Influenster: Slim Fast Bar, Crisps, and Shake VoxBox Review #ItsYourThing #Influenster

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Being part of the Influenster network, allows members to qualify for VoxBoxes. My latest one arrived in late December, which featured an array of Slim Fast branded products. Being the new year we all want to lose weight or at the very least get rid of that holiday poundage brought on by cookies and treats. I gained 6 pounds in the last week of December because I behaved from Thanksgiving to Christmas but once Santa came, he brought treats, candy, chocolates (I’m surprised I did not consume the stocking) and it seems I ate them all between Christmas and New Year’s Eve!

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I’m pretty good at restricting myself and believe with all the advancements in food today, that leaving food as it is, meaning less to zero processing allows us to eat pretty much anything (with portion control) and not suffer the consequences. I eat my weight in salads and I’m not even a fan of most dressings, as I think they tend to drown the freshness out of the produce as it is. I love avocados and find them to be nature’s dressing. They are creamy and never ruin a salad like a fake creamy dressing can. I have those days though where I am in a snacking mood or just running short on time, so I pick the brands I trust carefully. I look for meal replacement or snack products that are not full of fake sweeteners or loaded with sodium. Finding real ingredients is “my thing”, so let’s see how the Slim Fast VoxBox did.

The Slim Fast VoxBox included:

  • SlimFast® Advanced Ready to Drink Shake in Vanilla flavor
  • SlimFast® Advanced Nutrition 100 Calorie Snacks in Sour Cream & Onion Baked Crisps flavor
  • SlimFast® Advanced Nutrition Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Meal Replacement Bars
  • SlimFast® Advanced Nutrition 100 Calorie Snacks Drizzled Crisps in Cinnamon Bun Swirl flavor

 

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First, I tried the items that were easy to munch on and that was the Sour Cream and Onion Baked Crisps to satisfy the salty urges and for the sweet cravings, I tried the Drizzled Crisps in Cinnamon Bun Swirl. First thing I noticed with both bagged products, was the large amount of “dustings” in the bag. I call that the powdery and broken up bits in a bag that barely resemble the whole product you see pictured in the front of the bag. Like the posters for drive-thru burgers, my product did not resemble the picture on the bag. The Sour Cream and Onion crisps had the higher amount of “dustings” that I wondered if I should just use the contents as a batter coating! I taste a pinch-full of what these crisps use to be and the flavor and texture resemble closely to those chips that come in a canister….but more broken up. The odd part was when you ate the product, it tasted good enough to satisfy a chip craving but when you drank water, you had an odd aftertaste that lingered. The taste was not like potato or the sour cream and onion coating, think more milk solids or dry milk and it was what it tasted closely too. Each bag is 100 calories and states it comes with 18 to 20 crisps. I am not kidding when if I say I got 4 whole ones and that is counting the ones that were 3/4 whole. The breakage takes away from the enjoyment and if you get past that, the aftertaste did me in. I did not finish the bag but I figured that means I consumed less calories!

 

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Next, came the Cinnamon Bun Swirl crisps. These were a little more in one piece but the drizzle on top was mostly on the bottom of the bag. The sweetness is not overwhelming and the cinnamon had a nice balance to it. Again, the odd aftertaste was present but you could overlook this one more. The crisps had a pleasant crunch and like some products on the market, these did not leave you with a cotton mouth after you ate them. I could actually see myself picking up a bag if a sweet craving hits me that is overwhelming because a bag is just 100 calories for 20 to 22 crisps. These were also 30% whole in the bag!

 

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SlimFast’s Ready to drink shake that comes in an easy to go bottle. The bottle idea I like because sometimes messing with powder and a scoop can be a pain, but I usually take a bottle water (or almond milk) and just scoop into a shaker bottle when I am on the go. I then combine the ingredients (wet/dry) when I am ready to consume them, so this way I don’t end up with chocolate powder that found it’s way out of a plastic baggy and went poof in my purse! I made sure to try the drink cold from the fridge and upon opening the bottle, the Vanilla scent is not very Vanilla like. I take a sip and the drink is about 4 out of ten when it comes to overall taste and flavor. I have had much better and this drink had an odd thickness to it. I made sure to shake it just in case and the thickness left a film in my mouth that was not very vanilla or real milk tasting, or even a nut milk flavor! It took away from the enjoyment and even with time, I could not get use to it. Being able to get 20 grams of protein on the go is a plus, but when I priced it out, weighed in the flavor/texture and the ingredients, I would still opt for a premium powder mix that is usually higher in protein. I did fix the flavor by adding part of a scoop of powdered Peanut Butter and Chocolate, and that is when I noticed that my PB and Chocolate powder had a better quality of chocolate and real flavor than what the Slim Fast drink.  I then felt I wasted a scoop of the “good stuff” on trying to make the not so good stuff better! I also noticed there is natural and artificial flavors but no where but the title of the drink says Vanilla.  It’s called Vanilla Creme but nowhere is Vanilla listed! I then stopped looking at the ingredients because they made my tummy rumble more.  😦

