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upcloseandcaffeinated

Up Close and Caffeinated is a blog geared for individuals that enjoy product reviews and discussing all different aspects of lifestyle.

Getting Your Child to Read and Enjoy It! #reading #books #booklover #magazines #storytime #readingisfun #reviews

***These opinions are strictly my own and I have not been compensated for this review in any way.***

If you are a parent or have a child in your life than most likely you have picked up a book or two and read them a story. If they are anything like my son, they will read themselves or ask you to read to them on a daily basis. Reading has always been an important fundamental in our household. The following are some fun magazine publications for children of various ages to enjoy. What kid does not like to get mail sent to the home addressed personally to them?

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National Geographic Kids:  This publication is from National Geographic and is created solely for children. The Science and Nature elements to this magazine are for children who enjoy reading about different animals, history and discoveries throughout the world. The magazine is eye-catching with bright covers and photographs of animals and will help them to learn all about nature and the animals in the world a page at a time. All issues also usually include something for the child like a poster, stickers or maps! There are ten issues a year and the price unless you find a deal is around $24.95.

Highlights High Five Magazine: This magazine is based for children ages 2-6. I personally feel though that even some older children would enjoy the pages out of this magazine. The magazine is all about learning and using basic skills throughout daily life. The pages engage the child in Math, Science, English and other areas of learning as they read and observe the colorful illustrations. The magazine has many articles, photos, games and experiments for the children to do and has a special section where the child can try and find hidden objects. The magazine has 12 issues a year and is pricier at $39 a year but as mentioned you can sometimes find coupon codes or better deals on the web. This I would definitely recommend though for the more activity drawn child in your life.

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Zoobooks: This is similar to the above mentioned magazine of National Geographic Kids and is similar in comparison to price. The magazine is different though in the sense that this is more geared strictly towards animals and those particularly involving birds, reptiles, monkeys and insects. The magazine is extremely colorful as is National Geographic and is geared for the ages of 6-12. The magazine does more then host photographs though it also has activity lessons too. The magazine has been around since the 80’s and for the kids who love nature this is a great addition to your home. I remember getting these and loving them! The magazine runs 9 issues a year and is again without discount priced at $29.95.

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American Girl Magazine: I have a stepdaughter and though she is grown out of American Girl this magazine is a great publication for elementary girls who are in need or just looking for positive reading material that is inspiring and promotes their self-esteem and wellness. The publication was launched in the early 90’s and is reasonably priced for 6 issues per year at $19.95 a month. Every girl as she reads these pages will be able to relate to friendships, emotions, divorce, self-esteem, and growing up. There are life tips, articles and much more.

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Boy’s Life: Lastly, this magazine is geared towards the Scouts’ in the family. The boys who enjoy nature and learning skills and adventure. The magazine is geared for young boys and features video games and technology stories but mostly articles on staying fit, jokes, comics, adventure planning such as hiking and camping and enriching the lives of boys in every page. This is a monthly subscription the whole year round and is a great deal. $24 gives you a whole year and also helps to encourage the young boy in your life to live positively and be healthy.

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There are so many magazine publications I could have fit into this small review but for now these are my top picks this month for children’s magazine titles to receive at home. I highly recommend before purchasing that you check for the best deals online!

Check out your local Groupon as well as http://www.magazines.com and http://www.magazineline.com!

  1. National Georgrap
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Product Review: MyPillow Classic As Seen On TV pillow #asseenontv #comfort #mypillow #relax #goodnight 


***This Review was not compensated for its Review. This is strictly my personal opinion.***

The past few years for me have been plagued by physical therapy, Chiropractor appointments and Massage Therapists. The problem always seemed to be the knots and stressors I seemed to carry in my neck. The moment I would awaken I would feel the stiffness in my neck and my whole day I would be in pain unsure of what to do to fix the problem. Nothing I tried worked. The problem always seemed to come back. After buying pillow after pillow at department stores like Wal-Mart to fancier pillows at Bon-Ton I never found one that was better than the other. 

So, when I first saw MyPillow advertised on television and with a cost of around $50 I immediately told myself this was just like every pillow I had tried. The tv ads were simply a hoax to get me to go buy the product and then find myself disappointed I felt. Last week, for Valentines Day, I was given a MyPillow though for a gift from my family and though I have only tried it for a few days I must say this is no hoax.


