Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash Makes Your Shower a Spa + Giveaway

* The Dial brand provided me with a sample of Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash in exchange for a product review.  However, all opinions expressed here are my own.

Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash

One of the best ways that I can relax after a long, hard, stressful day at work is to step into a steaming hot shower.  So I’m a huge fan of any product that’s going to enhance that experience, so I was very excited to try out the new Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash, which is infused with Marula Oil.  Marula oil originates from South Africa, where it has been used as a cleanser and a moisturizing lotion.  And if you’ve been paying attention, oils are a HUGE trend in hair care and cosmetics right now, so Dial is right on trend.  This should give you a clue as to how awesome Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash is.

Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash

As you can see, the Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash comes out rich and thick.  It is formulated with Micro Oil Technology, which leads to a thick lather that rinses clean.  It definitely leaves my skin feeling clean, extremely soft, and smooth.  It also smells great- a little citrus and sandalwoody to me, but definitely not too perfumed or overwhelming in any way.  It left my skin feeling soft and smelling great.  The light scent and the way that it makes my skin smooth mmakes Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash is a great way to end a stressful day.

Three lucky Mama Games readers are going to get a chance to try Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash for themselves!   Enter below to win a coupon for a free bottle!

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Chem-Dry Makes Spring Cleaning Your Carpets a (Healthy) Breeze

* I received a free sample of Chem-Dry Cleaning Products in exchange for my honest review, but all opinions are my own.




Do you have mess makers in your home?  We sure do – between my two kids, two dogs, and a ferret, our carpets, frankly, don’t stand a chance.  I try to use organic products when possible, but sometimes a mess gets  made (usually by one of the dogs) that needs some awesome cleaning power.  However, everyone in my house is an allergy sufferer, and my youngest daughter has pretty severe asthma – she is on two inhalers and asthma medication every day.  So it’s really important to me to have a healthy home that isn’t going to irritate my daughter’s (and the rest of the household) allergies.

I had a chance to try out three different Chem-Dry cleaning products:  Carpet Stain Extinguisher Spot Remover, Grease & Oil Stain Extinguisher & Carpet Deodorizer (Lemon Scent).


Unfortunately, I had an opportunity to do some extensive testing of the Chem-Dry Carpet Stain Extinguisher Spot Remover.  My oldest dog got an upset belly while we were at work at left several “presents” on the living room run (although this really isn’t like her).  This was a DISGUSTING stain.  The Spot Remover was so easy to use, and it worked AMAZINGLY well.  I just sprayed it on and let it sit for about 30 seconds, and then blotted the stain up with a clean cloth.  Stain GONE – no kidding – one application and the stain was out.  Not only does it have professional strength carbonated cleaning solution, it is green-certified and contains no harsh solvents, detergent, and bleaches, so it’s safe for both my girls and my pets.  Also, it doesn’t leave behind any dirt-attracting residue like other spot cleaners.  I’m a HUGE new fan.  I followed up with the Chem-Dry Carpet Deodorizer that left the whole room with a light citrus scent.  So if you’re looking to add a great carpet cleaner to your spring cleaning arsenal, I highly recommend Chem-Dry!

As you start Spring Cleaning this year, you have a chance to make it a whole lot sweeter!  Make sure to stop by and enter Chem-Dry’s spring cleaning contest with a grand prize of $500 in cleaning products.

What is your LEAST favorite part of spring cleaning?


An Instant Read Thermometer Makes Meat Safer

* Disclaimer:  I received a sample product in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.



Do you use instant read thermometers when you cook? If you are like many cooks,  you probably don’t.  One study showed that only 46% of people who responded to a survey said that they never use a thermometer for chicken, and 66% never use one when cooking hamburgers.  Using a digital thermometer when cooking is super important.  Food can come to you contaminated with all sorts of icky organisms like salmondella, E. coli, or listeria. And if you don’t properly cook your food to the right temperature, these pathogens can make you and your family sick.

You may wonder what temperature is safe to cook your food – the instant read digital thermometer that I had a chance to try came with a handy chart for reference for all types of meat, which was one of my favorite features.