 

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Last but not least, the bar in Dark Chocolate and Sea salt. This is a meal replacement bar and has 10 grams of protein and 200 calories.  Ninety of those calories come from fat and the protein derives from Soy, not Whey. I look at the list and there are so many other bars on the market with better core ingredients and even protein impact, and with less fat! This bar is super sweet and off in taste, plus costs more than the better bars. The Dark Chocolate has a waxy texture and is of poor quality. I did not go past the one bite because my calories and fat matters. The bar is filled with syrups derived from everything from brown rice, tapioca and simple cane. They added Inulin as a source of fiber, plus Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil to hold it all together. Let me add the above comes before the Cocoa itself and Oats was still listed before the chocolate! They might as well called the flavored Sweet Oats-y. The only positive is that it has Almonds as a first ingredients but I felt they were ruined by the rest!

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Final Verdict:

I love the VoxBoxes and Influenster!  I am not so in love with Slim Fast.  I think back and they are a company that his been around a long time but I feel they are always playing catch up and still stuck in the motto of “portion control baggies”.  Most people that are serious about losing weight and/or managing their weight, can portion out an individual serving.  They sell containers to baggies to help you out that serve as a carrying vessel and probably keep the products in more decent shape.  You can use a scale or like I do, I still use a scale but I test myself first to see if I can visually guess-estimate on my own and then verify with the scale.  I notice I usually serve myself a little under the 1 serving a packaging lists.  I can do math, so I don’t need someone doing it for me.  Next, the ingredients used are “old school” but not in a good way.  Cheap sugars, bad oils, artificial flavors and dyes, and poor protein sources is not what I call healthy eating.  Yes, you get less calories but that is barely the entire picture when eating well.  You need good fats, a good source of protein and more to stay energized.  Yes, the Slim Fast products come with vitamins and minerals but again a multi-vitamin can do that for you if that is what you desire!  I looked at the products as a whole and asked myself is this a balanced diet?  Slim Fast does not state just eat our food solely but the 1 meal or 2 real meals you add in a day should not make-up for everything you did not get.  I want energy and I’m not even asking for a boost of it from products, just keep me going in the day.  If I started with a shake, ate a bar for lunch (maybe 1 or 2 crisp snacks) and then ate dinner…..well, when my body is suppose to be winding down is when my body got the better fuel.  Yeah, that did not sit well with me!  Then I saw the price points because convenience comes at a price and Slim Fast was more expensive than the “golden dietary products” on the market.  Um, I’m paying more to eat less better is what entered my head.  Yeah, I prefer paying the bills Santa brought and managing my weight with other products than paying for products that are sub-par both in how they were made and how they came out of a bag!

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Slim Fast and Influenster.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

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Derma-E : Now available at Target Stores! #NoticeTheLotus in 2016 Derma-E Skincare #Review

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I hope everyone is having a Happy New Year. With a new year, means new products for 2016 and this is always something I look forward to when it comes to new trends and beauty related products.

I reviewed Derma-E products in late 2015 and I am happy to report they will be starting the new year with us! This also means new changes and Derma-E will also now be available at Target stores, both on-line and in stores. If you have the Red Card from Target, you not only save 5% with every Derma-E purchase, but you can also subscribe to get timely delivered products (refills) and save an additional 5% on top of that! You combine that with any rebate/money-back program, the savings will be non-stop as will be looking younger, which always makes me feel better. You add a cartwheel deal from Target, or if you purchase a Target beauty box, they always come with a $3 off $15 purchase coupon…….well, I get excited when I see my receipts from Target because I want to save as much as I can! It has become a challenge for this girl!

