Lifestyle news, features and reviews on Monsters and Critics. The latest from health and fitness, food and drink, fashion and more.

March 2015 Food Obsession: Colman’s Mustard


March 2015 Food obsession of the month: Colman’s MustardColman’s has been on my radar since I was 5 years old. The tin always fascinated me and the contents-finely powdered mustard that kicks serious butt when turned into a smooth creamy paste with water? Yes please. Mustard of all kinds are my favorite condiments anyways, but Colman’s kicks it to stratospheric heights.  Those are 16 ounce cans pictured above! BackgroundIn 1866, Queen Victoria bestowed Colman’s Mustard with the ultimate seal of approval: the Royal Warrant. It has been stocked in the Royal kitchen at Buckingham Palace ever since. In honor of […]

March 2015 Best Beauty, Fragrance and Skincare Finds

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March 2015 Best Beauty and Fragrance Finds sees some cosmetic veterans and some newcomers who address skincare and beauty head to toe for both men and women.Monthly, Monsters and Critics shines a spotlight on the best of the newest beauty products and services that turned our heads and impressed. We don’t love everything. We send back professional samples of items that do not make the cut. These items and services listed below were wonderful and all were made without harming animals.  They are also made without Parabens, Sulfates and Phthalates. After wading through many professional samples submitted for review, this month’s top […]

Cocktails For Easter Brunch, Part Two: Southern Comfort Caramel A Sidewinder

Southern Comfort - Caramel Comfort Hi Res

Interested in a buttered popcorn flavored cocktail?That’s the first impression we get when combining newcomer Southern Comfort Caramel with Sprite over ice. Weirdly compelling salty sweetness. More savory than you would imagine. A sidewinder of a spirit that is not at all expected. For those unaware, Southern Comfort is an American whiskey-flavored liqueur first developed in 1874 by a New Orleans bartender.One of the most significant new features to this new package is the unique icon on the neck and label proudly owning Southern Comfort’s position as a “category of one.” The new bottle shape draws from the brand’s heritage […]

Cocktails For Easter Brunch, Part One: Kahlúa Salted Caramel Is Incredible

Kahlua Salted Caramel Iced Coffee

Easter is coming, which means many things to many people. For us, we think about the fact Lent is over and we can eat chocolate and Easter Eggs… and what cocktails we will be whipping up to make for the adults while the kids are hunting for said eggs… The geniuses at Kahlúa, the classic rum and coffee liqueur, have put on their mad hatters and come up with a delicious newcomer to the mixer/liqueur market. At under $20 a bottle, it will become a favorite for those who adore the sweet and salty balance tinged with fresh coffee.Their latest […]

Natural Products Expo West Top Frozen Dessert Winner: Ciao Bella!

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It was a tough decision but one we had no trouble finally agreeing on: NYC Ciao Bella Gelato takes the prize from us, as gelato genius Chef Danilo Zecchin is constantly creating the most inventive, festive non GMO sorbettos and gelatos in the American marketplace. They were on display at the recent 35th annual Natural Products Expo West, the world’s largest natural, organic and healthy products event at the Anaheim Convention Center in California.The enormous event is our annual mecca to find and try the best in healthy foods, and discover new ingredients, packaging, technologies, equipment, and services for cutting-edge […]

Cocktail of the Month: Sexy Italian Pour, Versatile Amaro Lucano


Cocktail of the Month, March 2015: Amaro Lucano takes us to Italy, the land of the quaffable bitter, the ubiquitous Campari and other similar decorative and arty pours where you can either drink them neat, or craft a striking cocktail.Amaro Lucano is like nothing else, it slaps you with herbals, citrus, spice and green finishes, yet almost has a licorice quality. Not strong like Sambuca, but subtle and complex in its lingering flavor profile. Amaro is maddening to pin down, actually. Amaro is the Italian word for bitter.  Amaro Lucano was first made from a secret family recipe that has been handed […]

