Thursday, April 17, 2014

Brancott Estate Flight Song Wines are Crafted to be Full of Taste but Lighter in Calories {Review}

Brancott Estate Flight Song logo
I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Brancott Estate Wines. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Now that the weather is finally, finally starting to truly resemble spring (knock on wood that I don't see snow again until next Christmas), I think we can all agree that this is a much-loved time of year. The extra hours of sunlight that give the evening a warm glow, the flowers blooming left and right, and the feeling of warmth when the sun shines down are all things that bring joy to our lives.

Which means it is time to celebrate! Whether enjoying an evening drink with friends or planning an impromptu date night, a delicious bottle of wine can be the perfect accompaniment to complete the night and allow us to really sit back and enjoy this delightful time of year with those around us.

Therefore, it couldn't have been better timing for Brancott Estate, the original Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, to launch their new contemporary premium wine range, the Brancott Estate Flight Song collection.

Brancott Estate Flight Song wines

Brancott Estate was the first to plant the Sauvignon Blanc grape in the then Marlborough Region of New Zealand. And now, from their picturesque vineyards, Brancott Estate Wines has recently introduced its new variety of vintages, Flight Song.

Harvested earlier than other wines (the grapes are picked early, when sugar levels are naturally lower), this process results in a full-flavored and complex wine that is naturally 20% lighter in calories than a typical wine of the same varietal. The result is a light, crisp and refreshing wine that retains the freshness and ripe flavors that are synonymous with Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc but without the guilt!

Although I'm far from being a wine expert, I knew that the new Brancott Estate Flight Song Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and Brancott Estate Flight Song Marlborough Pinot Grigio would be just the thing to bring to my monthly Moms Bunko Night gathering.

Brancott Estate Flight Song wines review

I pulled out both bottles of Brancott Estate Flight Song wines when I arrived and, as expected, received quite a few interested questions about this new expression of wines. How could Brancott Estate naturally craft these new Flight Song wines to be full of flavor but also lighter in calories... and have them taste any good?

Knowing that there was a wide range of wine palates to give these wines a thorough critique, I opened the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and Marlborough Pinot Grigio and began to pour.

Brancott Estates wine

Tasting the Sauvignon Blanc first, I noticed the pale green color and the underlying pink grapefruit flavoring. While I don't have sophisticated enough taste buds to pull out the passionfruit notes and ripe lemon acidity, I did find that I definitely enjoyed every last sip.

At the same time, the Pinot Grigio was pale straw in color and incorporated floral notes in with nashi pear and sweet lemon. This wine is rounded out with white peach and guava to give it a ripe, citrus-like acidity that I found just as cool and refreshing as the Sauvignon Blanc.

While both wines were easily enjoyed on their own, I could see them accompanied with anything from a green salad to seafood, chicken or pork. All in all, my entire group of testers agreed that Brancott Estate Flight Song wines are light, crisp, fresh and perfect for any occasion!

Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc
Both wines received votes for "favorite," but the Sauvignon Blanc won the poll!

When it comes to finding a wine that is lighter in calories but doesn't compromise on the taste and flavor complexity, the Brancott Estate Flight Song range provide the deliciousness and aromatics that consumers expect from a high quality Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio... while still being 20% lighter in calories!

Both the premium Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and Marlborough Pinot Grigio will each retail at $14.99 and are rolling out through the United States nationwide this spring. Find out more about the Brancott Estate Wines Flight Song wines on their website as well as connecting with Brancott Estate Wines on Facebook and Twitter.

Apparoo App of the Week: Tic Toc Time

After two weeks of great app introductions, it's time to see what Apparoo, the app discovery service for busy moms, has found for this week!

Apparoo logo

This week Apparoo has found a great deal on an award-winning app that teaches kids to tell time!

App: Tic Toc Time

Tic Toc Time app

Description: From a kid's perspective, time is a bizarre concept: there are 60 seconds and 60 minutes, but 12 hours... unless there are 24! And phrases like 'a quarter til' and 'half past' that we take for granted just seem to make their brains melt.

Tic Toc Time takes a holistic approach to teaching time; a family of beavers leads a progression of fun games that first explain using a compass and the movement of the sun and shadows before logically arriving at both digital and analog time-telling. A good time is guaranteed for all!

Tic Toc Screenshots

Regular price: $3.99

Apparoo price today and tomorrow: 99¢!

Download it here on iTunes and let me know what you think of this fun and educational app!

This post is part of a sponsored weekly partnership with Apparoo, but all thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Create a Toy-tastic Easter Basket with VTech Games and Toys {Prize Pack Giveaway!}

VTech logo
Although it seemed to take Mother Nature a little while to catch up, signs of spring have been in the stores for quite a while now. Whereas retailers used to have stock in snow shovels and triple-warm gloves, shelves are now filled with flower and vegetable seeds and pastel plastic eggs by the dozen.