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Great Coupons that come with the Beauty Boxes from Target

Derma-E sent me 4 products to try that will be hitting Target stores this January:

Shopping at Target just got better for me and I am guilty of bargain shopping but it’s only a real bargain if the product works. With Derma-E, I get the best of both worlds, the products are not super expensive, so any additional savings just adds up instantly and the products perform well. I don’t leave feeling guilty because I wanted to take better care of myself and with Derma-E, this just does not happen. The company is open about what their products contain and also do not oversell how they perform. You know what every bottle, tube and jar will be able to do for you without any “photoshopped like” picture that will never yield what real world results do. Honesty, in the beauty world has always been hiding behind an asterisk and you will notice the Lotus is Honest. I don’t have to flip a Derma-E product to find what that little star by a statement really means, so when I first tried the products, I instantly gained a new respect for the company. I then tried the products and it shifted how I shopped for beauty items (again). I already knew a price tag was not an indicator of results/performance, but companies change formulations and what was a bargain once, stops and then the product you relied on stopped working too! It’s the same with beauty products as it is with food products, always read the label and know what it means.

We finally have a real Winter in Southern California and it has been cold, windy, dry and now wet. My skin has been feeling the stress from both the climate and the holidays. All because the calendar flipped and Christmas was a month ago, I am still in week one trying to box anything that glitters. So, I am trying to box last month while dealing with a new one. You would think with every passing year I would get use to what to expect, but I don’t. New traditions, dropping old ones and so forth is just a juggling game that I pretend I do well. My motto was not to get overwhelmed this year and I thankfully took it easier but still experienced some stress. I started to skip on masks, peels, and then moisturizing. Events meant I was trying new looks, new make-up and now my face is as tired as I feel. I still want to pretend I can juggle, so I started 2016 with new face products from Derma-E.

 

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Derma-E Firming DMAE Eye Lift- This product comes in a tube and I like that because it means less contamination or air that can affect how a product performs, plus easy to just toss into my drawer when storing. I eat Goji berries every morning, well now so does my skin! The product has a patented ingredient called InstaLift, which is Goji berry glycopeptides, which are rich with antioxidants. A small amount used twice a day is all that is needed. This is an eye cream that not only fights signs of aging, but also helps smooth away any that you may already have. It works double duty as preventing, slowing down and helping you with any fine lines that sneaked by! The formula is light enough to use under cosmetics but provides enough moisture through out the day, no matter the season!  Available at Target for $21.99, before any discounts apply.

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In case you have never seen a Goji Berry 🙂

 

 

 

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Derma-E Firming DMAE Moisturizer- Just like the eye cream, this product gives you the same benefits but this is formulated for use on the entire face. The moisturizer hydrates, which helps with elasticity that is visible to the eye and also touch. Your skin improves with daily use and as long as I gave the product about 5 minutes to absorb before applying make-up, I did not experience any issues with application.  Available at Target for $18.99, before any discounts apply.

 

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Derma-E Hydrating Day Creme- This little creme is my everyday go-to moisturizer. Any little dry patch that an acne gel caused, this creme will fix in no time. I suffer from blemishes and breakouts when my stress goes up, so I apply topical acne treatments that kill the pimple but everything around it too. I try to dot with a q-tip but that never works and I flip so much in my sleep that I am lucky I never ended up with acne anything in my eye! The Hydrating creme from Derma-E will even out the skin’s color and any little “peelies” of skin will either go back and stay with the rest of the party, or I can simply rub softly enough that they will come off. I then can look normal and like nothing happened. The moisture is retained all day, so come noon I don’t look how I did when I woke up.  Available at Target for $23.99, before any discounts apply.

 

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Derma-E Hydrating Night Creme- I started a new technique where I apply a light layer of night cream around the healthy edge of my skin, that is between the pimple I want to kill.  I then apply the dot of acne gel onto the pimple itself and this has reduced the side effects of redness to peeling that would be the end result of what would happen to the skin closest to the blemish.  This Night creme created a barrier of protection and kept my healthy skin safe.  I also found this creme to work well enough on my skin that when I needed extra hydration, I would add a few dots to my other moisturizer to pump up the effects.  Great for around the lips after exfoliating because we tend to neglect that area between our skin and lips.  I always treat my lips to achieve smooth results but I noticed as I age, that edge where I apply lip liner……well it could always be smoother!  Available at Target for $25.99, before any discounts apply.