I received the Medium fill, standard Queen pillow 18.5″x 28″. The pillow came in a carrier box with eye-catching color and appeal surrounded in plastic inside only to be opened to reveal a straight edge pillow with a cool texture and feel and comfortable filling inside. The pillow at first touch was neither hard nor soft but when I rest my head upon it adjusted to meet my own sleeping habits and position. I have woken up each morning feeling great with literally no neck pain. 

The pillow is backed by a 60 night money back guarantee which almost instantly shows you the pride the company feels in the product and how confident, you the shopper are, that they are willing to give you your money back if you don’t agree this pillow is the best you have ever had. Also, the pillow comes with a 10 year warranty and can be washed and is dryable in the machine. No pillow from your local store for $10-20 will give you that guarantee and continued comfort. After first wash usually you will have a lumpy pillow and may even find stains or discoloration. This pillow is guaranteed to be the “most comfortable pillow you will ever own!” 

The product is made in the USA and offers you the consumer a chance to get your perfect fit by using their fitting guide. The company uses a color coded system to meet your needs and will give you reference when ordering. The sizes can be Small to XXL With a firm fill and a Medium fill for men and women. 

So, if you have tried feather pillows, down pillows, memory foam and more you may have done some research on what you want in a pillow. This is the pillow for you. Those may have disappointed but I assure you I stand by this product and will probably be buying another one and for everyone in the house. This is one product that isn’t a gimmick and actually managed to get it right. Don’t be intimidated by the price. It works! 

Check it Out:

http://www.facebook.com/mypillow

http://www.mypillow.com 

Children and A Cold: How to Beat the germs and be healthy. #germs #healthy #children #kids #sick

***I was not compensated for the review of any product shown below. These are my own opinions.***

If you’re anything like me the mere thought of a cold hitting your household begins to make you cringe. No one likes germs and with all the change in weather and children in school it seems to be that one thing that cannot be avoided. Though we may not be able to hide from the cold/flu we definitely can be as proactive as possible. 

Having three children in the home of all different ages makes it very tough to avoid the cold or flu. You, the parent, can tell your children to wash their hands and use sanitizer but lets be honest how many of these children actually will follow through? After all,  it’s hard enough for us as adults to follow through and sanitize our hands.

So do we give up and and wave a white flag to germs and viruses? Do we place the tissues in our nose and let the germs go at it? Instead be proactive! 

I’m going to tell you just a few tips that may really help make the difference between the cold or flu that lasts a day or two or even maybe avoiding it at all.

Being sick is no fun and certainly not the way we want to spend our time so it’s good to let our children know of alternative ways to prevent sickness reaching our home. Today, as I scroll through my Facebook newsfeed, parents in the kids’ school districts all have been plagued with the flu/cold this week.  

There is a product out there to help our immune systems fight off these germs. I highly recommend!


Airborne Original which helps to support our immune system provides us with a blast of vitamins, minerals and all with a decent flavor. So how does Airborne work and does it work? On a daily basis our Immune system is constantly attacking germs. Airborne helps to provide the defense to getting sick or the flu and with enough exercise and plenty of sleep quite possibly could have you not getting sick.

 What does Airborne contain?  a combination as I mentioned before of vitamins and minerals and herbs. Airborne comes in a different variety of ways you can get it such as a chewable gummy or a powdered drink.

I personally cannot get a glass of Airborne down but I struggle with drinking any form of medication. I use the Airborne Vitamin C gummies for adults as well as for children. I really like the gummies and you can find most of them at your local stores such as Walmart, Kmart, CVS and Rite Aid.

 The fruit flavored gummies for children and adults come in citrus, mixed berry and grapefruit. I have found that by taking this product so far I have not had the flu or cold hit me this year. 


Another way for kids to stay healthy as well as adults is to make sure to eat healthy. Staying healthy can include eating bananas, spending time in nature, smiling which releases happy hormones, walking to clear your mind and if you can do it water hydration is extremely important. I struggle to drink water but with adding fruit and drink mixes I can meet my daily amount needed. 

 We need to keep reminding ourselves and those in the home that our children play on dirty playgrounds and they drink out of each other’s glasses, they touch everything that comes in contact with them and that these things and activities can spread bacteria and viruses. 

