button are easily accessible and the handle itself is set at a great height.  And, finally, I love how the handle folds down for easy storage.

How did the Floormate SpinScrub clean?  Wonderfully.  I used the vacuum feature to pick up debris on my ceramic floors and then went over it again with the wet wash.  I tried the drying feature and I liked it but it made the whole task take longer so I skipped it to let the floors air dry.  On parts of the floor that needed more care, I spent extra time going over them with the scrub brushes and was amazed at how well those spots cleaned up.  The liquid cleaner that came with the FloorMate left my floors smelling fresh.  Between how the floors looked and smelled, I was a fulfilled Hoover user.  I vacuumed the rugs as well and the FloorMate did great on those.  When all was said and done, I had a gross mess to clean out of the dirty water tank (see adjacent pic).  But, hey, better that stuff is in the tank rather than on my floors.

Other pluses? I never have to bend down when vacuuming or mopping the floor.  The vacuum is light compared to my old vacuum--very easy to push on hard floors and carpets.  This is because the vacuum itself is made mostly of plastic parts. As a result, the FloorMate is half the price (and bulk) of a regular vacuum.  I'm not used to this and so I worry about the durability of the machine.  However, in my use of it, nothing indicated that the FloorMate will break easily.  In fact, I look forward to using this machine for years to come and the eternal ease of clean floors.  There are optional attachments that you order separately from the FloorMate for hard to reach places but I was pleasantly surprised at how well the vacuum got into corners and along walls.

If you need more convincing about how well the Hoover FloorMate SpinScrub works, check out the FloorMate Challenge featuring 'real women' (what am I? chopped liver? don't answer.) using the FloorMate.  Not only will you witness how well the machine cleans their floors, but you'll get another look at how gross the stuff collected in the dirty water tank (from off the floors) can be.

BUY IT
You can buy the Hoover FloorMate SpinScrub here where, right now, Hoover is offering 15% off most of their vacuums through the end of the year. Or you can shop for the FloorMate at your favorite online retailer like Amazon.

WIN IT
The folks at Hoover have generously donated a Hoover FloorMate SpinScrub for a giveaway here at Moana Saves!

To earn a mandatory entry, follow @HooverClean on Twitter so you can get the latest product updates, cleaning tips and all-around good info from the folks at Hoover.  Mandatory means that if you don't do this first, all of your other entries will be disqualified. Make sure to leave a comment saying you've done this.

To earn an additional entry, do one (or all) of the following and leave a separate comment for each thing you do:

1. Follow Moana Saves on Twitter.

2. Tweet about this giveaway (limit one tweet per day) using the following (leave the tweet URL in your comment):
#Win a Hoover FloorMate from @HooverClean and @moanasaves ends 1/21 http://bit.ly/gxGhS9

3. Become a Google Friend Connect follower of Moana Saves (in the side bar).


4. Like the Hoover Facebook page.

5.  Like the Moana Saves Facebook page.

6. Follow Moana Saves on Networked Blogs (in the side bar).

7. Subscribe to my feed via RSS reader and/or email updates.

8. Grab the Moana Saves button in the side bar and display it on your blog for the duration of the giveaway.

Only one person per email/household/IPaddress can enter this giveaway. He/she must be 18+ years old and reside in the U.S. This giveaway ends on Friday, January 21st at 11:59 PM HST (Hawaii Standard Time). One winner will be chosen randomly via Random.org. I will notify the winner via email and he/she must respond to claim the prize within 48 hours or I will draw another winner.

Mahalo to the folks at Hoover for providing the FloorMate SpinScrub for the purpose of this review.  I did not receive compensation for this post.  Any and all opinions are my own.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Creativity for Kids Opti Art Review and Giveaway

Do you have a crafty kid living at your house?  I do! And, try as I might, I'm not a crafty mom.  We've tried to keep art supplies on hand for our crafty kid, otherwise known as Second Born, but then those supplies somehow jump their organizers and spread themselves all over the house.  After decluttering several times, we take the kit approach to crafting these days.  So Second Born was *over the moon* when she learned we were going to review a Creativity for Kids Opti Art Kit.

