Buzz Away Extreme Review

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The natural repellent that has you covered against bites for hours. Made from essential plant oils and other natural ingredients, Buzz Away Extreme’s safe, DEET-free formula wards off mosquitoes for up to 4 hours and ticks for up to 2 1/2 hours*. Why expose yourself and your family to harsh chemical products when a proven, natural repellent has you covered?

  • Handy pump bottle is ready whenever you need protection from buzzing outdoor pests.
  • Available in eco-friendly packaging in convenient pocket-size 2 oz (approved for air travel), 4 oz and 8 oz.

When we run out of our homemade spray, this is the one I reach for!  We always have a bottle on hand and it’s been effective 100% of the time!  So easy to apply and I don’t have to worry about my kids getting all the harsh chemicals.  I highly recommend!

The opinions and thoughts contained in this post are 100% mine. I only ever work with companies I support and think you, my readers, will like. Please read my full review and endorsement policy here.

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Tres Lunas Resort – Part 1

This is not your typical review.  This is not your typical accomodation.  This is a true experience.   Part 1….

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Winding down a dirt road through groves of old Oak and Mesquite, you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere.  Cell service is in and out, forget about internet on the phone.  It’s just you and the red dirt and trees traveling to what you hope to be an oasis.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful in this part of the country.  Grasses blowing in the breeze at the foot of trees that have seen history.  Every so often a grove of cacti pops up, then all of a sudden the terrain changes.  There is water, springs rising from the ground.  Wild flowers take the place of much of the grassland.  As you come around a corner, a field of hay wheels stretches out before you.  This land is fertile and the greenery speaks volumes.  And then, you see the sign, “Tres Lunas” and you turn down an even narrower dirt road that runs straight through the ranch lands surrounding you.  This road is hillier and wild.  Just as you think you must have missed it, there she is…the gates marking the entrance to a place I can only describe as magical.  Tres Lunas Resort.

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The resort is small and very quiet.  We pull up and first thing we notice off to the side is the little stone chapel.  I comment about looking forward to wandering up there after we check in.  A farm cat greets us with a lazy “meow” and we walk inside.  First thing I felt is a sense of real peace.  This isn’t going to be just any overnight trip I realize.  This is an experience.  The Tres Lunas Resort Experience.  The dedication that went into creating a sacred space for guests is evident in every detail.  The Resort caters to not only couples such as ourselves, but true retreats.  A Wellness Retreat package, complete with yoga, massage and all your meals, is available as well as wedding packages and even a “build your own retreat” experience.  A welcome letter is waiting, directing us to our room for the night.  As we walk through the common room, Carol Conlee comes out from behind a curtain of beads in the far corner of the room.  Her smile is warm and inviting.  She greets us with such grace and explains more in detail what the letter tells us.  We look forward to sitting down with her later in our stay.  We walk into our room and immediately feel at home.  Every detail is taken care of from pool towels, to robes, to extra blankets and even coffee, tea and wine.  The bathroom is equipped with all the soaps and shampoos we need along with a stack of snow white towels and washcloths.

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Immediately outside our door is the pool so we waste no time in changing and going for a swim.  The infinity edge of the pool looks out across a valley of trees, cow fields and awe inspiring nature.  And as if specially ordered for our stay, dragonflies dance across the surface of the water with their wings shimmering in the sunlight.  A Sycamore tree shades a seating area off to one side and the wind blows through the leaves like music for the dragonflies to flit about to.  It’s almost like a dream staying cool in the blue water, looking at panoramic views and no one else around.  Quiet and peaceful.

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After a couple hours we head inside to change for dinner.  The dining area is in the same common room we passed through when we came in.  As we walk in, the smells from the kitchen hit us.  Something good is cooking in there and we realize we are the only ones dining in tonight.  There is one other couple staying but we so far have only seen them briefly as they are out exploring.  Classical music plays softly and we hear the sounds of happy conversation coming from the kitchen as the husband and wife team work together to create something tasty for us.  They are obviously very content.

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Craig Conlee comes out with a big grin and a cutting board with a steaming loaf of fresh baked sourdough bread.  First course has arrived.  He apologizes for dinner starting a few minutes late, they were waiting for the bread to finish baking.  Yes, this is for real.  As we sit down at the table, he comes back out with the salad.  Delicate greens drizzled with homemade balsamic dressing, cohita cheese and buttery prawns.  The prawns were surprisingly sweet and complimented the tang from the dressing and the richness of the cheese.  I could live off this plate everyday and be perfectly happy.

