8.21.2014

Review: Everlane

{Swoon....Look at my beautiful husband!}

My husband is a man who wears many different hats throughout the day. He is a adjunct professor, a fitness instructor, an actor, a voice coach, an acting coach, a husband and a father. While he loves all of his professions he finds it difficult to hop from one job to the next in the same outfit (believe me I know...I wash his clothes every week!). When I found Everlane-a clothing company with simple yet tasteful clothing that can be layered and worn in different ways he and I were both intrigued!

A bit about Everlane
In the fall of 2010, a then 25-year-old Michael Preysman left his job in venture capital to start
his own business.He never expected to work in fashion, but a passion for great design and
frustration with the lack of innovation in the retail space, led him to build Everlane. He hasn’t looked back.

While the team is young, Everlane's employees have cut their teeth at places like Google, Yelp, Gilt Groupe, American Apparel, Marc Jacobs, J.Crew, Goldman Sachs, Pentagram,and The Gap.

It’s a motley group held together by a shared passion for pushing boundaries and challenging conventions.

Everlane is based in an airy new office in San Francisco's Mission District. Since Everlane's biggest customer base is in New York City, Everlane also has a small team on the ground there, as well. 

My Review
  I was sent the Men's Cotton Crew in Heather Grey, the Men's Cotton Pocket in White and the Men's Slim Sweater Blazer in Military to review from Everlane. The Cotton Crew and Cotton Pocket Shirts are both lovely basics to have in any wardrobe. The cotton is lush, pre-shrunk and breathable while keeping that super softness. The shirts are longer than most which gives you the option of layering and wearing the shirts tucked in. The Slim Sweater Blazer has a Slim, Semi-tailored fit and is made out of 100% cotton with 100% wool details. The great thing about this blazer is that it can be washed in the washing machine. The Sweater Blazer is made from a sturdy 12-gauge cotton knit with tonal buttons-so whether you are dressing up or dressing down-this sweater blazer can work nicely both ways.
 photo SignatureKiley_zps8c899e96.png
Disclosure:
I received these items free of charge for the purpose of my review.
This has in no way affected my opinion.
This review is my opinion and has been written in my own words.

8.20.2014

Review: Reed's Culture Club Kombucha

    


      I remember the first time I was introduced to Kombucha. My husband had brought home a bottle from our small, local health food store. I asked him what i he was drinking and he told me it was fermented, carbonated tea. I tried some and hated it. Thinking back to that experience the word "gross" immediately comes to mind. My husband continued to tell me that Kombucha is one of the healthiest beverages you can drink because fermentation uses live bacteria and yeast as well as a sugar source to create its products (you may be familiar with other fermented items such as Kimchi, Sauerkraut, Beer, Wine, Yogurt, etc.) Kombucha of course isn't as fermented as wine and beer and only contains a scant amount of alcohol. Even after his lecture on how great it is for me I still couldn't get over the taste--but I soon realized not all Kombucha is created equal.

Where in the world did Kombucha come from?      Kombucha is believed to have originated during the Tsin Dynasty in China, where it was nicknamed the 'Elixier of Life.' From their Kombucha became popular in Russia and finally it is now in the United States.

Health Benefits? Really?

   You may be wondering about the health benefits of Kombucha...well here are a few of them;

  • Kombucha boosts your metabolism due to its enzymes
  • Kombucha is rich in probiotic bacteria-which helps with the growth of good bacteria-basically your immune system and your stomach will benefit.
  • The probiotics and enzymes in Kombucha promote liver function and detoxification of the body.
  • Kombucha contains B Vitamins that support the metabolic functions in the body-heart health, healthy skin, hair and nails, energy and utilization of carbs. B Vitamins have also been known to boost memory, help with depression, stress and anxiety, and relieve symptoms of PMS.


