Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Explora Bibs | Tommee Tippee | Review & Giveaway

"Simply intuitive" and "closer to nature" ~ Tommee Tippee's bywords, and with good reason. With a wide variety of products for babies and young children, they are leaders in infant technology that works with natural sucking instincts, and is eco-conscious.

I am very excited to be working with this incredible brand, and it is my pleasure to introduce you to the first of several products they sent me for review. Let me tell you, opening their box and seeing not one but several products was very exciting! To start things off, allow me to introduce you to the Explora Bib...

My adorable niece and nephew helped me try out these fun bibs, which are made of a very soft and lightweight rubbery material that is BPA free. Nico is 15 months old, and Cinda will be 3 years old this fall, and as you can see, the bibs fit both of them quite well. Each bib has three size adjustments in the back, and the material is soft enough that it easily conforms to a variety of sizes without bunching. I especially love that while these are made out of waterproof materials, they are not crinkly or hard at all, and are just as gentle on baby skin as traditional fabric bibs.

One of the cool things about this bib is that food does not stick to it like it does to other kinds of bibs, but liquids do not simply run off of it, either, so it cuts down on mess. Add in the crumb catcher at the bottom of the bib, and this is one sweet piece of meal time loot! These bibs are also quite wide and deep, allowing for maximum coverage of your child's chest and stomach, and minimizes the amount of food you have pick out of their lap or off their chair. And storage? A breeze! All you do is roll it up from the bottom, and it fits into any drawer or cupboard with ease.

You can purchase Explora Bibs online or at any Babies R Us or Target store for around $6.99, and you can connect with them on their website, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

One lucky Our Little Bit Of Wonderful reader will win a pair of these awesome bibs, courtesy of the Tommee Tippee team! To be eligible to win, you must be at least 18 years old, a resident of the United States, and you must enter your information into the Rafflecopter widget below, completing each entry that you claim credit for. Have fun, and be sure to come back to complete the daily posts for extra entries, to improve your chances of winning!

{ Disclosure }

I received product in exchange for providing an honest review. All opinions are my own. This post in in compliance with FTC regulations. You can check out my PR Friendly page and my Disclosure page for more information.

This post is part of our Celebrating Serenity baby event! To read more posts, check out the events page. Be sure to enter our many giveaways, and check back frequently for more great guest posts, and opportunities to win sweet baby and mommy loot!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Skin & Nail Treatment | Lady Soma | Product Review

Lady Soma is an all natural, healthy and holistic source of women's probiotic supplements and skincare, which are all specially formulated to fit women's needs. (from the website)

 The other day, I received this little jar of hand cream in the mail. I was intrigued by the fact that it was totally free of sulfates and parabens, propylene glycol and mineral oils, silicone, dyes, and artificial fragrances. I have extremely sensitive skin, and have had a very hard time finding any kind of hand cream or lotion that doesn't either dry out my skin or cause me to break out in hives, so I was eager to try it out...

Lady Soma Skin & Nail Treatment is a lightweight deep moisturizer formulated to repair dry and cracked skin, and hydrate and soften cuticles. It has a very light, clean scent that is slightly floral. I absolutely love how soft my hands feel after applying this cream! It doesn't hurt that my nails get all shiny, too. They are also thicker and less brittle now that I've been using the cream for a while. Great stuff!

You can connect with Lady Soma on Facebook and Twitter, and you can purchase your own jar of Skin & Nail Treatment on their website here for only $15.99 for a limited time.

{ Disclosure }

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. All opinions are my own. This post is in compliance with FTC regulations. You can review my PR policies and my full Disclosure for more information.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Lost In Shangri-La | Mitchell Zuckoff | Book Review

Title: Lost In Shangri-La
Author: Mitchell Zuckoff
Publisher: Harper Perennial, 2012
Paperback: 432 pages

A true story of survival, adventure, and the most incredible rescue mission of World War II.

