The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Category: reviews & giveaways (page 1 of 2)

The Biggest Fall Reading Giveaway EVER!

Do you love reading? Enjoy free stuff? Well a bunch of your favorite bloggers have joined together to bring you the hugest giveaway on the innerwebz and you are not going to believe this prize package. Continue reading

3 Things for Mom

3things-badgeI’ve recently discovered a wonderful new website (just launched in January) that I’d like to point you toward today. It’s called 3 Things for Mom and its mission is to give you a unique daily blog post that’s “short enough to read over a cup of Joe,” featuring “a truth, a tip, and a find” from a different blogger every weekday.

It’s a great place to step outside of your regular blog reading routine and find new bloggers from different niches. Plus, who doesn’t love a bite-sized tip and a favorite product recommendation every day?

Lauren, the founder and editor, invited me to contribute and my guest post is up this week. I’m sharing a truth that’s been on my mind lately (Life Lessons from a Beauty Salon–New and Improved), one of my favorite kitchen tips, and a NEW tool I’ve recently discovered for removing facial hair. (No, it’s not Magic Cream…something totally different!)

You’ll get a kick out of this – the post I originally submitted had to be slightly edited for adult content. Oh, the shame! I didn’t even use any foul language, just a little sexual innuendo, but sometimes I forget that there’s a time and a place, you know? Even minus the sex joke, it must still be funny though because one of my regular readers sent me this email:

Just read 3 Things for Mom in my inbox…did not check author prior to reading…but as I was reading it, I thought, this has to be The Bearded Iris, this is hysterical!!!! ~Stephanie

So please check it out!

You can connect with Lauren and @3ThingsforMom on Twitter and Facebook too.

Have a wonderful weekend filled with great hair, neatly cut brownies, and the ability to remove your stubborn neck hair without shedding too many tears in the process.



I rode the Pink Pig!

No, that’s not a euphemism.

It’s the title of a cute little keepsake book which I received for attending the annual ribbon cutting ceremony of the Macy’s Pink Pig holiday train.

It’s THE annual holiday tradition that Atlanta families have been treasuring for nearly 60 years.

I know what you’re thinking: only in the South would they wrap a holiday ride in bacon. 

But come on. Bacon really does make everything better! And The Macy’s Pink Pig is no exception.

Apparently it dates back to 1953 when it was known as “Priscilla the Pink Pig Flyer.” It used to be suspended on a track above the downtown Atlanta Rich’s Wonderland of Toys.

(YIKES! You could not have paid me a million pink cupcakes to get in that thing!) But over time, the ride has evolved a bit. These days, The Pink Pig is no longer suspended in the air. And no longer does it resemble a pink paddy wagon. Now it’s just an open-car kiddie train that goes around a big circle (twice) like a regular kids’ choo-choo train ride.

And it is as kitschy as kitsch can be. Which means I absolutely LOVED IT. My favorite part? The cheesy 1960’s game show music playing in the background. So funny! And the story told over the loud speaker while you ride the train has a great message about the importance of doing what you love and being true to yourself in order to be happy.

I am clearly enjoying this more than anyone else in my train car.

My kids actually loved it too, even though the photo above indicates otherwise. Bucket Head (the 5-year-old) thought the train ride part was a little scary, but he’s very easily spooked and doesn’t like a lot of noise. (Especially the noise of his mother shouting “ISN’T THIS FUN, YOU GUYS?! ARE YOU HAVING FUN? I AM!”)

Truly, from the moment we got there, my kids were pretty excited.

My husband? Not so much. But don’t listen to him. He rarely emotes, unless Ohio State is playing.

Macy’s Lenox Square is doing a special promotion this holiday season where you can eat breakfast with Priscilla the Pink Pig! There are two opportunities: Saturday, November 17th, and Saturday, December 15th. And the tickets will benefit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta!

Reservations are required and seating is limited. I’ll post details at the end of the post. If you go for the breakfast with Priscilla, here are some of the fun things you’ll experience:

Breakfast, face painting, storytelling, endless pink treats, a spin on the train, and a complimentary photo package with Priscilla! And the gift shop? OH MY ‘LANTA!

Word of advice for the menfolk: you might want to eat something at home before you go because if you are a big eater, you will not get enough food there. And there was no coffee at the ribbon cutting breakfast; so if that’s important to you, hit a coffee shop on the way. The kids and I were quite happy with our pink pancakes, sausage, and yogurt with granola, berries, and pink gummy piggy, but my husband definitely left there hungry and under caffeinated. (Bless his heart.)

My kids also loved getting to pose with Priscilla in front of the green screen. Bucket Head seemed to find Priscilla particularly, um, attractive…

We had to pay extra for 2nd base.

All in all, if you are looking for a fun, philanthropic, family event near Atlanta where you will be treated like a VIP and create memories your kids will treasure for a lifetime, go have breakfast with Priscilla the Pink Pig. For reservations or more info, call 770-913-5877.

