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Ancheta Family Favorites July 2014

This Ancheta Family Favorites July 2014 post is something I’ve been toying with for a while. The idea was to share with you a mish-mash of what our family loves- from books and apps, to the brand of jeans I wear, to gluten free products and local programs we love and recommend. I don’t know how often I will publish posts such as this one, because I don’t want it to be forced. I’d much rather it be sporadic and publish only when I truly have some great items to share with you. And I bet you’d prefer it that way, too. 😉 

Here’s my promise to you:
We own every single one of these items.
I don’t recommend something unless we really like it and use it on a somewhat regular basis.
No one has paid me to recommend any of these items. 

Some of the products listed may not be “natural” or gluten-free in nature. It is your responsibility to research the products listed and determine if they are a good fit for you or your family. I will not be held liable. 

Ancheta Family Favorites July 2014

1. American Classic Gelous Nail Base Coat Nail Polish
I purchased this product on a whim based on all the reviews I read online. Those who’ve been following me for a while probably already know I love to keep my nails painted, but I put my hands through the ringer. I bake, I cook,  I constantly wash my hands and dishes, and I’m always banging my nails all over my laptop keyboard. Even with a decent base/top coat and expensive polish (like OPI), my manicure never lasted past 3 days. With Gelous though, my manicures last 6-7 days – which is wonderful! The first time I used Gelous, my manicure ended up being a disaster because I used too much of it. If you end up trying it, just remember to use the bare minimum when applying – it’s very strong, so all you need is a thin coating. 
This is the sequence of how I apply it: 
1 coat Gelous
2 coats desired nail polish
1 coat Sally Hansen’s Diamond Flash Fast Dry Top Coat
(let your nails dry for at least 1-2 hours)
1 coat Gelous

2. Larabar Renola (Grain-Free Granola)-
I first discovered Larabar Renola at Target a few short weeks ago and bought a few packets to take with us camping. The girls and I tried all of the flavors and concluded we definitely like Cinnamon Nut flavor best (and that’s probably the only flavor we’ll buy here on out). We like eating it with frozen mixed berries in a little Aroy-D Coconut Milk (you could also use yogurt), and about 1/2 an 1.28 ounce packet of Renola. Alaskans, be careful purchasing Renola directly from Larabar. They will charge you more for shipping than what the product is worth. You can also purchase it in bulk from Amazon

3. National Geographic Kids Almanacs– 
We first discovered the 2014 edition of the National Geographic Kids Almanac at our annual homeschool curriculum fair; one of the vendors was selling it there. It looked fun and had lots of great facts and pictures, so we purchased it. Kylie (9) immediately read it in full, while sharing awesome tid-bits of information from it with us. She couldn’t get enough of it, so she read it again. It wasn’t long after that we discovered the 2015 edition was out, and Kylie quickly proceeded to read that one twice, too. Well done, National Geographic, for getting my punkin super-excited about learning, and providing age-appropriate FUN material. We are going to purchase previous almanac editions and look into what other books National Geographic Kids offers. Just a note for those with younger children: my Abbi (5) isn’t reading yet, but she loves looking at the pictures. 

4. Hydro Flask Stainless Steel & BPA Free Water Bottles
Confession time: Our family owns 8 Hydo Flask water bottles. Seriously. AJ and I received some as Christmas gifts in either 2011 or 2012, and we’ve been hooked ever since. They are expensive, but they last and come with a lifetime warranty (our original bottles we got years ago still look new-ish, just with a few minor dings). We use them all the time. They retain heat for 12 hours, and keep cold for up to 24 hours. And for those of you who like to pack your lunches, I just discovered that Hydro Flask is now offering Food Flasks – these would be great for packing chili or soup. Oh – and they even have beer growlers! The company website is

5. NuNatural’s NuStevia Sugar-Free Cocoa Syrup
NuNatural’s sent me a free box of goodies to sample, and in that package was a bottle of their new NuStevia Cocoa Syrup.  I honestly was totally skeptical of this product, but I was very pleasantly surprised. It’s like a Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup, but much healthier – not to mention entirely sugar-free. You would use it like you would use a Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup – as an ice cream topping, to make chocolate milk, to drizzle on top of fruit, etc… OR you could make a mock peanut butter cup like I do: Top 1 tablespoon of peanut butter with 1/2-1 teaspoon of NuStevia Cocoa Syrup… dig in an enjoy! Bottom line: surprisingly, this is a product I will continue to purchase when I use up my free bottle. Both of my girls enjoyed it too. 

6. OUT! PetCare Oxy-Fast Stain & Odor Remover
Got pets? Then you probably have puke, too (from time to time, anyways). Normally, when our big guy, Thor (yellow lab) pukes it’s in the middle of the night. This stuff is awesome, because we can scoop up the chunks, blot the liquid out of the carpet with paper towels (as best as we can, anyways) spray this on the mess, and then go back to sleep. It’s not until the evening (after my husband gets off work – nearly 18 hours after Thor puked) that we’ll break out the carpet cleaner and give the spot a thorough go-over. We have cream carpets, and as long as we catch the puke right away and spray it, the stain will virtually disappear. I don’t recommend purchasing this product using the Amazon link above that I provided (as the shipping is more spendy than the product), but locally I’ve seen it carried in Three Bears, Target, Fred Meyer, and Walmart. 