{ Synopsis }

Award-winning former Boston Globe reporter Mitchell Zuckoff unleashes the exhilarating, untold story of an extraordinary World War II rescue mission, where a plane crash in the South Pacific plunged a trio of U.S. military personnel into a land that time forgot. Fans of Hampton Sides’ Ghost Soldiers, Marcus Luttrell’s Lone Survivor, and David Grann’s The Lost City of Z will be captivated by Zuckoff’s masterfully recounted, all-true story of danger, daring, determination, and discovery in jungle-clad New Guinea during the final days of WWII.

{ About The Author }

Mitchell Zuckoff is a professor of journalism at Boston University and a former special projects reporter for the Boston Globe, where he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for investigative reporting. His honors include the 2000 Distinguished Writing Award from the American Society of Newspaper Editors and the Christopher Award for his book Chosing Naia: A Family’s Journey, which was a Boston Globe bestseller. His magazine work has appeared in The New Yorker, Fortune, and other national and regional publications.

{ My Review }

I am not usually interested in reading documentary style books, but I have always found war history fascinating, so I decided to give this one a chance ~ I am glad I did!

Lost In Shangri-La is the riveting story of three individuals who survive a terrible plane crash into the side of a mountain in New Guinea, and a lengthy rescue mission into the heart of a previously unexplored valley. Facing tropical rainforest, severe injuries, warring natives rumored to be cannibalistic headhunters, and the daunting logistics of escaping a closed valley thousands of feet above sea level, the real life heroes in this book will inspire you.

This book is well worth the read.

{ Buy This Book }

You can purchase your own copy of Lost In Shangri-La for only $15.33 here.

{ Win This Book }

The great folks over at TLC Book Tours are offering one lucky Our Little Bit Of Wonderful reader a copy of this book! All you have to do to enter to win is complete the mandatory entry in the Rafflecopter form below, be at least 18 years old, and be a resident of the United States or Canada. Only the first entry is required, but you can enter as many extra entries as you want by completing the other entries, too. Make sure you complete all requirements for each entry you claim, as I will verify the winning entry and if it is not done, that entry will be disqualified. Have fun, and tell your friends!

{ Disclosure }

I received a copy of this book from TLC Book Tours in exchange for providing an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and a positive review was not required by the sponsor. This post is in compliance with FTC regulations.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

ecoStore | Product Review & Giveaway

Truly natural, truly pure household products... Effective, toxin-free products your pet will love... Healthy plant-based products for your baby... ecoSTORE USA products provide safe, healthy alternatives to everyday brands, while at the same time featuring outstanding performance and value for the dollar... All ecoSTORE USA products are plant and mineral based and free of toxic ingredients.

~ ecoStore website

These are just a few of the sentiments you will find at the ecoStore USA. And guess what? They're true!

I received two fantastic products from the ecoStore to try out, and I love them both...

{ Coconut & Vanilla Hand Wash }

Nick and I both enjoy the scent of Coconut & Vanilla Hand Wash, though both of us wish that it had a little more lather. The formula is smooth and light weight, and leaves your hands feeling both clean and refreshed. A little goes a long way, too, which is great because you don't have to replace it often. Made with essential oils, wheatgerm and wheat protein, and completely free from Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, artificial dyes, perfumes and preservatives, this hand soap leaves your skin's natural oils where they belong - on your skin - and doesn't dry out your skin, instead leaving it moisturized and silky smooth.

I have found that a full pump dispenses way more soap than you actual need, so I only press down enough for a small pearl of soap to appear (the amount in the picture is about half a pump, and is still far more than you really need). Overall, I love this soap, and once you figure out how much you really need, the absence of lather doesn't matter.

{ Laundry Detergent 32oz }

This Laundry Detergent is by far my absolute favorite laundry soap I have ever used, and I will definitely be a repeat customer. With a very faint scent reminiscent of these little white flowers that grow in the fields of my native Montana, and Eucalyptus oil, it leaves nothing behind on your clothes but a clean, fresh scent. I have a very sensitive respiratory system and very sensitive skin, and I love that - unlike other detergents that make my skin and nose itch, and give me headaches from the perfumes used - this detergent leaves my skin alone, and the scent doesn't bother me at all!

