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Category: reviews

Fraas  - Solid Ruffle Scarf-Wrap

Fraas – Solid Ruffle Scarf-Wrap

Fall weather is quickly approaching.  We noticed a huge change in temperature here just this past week. Time to put away the tank tops and get out the fall/winter clothing.   And I have just the thing to go with my fall wardrobe.   I got the chance to try a new wrap from the Fraas 2011 fall collection that is perfect for the cooler weather and totally cute.  It’s the Fraas 20×80 inch solid ruffle style in black.  Its also available in blue grape, dark red, peacock, and magenta.  It’s soft and cozy and is really comfortable.  It can be worn as a scarf or as a wrap.  It’s very classy looking and would go great with tons of different outfits.

I love the way a wrap or a scarf completes an outfit.  Most of the time when you see someone that looks totally pulled together, she is accessorizing well.  Wraps and scarves can totally help with that.

My favorite things about this wrap are the cozy feel to it and the elegant look of the slight ruffle.  It’s not overly frilly, but does give it a very feminine look. I also love the care instructions.  I’m not a dry clean kinda girl and unfortunately many scarves and wraps I’ve found are dry clean only.  However, this wrap is hand wash and lay flat to dry.  I can totally deal with that.

Fraas has a large collection of scarves, wraps, hats, gloves, and more that are available online or worldwide at department and specialty stores.

Thanks to Fraas and our friends at Lipton Publicity for making this review possible.  You can find Fraas online on their website or connect with them on facebook and twitter.

Blair Candy

Blair Candy

This is the time of year that kids start thinking about candy!  Mine are already planning trick-or-treating routes, lol.  We have discovered a great online bulk candy store called Blair Candy.  They have a huge selection of candy, gum, and more.  They are a multi-generational, family run store based in Pennsylvania.

I really enjoy looking through all of the candy on their site.  They have some really cute themes.  They have nostalgic candy (all of the candy from years ago), sports candy (you’ve got to see their football candies), holiday candy, novelty candy (some totally cute things I’ve never seen), sugar free candy, and more.  Here are just a few of the candies they offer:

We got the chance to try some gummy butterflies (totally cute and yummy, some gummy burgers (my kids favorite), and some gummy bear rings (totally cute and unique).  You can search their website in many ways to find the candy your looking for.  You can also search by occasion, and they even have a search by color.  Perfect if you have an event with a color scheme that you need to match.

They deal with both retail and wholesale orders. And all you have to do to get wholesale pricing is have an order of $250 or more and you can contact them about wholesale pricing.

You can see all of their candy choices on their website or find them on facebook or twitter

Earthbound Farms Cookbook Review

I have been trying to get my family to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables lately as part of my get healthy/lose weight plan. I recently got the chance to review Food to Live by and The Earthbound Cookbook, both are written by Myra Goodman of Earthbound Farms. Both books are amazing and provide plenty of recipes that help with eating more fruits and vegetables.

                

Earthbound Farms began as a backyard garden and has developed in a large organic farm that grows healthy organic foods and works to protect the environment. On their website, they have some great information for kids about organic farming.  Their site also has some great recipes for cooking with kids to help kids develop a taste for foods that are healthy for them.

Food to Live by is a great collection of recipes with tons of info about produce including cooking and shopping tips. I love that they offer tips for selecting produce in addition to just the recipe. For example, the recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble looks interesting, but I don’t know anything about rhubarb. The book provides information about it and an explanation of what to look for when picking out rhubarb that is really helpful and helps encourage trying new things.

The Earthbound Cookbook is probably my favorite of the two. It has 250 great recipes and tips for green cooking.  Tons of the recipes in the book are great.  You can see some of the amazing recipes on their website. I love the Chapter on Pantry Basics: Stocks, Sauces, Dips, and More.  Plus, the pictures in both cookbooks are beautiful.  Just seeing the photos makes you want to try out all of the recipes.

If you want to eat healthy and protect the environment, check out the Earthbound Farms website and be sure to take a look at Food to Live By and The Earthbound Cookbook.  You can also connect with them on facebook or twitter.

