Cinch Update & Giveaway!

Well, month two is in the books for my weight loss journey!

Over the years I have tried different diets, pondered many others, and have never really seen results. With Cinch I am so happy because my weight is lower than it’s been in years, I am exercising on a regular basis, and I am inspired to keep moving and losing weight!

Not only am I losing weight but I’m toning up and building muscle which is one of the huge benefits of Cinch… lose weight, keep it off, and gain muscle!!

I won’t say that it’s been easy because any diet isn’t easy. You have to really want to do it and want to change your life. You have to think about food, exercise, and everything differently. At one point my day seemed to really center around food… what was I going to have for lunch.. or and then what was for dinner and how long before I could eat. I was obsessed. I’ve been able to turn that around and when I think that I’m hungry I really think about it… drink some water (lots of water) and get up and move a little. Most of the time I’ve found that I’m not really hungry… my body just needs more water especially when it’s only been two hours since I just ate.

One of the best things so far is that other people are really noticing that I am losing weight and telling me how great I look… that alone is a huge moral booster to me. To me that means that I am really doing something and making it work. One person even told me that I look younger! WOW… ok so does that mean when we’re over weight that we tend to look older? Well, if that’s the case then I intend to keep the weight off.

Cinch works!

My clothes are looser and some I simply can’t wear anymore. Okay, so that may be a double edged sword, because they don’t fit I have to get new ones but shopping for new clothes is pretty darn expensive! Although, shopping is more enjoyable now because my options are much greater than the were before.

Jeans khaki pants
Both of those pairs of pants that I’m wearing are much to big now! The jeans are a 14 and the khaki’s are a 16… the khaki’s can come on and off without even unbuttoning them. Of course I wear them both with a belt pulled tight (I hate the bulges from it though) because they’re a couple of my favorite pairs of pants but they also remind me how far I have come.

I have one concern though… and you know what? I vlogged about it! Let me know what you think.

Have you tried other diet plans and failed? Would you be interested in checking out Cinch for yourself? Well, if so then you’ll be excited to know that I am giving away a Cinch starter kit! This two week kit has everything you need to get started on your weight loss journey with Cinch and has a retail value of $228!

cinch starter kit

Included in the kit is:

  • Vanilla shake mix canister (15 servings)
  • Assorted Cinch shake packets (14 packets)
  • 3-in-1 boost™(42 count)
  • Assortment pack snack bars (10 count)
  • Energy tea mix (28 sticks)
  • Daily journals (2)
  • Cinch program guide
  • Cinch logo shaker cup
  • Cinch pedometer
  • Cinch tape measure

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Check out some of the other great ladies that are taking part in this weight loss program with me!

This is a sponsored post as part of the Shaklee Corporation’s Team #Cinchspiration Campaign. I have received free products, online support and incentives for participating. My opinions are my own.

 

 

A trip to the dairy farm & giveaway

Update: The contest has ended and a winner has been selected! Congratulations to Carolyn who won the prize pack!

A few weeks ago I went on a little field trip with a bunch of other bloggers here in Michigan to visit a dairy farm. Now, I’m not a farm girl by any means but I’m also not totally citified either…. somewhere in the middle I suppose.

My dad & step mom both grew up on large farms, had dairy cows…. pigs… chickens…. and well all sorts of farm type stuff. Me… well the only animals that I ever grew up with were cats or dogs.

Okay… I’ll be honest with all of you… I have this fear of cows. They’re freakin’ huge! I’m sure that it wouldn’t take much for one of them to trample me in a heart beat and not to mention that the bulls tend to be mean.

Goma Dairy Farm

One of the things that I thought was great was this sign in the picture above. See that? That sign is a million dollar sign. Go ahead… scoff… I’m serious. To be an environmentally verified there is extensive paper work, inspections and hoops that you have to go through before you can have that sign in your yard. And of course the money that is involved in being certified.

The program is innovative, proactive, and voluntary program that helps farms of all sizes and all commodities voluntarily prevent or minimize agricultural pollution risks and it is designed to reduce farmers’ legal and environmental risks through a three-phase process: 1) education; 2) farm-specific risk assessment; and 3) on-farm verification that ensures the farmer has implemented environmentally sound practices.

Goma Dairy farm is proud of their accomplishment and strive to keep their farm up to if not above the voluntary standards.

newborn calf

The farm that I visited was in Marlette, which is way over on the east side of the state in the thumb area of Michigan. That area is mostly agricultural and has tons of fields, dairy farms, and lots of open land! It’s actually pretty to drive through in the summer with all the green fields.