Kitchen Genius: BerryBreeze Mitigates Food Rot


Kitchen Genius March 2015: It has happened to us all, you buy a gorgeous basket of berries or a head of lettuce, then in a short amount of time, the white fuzz grows or the leaves are black and curling in spots. Many of us are juicing and that requires a lot of fresh vegetable and fruit storage in the fridge, but the race to use all the produce is on and if you forget for a few days, money is thrown out. We tested a new item – BerryBreeze – that sets up inside the shelf of the fridge […]

Evenflo 3-in-1 Combination Seat Contest


Evenflo 3-in-1 Combination Seat Contest:Ends March 24th 2015! Follow Monsters and Critics on Twitter and Evenflo on Twitter and like them on Facebook, and Tweet #babyneedsnewseat to both M&C and Evenflo – one random twitter follower will be selected! One prize sent out by the PR company and only in the continental USA! Evenflo’s Advanced Protection Series Transitions 3-in-1 Combination Seat transitions between three modes of use- from harnessed booster into high back booster to no back booster- to keep kids safe as they grow.The seats extended use capabilities consist of: 5-point harness for 22-65 lbs., high-back booster for 30-110 […]

Tostitos Offers Any ‘Chip’ Free Dip On March 23


To celebrate National Chip and Dip Day on Monday, March 23rd, Tostitos is giving one free dip to anyone in America named Chip.Chip is one of those derivative “Charles” or “Christopher” nicknames that very few people are named, so they won’t be out much dough. That’s right, Chips across America are encouraged to visit, where they can register to receive a free Tostitos dip with proof of their snack-like name. Tostitos has partnered with perhaps the most iconic “Chip”, Erik Estrada of the popular 1970s TV show “CHiPs” to create a fun and humorous announcement video celebrating fans all […]

Baby Needs A New Car Seat, Evenflo’s 3-in-1 Debuts


One thing NOT to hand down is an old car seat when a new baby is on the horizon. While these intentions are good, the practical truth is that car seats for babies and toddlers are constantly improving and these safety devices experience wear and tear, the kind that age does not fix. Buckle burns, seat toppling and pinched legs do not need to happen ever again. Your child’s life depends on an up to date seat that can handle all sorts of traffic mishaps.Which is why manufacturer Evenflo created their new 3-in-1 car seat. Just in time for spring […]

Why Luxe Hideaway Rehabs Won’t Cure Scott Disick


In Touch Weekly is reporting that Keeping Up With The Kardashians’ cast member Scott Disick, Kourtney Kardashian’s partner, voluntarily checked himself into a posh rehab clinic in Costa Rica for his addiction issues where he was treated with with a controversial drug called Ibogaine.They are also reporting he is being remunerated for his stay. Dr. Walter Thomas, the consulting medical expert for The Discovery House Treatment Center in Los Angeles, explained what Ibogaine is and the dangers of treating addition with another addictive drug.  Yesterday we interviewed Dr. Thomas about the dangers of “dabbing.”“Ibogaine is a naturally occurring psychoactive substance found in plants […]

How To Make Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Large Batch Green Juice


Have a HELL-thy Holiday! No green beer! Time to think about your waistline thanks to chef Gordon Ramsay, who goes green for St. Paddy’s with his St. Patrick’s Day Juice!  Ramsay is all about keeping healthy and fit. Courtesy of the Chef himself, here is what you need:Go Made in the USA with solid state, no plastic parts CHAMPION JUICER – the beefy yet quiet masticating juicer that does everything. This beast can handle the batching out of massive quantities of juice without overheating:BATCH RECIPE5 BUSHEL KALE2 HEADS CELERY12 GRANNY SMITH APPLES, DICED8 ASIAN PEARS, DICED1 BUSHEL PARSLEYLEMON JUICE TO TASTEMETHOD:Run […]

Cocktail Of The Morning! 2 Gingers Refreshing Alternative To St. Paddy’s Green Beer


Cocktail Of The Morning! 2 Gingers Refreshing Alternative To St. Paddy’s Green Beer!2 GINGERS® is a smooth Irish whiskey and the spirit founded in Minnesota by Irishman and former owner of one of the top-selling Irish whiskey bars, Kieran Folliard. Kieran has created one of the fastest-growing Irish whiskeys in the United States. The 80-proof blend is twice-distilled and aged for four years, creating a smooth, malty and slightly sweet taste followed by a tingle of honey and citrus. It also features spicy wood notes that carry a hint of caramel and vanilla to the finish.Folliard founded 2 Gingers at […]

Dabbing, The New Meth?


