Friday, April 29, 2022

ReadySlim Detox Tea Kit Review

Do you suffer from bloating? Has your metabolism slowed down? Do you need more and better sleep? Because I know these have been some of my issues for the last couple years.

I talked about my miscarriage, my D&C, and my experience with Asherman's recently. All three of those have messed my body up and I am still having problems with the aftermath. I had another HSG which showed the scar tissue has come back, and this time it is also penetrating my uterus. Not just inside my uterus like last time. Anyways, this has caused some major bloating problems. At certain times, the bloating is so bad that I look pregnant, which I am not. 

It has also changed my sleep habits. I often lay awake in bed from the discomfort of the scarring, so I need help with sleep. And since I am approaching 40, my metabolism has slowed down. So basically I have the trifecta of suckiness.

ReadySlim reached out to me to try their Detox Tea Kit. Now at first, I was thinking, I don't want a weight loss system. I don't need that. But then I looked into their website and Instagram to find out more about them. They offer a 28 Day Detox Tea Kit which is a two step tea kit. One for the morning and one for the evening. They are about promoting healthier bodies through detoxing your body. There are no weight loss ingredients, only herbs and fruits to help clean out your body, make your skin look healthier and promote better sleep.

ReadySlim 28 Day Detox Tea Kit

Here are the ingredients and benefits of the morning tea:

ReadySlim 28 Day Detox Tea Kit

And here are the ingredients and benefits of the evening tea:
Night Time Detox Tea

The teas help with inflammation, bloating, flushing out the toxins from your system, help with digestion, metabolism and helping you sleep better.

Now for the taste test because let's be honest, not all teas taste great. BUT this tea is really good. I love a good cup of chamomile tea in the evenings. Especially when I travel. This tea is really good. I was most excited to try the night time tea because that is when I normally drink tea. The night time tea has chamomile in it, peppermint to settle your stomach, orange peel and lemon verbena for some good flavor, and lavender to help with sleep. I love this combo and will be taking it on my future work trips.
ReadySlim Snoozzzy Night Time Tea

ReadySlim Snoozzzy Night Time Tea

ReadySlim Snoozzzy Night Time Tea
Yes I had to add an ice cube after it was done brewing because it was still too hot.

The daytime tea is just as good. You definitely get the flavors of the passion fruit, apple and ginger without it being over powering. If I am at home, I start my day off with a cup of the tea. If I am in the office, I usually have it after my morning coffee.

Not only am I drinking tea twice a day, but I am cutting back on my coffee, which is a huge deal....also saves me the additional bloat when I don't have as much creamer in my life.

Have I seen less bloat and inflammation? Yes, I have. But I also have coupled this routine with more exercise on my Peloton and have had less dairy/creamer. 

I feel like my sleep is better, and I am averaging about 30 more minutes of sleep a night. This is a big deal because on Monday and Tuesday nights I have to get in bed earlier since I go into the office on Tuesday and Wednesday's. I need to get to sleep faster and stay asleep.

All in all, I am very impressed with this tea system!

Thank you ReadySlim for sponsoring this post. I received these products in exchange for my honest review.

Have a great weekend. I am linking up with A Little Bit of Everything.  
Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Cleaning Your Washing Machine

*This post contains affiliate links. When you click a link, it is no cost to you and I make a small commission (pennies) from it. Thank you for supporting Sparkles and Lattes.  

So I have a little story for you all. We have had our washing machine for about 6 years. About 6 months ago, it started to smells quite often. I was using the Affresh washing tabs or the Tide washing machine once a month like normal, but the smells and gunk was still present. I found myself using those about once a week recently, which is overkill.

Let me say that I wasn't as good about cleaning the washing machine on the clean cycle monthly for about the first year or two. I would do it every other month. I was being cheap. That bit me in the butt later on. As in the last month.

The gunk is basically brown or black flakes that end up on the bottom of my washing machine or on my clothes. Gross. 