See that little guy up there? He was born the day before we visited the farm! I couldn’t believe it…. I mean look how big he is! Regardless, at this size they’re cute and as far as I’m concerned mostly harmless.

milking room

Like I said it’s a dairy farm… with right around 3000 cows! All milking cows too… the males are shipped off to other farms and kept separate from the the females.

Milking is an all day process with that many cows and the cows are each milked a few times a day. Once they’re milked the milk is pumped through a cooling system and then directly onto the truck. It never sits in holding tanks waiting for a truck.

van de Goor family

 The van de Goor family were great hosts for the event and were so helpful in helping us understand dairy farming, care of the cows, and how their farm is run.

Here are a few facts about dairy farms that you may not have known:

  • Dairy farming is the top ranking segment of Michigan’s second-biggest industry: agriculture.
  • Michigan ranks 8th in milk production in the U.S., producing 4.3 percent of the nation’s milk.
  • The dairy industry in Michigan annually contributes $5.9 billion to the state’s economy.
  • Michigan ranks 5th nationally for average milk production per cow per year.
  • According to the USDA, 98 percent of U.S. dairy farms are family owned and operated, sometimes by multiple generations of the family

cow looking at me

I was surprised at how much I learned while visiting the van de Goor’s dairy farm and it was a lot more than I had expected too. I didn’t get trampled either! Honestly, the cows were very gentle and very comfortable around people especially large groups of strange women taking tons of pictures of them!

Here’s a great dairy recipe to try!

Choco-Berry Swirl Smoothie

Ingredients:

2 cups Low-Fat Vanilla Yogurt

3 ¼ cups Frozen whole non-sweetened strawberries

½ – ¾ cup Low-Fat or Fat-Free Chocolate Milk

Directions:

1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth.

2. Add additional milk to make the consistency desired.

3. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Note: This recipe makes 4-6 servings. To make a single serving to fill one glass in the magic bullet set, quarter the recipe.

Now, you need something to make that smoothie in, right? Well I have the most perfect giveaway for you!

Gift Bag

One lucky person will win an incredible dairy gift bag! Complete with a Magic Bullet, $50 gift card, Got Milk hat & more!

I’ll make the entry for this giveaway so easy that you will just have to enter!

Answer this question:

What is your favorite dairy based recipe?

Now for the rules.

  • Open to US residents
  • A winner will be selected via random.org
  • The winner will have 24 hours to respond before another one is selected.
  • Contest ends August 22nd at 11:59pm

Would you like an extra entry?

Share this giveaway on any social media platform and leave a direct link in a separate comment.

If you’d like more info about dairy farming or the dairy industry check out these links.

  • United Dairy Industry of Michigan website
  • Michigan Dairy News Twitter page
  • Michigan Dairy News Bureau Facebook page

#MyMichMemory – Potter Park Zoo

We’re getting close to the end of the summer but Lauren and I are still celebrating all the great places there are to see in Michigan and some of the awesome Michigan made products! This week we have an incredible giveaway for you!

Red Ruffed Lemur

Red Ruffed Lemur

I was floored when I heard Potter Park Zoo was offering… In my opinion it’s one of the best giveaways that we’ve had all summer!

Alright, so I should start out with explaining what Potter Park is for those of you who don’t know. Potter Park is a zoo that is situated right in Lansing, Michigan. The zoo has over 20 acres of land with more than 500 different animals, many of which are considered endangered.

Amur Tiger Cub Sisters

Amur Tiger Cub Sisters

What’s great about Potter Park is that it’s easy to get to, fun for everyone, they have fun family activities, and they’re open year round!

I’ve been to the zoo many times with my kids on school field trips and to just get away and do something different on a Saturday morning and we have always enjoyed our time there checking out the monkeys, tigers, and camels! Oh… and you can even ride the camels!

Cotton_Top_Close

Cotton Top Close

So what are we giving away?
A family membership!! This is a great deal for any family… It includes admission for two adults and all dependant children.

  • Unlimited admission to the Potter Park Zoo for a full year–They’re open year round!
  • Free or discounted admission to more than 100 zoos and aquariums across the U.S.
  • Annual “Members Only Party” at the Zoo
  • Subscription to Zoo Tales
  • Advance notice of special events, programs, and activities
  • A 10% discount in the Zoovenir Gift Shop

You also get admission or discounted admission to the following zoos in Michigan. (An asterisk (*) indicates a zoo or aquarium that offers an admission discount. All other zoos and aquaria offer free admission)

  • Binder Park Zoo, Battle Creek*
  • Detroit Zoo, Detroit *
  • John Ball Zoo, Grand Rapids
  • Saginaw Children’s Zoo, Saginaw

This is just the list of those here in Michigan but there are zoos all over the country that you can visit for free or at a discounted rate. Check out the reciprocal zoo list.