My Review
When I said not all Kombucha is created equal I meant it. I have never been able to drink Kombucha until I tried Reed's Culture Club Kombucha. The other brands of Kombucha I have tried have all been WAY too sour-almost like drinking vinegar. Reed's Culture Club Kombucha has perfected the carbonation, sourness and sweetness and combined it all into one delicious beverage. My favorite flavors are the Coconut Water Lime and the Cabernet
Grape.  Reed's Culture Club Kombucha comes in a WIDE variety of delicious flavors and uses the finest Oolong and Yerba Mate teas brewed in spring water and proprietary culture to create their Kombucha (believe me it makes a HUGE difference in the taste and quality). My husband is a Kombucha connoisseur and says that Reed's Kombucha is the best of the best....I would have to agree.


 photo SignatureKiley_zps8c899e96.png
Disclosure:
I received this product free of charge for the purpose of my review.
This has in no way affected my opinion.
This review is my opinion and has been written in my own words.

8.19.2014

Review: Nalgene


   Chances are you have seen someone carrying a Nalgene product; a friend, family member or just someone walking (or running) down the street.  Naglene products are popular because they are no frills products that do exactly what they say they do! 


About Nalgene
At Nalgene, we’re all about helping people simplify their lives while respecting the environment. That’s why we created reusable containers of all kinds, made from a wide range of materials to suit your personal preferences, needs and lifestyle. So whether you’re looking for a virtually indestructible drinking bottle for a backcountry adventure, or you want a clean, green way of storing your dry pasta, you’ll find a Nalgene product that gets the job done.

My Review
    I was sent three products from Nalgene to review; 16 oz. Straight-Sided BPA Free
Storage Jar, On the Fly Kids-Hoot, 32 oz. wide mouth and On the Fly. The one water bottle we own leaks and is just pretty sad-taking it to the gym is pretty embarrassing too. I had seen lots of people running around our local gym with really nice water bottles when I happened to glance at the name Nalgene. When I returned home I looked up Nalgene and what they were all about. Nalgene kindly sent me the three products below to review. See my thoughts on each one of the products below;

    This water bottle is all mine and I am not sharing! This awesome bottle is sleek, leakproof, fits in cup holders and can be opened with one hand only. That's right, "Look Ma! One Hand!" Oh, and did I mention it is BPA free???? I love using it when I am on the Elliptical at the gym or in Pilates class--when I want to keep up with the moves but still want to get a drink. 

    The On the Fly Kids-Hoot Bottle is a shrunken down version of the adult On the Fly. The cute bottle is decorated with owls and just like the larger On the Fly can be opened with one hand. Oh, and its leak proof too (and BPA free!). 

   This is Nalgene's most popular bottle and there are many reasons why. The 32 oz. Wide Mouth can hold 32 oz. of liquid (duh) and the wide opening easily accomodates ice cubes and fits most water purifiers and filters--it also makes hand-washing a breeze. My husband loves the 32 oz. Wide Mouth and I appreciate the size of the bottle as my husband has been known to loose quite a few water bottles. 


16 oz. Straight-Sided BPA Free Storage Jar
   This shatter resistant and dishwasher safe jar can store cereal, nuts, dog treats, you name it. It is BPA and has no printing on the container-so all you see is the contents-nothing else. Simple, straight-forward and user-friendly.

 photo SignatureKiley_zps8c899e96.png
Disclosure:
I received these products free of charge for the purpose of my review.
This has in no way affected my opinion.
This review is my opinion and has been written in my own words.

8.18.2014

Review: eden & zoe


    I am always on the lookout for beautiful and unique clothing companies for children. It is so difficult to find gorgeous and modest clothing for children that lets the beauty of the child shine through. I was so happy when I found eden & zoe, a small clothing company run by a very talented Melissa. Melissa focuses on keeping her designs simple yet cozy and stylish.

 I was lucky enough to get Melissa to take some time out of her busy life and answer some questions for me!


Why did you name your brand eden & zoe ?
Eden and Zoe are the names of my two daughters. Eden is 6 and Zoe is 4. They are my inspiration and motivation.  


What is your most popular item currently?

Our dresses are always popular. Currently our most popular items are the Venus dress in 100% summer cashmere and Calypso dress in 100% cotton.


What is YOUR favorite item?
My favorite item is the Ama wave skirt in 100% cashmere. I love the beautifully crafted wave pattern and my daughters absolutely adore twirling around in this fun, flowing skirt.