PS – It’s located on the upper deck parking lot of the Macy’s at Lenox Square Mall in Buckhead. The train and gift shop are under a large white tent, but the breakfast is served outside, so dress for the weather.

Disclosure: I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere provided me with compensation for this post about Macy’s.  However, all thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own.

Announcing the winners of the “Find Me” book giveaway…

I am thrilled to announce the five randomly selected winners for the Find Me If You Can! book giveaway I posted last week!

Their names are listed in the Rafflecopter widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations, guys! I know your kids are going to love this book as much as Bucket Head and Mini-Me do! Be on the lookout for an email from me with details on how to claim your prize.

Not a winner?

Awwwww…don’t think like that, Boo. You’re a winner just for being here and learning about this book before it goes viral and everyone and their mother already has 3 copies. Don’t you love feeling like one of the first people to hear about something cool? I know I do. BOOOYAH!

Besides, you can still get 10% off your entire order at by using my super secret promo code BUCKETHEAD. But hurry, that code is going to expire this Saturday at midnight. So don’t delay.

And if you’re just joining us and don’t know what all the fuss is about, check out my video review of this wonderful new book that your kids are going to love. You’ll be glad you did.

Thanks everyone!

You are going to want one of these books for your kids

I get a lot of PR pitches to review and/or giveaway stuff on my blog. Most of them are pretty crappy pitches. Here’s a tip, if you’re pitching something to a blogger, take two frickin’ minutes and get to know the blogger first. For instance, even though I have a goatee on my avatar, if you address me as “Dear Sir,” I jump on that delete key faster than Honey Boo Boo on a dropped Cheese Ball.

Needless to say, due to the sheer volume and crapitude of most of these pitches, I rarely respond.

But I received one a while back that caught my eye.

It was from a couple in Ohio who makes children’s books.

“Dear Leslie,

The wife Susan & I created a kids’ book. It’s a custom photo book kinda like Where’s Waldo but uniquely made for each kid. We are looking to expand our media and found your dancing ad promo. Nice moves by the way…”

He knew my real name. (Nice.) He sounded like a decent hardworking midwestern guy with his whole “The wife & I” schtick. (I’m listening.) He complimented my dance moves. (Bonus points.)

And thus, an email conversation began.

His book is called Find Me If You Can!™  Tom offered to make a free one for Bucket Head, so I checked out his website and was immediately intrigued.

I decided to send him a photo of Bucket Head so I could see if I liked the quality of the book enough to want to do a review on my blog.

As cute as my Bucket Head is, the boy ain’t the most photogenic child I’ve ever pushed out of my baby maker.

Bucket Head ain't the most photogenic child I ever pushed out of my baby maker.

See what I mean? (Bless his heart. He gets it from his Mama.)

But I finally found one I thought would work and emailed it to Tom.

bucket head on his 5th birthday

About 10 days later I received my book.

I think it will be easier for you to see Bucket Head’s reaction to it than it would be for me to tell you about it, so here—have a look.

I wanted to keep the video short, so what you don’t see is the following:

  • Mini-Me (who is almost 10-years-old) took one look at this book and wanted a copy for herself with her own little face on each page.
  • My children stopped fighting for the first time all day while they worked together to find little Bucket Head’s photo on every page.
  • Bucket Head kept going back to the book for days after he received it.
  • Every time his friends come over, this book is the first thing he shows them: “Look! I’m in a book!”
my kids enjoying their new find me if you can book

Folks, I am telling you—you need one of these books for your kids or grandkids. This is THE coolest personalized gift we have ever received. (No offense Aunt Debbie, the kids love their monogrammed towels and all, but it’s hard to compete with seeing their face on every page of a Find Me If You Can! book.)

I’ve done all the research for you, so let me point out some of the book’s features based on questions I’ve already asked Tom and Sue.

1.) There is a spiral binding on the inside of this hardcover book because Tom and Sue have found that to be the sturdiest option, even though it costs them more to produce it that way.

2.) Yes, if you have multiple children, you can put siblings in the same book, but it will cost a little more due to the extra labor required. Plus, the more kids you put in the same book, the more crowded the magnifying glass on the title page will be.

title page of find me if you can

This is the title page in Bucket Head’s book.

3.) Based on the child’s age and ability, Tom and Sue can customize the number of random faces that appear on each page. They have done as few as 12 faces a page for children with learning disabilities. My book has ~120 faces per page and it was just the right level of difficulty for Bucket Head.

space page of find me if you can

4.) Don’t worry – your child’s face will not be used in other people’s books (unless you want that, and if so, you just have to sign a photo release form).

The books are $29.99 each and cost $4.95 to ship anywhere in the USA. For a limited time only (the next 7 days), Tom and Sue are offering my readers a special 10% discount ($3.00) on each book. Just go to to place your order and use the promo code BUCKETHEAD.

Tom and Sue have also generously offered to give away 5 of these books for FREE (with free shipping) to 5 of my fabulous readers! 