The winner will also get this years photo contest t-shirt! Check them out! I love the purple one…. of course it is my favorite color!



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Enter to win an iPad!

I don’t normally shares these types of things with everyone but this one… wow! This one I just had to share!

Coupons.com (you know the place where you get all the great coupons) is hosting an iPad-a-day Giveaway and it starts on August 3 and runs through August 9. One new iPad will be given away each day. There will be a total of seven winners… don’t you want to be one of them?

Limit is one entry per person per day. The winners are chosen during a daily drawing which is done by an external party (ePrize). Winners will be notified via email. Timing: The Sweepstakes begins on August 3, 2012 at 12:00 a.m. Eastern Time (“ET”) and ends on August 9, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. ET (the “Promotion Period”) and consists of seven (7) entry periods.

#MyMichMemory ~ Garden Fresh Salsa Giveaway!

Whether you like it mild, garlicky, or on-fire hot hot hot, I think we can all agree that salsa has made its way into the hearts of most Americans as a grocery shopping staple.

And NOBODY does salsa like Ferndale, Michigan-based Garden Fresh. The fun doesn’t stop at salsa either. The company also carries a variety of dips, hummus and chips that are absolutely delicious.

This week’s My Michigan Memory giveaway features a Garden Fresh prize pack of salsa, dips and hummus for one lucky winner. Can you say YUM!?

{If you’re a blogger, all you have to do is link up your Michigan-related blog post in the linky tool below and then enter your info into the Rafflecopter form. You’ll get 10 points just for linking a blog post you’ve written about Michigan. If you’re not a blogger, you can still enter to win, just follow the directions on the Rafflecopter form.}

GF Cover

Before you start salivating for that prize pack, there’s some really cool things about this company we think you should know about.

The quick story:
The proprietors, Jack and Annette Aronson were once restrauters in Ferndale. People came to eat the salsa until one day, the head of a grocery chain demanded they made it for his store. The rest is history!

Today, they not only make America’s #1 salsa, but they also make the most divine tortilla chips in the deli, along with super-yummy dips and hummus.
You know it has to be good because they have won more than 250 awards for excellence!

The Aronson's
Aren’t they such a cute husband and wife team?

So, what’s the reason the salsa is soooo good?

For starters, a state-of-the-art high-pressure process allows for cleaner and preservative-free products. Also, all batches are made in small quantities to guarantee freshness and flavor.

Get ideas for using Garden Fresh in recipes here. And if you’re great in the kitchen, submit your own recipe for the chance to have it featured on the GF website and get $100 toward your favorite charity!

Green BONUS:
As if you need another reason to love this company…They also recycle their tortilla chip oil and use it for biodiesel to power school buses. How cool is that?!

What’s your favorite Garden Fresh product? I have too many, depending on my mood, but this is my ‘ole standby:
CUSTOMIZE AND CHOOSE A PHOTO FROM THEIR FB PAGE

For more information Garden Fresh, visit their Facebook, Twitter and blog.



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Simple Green Laundry Detergent Review & Giveaway

With 6 people in my family the pile of laundry that I have is never ending and it seems that just as soon as I get caught up someone brings more down to the laundry room.

Oh… and I have to say that my favorite is that when the girls clean their rooms and all of a sudden find a huge basket of clothes that need to be washed. Let’s not forget about all the towels & bedding… and of course the potty training toddler. But with all of the laundry that I do I don’t really have a favorite laundry detergent… there are a few requirements though.

  1. no bleach in it
  2. smells good
  3. get stains out the first time
  4. works in my front loader
  5. good price

See, nothing to difficult…. or so one would think. Well, that’s not the case because I haven’t found that one that I must buy all the time no matter what. That being the case when Simple Green contacted me to see if I would be interested in trying out their new laundry detergent I agreed. Their other products that I really like using around the house and are always reliable.

A few quick facts about this new Simple Green laundry detergent. It’s naturally derived formula that is biodegradable, has no added dyes or scents, and contains no allergens, asthmagens, phosphates, chlorine, or optical brighteners. It’s a powerful 2x formula that is gentle on your skin and clothing, but works great on stains. Also, it works well in hot or cold water, in your HE or regular washer, giving you the option to use just cold water to save money!