Where is your company based?
We are based in San Francisco, CA.
Who or what inspires you?
Eden and Zoe are my inspiration. We launched our first fall/winter collection in 2013, which was ballet-themed (Eden and Zoe’s favorite activity). We followed that with an ocean-inspired spring/summer collection this year (Eden and Zoe are fascinated by the ocean). Future collections will continue to be Eden and Zoe inspired.


My designs are also influenced by the different places that I’ve lived in and visited. I grew up between Hong Kong and London, lived in New York, Tokyo, Beijing and Shanghai before moving to San Francisco. I am influenced by Asian as well as Western design perspectives. eden & zoe is aimed at an international audience, so I hope the designs speak out to consumers wherever they may be.

Who comes up with the designs for eden & zoe?
Yours truly! I absolutely love designing for each new collection – it’s so much fun. Plus it’s

great to see my designs come alive when Eden and Zoe are wearing them!

What is your favorite dessert?
Eton Mess – it’s an English dessert, which is basically meringue, cream and strawberries all mixed together in a “mess”. So decadent and yummy! 

What is your favorite holiday?
Am I allowed to say my favorite “holiday” is when the girls are at school?! Otherwise I’d say Christmas. It’s so magical for Eden and Zoe at this age and it’s always nice to have friends and family round for a few days of non-stop eating!
Your favorite place to be?

In my bed catching up on some zzs!


What is your favorite book?
It’s not easy finding the time to read a book. The last book I really enjoyed was “Never let me go” by Kazuo Ishiguro. It made me think.


What is your favorite movie? 


Point Break! It’s an old movie but I love Keanu Reeves – what can I say! 

My Review
   Melissa kindly sent me a Calypso dress in gray from eden & zoe to review. When I first saw the Calypso dress online I thought it was adorable. Once it arrived I must honestly tell you that when you actually have the dress in your hands you realize just how well made and beautiful the dress truly is. When my daughter tried the Calypso dress on for the first time I squealed with delight. My husband remarked at how classic the silhouette of the dress is. The dress can easily be dressed up with sparkly flats or dressed down with a pair of flip flops or sneakers. The dress is made from 1000% cotton with two delicate mother of pearl buttons on one shoulder and washes beautifully. The pleating on the skirt and the gathered sleeves makes this dress my new favorite and eden & zoe my current favorite clothing company for girls.
   










THE GIVEAWAY

Open to US Residents ONLY


Melissa would like to offer the Calypso dress in gray to one lucky winner. 
The winner has a choice of sizes between 2 - 10.

(Enter after the jump!)

8.17.2014

Review: Beef It's Whats For Dinner

     “I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf ofMom Central Consulting for the Beef Checkoff. I received products to facilitate this review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.”




    This past week I had a In-Home 'Beef Checkoff' party! We all had a blast! What is the Beef Checkoff? Well I am glad you asked...

What is the Beef Checkoff?
     The Beef Checkoff was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. It's a national marketing and research program funded by America's cattle farmers and ranchers.

    Cattle farmers, ranchers and importers direct the national checkoff program, which uses funds toward research and promotion efforts designed to increase domestic and/or international demand for beef. The Cattlemen's Beef Board and USDA oversee the collection and spending of these beef checkoff funds.
      The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) is a contractor for the Beef Checkoff and manages research and promotion programs on behalf of America's farmers and ranchers with oversight from the Cattlemen's Beef Board and USDA. One of the checkoff programs NCBA manages is the "Beef. It's What's For Dinner." brand.


 The Party
     For the party we invited our friend Ryan over for games and a yummy meal consisting of two cuts of beef. I was able to visit BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com (Butcher Counter) to find out what cuts of meet I should use for my recipe.The cuts I decided on were; Filet Mignon (my favorite cut of beef) and Sirloin Steak. I decided to take a recipe I found from Epicurious and tweak it a bit for my tastes. The recipe I used is below;




Portobello encrusted Filet Mignon and Sirloin Steak with a Fresh Herb Butter

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 small garlic clove, pressed
  • 1 (1/2-ounce) package dried portobello mushrooms
  • 2 1-inch-thick filet mignon steaks and 2 Sirloin Steaks

Preparation

   Take the first four ingredients and mix together in a small bowl to make your herb butter and then set aside. Next, process dried portobello mushrooms in a food processor and pulse until they resemble a fine powder.  Season the steaks with salt and pepper and then transfer the portobello powder to a plate. Press seasoned steaks into the portobello powder and coat both sides well.