First, I'll tell you all the Mom reasons why I loved this kit.  The suggested retail price of the kit ($14.99) is very reasonable especially keeping in mind that the kit itself includes the following:
  • 20 flat back crystal clear gemstones (sizes range from 1/2" to 1 1/4")
  • 2 sheets of self-adhesive magnet backing
  • 2 sheets of clear double-stick tape
  • 3 tie-tacks
  • 15 double-sided foam tape dots
  • paint brush
  • acrylic paint 
The kid crafter can make magnets, pins and tie tacks. Everything is packaged neatly with warnings on potentially dangerous items.  The recommended age range for the kit is ages 7-97 and teaches reverse glass painting techniques as well as optic art.  And I love, love, love that the kit is not marketed to girls by gendering their creativity with pink, girly activities.  This is, in fact, a craft kit that would be great fun for boys and girls.

Second Born loved the paints and brush that came with the kit.  In particular, the paint is water soluble so that when she made a mistake painting, she could rinse it off the glass dome and start over.  (I loved that as well.)  The instructions that came in the box were also easy (and fun) for her to read, including not only instructions for painting but also for putting together magnets and/or tie tacks (as well as some fun facts and extra creative options).  Look--here's the Moana Saves magnet she made!  It has a place of honor on our fridge.
I would recommend this kit to all families--especially those like mine where a crafty kid has been saddled with a not-so-crafty mom.

BUY IT
To purchase a Creativity for Kids Opti Art kit for your child, click here or you can buy a kit from your favorite online retailer like Amazon.  Another option is to use Creativity for Kids' store locator to purchase this kit or others at your local retailer.  The Creativity for Kids Opti Art kit would make a *great* Christmas present for the creative tween-ager (or anyone else aged 7-97) in your family!

WIN IT
Creativity for Kids has generously offered one lucky Moana Saves reader an Opti Art kit of their own!

To earn a mandatory entry, follow Creativity for Kids on Twitter here. Mandatory means that if you don't do this first, all of your other entries will be disqualified.  Make sure to leave a comment saying you've done this as well as your twitter handle.

To earn an additional entry, do one (or all) of the following and leave a separate comment for each thing you do:

1. Follow Moana Saves on Twitter.

2. Tweet about this giveaway (limit one tweet per day) using the following (leave the tweet URL in your comment):
#Win an Opti Art kit from @creativityforkids and @moanasaves ends 1/3  http://bit.ly/fcdYNA

3. Become a Google Friend Connect follower of Moana Saves (in the side bar).

4. Like the Creativity for Kids Facebook page.

5. Like the Moana Saves Facebook page.

6. Follow Moana Saves on Networked Blogs (in the side bar).

7. Subscribe to the Moana Saves feed via RSS reader and/or email updates.

Only one person per email/household/IPaddress can enter this giveaway.  He/she must be 18+ years old and reside in the U.S.  This giveaway ends on Monday, January 3rd at 11:59 PM HST (Hawaii Standard Time).  One winner will be chosen randomly via Random.org.  I will notify the winner via email and he/she must respond to claim the prize within 48 hours or I will draw another winner.

Mahalo to Faber-Castell for providing the Creativity for Kids Opti Art kit for review.  I did not receive compensation for this post.  Any and all opinions here are my own.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Pier 1 Christmas Wishlist

This post brought to you by Pier 1 Imports. All opinions are 100% mine.
Dear Santa,
Now that my style has evolved away from "yard sale shabby" and moved closer to funky contemporary, we just need to get the husband on board.  I'll work on getting him to throw stuff out so that we don't end up on an episode of  Hoarders while you help me with this wish list of holiday gifts.  Santa, I've been very good this year!  So good that I think I deserve to read by the light of this set of Iron Rings Lamps, don't you?  Only at Pier 1, Santa, only at Pier 1!  Or if we don't get much decluttering done, why we can store stuff behind this lovely Semar Floor Screen available at Pier 1. So many choices, so few Christmases!

Don't forget, Santa, that you and all of the other holiday shoppers, during the months of November and December, can support Toys for Tots by dropping off an unwrapped toy and/or making a cash donation at the register while shopping at Pier 1.  Another way to spread holiday cheer is by liking Pier 1 Imports on Facebook. For every new fan they get, they will donate $1 to Toys for Tots.  Some win-win peace on Earth, goodwill to men, Santa! (and cool Pier 1 stuff for my house!) I know, I know: Cheer 1 Imports, Snow Time like the Present!
Visit Sponsor's Site

Winners

And we have some winners!  The five readers who each won their own one year activation key for ChicaPC-Fix from ChicaLogic are: Jane, slb3334, tattgiff, Donna, and Jim!  Congrats, you all! Watch for my email!

