Always, Katie: May 2012

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Review: Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Shampoo and Conditioner

It's been a while, but I have posted reviews of products that I have been able to try (free!) as a BzzAgent.  My most recent campaign was for Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Shampoo AND conditioner. Garnier sent me a full-sized sample of each, with the only string attached being that I have to share my honest experience.  So... here goes!

I've used Garnier Fructis products before - usually alternating between it and whichever Herbal Essences product tickles my fancy.  Up until I received my BzzKit, I was using an Herbal Essences set, and was pretty pleased.  I've been using Triple Nutrition for about a month now, and DO notice some improvement, though.

Triple Nutrition is for "dry, damaged hair."  I don't consider my hair especially dry OR damaged, although I do tend to get split ends... that's mostly from my bad habit of NEVER getting it trimmed, though, I think  ;c)  I use a blow dryer and curling/flat iron maybe 3-4 times a week...  If I wash my hair in the morning, I obviously HAVE to blow dry it.  Before Triple Nutrition, my freshly blow-dried hair had some major, ugly, flighty volume... which I HAD to use an iron to tame.  The ONE big difference since switching shampoo/conditioner is that this doesn't happen!  I LOVE LOVE LOVE that I can use fewer damaging heat products on my hair!!!  In this way, Triple Nutrition seems like a double-whammy: makes my hair healthier, so that I can damage it less!  Totally awesome!  

Something Garnier is very proud of right now is their new eco-friendly packaging.  From their website: "We're getting greener! New designed bottle made of PET, the most widely recycled plastic contains 30% recycled material." In addition to the formula of the contents, I'm also supposed to review the packaging, sooo... 

Guys, it's a bottle.  I like the earth... it's been good to me, you know?  But when it comes to picking a shampoo, the plastic content of the bottle is pretty low on my list of considerations.  All other things being equal, I'll pick the eco-friendly bottle, but I'm not going out of my way or paying major extra money just to get a greener bottle.  I know there are people for whom this is a big deal, but there are sooo many really important causes.  I choose to devote my time, energy and money to others.  The cap of my condition bottle broke off pretty quickly... it may or may not be a function of the kind of plastic used, but again... whatever.  It's a bottle.

I'm not going to tell you that Triple Nutrition is going to change your life.  But it's a good, reasonably inexpensive shampoo and conditioner.  Next time you're looking to change it up a bit (that's healthy for hair, right?), and you have a Garnier coupon, go for it! 


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I Love My Marble Rolling Pin

This will not be nearly as long a review as my paring knife review... just wanted to say that I LOVE my marble rolling pin!  

I've been making sugar cookies all the time now, because it's just not NEARLY as big a pain in the tushy as it used to be!  This thing weighs a ton, and it does all the work of rolling... I just have to direct it. :c)  Then, clean up is a piece of cake (or cookie, lol)... just some water and a wipedown.  It doesn't splinter or get all funky like a wooden pin, or get mildewy like the plastic, water-filled kind.  And I really can't over-emphasize how much easier the weight makes rolling stuff!  

And it wasn't expensive AT ALL!  If you like to bake, and hate rolling dough... you should totally treat yourself to one of these!  


Monday, May 7, 2012

A Joyful Heart?

I made myself a necklace the other day... I had bought the pendant several months ago - I think it even made the move from Ohio - and knew what I wanted to do with it, but was holding out for the perfect large round link.  I had had these word charms before, but the only one I still have says "discipline" and I wasn't sure that was the message I wanted next to this pendant.  I mean, it's lovely, and would be great for, say, a keychain to your gym locker... anyway.  When my set was full, it included the word "Love" which would be the obvious choice to go with a heart pendant.  I happened upon the same set at Michaels last week, then saw that there was another card on the next peg with the same kind of charm, and noted that "Discipline" was not included in THIS pack... Woo!  I'll take that one!  Got it home, "Love" is also not included.  Facepalm!

So, with "Love" no longer an option, I chose the ring that said "Joy" and made my necklace. As I sat and looked at the finished product, I got a little sentimental.  

I decided that I really like the loose symbolism here... while my heart may be blue (and heavy), I need to remember not to let that steal my joy.  Joy through trials.  When I showed it to Ethan, he said simply, "Oh.  A joyful heart," with a soft little smile.  We had a moment. 

