Sunday, August 30, 2015

Great Oral Health Oral Probiotics Review


Disclosure: Product received at no charge in exchange for an honest review.

I've been taking regular probiotics for years and they help a lot with my digestive issues. This is the first time I've tried an oral probiotic for oral health and hygiene. I've been using the Great Oral Health Oral Probiotics for several weeks and they really seem to help with my dry mouth. They are easy to use. I just chew one before bedtime, after brushing my teeth. The theory behind them makes a lot of sense, increasing the "good bacteria" can counter the bad bacteria that causes bad breath. While it is always hard to verify how well supplement products work, I do feel I'm getting some benefit and have noticed my breath is not as bad in the morning. 

As far as the mint flavor, they're have more of a chalky taste with a hint of mint so I don't love them. However, they are tolerable. I'm a big probiotic proponent so I would love to continue using the oral probiotics regardless of the taste. 

Rating


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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Bang Long Anti-Fog Polarized UV400 Sports Sunglasses

Product received at no charge in exchange for an honest review.

It's hard to find a comfortable pair of sunglasses to wear cycling, hiking and running. I hate sunglasses that squeeze my head and give me a headache. As much as I prefer riding with my prescription sunglasses, I'm constantly scratching or breaking them so I really like using a less expensive pair for sports activities.

The Bang Long Anti-Fog Polarized Sunglasses
are perfect for sports activities. At less than twenty dollars, I don't have to feel bad if I fall and ruin them. I like how they wrap around my eyes to keep bugs from getting trapped. Also, the gray lens darkens just enough on sunny days. The polarized lens keeps the glare off the glasses.  I love that they are lightweight  and don't squeeze my head.

One thing I don't like is the design of the nosepiece. While it is super comfortable, it takes a little getting use to looking down as it seems to stick out a bit in the field of vision. Also, I wish the lenses were a little thicker and better quality but for the price point, I really don't expect that. The lenses are crisp and clear so that is more important for sports activities anyway.

Overall, the Bang Long sunglasses are awesome for my outdoor activities.

Rating: ★★★★☆


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Beets Blu PagerTag Review

Product received at no charge in exchange for honest review

I'm constantly misplacing my keys and spend a lot of time looking for them. The Beets Blu PagerTag is awesome for those times when I misplace my keys in my house. All it takes is downloading a free app on my smart phone and pushing a paging icon that will send out a beep. Also, the pager tag is lightweight and doesn't take a lot of space on my keyring.It would be handy to keep one in a purse or wallet as well. The app has an option of turning on a geo locator which shows the last place the tag was left. A great way to locate the tag in case it is out of range. 



The Pager Tag app also has an option to turn on an alert when the tag is out of range. While this is a good idea when leaving the house, it drove me crazy while inside the house. I was constantly getting alerts on my phone and had to turn it off. The nice thing is that I can still use the pager with the alert turned off.



The app drained my phone batter fairly quickly so I suggest closing the app after use.


The PaperTag is definitely a smart gadget and has helped me save time on several occasions when I can't remember where I left my keys. That alone is worth a 5 star review.

Rating: ★★★★★

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Beets Blu Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor Review

Product received at no charge to facilitate review

I've tried several different heart rate monitors and they end up in the unused pile more often than not. Mostly, it's because of the hassle of having a strap that works only with the device it comes with. I already wear a GPS watch while I run and I don't want to wear an additional wrist device to keep track of my heart rate.

The Beets Blu heart rate monitor works with any bluetooth enabled device. I like the fact that I only need the heart rate strap and I can sync it to my smartphone. Whenever I ride my road bike, I use the Map My Ride app to keep track of my ride. This app syncs with Beets Blu heart rate monitor which means I don't have to take an extra device. However, Beets Blu app works better with the monitor as it keeps a constant display of my heart rate. The one drawback to using the smartphone apps with this device is it drains my battery quicker.

The sensors on the back of the strap are large which makes it nice for sensing heart rate. However, they must stay moist to get a good reading. Not a problem for me. I wet them with water a bit before exercising and I sweat a lot during my workout so I keep a constant reading. Gel may work better for those who don't sweat much.
I love that the Beet Blu heart rate monitor works with my treadmill. No extra devices needed to get my heart rate. It also works with the Polar enabled machines at my gym. The Bluetooth enabled strap is definitely the way to go.