Next, melt two tablespoons of the herb butter in a heavy nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. The herb butter will brown rather quickly so keep your heat setting low to avoid that. Add steaks to the skillet and cook until steaks are done to your liking (about 6 minutes per side for medium-rare). Transfer the steaks to plates and let rest for a few minutes. Spoon rounded tablespoon of herb butter atop each steak and serve.




The Reaction to the dish was overwhelmingly positive. My two kids (7 and 3) who are extremely picky eaters absolutely loved the steak and asked if I could make the recipe every night! Ryan loved the meal and my husband loved it as well. As for me, I could eat steak every night so it was so nice to have such a lovely meal in the comfort of my own home. I must also add that I loved how the meal turned out-it was delicious-a great meal with good family and a friend. Who could ask for anything more? Oh, and the party kit I was sent for the party contained a lovely meat thermometer that helped me cook the steaks to perfection. Hurray for medium-well steak!

 photo SignatureKiley_zps8c899e96.png

8.16.2014

Review: Kidecals


    It's almost back to school time. Do you have all the supplies you need? Probably not, am I right? Well no worries because we are here to help with some back to school must haves! Most schools require that children label all supplies, etc. and even if they don't require it it's pretty smart to just do it anyway. Believe me, my sister is a teacher and has heard too many "Teacher! Bradley stole my pencil!!!!" Not only will the teacher have less headaches if items are labeled but your kids will as well. This is where Kidecals comes in. 


    Kidecals carry personalized labels for just about anything; school, daycare, camp, travel and home. Kidecals Waterproof Labels are great as they are washing machine and dishwasher safe, making them great for clothes, water bottles and sports gear. Kidecals are WAY better than the old iron on labels! Kidecals personalized stickers for kids are easy to apply and will STAY stuck! With over 80 decal and label designs to meet trends and interests, there is a style of kids labels for everyone – even grownups!

In fact, Kidecals is pretty popular and has been seen in;


My Review
   I was sent a beautiful set of 'Pretty Roses Keycals' keyboard stickers to review. The Keycals came printed on a sheet of premium quality removable vinyl with non-residue acrylic adhesive. I was able to apply and then remove the keycal to place it perfectly without any issues as at. The Keycals are made for Standard MacBook computers (sorry, PC users). I have a MacBook Air and some of the keys are a bit smaller than a regular
MacBook so unfortunately some of the decals are a bit larger than the keys themselves (totally my fault for not checking on that bit of information before I ordered). Anyway I can still use them comfortably on my MacBook Air and they make my whole computer so pretty. Literally, I am at my computer most of the day so its so nice to have a bright keyboard to greet me! The letters on the decals are easy to see and I love the print and the brightness of the colors. So, if you are looking to change up your computer or just add personalization via labels Kidecals is the way to go.
 photo SignatureKiley_zps8c899e96.png

Disclosure:
I received these items free of charge for the purpose of my review.
This has in no way affected my opinion.
This review is my opinion and has been written in my own words.

8.15.2014

Review: Prize Candle


    I am a candle lover-I love warmth and light and scent they give. There is something so beautiful and romantic about candles (hence why I have SO many in our home). When I heard about Prize Candle I was intrigued. A Candle that contains a prize...for real? Yes, they were 'for real'. You light the candle and the wax burns down until your prize becomes visible. Simply blow out your candle and remove the prize pouch with a pair or tweezers. Carefully unwrap the pouch and discover your prize! You can also use the code that is included with your prize to see its value by visiting PrizeCandle.com. Pretty Cool, right? I thought so too. 



Prize Candles come in 10 scents; Autumn Magic, Vanilla Chai, Ski House, Antique Leather, Pumpkin Spice, Creme Brûlée, Moroccan Amber, Provence Lavender, Island Citrus, Lake House and are available in the following themes; A Star is Born (Boy), A Star is Born (Girl), Congrats and Merci!