Safe temperatures vary by what meat you are eating – for example, chicken should be cooked to 165 degrees, and hamburgers should be cooked until at least 160 degrees.  The instant digital thermometer that I tried out was super easy to use – it goes into the thickest cuts of meats and provides an extremely quick read.  I used it to test some chicken sausages that I was cooking for my girls’ lunch.


As you can see, the numbers are really easy to read.  One thing I really love about this instant read thermometer is that the buttons don’t have cracks around them – so food can’t creep into the crevices.  It is so hard to clean when this happens.  Speaking of cleaning, this thermometer is super easy to wipe down and sanitize, which is a huge plus.

So if you’re looking to add an instant read food thermometer to your kitchen supplies, I highly recommend the one that I tried out!

Buy an Instant Read Thermometer

Buy an Instant Read Thermometer on Amazon for only $19.99

Healthier Living Update {Week One}

Healthier Living Update

Photo from www.livestronglivelean.com


So I’ve been at this for a week.  Eating healthier.  Exercising.  Trying to make positive changes in my habits for my health.  So here’s my first healthier living update!

Healthier Living Update- Nutrition

As I mentioned when I started over, I knew that food was going to be my challenge, because I love to eat.  I tried to make better choices the first day, and what I found was that beverages were KILLING me.  Even fruit juice has wayyyy too many calories to squeeze in to the 1400 calorie per day diet that My Fitness Pal put me on to lose 2 pounds per week.  And the sugary coffee drinks!  Forget it!!! Even cutting back from my usual cappuchinos to coffee with cream and sugar was not getting it done.  So my “bad habit” that I have been attacking this week is BAD BEVERAGES.  No juices.  No sugary coffee drinks.  And the hardest one = NO Soda.  I haven’t even had diet soda since the second day I started.  That makes 6 days with no Diet Coke.  I even made it through the weekend when my fiance brought a bottle of Dr. Pepper into the house, which is basically like crack for me.  My body is truly addicted to sugar, and I am trying hard to break that addiction.  So I started with black coffee, with a little Splenda, and a little skim milk, and I am down to just black coffee with a splash of skim milk.  And I’ve been drinking a TON of SPARKLING water, which is basically a God send.  No calories, no artificial sweetners, a little flavor, and bubbles!  This is working for me, because I do NOT like water except when I’m exercising.

So here’s a look at my My Fitness Pal Net Calories consumed for the last week:

April 22 Calories

As you can see, I went over a couple days, but overall met my goal!

Healthy Living Update – Exercise


I’ve done a wide range of exercise this first week, from my first Zumba class, to swimming, to gardening, walking on the treadmill, and taking a family walk.  I’ve tried to keep active on most days.  I think I’ve done pretty good for the first week, but the exercise has been brutal!  I’m so out of shape and get winded easier, but I know, as the quote above says, that one day what I’m doing now will be easy peasy.   Here’s a snapshot of how many calories I burned each day.

April 22 Exercise

Drumroll, please…….

So what are the results from the first week?  I’m very happy to tell you that this week, I have lost:

5.5 pounds!

Woohoo!  I’m very, very happy with that.  I know that level of loss won’t continue but it’s nice to get an awesome head start.  See you next week for another update!








My First Zumba Class {Healthier Life Day 2}


So I went to the gym last night, at 8 pm after work.  Are we proud?  Yes we are….8:00 p.m would usually see me snoring on the couch.  I tried my first Zumba class ever.

Holy crap.

First of all, I was terrified to try it.  I was certain that the class would be full of perfectly coiffed, well-coordinated skinny girls with adorable workout clothes who would want to throw yoga blocks at dumpy, fat me with no coordination and ratty gym clothes (I need to shop.).

Not the case.  There were ALL shapes and sizes in my class. There were perfectly coiffed skinny girls, right up front.  One even had a flower in her hair.  Some of them looked like they could teach the class.  There were other skinny girls too who looked as lost as I did with the choreography.  I’m hoping that it was their first Zumba class too.  If not, I will probably look pretty goofy for a while.  But there were also ladies who were my size.  Some who were bigger.  Some who were well coordinated, and some who weren’t.

