Great gal pal picks

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I get a lot of great suggestions about things to try out for my segments and several really good ones have come my way recently. So I decided to do a hodgepodge of helpful services and items that I’ve learned about and am anxious to share with all of you.

Read on to learn about some cool stuff like fresh farm produce that is delivered to your neighborhood, nontoxic cleaning products that Oprah swears by, nail polish that raises money to fight Diabetes, a fun placemat that teaches kids manners and more. And a big thank you to my gal pals for telling me about such great stuff, so I can report back to all of you.  I try before you buy!  

Fresh Farm Produce Delivered To Your Neighborhood by Bountiful Baskets

Two different gal pals told me about two different farm delivery boxes the same week, so I signed up for both to get the healthy details for you. 

First I tried Bountiful Baskets which has multiple pick-up locations across the Valley.  To find one nearest you, visit  Bountiful Baskets has fresh farm produce, fruits and even bakery goods that are boxed up and sent to multiple neighborhood locations, like a nearby park.  Pick-up days and times are specific and you must claim your goods within a 20-minute window or the food will be donated. 

Bountiful Baskets is not a business. It is a group of people who work together for mutual benefit.  Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op is completely volunteer-run, with no profits made by anyone.  As a group, items are purchased at deep discounts and then distributed evenly among participants.  Volunteer members get a variety of high-quality seasonal produce.   Local produce is purchased first and then regional produce is bought if the local fare is not available.

To participate, you must register online and your order is debited from your bank account.  I have been very happy with the quality and the quantity received.  My last order set me back $15 for a good-sized box of all types of veggies and fruits.  I also paid an additional $7.50 for an awesome Asian pack that included fresh ginger, garlic, bok choy, Napa cabbage, snow peas, green onion and basil.  It was all very good. 

One other item to note is that participants are expected to volunteer.  After every seven pick-ups, you should volunteer to be at a pick-up site to help distribute the goods.  All in all, this is an economical way to eat very healthy foods at a reasonable price.  I love it!

Fresh Foods from FarmBox

I also love the Farmbox program that is offered by a local Wilcox, Arizona farm called Sunizona.  Every week I visit one of my all-time favorite restaurants, Pomegranate Café in Ahwatukee to pick up my Farmbox that is packed with fresh produce.  The Farmbox is delivered to multiple locations throughout Phoenix and Tucson.  Customers can order a custom box that enables you to choose your weekly offerings or a standard box that comes with a variety.  The price for a small standard box starts at $22 a week.  For more information visit

Oprah’s Favorite All Natural House Cleaning Products

My gal pal Kat has been urging me to try the all natural Shaklee line of cleaning, beauty and nutrition items for months.  She finally sent me a gift set so I would try the line.  Then a few days ago, I saw a rerun of Oprah feature the cleaning products with Dr. Oz.  I see why Oprah likes this line!  All products are nontoxic and contain no harmful fumes, phthalates or other questionable chemicals.  Plus Shaklee uses packaging that is biodegradable, recyclable and is made of reduced waste packaging. 

Oprah had a bunch of Shaklee Get Clean products on her table and she specifically named the Basic-H2 Organic Super Cleaning Concentrate that does all kinds of cleaning jobs including windows.  The Shaklee catalog says that one bottle of the Basic H2 equals the cleaning uses of over 5,000 bottles of Windex.  16 ounces of the H2 makes 48 gallons of a powerful, but all natural cleaner and the bottle sells for $12.15.  Impressive!

Shaklee also sells beauty items.  I especially like the Shaklee Essentials Soap-Free Meadow Blend Cleansing Bar that sells for $8.10 a bar.  Made with oatmeal, Vitamin E and wheat germ oil, it is also paraben free and is PH balanced.  This soap is perfect for my daughter’s sensitive Eczema prone skin and for my own super delicate face.  I also like the Enfuselle Calming Complex that decreases the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while moisturizing skin with it’s hypoallergenic ingredients.  The 2 fluid oz. bottle sells for $56.05.  For more information about all of the Shaklee products and to order, visit 

A Pretty Polish That Raises Money for Diabetes Research

My friend Lisa told me about her gal pal who created two shimmery shades of nail polish to raise money to fight Diabetes.  California Mom Tonya Homme discovered that her own daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at only 23 months old, a shock to the family.  So Tonya decided to create two shades of nail polish that would symbolize the Diabetes fight and would also fund research for the disease.  Her website also serves to educate folks on exactly what Type 1 Diabetes means when it comes to the disease.  The Tips of Steel shade is a shimmery silver that honors the Diabetes awareness ribbon and the True Blue Hope color honors the blue Diabetes awareness circle.  The two-bottle set sells for $25 plus $4.95 for shipping and handling and $10 of the sale goes back to research.  I ordered the shades myself and I love them.  Plus when I wear my pretty blue and silver polish, I’m proud to know that my manicure is helping to make a difference.  For more information and to order visit

Simplify & Streamline Family Meals

After discovering my website, I was contacted by a cool meal planning service called  It is an online mealtime makeover and it works!  For only $1.25 a week, you get an online personal menu planner that provides a week’s worth of family-friendly recipes and a corresponding grocery shopping list that is nicely streamlined.  Plus you can select a local store like Wal-Mart or Kroger and the site will customize your shopping list to get you the best deals that can cut down your expensive grocery bill.  You can also select the any store option so that the list works for all grocery stores.  Last week my family enjoyed a menu that included a chicken and pasta dish, Swedish meatballs, chicken and rice tacos and more. 

I’m hooked and at only a $1.25 a week, this online helper is affordable, too!  Kudos to sisters and moms Jane DeLaney and Jenny Cochran for creating such a helpful tool for busy gals everywhere.  They are also both wives to pastors, which I think is cool!  Learn more and sign up at

Placemats That Teach Manners

Connecticut Mom Jill Ciporin started her career as a CNN journalist.  After becoming a mother, she devoted much of her time to raising her kids and then had a fun idea that she turned into a helpful product with the help of her mother.  Lovelymanners is a set of six colorful placemats that contain over 24 manners in each set.  The placemats are also green since they are made in the USA on 100% tree-free paper and they can be recycled.  Users (this is great for kids) learn a proper place setting plus tips on what good etiquette looks like at the dinner table.  Jill and her mom believe that nice manners makes for a civilized world and their fun website even includes a manners quiz.  Plus the duo was just awarded a YUPO Wally Award for best product design.  Congratulations ladies!  A set of six placemats sells for $29.95 at

A big thank you to all of my gal pals who told me about these unique and helpful ideas and products.  And remember to check my website at for more tips, recipes, beauty news, pet pics and more.