7. Spigen Slim Armor Case for the Galaxy S5
More confessions… I’m married to a nerd (he’s a very handsome nerd), so his nerdy-ness has rubbed off on me over time. Yes, I have a Samsung Galaxy S5 and I love it (beats the pants off the iPhone!). It comes in handy when I need to keep up with all of you via social media or want to take pictures on the fly (16 megapixels camera) when I don’t have my D90 with me.  I love this case because it’s slim and unassuming. It fits my S5 extremely well and provides excellent protection without making my phone extra bulky or heavy. 

8. A Mouthful of Stars by Kim Sunee
I’ve been absolutely captivated by this cookbook, and though it’s not written gluten-free, I’m looking forward to trying many of the recipes making the appropriate allergen-free adjustments. Sunee was born in South Korea. She was an orphan, adopted by an American family; she grew up in New Orleans and is a world traveler. Her book is part diary, part cookbook – including all of her favorite recipes from her world travels. Her personal story sucked me in. I love her stories, descriptions, pictures, and the food… it’s mouthwatering. She is such a gifted writer and cook! I can’t wait to try some authentic New Orleans cuisine, especially the Scrape-the-Bottom Jambalaya! Sunee’s website is

9. Hanayama Cast Metal Brain Teaser Puzzle, Enigma (Level 6)
Back to the nerdy husband. My AJ is very quiet and unassuming if you don’t know him, but he’s incredibly sharp. He’s the guy that unwinds doing crossword puzzles, which I’m terrible at. I can’t do crosswords to save my life. AJ loves these brain teaser-like puzzles. I bought this one for him for Christmas and thankfully it took him a while to master (which made me giddy with happiness). Hanayama has lots of different brain teaser puzzles to choose from, from beginner to advanced – perfect for the young and old. These make great cheap gifts! 

10 & 11. 100% Pure Long Last Concealer with Super Fruits (Creme) & Fruit Pigmented Lip & Cheek Stain (Cherry)-
Just to be completely honest and up-front with you, I am a 100% Pure affiliate, meaning everything you purchase via the 100% Pure link (located in the right side-bar of my website) I earn a small commission from, without affecting your purchase price. That said, I am only an affiliate with them because I own some of their products and truly love them. 100% Pure did not provide me with these products, but I purchased them just like any other customer (and was not given any type of discount). I’ve tried a good handful of the 100% Pure products (either because I’ve purchased them or they were a free sample included with my purchases), but out of all of them, here are the 2 I can’t live without and use on a daily basis:

Long Last Concealer with Super Fruits (Creme)-
This stuff is incredible. It conceals the bluish/purplish bags under my eyes and stays put without settling into my “love creases (the word “wrinkles” makes me feel old).” It’s gluten-free, vegan, and is water, sweat, oil, and caking resistant. Anything that makes me look glowing and refreshed is just plain magic, people. It appears 100% Pure may be currently out of the color I use, Creme for porcelain complexion, but there are other colors available. I use my fingers to apply it underneath my eye. I don’t rub it in, but use a patting or dabbing type of motion. 

Fruit Pigmented Lip & Cheek Stain (Cherry)-
This came as a free gift in the last order I placed, and I’m so glad it did, because I don’t think I would have tried it had it not been free. As a cheek stain, this stuff holds up and lasts longer than any other blush I’ve ever tried. Ever. I will wake up the next morning, and still have a little pink glow to my cheeks. Now, keep in mind, I am porcelain in complexion. Bright cherry isn’t a color I would pick for myself, but used in moderation, it works – and would be great for any complexion I think. The trick is how you apply it. I obviously don’t need to apply as much as someone with darker skin. To apply it I stand in front of a mirror and smile. Using the brush applicator, I apply a very small amount to the apples of my cheeks and smooth it on using my fingers (only in the area I would have a natural blush). Then I use a cosmetic wedge to do a final smooth-over. I don’t recommend using this as a lip stain. Not that it doesn’t work great – because it does- but because it tastes nasty. It’s bitter… so just be warned. 😉 

This post is linked to, Marvelous Mondays, Fat Tuesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Gluten Free Wednesdays, Waste Not Want Not Wednesdays, Frugal Day Sustainable Ways, Thank Your Body Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Fight Back Friday, Gluten Free Fridays, and Savoring Saturdays

This post may contain affiliate links which I may receive a small commission from (without any additional costs to you). The money earned from these commissions helps me maintain this website. Thank you for your support in this way!  

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Friday 8th of August 2014

Love this post!


Friday 1st of August 2014

Every year for Christmas gifts to my sisters in laws I give "my favorite product of the year!" It is always something new I have found and love. They look forward to it. They have told me many times that the things I have introduced them to have become their favorites also.