But while selecting which kind of tomato to grow in our yard is a task that fills me with hope, looking at aisle after aisle of Easter candy does not. Do my kids need yet another basket of candy and chocolate that is just going to get tucked away in a cupboard and, most likely, slowly eaten by me?

Not this year, they don't. Because there's no better way to fill an Easter basket with creative, fun, entertainment-providing products than by turning to the always-unique and innovative items from VTech.

VTech Easter

Since 1980, VTech has been developing high-quality, educational products that enrich children's development, from birth to preteen, through fun and smart play. Their award-winning items have long displayed why VTech is a world leader of age-appropriate learning products and this spring is no exception!

So, when it comes to finding the perfect candy-alternatives for Easter baskets, I wasn't surprised when VTech came through with exactly that.

VTech review

Having adored their InnoTab Learning App Tablets since their arrival, Big Sister E and Little Sister B were extremely thrilled to add the InnoTab Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First software cartridges (MSRP $24.99 each) to their collection. These are two characters that they both adore!

VTech InnoTab games

I love the way that VTech makes their cartridges compatible with any version of the InnoTab, so no matter if your child has the original InnoTab or the newest InnoTab 3S, they are able to partake in all of the games and activities.

Simply pop in the Doc McStuffins software (ages 4-7) and your child is ready to learn reading, vocabulary, observation, logic, memory, math, visual skills, creativity, healthy living and more! From giving toys a check-up, reading an e-book about Lambie and Doc, coloring in Doc's Big Book of Boo-Boos, taking pictures with different beloved characters, remembering dance moves, and much more, there's no doubt that the Doc is in!

My girls can't get enough of being a part of the Doc McStuffins gang and have been returning to fix the ouchies time and time again!

Doc McStuffins VTech InnoTab

When they aren't mending boo-boos with Doc, Big Sister E and Little Sister B have also been excited about diving into the world of Enchancia with the InnoTab Sofia the First software cartridge (ages 3-6).

Containing seven different learning games and two creative activities, this software manages to teach counting, colors, shapes, patterns, problem solving and more, all while keeping kids entertained as they help Sofia get to class on Jumble Day at Royal Prep.

As with all of VTech's great InnoTab cartridges, this one includes a wide variety of options for children to choose from each and every time they turn it on. Take Flying Horse Riding Class with Sofia and Minimus, create magic paintings with Sofia in Art Class (and tap the magic wand to watch them come to life), learn how Sofia becomes a princess in Story Mode with the interactive e-book, take pictures with favorite characters and scenes, and more.

What better way to spend some time learning and laughing than by marveling at all that is topsy-turvy with Princess Sofia and her mixed up classrooms?

Sofia the First VTech InnoTab

Both of these cartridges have been entertaining Big Sister E and Little Sister B since their arrival (which was just in time for our recent vacation to Disneyland) and they were perfect for quiet play on the planes and during downtime!

InnoTab to go

As well as innovative new InnoTab software cartridges, VTech has plenty of other creative and fun Easter baskets ideas for kids of all ages.

While we weren't familiar with their adorable Go! Go! Smart Wheels Vehicles (MSRP $7.99), we were immediately impressed with the way that these electronic play vehicles are perfectly sized for little hands (they are designed for ages 1-5).

VTech Go Go Vehicles

Available in 12 different vehicle options — car, van, truck, ambulance, fire truck, police car, tow truck, helicopter, cement mixer, tractor and two race cars — each Go! Go! Smart Wheels easily combines entertainment with education in each bright, colorful piece.

Little ones are able to learn about different letters and vehicle names through pretend play, while having fun with the light-up button that activates music and sounds. The fun never ends!

This adorable Go! Go! Smart Wheels Tractor plays melodies, sounds, teaches the letter T and would even say over forty unique educational phrases if interacted with the SmartPoint locations on the many Go! Go! Smart Wheels playsets (each sold separately). It all adds up to playtime with miles of learning!

Go! Go! Smart Wheels

When it comes to interactive fun for slightly older kids, however, my girls have both loved playing with Zipp the T-Rex from the Switch & Go Dinos Turbo Assortment (MSRP $9.99).

Designed for ages 3-8 years, these transforming dinos switch from being a ferocious beast to a rugged vehicle and back again in seconds! On top of that, kids can rev up the action with the flywheels that let the dinos race and roar across the floor while listening to the realistic vehicle and dinosaur sounds and phrases!

I can't stop laughing at how much fun Big Sister E and Little Sister B have had transforming Zipp back and forth between being a super-sleek race car to a scary dinosaur with razor-sharp teeth... as well as pressing the talk button to learn interesting dinosaur facts and the sound button for great effects!

Switch & Go Dinos

The range of Switch & Go Dinos now features six new characters, including Dart the Triceratops, Zipp the T-Rex, Spur the Stegosaurus, Fray the Ankylosaurus, Cruz the Spinosaurus and Spinner the Stygimoloch, and really do combine the best of both worlds in terms of cars and dinosaurs.