Rating ★★★★☆

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Where Will You Next Adventure Take You? HALFPOPS Review

Product received at no charge in exchange for an honest review.
Admit it. You've done it. I have too.
You know, picked out the half popped kernels from the bottom of the popcorn bag or bowl.
I have some exciting news. Now you don't have to pick them out. Instead, you can pick out a whole back of half popped popcorn kernels. Better yet, they even come seasoned in four different flavors. So besides the nutty flavor without the nuts, HALFPOPS additional flavors to enhance the experience. HALFPOPS are gluten-free, nut-free have no corn syrup, artificial flavors, hydrogenated oils or preservatives. What they aren't is low calorie so I have to be careful while I'm trying to lose weight not to eat the whole two serving bag. It would be so easy to do since they taste so good.
I got a chance to taste all four flavors.

Butter & Pure Ocean Sea Salt 
Call me boring but I love the plain sea salt flavor of HALFPOPS the best. It's just like finding the kernels from the bottom of the popcorn bowl where I originally learned to love them. I love the crunch I get when eating these and the touch of salt to help with salt replacement on a sweaty hike.

      Caramel & Sea Salt
The caramel and sea salt come together for a sweet treat. This flavor satisfied my sweet tooth without being too sweet.

Aged White Cheddar
While not my favorite flavor, the aged white cheddar is still good. 

Chipotle Barbeque
I'm not a fan of barbecue flavor anything so I have to preface by saying I'm not the best one to give this flavor a review. This was the only flavor I didn't like but to be fair, I let my teenage son try these and he thought they were "pretty good." 

I listed the flavors in order of my favorite to my least favorite but there was only one flavor I didn't care for and I'm excited to see these on the shelf.



HALFPOPS are light weight making them a perfect snack for hiking or traveling. I like keeping snacks in my hiking backpack that are easy to carry and will stay fresh so I don't have to repack for every hike.





Get ready for one more summer adventure giveaway and enter to win this fabulous outdoor adventure package from HALFPOPS.
Enter HERE



I've already picked out my adventure.





Friday, August 21, 2015

Eddie's Tent and How to go Camping Picture Book Giveaway


In conjunction with my literacy blog, Boys to Books, I am giving away a fun outdoor picture book, Eddie's Tent and How to go Camping by Sarah Garland. For those who want to introduce their children to fun of camping and the outdoors, you won't want to miss this giveaway.
Be sure to check out the review HERE 

Giveaway Details

Please use the Rafflecopter form to enter. By entering, you acknowledge you have read the terms on the form. Winner will receive my hardback review copy of Eddie's Tent and How to go Camping. Giveaway ends 08/30/2015 at 11:59 EST

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Hiking in Utah: Lake Blanche in Big Cottonwood Canyon

Lake Blanche
Big Cottonwood Canyon boasts many popular hiking trails. Among them, Lake Blanche, offers a vigorous day hike with stunning scenery. The proximity to the city means there will always be somebody else on the trail, even in the middle of the week.


The hike begins at the Mill B parking lot in at the bottom of what the locals call the S-curve. The lot gets full early on the weekends and there is some parking on the road. 
Begin the hike at the paved trail by the restroom.

About 1/4 mile up the paved trail and to the right is a big boulder and sign that marks the Lake Blanch trailhead. The initial approach is rock and steep. The trail continues with a steady climb with intermittent rocky areas.

No navigational tools required as the trail is well marked and worn. From the trailhead, it's 2.7 miles to the lake for a total of 3 miles each way. Allow 2.5 hours to get to the top. I did it in just under 2 hours but it is a steady climb with little to no flat areas. Also, pack water, at least 2 liters. It's a workout to get to the top. While a beginner hiker might do okay with plenty of stops, it's better suited for an intermediate hiker.


Enjoy the stunning scenery along the way. Enjoy the shade from the pine trees on the lower part of the trail. A nice grove of Aspens await at the upper part of the trail. I've often seen moose in this area so keep a lookout and don't get too close.
A good pair of hiking boots will give your ankle support on the rocky areas. I have worn regular running shoes and hiking shoes depending on how fast I want to go. What I would really love is a good pair of trail running shoes. I enjoy running down parts of the trail and hiking boots are too heavy for running.


Once arriving at the top, there are two smaller lakes about 1/4 mile to the west. Be sure to follow the trails to get there.


There are plenty of rocks around the lake to sit and enjoy a snack or lunch. Allow 1.5-2 hours to get down.

Getting there:
 Take 1-15 to the I-215 East. Exit at 6200 So. Turn left and follow the road which turns into Wasatch Blvd. Turn left at Big Cottonwood Canyon road. Mill B parking lot will be on the right before navigating the S-turn.