Connect with Derma-E at Target by visiting them at:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Derma E.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

Heck That’s Hot: Monthly Subscription Box #Review

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We always enjoy subscription boxes because they introduce us to new brands and even new foods. Like with gift baskets, I find most subscription boxes have more down time where maybe 1 to 2 items are fabulous and the others are duds. You then have companies, which add so much little filler that getting a real sized item is impossible.

Not with Heck That’s Hot!

I love spice and can tolerate heat very well. My only caveat is that the heat better bring some flavor and make the food worthy of eating. Empty calories to me, also means eating something that is not great but you are eating it to make whatever you spent on it not be wasted. I can state that Heck That’s Hot provided a box filled with items that were full sized and the individual size (i.e. one serving) products were included in multiples. Yup, you are not trying to share a one-bite chocolate piece between a family of four! Some of the products I was familiar with when it came to the manufactures like Lindt chocolates. I also liked that there was care in packaging. The parcel was double boxed and the items were safely packed. Even the chips were not a mess and that also means care is shown and you not only want that when a box is being sent to you, but it’s something I seek when I give boxes as a gift. Heck That’s Hot will not make you look poorly in that aspect either and I like that they take pride and care in how they handle products.  Hey, I got chocolate sent that was not even melted and I reside in California!

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Now, Let’s See what you Get:

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The Better Chip in Jalapeno Flavor-

This a company I have seen and heard of but never actually tasted their products.  The chips are made with real ingredients making them simple but so tasty.  You see real jalapeno pieces and these are not green little flecks.  I’m talking about diced jalapeno that is mixed into corn masa, which is used to make these delicious round shaped chips.  They deliver heat and crunch, plus they are not a salty mess.  What’s not to love?

 

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Van Holten’s Hot Mama Pickle-

This item made us laugh when we saw it.  It’s a large size pickle and not your everyday product, so I love that Heck That’s Hot included it.  I love firecrackers and this pickle is like the big version of them.  We refrigerated the pickle and I first took a slice to see how it tasted and it was a pleasing flavor, you get that pucker power from the brine but the spice is good tasting.  The pickle also has a good texture and crunch!  You get a heat that is zesty but not over the top.  I made a spread for burgers using the pickle (diced).  Very simple with Mayo, Chipotle powder, and the Hot Mama Pickle.  I even have 1/2 left to enjoy as-is or in another recipe.  I’m thinking this one would wake up any tater’ salad.

 

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Lindt Chocolate Squares in Chili Flavor-

Okay, I have had these little squares in what I thought was every flavor…..I was wrong.  The base is dark chocolate and chili extract.  I have had spiced hot chocolate drinks and even Mexican chocolates but these are nothing like that.  The chocolate used is velvety smooth and because it’s dark, it has sharp notes but the chili pepper is not in flake form or anything grainy within the square itself.  Just smoothness and the spice is almost pepper (as in peppercorn) and it just intensifies the cocoa notes.  That is all.  It’s sort of like a play of salt on chocolate and what that does to your taste buds.  I really enjoyed it and will seek this chocolate out due to the intense flavor it delivered!

 

I always look at boxes and their worth is also measured by what I can make with them and this item along with the following two, I was able to create a meal and still have left-overs.  That is what makes a subscription box worth it to me and Heck That’s Hot provided quality products that go beyond just a few dips with a chip, put jar in the fridge to just throw it out 2 weeks later.  We actually enjoyed cooking with what was provided in the box!

 

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Julia’s Sassy Dip Mix in Chipotle Seasoning-

It’s a dip, a mix to even a spice packet.  The seasonings provide a base that can be used in sauces, combined with meats to even making spreads.  This allows me to use the product more than once and that is more bang for your buck!  I found blue corn taco shells that just again was adding something new to the everyday rotation.  We have had blue corn chips but never taco shells, and it’s hard finding something not enhanced with dyes, so you bet I grabbed them when it was just simple blue corn.  I had fresh ground chicken and beef in the fridge, so I made Tacos using Julia’s Sassy Dip mix.  I tasted the seasoning and it was a little sweeter than I desired, so I just added more chipotle flakes and powder.  Some red Anaheim Chilies, onion and you simply brown each meat in a separate pan.  That simple.  I love how easy it was to make!

