Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Dress For A Wedding, A Funeral and Maybe A Luncheon

I received a beautiful dress to review from eShakti!  Jennifer gave me some leeway on what I could choose.  So I chose according to a couple of needs I had.  I needed a dress to attend special occasions such as funerals, luncheons, even wedding receptions, and church functions.  I've gained some weight over this very long winter, maybe 5 pounds, and so I knew I wanted to disguise that as much as possible.  What is the best color to do that? Black!  The only problem is that I don't look my best in black.  I usually go for gray instead.  But I wanted to see what I could do with a beautiful peach/mandarin scarf that I had won on a previous giveaway.  If I could have that next to my face, it wouldn't matter if I was wearing black!  So with that need in mind, I went a-lookin'.  This is what I found:  The Peony Embroidered Cotton Satin Dress!  
 I was quite pleased with the style, fit, and color of this dress!

I feel that this dress will look good , even if I end up losing some weight over the summer, which is what I normally do!  I absolutely love the embroidery work.  The flowers just pop and they look so beautiful at close range. (To see more closely, just click on the picture to enlarge!)

You should really  go to eShaki and check out their beautiful clothing. They have all sizes, from 0 to 26W!  Don't be like I've been so much in the past.  I don't want to get new clothing because I am waiting for the day that I'll be that perfect size 4. And what happens?  That day never comes.  Go ahead and feel beautiful today, in a size that fits you and feels good.  As Apolo Ohno says, "This life is too short.  Live the moment.  No regrets!" 

Another great feature that eShakti has is the custom fit option.  For a small fee, you can opt to adjust the neckline, the length and the sleeve length!  Even for standard sizing, they ask your bust size and your height so they can do a better job at getting your perfect fit.  I opted for the standard sizing, and with just the bust and height measurements, provided by me, they were able to do a great job!

eShakti has a Facebook Fan Page where they feature new arrivals and other blog reviews, among other great things, so go check that out as well.

I went to eShakti with some specific concerns and needs and I feel that these concerns were addressed and that I came away very happy! Thank you so much eShakti!



Friday, April 2, 2010

An April Fool's Gag




I think one of the best April Fool's gags I've pulled on my family was the time I purchased 2 lbs. of chicken feet from the butcher's and put them in a boiling pot and told my husband that I had a special surprise for him.  I told him it was an old German family recipe that my Great Grandmother brought over from Germany.  I told him not to look b/c it was a surprise!
Well, that just made him all the more curious, especially since I was guarding this covered pot and not letting him look.  Plus, the smell was really interesting, to say the least.  When I stepped out of the kitchen he snuck in and took a peek into the pot.  What he saw was a pot of churning, boiling chicken feet, complete with claws!  At that very moment, I came back into the kitchen and saw the combined look of horror, look of guilt at being caught looking, and look of trying NOT to look horrified b/c, after all,  it was a "family recipe" .  It was priceless and I laughed so hard!  It wasn't over, either.  I still had to get my son.  My son wasn't so complicated.  He took one look and said it was the grossest thing he'd ever seen and there was no way he was going to eat it.

Next, I took the pot over to my parents, where my brother and his family were over for a little visit. Again, it was so funny to see them trying to be polite at first, disguising terror and disgust at the thought of maybe having to eat something like that.  Chicken feet just don't fly in my family. 

What was one of your best April Fool's gags?

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Some Good Reads!

Have you read a really good post on a blog recently?   I really love to read other posts and I love to keep track of the good reads.  So here we have a link just for that purpose... I'd like to invite you to check out the good reads I've listed here and if you have a good read to recommend, please share with me and other readers who also love to read great posts!  These posts can be funny, helpful, insightful, thoughtful, happy, sad....whatever you feel grabs you and makes you say, "Wow, that was a really good read!"  If you have a great post of your own, please feel free to share it!  I guess you could call it  great Blog Fodder!  Whatever you want to call it, please, please share here!  Here's how:  Go to the post you love, not the blog, the post itself.  Copy the url of the post, come back here and add it to the link!  You can also add a title if you'd like in the space provided. Please, only one post per blog but add as many posts from different blogs as you would like!  So here's to some good reads!

 And BTW! Happy Friday Follow!   ( image)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It's All InThe Coconut - Tropical Traditions Giveaway!

I am happy to announce that Tropical Traditions would like one of my readers to win a 1 quart jar of their Virgin Coconut Oil!