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The main course arrives and I think we both gasped.  There, sitting majestically atop a bed of jasmine rice was a beautiful salmon fillet covered in a cilantro, tomatillo butter sauce and accompanied by a side of poblano peppers, mushrooms and corn cooked to perfect texture in a spicy vinegar sauce.  The textures and spices worked in perfect harmony and each bite was better than the first.

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We watched the sun set, giving our stomachs a rest before dessert.  I have had the privilege of living in many places that held some of the most spectacular sunsets, this one was in the top percentile.  Looking out over that valley, we learned that the resort was built in relation to the summer solstice.  So on the actual soltice day, the sun sets almost dead center to the pool.  Every detail…..

Dessert didn’t disappoint!  Mexican bread pudding, homemade vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries drizzled with chocolate sauce.  By the time we were finished I wasn’t sure if I could even move!  I was super relaxed, incredibly full and very content.  The memory foam king size bed was beckoning and we slept very well that night.

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Between swimming and dinner, we made a little trek to see the chapel.  Tres Lunas is a destination wedding venue when not spoiling travelers such as ourselves.  They cater to full service weddings as well as a romantic Elopement Retreat.  The chapel is simple and beautiful.   Small and intimate, I could imagine it lit up with candlelight and a beautiful night time wedding taking place in that wild land.  Romance for sure!  I could also feel the peaceful spirituality there.  What a place to bless a new couple!  I felt like we had been there before.  I was amazed that such a place even existed, yet felt so at home and happy.  Magic indeed!  I didn’t know what the morning would bring, but I felt something good was waiting….and I wasn’t wrong….  Next post will let you know how our morning went and how friendships sometimes start with magic.

To be continued…..

The opinions and thoughts contained in this post are 100% mine. I only ever work with companies I support and think you, my readers, will like. Please read my full review and endorsement policy here.

*Photo credits are mine, Jason Locher and Tres Lunas website.

Biotta Beet Juice Review

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“The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.” Tom Robbins Jitterbug Perfume

The beetroot is the taproot portion of the beet plant, usually known in North America as the beet. It is one of several of the cultivated varieties of Beta vulgaris grown for their edible taproots and their leaves (called beet greens).

Although the leaves have been eaten since before written history, the beet root was generally used for medicinal purposes only until about 1800. The root adds flavor and sweetness to many dishes, and is often used as food coloring and dye. Many beet products are made from other Beta vulgaris varieties, particularly sugar beet.

Beets have therapeutic qualities as well and have been studied as an aid to lowering blood pressure.

A research review published in 2014 in Nitric Oxide, and a study published in 2015 in Hypertension, both showed that a diet including inorganic nitrates from beet juice can lower blood pressure; improve the ability to, and the duration of, exercise; boost oxygen delivery to the heart; and ehhance the general health of blood vessels.
(Everyday Health http://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/jared-bunch-rhythm-of-life/how-drinking-beetroot-juice-lowers-blood-pressure-and-relaxes-stiff-hearts/ )

Drinking a glass of beet juice may have an immediate impact on lowering blood pressure, according to a study.

The study shows that within hours of drinking it, beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) by an average of 4-5 points among a small group of healthy men.
(WebMD http://www.m.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/news/20121212/beetroot-juice-blood-pressure )

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Biotta Beet Juice is USDA Organic, Vegan and Non-GMO verified and the main benefits can include boosted stamina, improved blood flow, and aids in the lowering of blood pressure.

We were given a bottle to try for ourselves and I can tell you it is yummy! So far we have used it in smoothies and everyone has enjoyed it! I highly recommend this brand of you want to add some good alternative medicine to your life! Your heart will thank you!

The opinions and thoughts contained in this post are 100% mine. I only ever work with companies I support and think you, my readers, will like. Please read my full review and endorsement policy here.

Minecraft Super League Discount: Summer Splash

#ad We are doing it again!  The girls loved it so much they are going back for more!!

The first and biggest recreational league where gamers of all ages compete, socialize and play video games on the big screen in movie theatres worldwide.

