Tuesday, July 31, 2012

BlankZ Review & Giveaway 8/1 - 8/8

I was excited to review BlankZ.  They are a fun company that make a creative and sustainable toy that you design!  I received the Bare Hare Set, which is an adorable bunny with 4 washable markers green, red, blue, and black. 

Veronica was so excited to be the first of her siblings to color the Hare, underneath is her little creation.  We had a blast and all the kids got to enjoy it.  I just threw it in with a normal wash and each day they went to town on a new design.   
The BlankZ was easy to wash and color again and again.  We washed the bunny in cold water and dried on normal settings.  It is important to have your BlankZ completely dry before creating on again.  One thing I  noticed, that if the markers where still wet it would get on the kids fingers, and was easy to come off with a simple hand washing.  You can always keep your creation on for extended time periods by keeping your BlankZ dry and away from anything wet.
To the right is our US Woman's Swimming Team Bunny.  The kids said that she had to have the Olympic tattoo or she is not at the Olympics.  As you can see, we are having a lot of fun with our BlankZ! 

About the Company, BlankZ
  • We are a U.S. based, boutique marketing and product development company.
  • We make toys for other companies and have been doing so for many years.
  • We are based just outside of New York City in Long Island.
  • We've been making toys of all kinds for many, many years.
  • the blankZ Shop is brand new.  We just opened so that creative people who don't live near one of the stores that carry our products have the chance to buy them as well.
  • The blankZ are only for sale in small, specialty retail shops around the USA and now in Canada.
  • For a list of stores in your area please check the blankZ website page.   From BlankZ website

Looking to win one??????
The Pitch List is going to be giving away one everyday for the next 7 days.  A new winner will be picked each day.  Be sure to enter in the rafflecopter below and checkout the other blogs and their little creations! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Conscious Box Review

I love to try new products that support and encourage Organic and Green living. 
Conscious box is a cool company that put together a monthly box of products to be delivered to your door for you to enjoy.  This month was a great assortments of things I love.  

So what all was in this months box?
  • GoGo Squeez- applesauce on the go.  
  • Powbab- super food vitamin chewy supplement, delicious!
  • Sun warrior- raw protein vanilla blend, also delicious.
  • Skin smart- antioxidant teas (3).  I loved these teas and will be buying some more soon.
  • Aromatherapy card pack of helpful recipes and information for using essential oils.  I loved this, because it was packed with information.  
  • Sweet Orange Aura Essential oil, LOVED IT!  I made a message oil with it from the recipes in the Aromatherapy cards. 
  • Organic Peppermint mints. 
  • Organic energy bar.
  • Muscle relaxing tea, which I can't wait to try out tonight.  I increased my run today and am feeling the effects of a great run.  This tea will be well used tonight before bed.
  • Naturally it's clean- floor cleaner.
  • Mighty Leaf- Iced tea bag.  We used this for out family afternoon tea and the kids really enjoyed it.  
  • beautiful container of Eyeshadow that I have used and gotten many wonderful comments on.
  • Assorted natural sweeteners.
  • coupons for most all the products.
I loved everything in the box and thought this is a great way to try out honest companies and their products with out the worry if we would like them or not.   Conscious also, had a neat card included in the box with 5 different ways to recycle and reuse your box.

The Mission of Conscious Box

Conscious Box is dedicated to introducing you to the most ethical, sustainable, and honest businesses that create the purest products available. We scour the marketplace to find those that stand above the rest. Discovery defines the Conscious Box experience. ~Conscious Box  You can read more about their mission statement and ethics here.  
This is a great deal for under $20 a month!
Next month will be the August 'Back to School' Conscious Box! It's going to have delicious, nutritious snacks, some  great daily alternatives, and tons of other really fun stuff that everyone will enjoy, making it an AWESOME gift for all students, including K-12 and college. And yes, it's great for students and non students alike, so you can gift it to anyone!  Just remember, you've got to order before the 6th of the month! This is the only legitimately healthy care package we've seen this year, and they're going fast!  I already put my order in and can't wait for it to arrive! 

