UNREAL: Candy Unjunked

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What if I told you a candy company existed that took the “junk” out of junk food?  UNREAL is a new generation food company with an outrageous mission: to “unjunk” the world. And they started with the worst offender ~ candy.

Many candies we are familiar with are filled with corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, artificial ingredients, preservatives, and GMOs.  Ingredients that are in there to make the candy cheaper to manufacture, not taste better. But were our bodies meant to ingest these ingredients? I have to think absolutely not! 

UNREAL has developed a line of candies that has taken out all that junk and replaced it with double the cacao, more peanuts, real milk, cane sugar and organic palm fruit oil. They also have substantially less sugar, more fiber, protein and less calories. Now that is unreal.

And I happen to LOVE this part ~ instead of targeting natural food retailers, they are competing head to head (at the same price) at stores like CVS, Walgreens, Target, Rite Aid, Kroger, with new major retailers being added every day.

I was invited to attend an UNREAL luncheon this week, and sampled all the different candies, and it tastes just as good, and in my opinion BETTER than the candy we grew up with. I was not expecting them to taste that good, not gonna lie, but the taste blew me away!

As did some of the sad facts I learned at the luncheon:

Did you know that today approximately 1 in 5 children in the U.S. are obese? This figure has tripled in the last 30 years.  And more children are getting sick.

Accordingly to Healthy Child Healthy World, in the last 20 years, there has been a direct correlation with disease and the introduction of artificial ingredients in our diets.

When you read ingredients on packaged foods that look like they are written in a foreign languages and see all the artificial dyes, preservatives, sweeteners, flavors, fats, etc., I have to wonder ~ is the health of our children at risk because of these?

I don’t know the answer, but as a parent, I sure as heck would rather be safe than sorry.

And please, do not misinterpret this post as I am not here to advocate eating candy as a healthy choice! But on the occasions where you are looking for a special treat or sweet for you or your kids, I am here to tell you that there is now a better choice.  

And I hear the minis should be available by HALLOWEEN! In fact, they should already be in CVS and Michaels, with more stores being added by the Fall! You better believe this household is going to be an UNJUNKED stop on the candy trail. The mom bloggers were even talking about how cool it would be to have a sign out front stating that our household is an “UNJUNKED” stop!

The UNREAL goal as a company is to serve as a spark and ignite a movement to encourage the other candy manufacturers to get rid of the junk too. In five years, their vision is to see an entire aisle of unjunked candy – no matter who gets the sale. How COOL is that?

But the change has to start with us – moms – who want better ingredients and better choices for our families when making packaged food purchases!!! Please help join the movement and share UNREAL with your mommy friends!

Visit www.GetUnreal.com for more FAQs ~ UNREAL on Facebook ~ Follow @GetUnreal on Twitter

[Disclosure: I attended an UNREAL luncheon to learn more about the brand and received free samples of the yummy candies.]

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An iComfort Mattress Review ~ One Year Later

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Serta changed my life.  I am not being dramatic. It’s the honest truth. In 2011 I was selected to be a part of a program for bloggers which included a complimentary mattress for review, and it has truly changed my life.

I am sure you must be asking yourself, “how on earth could a mattress company change her life, right!?!?” But, please let me explain.

It has now been a little over a year since my husband and I have been sleeping on our iComfort Prodigy mattress so I thought it would be fitting to do an iComfort update because when I look back, it has truly made an remarkable difference in our lives.

For those of you who weren’t following my blog last year when I originally did my iComfort mattress series, you can click here to read about their unique (FABULOUS) memory foam, here for my original review and here for my review of the motion perfect adjustable base.

I love my mattress so much that I feel the need to tell anyone that will listen about how amazing this bed is.  In fact, I happened to be walking in the mattress section of Macy’s Home Store the other day, and noticed a man looking at the iComfort mattresses talking to the sales guy. I overheard him asking how they were, and I couldn’t help myself, so I walked over, apologized for interrupting, but said, “This mattress is LIFE CHANGING!!” And again, let me disclose we were provided our mattress for free, but I mean EVERY single word.

I thought the sales guy might hug me. Or he might have thought I was a little crazy, but I couldn’t help myself because it’s the truth!

And here is WHY it is so AMAZING...

Before I slept on our iComfort mattress, on average, I would remember waking up at least one, if not two times a night. And often, I would have a problem going back to sleep right away. In the morning, I would typically wake up still feeling tired, even if I had gotten 8 hours of sleep. But looking back, it was 8 interrupted hours due to the tossing and turning.

Now, when sleeping on our iComfort mattress, 90% of the time, I go to sleep and do not wake up until it’s morning. Yes, I will sleep for a solid stretch of  an average of 8 hours. And it is AWESOME!!!! I now wake up earlier on my own, like 6:15am or so, and even have a nice hour to myself before the kids wake up. Even better, when I wake up, I feel rested and ready to start the day.

I fully attribute the fact that I am getting this solid, quality sleep to the iComfort Cool Action Memory Foam, which isolates movement. When my husband rolls over or gets up earlier or goes to bed later, his movement doesn’t wake me up. This has been the number one reason I think this bed is so incredible.