My Review
  I was sent a Prize Candle in Jasmine Neroli to review. The candle come packaged in abeautiful striped box (perfect for gift giving). Once opened the candle is beautifully contained in a glass jar. The Jasmine Neroli scent smelled so good (even without the candle being lit). Once the candle was lit the candle burned clean and made my home smell wonderful. My children loved watching the candle to see when they saw the prize. When the candle burnt down far enough I carefully removed container and bag the ring was placed in. With the ring was a piece of paper with a code that when entered on PrizeCandle.com told me how much the piece of jewelry was appraised for. When I entered the code on the website this popped up:


Listen, I won't lie...I was a bit disappointed I didn't get a $10,000 ring but I soon got over my disappointment when my kids squealed with delight over (my) their newly acquired 'treasure'. Prize Candles are super fun and would make great gifts for just about anyone! 
#TMMPrizeCandle

 photo SignatureKiley_zps8c899e96.png

Disclosure
I was given the opportunity to review a Prize Candle free of charge via Tastemaker Mom.
This has in no way affected my opinion.
This review is my opinion and has been written in my own words.

8.14.2014

Review: HollyBeth Organics



If you are an avid reader of Cherry Blossoms {the blog} you will know of my love for organic and all natural products. Our skin is the largest organ of the body and absorbs 60% of what we put onto our skin into our body. When I found out about the brand, HollyBeth Organics and that the ingredients for each product are hand selected I knew I wanted to learn more. Not only are the ingredients hand selected but each product recipe is 
based on traditional homeopathic remedies from around the world. HollyBeth Organics uses only the freshest plants and the finest essential oils.

A bit about HollyBeth OrganicsHollyBeth Organics was born from a culmination of HollyBeth Anderson’s life experiences — from growing up in the mountains of Georgia surrounded by the wonders of nature, to soaking up the organic lifestyle while living in parts of the world known for natural healing. Her interest in the curative properties of plants began early on under the tutelage of her grandmother, who taught HollyBeth all about the medicinal properties of native plants on their walks in the Georgia woods.

She was introduced to essential oils and the organic lifestyle while living in France and when her life journey took her to Latin America, she learned about the curative powers of herbs from local healers. It was in Spain that HollyBeth learned the importance of a skincare regime, when a dear friend’s mother implored, “Your eyes are the mirrors of your soul. Keep them beautiful.” And so HollyBeth’s quest for the best eye cream on the market began.

When she couldn’t find exactly what she was looking for, HollyBeth had an epiphany that would forever change the course of her life – why not create her own? Utilizing the knowledge and experience culled from both her travels and her upbringing, she set forth to create an organic, effective and natural line of plant-based skincare products. The first cream she created, her now best-selling Eye Cream, combined organic jojoba, sweet almond and camellia oils. The result was — and still is — an effective ultra-hydrating, soothing and anti-aging product without all of the irritants, unnecessary ingredients and fragrances found in other products flooding market.

Based in Atlanta, not too far from the mountains of North Georgia, HollyBeth hand-selects ingredients and formulates her unique recipes based on traditional homeopathic remedies from around the world. Using only the freshest plants and the finest essential oils, all HollyBeth Organics products are safe for the entire family.

HollyBeth Organics’ line of USDA-certified organic skincare products is lovingly created in small, artisanal batches, using earth-friendly manufacturing practices and packaging.


Questions and Answers with HollyBeth of HollyBeth OrganicsI was able to get HollyBeth of HollyBeth Organics to answer some questions just for Cherry Blossoms {the blog} readers! See my questions and her response below.


What is your most popular product? 

    Eye Cream was my first product and it’s been my bestseller ever since! It’s versatile; it can be used to reduce puffiness, soothe the area around the eyes, provides UV protection, and it does doubles duty as a cuticle and lip moisturizer.
What is your favorite product?

     This varies, but lately it is my Orange Peppermint Shea Butter Cream. I love the way it feels, how it supremely hydrates skin, and I simply can’t get enough of the aroma!


Why did you decide to start HollyBeth Organics? 

    After taking stock of 50 years of life experiences that took me across the globe, from the woods of North Georgia, to Spain, Latin America and France, I had an epiphany. I had learned the medicinal and curative properties of plants, herbs and essential oils, understood the importance of a skincare regimen, and the benefits of an organic lifestyle. I decided to utilize the knowledge and experience that I had culled to create an organic, healthy line of products without all of the irritants, unnecessary ingredients and fragrances that are found in many products in the market? After I returned to Atlanta, I began crafting my eponymous line of luxurious and effective skincare.