Want one?

Let’s do this.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’ll announce the winners next Wednesday.

If you are a blogger and would like a free personalized book to review on your own blog, please email me at Iris <at> TheBeardedIris <dot> com and I’ll introduce you to Tom and Sue.

Yours truly,

PS – I’m creating a photo album on Facebook so we can post the worst photos of our kids. Please join me at The Bearded Iris page to share yours.

Disclaimer – I received a free book in order to personally experience it for this review. As always, all opinions are my own. 


Does a Kegel a day keep the transvaginal mesh away?

I don’t honestly know. I just thought it sounded catchy.

Not that you want anything to sound “catchy” when you’re talking about vaginas, but you get my drift.


Can I start over?

(This is why I don’t do more sponsored product reviews.)

Starting over, NOW.

Hello lady friends. Do you or someone you love suffer from urinary incontinence or sexual dysfunction?

Then you might have weakened PC (pubococcygeus) muscles. These muscles are attached to the pelvic bone and act like a hammock, holding in our pelvic organs. The weakening of these muscles is a natural part of aging due to gravity, pregnancy, childbirth, and the axis of evil.

Don’t panic. You’ve got choices.

1.) Spend the rest of your life changing your bulky pee-pee pads or adult diapers every time you laugh or sneeze.

2.) Have surgery and hope the transvaginal mesh they use to hoist up your goodie bag doesn’t get recalled a few years later.

3.) Tone up your PC muscles with a regular Kegel routine.*

4.) There are probably other options, but I only have so many hours a day to devote to my vagina-related research.

I don’t know about you, but I’m totally going for the prize behind door number three, Monty. And I might possibly be the laziest woman on Earth, so that’s saying a lot.

Speaking of sexual dysfunction and laziness, this is my idea of “doing it doggie style.”

Sad but true.


I’d like to pause right here and remind you that I’m not a health expert in any way shape or form. Please do your research before embarking on any exercise or treatment program. 

I’ve been doing Kegels and teaching my friends about them for a long time, but I’ve recently suspected that my little “Kegel at stop signs and red lights” trick may not be enough to make a difference in my long-term health. Apparently that’s like doing three sit-ups during a Here Comes Honey Boo Boo commercial break and then going to refill your ice cream bowl.

Sorry, but I take my vagina more seriously than that, and you should too. (Your own vagina, that is—not mine. Thankyouverymuch.)

The folks at The Medical Center for Female Sexuality think Kegels are so important that we should be doing them for a minimum of 5-10 minutes every day! And they’ve created a way to help us do just that.

They sent me a copy of their Kegels Anywhere CD to review and I’ve been using it religiously for about two weeks.

The CD is designed so that you can gradually increase your workout as your PC muscles grow stronger. There is a four-minute Beginner Circuit, two five-minute circuits, and two ten-minute circuits.

Regardless of the amount of time you choose to devote to your daily Kegel workout, you can choose the type of background music to squeeze to: “Piano Dream” or “Smooth Jazz.” Personally, I prefer the “Piano Dream.” The “Smooth Jazz” tracks remind me of Kenny G and I don’t really want to be thinking about him when I’m rhythmically pulsing my lady junk. (No offense, Kenny G.)

The beginning of the CD has a very informative introduction. I think the voice-over artist speaks a little fast, but after you hear her spiel a couple of times, you don’t really need that part anymore.

One word of warning, take it from me and DO NOT listen to the Introduction or “How To Do Kegel Exercises” track in the car if your kids are with you. There’s a part when the speaker explains where the PC muscles are and suggests you can find them by “inserting a finger into your vagina.”

Long story short, Bucket Head is probably telling his Kindergarten teacher things like “My mommy does exercises with her bagina,” and “A bagina is like a pocket! You can stick things IN THERE! You shouldn’t stick things in your penis though. A penis is not a pocket like a bagina.”

(Sadly, that’s not even the weirdest conversation we had all week.)

Like any exercise CD, the voice-over guides you through each routine. The thing I like about it is that I can just follow her lead and not think about timing or repetitions. The five or ten minutes actually flies by and unlike my Jillian Michaels’ DVDs, I’m not looking at the clock and muttering a pox on her the whole time.

I’m pretty excited to report that over the past two weeks I have gradually increased my workout from the four-minute Beginner Circuit to the ten-minute circuit. A couple more weeks of this and I’ll be able to open beer bottles with my lady cave. I just don’t want to bulk up my vag muscles too much; that could lead to my vagizness wearing a muscle-tee at the gym and pounding protein shakes between reps. I draw the line, you know?

Please visit the website of The Medical Center for Female Sexuality for more information about Kegels or to purchase your own Kegels Anywhere CD.


*Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, and this is a sponsored post. Please do your own independent research before choosing a treatment plan for your aging lady bits. I also will not be held responsible if we find out ten years from now that Kegels are the Anti-Christ. I’m just sharing a potential resource. What you do with that information is up to you. 

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