ROBIN’S PICKS & GIVEAWAYS: Sweet Smell of Summer


It is compact and has powerful features.  The Vivitar DVR 850W has excellent video and still image quality.  The DVR 850W is waterproof up to 5 meters. Rechargeable lithium ion battery, 8x Digital Zoom, and a bright 2.4″ LCD make this DVR ideal even for the beginner.  My nine year old has been able to operate it, and we’re really enjoying its easy of use.  Great for travel or every day use, even at the pool.  It’s becoming a staple in our family!  Visit   


 Sibu Beauty Sea Buckthorn Replenishing Night Cream enhances the nightly repairing process of skin with an advanced, luxurious and all-natural renewal formula.  Specifically designed to protect skin’s natural lipid barrier and stimulate the skin cell renewal cycle, the freshly fragranced cream helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and assists in taming visible signs of sun damage. Skin awakens intensely hydrated and replenished.  This cream feels great!  I’m a huge skincare fan, and would definitely try other Sibu products.  You can feel the quality, and your skin drinks in the moisture!  Visit 

GIVEAWAY: Drop a note to, and indicate why you’d like to win a Sibu sample.  Please include your full name and mailing address.  You will be notified if chosen. 


Winning Moves UK Ltd has announced the launch of a London 2012 edition of the popular word game Bananagrams. The London 2012 version stays true to the classic game while including five additional colored “joker” tiles featuring various Olympic sport pictograms.

Bananagrams is a fast and fun anagram tile game that requires no pencil, paper or board. It comes in a cute, small, portable banana-shaped pouch and is addictive play for kids age seven to 107 at home or on the go. Players race against each other to build crossword grids and use all their letter tiles. The London 2012 edition of Bananagrams, (distributed by Winning Moves UK Ltd), is sold at Target and select independent retailers.

Affordable gift or stocking stuffer, and great summer travel game.  Challenging, yet easy to learn.  The company also makes a host of other games including PAIRSinPEARS, Appletters, ZIP-IT and Fruitominoes.  Each one is packaged so cute, it’s hard not to collect them all.  The Bananagrams’ family of games is available at Barnes & Noble,, Target and most specialty toy and book stores. 


Coty Beauty has introduced a limited edition fragrance — GUESS Seductive Sunkissed. A twist on the timeless GUESS Seductive eau de toilette, this is a refreshing summer-worthy scent. 

Created by Symrise perfumer Bernard Ellena, GUESS Seductive Sunkissed is a floriental woody musk. As the sun rises, sparkling, delectable top notes of pear, raspberry, black currant blossom and pink grapefruit dawn. The day unfurls into afternoon with seductive mid notes of jasmine, Brazilian orchid and vanilla. Finally, warm, sensual base notes of musk, teide violet and macassar ebony quietly linger on the skin long after the sun has gone down.

 The beautiful bottle makes a statement, adorned with a flirty lipstick charm from the GUESS accessory collection. The eye catching carton is  a graphic black and white polka dot pattern, sealed with a kiss.  Sold at GUESS retail stores, perfumery chains, department stores and  Makes for a beautiful gift or something you can enjoy yourself.  I’m a fragrance junkie, and welcome this new addition to my collection.

GIVEAWAY: Drop a note to, and indicate why you’d like to win a bottle of GUESS Seductive Sunkissed.  Please include your full name and mailing address.  You will be notified if chosen.


Fresh, airy and optimistic, Beyoncé Pulse Summer Edition captures the essence of a playful, sun-drenched summer day.

Inspired by Beyoncé’s infectious positive energy, this limited edition fragrance seduces the senses with the same invigorating sensuality as the original Pulse Eau de Parfum. A lighter and fresher rendition, Pulse Summer Edition’s orchestra of fruity and floral notes makes it the perfect scent for the warm, joyful, flirty summer months.  Beyoncé Pulse Summer Edition sells at select perfumery chains and fine department stores.  This is a lovely on-the-go fragrance for scorching summer days….you’ll smell good and feel refreshed. Visit

GIVEAWAY: Drop a note to, and indicate why you’d like to win a bottle of BEYONCE’ PULSE SUMMER EDITION.  Please include your full name and mailing address.  You will be notified if chosen.


The Avon Skin So Soft Bug Guard collection is the go-to choice for insect repellency, featuring a wide range of products that are tough on bugs but soft on you.  I can’t say enough about these products.  They are my summertime savior when I’m out ‘n about, particularly at our community pool which tends to be a haven for mosquitoes. I’m thrilled to learn of the new anti-itch spray which provides much-needed relief.  And, I love the combination of sunscreen and insect repellent.  The Cool ‘n Fabulous Disappearing Color Lotion is fun and great for kids, so you can make sure they’re fully covered.