Simple Green Laundry Detergent

Now the down side is that it isn’t yet available in stores, but it will be later this year in 100oz bottles that will do up to 100 HE (high efficiency) loads of laundry! Bring it on kids!! (I should just teach them how to do it, huh?) Although I should mention that you can buy it online now! If you want to buy it now I have a great deal for you! You can get free shipping on your entire order through August 31st that includes the new Simple Green laundry detergent, when you use the code BLOG2012.

I gave the laundry detergent a try and overall it was really good! I only used a small amount even on the largest, dirtiest loads (think clothes from a week of camping) and everything came out  looking great! It took the funky smell out of the towels, got out the layers of dirt that my toddler got on his clothes while playing. The only thing that I didn’t really like was the lack of smell, but that was overcome with a bit of fabric softener.

Want to win a bottle?? Just use the easy Rafflecopter below!

First… a few rules.
  1. Winner must be in the US
  2. Winner must be over 18 years old
  3. Winner must provide address (No PO boxes)

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It’s All in the Pillow Giveaway!

Last week my best bloggy friend Jill sent out a request to a bunch of us asking to help support a great cause, the Ronald McDonald House in Denver. I agreed immediately because I know how important a place like that is to families and I know that Jill has gone out of her way time and again to volunteer there.

For each pillow sold from July 11th to August 15thIt’s All in the Pillow will donate $10 towards the purchase of pillows for the family rooms of seriously ill or injured children who come to Denver for care – that’s up to 20 percent! The pillows will provide families with convenience and comfort in an unfamiliar, stressful environment.

Signature-Pillow-Chocolate-accent_1

So what’s It’s All in the Pillow anyway? It’s a new Colorado-based business that sells innovative pillows nationwide. Now the pillows are unique in that the look like any other throw pillow that you’d place on your bed or couch but they open up and are a lap desk that can even hold a beverage! The pillows are a 16×16 size and then when they’re unzipped they’re a sturdy 23 X 11 inch multi-use surface.

Signature-Pillow-Chocolate-laptop_1

It’s All in the Pillow has several options to choose from so you can find one to match your decor… brown, red, black, metallic silver, safari prints, and college styles. They’re made from high-grade micro-suede fabric and are stain resistant which means even the kids can use them. This is a bonus in my house because something gets spilled no matter how careful the kids seem to try and be!

Now for the fun part! One person will win either a red or brown It’s All in the Pillow of their own!

FYI…. the giveaway is only open to US residents.

Hey…. want 2 pillows so you have a matching set? Go enter Jessica’s giveaway too!

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#MyMichMemory: Giveaway with the Detroit Zoo + Linky!

Lions, Tigers and bears – oh my! If your summer plans are calling for a fabulous family adventure, look no further than the Detroit Zoo based in Royal Oak, Mich. This week’s My Michigan Memory giveaway features a family 4-pack of zoo tickets for two adults and two children.

All you have to do is link up your Michigan-related blog post in the linky tool below and then enter your info into the Rafflecopter form. You’ll get 10 points just for linking a blog post you’ve written about Michigan. If you’re not a blogger, you can still enter to win, just follow the directions on the Rafflecopter form.

Detroit Zoo water tower
So why would one want to visit the Detroit Zoo this summer? Besides the great animals, there are plenty of great events, too! Here’s a glimpse of the upcoming summer calendar featuring great nights out for families or as a date night. Mark your calendars!

Sunset at the Zoo – June 22

The Detroit Zoological Society’s annual Sunset at the Zoo fundraiser will be held on Friday, June 22, 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Featuring a sensational carnival theme inspired by the Detroit Zoo’s new Carousel, the year’s wildest evening includes a strolling supper, zoo-themed martinis, live entertainment, dancing, carnival games and live and silent auctions. The 21-and-older event is held rain or shine, and the Zoo closes at 2 p.m. that day in preparation for the festivities. Tickets range from $150-$600 per person.


Wild Summer Nights – July 4, 11, 18, 25 and Aug. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29

The Detroit Zoo gets even wilder on Wednesday nights during July and August with its annual Wild Summer Nights concert series. Concerts take place in the Zoo’s Main Picnic Grove from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wild Summer Nights features a variety of live music from local bands, including children’s, jazz, pop, folk and blues. Concert-goers are invited to bring a blanket and pack a picnic. Food, snacks, beer, wine and soft drinks are available for purchase from Zoo concessions. The concerts are free with Zoo admission, which is $5 after 5 p.m. on Wednesdays in July and August. (Concert schedule to be announced.)