Now your family can play Minecraft in select movie theatres with Super League Gaming. Super League brings together gamers of all ages for a fun, social, face-to-face gameplay experience on the big screen with underwater themed maps and mods in a custom Minecraft adventure called, Summer Splash featuring Captain Sparklez.

HOW IT WORKS

Bring your laptop with Minecraft 1.9.2 installed and play first-person on your computer and then you wirelessly connect to Super League’s server which puts you and everyone else in the movie theater’s gameplay up on the big screen. Parents and siblings can attend for free to watch and cheer their gamer on.

Your gamers will play, collaborate and socialize on teams with 4-7 members their own age as they build, battle and use their creativity and imagination.  Super League even provides all the tech help and support making this a great family-friendly event.

THE LEAGUE ENCOURAGES SOCIAL CONNECTIONS & TEAMWORK

It’s all about teamwork and collaboration. Each player gets a free gaming t-shirt encouraging team building and camaraderie.

July 18  –  22, 9am  –  12 noon.  Get tickets athttps://superleague.com/buy-tickets  Save $10, use Promo Code:  USFAMILY10

ILounge

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Take summertime chilling to a new level with iLounge, the tranquil and fun way to enjoy all summer activities. Whether floating in the pool, relaxing on the beach or enjoying an exciting camping adventure, iLounge is the recreational accessory you want to have close by.

iLounge is an innovative, unique lounge bed that can be inflated simply with the swirl of a breeze, since it captures air for inflation. The product is made of a lightweight, Eco friendly, water resistant, and strong fabric that can withstand any type of environment, including rock and asphalt, and can hold the weight of a few adults. Features of the product include a water bottle holder, umbrella anchor, sun canopy, a waterproof pouch, smartphone holder, magazine pouch and bottle opener.

iLounge is available in an array of fun colors including Caribbean turquoise, electric coral orange, electric lime green and yellow, flamingo fuchsia, orange peel, peach cobbler, magenta, violet, peony pink and royal and powder blue. This item retails for $129.99.

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Tote your iLounge along on your next outing to the beach, favorite concert or festival and enjoy hours of inflatable fun, before easily rolling it up for easy on-the-go travel and transport.

Luxuriate with “Rest At Its Best” created by iLounge for a delightful day out with family and friends!

For additional information please visit: https://www.iloungeusa.com/

#ilounge @ilounge #iloungeusa #ad

Stojo Collapsable Cup

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Stojo recently sent me a cup to review.  I have been using it for a couple weeks now and love it!   Collapses down to about 2 inches in height, you can carry it with you easily and always be ready with your own cup.  1 Stojo can save over 500 disposable cups from being thrown into the landfills.  Very easy to use and transport, and ecologically sound!  Stojo are food-grade rated silicone cups and lids that are BPA-free, no phthalates, glue or lead, and made from safe, recyclable materials.

  • ULTRA PORTABLE REUSABLE CUP COFFEE. Collapsible cup expands. Coffee Cup has 3.5″ diameter and is only 2″ thick when collapsed. 12 oz cup.
  • SILICONE CUP breaks down for easy cleaning. Dishwasher and microwave SAFE.
  • Mugs made from SAFE, RECYCLABLE materials. No BPAs, phthalates, leads or glues.
  • FOOD GRADE SILICONE CUP AND STOPPER. Coffee mug has a POLYPROPYLENE lid and heat sleeve.
  • THERMAL POCKET CUP and travel mug is LEAK PROOF.

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You can find Stojo at Amazon and the Stojo site!  They are also coming out with a bigger cup, 16oz.  The Stojo Biggie! The Stojo Biggie is getting a boost with an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that is live for the next six weeks. Supporters and fans can take advantage of an exclusive pre-order pricing of nearly 50% off.

I am definitely getting the bigger cup when it’s released!  I am very pleased with this one!

The opinions and thoughts contained in this post are 100% mine. I only ever work with companies I support and think you, my readers, will like. Please read my full review and endorsement policy here.

 

 

“CURIOUS WORLD” SUMMER TOUR

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HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT KICKS OFF “CURIOUS WORLD” SUMMER TOUR, INSPIRING PLAYFUL LEARNING NATIONWIDE

From story time to space ships, young explorers are invited to join Curious George and friends for immersive learning experiences in local communities.