{Lite Sprites Giveaway}

I love toys that have a story with them, encourage imagination, and help kids learn.  The new Lite Sprites are that type of toy. We recently got the chance to review the Lite Sprites Lite Wand, Prisma, and Pod.

The best thing about the light sprites is the amazing wand.  The wand can “collect” color and “share” it with the sprites and playsets.    It has a “color library” that you can add colors to by holding the bottom of the wand to the color wheel or to any flat surface.  The color of the surface then shows up in top of the wand.  If you aim the wand at a fairy and then hold the button, you can “magically” change the color of the sprites. Very cool!

The light sprites are five sprites that each have their own personalities.   There’s: “Prisma, the leader; Astra, the keeper of the skies; Brooke, who takes care of the water; Meadow, who is responsible for the plants, flowers and trees; and Bleak, the rebel Sprite who uses her powers to disrupt color in Lite-Topia”  Their personalities are a great starting point for kids to create their own stories from as they play.  You can find out more about the fairies on their website.

The light wand also has games included in it.  Theres “color hunt” where you find the color that the wand is displaying and place the bottom of the wand on it before time runs out.  And there is “color mix” where two colors show on the wand and you have to place the bottom of the wand on the color that those two colors make if mixed together.  You can use the “color wheel” or have them run around the house looking for that color.
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We received Lite Sprites in return for our honest opinion.  Smart and Trendy Moms finds products, ideas, projects, recipes, and other information that we have personally found helpful or interesting.  As always, it is up to you to determine what is appropriate for you, your children, and your situation.  See our Disclosure

{Aurora Softy Soakers Giveaway}

If you have read our blog then you may have read some of our reviews on Aurora toys. We have always loved their products and all my kids do. My kids love their YooHoo and Friends and Milly the Pinkest Kitten. And right now they are celebrating their 30th Anniversary this year, and are releasing a plush collection. These however are not regular plush toys. They actually grow when placed in water. The first in the collection is the Fanta-Sea assortment. This collection will include Dolphin, Seahorse, Turtle, Hammerhead Shark, Octopus and alligator.

My kids were excited to get the Seahorse and all my kids had to do was place the Softy Soakers in water and the plush expands from practically nothing into a full size, eight-inch plush animal. With a little towel drying they soon had their very own sea creature. They really had fun trying them out and could not be more excited about trying the others in the collection. They are really affordable at only $10 each and can be found on their website!




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{Back to School Book Review The Adventures of Everyday Geniuses children’s series}

My oldest daughter loves to read. She can always be found with a book in her hand. So for this post I thought I would share her thoughts on the books from The Adventures of Everyday Geniuses children’s series. She has the four of them and could not wait to read them.

If You’re So Smart, How Come You Can’t Spell Mississippi?

I liked this book because she is a very curious girl. She seems to like finding out facts. I thought it was funny that her smart dad couldn’t spell Mississippi. She was very surprised. I really enjoyed reading this book!

Stacey Coolidge’s Fancy Smancy Cursive Writing

I thought the book was very interesting. I have had that feeling of being left out. In the end she learns some lessons and finds a way to be more confident. It is a great book on things that most kids have been through.

Last to Finish

I liked this book because I remember when my 3rd grade teacher made us do 30 multiplication problems in 60 seconds. I was always good in math and terrible when timed. I was totally last to finish! That is the same situation that Max is in. It’s funny how you can struggle with different things that you can also be good at. Another really good book.

Mrs. Gorski , I think I have the Wiggle Fidgets

I really like this because I can totally relate to it. I have been distracted many times by things in school. I also think the reminder cards are a great idea .

For more information on any of the four books in the series, Last to Finish: A Story about the Smartest Boy in Math Class, Mrs. Gorski, I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgets, If You’re So Smart, How Come You Can’t Spell Mississippi?, or Stacey Coolidge’s Fancy-Smancy Cursive Handwriting, please visit their website, www.mainstreamconnections.org.