Summer Zoomance – July 12 and Aug. 23

Adults are invited to rekindle their childhood love for the Detroit Zoo at an after-hours adults-only event called Summer Zoomance. The 21-and-older evenings will be held 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., rain or shine. Admission is $8 and parking is $5 (parking is free for members). Adult beverages and favorite nostalgic foods will be available for purchase. Tickets for Summer Zoomance can be purchased in advance online at www.detroitzoo.org and at the admission gates.

Wild Beasts, Wild Wine – July 27 {NEW event!}

Make a toast to wildlife at the Detroit Zoo’s inaugural Wild Beasts, Wild Wine on Friday, July 27, 2012, 6-10:30 p.m. The 21-and-over event will sample wines from local and national wineries and vineyards. Guests will enjoy live music, exclusive after-hours access to the Zoo’s award-winning habitats at twilight, animal enrichment experiences and zookeeper talks. Food will be available for purchase. Tickets are $30 in advance (online at www.detroitzoo.org) and $35 at the gate. Ticket packages include Zoo admission, parking and 10 wine-tasting tickets.

Detroit Zoo Collage

For more information on upcoming events and more, visit the Detroit Zoo’s website, Facebook or Twitter.



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Nature’s Hand Granola Review & Giveaway!

It’s no secret that I like to eat but one of my favorite foods is cereal and I add granola into the cereal category. It’s such a portable snack… you can take the entire bag with you and and munch on it as you go, mix it in with some yogurt, or even put in a bowl with some milk.

Natures_Hand Logo

Recently I was sent some granola from Nature’s Hand, the French Vanilla Almond and Cinnamon Apple and within minutes of getting the package in the mail they were open and my daughter and I were sampling them. Both of us had our favorites and thankfully they were different so we didn’t have to share anymore!

Nature's Hand Granola - Apple Cinnamon

Nature's Hand Granola - Apple Cinnamon

What I really like about this granola is that is 100% natural and there are no artificial colors or flavors; no preservatives; no sodium; and no trans fats. It’s mande with roasted oats & wheat, nuts, seeds, and sweetened with honey and caramelized brown sugar. Of course all natural dried fruits!

Nature's Hand Granola - French Vanilla Almond

Nature's Hand Granola - French Vanilla Almond

Really the only bad thing that I could find about this granola is that it’s not low calorie (about 120 calories for 1/4 cup). It’s really hard to just stick with  1/4 cup of that stuff but you can use in many recipes including cookies, pie crusts, and smoothies.

Would you like to try Nature’s Hand granola? If so, then you’re in luck because I am giving away two packages of your choice (Sorry… U.S. only).

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This review was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own. All prizing for MSM giveaways is handled by a third party unless otherwise noted. For this reason prize fulfillment can take up to 90 days after the winners information is received.

Lauren Nicole Gifts Giveaway

Are you ready for Mother’s Day? Have you started dropping hints about what you want? Did you pick out that perfect gift for your mom yet? Well it doesn’t matter what your answer is really because you are going to want to take some time and look at the great pieces of jewelry that you can find at Lauren Nicole Gifts. They’re beautiful and best of all they’re handmade which makes each piece unique and special. And because of that no two pieces are ever alike…. and that will make them all the more special to your mom, sister, or even yourself.

Lauren Nicole Gifts recently added a new line of jewelry using aluminum and pewter. Both of them are beautiful, strong, lead free, less expensive than silver, and one of a kind. I have the hand stamped aluminum name swirl necklace with my all four of my kids names on it and I can’t believe how many people noticed it so quickly. Everyone commented on how different was, that they liked it, and of course wanted to know where I got it from!

hand stamped necklace

I love this necklace! Even after wearing it several times with lotion and/or perfume on it hasn’t discolored or have a smudged to look to it that sometimes happens with my jewelry.

Now you have the opportunity to win your very own personalized aluminum name swirl necklace or the aluminum name heart swirl necklace for yourself or someone special!

I am going to make this so easy that you will want to enter!

Go to the Lauren Nicole Gifts, take a look around, and then come back here and tell me what your favorite item(s) are! Simple as that!

If you want a couple extra entries do any of the following and leave me a comment that you did.

Like Lauren Nicole Gifts on Facebook.

Follow Lauren Nicole Gifts on Twitter.

Subscribe to With Just a Bit of Magic via RSS or email (leave your email address).

The giveaway will end on May 11th at midnight at which time a winner will be selected using random.org. The winner will be notified and have 24 hours to respond.

I was provide with a necklace from Lauren Nicole Gifts to review. All opinions and thoughts are my own.