So the choreography.  Yeah, umm, it’s kind of hard.  I know a couple of salsa moves but there were plenty of moments where I was completely lost.  I tried to focus on the footwork more than the arms, and there were areas I did better, like moves that had more of a hip-hop action to it.  Did anyone laugh at me?  Nope, everyone seemed too busy worrying about themselves looking silly.  I was far from perfect, but my butt was moving the entire time. When I finished my first Zumba class, I was pretty sure I was dead.  I had downed a bottle and a half of water, and my lower legs literally BURNED.  I couldn’t do the whole class – I only did 45 minutes of the hour class, but I’m pretty proud for my first time.

I’m thinking about picking up a Zumba game for the Wii or checking out the Kinect (we don’t have an Xbox 360 – what a perfect excuse to get one!).  Any of you out there have any suggestions, or experiences that helped you through a few of your first Zumba classes?


Starting Over {Healthier Life Day 1}


So this weekend was my oldest daughter’s 13th birthday.  I’m not taking it well.  I insisted that she promise that I can call her once a day when she’s in college.  My fiance thinks this is neurotic, but it was only yesterday she was toddling.  I swear.  Yesterday.  Time goes so fast, and I know before long I’ll be obsessively worry that she’s having unprotected drunken sex in some disgusting fraternity house.  I think about these things, people.  I worry about worrying!  It’s true.  I admit it.  It’s a sickness.

So anyway, at my daughter’s 13th’s birthday party, we played laser tag.  It was so freakin’ fun!  Never played laser tag before and absolutely loved it.  Oh yeah, until I practically dropped dead of a heart attack halfway through and had to stop running.

Felt like a total loser.  So I spent the last five days thinking about all the excuses I have made that have prevented me from losing the 100+ pounds I need to lose.  The failed diet fads.  Not as a self-loathing type activity, but a “What Have I Learned” type activity.

So What Have I Learned?

1.  Anything gimmicky or expensive doesn’t work for me.  Diet shakes, diet plans, diet programs, whatever.  I can’t handle the yo-yo that these short term solutions bring.  This is going to have to be a lifestyle change.  Meaning I cannot eat a shake for breakfast.  Because I like eggs.  Sometimes I like eggs with hollandaise sauce.  That is not going to change.  I have to work within those parameters.

2.  I have to write down every piece of food that goes into my mouth.  At least for now.  Because I forget how many calories are in things like 8 oz of orange juice.  Which I have been drinking every morning.  Not that there’s anything wrong with orange juice – but I have to keep better tabs on the number and quantity of things I put in my body.

3.  I can’t lose without exercise.  I have proved this to myself over and over.  It’s simply insanity that I haven’t learned the lesson yet.

So What Am I Going to Do?

This is my plan.  I have a really expensive gym membership that I haven’t been using.  On weeks when I don’t have my girls, I’m going to use the hell out of it.  At least once a day.  Maybe 2.  My plan is to attend as many CLASSES as I can.  I know I work harder and longer when someone is pushing my ass to do it.  I managed to get to law school classes when I was sick, tired, had my period, pissed off, stressed out, etc.  I can make these classes.  I need to make these classes.  For my body.  For my mind. For my health.  For weeks when I do have the girls and I want to rush home as quickly as possible, I’m going to try and work physical activity into our time together.  Whether it’s going for a walk or a bike ride or playing Wii, I want to do something with them.

I’m going to reward myself for success (more on this later) and forgive myself for the mistakes I know I will make.  But I will NOT stop.  Each meal – each hour I choose to exercise (or not exercise) is a new change to live a healthier life.

Acknowledging the Challenges Lurking in the Corner

Part of my thinking was about my weakness.  Where I will fall down.  Where the bumps will be.  How I can fix the bumps.  Here are my thoughts.

1.  Energy.  I’m feckin’ tired.  I’m working anywhere between 40-60 hours per week as an in-house corporate attorney.  With my schedule and hour long commute each way, going to gym will mean getting up at 4 or working out until 7 or 8.

  •  How I’m hoping to cope:  I’m hoping that after pushing through the initial few weeks my body will adjust and I’ll have more energy.  I’m also hoping that  kicking my own ass will help me sleep better so the sleep I do get is more restful.  This will be the hardest thing for me.

2.  Dessert.  I really, really like dessert.  I would make out with dessert.  I would marry dessert (sorry, honey).  And my body is not tricked into thinking that fruit and yogurt is the same damn thing as creme brulee.  It knows better, and it does not want fruit and yogurt.  It wants creme brulee.