Leave it to some overachievers to take a natural herb and make it nearly lethal.  There are many people under physician’s care who smoke (or ingest) dried marijuana plant to alleviate stress, pain and neurological disorders. Of course, there are those who feel all marijuana in any form is to be avoided. If you are unaware, Butane hash oil (BHO)—aka dab, dabs, dabbing, honey oil, wax, oil, shatter, or budder—is a potent marijuana/hash oil concentrate that can exceed 80% THC content. Most educators, parents and even some law enforcement are playing catch-up on this substance that anyone can easily tuck […]

Foodie Heaven: Natural Products Expo 2015, What We Loved!


Our favorite food convention has left SoCal, but we have had a week to regroup and highlight our taste-tested picks for you to seek out and try in the grocery store! Many companies were recognized with awards at the recent Natural Products Expo West 2015.  The official Natural Products Expo West “Best of West: Press Award” went to Justin’s Mini Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.Runner ups include: Noosa Yoghurt, LLC’s Vanilla Yoghurt and Brandstorm, Inc.’s Dark Chocolate Covered Chia Seeds.  The winner of the NEXT Accelerator Natural Products Business School Pitch Slam was Loliware.Several key themes were predominant. Packaging innovations: […]

Can’t Get To Hawaii? The Volcanic Water Comes To You

BOTTLE (Reflection)

Can’t Get To Hawaii? The Volcanic Water Comes To YouDrink This Not That: Waiakea Hawaiian Volcanic Water is heading stateside.  This is not bottled in some soft drink plant but comes from the source in Mauna Loa. The blue bottle is squared and sits there, beckoning, and damn it if the water inside doesn’t taste amazing. There’s a big push by some consumer groups saying bottled water is a total rip-off, but trust me, not all bottled water is the same and if you have to buy bottled, be smart about it. Waiakea water tastes crisper and what in my […]

Starting A New Small Business? Five Errors That Will Kneecap You


The dream of launching a business runs deep in the American psyche, but more often than not those dreams go bust.Half of new U.S. companies fail in their first five years, according to Gallup. Expand the time-frame out to 10 years and the failure rate reaches 70 percent. That’s not surprising, says Randy H. Nelson, an entrepreneur who has built multi-million dollar companies. The skills it takes to start a business aren’t necessarily the same as those it takes to keep that business afloat. What is surprising, though? In the U.S., more businesses are now being shut down (470,000) than […]

Christina Aguilera’s Fashion Secret? Mother Tucker Leggings

Christina Aquilera-MT Leggings

We see all the celebrities wearing the Belly Bandit tummy wraps and corsets, even Khloe Kardashian wears a corset when she works out. All of this compression garment aid actually helps your own muscles and fascia “remember” where they are supposed to be after a pregnancy and childbirth. They also help with posture and keeping you from overeating! Pop star Christina Aguilera has had two kids now so she knows how to bounce that body back quickly. The pretty mom who can belt out amazing hit songs is one of the many celebs who wears a certain legging all over […]

A Change In Thinking Can Lead To A Change In Behavior And Results


Lousy attitude, lousy life? That’s the premise in a new book by expert Darlene Hunter, a renowned speaker and author of “Win-Ability, Navigating through Life’s Challenges with a Winning Attitude.”One thing you can always count on: Bad times will come and they will go, it is HOW you deal with adversity that makes a survivor and one much more healthy in mind and body. People who let themselves get swamped by bad news and problems don’t fare well. You can change this pattern if you find yourself in Debbie Downerville.  Hard times that sap your energy and leave you frustrated […]