A few posts back, I told you how I was introduced to the benefits of using virgin coconut oil, specifically Tropical Traditions.  You read how impressed I was with the benefits of virgin coconut oil. But I am also particularly impressed with Tropical Tradition's immaculate product processing, their choice selection of only the finest coconuts from the Philippines, the great taste, and their customer bonus program called Healthy Buyers! You can read my post here or you can visit Tropical Traditions directly and watch the video about how they discovered Virgin Coconut Oil, you can go to their recipe blog, which gives you yummy and easy recipes that use coconut oil in them. 

Of course, Tropical Traditions has way more than just the Coconut Oil.  They have so many products that are healthy and farm fresh, without harmful pesticides or hormones.  I invite you to check out their many other quality produts.

Get It:  You can buy directly from Tropical Traditions website.  There is a great sale for their Organic Coconut Peanut Butter, just $6.99 for 16 oz.!  Or you can buy 2 of the Coconut Cream Concentrate and get 2 for free!  And a 32 oz. jar of Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil is just $27.50!

Tropical Traditions also has a Referral Program, so if you place an order with them as a first-time customer, please select “Referred by a friend” and in the box that says “How did you hear of us?” enter this sponsor ID # - 5954910. You will receive a complimentary copy of the book Virgin Coconut Oil: How it has changed people’s lives and how it can change yours! by Brian and Marianita Shilhavy with your first order! This book is filled with testimonies and research showing how healthy coconut oil is, and it also includes over 85 recipes showing how one can incorporate coconut into their diet.
Win It: For a 1 quart jar of Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil, please complete the mandy (mandatory entry) and any of the following entries for extra chances to win!  Please make your e-mail address available so I can contact you if you win!!!

Mandy:  Visit Tropical Traditions and pick your favorite recipe that uses coconut oil!

 Optional Additional entries: 
  • Become a Facebook Fan of Tropical Traditions! Come back and leave your follower first name and last initial!Subscribe to AGalNeeds....RSS Feed (on right sidebar) using Google or another method that you prefer!
  • Follow Tropical Traditions on Twitter.  Leave your follow name in a comment
  • Follow this blog on Google Friend Connect!
    • Tweet daily for an extra entry every day! Leave me your twitter status in your comment! You can copy and paste this: "AGalNeeds...a jar of virgin coconut oil from @TropTraditions http://helena-agalneedsatleast2blogs.blogspot.com/ 4/10/10.
      • Blog, Facebook or Stumble about this giveaway and leave the post link!  If before April 4th, give yourself 3 extra entries (1 comment per entry). If after April 4th, give yourself 2 extra entries. Leave the post link where you did so!  You may do all three if you'd like, for the appropriate entries for each one.
      This giveaway will end on 4/10/10 at 12:00 am MST.  I am excited that one of you will get this wonderful gift! Thanks to Tropical Tradition for their help and generosity. Winner will be chosen with Random.org and will be notified by e-mail.  Contest is open to both US and Canada.  However, Tropical Traditions is not responsible for customs or duties that Canada may charge if you decide to participate in this Tropical Traditions sponsored blog giveaway! The opinions expressed in this blog are mine and were not influenced in any way by Tropical Traditions or any other outside party.

      Monday, March 22, 2010

      eShakti Giveaway!

      I needed to mention this great giveaway from eShakti because wow!  There is so much to win and so much to lose if you don't enter!  There will be a first prize of $250! Plus 25 prizes of $50 each!  eShakti has beautiful clothing.  But not just that, it is made to fit you individually. You can tell eShakti how to alter the clothing according to your measurements!  And it is done.  You'd be surprised what a little individual tailoring does for your figure and your outlook in general!  You can opt to go for custom tailoring or standard sizing.  Count me in!  Thanks eShakti!

      To enter this contest, simply access this entry form and answer the 2 questions!  Simple.  Must be in by 3/31/10!

      Sunday, March 21, 2010

      Health Benefits From Coconut Oil!


      It's so funny how we get information about things and file it away and find out later that what we initially took as Gospel truth was totally wrong!  You'll see what I mean when you read this:

      Tropical Traditions was very kind and sent me a 2 quart jar of their Virgin Coconut Oil.  I am a newbie with this oil, although I'd been hearing about its benefits for about 3 years, which I thought was interesting because isn't it considered a tropical oil? Aren't the tropical oils supposed to be really taboo and we're supposed to stay away from them?

      Apparently, coconut oil had been getting an undeserved bad rap because it is technically in the saturated fat category and the American public had been told, beginning in the 1950's, that saturated fats, especially "tropical oils" were bad and the harmless oils were the partially hydrogenated oils, like soy, corn, cottonseed, and safflower.  This was probably the biggest lie in the history of American food!  We now know that these partially hydrogenated oils are highly unstable and they are loaded with trans fatty acids.  Of course, now everyone not buried under a rock knows that trans fats are horrible for you.  We now know that saturated fats have a purpose in the American diet, if used with moderation.  Some benefits of saturated fat include:

      -Saturated fatty acids constitute at least 50 percent of cell membranes. They give our cells necessary firmness and integrity. 
      -They play a vital role in the health of our bones. For example, at least 50 percent of our dietary fats need to be saturated for calcium to be effectively incorporated into the skeletal structure.
      -They lower Lp(a), a substance in the blood that indicates proneness to heart disease.
      -They protect the liver from the toxic effects of alcohol and certain drugs.