The winner for the Udderly SMOOthe prize pack is slb3334 (today is your lucky day!).








And the winner of Brilliant Lenses is Mommy with Copper Sense!
Congrats to you all and mahalo for visiting us at Moana Saves!

Wordless Wednesday: Hawaii_Christmas

Hawaii_Christmas (15)

The Best Gift(s) I've Given


SWAGG is a free mobile app (download here) that lets you shop smarter using your mobile phone. Buy, send or swap SWAGG GIFTS and organize your old school plastic gift cards.
For every download of the app between now and Dec. 31, 2010, SWAGG will donate $1 to Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) , up to $125,000.
Clever Girls Collective and SWAGG are sending a pair of movie fans to the Sundance Film Festival! Download the SWAGG app and then visit the Ultimate SWAGG Getaway Sweepstakes site to enter to win a trip for two to the Sundance Film Festival. Entry deadline is January 3, 2011, 11:59pm, PST.

Well, after several hours of Christmas carols ringing through the house, I think I've caught the Christmas spirit.  Too bad I don't have my Christmas shopping done.  Actually my shopping pretty light this year and this has everything to do with the best gifts I can give to my children.  Growing up, my family didn't have a lot for our Christmases, so on some level, as a mom I've thought that the quantity of gifts I give my children is perhaps as important as the quality.  And then like most moms, I'm picking up or stepping on those precious Christmas gifts the rest of the year (while grumbling--lets not forget the grumbling!).  One of my kids doesn't even open some of her presents until six months later--that's how committed she is to her Christmas stuff.  (more grumbling)

So the hub and I are of the same mind that we have to dial things down and emphasize experience over material objects.  Have you ever sat around with your family and discussed times spent together?  My girls LOVE to do that.  Often those are the bed time stories the hub tells them.  They love to start dinner conversations with "Remember when  . . " and those discussions dissolve into laughter when we relive the special irony of that memory.

We are committed to giving those kinds of gifts to our children now.  So, in two days, sort of against my will, we're traveling to the mainland for our Christmas holidays.  The homebody is me just wants to sit at home and relax.  The mom who has declared war on stuff just for the sake of having stuff is ready to go and have adventures with my family.  What memories will we make?  Well, some will have to do with family snowboarding lessons (and me falling down a lot).  A few will have us jumping in and out of outdoor mineral hot pools in the middle of snow country.  Lots are surrounded by extended family.

There won't be a ton of gifts.  The ones there will be those reflecting the relationship between the giver and the receiver.  For example, Second Born talked for years about wanting a robe even though we live in Hawai'i where robes are optional night-time wear.  So last year when I gave her a robe, that gift outshined all of the rest and she has taken that robe to bed every night since--sometimes holding it like a stuffed animal because it was too hot to wear it.  The fleece of that robe is worn in spots and its looking pretty ghetto these days but that gift was very much worth giving because it showed her I was listening to her.  She has started hinting that a new robe is in order this year and will be something I get for her because the last one was so precious.  Those are the kinds of gifts I aspire to give my children--the best gifts I can give them.  What gifts will you give this year?

Learn more about the coolest new app that revolutionizes the whole shopping, gifting, and gift card-organizing experience and Download the SWAGG app to your iPhone or Droid. I was selected for this sponsorship by Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bob Books App Review

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“Bravo, Bob Books!”

Have you heard of Bob Books? Developed over 35 years ago by a teacher, these beginner readers have helped over 2 million children learn to read. (Numbers quoted from John Maslen, husband and co-founder to Bobby Maslen.) To quote the Bob Books website, these books were developed to facilitate that ah-ha moment when letters first turn into words. As their website states:

“By slowly introducing new letter sounds, using consistency, repetition and stories that fit short attention spans - your child will quickly find his or her own ah-ha moment.”

The print copies have had a wide range of success and acclaim for the past two decades but the good news is they’ve gone digital! Now you can purchase a Bob Book app for your iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. The digital version still includes the authentic hand-drawn illustrations and beautiful colors but in addition there is simple drag-and-drop interface that encourages even the youngest reader to sound out words.  Bob Books are known for their simple yet effective style but I think the addition of a drag/drop user interface makes these books all the better!