Day Two in Edinburgh Scotland, part one

The Bed and Breakfast, Joppa Turrets,  that we stayed at was wonderful.  The bed was comfortable and we slept with the window open to listen to the waves, birds, and rain all night long.  Breakfast was served at 8 am and we made sure to be showered and ready.  We were eating and then taking the bus into town to start our adventure of Edinburgh!

We  had a few choices for breakfast and I selected the traditional Scottish breakfast.  While it was being made, I enjoyed fresh fruit of sliced grapefruit, figs, and juice.  They had yogurt, table fruit, and cereals as well.  We needed plenty of energy for all the walking we knew we would do, so I really enjoyed the fresh fruit.  Coffee was by French press.  If you have not had coffee this way you are missing out! 
 I loved my traditional Scottish breakfast of ham, bacon, tomato, mushrooms, egg, haggis is the brown round patty, and black pudding.  I have to say that I really really enjoyed the haggis.  It tasted a lot like a German dish I use to have a few years back.  The only thing I could not eat was the Black pudding (blood sausage).  :-)


The owners of Jappa Turrets were great, because this American girl did so great at eating her Haggis, I got a certificate!  Once we finished are breakfast, juice, and coffee we head out to Edinburgh.  The parking is a bit of a headache and did not want to waste our money on the meter parking so we decide to take the bus to town and walk.

Unfortunately as soon as we got into the city we had to do a little shopping.  I knew the temperatures were cooler, highs of 60, but with the rain a cool mist went throughout the city in the morning.  We picked me up a new coat, that you will be seeing throughout the entire trip, lol. 
Here I am in front of the Olympic rings!  Go USA!  Come on Woman's Gymnastic, behind you all the way!

 This is part of the Royal Mile, what a misty foggy morning. 
During the week, Queen Elizabeth was there.  Today she is Knighting her grandson into the "Knight of the Thistle".  Those that have invitations to the events were making their way into St. Giles Cathedral.  I loved the different hats, and wish I had gotten more pictures of them.  I wanted to get a few pictures of the men in their more formal kilts. 
Before going up to the castle we found a knight shop.  So many cool items and they let us try on the helmets. 


The entrance before heading  into the front court of Edinburgh. 

The guard on the left is there just so tourist can have their picture and not bother the guards that really are on duty.  The guard on the right did a great job of not letting me distract him.

Edinburgh Castle

These were very steep steps leading up to Castle Edinburgh.  Edinburgh Castle dominates its city like no other castle in Europe.  For 3,000 years people have found safety in this rock castle.  In the beginning it was called "din Eidyn", meaning the stronghold of Eidyn.  It was around AD 638 that the Angles invaded and called it Edinburgh.

This castle endured siege after siege during its long wars with England.  While there was a lot of history told, most had a very English feel to it.  By the time of King James VI, the castle been little more than a garrison fortress.  Since 1745 the Castle has been a national icon, but the garrison of soldiers remain.

One thing I loved, and is in a lot of my pictures, is the moss and plants that gross so beautifully over walls, rocks, and pretty much everything
This was a small room in the castle that held a full detailed mold of the castle, it was huge!


St. Margaret's Chapel

St. Margaret's Chapel is the oldest building in the castle.  Built around 1130 as a private chapel for a royal family, dedicated to his mother Margaret.  Margaret died in the castle in 1093, who was devastated over the violent death of her husband, Malcolm III.  These are a few of the gorgeous stain glass windows that include St Margaret, St. Andrew, St Ninian, St Columba, and William Wallace. 

Back side of The Scottish National War Memorial
Royal Guard in front of TSNWM.

These were the only pictures allow since the inside was No Photos Allowed.  The inside was breath taking, they did a wonderful job with honoring the memory of fallen soldiers.  There was stain glass windows and statues that are difficult to describe beside breath taking.  They even had an area much like in Washington that is dedicated to the unknown soldiers. 


The Great Hall of Edinburgh Castle was completed in 1511, and was meant to serve as the place for ceremonies in the castle.  Unfortunately it was not used for that often since King James the IV was killed in the Battle of Flodden just two years later.  It was used for barracks for the next 230 years by Cromwell when he took the castle over in 1650.