I took to google to see what it was. Basically it is a build up of iron, minerals and sometimes mold. My clothes always smelled clean, but this was becoming a problem with the persistent smell when we would walk in the door or when it would leave that gunk on clothes. It would really only leave it on the clothes when we didn't have a very full load.

Anyways, I decided one day to clean out the area beneath the cap on the agitator. It was nasty. It was full of that gunk, hair and lint. I didn't take a picture, but it was gross. Then I did another tube clean wash with Affresh, and the gunk was even worse.

Dirty Washing Machine
The cap in the middle of the picture is what I took off and clean under it.

So I knew it was something deeper. I took to You Tube to see what I could do to clean the rest of it out. I then proceeded to spend about an hour watching videos. I knew it would be a process, so I called two appliance repair companies to see what they would quote me. One said at least $300 to $400 and maybe more. The other said $500 since it will take half a day. I could almost buy a new washing machine for that. 

I figured I could do it myself. And so I did. And it sucked. But I saved us money. I just cut my hand up pretty bad in the process and it took me 4 hours.

After watching ones on the Samsung, I looked for my LG model. Let me tell you, LG sucks in the way they make their products. At least they do for washing machines. Next time I will be getting another brand other than LG or Samsung.

Anyways, this is what I did for my model. I unplugged the washing machine. I DID NOT have to take the water pumps off. I unscrewed 4 screws in the back of the washing machine. Then I lifted the back end and pushed forward. This freed my whole top portion of the washing machine. Then I opened the lid to my washing machine and let it fall back, this held the washing machine open, but I still used a free hand when I could to keep it open. The top weighs quite a bit and I didn't want it falling on me.

Then I started removing the 8 screws that hold the plastic ring above the drum. Once I got all 8 screws out, I unsnapped the ring (there was about 6 snaps), and pulled the top part off. I took it outside and sprayed it with Lysol All Purpose Cleaner and let it sit.

Then I popped the cap off the agitator again and took two small flat head screw drivers and put them around the sides of the agitator to pop it out. When I did that, I was greeted with the most disgusting sight.
This the agitator.

This is what was getting all over my clothes. And the smell. So foul.

I took it outside as well and then sprayed it with the Lysol and let it sit.

Next, I had to take the bolts off the bottom to get the drum out. This is where I sliced my finger open. The outer area, the lip, is very sharp. I was able to remove (with the help of Rory) all but two bolts. The last two we had to put WD-40 on them which was great for getting them off, but not so much for putting it back together. Spoiler: the bolts wouldn't stay in their holes later on.

Even with wearing gloves, when I was wrenching the nut off the bolt with my left hand (yes I am left handed), I finally got it to budge, but then I sliced my finger open even through the glove. I bled everywhere and it wouldn't stop bleeding. I cleaned it and put a paper towel around it to finish cleaning and this project. I had to keep changing the paper towel out and finally put kitchen cleaning gloves around the paper towel and wound to keep it clean and safe.
There is about half an inch to an inch of gunk build up on there.

Once the nuts were off, we pulled out the drum and took it outside to be washed. Once again, I put Lysol all over it to sit for a bit.
The black/brown gunk was all over the bottom and sides. It is hard to see, but the brown flakes were covering the whole outside of the drum.

Once everything sat in the Lysol All Purpose Cleaner for about 15 minutes, I took an old toothbrush and started scrubbing the agitator (top and bottom), the plastic ring, and the bottom of the drum. I used a scrub brush for the inside and outside of the drum. Then I used Rory's Pressure Washer to blast off all the excess gunk. This took a bit, but I got all three pieces completely clean.

Then I had Rory clean up the pressure washer, hose and dry them off for me, so I could go work on the inside of the washer. This is what it looked like before.

I used more of the Lysol spray and then some hot water and Dawn dish soap. I used my old toothbrush and the scrub brush and got them all cleaned out. Now you can use a shop vac to suck out all the water (but make sure you take out the filter) or you can run a short rinse/drain cycle. I chose the shop vac option. Cleaning the inside of the drum took about 20 minutes because we had a ton of gunk build up.