The Bob Book app includes twelve scenes for a total of 32 words. The feature I liked was the four game levels where I can set the level higher depending on my child’s reading ability. 

As a mother I want to do all that I can to encourage a love of reading in my children and I think Bob Books has created a great app for early readers that does just that.  My daughter had a great time playing with this app as seen below in the video.

video

To purchase the Bob Book app visit the apps section of Apple’s iTunes store.

I did not receive any compensation for my review of Bob Books app although I was given an application to facilitate this review.  Any and all opinions here are my own.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Heads Up: Handmade with Love Blog Hop Feb 2-6, 2011

I'm excited to announce that Moana Saves is participating in our first ever blog hop!  The Handmade with Love Blog Hop will begin on February 2 at 12:01 am EST and end on February 6 at 11:59 pm EST and will consist of 145 blogs featuring handmade item giveaways!   
Each blog will host their own giveaway. All the blogs will be linked up through the Handmade with Love Winter Giveaway linky so that readers can just hop from blog to blog with the theme of the giveaways being handmade products or gift certificates to handmade stores.  Some blogs may offer just one prize; some will offer more.  I'm excited to join in!  All of the Handmade with Love giveaways will start on February 2nd and run for five days, ending on February 6th. 

We would love to offer more than one handmade giveaway on Moana Saves and are currently looking for prize sponsors.  If you have a handmade business or know someone who does who would like to get lots of PR during this blog hop, please contact me at moanasaves at gmail dot com.  I would love to feature your product(s) during the Handmade with Love blog hop! 

This is what we can offer our giveaway sponsors who donate a prize of $50 or more: 
  • We can put your button on the Moana Saves blog in the "advertise here" wide side bar for the entire month of February.
  • Send out a tweet about your company every day of the blog hop and once a week for the rest of February.
  • Include one or more of your social media accounts (liking Facebook or following you on Twitter for example) as one of a reader's bonus entries in your giveaway. 
  • Write a feature article about your company (250+ words) to be posted along with your giveaway.
This is what we can offer our giveaway sponsors who donate a prize of $49 or less:
  • We can put your button on the Moana Saves blog in the "advertise here" wide side bar for the entire week of the blog hop.
  • Send out a tweet about your company every day of the blog hop.
  • Include one or more of your social media accounts (liking Facebook or following you on Twitter for example) as one of a reader's bonus entries in your giveaway. 
We are also  open to other options you request for giveaway sponsorship.  Just contact me at moanasaves at gmail dot com.

 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ruth's Brownie Kitchen Review and Giveaway

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Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate! Mmmm...I'm in heaven!

Photobucket I discovered a wonderful surprise in my mailbox the other day. Ruth’s Brownie Kitchen sent these decadent brownies for me to review and I was all too happy to comply.

Ruth's Brownie Kitchen is a "small, artisanal bakery located in the Hudson Valley region of New York state that specializes in baking handcrafted Gourmet Cookies, Biscotti and Valrhona Chocolate Cake-Style and Fudge Brownies." (Quoted from our friends at Ruth's.) Products include cake-style brownies, extra fudgy brownies, biscotti and cookies. Coming soon is a selection of Valrhona bars & squares, fine chocolates, cocoas, coffees and teas.

Have you heard of Valrhona chocolate? I had to look it up online. It is a high-grade luxury chocolate made in France! If that doesn't make you want to taste these amazing desserts maybe these facts will.

Photobucket•    Ruth's uses only organic premium ingredients including farm fresh eggs, butter, milk and cream delivered daily.
•    No chemical preservatives or artificial ingredients/flavorings are used in their baked goods.
•    Shipping is quick and the food still tastes fresh! We live in Hawaii and eating FRESH brownies shipped all the way from New York state sounds unbelievable but it's a fact! (By the way, their website says they ship to “anywhere in the world.”)
•    Each item is made to order; no shipments are fulfilled with day-old or frozen goods.
•    Ruth's baked goods are shipped within hours of leaving the oven. If for any reason you are dissatisfied with their products you may return them for a replacement or a refund of the full purchase price. (See their website for details.)
 