Its super concentrated formula allows you to use as little as half a capful per load of laundry, and as you can see, these caps are pretty small to begin with. This tiny bottle of detergent really stretches!

Just add your soap directly to your load of laundry - no staining, unlike some detergents! This product is specially formulated to be used with delicates and woolens, as well as with your regular laundry. I use it with everything from denims to towels to my infant daughter's tiny clothing and blankets! You can also use this detergent with HE washers.

The back of each ecoStore product has information about the specific product, as well as earth-friendly information about a variety of topics. The bottle itself is recyclable, light weight (as is the product inside), and it easily wipes clean if any detergent spills, so you never get that nasty sticky residue on the outside of the bottle.

You can connect with the ecoStore directly by "liking" their Facebook page, or following them on Twitter.

Want to win some of these great products for yourself? The great folks at the ecoStore are kindly sponsoring a giveaway of five of their fantastic bar soaps (one in each scent, including the baby bar) to one of my lucky readers! You must be at least 18 years old and a resident of the United States or Canada to win, and all you have to do is enter via the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

{ Disclosure }

I received product at no cost for the purpose of providing an honest review. All opinions are my own. This post is in compliance with FTC regulations. If you would like your product reviewed on this blog, please visit my PR Friendly Blog page.

This post is part of our Celebrating Serenity baby event! To read more posts, check out the events page. Be sure to enter our many giveaways, and check back frequently for more great guest posts, and opportunities to win sweet baby and mommy loot!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"Photographing Childhood Memories" | Guest Post & Photography by Kimberly Pace

Please welcome to the blog my cousin, Kim Pace. She is a stay at home Mom to three wonderful, energetic boys (ages one to five) living near Newport, Oregon, and she is a talented mommy photographer. She loves to take pictures of her kids and put them into digital and traditional photo albums. She's taken the time to share some tips with us on how to capture beautiful pictures of your children (or the children in your life, if you're not a parent), along with a number of the gorgeous and entertaining images she has taken of her own cute and rambunctious boys. Enjoy! And if you love her post as much as I do, be sure to leave her some comment love at the end! *smiles*

Photographing Childhood Memories
Kimberly Pace

Ah, taking pictures of children.  It's easy, right?  They are so cute and they do the cutest and funniest things!  But, tons of blurry pictures later, you realize it's a bit harder than you thought!  Here are some tips I have learned over the years.  While I'm not anywhere near being a professional, these are the things I do to get good pictures of my kids.

Go Digital

Most of you are probably already doing this, but if you haven't, you might want to consider it.  One of the tricks to getting good pictures is to take a lot of them!  Kids are notoriously good at not sitting still and making faces when they are supposed to be smiling.  With digital camera's, you aren't wasting any film at all!  No money thrown into the garbage.  If you don't already have one, be sure to research them before you buy.  Look at reviews both by professionals and the average person.  Look at more than one site for this.  This way, you will find out what flaws they each have (because, honestly, all things have some small flaw!) and also because some cameras are best suited by the semi-professional and others for general use.  I made the mistake of not researching one once and I got one I hated.  Now, I was able to return it and I got a much better one (for me) to replace it, but it wasn't fun to go through that, since I was so excited to get it!

Get To Know Your Camera

One way to get good pictures is to simply get to know how your camera works.  Each one is different.  Start by reading your manual.  There may be some cool features on your camera you don't know about!  Then, go out and try each setting in different lighting.  Try all the things that your manual says you can do.  Then, when an opportunity arises, you know which setting you would like to use for the situation.  Also, you can take classes in some areas which will help you learn more about your specific camera and general photographic skills.  These tend to be at adult learning centers or other places like that.  But maybe you have a community college that offers them or something.  I haven't had this luxury, but my Mom and sister have, and you can see the results.  Plus, they had fun!  Also, search around online.  I found a guy who gives tips on several cameras on a blog and he's also on Facebook.  You can get some great hints out there.