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Habanero Pepper Salsa From Hell in Beyond Hot- 

I prepared myself and I love Habanero to the point I use the actual pepper to make a Habanero Rice.  Everyone thinks the orange little pepper is just an innocent sweet pepper and then it just hits you.  Habaneros have great flavor and are very versatile when cooking.  I got tired (bored really) of jalapenos that tasted so mild anymore because it’s hard to find spicy jalapenos.  We opened the jar and it smelled spicy, like it kicked my nostrils with the heat but once the jar was opened for over a minute, the intensity in smell went away.  We tasted and the base is very tomato-y like sort of the notes you get from a jar of canned plum tomatoes and paste.  Then comes the vinegar and then the slight heat.  The salsa has flavor but not intense in Habanero, so it’s workable.  I worked it into some rice and it was perfection because my Husband did feel the vinegar was more intense than the heat.  A 1/4 cup of the salsa I added to the water, after frying the rice with veggies and chilies and 22 minutes later…..Spanish rice that has some heat but pairs perfectly and does not overpower the dish.

 

 

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Bravado Spice Co. Ghost Pepper and Blueberry Hot Sauce-

I know…..what!  I thought the same when I saw this sauce but I’m always open to tasting new foods.  I checked out the ingredients and you have Blueberry, Raspberry, Vinegar, the Ghost Pepper and then just salt and pepper.  That is all!  I start thinking how people mix pineapple with pork, and then add heat via chilies.  I make and eat that, so why not give this a chance?  First I tried the sauce on a chip and it’s hotter than the Habanero Salsa above.  I love Ghost Pepper but feel the poor pepper is misused and mostly there for name than flavor.  The Bravado Spice Co., did not leave the Ghost Pepper behind and did it justice by adding flavor.  Think of the fruit as base, there for texture and to control the bitter notes peppers to even vinegar can give.  It off-sets the heat just a bit and keeps everything in check.  This sauce would be great to marinate shrimps with, like a ceviche.  Great for a dressing in a Mexi-style salad but I think it shines best with lighter meats like poultry and fish.  I’m thinking Tilapia tacos next time and I may even crust them with blue corn by just grinding the taco shells that came broken in the box (there is always 1 or 2 that never make it whole).  Great sauce and I am open to trying that Pineapple one on a smoked pork butt sandwich.  I added some to our chicken tacos this time!

 

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Ass Kickin’ Habanero Popcorn-

Yee-haw!  I don’t usually eat popcorn from a microwave bag but that donkey is mocking me.  I have not popped this baby yet but will be this weekend.  It’s movie night, I got a free RedBox code, so I’m set.  It’s even raining in California, so things could not be better.  It’s Habanero and it takes the boring out of poppy corn any day.

 

Retail Price Point: They have two box sizes to choose from with the lowest $20 and then a larger $30 sized box.  Shipping is always free, so you pay on a monthly basis the price above and that is all.  You also have the freedom to cancel your subscription, so Heck That’s Hot is not your gimmicky company that has hidden charges or trying to bog you down with long term commitments.

 

Verdict:

Do I need one?  I know I always add something here to see where I land on purchasing an item but this is a must try.  Try a month, see what comes and see what you make.  That is how I think of boxes of this kind work and why some of us love them and others don’t.  I can say that there is enough in a box that makes the price point fair and then you think of weight and shipping, but wait that is included into the Heck That’s Hot price point.  That is where I see the worth because it gets delivered to your home and the items are full sized and the ones that are portion sized is enough to share.  No one gets left out, so you shouldn’t either and check-out a company that is bringing something different to the table.

Heck That’s Hot and their zesty connections at:

  • Wedsite
  • Facebook
  • Also, please make sure to check-out their FB page as they run contests for free gift cards, boxes, and so forth, all the time!!
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • #HeckThatsHot

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Heck That’s Hot.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

Walmart Beauty Box #Review of their Subscription Service #WalmartBeauty #WalmartHaul

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To stay honest and fair, I rarely share on my blog items I paid for unless it’s like a super duper deal. These events are a rare occurrence and has to pair up with it being a deal. Pocket books should stay full and this subscription box will not cause a ding either.