One Shot, Two Shot, Three Shot Score! Wellness Delivered In Potent Doses

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One Shot, Two Shot, Three Shot Score! Wellness Delivered In Potent DosesThere’s a trend right now in the juicing and wellness world, where one or two ingredients are combined to specifically address certain ailments and ward off disease. Think preventative, preemptive strikes against everything from cancer to diabetes, inflammation to weight gain. There’s a juice for all of that and then some. You don’t lollygag with these powerful concoctions, you shoot ‘em down fast and get about your day! That’s why I adore wellness shots – freshly pressed short list ingredients for shot glass sized slammers. Shots are quick hits […]

Cocktail of the Month: Newcomer Chivas Regal Extra’s Three Winners, Recipes

chivas extra

 March 2015: Cocktail of the Month expands to include newcomer Chivas Regal®, the world’s first luxury whisky, in the newest blend to hit U.S. markets in eight years – Chivas Regal Extra. Chivas Regal Extra can be used to elevate some of the world’s most classic cocktails. The nutty sweetness, spiciness and deep rich amber color of Chivas Regal Extra raise the bar and put a new twist on classics such as the ‘Old Fashioned.’  This blend is a complex, spicy and not too smoky beast that sips well, and makes a compelling cocktail. The new blend has a fruity, […]

Pigmentation and Premature Aging Woes? New Japanese Line Has You Covered


Pigmentation of the skin, like wrinkles, is a give away for aging skin. Daily sun exposure is the catalyst. During pregnancy, the dreaded melasma is referred to as chloasma gravidarum and colloquially, “the mask of pregnancy.” Hormonal changes and stress combined with genetic predisposition can cause melasma, and then you can really have a problem on your hands.The new Japanese skincare system Equitance is geared for people who have every day hyperpigmentation from sun damage or the skin disorder melasma which can be brought on by pregnancy. “The evidence of hyper-pigmentation is just one way our skin reveals age and […]

Cal-Mex Fast Food Light Years Ahead of Tex-Mex Chains


I’m about to piss off a ton of Tex-Mex fans.When Americans speak about Mexican food, the predominant Tex-Mex is referred to lovingly, with Cal-Mex cooking being given the stink eye by Texans for the preponderance of seafood and cilantro, heaviness on lime juice, and being less, well…cheesy. Believe me, after moving to Texas from New England, a virtual desert of Mexican anything, Tex-Mex was my introduction to the cuisine in general… and I thought it was amazing. Chips and salsa brought to the table before you order food? Unheard of. After years of visiting and dining at Pappacitos, El Fenix, […]

Natural Products Expo West 2015 Draws Star Power, Celebrity Chefs, Day 1

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The 2015 Natural Products Expo West kicked off yesterday, with a limited group of spaces for people to set up booths and start showing off the goods.KIND Bars and their #kindawesome Show Stopping Snack boxes were stacked up for all of us registrants, a mix of press, buyers, brokers, retailers, manufacturers, exhibitors and others descended on the Anaheim Convention Center to get our badges and begin the massive slog in what I refer to as Comic-Con for foodies. KIND is debuting multiple extensions to its popular KIND Healthy Grains® Bars line, bound to push the boundaries in the granola bar category and […]

St Patrick’s Day, Teeling Style: Dublin Whiskey Festival Irish Coffee Winner Recipe!


As a former resident of Boston, a city that goes positively bonkers for St. Patrick’s Day, I know a thing or two about a proper Yankee way to celebrate the holiday. One of the time honored classic drinks to knock back is the classic Irish Coffee, a concoction of freshly brewed dark coffee, real cream done just right (not really whipped and not flat either) and a sugar cube infused with a solid shot of Irish whiskey. Dublin has traditionally been the heart of the Irish whiskey industry. One of the best craft distillers there is Teeling, created by one […]