With my weekly segments, I get to do a lot of product testing and I found some great ones last year. Take a look at my 2013 product picks to see my tried and true favorites. The best part of this list is that these are the items that many of you emailed to tell me that you liked, too. I love when that happens and I always welcome feedback on my segments. And stay tuned because I plan to show what's new in cool 2014 products this month, too. But first, here is my 2013 top picks list...
Favorite Fashions from Head to Toe
Finding affordable quality fashion pieces is one of my favorite parts of my job. This year, I have three standouts and two of the three are a bit pricy, but are worth listing because of the high quality and that the fact that I wear both of these items several times a week, making the cost per use reasonable, in my opinion. They are...
*Favorite affordable fashion line -- Every time I wear any Jennifer Lopez piece from Kohl's I get compliments. I have worn her dresses, sweaters and jewelry and I appreciate the nice comments and that fact that her fashions fit just right. I talked to one woman who was looking at the J Lo clothes next to me at Kohl's and she said it best when she exclaimed that J Lo's clothes fit women with curves in all the right places. I agree! Kohl's always has coupons in the paper and if you register with Kohl's you will get regular coupons emailed to you for added savings.
*Favorite high heel ever -- The price tag is high, but if you have foot problems and think your high heel days are all but over, you have got to know about the Ziera shoe line that has built-in orthotics. The Ziera Jenn Bisque style is lovely and I always get compliments when I wear this shoe, but the $219 price tag is quite high, I know. I buy my shoes from Foot Solutions and I wait until I receive their quarterly coupons in the mail, so I recommend getting on their mailing list. This is the only high heel that I can wear now and not have sore feet later.
*Favorite jeans ever -- A good pair of skinny jeans like the Joe’s denim jeans has been my go to purchase from the Purple Skirt Boutique located at 40th Street and Chandler Blvd. in Ahwatukee. I wear them constantly because they are slimming and hide a muffin top (which I appreciate after a good dinner out). Plus they stretch with me as I move and they are soft and super comfy and easily wash and wear right out of the dryer. These can be worn with flats and then in the cooler months with boots and a blazer. They are very versatile are also sold at Dominique R Boutique located at 15035 N. Thompson Peak Parkway in Scottsdale.
Beauty Beat: Favorite Drug Store Beauty Products:
I do love trying out all of the beauty product samples I receive and I also buy ten items that sell for under $10 every month to try out and share in my segments. Here are the three top items that made my 2013 list...
*Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer -- New from Vaseline, this is a spray lotion that gives a continuous application that moisturizes in seconds. It is non-greasy and dries immediately, so it doesn't get on my clothes and I get out the door, moisturized fast.
*Toe Juice -- Toe Juice by Dermavine is one of my favorite products because it successfully helps a variety of head-to-toe ailments, it is a Father & son family business, the ingredients check out, they added travel sizes and I have also received feedback from some of you that this stuff really smoothes your dry heels. I agree. Toe Juice by Dermavine is sold at Walgreens and treats ailments like Eczema, athlete’s foot, warts and more. The 4.6 fluid ounce size sells for $16.99 and the travel size goes for $7.84 and be sure to visit my website at www.managedmoms.com to get a $1 coupon off of Toe Juice or visit www.toejuice.com.
*Boots No7 Beautiful Skin Foaming Cleanser -- I love this stuff. It foams perfectly, just as the packaging promises, and it didn't dry out my skin. Plus I have super sensitive skin and it was gentle while also removing all of my makeup. This one gets a hearty thumbs up and it is sold at Walgreens.
In the Kitchen: Favorite Foods, Recipe & Appliance:
I love to eat so I did a good share of food segments this year with articles about recipes made easy, favorite snacks to grab on the run, cocktails and more. Take a look back through my column pieces to see the different recipes and ideas and for my all around 2013 favorites, I narrowed it down to my favorite snack bar, recipe and appliance...
*Favorite appliance -- I was thrilled to receive several emails telling me that this segment motivated folks to try or resume juicing and I loved your recipe ideas you shared with me, too. My favorite appliance of the year is the T-fal Balanced Living Juice Extractor. I put off getting a juicer for a long time because I thought one would cost me several hundred dollars, but the T-fal sells for only $61.99 on amazon.com. It is much easier to use than I thought it would be. The only part of it that is a small pain is the clean-up, only because you need to clean it right after you use it or you will have to do some scrubbing later. The company did make the parts dishwasher safe, so that makes life easier.