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{Funrise Toys Gazillion Bubble Hurricane Giveaway}

One thing that I know my kids will always enjoy is bubbles! My kids can literally blow and play with bubbles for hours. Bubbles are something I always have on hand for the kids to play with. And they have so much fun when we love to use them for Birthdays, play-dates and more. But did you know your kids could be enjoying bubbles in the most extreme way? With the Gazillion Bubble Hurricane from Funrise Toys they totally could be. My kids have had so much fun with it. They dance and play in the bubbles and have a total blast! They now can effortlessly make tons of bubbles. The Gazillion Bubble Hurricane uses motorized rotating bubble wands, it is battery operated and comes with an 8oz bottle of bubble solution. It is easily refillable and is a durable toy! They have even more bubble machines and products that my kids would love to have! Visit Funrise Toys now and see all the fun toys they have.




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{Organically Cute Baby Bib Pack Giveaway}

Moms or Moms to be if you are trying to figure out the perfect bib that lasts and is reasonably priced then look no further…. My daughter Anna and I have been playing with bibs from www.organicallycute.com . All I can say is WOW! These bibs have snaps on them rather than the normal Velcro. They have 2 different size adjustments so they can grow with your baby! My daughter is great at putting things to the test. At 5 months old she decided she was tired of baby food and being fed. She is now 8 months old and eats what we eat and feeds herself.

We have 4 different bibs from Organically Cute . Anna has ate everything from carrots to lasagna in her beautifully bright bibs. I have tried bibs from different companies and realized how easily they slip off or Anna pulls them off. With the snaps she can’t get these off as easy. Now with my daughter eating lasagna and spaghetti and other things that stain you would think geez how can I truly get these stains out?!. I washed them as directed. Machine wash cold and tumble dry low. These bibs hold their color great and the stains were gone with my favorite stain remover.

These bibs are also super absorbent. My daughter has been drooling a lot for the last 4 months and with regular cotton bibs it seems to get soaked and then soak her clothes underneath defeating the whole purpose of a bib. I know right?! Whats the point in even putting a bib on your child to protect their clothes if they don’t even do their job. Well with these completely organic cotton bibs it absorbs much better and keeps the clothes underneath dry.

I’m sure at this point you are probably asking whats the difference between cotton and organic cotton. Well with regular cotton its farmed with insecticides. Some of the worst insecticides. But Organic cotton is grown completely naturally with no additives.

I am sure you are ready to get your baby some of these bibs right? Head on over to their website and you will find some of the cutest modern styles of bibs available for boys and girls! Also right now 5% goes to the charity of your choice. How great is that? Something great for you and your sweet baby but also an easy way to help someone else! You can also log in and check out and get notifications on new products and sales! Be sure to Like their Facebook page while you are here!

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{Lovemode $25 Gift Certificate Giveaway}

I totally love shopping! I mean who doesn’t? I cannot think of a better way to spend some alone mommy time then shopping. As a super busy mom of three it is rare that I get to shop for myself or the kids alone. Often I am doing it online.Which really works out cause I just found a great affordable place to shop for cute and trendy juniors clothes. It is Lovemode! They rock it with their affordable prices on some of the latest trends and fashion. I totally loved their selection and the fact that I can also get something for my oldest daughter there is awesome!

I picked out this super cute Black Lace Top. I so love this tank. It can be paired with just about anything. It is such an affordable and durable top. Can you believe this top is less then $15 dollars? Love it!  I love so many of the items they have. Not only do they have a fabulous selection of tops but also bottoms, dresses, denim and even accessories available, all at a really great price! You can check out their trendy and cheap juniors clothes  and keep up with them on Facebook!



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{Dora the Explorer: Dora’s Ballet Adventures on DVD}

My oldest daughter always loved Dora, she would sing and dance and mimic everything Dora did! But now she is 11 and my 3 and 5 year love Dora even more then she did. They will often be found in front of the tv watching her episodes over and over again. Even as a mom I can appreciate a good Dora episode. She always has a good message and I love that my kids love her! One of their newest favorite Dora DVDs is  Dora’s Ballet Adventures. This is such a fun DVD that your kids will love, mine sure do! They love this DVD that has some of Doras dancing episodes. All the episodes are really fun and sure to please any Dora fan!