Once everything was clean, we started putting it back together. This is where two of those bolts dropped when we tried to put the drum back in. We ended up super gluing them into their spots otherwise they wouldn't have stayed in their hole. Once they were dry, we put the drum back into place and put the washer and nuts back on. We made sure they were tight and then snapped the cap back on.

Then we snapped the plastic ring back on and put the 8 screws back in. Once they were tightened, we put the washing machine top back into place. Now it was easier to get it off, then put it back on. We had to first put it down with it pushed forward and set it in its tracks. Then we pushed it back and it snapped into place. This was a two person job, when I was able to take it off by myself.

Then I simply screwed back in the 4 screws in the back, plugged in the washing machine, and turned it on to make sure it still worked, and it did.

Then I proceeded to wash the clothes I wore to clean this beast to see if it would work. And guess what, it did. No more flakes, no more smell and no more gunk.

Now here are a few things I learned to help slow this process down (the gunk build up):

- Use powdered detergent. Something about the liquid builds up quicker.
- Wipe out the excess water from your washing machine after your final load for the day. If you are running load after load, you do not need to wipe it in between.
- Once your load of laundry is done, immediately take it out and put it in the dryer. Do not let your wet clothes sit in the washer for long periods of time.
- Use the Affresh washing tabs or the Tide washing machine packets once a month. You can even make your own (there are many recipes on Pinterest and You Tube) and save money.

So I saved us $300 to $500 which was nice. BUT this was a process and I can see why people have someone else do it or just buy a new washing machine.
How to Deep Clean Your Washing Machine

Monday, April 25, 2022

Mother's Day Gift Guide

*This post contains affiliate links. When you click a link, it is no cost to you and I make a small commission (pennies) from it. Thank you for supporting Sparkles and Lattes.  

Mother's Day is just around the corner and I am already shopping for things for my mom and my mother-in-law. Plus I am eyeing some items for myself. And since I always share what I find, I wanted to share them today, so that you have enough time to get said items if one of these is right for you.

I really look forward to things that the girls make me in school. I have some pretty amazing poems, hand prints, and foot prints around my office from year's past.

Here is what is on my list.

Mother's Day Gift Guide
Elisa Gold Necklace  This necklace is on my list. I have a gift card to use to Kendra Scott and this may be the item that I get. I LOVE this new color.

Tory Burch Tote  This tote is so pretty. I LOVE the colors that it comes in. It has three compartments and holds a 13 inch laptop. This is perfect for a work trip or being a mom on the run.

Dyson Airwrap  This has been on my wishlist for over a year now. I just can't bring myself to spend the money on it. BUT it is the only air styler that my hairstylist recommends on my hair.

Mama Necklace  This necklace is pretty and delicate. I love how simple it is.

Rothy's The Point  I love my Rothy's but now I want another pair and I love the Point shoes. Maybe not in black because my other pair is black. These shoes are amazing. You can throw the whole thing in the wash to freshen them up. I let them air dry and they come out perfectly each time.

Our Place Pot  I love my Our Place Always Pan. It has been amazing. Now I want the pot to make mac n cheese, rice, soups, etc. And it is on sale right now!

Charlotte Tilbury Mini Collagen Lip Bath  I love Charlotte Tilbury products and I have heard nothing but amazing things about the collagen lip bath. This is a great way to try them out. You get three minis and the colors are beautiful.

Ugg Noreen Shorts  I love all things Ugg and these sleep/lounge shorts looks so comfortable. And they come in pink and blue. I would definitely lounge in these all Summer.

Dior Addict Lip Glow  This lip gloss is amazing. I got to try it out before and I definitely want one now in the pink color.

Tory Burch Cloud Sandals  These sandals have also been on my wish list for over a year now. And these are on sale right now. I heard they are very comfy, plus they are very cute.

What is on your wish list right now? What are you getting the moms in your life?
Friday, April 22, 2022

Friday Favorites and Happenings

*This post contains affiliate links. When you click a link, it is no cost to you and I make a small commission (pennies) from it. Thank you for supporting Sparkles and Lattes.