      -Short- and medium-chain saturated fatty acids have important antimicrobial properties. They protect us against harmful microorganisms in the digestive tract.
      The big difference with coconut oil is that yes, while it is technically a saturated fat, it is a MEDIUM CHAIN fatty acid, which changes the picture, even more.  Medium chain fatty acids are, simply put, amazing for you.  They do not increase triglyceride levels at all because they are absorbed differently by the body.  Medium chain fatty acid foods promote the absorption of all other nutrients taken in by the body.  They promote digestive system healing and they are easily converted into energy, which will boost the metabolism and promote healthy weight! They don't break down when raised to high heats, keeping their nutritional integrity.
      So we have been using our jar of coconut oil steadily and let me tell you, it is so amazing!  I wasn't using this oil in my home before this and it's my own loss.  Don't let it be yours. The first thing I tried was the recipes section found on the Tropical Tradition website!  They are amazing and delicious!  I made the Coconut Dishpan Cookies, the Roast chicken with Coconut Oil, I made my oatmeal with coconut oil, I fried my veggies in coconut oil and it was all delicious.  Another thing I will be trying when it gets warmer, is adding some coconut oil to my smoothies. There is no end to the things you can do with this oil in cooking.

      Another amazing thing with coconut oil is that it is good for the skin and the hair.  I'm going to be saving so much money on skin and hair products b/c this is the best stuff ever!  It absorbs quickly, it works like no other skin product I've tried and it smells wonderful.  I am adding coconut oil to my jars of facial cream and it not only stretches the usage, but it works so much better!  I am putting coconut oil on my hair before I wash it and it makes it really soft and smooth!

      Make sure that you purchase the Virgin Coconut oil because that is the one with all of the benefits.  Have I convinced you yet that you should at least try this stuff?  It's worth every penny, I promise!  I am a customer for life!  Thanks Tropical Traditions!

      photo credit
      Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product. 

      Tuesday, March 16, 2010

      Cute Little Nephews And A Cool Wii Game

      Today I visited my sister and her two adorable little boys.  We had some fun in the sun and since Harrison's 4th birthday will be this next Monday, I thought this Wii Game would be fun to give him.  It was a big sacrifice, because I would sure like to play each and every one of these fun games. It's the Wii Winter Fun Edition with 30 excellent games.  These games are all based on the Olympics.  Harrison watched the Olympics with his family and he knows all about it!  I actually won this game over at Suburb Sanity, an excellent secondary blog for Debbie, who has another awesome blog by the same name about her crazy, fun life as a Mom of 4 kids and marriage of almost 20 years to her husband.  It really is an incredible blog.  Stop by if you get a chance!

      Hey, I've got an idea.  I can play the game over at Harrison's place and he can show his Aunt Helena all the cool stuff he can do with it. And when I get a Wii I will already have some games I actually know how to play!

      And here's a bonus for you!  Harrison's little brother, Carter, who is so darn cute I want to grab him and just squeeze him! He calls his big brother, Hehwisee!  He needs to do everything that Harrison does, so he'll probably be right there, helping Harrison play his new game!

      Thursday, March 11, 2010

      A Non-Toxic Home Environment

      I've been a fan of safe, non-toxic, cleaning products for awhile now.  I kind of fell into it by accident after I  became acquainted with  environmentally safe cleaning and personal care products through a business associate. I've been using these kinds of products for awhile now (like 15 years!).


      I'm so used to non-toxic products around me in my home that I can physically tell when I come into contact with products that have chemicals b/c my body reacts to them.  For instance, when I walk down a supermarket isle with the laundry detergents and household cleaners, I can smell it very strongly and my throat starts to feel funny and my head begins to hurt.  I can tell when I am drinking from a glass that has been washed with a soap that has chlorine in it because I smell it on the glass and taste it.  I can tell when someone sprays an "air freshener" with chemicals in it vs. an air freshener that is natural. It's true that once you go natural, you then realize what you were exposing yourself and your loved ones to and you don't want to go back.