My kids haven't stopped transforming Zipp back and forth and marveling at the way that he can be an electronic, fierce dinosaur or a race 'n ride car so quickly and easily!

Switch & Go Dinos review

This year, instead of loading up on chocolate and candy, head over to the VTech website to see how you can create a toy-tastic basket that will help extend your little one's learning and fun with so many of their best-sellers that your kids will surely love!

VTech consults with a panel of experts on the development of its learning products and supports you as your child continues to grow and reach new developmental milestones by offering a variety of age-appropriate toys. What better gift could they (and you) ask for in their basket?

Be sure to stay connected with VTech on Facebook and Twitter and, thanks to their generosity, one person will soon see the joy and learning that comes with these great products as well, because...

One lucky person will win a VTech Prize Pack* (ARV $68)!

VTech giveaway
*Prize Pack includes (1) InnoTab Doc McStuffins software cartridge, (1) InnoTab Sofia the First software cartridge, (1) Switch & Go Dinos Turbo and (1) Go! Go! Smart Wheels Vehicle.

The VTech product, gift card, information, and additional gift pack have been provided by VTech.

HEALTHY ESSENTIALS Products Have You Covered for Earth Day! {#Moms4JNJConsumer}

Johnson and Johnson logo
With Earth Day right around the corner (April 22nd, 2014), there is no better time of year to reflect on what steps we are each taking to do our part in helping the world be a better place.

We all know to recycle our cans, bottles and paper, but are you striving to take things just a little bit further? And not just with empty containers from the kitchen, but all over the house?

One room that is often overlooked is the bathroom. Just take a look at the number of items in recyclable containers — shampoos, conditioners, lotions, contact solution, cleaners, mouthwash, skincare, makeup and much more — and make the effort to keep them from going in the garbage can when they are empty!

As well as remembering to recycle packaging from the bathroom, another measure that can be taken to help the earth is to start with products from companies who care and do all that they can as well. That's just another reason that I love HEALTHY ESSENTIALS products from Johnson & Johnson!

Healthy Essentials products

As well as producing only the best products for the entire family, J&J embodies sustainability in everything they do, from the sourcing of their suppliers' materials to the formulation of each item to reducing the footprint from every single package.

I don't know about you, but I adore knowing that the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS products that we already use and love are also made in the most efficient, least wasteful possibly way!

J&J sustainability

Right now is the perfect time to stock up on your favorite HEALTHY ESSENTIALS products as well, as you can save over $55 when you visit and sign up for program coupons and offers.

Just look at a selection of the fantastic deals that you'll find there!
  • Save $1.00 on any JOHNSON'S Baby Intense Moisture Cream
  • Save $1.00 on any LUBRIDERM product (6oz or larger)
  • Save $1.00 on any (1) CLEAN & CLEAR product (excludes trial and travel sizes)
  • Save $1.00 on any (1) NEUTROGENA Sun product (exclude trial size)
  • Save $1.00 on any (1) LISTERINE SMART RINSE Anti-cavity Mouthwash, 500 ml
  • Save $1.00 on any (1) REACH Total Care Floss, REACH Gentle Gum Care Floss, REACH Dentotape or REACH Access Flosser
In addition to the great savings you can find on HEALTHY ESSENTIALS products, you can support Earth Day by taking part in the wonderful initiatives sponsored by Donate A Photo.

donate a photo app

The free Donate A Photo (DAP) app allows consumers to make a difference by raising money and awareness for causes that they care about through one simple act – taking a photo. For every photo shared through Donate A Photo, Johnson & Johnson will donate one dollar to one of its non-profit partners, which each consumer can choose from a rotating list.

You can donate one photo a day, every day and make a difference by raising money and awareness for causes you care about. Whether your picture helps fix up a public park, get medicine for an infant, or help kids play sports safely, your quick and easy act will be contributing to a great cause.

donate a photo

Ready to celebrate all things Earth Day? As well as donating your photos and filling your home with your favorite products, you can also join in the upcoming HEALTHY ESSENTIALS Twitter Party all about shareable moments with friends and family — anywhere from online to in the store to your own medicine cabinet!
  • What: #Moms4JNJConsumer
  • When: [Edit: This Twitter Party has been rescheduled, so stay tuned for a new date and time!]
  • Prizes: There will be 15 prizes throughout the party, randomly chosen from all eligible correct responses to trivia questions. Each prize includes an assortment of Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies HEALTHY ESSENTIALS products with an estimated retail value of $50!
Hip, hip hooray for Earth Day!

Help support and protect a clean environment by visiting this month for printable coupons, tools, tips (including great tips for recycling in the bathroom), Earth Month content, and so much more for all the products you and your family love. You can also find recycling solutions near you as well as additional tips and facts on what and where to recycle.

Earth Day

This post is part of the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® 2014 program by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. and The Motherhood, who sent me a box of products and compensated me for my time. Opinions, experiences and photos shared here are all my own, and I hope you enjoy them.