My chocolate treat of choice was the Chocolate-Covered Cherry Extra Fudgy Brownies. Actually, my husband invited guests over the day these arrived so I had to share. All I can say is there were 3 happy men in my front room eating all of MY brownies! Our tastebuds voted unanimously that these desserts deserve a 5 star rating! The rich Valrhona cocoa melts in your mouth with a sweet yet savory flavor.  My husband's favorite quality of the brownies were that they are large, measuring 3 by 3 inches and weighing in at almost 5 ounces each. Ruth's Brownie Kitchen has such a great selection of brownies, from peanut butter swirl to caramel, mint lentil, toffee, cranberry, hazelnut, maple cream and raspberry swirl. Their cookie selection includes dark or milk chocolate chunk, white chocolate with cranberry, orange chocolate chunk with candied orange and a wide variety of biscotti too! I'm drooling now...

Do you have a certain someone on your Christmas list for whom you have no idea what to buy?  These baked goods are not like the proverbial recycled fruitcake left anonymously on a doorstep. To put it plainly, this is a food item I would definitely not be embarrassed to send to a loved one this holiday season.

BUY IT
To purchase these oh-so-tasty treats visit here. During the month of December Ruth's Brownie Kitchen is offering all customers FREE SHIPPING when they purchase $50 or more going to the same recipient shipped all at the same time. Here is the free shipping link.

WIN IT
Ruth's Brownie Kitchen has generously offered one lucky Moana Saves reader a $25 Gift Certificate that can be used to purchase any of their products online. The Certificate is not applicable to either shipping or taxes, if any; and cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotion or certificate. It has no cash value.

To earn a mandatory entry, subscribe to Ruth's Brownie Kitchen email alerts.  You can do so on the site's main page in the lower left corner. Mandatory means that if you don't do this first, all of your other entries will be disqualified.  Make sure to leave a comment saying you've done this.

To earn an additional entry, do one (or all) of the following and leave a separate comment for each thing you do:

1. Follow Moana Saves on Twitter.

2. Follow Ruth's Brownies on Twitter.

3. Tweet about this giveaway (limit one tweet per day) using the following (leave the tweet URL in your comment):
#Win $25 GC to spend on yummy treats from @ruthsbrownies and @moanasaves ends 12/27 http://bit.ly/g9r7UY

4. Become a Google Friend Connect follower of Moana Saves (in the side bar).

5. Like the Ruth's Brownies Facebook page

6. Like the Moana Saves Facebook page.

7. Follow Moana Saves on Networked Blogs (in the side bar).

8. Subscribe to my feed via RSS reader and/or email updates.

Only one person per email/household/IPaddress can enter this giveaway.  He/she must be 18+ years old and reside in the U.S.  This giveaway ends on Monday, December 27th at 11:59 PM HST (Hawaii Standard Time).  One winner will be chosen randomly via Random.org.  I will notify the winner via email and he/she must respond to claim the prize within 48 hours or I will draw another winner.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product review & giveaway Disclosure.

Yes, I'm Teasing You!

I may or may not be hyperventilating right now.  It came! The fabulous thing I can't tell you about because first I have to review it came today via FedEx!  Its in my living room!  I'm overwhelmed with exclamation marks!

By mid-week, I'll be posting a review and . . . . (wait for it, wait for it) . . . a giveaway of the same exact product.  Hey, I'm not going to tell you what it is but I will include a picture of its bionic goodness below.  Come back later in the week to check out my review and enter the giveaway!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Review of Skin Peel TCA 10%

First off, I love this product. My skin is clear, tight, and even the little clogged pores on my nose are gone. Where has this product been all my life? Oh, I know! Hiding on the internet, is where!

I don't know that I was too enthusiastic about trying a skin peel at first though. Visions of my scabby-faced waxer danced through my head as I opened the package and decided to take a risk. Is it bad to reference a waxer here? Would it help you to know that she was talented and had a month long wait list? I had an appointment with her the day after her first skin peel and she was burned (and spurned!). My next appointment though proved that the pain was worth it to save her (proverbial) skin. She was glowing.

So I went to work applying the TCA Acid Peel 10%. And also got some questions answered. Some that you might be asking yourself as you contemplate the factors that I did when thinking about ways to look fresh, clean, and naturally GORGEOUS with this particular type of product.