After the Castle was taken back, work began to restore the Great Hall in 1886.
Architect Hippolyte Blanc, helped in restoring everything you see, except the hammer-beam roof. 

The medical roof is one of the most important in Britain!  The stone corbels supporting the main trusses are carved with Renaissance sculptures which happen to be the oldest in Britain.  
I spent quite some time just looking at the detail in the wood work of this piece.  It amazes me the time it would have taken to make these. 

 Mons Meg, is the Big Gun, so to speak. Mons Meg was presented to James II in 1457 as a gift from his niece's husband, Duke Philip of Burgundy.  The six tonne siege gun was named after the town it was built in Belgium, built in 1449.  This massive gun weighs 330 lbs and took a hundred men to move it during its battles.  The gun was used mostly during the wars with England first at siege of Roxburgh Castle 1460.  It was during this siege that James II lost his life.  James the IV then used Mons in the siege of Norham Castle  in Nurthumberland.  Mons ended her fighting days with James V's Navy and was taken out of military use around 1550.
She was then used as a saluting gun, especially at the wedding of Mary Queen of Scots.  She was last fired in 1558 to celebrate the birthday of the Duke of Albany (later known as James VII).  It was then that her barrel burst and was dumped down near the Cartshed.  There she sat until 1754 when they moved her for the Disarming Act.  She was saved from being melted down because of her size and 70 years later she returned to the castle.  A full military escort accompanied this beautiful gun in 1829, back to where she sits today, as one of the most remarkable of all medieval guns and Scotland's military past.

Governors House on left.

 The 1 o'clock gun is fired every day except Sundays, Good Friday, and Christmas Day.  The entire town sets its time to this gun.  The only time it went interrupted from its normal schedule was during the two World Wars. 

We saw the Palace and actual Honors of Scotland.  These were areas were no photos allowed again.  I will show you pictures from the tour guide book.

From here we headed to the city to do Mary Kings Close, St. Giles Cathedral, Museum, and ghost tour.  There is too much for one post so I had to break it into two, which you can check out part two tomorrow. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

First Day in Scotland

Many people have asked "Why Scotland?"  I can not really tell you why besides something calls to me in Scotland.  It started with Julie Garwood's books and how she writes the highland warriors.  Then many other writers have painted pictures of rolling hills, castles, churches, and of course "Braveheart".  My husband has heard me talk many times about wanting to see the castles of Scotland and he surprised me with the Anniversary trip of my lifetime.

Day One
Much of the first day was just traveling to Scotland.  I wish I could say that I slept when I should have, but I was just too excited.  Here I am enjoying a warm cup of tea during a layover.  I loved being able to travel with my Libre Tea Mug, it made cold and warm drinks so convenient.  We got to Edinburgh Airport around 11am.  Once through customs, baggage, and picking up the rental, we made our way over to down town Edinburgh.  There we had a delicious lunch and then headed out to fine our Bed and Breakfast.

The Bed and Breakfast was sitting right on the beach and was absolutely beautiful.  Our second story window was looking out to the Ocean and their private garden.  After we freshen up we headed out to the beach to walk around and explore.  It started to rain and we found a delightful Tea, Annie & Belle, shop where we had afternoon tea and cake.  I had the best mocha coffee and a rocky-road cake, oh man was it delicious, Starbucks watch-out!  If you are in Edinburgh you have to stop by there!  We then headed back out and walked the shops and area.  We decided to visit a local pup for a little Whiskey experience and local beers, Husband idea :-)  The pub had woman's tennis on the Big Screen and it was fun listening to the local Scottish burg.  After leaving there, we walked back along the beach and noticed everyone has beautiful cottage style gardens.  Everything is so colorful and beautiful.  We walked along the shoreline picking up seashells until we made it back to the Bed and Breakfast.  We where exhausted and ready for bed, but the sun was still out at 11 pm, crazy I know.   

This was a few of the gardens I got on our walk.

Be sure to check out day two in tomorrow's post with our trip to Edinburgh Castle, my experience with Haggis, and more!