 One of the greatest sentences I ever heard about avoiding being sick is to “wash your hands.” If done enough you can actually reduce the chance of catching a childs cold by like 50%. 

Always remember if you have a sick kid at home to also make sure that when you do the wash this is the time to use the hot cycle. Typically, in our home, we use cold water but the hot water will kill the germs studies have shown. As a parent it is hard but we need to try and also avoid touching our own nose and mouth and as much as you want to cuddle your children it’s important to watch out for viruses which travel distances in blankets, towels, stuffed animals and even the child’s toothbrush. Make sure to toss the old toothbrush out once the cold has passed.

Flu shots. Doctors say that you should have a seasonal flu shot which basically gives you the parent as well as the child the best protection against catching the flu or cold. I’m not sure how I feel about the flu shot.  I’ve never had one personally so I can’t honestly say if it works or not. I know a lot of people swear by them including my wife. I am needle phobic so volunteering my arm without it being a necessity is hard for me. If you are like me and needle phobic, there’s a vaccine called FluMist. Flumist makes it so that instead of getting a needle in the arm you can use the pain-free spray in the nose. 

Lastly, coughing politely is something that should be taught to your child. The sick child if old enough can be taught to sneeze into arm or a tissue. This will prevent the germs from travelinginto the air and possibly onto furniture and yourself. 

I leave you with this: It is always important to not only care for your kids but to also care for yourself! 

Television Review: You Me and Her #youmeandher #directv #lgbtq #ondemand #review


Tonight I watched this On Demand show with DIRECTV and entered into the program completely unsure of the premise and whether I would enjoy it or not. Let’s discuss the overall theme of this series. A married couple struggles to find intimacy in their relationship until they meet Izzy an escort who ends up becoming entangled with them both unexpectedly after (Jack) admits to his wife that he met Izzy one night in a hotel room and became intrigued with her. The wife (Emma) of course must meet her face to face and therein lies our show premise. The series is marked as a comedy and first aired March 22, 2016. The first series has completed and can be watched On Demand until the next season premieres. 

Episode one started out a bit dry for me. The couple definitely lacked intimacy and at times I thought they seemed awkward and uncomfortable. I did not feel a strong connection to either character which is hard for me because I usually try to find something I identify with in each series. The theme though I am sure many can relate to. The couple whose been married and the sex has fizzled out. This day and age it is also not uncommon to see poly relationships where more then one person is involved with one another. The theme is contemporary.

Actor Greg Poehler(Jack), Amy Poehler’s brother debuts in this show with Priscilla Faia(Izzy) and Rachel Blanchard(Emma). I had never encountered any of these actors before but the acting and tone of the show is clever and casual asking the question to viewers what if this happened to you, could you do it? Would you? 

The show is currently only able to be found on Directv so the show could find itself short of viewers as Netflix and Hulu are making a large following with their exclusive series. I had never heard of Audience channel but I am definitely going to binge watch season one and see how it develops. 

Let me know what you guys think? Have you seen this series? 

Check it out On Demand now on DIRECTV Channel 239 and Series 2 begins Valentines Day 2017.

What do you feed a Picky Eater? #pickyeater #kidapproved #easymeals

If you are anything like me you are a working mom with not a lot of time on your hands to make fancy dinners each and every night but still want your children/child to have a healthy well-balanced meal on the dinner table in between homework, school events and sports.

My son who is seven has challenged this non cooking mom to really learn how to get creative and find things that he will enjoy. The following websites I found helpful recipes on and fully encourage you to try to get that picky eater in your household to enjoy helping to make the meal and hopefully eating it too.

I stumbled upon the website http://www.kraftrecipes.com, the first website that offered a specific section on “picky kid eaters” and I immediately dove in to see what I could find. I stumbled upon Velveeta Tasty Baked Mini Taco Bowls and they looked delicious, they had nutritional value of under the 9g of sugar that my son can have in a sitting and only took a total of 30 minutes to prepare and serve. This recipe is very handy and has worked wonders for me. I enjoy it as well! The website also features recipes for other meals such as breakfast, lunch and snack!

I highly recommend checking out this website. As a new cook in the kitchen this recipe website was very easy to read and understand. The recipe gave detailed times for preparation and serving time as well as ingredients broken down and tips step by step. I will definitely incorporate this into our family meals more often now.