Because, frankly, our hearts both ache, although we have plenty of reasons to be joyful.  My diabetes doctor is being uncooperative with my fertility specialist... the fertility specialist wants to put me on Metformin, but the diabetes doc claims that there is no research to support that move, and that Metformin is dangerous for Type 1 diabetics.  Even though I have searched the medical journal databases and found ample and current research to suggest that Type 1s CAN be insulin resistant as well as insulin dependent and Metformin CAN be used to break that resistance.  

Warning, TMI:  Until about a week ago, I hadn't had an unprovoked period since my surgery in December.  I skipped January, used Provera to start in February, skipped March, used Provera again in April, then FIVE DAYS after I quit in April, I started again and had ANOTHER FULL period.  Yeah, two full periods in three weeks.  It was spiffy.  So now I fret that my fertility is even worse off than it was pre-op, because I almost never skipped periods before, and CERTAINLY never had more than one in a month.  We both have had some bloodwork recently, and we're waiting on the results... which could have a major impact on where we go from here.  Waiting is hard.  Finances are hard - did you know insurance almost never pays a dime for fertility stuff?  We're lucky - ours pays a tiny bit.  As in, about the amount of this bloodwork.  Yeah.  People get pregnant "accidentally" all the time... we're gonna break the bank to do it.  Sometime I wonder if Ethan and I shouldn't go out to a bar and pretend to be strangers... he can pick me up and we can get naughty in the parking lot or behind some bleachers.  Seems to work for "everybody else." 

It's so easy to let bitterness creep in.  Even easier, and sneakier, though... is the sadness.  Sometimes, I'm just going about my routine, and notice that I'm about to cry.  Or I find that my heart keeps dwelling on all of the things I want to do with and for my children.  I want to decorate a nursery... and start a big, awesome library... I wish these Provera cramps were baby flutters or even morning sickness.  

I'm having one of those days today.  But I keep reaching for my necklace and reminding myself of all the reasons to be joyful.  I'm God's beloved... and Ethan's, too.  We had a wonderful weekend of "us" time... with the semester finally ending, his stress level is falling a lot, so we just cuddled and teased and giggled all weekend.  It was blissful :c)  I worked for a few hours yesterday, and was in my element... helping kids make memory wire bracelets for Mother's Day.  I love my job, I love kids, and I love beading and crafty conversation.  When I got home, my husband and my puppy were both thrilled to see me.  I'm blessed.  And, despite, a blue and hurting heart, I WILL be joyful.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Review: Kuhn Rikon Colori Paring Knives

I just wanted to write a quick review today of a product I am loving!  

We bought a cheap-cheap-cheap set of Walmart paring knives, and they... work.  But as much as I cook and bake, I wanted something a little sharper and sturdier.  When one of the girls at Our Best Bites mentioned that they used Colori Paring Knives by Kuhn Rikon, I looked them up.  They're definitely a bit pricier than Walmart knives, but they have been wonderful so far!  I can literally peel a potato so closely that the peel is transparent.  Seriously.  Awesome.  I got mine on Amazon - they're around the same price as on their website, and Super Saver shipping was free since I bought three.

The blade is carbon, and is super-slippery.  Stuff just sliiiides right off, and while I didn't realize that sticking was an issue with knives - it totally never occurred to me to dislike my old knives because they weren't nonstick - I can definitely say that it is WONDERFUL to have nonstick knives. They are smooth and clean up really quickly.

The blades don't wobble... they're nice and thick and sturdy, and extend up the length of the grip as well.  They're also a little bit longer than other paring knives I've had or used, and I love them for that!  Eventually, I may add more knives from this company to my collection, but for now my paring knives chop veggies, slice potatoes, and de-fat raw meat.  

The two features that made me choose this brand over any other higher-end knife were the blade guards and... um... the fact that they come in colors.  Drawer space is at a premium here, so my knives are in, loose, with the rest of the silverware... and I feel much better about rifling through the drawer knowing that these puppies are sheathed!  And I bought them in red and black (the same colors as most of the rest of our utensils) annnnnd light pink.  Because I'm me. :c)  Kuhn Rikon suggests using the color variety to color code what you're cutting and avoid cross-contamination... but I mostly just like that they're pretty!

I will say that there is a slight downside to these knives. Well, more specifically, with graduating to "big girl cutlery."  They're sharp, and I can't handle them the way I handled my cheapies.  My poor fingers have been suffering from my learning curve, haha!  I haven't really had much experience with higher-end knives, so I can't compare Kuhn Rikon to any of the other big names, but I CAN definitely say that if you are looking for reasonably inexpensive knives that are sturdy, pretty multi-taskers, the Colori knife by Kuhn Rikon is an excellent choice! 


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