DORA THE EXPLORER: DORA’S BALLET ADVENTURES
Now available on DVD

Dora is getting ready for her big dance show in Dora the Explorer: Dora’s Ballet Adventures, a compilation containing four of Dora’s dancing episodes. Help Dora as she moves and grooves to her way to Dance School to find her ballet slippers before her recital begins. Later, Dora and Boots lead a musical parade, have a fun-filled fiesta and celebrate Boots’ birthday!

Dora the Explorer: Dora’s Ballet Adventures Episode Synopses:

Dora’s Ballet Adventure

Dora’s dance class is getting ready for a special dance recital and her whole family’s there to watch her perform. They just need to wait for the Delivery Duck to deliver their ballet slippers. But the Delivery Duck brings scuba flippers instead of ballet slippers! Dora and Boots must get the slippers before the recital begins.

Dora, La Músico

C’mon and join the musical parade! Dora and Boots are leading a parranda over the Piano Bridge and through the Singing Gate to free the instruments that were locked up by the evil Señor Shhh!

The Super Silly Fiesta

Dora and Boots are invited to the Big Red Chicken’s Super Silly Fiesta where there will be silly snacks, silly games, silly hats and even silly dancing. But, the Big Red Chicken lost his party cake! Dora and Boots set off to save the fiesta. After searching forever, they find the cake in the silliest place Big Red Chicken could have left it – on his head!

Surprise

It’s Boots’ birthday! Dora tells him that all of his friends are waiting at her house to give Boots a big party. To reach Dora’s house, they’ll have to climb a long flight of Stairs and cross the Troll Bridge.

Dora the Explorer, created by Chris Gifford, Valerie Walsh Valdes and Eric Weiner, is a play-along, animated adventure series starring Dora (Caitlin Sanchez). Dora is a seven-year-old Latina heroine whose adventures take place in an imaginative, tropical world filled with jungles, beaches and rainforests. She explores her world just as preschoolers do everyday, and the show is designed to actively engage its audience in an interactive quest using a variety of learning techniques.

In every episode, Dora and Boots (Regan Mizrahi) invite the audience to participate in an exciting adventure, where each step of their journey consists of a problem or puzzle that Dora and the audience must think their way through in order to solve the next problem. Dora is proudly bilingual and uses her knowledge of English and Spanish to communicate with her friends, overcome obstacles and reach her goals. In each episode, Dora teaches Spanish words or phrases to the viewers and then asks them to use it to solve a problem and forge ahead. Ultimately, Dora and her best friend, Boots, triumph, and the story always ends with a “We Did It!” anthem.

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{Paper Jamz Pro Mic, Drum and Guitar}

My kids have not had more fun with an item as they do with their Paper Jamz. Their kid friendly fun products make it so easy for your kid to be a rock star. We were able to review the drums, pro mic as well as the guitar. All are made really great and durable and make for hours of fun. My kids really had fun with the mic. It comes with 2 bulit in songs as well as settings for Chorus, Perfect Pitch and more. My kids were not born with a singers voice but with the Pro Mic they are singing and having more fun then ever before. They can also add songs to it with the Paper Jamz Pro app.

The kids love the drums. You simply tap places on the image of a very cool looking drum set to play the different sounds. They love playing the drums in freestyle mode. It also comes with three preloaded songs and with USB cable to hook it up to the computer to download songs. Coolest feature (kid’s opinion): you can turn the song volume down while keeping the drums loud. The kids love this one. They can play along with the song, but totally hear themselves. Coolest feature (Mom’s opinion): It has a place to plug in headphones! I love that they love playing the drums; there are just sometimes that I don’t want to hear them playing the drums. Paper Jamz has everything your aspiring musician will need to put on a great show while having tons of fun.

It was no surprise that the guitar was also a big hit with them. Combined with the mic and drums it completed their little band and they love it. My kids loved how easy it was to use, even with no guitar experience.You can also add your favorite music with the free Paper Jamz Pro app. This is such a great toy for them to make as much noise as they would like. It comes with four different modes, Perfect Play: play perfect guitar to the 3 included hits, Rhythm: Control the guitar rhythm for each song, Freestyle Play: Play real chords — create your own songs, Karaoke: Sing and play along with the 3 included songs.