When you wake up night after night of quality sleep, it begins to affect other areas of your life. I exercise more, I am healthier and overall I have more energy. And all of these things work together to make for a better well being. Now I am not saying that the mattress talks to me and encourages me to exercise, but because I wake up early in the morning not feeling tired, I have more energy to get my workouts in.

I don’t think you can underestimate the importance of sleep (quality sleep) to your health and well being.

My husband has also noticed a BIG difference. On our old mattress, most mornings he would wake up with an achy back. His back pain completely went away when we got our iComfort. He loves the bed so much that when we ever sleep away from our home, he will always mention how he can’t wait to get back home to our bed. And I feel the same way. It is the BEST BED EVER.  Again, let me disclose, we were provided a mattress for review by Serta complimentary.

Before getting this mattress, I would probably have not have even considered a memory foam mattress. I had heard they could sleep hot, were rock hard, and I don’t know, and it seemed a little foreign to me after sleeping on an innerspring mattress for my whole life.

But the iComfort is NOT hot, thanks to the Cool Action Gel in the memory foam, and our model is plush, yet also super supportive, far from being rock hard. After sleeping on our iComfort Prodigy for the year, I can safely say, I will never sleep on another type of bed again, and I am a Serta memory foam fan for life.

If you are in the market for or need a new mattress, I can’t more highly recommend you find a store by you and go and test them out for yourself. And if I happen to see you in the store, don’t be surprised if I come over and tell you myself just how much I love this bed.

Serta also offers a 120-day in home trial, where you can sleep on your new mattress for a minimum of 30 nights, and if you are for any reason not satisfied within 120 days, you can exchange or return it (policies set by local retailer, ask your store for details.)

And don’t even get me STARTED on the Motion Perfect Adjustable Base.  That is a whole other post on it’s own. Stay tuned.

We were blessed beyond words to receive this mattress complimentary from Serta as a result of my involvement in their Blogger program last year when the iComfort mattresses first came out, but knowing what I know now, if my husband and I would have had to purchase a new mattress, I would have saved our pennies until we could afford to buy it ourself. It is worth every single dollar.  It’s that good.

So, when Serta contacted me again about working with them for their 2012 program, I almost jumped through my screen yelling, “YES!” Because when I love something this much, it is my absolute joy to be able to share it with the world.

Nighty night friends, thanks for listening to my Serta iComfort love affair!

XOXO
Jen

[Disclosure: I was a participant of the Serta Blogger Program last year and received my iComfort mattresses compliments of Serta. For the program for 2012 I will also be receiving additional products for our household for review. All opinions are my 100% honest ones, as always!]

 

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Wordless Wednesday: Smitten

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You guys, I am in love. In fact, I am just smitten.

Please allow me to introduce Gavin, our newest family member.

This past Sunday my sister gave birth to that precious little human and I now have two nephews. Auntie Jen is just a tad excited.

I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to being able to enjoy EVERY single moment of the delicious newborn stage ~ without having a newborn myself.

I get to relish in all the cute little newborn moments, but then I get to hand him back and go home to get a good night’s sleep.

Being an aunt really is the best.

Just had to share our happy news. I know I am biased, but seriously, is he CUTE or what?!

For more cute Wordless Wednesday pictures, head over to Angry Julie Monday.

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Maldon Sea Salt Flakes ~ Your Food Will LOVE You!

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Have you ever had a bite of sea salt that nearly broke your tooth?  Or too fine of a grain you could hardly taste it?  You’ve got to try Maldon Sea Salt Flakes ~ your food will LOVE you!

Recently my husband (Mike) & I went on a date night to Pizzeria Mozza which was a HEAVENLY culinary experience.  One of the appetizers we ordered was the bone marrow which they brought to the table with toasts, slow cooked garlic in olive oil, celery micro greens & a little dish of this amazingly light but large flakes of sea salt that dissolve quickly as they hit your tongue.  The combination of all the flavors was divine!

When the server came to clear the course Mike grabbed the little dish of salt & kept enjoying little pinches of it all throughout our meal.

We found out it’s called Maldon Sea Salt Flakes and a few days later a little package arrived on our doorstep and we’ve been enjoying it in our kitchen ever since!   (Mike found it here for just $6.49 + free shipping!)

We’ve been cooking with it, putting a little pinch on a salad, heck we’ve been putting a little pinch on ANYTHING & EVERYTHING!

It’s the PERFECT Sea Salt!

Enjoy!

XO,

Your Sus Chef

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Strawberries & Cream Homemade Popsicles

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On a nostalgic whim at Ralphs the other day I picked up a little homemade popsicle maker for $1 and went home and made the easiest/tastiest strawberries & cream homemade popsicles~

I mixed together:

about 1 cup vanilla flavored Greek Yogurt (or your favorite flavor)

about 1/4 cup strawberry preserves (or your favorite fruit preserves)

(amounts will vary for your size popsicle form)

I put the mixture in the popsicle maker & in our freezer.  For my girls the waiting was the hardest part but the anticipation was just a thrill!

When it came time to eat several hours later – all four of us thoroughly enjoyed this tasty (relatively) healthy treat!

Best $1 I’ve spent in a long time.

Happy Popsicling to ya!

XO,

Your Sus Chef

PS- my $1 popsicle maker was not as cool as the one photographed, but still did the trick!

(Photo by the incredible Kristin Eldridge)

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