  • How I’m hoping to cope:  I really, really like dessert.  I can’t give it up entirely.  This will end in me eating an entire box of oreos.  I know this.  So as a semi-foodie, this is what I have decided.  I will save myself, like a dessert virgin, for only the highest quality of dessert.  Like the Almond Lace Cookie Cup from Hutch’s in Buffalo.  Dessert that makes me want to stab someone with a steak knife if they move in for a bite.  I’m hoping that the thought of eating high quality dessert guilt-free will help me turn down Frosty Treat sundaes, which, although tasty in the moment, are simply not worth it.

3.  Stress.  I have a stressful life (see number 1).  I have a stressful job.  Scientifically found to be one of the most stressful – lawyers have the highest rate of suicide, highest rate of depression, and almost 20% of us are addicted to drugs or alcohol.  I am addicted to food.  Stress makes me want to sleep.  Restless, angry sleep where I argue with people, even in my dreams.  But sleep nonetheless.  Possibly fueled by a sugar induced coma.  I get upset stomachs and migraines.  In MY SLEEP.  Stress is an issue for me, and I know stress will only hurt my quest to lead a healthier life and lose weight in the process.

  • How I’m hoping to cope:  I found a really great yoga studio near my job.  I’m going there to check it out today (and get a massage, because they do that too).  They have Saturday morning meditation, and yoga, and preteen yoga.  See above regarding involving my kids.  It’s expensive, but I’m thinking of trying it if the stress levels don’t get better with exercising at the gym.

So How Am I Starting?

One choice at a time.  With What I Have.  With What I Can Do.  Today.



Yup.  That’s a salad.  That was my lunch.  Ate it with fat free raspberry vinagrette.  Notice the lack of cheese and croutons?  Sort of hard choice.  I really like cheese.  Almost as much as dessert.  We won’t discuss desserts with cheese.  It was good.  I don’t feel deprived.  I feel proud of my choice.  There will be those who laugh at me for being proud of my salad.  That’s okay too.  I’m sure there will people who laugh (hopefully on the inside, but maybe on the outside) when I step into my FIRST EVER Zumba class today.  If they laugh, that’s okay too.  I will still keep going.  Because it’s about me.  Not them.

I also activated a MyFitnessPal account.  Free!  Woohoo!  Love free food tracking!

And for that I am proud.


Am I Becoming A Morning Person? #NaBloPoMo

becoming a morning person


I am sooo not a morning person.  I think.  Most of my life, I have been a night owl.  Given my way, I would prefer to roll out of bed about 10 am and work into the wee hours of the morning.  Peak productivity time would be between 11 pm and 1 am.   But heaven help us all if I did not get 8 hours of sleep – I tended to be so much less productive, not to mention excessively grouchy if I didn’t.  But I’m wondering now if I am in fact becoming a morning person.

As I’m moving into being a solid 30-something, I find my patterns changing.  I’m not sure if it’s the current schedule that I’m on (having to wake up at 6 to get the kids ready and go to work), or that I seem to be working ALL the time that I’ve reverted to a completely different schedule.  Even on the weekends, I’m up by 8 at the latest, and by midnight you’re bound to find me snoring on the couch. (Yes, I’m terrible about sleeping on my couch – my boyfriend moves in in four days so I’m hoping that my back will get a much needed respite in an actual bed).

According to The Sleep Foundation, this transition may be less about the schedule I’m on and more about basic biology.  According to their report, teenagers and young adults tend to have a circadian rhythms that are geared towards being up late at night.  Which totally explains why my 11 year old was bright eyed and bushy tailed on New Year’s Eve, whereas her little sister and I were passed out by 10.  It also explains why she’s a total monster before 10 am.  As we age, we can expect the amount of sleep we need to go down, but according to the Sleep Foundation, every individual is different.  The average amount of sleep needs for adults is betweeen 7-9 hours, as compared to my six year old, who needs 10-11 hours of sleep to be at peak performance.  I would say this is about right for me – I feel like a rock star with 8 hours of sleep, but I can get by on 6.  Getting only 5 hours of sleep puts me in a state where I should not really be around people and I should definitely not be practicing law.  This is fairly well established in science – lack of sleep leads to a host of psychological and physical difficulties…so rest up everyone!