Find Paper Jamz on Facebook and Twitter!

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{Hey Arnold!: Season One on DVD}

My kids all love cartoons and they enjoy just about everything. When I learned that Hey Arnold would be releasing their season one on DVD I knew my kids would love it! My kids were not around when Hey Arnold original aired so they were excited to watch something new that they have never heard of. My older kids really enjoyed watching it and so did my husband! 

All 20 Original Episodes Debut on DVD August 9, 2011 from Shout! Factory

Hey Arnold!, one of the most beloved animated Nickelodeon series from the 1990s, arrives in stores nationwide for the first time on August 9, 2011, from Shout! Factory. Featuring all 20 hilarious episodes, Hey Arnold!: Season One follows the adventures of Arnold, the original football-headed boy’s life in the big city alongside his Grandpa, Grandma, Abner the pig and a host of other friends and neighbors. Long anticipated by fans, Hey Arnold!: Season One has not been available in stores until now. The four-disc DVD set has a suggested retail price of $29.93.

Like all of Nickelodeon’s classic shows, Hey Arnold!: Season One boasts an all-star voice cast which includes Toran Caudell (7th Heaven), Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons, Futurama), Tress MacNeille (The Simpsons, Futurama), Jamil Walker Smith (Shark Tale) and Francesca Smith.

A favorite with viewers and critics alike, Hey Arnold! stars Arnold, a fourth grader who lives with his grandparents Phil and Gertrude, owners of the Sunset Arms boarding house. Each episode finds Arnold in a new, sticky situation, whether it’s helping out a schoolmate with their problems or dealing with his own. Unfortunately, Arnold’s predicaments are often started by Helga, a schoolmate who picks on Arnold and constantly bullies him. However, Helga only pretends to dislike Arnold to hide the fact that she is secretly in love with him!

Created by Craig Bartlett as a comic in 1986, Hey Arnold! debuted as an animated short for the Nickelodeon film Harriet the Spy in 1996. Hey Arnold! went on to air on Nickelodeon from 1996 to 2001. The show also aired on “Nick on CBS” from 2002 until 2004.

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{VeggieTales® Princess and the Pop Star on DVD}

My kids have always loved the VeggieTales®. They have so much fun with each and every movie. I really love them because of how family friendly each movie is. They have many funny and heart warming stories that are perfect for even the youngest of kids. The newest VeggieTales® Movie to hit the shelves will be VeggieTales®: Princess and the Pop Star, available on DVD at Christian retailers August 13th and everywhere August 16th. My kids really loved this movie but my girls did especially! They had so much fun listening to the music and watching the movie. Princess Poppyseed secretly switches lives with her favorite pop singer Vanna Banana. Eventually both girls discover they were unique and special just the way they were. It definitely sends a great message to girls of all ages!

Big Idea Entertainment, a leading studio and producer of children’s and family programming, characters and brands, announced today they will release an all-new princess-themed DVD title, VeggieTales®: Princess and the Pop Star, on August 13 and August 16, 2011 in Christian and general market stores respectively.

VeggieTales: Princess and the Pop Star will feature plenty of high-energy, family-friendly music, including the new song, “You Never Are,” written and performed by this year’s Dove Award-winning Artist of the Year, Francesca Battistelli. Other fun content includes silly song sing-alongs, behind the music interviews and “Princess Poppyseed’s Points for Being Uniquely You.” The DVD helps young girls understand that each of us are created unique and special, and the title’s launch is supported by a comprehensive marketing and advertising campaign. Licensing and promotional partners include Chick-fil-A with a summer kids meal program. In addition, Big Idea Entertainment will host live events nationwide at select retailers and churches to coincide with the DVD release.

“We’re couldn’t be more excited to give our fans the ‘royal treatment’ with the release of Princess and the Pop Star,” said Greg Fritz, SVP Sales and Marketing of Big Idea Entertainment. “While the title was created specifically with girls in mind, everyone will enjoy the catchy tunes and important lesson the DVD helps teach.”