What inspires you? 

   My backyard is my biggest inspiration. I like to say that all of the ingredients for my products originate in a garden, not in a lab, so I am constantly inspired by what’s in bloom!

What are your favorite ingredients to work with?

    I love working with essential and plant oils—especially geranium and camellia. You could say that camellia is my signature as you’ll find it in many of my products!

What is your favorite vacation spot? 

    I like adventure and rarely visit the same place twice! I haven’t been on vacation in a very long time, but for my next trip, I have my eyes on Borneo, Bhutan or Mongolia.
What do you do to relax? 

    I haven’t quite figured out how to relax just yet! I always joke that “relax” isn’t part of my vocabulary. But when I do have a bit of downtime, you can likely find me sitting in my backyard, enjoying my garden!

My Review
    I was sent Jasmine Orange Bubble Bath from HollyBeth Organics to review. I absolutely love how soft this bubble bath made my skin feel. My children also had some of the Jasmine Orange Bubble Bath in their bath and loved how "silky" it made their skin.  Sadly, I didn't get many bubbles from the bubble bath and I would have liked the Jasmine Orange to smell a bit stronger (there seemed to be no scent to the bubble bath at all). Even so, I loved how the bubble bath didn't make any of us break out (we all have very sensitive skin) and how it soothed my chapped and dry skin (especially on my feet). I love HollyBeth Organic's packaging-it is beautiful and would make perfect gifts during the holidays with a cute tag and a bow.
 photo SignatureKiley_zps8c899e96.png
Disclosure:
I received this product free of charge for the purpose of my review.
This has in no way affected my opinion.
This review is my opinion and has been written in my own words.

8.13.2014

Post: We are all Survivors

         Few moments of my life have brought so much pain to me that I struggle to breathe. Gasping for air takes too much effort when you receive the news that a member of your family has taken their own life. 
      It was in April of 2012 when I received the news that my Mother had passed away. It puzzled me when I heard the news. Not MY mother. I knew she was suffering. I knew she felt lonely though she was surrounded by people that loved her, that supported her. In fact, just a few months earlier we had gotten her help. We had sent her to an in-patient treatment facility for a month (after her first attempt) to get her the help she needed to get her feet back on the ground. She lived with me when she returned from the facility and seemed to be doing well...only a few weeks later to relapse into a heartbroken, angry and sad woman that I no longer recognized. To see someone who has raised you turn into a stranger is a heartbreaking and life-alterning moment. You struggle with what to say, what to do. You see this person who is physically the same person but mentally changed. The light in her eyes was long gone and all that was left was sadness. 

     I remember laying in bed with her and holding her closely, strange how our roles were reversed as I began caring for her after she had cared for me when I was young. I told her how much I loved her, how much I wanted her to stay with me, and how much her grandchildren needed her around. She promised me then and there that she wouldn't try to take her own life again. She had trouble looking me in the eyes when she made the promise and shifted uncomfortably, almost laughing at the notion. 

    Before her depression took over (something that she suffered with her whole life) my
Mother dedicated her life to helping those less fortunate. She loved doing "Secret Santa" for families that were struggling to make ends meet. Somehow my Mother would find each of the families favorite treats, movies, clothing sizes and what they really needed. She would package everything up beautifully and then we would all jump in the car. We would drive to the homes and place everything on the porch, ring the doorbell and then run off. My Mom loved to laugh and she had the best belly laugh in the world. She loved watching Saturday Night Live and quoting Gilda Radner. My Mom would laugh so hard that she would often wet her pants--thats when you knew she was truly happy--when she wet her pants. My Mom was funny and smart and so kind. I remember being at a restaurant with her when she noticed a bald lady walk in. My Mother got up, walked over and started a conversation with this total stranger telling her that she too was a cancer survivor and that she would "beat it!" My Mom loved to cook and cook she did. She often made WAY too much food, in fact if you told her five people were coming for dinner she would make enough for twenty...and I am not exaggerating. Before her death she was able to open "The Community Table" -- a restaurant without a cash register in Lexington, VA. She wanted those that were less fortunate to be able to come to a safe place where they could enjoy a three course meal complete with cloth napkins and white tablecloths. "Just because they are poor doesn't mean they don't deserve to experience the finer things in life."