All products are DEET-free. Skin So Soft Bug Guard insect repellents are suitable for the entire family.  Avon’s insect repellents have the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval and contain one of two EPA-registered active ingredients, IR3535® or Picaridin. The entire collection includes:

  • ·Bug Guard Plus IR3535® Expedition SPF 30 ($14-$16) – Combined sun and insect protection in one product and available in an Aerosol spray and Pump spray.  Strong and long-lasting repellency against mosquitoes, deer ticks, sand flies, gnats, no-seeums and biting midges.
  • ·Bug Guard Plus Picaridin ($14-$16) – Protection during dusk & dawn, which is when mosquitoes are more active.  Repels deer ticks that may transmit Lyme disease and mosquitoes that may carry West Nile virus.  Available as an Aerosol Spray, Pump Spray and travel-friendly Towelettes.  These Towelettes are the bomb!  I throw them in my pocketbook and pool bag, and I’m good to go!  Great to take along on a summer hike, boat ride, etc.  A must have for any mom!!
  • · Bug Guard Plus IR3535® SPF 30 Lotions ($14) – Repel mosquitoes, deer ticks, black flies, sand flies, gnats, no-seeums and biting midges.  Aloe and Vitamin E-enriched formulas are available as a Gentle Breeze Lotion and Cool ‘n Fabulous Disappearing Color Lotion.


Chronic pain, in particular, impacts 116 million people nationwide, according to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. To help address their needs, Wahl, the company that introduced the first electric massager nearly 100 years ago, has created a line of hand-held massagers designed specifically for pain management. The line, which includes the Deep Tissue Percussion Massager and Deluxe Heat Therapy Massager, are bigger and more powerful than most hand-held massagers and offer customized relief through a combination of interchangeable heads and variable intensity control. 

While it is well known that massage therapy helps alleviate muscle pain and tension, a recent study published in Science Translational Medicine suggests that massage therapy can now be associated with muscle recovery and, potentially, muscle growth.

A recent poll commissioned by Wahl indicates consumers are already realizing the connection between massage and pain management. According to the results, nearly 60 percent of massager owners report using the device for pain management as opposed to relaxation and relieving muscle tension. In addition, nearly 70 percent are combining massage and other forms of pain management rather than relying on one or the other.

Wahl’s line of pain management massagers includes:

  • Deep Tissue Therapeutic Massager – The Wahl Deep Tissue Percussion massager supports active lifestyles by offering both all-around and targeted muscle relief, even deep down. Its combination of superior power– up to 3,350 pulses per minute—four interchangeable heads and variable intensity control allow for a heavy-duty massage and customized relief. 
  • Heat Therapy Massager –The Wahl Heat Therapy massager features heat therapy and nine unique interchangeable heads to help increase blood flow to sore muscles. Variable intensity control plus a turbo setting allows users to dial in during use.  I had the opportunity to try this model, and it’s wonderful after a grueling gym workout or rigorous laps in the pool. Goes a long way compared to my heating pad.  I love that I can easily pack it for use on vacation, and even to lend it to friends.  Makes a great, unique healing giftMy son and husband love it…in fact we do battle for it!
  • Deluxe Therapy Therapeutic Massager – Big and powerful, the Wahl Deluxe Therapy massager features three oversized attachments that allow for a customized massage for different parts of the body – specializing in back, knees, neck and shoulder treatments. Two speed variations offer fast and soothing relief or deep muscle penetration. 
  • Flex Therapy Rechargeable Massager – Travel ready and ready in a pinch, the compact Flex Therapy massager allows for all-over body massage without any cords to worry about. The long-lasting rechargeable battery offers more than two hours of continuous run time and full-size power for fast relief. A flexible neck and seven therapy attachments make it one of the most versatile massagers available. 


 Indian cooking is often considered complicated to make and unhealthy, with too much butter and cream. Consequently, Indian cuisine is rarely made part of a home cook’s repertoire.  But now, in her second healthy Indian recipe collection, VEGAN INDIAN COOKING: 140 SIMPLE AND HEALTHY VEGAN RECIPES (Agate Surrey, 978-1-57284-130-7, July 6, 2012, $19.95), Indian cuisine expert and cookbook author Anupy Singla explains that flavorful Indian dishes can be simple to cook at home.

A follow-up to her bestselling The Indian Slow Cooker, VEGAN INDIAN COOKING contains 140 of Singla’s adaptations of popular and familiar Indian recipes.  Using vegan ingredients and traditional Indian spices, Singla has recreated the warm, full, delectable flavors Indian cuisine is known for while keeping each recipe simple and healthful.

Singla is an award-winning journalist turned foodie turned author, whose first cookbook, The Indian Slow Cooker, has been the No. 1 Indian cookbook on Amazon since its release in Sept. 2010. Singla comes from a Punjabi family passionate about food and has perfected her technique studying in various home and commercial kitchens across India. Singla’s recipes are easy to follow and many are accompanied by full-color, mouth-watering photographs. My family loves Indian food, and this book is such a great addition to my cooking collection.  I’m often reluctant to tackle cooking Indian food, but this book makes it more doable and even exciting!

ABOUT THE AUTHORAnupy Singla was the morning face for Tribune-owned CLTV for many years, and has reported from the Chicago trading floors for Bloomberg News and WGN-TV. Her food-related writing has appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Wall Street Journal. Singla’s passion for good, healthy food convinced her to leave daily television reporting to teach her young girls how to appreciate and cook wholesome Indian food. Find Anupy on Facebook at and follow her on Twitter at



 Note: Thanks to the featured companies for providing product samples.