On a separate note, the key to your “picky eater” is to not stress it. I know at first I really stressed why he wouldn’t eat and how I could get him to eat, if anything at all. I now have decided to plan a meal and make him eat it unless he has tried it and definitely does not like it. They say at young children’s ages it takes a few tries for children to decide if they like/dislike foods. Do not be so quick to feel insulted and that your cooking is being critiqued. As our children get older their taste buds change and what once was their favorite may suddenly no longer be something they desire.

The World Wide Web is full of wonderful resources for cooking with your picky eaters and I will name a few sources below to have you check out:

  1. http://www.kraftrecipes.com
  2. http://www.jif.com
  3. http://www.schoolfamily.com

Enjoy!

 

Movie Review: The Girl On The Train #thegirlonthetrain #thriller #moviereview 

                 

The film is an adaptation of the book by Paula Hawkins. Prior to watching the film I was advised that the book was much better, as they typically are, from the movie itself. I walked into the movie Tuesday evening with no expectations. 

As the movie began and I learned more and more about the characters I found myself not able to connect or feel anything for them. The divorcee, played by Emily Blunt, ultimately which the film is based around felt unattached and hard to connect and relate to. As she becomes entangled in a missing persons investigation I simply did not care that the girl played by Haley Bennett had gone missing and found her actually to be sort of empty and almost classless.

The characters all possessed a sense of darkness and lack of beauty and the nudity in the film seemed unnecessary. Justin Theroux who plays Tom, the ex husband with a new life, was a real creep and I thought he did a very good job at portraying his role as did Emily Blunt for what they were given as a screenplay. 


The story is set with a divorcee on a train everyday passing by her old home now lived in by Justin Theroux’s character Tom and his new wife and baby. As she dreams of a life outside of her own she becomes enthralled with neighbors next door and imagines what it must be like to be them. As we all know there is no perfect life or Marraige and soon she sees a shocking revelation that fills her with anger. As she wakes up from being drunk the next day she awakens to blood and no recollection to the night prior. All she knows is something bad happened. Suddenly, she finds herself invested in finding out what happened to Megan the girl next door and what part she played, if any, in this night of mystery. 

Once I got into the storyline though I did not care about the characters I did want to finally see what did in fact occur. The ending offers a twist and made it not completely a waste of my hour and 12 minutes of time in front of the television. 

Overall I would say if you are looking for a movie with some thrill, some sex and drama check this out. It won’t be the worst three dollars you ever spend. Just glad I didn’t see it in the theater.

Enjoy! ☕️

Product Review: Coffee Talk #starbucks #timhortons #coffeetalk #coffeebreak #timeforcoffee #wakeupcall

Laptop and a cup of coffee

I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Good Morning Everybody,

Today is Saturday morning and it is almost noon. I am already dressed and have already been out in our -6 degree weather here in Western New York because I have an addiction to coffee. The first thing when I wake up in the morning is the thought of getting my Tim Horton’s coffee here in town. I do not know where all  you readers are from but if you are lucky enough to experience having a Tim Horton’s in your town I highly recommend you take advantage. In my town, there are only two commercial options for my caffeine fix and the other one is Starbucks. Starbucks is definitely more your “national” brand coffee company. The company is definitely higher priced than Tim Horton’s and I think that is because it is clear that they put their capital into designing fancier cups and fancier shops. Tim Horton’s is a more Northern company and I have yet to see it go further than Pennyslvania in my travels. I continually say if someone was wise enough to place a Tim Horton’s down South that it would be a gold mine with not only their food but their Iced Cappucino. If you read this and invest and make it big, remember where you heard it from!

tim-hortons-cafebakeshoplogo

Tim Horton’s based in Canada is a company that is reasonably priced and continues to offer a wide range of donuts, drinks as well as sandwiches, soups and other food items. If I had to tell you one thing about Tim Horton’s I dislike more than Starbucks it would be the constant customer service request I have for a “reward” card like the Gold star reward card offered by Starbucks. Starbucks will actually give you star points on your purchases, so if you are a loyal coffee drinker at their establishment you will find yourself receiving special treatment almost in their shop. Now, Tim Horton’s I spend over one hundred dollars a month in their shop and that gets me nothing in rewards. They occasionally have their “roll up the rim” contest but that is random winners and you rarely find yourself with anything. Also, they ran once a sticker reward card where after a certain amount of coffees you received a free one. Hold on, there is a catch, it cannot be a small like I drink. This is not okay. I assure you with all the money I spend whether it is a small or medium makes no difference.