DVD Synopsis

Princess Poppyseed’s life on her family’s farm is far from the glamorous but lonely world of her favorite pop singer Vanna Banana. On a chance meeting at a playground, Vanna and Princess cross paths and realize that they look almost exactly alike—which leads to the crazy secret plan where they decide to switch lives! As each girl realizes that the life they longed for doesn’t fulfill all of their dreams, they learn that the life God gave them is the one for which they were uniquely and lovingly designed.

Bonus Features:

Audio Commentary
“Astonishing Wigs” Silly Songs Sing-Along
“Right Where You Belong” Sing-Along
Behind the music with Francesca Battistelli and Friends
Princess Poppyseed’s Points For Being Uniquely You

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{The Fox and the Hound & The Fox and the Hound 2 on DVD August 9th}

My kids have loved Disney movies since they were able to watch TV. Most of our movie nights are spent watching a Disney movie and is always something we have really enjoyed. While my kids love newer Disney movies it never surprises me how much they love some of the older Disney movies. I love waiting to find out which ones they will release. I was so excited to learn that the The Fox and the Hound & The Fox and the Hound 2 were going to be released on DVD! The first one originally came out when I was very little but I do remember loving it then. I knew my three kids would love Tod, Copper and the other charecters just as I did. They are the two best friends in the movie. We were able to fit both movies in on our last movie night and I was right my kids loved it! They were all glued to the TV and then could not wait for the 2nd one. I loved seeing the amazing picture quality of the DVDS and am so happy they enjoyed them. It is yet again another Disney movie that will sure be brought out during our movie nights! It is available on August 9th and is available with THE FOX AND THE HOUND & THE FOX AND THE HOUND 2 as a 2-Movie Collection on Blu-ray Hi-Def & DVD Combo Pack in celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the original film. Also there are activity sheets for the kids. Just click the image to get them!

Download Printable Activities!

The Fox and the Hound 30th Anniversary Synopsis


When Tod, an orphaned fox cub meets Copper, a coonhound puppy, they make a pledge to be lifelong friends, not realizing that Copper is being groomed to hunt wild animals, including foxes. Copper spends the winter with his owner, Slade, and an older dog, Chief, tracking animals at a remote cabin. When they return, a lonely Tod eagerly greets his old playmate but is stunned when a reluctant Copper joins Slade and Chief to chase Tod through the forest. During the pursuit, Tod escapes but Chief is seriously injured. Seeking revenge, Copper hunts down Tod only to find himself confronting an even bigger enemy, which he and Tod must face together.


The Fox and the Hound 2 Synopsis


In The Fox and the Hound 2, music takes centerstage as Tod contemplates joining up with “The Singin’ Strays,” a group of harmonizing dogs appearing at the local county fair but dreaming of hitting the big time at the Grand OleOpry. While Tod does his best to fit in with his new friends, Copper finds himself relegated to “roadie,” a position he begins to resent. With the encouragement of Dixie, the “diva” of “The Singin” Strays,” Copper manages to sabotage an important audition. The next day, their differences forgotten, Copper and Tod team up and, using Copper’s superior tracking skills, they locate the Grand Ole Opry talent scout who signs “The Singin’ Strays” (minus Tod, who chooses his friendship with Copper over fame) on the spot.

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{Soap Hope}

Soap Hope has all natural high quality products including soap, cosmetics, bath and body products, household and laundry items and more.
We got to sample several different products and were happy with everything we tried.  We especially loved the Indigo Wild Zum Bar Soap in Eucalyptus and the Pangea Organics Balancing Oil.
Soap Hope describes themselves as “a for-profit company with a non-profit mission.”  They operate on the “good returns” business model, in which all of their profits go to a nonprofit institution that uses the money to help end poverty and to empower women at home and around the world.  After a year, the profits are then returned to the company.

                               

I also love their “ugly boxes” The sticker on the box says that they make their boxes from cardboard scrap to keep costs down and reduce the impact on the environment.  An environmentally conscious company with a humanitarian mission. Yay!

If you would like to check of all of Soap Hopes all-natural products, you can see them on their website.  You can also find them on facebook and twitter

 
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