This summer, HMH will take Curious World Tour on a nationwide adventure, popping up inAustin, Texas on July 6, 2016 at the Texas State Capitol and July 7, 2016 (location to be announced).

Global learning company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) announced this week the launch of a new immersive and playful learning experience, Curious World Tour.

Kicking off at Brooklyn Bridge Park on Sunday, June 26, HMH will take Curious World Tour on a nationwide adventure, popping up in eight cities in Texas and California – San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, San Diego, Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco and Los Angeles – throughout the summer.

In each market, HMH will work with local nonprofit organizations to donate books and resources while engaging families with kids nationwide. Curious World Tour was created in partnership with the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM), lending expertise in out-of-school and summer learning, and the Ultimate Block Party.  bringing deep experience in community-based playful learning experiences rooted in science and pedagogy.

“We know that children are born learning and that play and exploration are essential for healthy growth and development. Our goal with Curious World Tour is to bring unique, fun early learning experiences directly to children and families in their communities,” said Linda K. Zecher, President, CEO & Director of HMH. “HMH’s mission is to change lives by fostering passionate, curious learners, and our summer road trip is designed to engage, inspire, and remind us all that learning takes place everywhere.”

Curious World Tour will hit the road in a rugged, colorful vehicle that unfolds to create a mobile playful learning environment for children and families. Explorers of all ages are invited on a personal journey with beloved HMH characters like Curious George – who celebrates his 75th birthday this year – that will inspire them to ask questions, open their minds, and take a hands-on approach to the world around them through interactive, multi-disciplinary educational activities, including:
●      Curious World HQ: The welcome truck with a giant map featuring videos of children saying “hello” in multiple languages, where adventure leaders will give children the opportunity to plan and document their Curious World Tour journey with a Curiosity Log.

●      Story Camp: A tented library featuring HMH characters and award-winning stories – like Curious George, Gossie and Gertie, and the Five Little Monkeys – inviting kids to relax on tree-trunk stools and open up their imagination for story time.

●      Community Garden: An outdoor space for kids to engage in various food-learning exercises, such as planting their own seeds in a decorated pot that they can take home to water and watch grow.

●      Space Station: An extraterrestrial area expanding kids’ minds, encouraging them to think beyond planet Earth with the opportunity to make alien puppets, build space shuttles and learn about constellations in rocket ship light brites.

●      Jungle Jamboree: A play area with an open stage featuring special appearances by Curious George and others, where kids will learn about sound, rhythm and tunes on an interactive music wall.

●      #SparkAMind Color the World: A collaborative mural to help kids express their artistic side and learn about team work as they color in their favorite HMH characters alongside a local artist. Murals will be donated to education institutions and organizations that serve children and families in each local community.

“We are proud to partner with HMH and share the expertise of children’s museums in creating substantive and fun learning opportunities for families with young children,” said Laura Huerta Migus, executive director of the Association of Children’s Museums. “Curious World Tour is not only bringing HMH’s quality resources for families across the country, but is also making a great statement on the importance of play as the foundation of lifelong learning.”

In each station, young learners will be able to experience for themselves the power of playful learning inside HMH’s new interactive content service, the Curious World App.

This ever-growing library of learning videos, books and games for children ages 2-7, as well as inspiration for offline activities and tools for parents to be involved in their child’s learning journey.

Learn more about Curious World Tour here.

Super League Gaming!

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A few weeks ago, I was gifted with 2 tickets for my daughter and her friend to participate in the Super League Gaming Minecraft event at our local theater, the Hill Country Galleria Cinemark.  They brought their laptops, were assigned a team and had a blast for 4 Saturday’s.

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The theater was actually quite full with kids of all ages playing together on the big screen.  The cooperation level was impressive amongst all these kids, with many of them meeting for the first time.

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(this photo is a great example of the participants viewpoints with both their laptops and the big screen).

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It was very well organized, clear instructions were given on how to login, etc., and most of all a lot of fun for these 13 year olds.  John Bickle of the Super League Gaming support team was extremely helpful in getting the girls set up in the computer system prior to their arrival.  He was friendly and answered all my questions.  Overall the entire experience was great and the girls are looking forward to participating again next time it comes back around!  They highly recommend it!

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* All photos by my daughter, Lola Amador-Locher.

AdoramaPix!!