      However, it wasn't always like this .  My dear mom always used Lysol in the bathroom when cleaning.  We used Tide for laundry detergent and Palmolive dish soap for dishes.  And  I always had a problem with eczema.  So much so that I had to be treated with prescription creams.  I always had ear infections and sinus problems as well.   Since I've moved to safer ingredients in my home, these problems are thankfully non-existent! (I have enough to deal with, thanks!)


      I have since found out that detergents have high levels of chlorine and other chemicals in them.  Chlorine is  very harsh on skin and not good to breath in or ingested.  Even pesticides creep into cleaning products and hide there with long names, that no one is familiar with.  After all, home cleaning products and personal care products aren't regulated.  The words carcinogen and neurotoxin have been tossed around in association with household cleaners and thankfully, I think people are becoming aware that they need to take their safety and health into their own hands.  Because of the increased consumer awareness, we have more choices at our fingertips.  This consumer awareness hasn't come cheap, though.  Just a couple of examples are:
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      • Since 1980, asthma has increased by 600%. The Canadian Lung Association and the Asthma Society of Canada identify common household cleaners and cosmetics as triggers. 
      • There are more than 3 million poisonings every year and household cleaners are the number one cause of poisoning of children.  
      It was just a month ago, in my own community, that two little girls died because there were pesticides in the home and the girls were unknowingly exposed.  I can't even imagine the parents' anguish, when they learned that this was the cause and they were the ones who had the pesticide put in.  

      And just last week, I went to get my hair cut at a beauty school that was being remodeled.  They were putting finish on the flooring and there was no ventilation at all.  The fumes were overwhelming for me.  The girl who was doing my hair was about 2 months pregnant and she wasn't saying a thing, probably thinking that she shouldn't make a big deal about it.  Well, I said something.  I told her that she had an unborn baby to think about and these fumes were obviously very strong and overpowering and dangerous.  She then told me that she felt like she was going to faint.  I  told the supervisor about how both she and I were feeling. After one phone call to another supervisor, I was rescheduled to come back at which time I will be comped for my haircut and the pregnant stylist was given permission to go home until the fumes weren't as potent  She gratefully accepted.  But we certainly need to speak up and be proactive about what we will and will not have around us in our own environments. 



      I urge you to think about what you use in your home and make a difference by saying NO to toxic chemicals in all their forms and instead, use either homemade or certified non-toxic cleaners.

      Sunday, March 7, 2010

      Quotes From The Oscars

      The Oscars will be starting in 1 hour!  I'm excited and hope that Sandra Bullock gets an award because I love her and think she deserves an award this year.   I know that she has some amazing competition, like Meryl Streep, whom I also love, but I'm still crossing my fingers!  Go Sandra~Here are some interesting past quotes from the Oscars!
      • "I do think I'm lucky I met Michael. Not just Michael Douglas the actor and producer with two Oscars on the shelf, but Michael Douglas, the love of my life. I really do think it was meant to happen." -Catherine Zeta Jones
      • "I WANTED to do my hair like that (on her curly hair at the Oscars).  Sometimes people just don't get things until months later."  - Jennifer Lopez
      Side note:  If the word diva was ever exemplified, it would be with these two ladies, Celine and Jennifer!
      • "I have records in gold, in platinum, I have two Oscars, I have Grammys and so on."  -Celine Dion
      • "In Hollywood, she's revered, she gets nominated for Oscars, but I've never heard anyone in the public or among my friends say, 'Oh, I love Winona Ryder.' " -Jennifer Lopez
      • "Welcome to the 77th and last Oscars!"  -Chris Rock
      • "I'd be lying if I haven't made a version of this speech before. I think I was probably eight years old and staring into the bathroom mirror and this would have been a shampoo bottle. Well it's not a shampoo bottle now."  -Kate Winslet
      • "This award tonight would have humbly validated Heath's quiet determination to be truly accepted by you all here, his peers within an industry he so loved."  - Heath Ledger's Father
      • Has anybody ever fainted here? Because I might be the first one."  -Penelope Cruz
      • "This award touches my heart and the very depth of my soul because of who the award is from and those who will benefit. The humility I feel is staggering, and I know it will stay with me for the rest of my life." - Jerry Lewis, accepting an Oscar for humanitarian work
      • "I don't know what I did in this life to deserve all of this. I'm just a girl from a trailer park that had a dream."  -Hilary Swank
      • "When I was 19 years old, I was the number one star of the world for two years.  When I was 40, nobody wanted me.  I couldn't get a job."  -Mickey Rooney
      • "As a little kid I lived in the projects, and you're the people I watched.  You're the people who made me want to be an actor.  I'm so proud to be here!"  -Whoopi Goldberg

      Well, I could go on and on, but the Oscars will be starting soon and I'm at my Dad's place. My Dad doesn't have Tivo!  See you soon!
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