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So, Tim Horton’s us loyal customers need a reward card. We need something for our daily treks in -6 degree weather to taste your delicious aroma of piping hot coffee and possibly a sugary and sweet donut to accompany it. Starbucks, you disappoint me with your prices and your options. I simply cannot find a product that I enjoy in your shop and at $3.00 each for even just a “tall” which is a small basically I fear spending the money as I have to just be left with a full cup of something I do not enjoy. So for now, Tim Hortons is my recommendation on where to go for your daily coffee fix and delicious lunch or treat.

At this moment, Tim Horton’s is now offering “Chock Full of Love” as a promotion which gives the customer an option of a brownie batter donut, a double chocolate muffin, a dark hot chocolate, double chocolate cookie or chocolate chip iced cappucino. If you can look at this promo picture and not salivate I commend you.

Check the websites below to find out if you have a Tim Horton’s near you or Starbucks:

http://www.timhortons.com

http://www.starbucks.com

Movie Review: Sing #sing #americanidol #moviereview #pixar #kidsmovie

This animated movie by Illumination had been sold out the first week of its release in my town. People were lining up to see the film with their children during the holiday season and like them I took my son to see it and the following is my review.
Sing is about Buster Moon, voiced by Matthew McConaughey. Buster is a koala who runs a local theater that in its day was glamourous and filled with people and now we see a theater that is falling apart, pending foreclosure and in need of a big talent to make it what it use to be once more. Basically, Buster decides he will hold a singing competition and award the winner with $1,000. Unfortunately, his secretary, a cute chameleon creates a typo and places the prize at $100,000. The crowds line up to sing and win the prize but so much more is behind this almost two hour movie. 

Yes, two hours. I found myself very fidgety after the first hour or so. My son began to fidget shortly after me. The film just was too long and dragged out a story that could have definitely cut at least a half an hour off of the film.

The characters were cute and likeable and the songs were contemporary and most of the children in the theater knew all the songs that were sung. One of my favorite characters was a pig in a gold lame’ jumpsuit singing Bad Romance by Lady Gaga. 

The film is rated PG and though it’s not the worst film to take your kids to and see I would definitely be prepared to feel a bit ansy after the first hour and a half when you realize the film just keeps going on and on. The theme of the film is cute and characters are fun but I overall just found this film lacking the substance to keep me entertained like say a Despicable Me movie or something Disney. 

My opinion: wait for the DVD!

Product Review: OzNaturals Facial Serum #oznaturals #serum #review

***I received a free product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.***

This review is on the natural skincare product on the market by Oz Naturals. This product is 98% natural and consists of Vitamin C20, Alpha Hydroxy Acid and Vitamin E. In a country full of chemicals and preservatives it is very refreshing to have a product void of these harmful ingredients. Oz Naturals came up with a very special “BioPreserve Complex” which unlike other companies allows the product to remain fresh and strong. This special ingredient is highly effective.

When I tried this product on the first night I immediately felt my skin texture smoother and the appearance of my skin to be more youthful looking and with a wonderful clean feel. I did not immediately notice a difference with fine lines and wrinkles but I could see after the first use even that this product would definitely improve the quality and overall appearance of my face. I continued to use it nightly and each time noticed how my face was becoming each and every time more youthful and the discolorations in places on my face were becoming less noticeable.

The bottle is simple looking with a dropper top and orange label. There is no real elegance to the bottles appearance but no one wants to pay for the appearance but the actual products result. The product is cruelty-free which is very important in my purchasing decisions. The bottle is 30mL and is used by cleaning the face and drying it slightly and then while using the dropper spreading it upon your neck, face and chest and allow it to dry. This can be used twice a day. The scent is mild with no real fragrance. The look is murky and texture is thick.

I would rate this product *** out of 4 Stars.

Interested? Check it Out:
Vitamin C 20 Serum + Hyaluronic Acid

https://www.amazon.com/OZNaturals-Contains-Professional-Strength-Hyaluronic/dp/B00DPE9EQO/ref=sr_1_1_s_it?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1483384059&sr=1-1&keywords=oz+naturals+vitamin+c+serum

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