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A few weeks ago I was given the opportunity to review the photo processing company, AdoramaPix.  I received my photos last week and am super impressed!  I went with a metal print and a wrapped canvas.  Not only was processing quick and efficient, but shipping was fast as well.  The quality is excellent, and I love all the selections they offer.  I definitely plan on using them again in the future!

Check out their entire offerings at their website.  I might need a wall of metal prints!

The opinions and thoughts contained in this post are 100% mine. I only ever work with companies I support and think you, my readers, will like. Please read my full review and endorsement policy here.

Stonyfield Goodness

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Hey all!  This month Stonyfield challenged the Yo Getters to come up with some recipes using Stonyfield Yogurt and Nativas Naturals products.  I received the Mulberry Berries and Hemp Seeds.  Both of these are super nutritious additions to any recipe.

Why do you want these in your pantry?  Read on…

Mulberry Berries

Mulberries are native to the Morus genus of trees and can be found in many parts of the world nowadays, but they originated in the Far East, traveling along the Silk Road from China to Turkey. Beyond their sweet and delicate flavor, mulberries are an excellent source of nutrients including iron, calcium, vitamin C, protein and fiber.

Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds provide a healthy dose of protein, omega fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants and minerals.

Hemp is a well-balanced vegetarian protein source that includes all of the essential amino acids. Not only is hemp one of the best veggie sources of protein, it’s easy for the body to digest and assimilate. Hemp also features plenty of other nutrients including abundant fiber, chlorophyll, vitamins and omega-3 and -6 essential fatty acids.

The Recipes

I made the best dinner the other night using Stonyfield Yogurts and Navita Naturals products.  I love testing new recipes and decided instead of doing just one recipe with my yogurt, why not base an entire meal around it?

So for your enjoyment, here is what I made:

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Middle Eastern Inspired Chicken

I love Middle Eastern and Mediterranean style food.  The spices and freshness are so appealing and healthy.  For this dish, the spices and yogurt were a perfect match.

INGREDIENTS

1⁄2 cup plain yogurt
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander
1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken

DIRECTIONS

Mix the yogurt with the seasonings and place in a plastic bag with the chicken.

Marinate for 2 hours to overnight.

Pound chicken in the bag with the marinade to 1/2 thick and grill, saute, skewer or bake until lightly browned and cooked through.

Serve with rice or pasta and salad and enjoy!

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Greek Inspired Salad

For the salad I chopped up Romaine lettuce and added heirloom cherry tomatoes, sliced black olives, goat cheese crumbles, chopped cucumbers and topped it with Navitas Naturals Mulberry Berries and Hemp Seeds.  Super simple!  The dressing is a yogurt dressing I made and oh my gosh, Stonyfield organic yogurt is perfect for this.  All the flavor of Ranch without all the bad for you fat and extra ingredients!  This didn’t last the night.

Lemon-Dill Yogurt Dressing

1 cup while milk Stonyfield plain yogurt, drained for 1 hour in a strainer (save the whey that drips out for smoothies!)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill

After yogurt has drained and thickened, combine everything into a bowl and refrigerate for an hour.  Great with salads or as a dip!!

And to top off the meal, a dessert using my yogurt and toppings!  These also didn’t hang out for long.

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French Yogurt Cupcakes

Nonstick canola oil spray
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup raw sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
3/4 cup plain whole-milk Stonyfield yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Navitas Naturals Mulberry Berries and Hemp Seeds.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat cupcake pan with canola oil spray or paper liners.

Whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and kosher salt in a medium bowl.

Using your fingers, rub raw sugar with lemon zest in a large bowl until sugar is moist. Add yogurt, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract; whisk to blend. Fold in dry ingredients just to blend.

Pour batter into prepared pan.  Sprinkle help seeds and mulberries on top if desired. Bake until top of cakecakes are golden brown and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 15 minutes.

Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert onto rack; let cool completely.  Can top with homemade whipped cream if desired.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

So there you have it!  My Stonyfield based meal!  You can find Stonyfield products at most grocery stores.  The yogurt is perfect to use in recipes subbing out higher fat ingredients…we use it everyday!  Hope you enjoy and let me know what you have made with your Stonyfield products!

The opinions and thoughts contained in this post are 100% mine. I only ever work with companies I support and think you, my readers, will like. Please read my full review and endorsement policy here.