Happy Friday all! We have a busy weekend of softball games and then a baseball game at our local AAA's stadium. 

Onto Friday favorites and Happenings.

ONE. So last weekend, we were out and about shopping for the girls for softball. We wanted to get them a bat and some practice softballs. Since bats are so pricey, we decided to get one and let them share. But I wanted to share their bat and practice balls in case your children need some practice too.

SKLZ Practice Softballs

Easton AMETHYST Fastpitch Softball Bat

TWO. Also, why we were out shopping, we stopped in the Vans store. I wanted to try on the Vans that I posted last week. I tried these on and another pair on and they won me over. The Lizzie won as they have an Ecocushion inside for a more comfortable wear and they don't rub your toes raw. Plus I loved that they were suede.

Vans The Lizzie

THREE. While we were also shopping for the bat and balls, I headed over to the sports section to see if there was any Giants gear for the girls. Well, I found something for myself. I even wore it yesterday. I sized up to a large, so it would be oversized. It is perfect for Spring and Fall games.

SF Giants Lizzy Pullover

Amazon even has some NFL teams.

FOUR. And now some Easter fun. Since I didn't do a post on our Easter weekend, I thought I would share some snaps.

Easter Basket

Easter Basket

Some Easter egg spots

We went to an egg hunt and brunch and the girls spotted one of their classmates.

FIVE. Weekly funnies.

Have a great weekend. I am linking up with A Little Bit of Everything.    

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Smile Brilliant Dental Probiotics Review

*This post contains affiliate links. When you click a link, it is no cost to you and I make a small commission (pennies) from it. Thank you for supporting Sparkles and Lattes. 

Three years ago and in December 2021, I worked with Smile Brilliant. I tested out their Teeth Whitening Kit, and most recently their cariPRO Water Flosser.  I loved my results with both of them, so when they reached out again asking if I wanted to try out their Dental Probiotics for Adults and their Dental Probiotics for Kids, I was definitely in.

Smile Brilliant Dental Probiotics

But let's back up a bit. What do dental probiotics do? They allow healthy bacteria in the mouth and sinuses crowd out bad bacteria and improve your body’s ability to fight decay, disease, and infection.

We all know that I have had some troubles with my teeth since being pregnant with my girls. I have had more cavities. And we also know all of my sinus issues, so I was definitely on board with trying these dental probiotics.

Most of us have heard of probiotics for maintaining intestinal (gut) health, which my family uses daily. But probiotics have actually been shown to be very useful in many areas of the body, for skin care & dental care in particular.  Like other types, dental probiotics shift the balance of the existing bacterial composition (microbiome) toward an increased population of “good bacteria”, improving the overall health & fortitude of the area. What that means for us, is that our mouths are healthier: reduced plaque & tartar, less cavities, gum inflammation & the causes of bad breath, and that protection actually extends to our ear, nose & throat providing immune support & protection against viruses and developing infections (sinus & ear). 

The girls and I have been using the dental probiotics for a month now. We all three just finished our bottles. I sat down and asked the girls what they thought of them.

Smile Brilliant Dental Probiotics

Sutton said they good. She love the berry flavor, they are easy to chew and she looks forward to taking them everyday. Plus she said that we (her parents) don't complain about her bad breath as much (is it just my kids who don't like to brush their tongues?).

Avery said she likes the flavor, but not as much when she chews the tablet because it is chalky. But she likes that she can chew them and they make her mouth feel better.

And now my turn. Mine have a berry flavor which I really like. They are super easy to chew and I take them after brushing my teeth, using mouth wash and taking my daily vitamins. I feel like my mouth is cleaner, healthier, the bad breath is less and my overall sinuses feel better. I feel like my nose has been a lot more clearer this last month. 

Smile Brilliant Dental Probiotics
This is the size of the adult probiotics.

We will definitely be ordering another round of these.