Not a sponsored post though post contains affiliate links.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Evolution Fresh by Dannon Greek Yogurt Review

FTC Disclosure: I received the product free from BzzAgent.com in exchange for an honest review. 
















I usually eat vanilla or honey flavored Greek yogurt for breakfast. I like those flavors because they mix well with my granola. I rarely buy the fruit flavored yogurt so I was excited to try the Evolution Fresh by Dannon.



I tried the blueberry and the raspberry blackberry flavors. Though I thought both flavors were too sweet to add granola to them, I was pleasantly surprised with both flavors. The fruit on the bottom is a nice addition. I really liked the chunks of real blueberry. Also, it adds enough sweetness that it helps with the strong flavor of Greek yogurt.

One of the things I like about the Dannon Fresh Evolution is that it is really filling. A whole container is perfect for breakfast before heading out for a workout. Also, with 12g of protein, it stays with me during my workout. When I'm in a rush, I can eat it on the way to the gym. While I would definitely purchase these again, I wouldn't eat them everyday as I still like having granola with my yogurt and I don't like it mixed in with the fruit.
All in all, the yogurt is a good product I would have no problem recommending to my readers.


Rating: ★★★★☆

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Apexel 3-in-1 Lens For Smartphones

FTC Disclosure: Product received at no charge in exchange for an honest review. Views are 100% my own.

With all of the beautiful hikes I go on, I've always wanted to try smartphone lenses. While I have a higher end camera, I rarely bring it hiking but I always have my smartphone in case of an emergency. 

I have an iPhone 5c. While the camera app works well, it doesn't take as high quality photos as some of the other smartphones. The Apexel 3-in-1 Lens fits well on my phone. The lenses help take better close ups and the wide angle lens work well, I don't think using them offers a huge improvement. The lenses work best on a the flat surface of the phone, but I didn't want to take off my phone cover outdoors. All of the lenses clipped well over my case and still worked fine.

Shot with wide angle lens
The wide angle lens is the most consistent with my photos turning out crisp and clear. I took four photos on a day hike with the lens and three turned out well. 


Shot with fish eye lens
My least favorite, the fish eye lens, does what it's supposed to do with taking rounded photos instead of flat. However, this lens ended up being the least consistent with only a few of several photos turning out.


Photo with macro lens

The biggest surprise, the macro lens, did a pretty amazing job with a friend's ring. I'm still shocked at the detail and am excited to know that I could use my cell phone to take photos of small items I might want to post for sale on the internet. Though it did take me several tries to get a good shot with the macro lens. Out of all the three lenses, this has the longest learning curve but has potential to yield awesome results.




A couple of things I really liked about the lenses is the price and  the carry case. While there are more higher end smartphone lenses on the market that cost more, for less than twenty dollars, I have three lenses the work well enough to make it worth carrying with me. Also, the case is sturdy. I had it at the bottom of my hiking pack and had no problems with my other items smashing the case. One thing I want to point out is that the macro lens and wide angle come together. You must unscrew the wide angle lens to get to the macro lens. That's why there are only two lenses pictured in the case above.

Rating: ★★★★☆

This item can be purchased through Amazon.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

#SpartanFive Armband Review


Disclosure: Product received at no charge to facilitate my review.

Get ready to roll and get those cycling apps ready.
I use the Spartan Five Armband or biking more than I do for running. What I liked most about it is that it kept my iPhone dry in a rain storm and I did get caught in a storm the first time I used it.
The neoprene sleeve fits tight around the iPhone without fear that it will fall out and also has a waterproof window that really is waterproof. Because it is neoprene, I found that it feels sweaty underneath. I like to use it on top of my sleeve on my cycling jersey.



The adjustable band means I can fit it as snug as I need to and wear it on top of my exercise clothes or on my bare arm. It even works well over a sweatshirt or jacket. It stays in place well. I have never had it "jiggle" down my arm like some of the other armbands I've used. I have used it for running too and it seems to work well. I like that it comes with earbuds. I'm always losing mine or breaking them. I have only used the earbuds running and I like them. While I haven't had it long enough to comment on the durability, I do wonder how long the Velcro strip will last as it is only secured on the ends with stitching but not in the middle. 

While my photo doesn't show my iPhone 5 through the window, the see through vinyl protects my phone well and I can touch the screen through it to start my cycling app.  If you like the snug fit of neoprene, this is a good armband.

Product received at no charge to facilitate review. My opinions are based upon actual experience.