HANA Professional Flat Iron Review

Earlier this month, Misikko contacted me and asked if I would do a review for one of their flat irons.  They are a family-run business that has a variety of hair straighteners.  Need a hair dryer?  They have those too!  They even have Biosilk products, irons, and dryers.  I was all for it!  They sent me the HANA Professional Pink Flat Iron, their top rated flat iron.

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CSN Stores & BourgeaTEA Review

Back in January I hosted a giveaway for CSN Stores, and I’m sure you’ve seen a million other CSN giveaways in your Google Reader since then!  (I actually won two of them this month!) It was a great company to work with and so I was really excited when they contacted me again to either do a giveaway or review!  This time I switched it up and chose a review because I knew exactly what I wanted– a French press!  I had been borrowing Ryan’s to make tea and needed one of my own.  Even though I am not giving anything anyway, I hope you enjoy this post!  (Go enter my Origins giveaway if you want to win something.)

I chose the Bodum Chambord 12 Cup French Press, which is exactly like Ryan’s except his is 8 cups.  Per his recommendation, I did not look at any other brands!  Bodum does offer quite a different types and after researching them, I still stuck with the Chambord collection.

If you click over, it says that they are “coffeemakers,” but they are also for loose leaf tea!  I use them for the latter, but they are useful to make good coffee or tea!  Have you ever used a French press? I hadn’t until Ryan got one!

My transaction with CSN stores was very smooth with no problems!  (I had to pay a little extra because my $50 credit didn’t cover shipping.)  I quickly received the French press safe and sound and was excited to use it!  Of course, I needed some yummy tea to make and it turns out, I was in luck.

One of Ryan’s (many) jobs is working for BourgeaTEA as the “web master and media director.”  He just recently finished up the new website, where you can buy tea, read the blog, watch videos, etc.  Chris Bourgea, the guy behind the company, also goes to Anderson University and started this successful tea business a few years ago.  You have to read his awesome vision for BourgeaTEA….

“The vision of the company is to change the persona of tea from its stigma as a drink for older ladies in fluffy hats and young girls at tea parties to its splendor as an amazing, flavorful resource for all those who need something spectaculicious to drink. Throw yo’ pinkie up and let the TEA revolution begin!”

Anyway, Ryan was the first customer to order something off the new site, and Ryan let me use it first since he’s out of town.  :)  He ordered some Decaf Raspberry and mmmm, it smelled so good when I opened it!  I wish you could scratch and sniff the screen, but I don’t think it would work!

I don’t know if you can tell, but Chris puts a Bible verse in the tea leaf on the labels!  How neat!

If you’ve never used anything besides bagged tea, I would give the high quality, loose leaf tea a try!  Especially if you are a huge fan of tea like me… it is a little more work, but well worth it!

You just need a French press (apparently nothing other than the brand Bodum, I trust Ryan’s word) to make it and it’s really simple…

First, get some water boiling!  (With one of my CSN store gift certificates that I won, I am going to get an electric kettle to make this step even easier.)

Next, scoop some tea into your press. Honestly, I don’t know the exact measurement of tea to the amount of water, as I’ve just learned from watching Ryan.

See? It’s about that much.  Haha.  It covers the bottom of the container.  I never claimed to be a tea expert!

Then… once your water is ready, carefully pour it into your French press!  (I read a lot of reviews about their glass breaking, but Ryan and Chris have never had a problem with this.)  Also, depending on the type of tea (white, black, green), your water is supposed to be at different temperatures for perfection.

You can fill it almost to the top, but I didn’t need to make that much tea.

After you pour in the water, stir it so the leaves can expand in the container and steep at their full potential!  Don’t press it yet!

Make sure you set your timer for four minutes (for black tea) when you pour in your water.  Otherwise you may leave the room, forget about it, and realize what you did 45 minutes later.  Yes, I’ve done that before.  So absentminded of me!

When the timer goes off, you’re ready to press your tea leaves!  Slowly and gently push down the plunger until you reach the bottom.

Now all the leaves are separated from your tea and it’s ready!  The filter works really great and leaves no leaves behind.

You could pour it straight into a coffee mug if you like it hot… but when I want it iced, I pour it back into the pan I used for water and let it cool.  It’s just my method of doing things!

However, this time I did drink a cup of it hot and then later had some iced.  Either way, it was GOOD!  It was very fruity and sweet, and tasted just as yummy as it smelled.

A million thanks to CSN Stores for providing me with the French Press so I can enjoy bottomless glasses of tea!

Moral of the story: I would seriously recommend getting one for yourself and trying out some BourgeaTEA.

(Un)Game (CSN Stores giveaway)

If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you probably read that I was planning on hosting my first giveaway soon. There’s been a slight change of plans… for your benefit! The giveaway I was going to do first has now been moved to my second giveaway, because I was presented with a different giveaway opportunity! I was contacted by CSN Stores to host a giveaway or do a review, and I chose to a do a giveaway because I think it’s your turn to win something!

There are 200+ stores under csnstores.com, where you can do all of your online shopping in one place! If you’re looking for furniture, there are stores where you can find bar stools, coffee tables, and mattresses… just to name a few! Go to their website to find other stores under home decor, housewares, home improvement, outdoor living, baby and kids, school and office supply, shoes, bags, and luggage, pet, health and fitness, and international stores.

I personally choose an item for this giveaway just for you! You can imagine that it took a while to browse through all of the sites. There were so many things to choose from and I wanted to make sure it would be something that everyone would like.

I decided to go with a game… well, kind of. It’s actually called Ungame. I’ll explain!

Have you heard of it before? I had not until my bff Nour bought me this “game” two Christmases ago! So yes, I have the game and that’s why I decided it’d be a good item to give away to one of my lucky readers.

It’s a game that is entertaining and educational at the same time… and everyone wins! It comes with two sets of question cards, one set being more serious topics than the other. The game can serve as an ice breaker or a serious way of getting to know your friends and family better. No matter what, it’s a way to better skills like communication, listening, respect, understanding, and self-reflection.

Let me give you an example of two questions from my game…

Lighthearted Q:

Serious Q:

Also, it comes with a game board and pieces, which isn’t necessarily required to play the game. It can be a simple as taking turns asking questions with the cards. (The questions would also make great blog post ideas!)

There are different versions for teens, couples, Christians, families, etc… perhaps an idea for someone special on February 14th?

From personal experience, I think you will love this “game” and that’s why I choose it for my first giveaway! If you already have this game, enter to win and gift it.

**Here’s how to enter to win The Ungame Board Game courtesy of CSNstores.com**

Required: You must be a follower and/or subscriber to my blog.

Please leave a separate comment for each of these entries!!!

1st entry: Leave a comment telling me one of your favorite games.

2nd entry: Leave a comment answering one (or both) of those questions from the game that I posted.

3rd entry: Post about this giveaway on your blog with a link and comment with the link to your post.

4th entry: Follow me on twitter (@mdmerenghi) and tweet about this giveaway. Then come back here and comment with the link!

You have four chances to win and a week to enter. It will end at 11:59 PM next Friday, January 15th. On Saturday the 16th, I will choose a random winner.

Ready, set, enter!

Please note: This giveaway is only open to readers from the US and Canada… sorry for leaving anyone out!

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this giveaway.