They have also added a Plaque Highlighter which both kids and adults can use. The Plaque Highlighter is an oral dye that highlights the areas where you have plaque present. I have had this done in the dentist office, but now you can do it at home. This is something I really want to get for my girls. There is nothing worse than going into the dentist for them to tell you that your kids have a lot of plaque that they are not brushing away.

Another product they have added is the Custom Night Guard System. This is great for people who grind or clench their teeth at night.

If you want to order the Dental Probiotics (Adults, Kids) as well (which I would 100% recommend that you do), you can use my code: sparklesandlattes20. And that code works for any Smile Brilliant product.

Thank you Smile Brilliant for sponsoring this post. I received these products in exchange for my honest review.
Monday, April 18, 2022

Show Me Your Books - March

*This post contains affiliate links. When you click a link, it is no cost to you and I make a small commission (pennies) from it. Thank you for supporting Sparkles and Lattes. 

I read one book last month. I don't know what it is, but I am slacking in the book reading department. I love reading, but I just never sat down to read and when I did, I didn't read much. So I didn't read anything in February, but I managed to read one book in March. And I am still on my first book for April. Ha.

So what did I read last month?

Have You Seen Me? - Kate White
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Rating: 3 1/2 to 4 stars (rounded up to 4 stars)

Have You Seen Me? - Kate White

Ally is a financial journalist who finds herself in the ER and can't remember anything. She figures out that she is married and was last at her job, but she seems to be suffering from amnesia. She can remember things before the missing two days, but not those two days. She finds some bloody tissues in her coat and wonders what happen. Did she witness something? Did she do something wrong?

Ally also witnessed a tragic situation when she was younger and she thinks it may have affected her those two days that she can't remember.

I enjoyed this book, though it was a little slow. It started off with a bang, but then slowed down a bit. You often wonder if Ally had something to do with the little girl who was killed when Ally was young. And it is even more likely given she found some tissues in her pocket with blood on them. The book has some good twists, but it ends very abruptly. It has a conclusion, but I felt it could have given more. Though the story as a whole was good.  

I would give this book 3 1/2 stars, rounded up to 4.

Here is Amazon's synopsis:

The key to her missing memories could bring relief—or unlock her worst nightmares.

On a cold, rainy morning, finance journalist Ally Linden arrives soaked to the bone at her Manhattan office, only to find that she’s forgotten her keycard. When her boss shows, he’s shocked to see her—because, he explains, she hasn’t worked there in five years.

Ally knows her name, but is having trouble coming up with much beyond that, though after a trip to the psychiatric ER, she begins to piece together important facts: she lives on the Upper West Side; she’s now a freelance journalist; she’s married to a terrific man named Hugh. More memories materialize and yet she still can’t recall anything about the previous two days. Diagnosed as having experienced a dissociative state, she starts to wonder if it may have been triggered by something she saw. Could she have witnessed an accident—or worse—had something happened to her?

Desperate for answers, Ally tries to track where she spent the missing days, but every detail she unearths points to an explanation that’s increasingly ominous, and it’s clear someone wants to prevent her from learning where those forty-eight hours went. In order to uncover the truth, Ally must dig deep into the secrets of her past—and outsmart the person who seems determined to silence her.

What did you read last month?

Friday, April 15, 2022

Friday Favorites and Happenings

*This post contains affiliate links. When you click a link, it is no cost to you and I make a small commission (pennies) from it. Thank you for supporting Sparkles and Lattes.

Happy Friday all! It's Easter weekend! We have a busy weekend ahead with a softball game tomorrow for the girls. Fingers crossed that it doesn't rain. Then Sunday we have an Easter brunch and then Easter dinner with my family. And we can't forget the Easter egg hunt Sunday morning!

Anyways, onto Friday favorites and Happenings.

ONE. So a few weeks back I went to Ulta since I had a gift card from Christmas. I also had a coupon that I was able to stack with it and this is what I got.