      When she passed away she did so in a manner that left little chance of survival. It was sudden, tragic, public and still makes my stomach and heart hurt when I think about her all alone and just wanting the pain to stop. In April of 2012 I became a survivor of suicide. When I first heard that term "Survivor" I started to laugh -- I didn't survive a suicide attempt, how am I a survivor? Two years have past and I believe that I am just now understanding what the term "Survivor" means. It means for TWO years I have survived after being left with no understanding of why my Mother took her own life. It means for TWO years I have survived the pain of loosing her. Two years of going over the steps I took that day and what I could have done differently to stop her from leaving me. Two years of feeling guilt. It means for TWO years I have had to become a Survivor just to live my life everyday. Sometimes just knowing that I am a Survivor has helped me get out of bed and raise my two children and smile. Sometimes being a Survivor has helped me laugh at jokes even though I don't feel ready to laugh again.

When I heard the tragic and sad news of Robin Williams' passing I was sitting in my car in a parking space waiting for my husband to return from grocery shopping. I was shocked at Mr. Williams' passing but when I found out that he had taken his own life my tears started flowing. My tears started flowing for his children and his wife. For the pain they are feeling now and for the pain they will feel the rest of their lives. Because Robin Williams was such a well-known and well-loved public figure we all loved him. Many of us grew up watching his movies; Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji, Hook...and in that round-about way we are now all survivors of suicide. We will all grapple with the loss of a man we barely knew but loved deeply. Our hearts will ache, our smiles won't reach our eyes....but as time goes on it gets a tiny bit easier. The pain will never truly go away...but we will survive because that is what survivors do.


 photo SignatureKiley_zps8c899e96.png
750,000 people attempt suicide and more than 30,000 people commit suicide in the United States each year. I walk every fall in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to raise awareness for Depression and Suicide (and to honor my Mother). Let us increase empathy for those that loose their fight with depression and leave the judging up to God.


Review: SOL Republic

It's back to school! For almost everything this means music. At our school even kindergarteners need headphones for school. Certainly your high schoolers and college-aged children need headphones, and they won't be satisfied with the cheapy ones we give the young children.



In the spring we reviewed earbuds and headphones from SOL Republic, and we still love the sets we reviewed. For Back-To-School, however, the company has sent us a pair of Tracks Air Wireless headphones. Without compromising sound quality or comfort they have upped the ante on convenience! It connected easily with my husband's computer and he was immediately in love with it. He uses these headphones for his work calls when he works from home and is in absolute love. To not have to worry about wires is such a freeing experience. I wish you all can experience that. To charge you only need to plug in one ear, during play the headband connects the other ear to the battery. Battery life is long -- 15 hours (!!) and the charge up time is super speedy. The wireless range is 150'. I couldn't believe how easy everything was, and my husband couldn't believe how great they were.


We also received a Deck wireless speaker. It is so handy! It was easy to set up and connects via bluetooth to play your music. We immediately set it up with my phone, my husband's phone, and our babysitter's phone, as she happened to be in our kitchen when we eagerly opened the box. You can control whether the Deck is control by up to 5 people (Heist Mode) or a single person so if you want to take turns playing music you can but if you want full control you can do that too. My kids loved carrying the deck all over the house and I didn't mind because I could still use my phone for other things. It'll play music from your playlist, music from a website, even the sound from videos. The wireless range is 300'! There are volume control buttons on the speaker and you can also control the volume from your device. As you can imagine my kids and I had a great time switching up the volume on each other. ;-)


Both the headphones and the Deck would be ideal for high school or college students, but as we found in our house they are just as great for younger families and adults as well! Highly, highly recommend. These are home-run products!

 photo SignatureHeather_zpsd054c2f7.png
Disclosure:
I received these items free of charge for the purpose of this review.
This has in no way affected my opinion.
This review is my opinion and has been written in my own words.

Disqus for Cherry Blossoms {the blog}