At what time of day do you feel the most energetic and productive? Are you becoming a morning person too?






Weight Discrimination: Why It’s Not OK to Call Me a Fat Girl


weight discrimination

Image courtesy of  News 10

This is a bit of a controversial post for me.  I don’t usually put my political or somewhat contentious opinions in writing, but I felt so strongly about this story,  I just can’t help myself.  Weight discrimination has not yet become a huge political or legal issue, but it is certainly an important social one.

 If you haven’t seen the above image yet, head over to News 10 to watch their coverage.  For those of you who haven’t heard, three young women dining at Chilly D’s Sports Lounge (part of the Cameo Club Casino) in Stockton, California, got more than they expected when they received their receipt from dinner on December 6.

At the top of the receipt, a restaurant staff member had labeled the table as “Fat Girls”.   When speaking with the manager (who was, reportedly, trying not to laugh), the girls were offered a 25% discount, then a 50% discount, and finally, got their meal comped.

Ensue media frenzy.

The good news is is that Maggie Lewis, one of the owners of the casino says that “joking/insulting” customers is intolerable.  I’m pretty sure these girls didn’t think it was very funny.

This is such a sad situation for many reasons.  What struck me as even sadder that what happened was some of the comments people wrote on new articles covering the story, defending the actions of the restaurant.  Some of my favorites include commentary that the manager should have offered them a gym membership instead, that they should stop eating so much, that overweight people should stop eating and sitting on the couch, etc., etc.  One gem of a comment stated that the author would have written “STOP EATING FAT GIRLS” at the top of the receipt.  Others advocating calling the girls ugly instead.  Another said that the young ladies were disabled because they had “fork to mouth disease.”

First of all, let me say that I understand working in a bar. I’ve spent my time as a hostess, a waitress, and slinging drinks myself.  It is not uncommon for a bartender to label a table with a running tab with identifying information, like “Rangers jerseys” or ” bachelorette party” or whatever else can identify the party.

And yes, I am certainly overweight.   Not to the point of obesity, but I need to lose some pounds.  So maybe a I am programmed to be sympathetic to these young ladies.

That being, said, there is no excuse for this type of behavior.  Imagine if this was written at the top of YOUR receipt:

“Dumb blondes”

“Woman w/ brats”


“Bald guy”

“Gay guys”

“Nice racks”

We won’t even go into the number of racial slurs you could use, and the number of ill conceived monikers for handicapped individuals. Respectful?  Ethical?  Kind?    I think not.

Yet, there are people out there to think that it’s okay to put down “fat” people, because clearly, it is all in the hands of the overweight person to solve that problem.  Forget that there are a HOST of medical problems that can make losing weight difficult, impossible, or down right dangerous.   For myself, I have a hormonal condition that makes loosing weight difficult, although not impossible.  I dropped forty pounds over the course of 8 months when the condition was treated with birth control pills.  Unfortunately, I had to go off of those because of a heart defect.  But of course, I’m sure there are plenty out there who would just accuse me of having “fork to mouth disease”.   Now, I can consistently lose weight if I maintain a 1,000 calorie diet and workout about an hour a day.  That doesn’t always fit into my life, so yes, I am overweight.

My point – So what?   Being overweight does not take away my humanity or my right to be respected and treated equally.   It doesn’t make me a good person, or a bad person.  Judging someone and treating them badly for being overweight is equally as wrong as treating someone differently for being black, gay, or in a wheelchair.   And in some places, it is illegal.  In Michigan, it is illegal to discriminate in employment based on someone’s weight, and San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Santa Cruz, California, weight discrimination is also illegal.

So to all involved, and to all who post nasty comments – these are real women, with real feelings.   Shame on you.  Prejudice and bigotry is just that, no matter what form they come in.  No one is asking you to find overweight people attractive, date them, screw them, marry them, or otherwise associate with them in any way.  But it should be too hard to follow the rule that even my 6 year old has a firm grasp on – if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

I had someone that I cared about call me fat many times over the course of the years – to hurt, I think, and to lower my self-esteem.  But I say to that waiter, and to all the people who had nasty things to say about these girls the same thing I said to him – “I can lose weight, and you’ll still be a jerk.”

End rant.  Happy Monday, everyone :-)