Question: Does Skin Peel test on animals?
Answer: NO. No, it does not. YAY!!

Question: What of the chemicals?
Answer: Good question (if I do say so myself)! All I know is that the products are Paraben-free. Which may or may not be an issue for some folks. And for the most part, it's not so much of an issue for me. But for a skin-peel which is designed to penetrate pores, this added fact reassured me of the safety of this product.

Question: Does it sting? Like acidie, burnie, owie, and any other "ie" word that would show up as a spell check error?
Answer: TCA Acid Peel 10% does not sting me. I've used it several times and have kept it on a tad bit longer each time. I have not felt any uncomfortable sensations. Part of the skin peel process is to spritz their Neutralizer Solution Spray all over your face before rinsing the peel off. This may prevent the stinging, I don't know. I do know that this whole process takes under 5 minutes (actually, I think I'm up to 6 minutes now) and it was painless.

Question: Does SkinPeel require you to buy any of their other products in addition to the peel?
Answer: Of course they have other products, but they didn't seem to "push them" on to the consumer. For example, the application directions say to "wash face with mild clear gel cleanser" before applying the peel. And then after the peel is fully rinsed, Skin Peel says to "apply moisturizer. . . SPF 30 or higher." Both seem to allow the consumer to decide what product to use for their skin before and after application. These directions worked for me since I use a moisturizing lotion that has been tried and true for the last 10 years. So I was able to mix the products I already have handy with this new (and always to be used) product.

Question: But do these products come with a little carrying bag that zips up and will fit anywhere? I really need one of those because what if I go on vacation and want to pack it in my carry-on luggage? And what if I get stranded in Houston for three days en route to Washington, D.C because of a once-in-a-40 year snow storm? And what if the closest store to buy quality facial products is 10 miles from my airport hotel and I have no rental car so I pay 50 bucks to a cab driver to get me to a mega mall since I have been cramped up for two days straight watching reruns of I Dream of Jeannie . . . Why I Dream of Jeannie? Because maybe I've been harboring a secret crush on Larry Hagman since the 1st grade is why!
And it was either that or succumbing to an all day binge at the waffle bar. . .
Answer: Ahem. . .Why, yes it is packed in a fun little zip up bag! Also, if you happen to find yourself in a Hawaii-Houston-D.C pickle, Skin Peel has Next Business Day shipping. You could use that cab fare to get your facial needs met AND have a waffle while waiting for your package in the lobby!

In all, SkinPeel is a great addition to my skin care regime. And when I say regime, I mean my 5 minute, 5 step process . . . Now if only the company would come up with a home liposuction kit, that would make my holidays all the more happier!

And speaking of the Holiday Season, SkinPeel is offering a 20% discount on all of its products until December 31, 2010! The discount code is: SHEBLOGS.

By the way, the bottle lasts a long while. When it's done, I plan on posting before and after photos of my aforementioned nose. Up close. Up personal. Upchuck! (at least the "before" photo).

So on that note, I want wish everyone a very Happy Holiday time! May these next days be filled with love, laughter, gratitude and several painless, youthful skin promoting skin peels. Oh, Skin Peel, how I wish you came to me 25 years ago!

I did not receive any compensation for my review of Skin Peel TCA 10% although I was given the product (with the mini carrying case) to facilitate this review. Any and all opinions here are my own.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Review of Kids Math Fun App

I think flashcards are what you might call a “necessary evil” for children while learning math. I’m speaking from personal experience when I say that flipping through card after card is not fun. When I was younger I actually hid my flash cards, one by one, under my mattress. My strategy was I knew that hiding them all at once would be noticeable so I simply thinned out my stack one day at a time. (I’m sure glad my daughters are not old enough to read my blogs!)


PhotobucketOkay, now that you know my dislike for math let’s move on. Through my personal experience I am convinced that learning math is critical to eventual success in any endeavor. It is also my opinion that one of the best ways for a child to learn foundational math (basic addition, substraction, multiplication and division) is through repetitive practice and memorization.  Kids Math Fun has found a great alternative to flash cards! Their development of a fun application for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad helps children learn and practice math with each application specifically developed for an individual grade level.