I had been looking around for a long time to replace my favorite Becca Anti-Fatigue Under Eye Balm. I searched online for dupes and this one below was recommended. I have been using it for a few weeks now and I LOVE it. It is the same color as my Becca one....a blueish color. But what is amazing about this one is I don't have to dig my finger or nails into it. I just swipe it under my eyes. It definitely brightens the eyes. It is supposed to help with fine lines and cool your eye area as well. Now I just need to find something to help depuff my eyes. This helps, but I think I need something a little more. But so far I am definitely sold on this and would purchase it again.

Tula Glow and Get It Cooling Eye Balm

TWO. I also got another item I have been wanting to have for awhile now. Biana recommended the NYX Marshmallow Smoothing Primer and this was the perfect opportunity to try it out. I have been using the No Poreblem Primer for years. I just checked and I repurchased it 10 times off of Amazon. But I am always up for trying something else. The NYX Marshmallow Smoothing Primer is the same size as the No Poreblem Primer

They definitely have different textures. The No Poreblem is a pink lotiony gel and the NYX is more like a mousse, light and airy. 

It smells amazing, goes on smoothly, seems to make my makeup last and look natural, and it lasts all day. I have only used this for a week, so I will report back after I use it more.

NYX Marshmallow Smoothing Primer

THREE. So my Abercrombie order finally came in. It only took 2 weeks for it to be delivered from when it shipped. Ugh. I had every intention on taking photos and doing a try on, but that will have to wait as I got it in yesterday and the lighting was bad.

FOUR. I have been wanting a pair of high-tops by either Converse or Vans for quite a long time. I keep going back to them and now I have my eye on a pair from each site. So help me choose.

Women's Converse High-Tops

Vans The Lizzie

FIVE. Weekly funnies.

Have a great weekend. I am linking up with A Little Bit of Everything.    

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Dyeing Easter Eggs Using Cool Whip

I shared this post year after year as it is our favorite way to dye Easter eggs. We did it once and we haven't turned back. Fun question for you all, do you hide the eggs that you hard boil and dye? Or do you hide plastic eggs?

Note: I have seen a lot of people complain that they did not get the results that I did or that their color completely wiped off. Follow these tricks and tips below and you shouldn't have any problems
Dyeing eggs using Cool Whip Method

What you need:
White distilled vinegar
12 large eggs
Food coloring
2 containers of Cool Whip
Disposable pan
Paper towels
Disposable gloves

I made my hard boiled eggs in the Instant Pot and they came out perfect. I used Skinny Taste's recipe and they were cooked perfectly, though 3 cracked.

Do it:
1. Soak your eggs in a bowl filled with the distilled white vinegar for 20 minutes.
Dyeing eggs using Cool Whip Method

2. While your eggs soak, put your Cool Whip into the disposable container. Side note: I get my disposable aluminum pans at Costco. You get about 30 pans for $6. Total steal and they are good quality.
Dyeing eggs using Cool Whip Method

3. Using the food coloring of your choice, add several drops to one side of your pan. Then you can add a second color in if you desire. Repeat this for the other side using other colors.
Dyeing eggs using Cool Whip Method
This isn't enough food coloring, but I just kept adding more after I swirled it until I was satisfied.

4. Using a toothpick or knife, swirl your food coloring in. Make sure it gets swirled in deep into the Cool Whip.
Dyeing eggs using Cool Whip Method

5. Put on your gloves. Take out an egg and pat it dry using a paper towel. Then put your egg in the Cool Whip mixture. Make sure you turn it a couple times allowing the Cool Whip to cover your egg. Leave the egg in the mixture. Let the eggs set for 20 minutes.
Dyeing eggs using Cool Whip Method

6. Rinse off your gloves or get a new pair. Fill a bowl with water and take an egg out of the mixture. Gently place it in the bowl, rolling it around to get off all the Cool Whip. Do NOT run the egg under water. I would do a few eggs and then change the water out.
Dyeing eggs using Cool Whip Method

7. Take the egg out of the water and pat dry with a paper towel. 

8. Store in your egg carton.
Dyeing eggs using Cool Whip Method

Dyeing eggs using Cool Whip Method

Dyeing eggs using Cool Whip Method