*Favorite on the go family snack -- When I showed KIND Bars, our previous host Lisa Haffner told me that she is also a fan of these yummy bars. I like them because they are made with 100% whole grains and my favorite flavor is KIND Healthy Grains Maple Pumpkin Seeds with Sea Salt, especially since pumpkin is perfectly festive right now. I also love that the KIND Healthy Grains bars are made from blends of five naturally gluten free whole grains with ingredients that I can actually pronounce. My kids and are I have been talking about trying to eat more whole foods, so this is a perfect on the go snack for us. My other favorite KIND bar flavors are the Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt and the Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Bar because I think they both taste like a Snickers candy bar With the KIND bar you are only getting 10 grams of sugar versus the 26 grams of sugar a Snickers bar packs in. Plus this flavor of the KIND bar gives you 7 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber. These are some of the more decadent flavors, but it is still a good option for a treat on the run.
*Favorite Healthy Homemade Treat -- No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Bars -- I heard back from several of you that this recipe was a family hit and you loved how easy it was to make. If your family likes oatmeal, peanut butter and chocolate chips, then these bars will be a hit. I like that this recipe can be made the night before. These yummy bars also don't call for any added sugar, although the chocolate chips have sugar. With whole food ingredients like oatmeal, honey, coconut and peanut butter, these bars are a better option than a lot of convenience bars out there, but do use a good natural peanut butter that doesn't have added sugars and the same goes for the coconut. Raisins and almonds can also be added, but I don't, only because my daughter is allergic to tree nuts. Here is the base recipe that I found on a very cool website
What You Need:
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil (be sure to use unrefined for the coconut flavor)
2 cups dry oats (not instant)
1 C shredded coconut
1/2 C chopped walnuts (optional)
1 1/4 cups dark chocolate chips
1 t vanilla extract
What You Do:
1. Melt peanut butter, honey and coconut oil over medium-low heat.
2. Once melted, remove from heat and add oats, shredded coconut, chocolate chips and vanilla.
3. Stir until chocolate is entirely melted.
4. Pour into a greased (I use coconut oil spray) 9x13 pan and cool in the fridge overnight. When it's set, or the next morning, cut into bars and enjoy. Store in the fridge.
Favorite Product Packaging Beauty Items:
I received good feedback from a lot of you that you liked my product packaging segments, so I will continue to do those in 2014. Here are some of my favorite product packaging picks...
*First Aid 5 in 1 Face Cream ($38 at Sephora) -- I have shown this before in my annual best of segment, so you know that I like it, and this year I discussed the beneficial packaging. In addition to how well this works on my skin and that it is paraben-free, I also love the pump applicator. It disperses just the right amount so I don't waste any of my favorite face cream and it keeps all pollutants out. Plus it does do the five different things the packaging promises. It has lessened the appearance of my wrinkles (and I'm getting them since I've grown up in the Arizona sun), it has corrected my uneven skin tone, it does provide UVA/UVB protection, it definitely moisturizes and it has combated free radicals, so I give this one a hearty yes.
*Dermablend Quick-Fix Illuminator -- I have been a big fan of the Dermablend line ever since our show makeup artist, Celebrity/Professional Makeup Artist Karen Hall recommended their foundation for my on-air makeup routine. So I was thrilled to try the multi-purpose concealer and highlighter that conceals, brightens and illuminates all in one. The twist up applicator is easy to use, easy to pack and keeps the pollutants out of the product since it rolls out the perfect amount for the face. It is also allergy tested and fragrance free. It sells at Macy's, Ulta and Dillard's for $25.
Favorite Get Organized Tool
* Standing Hanger Holder Chrome -- In my Spring Cleaning segment, several of you wrote to me to tell me that you loved finding out about this cool product and I agree. A big clutter culprit are all of the empty hangers that end up taking up so much closet space...and my entire closet was a real mess. So I hired a professional organizing expert to teach me a few tricks and Bridget Owens with D.O.A (http://www.doainteriors.com/ ) did an amazing job streamlining my cluttered closet on a budget. She recommended the Standing Hanger Holder Chrome from Amazon.com for $17.92 and I continue to love it. Not only does it keep all of our loose hangers in one place, but it looks nice, too. I would have never thought of this idea, so this is one of my favorite suggestions that the professional organizer gave me.
I have so many other favorites, but I'm running out of room, so be sure to check my blog at www.managedmoms.com to see a list of my 2013 "Your Life A to Z" segments which include other categories like pet products, earth-friendly items and more.