We reviewed the apps for Kindergarten and 2nd grade.  One of the features that I liked was “Double Dare” which helps children learn the inverse relationship between addition and subtraction. (Example: Instead of 5+3= ? the app shows 5+?=8) I also liked the “Minute Math” activities feature where my daughter can test her math skills in a set amount of time which can be adjusted from 30 seconds to 10 minutes.

I would highly recommend purchasing this app as a new and exciting alternative approach to your child's elementary math studies. 


These math applications are available here or in the apps section of iTunes.

I did not receive any compensation for my review of Kids Math Fun apps although I was given two grade level applications to facilitate this review.  Any and all opinions here are my own.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Review and Giveaway of Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil


Healthy Cooking Oil, skin moisturizer, and makeup remover all in one? In the Hawaiian climate I live in, the contents of the jar are a silky crystal clear liquid and mmmmmmnn, smell absolutely sweet & fresh! If I was given a blind “smell” test, I would NOT be able to tell the difference between the contents of the jar and a fresh cracked coconut picked from the tree in my front yard.

Tropical Traditions Gold Label Standard Virgin Coconut Oil is made from organic, fresh coconuts in rural areas of the Philippines. Only the highest quality organic coconuts are hand selected for use in the Gold Label brand, and the pure coconut water from inside the coconut is used to extract the coconut milk using traditional methods. This product has been tested repeatedly in laboratories to show that it contains the highest amounts of antioxidants available in Virgin Coconut Oil.

Check out the video below, “How we Discovered Virgin Coconut Oil- an Interview with Brian Shilhavy, CEO Tropical Traditions."


I used Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil 3 times so far and look forward to substituting it for other oils in my cooking and recipes and continuing it in beauty treatments!

1)The first time I tried the oil, I fried Taro . We often cook taro (for those of you who don’t know what taro is, its like a potato/ its also what Hawaiians use to make poi) by boiling it. After a day or two, we cut up any leftovers in small thin slices and fry it using vegetable oil. This time around, I used a thin layer of coconut oil and it was super yummy and crispy!
2) I made lowfat brownies and substituted vegetable with coconut oil and the batch came out richer than you would believe.
3) I used the oil as a makeup remover for my waterproof eye makeup. I simply dabbed a cotton ball in the oil and it worked just as well as my costmetic waterproof makeup remover. It is comforting and quite delightful, actually, to know that I’m using natural products on my skin.

The oil does have a strong smell when it is cooking which is expected because it IS pure coconut oil. My kids WERE curious and complained at the smell but then again they complain about anything new! Needless to say the food cooked with this new oil disappeared quick!

Excellent, kitchen-tested recipes can be found on the company’s Free Coconut Recipes blog: http://www.freecoconutrecipes.com/

You can order Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil here.  Receive a complimentary copy of a Virgin Coconut Oil book with your first order.  When you fill in your account information, there is a place to choose "How did you hear of us?" In the drop down menu, choose "Referred by a friend." Below that, please enter user ID: 6672765 and your complimentary book will be added to your order.

The makers of Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil have provided one quart-sized jar of their  product to give away to one lucky Moana Saves winner.   To WIN your own jar of virgin coconut oil, follow the mandatory entry requirement below and any optional ones you'd like with a separate comment for each:

To earn a mandatory entry, subscribe to the Tropical Traditions email newsletter hereMandatory means that if you don't do this first, all of your other entries will be disqualified.

To earn an additional entry, do one (or all) of the following and leave a separate comment for each thing you do:

1. Follow Moana Saves on Twitter.

2. Follow Tropical Traditions on Twitter.

3. Tweet about this giveaway (limit one tweet per day) using the following (leave the tweet URL in your comment):
#Win Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil from @troptraditions and @moanasaves http://bit.ly/fQKkXY ends 12/21

4. Become a Google Friend Connect follower of Moana Saves (in the side bar).


5. Like the Moana Saves Facebook page.

6. Follow Moana Saves on Networked Blogs (in the side bar).


7. Subscribe to my feed via RSS reader and/or email updates.

Only one person per email/household/IPaddress can enter this giveaway.  He/she must be 18+ years old and reside in the U.S.  This giveaway ends on Tuesday, December 21st at 11:59 PM HST (Hawaii Standard Time).  One winner will be chosen randomly via Random.org.  I will notify the winner via email and he/she must respond to claim the prize within 48 hours or I will draw another winner.

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.
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