Go Outside

The best pictures I've taken of my kids were outside.  Especially if you can go out on a cloudy day.  You will want to avoid noon hours, though, as there is too much glare.  One trick you can do is hold your hand, a piece of cardboard, a book etc....over your camera lens.  That does help when it is really bright.  Some cameras come with a little shade you can attach to the lens for those situations.   But the colors are so much more vibrant in natural light.  If you are inside, you can find a room with good natural light and that can help.  Otherwise, for inside lighting, you really want to know which setting works best there (practice!).

Hold It

Ok, one trick most cameras have these days is pushing the button half way down.  This secures the focus and it's easier to get a good picture, sometimes even when there is a lot of movement.  I definitely recommend this.  You will have to get a feel for it.  If you push too much, you've taken the picture and not enough, it isn't doing anything.  This has helped me a lot.

Carry It Everywhere

Ok, maybe you aren't the geek I am, always lugging around a bunch of stuff, but I recommend you take your camera everywhere (or get a phone with a good camera).  I got the best one of my middle son one day after a doctors appointment. while he played in a little grassy area.  He was terribly hard to get pictures of and I hadn't gotten a good 1 yr picture of him yet.  But I had my camera with me when he went over to a railing, put is arms on it and laid his head down on his arms.  It was so cute!  I had taken the camera out first and was just taking general pictures of him hoping for a good one, and I got it!  Seize the opportunity!  I've also gotten some great ones at a playground.

The image I mentioned...

Click, Click, Click!

This will be the best way to get good shots - just take a ton!  It's easy enough to delete bad ones.  One good one in the pile of bad ones is worth it!  This is what professionals do too.  They take a lot!  Now, most of the time you only see the good ones, or even just the ok ones.  You probably didn't see the ones where so and so sneezed, or the focus wasn't completely set and it was blurry.   Our wedding photographer tried different settings in several areas and some weren't quite as successful, but it didn't matter.  He just wanted to try that setting in that area.  And we had plenty of great ones of that same picture.  So, there is no harm in just clicking away!

Flash Tips

Now, I still have issues with my flash sometimes.  You need to check the settings for this.  There are often different brightness settings for the flash.  With my camera, even the lowest flash is still pretty bright!  Another thing I've learned helps, is to back up and zoom.  That way, the flash is dispersed over a larger area and doesn't glare off of the people's faces as much.


I love macro.  It is a setting where, if the object is really close to you, you can focus on it better.  I have used this for my kids pictures sometimes too, even if they aren't super close-ups.  It can really help the focus.  I usually try to take one without it, but if it doesn't seem to be focusing the way I'd like, I use this and it seems to work nicely.  A lot of cameras have this too, though not all.

{ Photo by Debbie Johanesen }

Movement Shots

Oh, these are always going to be hard ones.  I haven't perfected these by any means, but what I do to help is to focus somewhere and hold it down and wait.  When you want to take the picture, it will take it instantly.  If you don't do this, the camera may take a quick second to focus and you may have lost the shot.  And this is another time when taking a LOT of pictures is called for.  Some cameras have cool settings for this, and some don't.  But if you don't have a specific setting, this is the best way I know to get them.

I hope these tips can help you!  Here are some more pictures I've taken of my children.  Enjoy!

~ Kimberly Pace

*All photographs are the sole property of Kimberly Pace and may not be copied or reproduced in any way without express written permission*

* Correction:: The first photograph under the subtitle "Macro" was taken by Kim's mother (my aunt), Debbie Johanesen, who won a first place ribbon at her county fair for it a few years ago*

This post is part of our Celebrating Serenity baby event! To read more posts, check out the events page. Be sure to enter our many giveaways, and check back frequently for more great guest posts, and opportunities to win sweet baby and mommy loot!