random reviews

There aren’t too many products or food items I’m reviewing these days, but when I do accept an offer, I like to give you the rundown of all the items in one post.  I try to sensor what I accept and keep them relevant to the blog.

First up.

I am a water bottle fanatic.  Seems like an odd thing to love, no?

Well, I’m always in search of the perfect water bottle, and really have yet to find it. 

The Bamboo Bottle Company recently contacted me about trying out their latest water bottle.  This bottle caught my attention for a few reasons. 

  • sustainable “green” product
  • BPA free
  • dishwasher safe

Among other things you’ll read below.  Upon receiving the water bottle, the first thing I noticed was…

Whoa, this is heavy!!  And there wasn’t even any liquid in it yet.


  • glass bottle
  • free of BPA
  • can hold hot or cold liquid
  • bamboo keeps your hand from becoming hot/cold
  • sleek, attractive design
  • dishwasher safe [minus the bamboo]
  • comes apart for more thorough cleaning
  • no taste
    • plastic [like nalgene] = sometimes plastic tasting + aluminum [like Siggi] = metal taste
  • the area that you drink from is covered with the cap
    • unlike w/the aluminum, screw-top bottles where it’s exposed


  • very heavy
    • would not want to take this backpacking, or in my computer bag because of the weight
  • only holds 17 oz
  • the green screw on seal is hard to turn

On the fence:

  • “green/sustainable” marketing strategy
    • bamboo is only a small component of this bottle
    • yes, bamboo can be deemed “greener” than wood, because of how quickly it can be grown, but where is this bamboo being shipped from?  what are the environmental impacts of it’s processing + shipping in comparison to wood? 
    • the glass is made with 51% recycled glass and the glass portion can be fully recycled if desired

While I really love the idea of this company + water bottle, I think it fell short in a number of areas.  The weight + the amount of liquid held are key for me and would prevent me from buying this water bottle in the future.  My 2 favorite things about it are that there are no hidden areas for grime + mold to hide, unlike many bottles I’ve tried in the past.  It’s very easy to clean.  The second thing is that the bottle is glass, which means it’s tasteless and also won’t hold flavors from liquids you put inside.

I hate metal water bottles!

Next up?

Another love of mine.

Beans!!  I recently posted about Rancho Gordo beans in my Southwestern Soup recipe.  Following that, Timber Press publishing company contacted me to see if I would review The Rancho Gordo Heirloom Bean Grower’s Guide.  I was all over this, obviously.


  • simple + clear layout
  • great 101 about beans
  • large photos
  • descriptive explanations of each type of bean
    • I had NO idea there were so many bean varieties!
  • serving + preparation ideas for each type of bean
    • loved this!
  • not just a book for bean growers


  • didn’t like that the “how to” part was in the back of the book
    • to me, you should have learned how to cook the beans and then learned about all of the varieties
  • would have liked more step by steps for the different bean cooking methods

I love beans!

There are a handful of organic, fair trade coffees offered at Trader Joe’s for exceptional prices.  I love the 2lb “Wake Up” blend that costs $14.99.  I pick it up when I’m back home in Ohio.

Mama Pea, Lulu, and I ventured to TJ’s today an they had this Bolivian Blend [$7.99/lb] on sample.  It’s my new favorite.  Maybe because I filled the sample cup with half cream + half coffee.  But this was flavorful and smooth, with a noticeable hint of caramel.  Can’t wait to grind this up for breakfast!

I’ve talked about this once or twice before, but this is hands down my favorite cottage cheese.

Kalona 2%.

Kalona is a super cool company, featuring organic grass-fed products.  They also make milk, creamer and yogurts.  The texture and flavor of this cottage cheese exceeds any I’ve had in the past.  I recently bought their creamer for the first time and enjoyed it as well.

Next up!!

You know I’m all about natural skincare + beauty products over here!

Hellloooo homemade deodorant!  2.5yrs and still going strong + stink free!

When Beecology, a Cleveland company offered to send me a few products I was thrilled.  They sent peppermint + honey body wash, peppermint honey + oat morning soap, and dry skin fighter dead sea mud soap.

Peppermint + Honey Body Wash – I love all things peppermint, especially body wash.  The tingle + scent make me feel extra squeaky clean!  The virgin hemp oil + aloe that are used in this soap, helped to keep my skin from drying out.  My skin has a hard time with the dryness out here in Colorado, so this was perfect.  Loved it!

Peppermint Honey + Oat Morning Soap – Loved the fresh, sweet scent of this soap.  The ground oats, helped to gently exfoliate my skin.  It was perfect to use before dousing myself with lotion. 

Dead Sea Mud Soap – A nice light scent, and extremely moisturizing, this soap helps keep my skin from drying out.  An everyday soap for sure! 

Lollihop!  I first heard about this company through Foodbuzz and saw people chatting about it around the holidays.  What a fun gift to deliver to someone!  This package came the day before leaving for our winter trip to Ohio and Pennsylvania and boy was that good timing.  I stuffed almost every single snack in my bag for the plane. 

It was my first time trying Glutino pretzels and I was quite impressed!  I probably won’t buy them though because of their price.  The PopCorners were delicious.  Both Chris and I loved them.  The FSTG chips, Larabar, and KIND bars were all products I’ve tried before and enjoy.  It was my first time trying Oskri bars, which I loved.  Such a fun box of goodies!

The one downfall is the price point, but like any gift of this type, they are usually overpriced.  ie: flowers, cookie baskets, fruit baskets, etc.  I think the variety is great though, and I would much rather receive a box of snacks than a shipment of flowers!

And the last product is another purchase of mine.  I’m currently obsessed with Rapunzel vegetable bouillon cubes.  I buy the no salt added, so I am in complete control of the salt content.  I’m not shy with the salt, but I would much rather decide myself how much should be in a recipe. 

They have a light, veggie broth flavor that have been working perfectly in all of my soup + chili recipes.  And you won’t believe how much cheaper these are than the cardboard containers!

I can find them for about $2.69, which includes 8 cubes.  2 cubes makes 32oz, which means this whole pack makes 128oz. 

$1.99 = 32oz [whole foods organic veggie broth]


$2.69 = 128oz

All it takes is boiling water and stirring the cubes until they break apart.  A few extra minutes of work, but well worth it!  If you can’t find them in your local grocery store, they’re on amazon as well.

Do you have any new products to report that you’ve tried lately?

Right now the Pea family and I are off to Portland!  It’s my first time being in the city, and I’m quite excited.  We’ll definitely be making a stop at Powell’s bookstore and checking out a few other sites around the city.  The sun is out and shining today too!  Perfect for a little family photo-op.

Happy weekend!