Walmart has a beauty box service. I know, it’s news to me and it’s just 5 bucks. I have spent more in the clearance bins at stores and then I don’t even know why I brought half the stuff home to begin with. I seem to plan these great projects in the store and once I pay for my clearance bin deal, I get amnesia (aka- a case of the lazies). Let’s just say my crafting gets me in trouble but the best part, this is all beauty related and the stuff that comes with known names versus that questionable $1 bubble shower gel that smells good but makes my skin itchy! 🙂

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Just $5 every 3 months and this is what the Fall box came with:

  • (1) Olay Regenerist MicroSculpting Cream Moisturizer on 0.5 ounces
  • (1) Loreal Revitalift Triple Power in 0.5 ounces
  • (1) CoverGirl Continous Color lipstick in 425 Vintage Wine
  • (1) Secret Clinical Strength in 1.6 ounces
  • (1) Juicy Couture Perfume Sample in spray form .05 ounces
  • (1) Clear sample packet of Shampoo and Conditioner

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Yeah, all the above and just $5! No shipping and handling fees, just 5 bucks 😀 Sign-up and give it a try and hopefully the Fall box is still available and even the box itself is nice and thick, perfect for reusing and storing future sample and goodies that hopefully comes before we say goodbye to 2014.

Healthy Surprise: Subscription Snack Box filled with goodies and delivered right to your door

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Healthy Surprise is a company, which delivers snack filled boxes to your door on a monthly basis. The company also offers specialty themed boxes, like their Chocolate Box that is filled with anything and everything having to do with that cacao bean we all love. You also have different box levels and they just get fuller and fuller as you go up the scale:

  • Starter Box- $40.00 a month and filled with snacks for 1 to 2 people. Each box has 11+ full sized snacks to enjoy.
  • Big Box– $60.00 a month and filled with snacks to satisfy 1 to 4 people. This box comes with 16+ full sized snacks to indulge in.
  • Combo Box– $95.00 a month and filled with snacks to satisfy 2 to 6 people. The Combo Box is huge and filled with 27+ full sized snacks that will satisfy any taste-bud and then some.

All treats are soy free, gluten free, natural to vegan. Snacks are corn free and even plant based. I also found they research very carefully what they offer in their boxes from products not made in China to the ingredients used. You won’t find MSG to High Fructose Corn Syrup. Worried about allergies? Healthy Surprise hunts for dairy free, peanut free, shellfish free, no artificial flavors, dyes, color, to even no artificial sweeteners used in their health friendly boxes. No Partially Hydrogenated oils or yeast extracts to upset your taste buds! It’s munching but at a higher level of quality and some can same say less guilt. I’m always for feeling better and less guilty about snacking!

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One thing I dislike about monthly subscription boxes is the wait. You miss that delivery window and you are waiting 30+ days to get anything. Not with Healthy Surprise!  They even have a count down and I ordered one day in the early hours and I am not kidding, I was opening up my box within 48 hours. Healthy Surprise is a California based company, so I got quick delivery and so can you, as they ship for free anywhere in the U.S. You can also set when you want a box shipped and I like that level of control when ordering.

Now to the box we go! I received the smaller box called the Starter Box and calling it small is an understatement, with 13 items but does it live up to it’s price tag? Let’s see….

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  • Hail Merry Macaroons Blonde– The bag comes with 1.75 of puck shaped macaroons. They are small but packed with flavor and no skimping on the coconut. I loved these and ate them with fruit, then dipped some in chocolate and two macaroons swam in an almost empty jar of Fleur de Sel Caramel that was too good to waste. Love these and they are addicting. The product is gluten free and Vegan friendly. Hail Merry uses top notch ingredients from organic maple syrup, shredded coconut, extra virgin coconut oil to raw almond flour. You add vanilla and sea salt and that makes up the entire list of contents. Simple and delicious and I’m a fan. A bag this size retails for about $4 to $5.

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  • Gorge Delights, Just Fruit Bar in Apple Cherry 100% grown U.S. fruit, this bar is sort of like the “fruit leather” you find at Trader Joe’s. A little thicker and it’s made of apple puree, apple concentrate, and cherry concentrate. The bar is simple but delivers more of an apple punch than a cherry one. Due to it’s ultra minced texture, the bar is a little on the gummy side but not satisfying in texture like a gummy bear is. It’s more gummy and smashed. Was not a fan of the bar and stopped at two bites because the cherry was just not there for me and it started to taste like fermented fruit. I really wanted to like this bar because it does satisfy 2 fruit servings of your daily requirements and I would try it again but in another flavor. This bar retails for about $1.16 when purchased in bulk sizes (for retail).

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  • Oloves in Basil and Garlic These are natural green pitted olives and they have a touch of salt, sunflower oil, basil, garlic, vinegar, and acidifiers listed as lactic and citric acid. The pouch weighs 1.1. ounces and safely keeps the green olives intact. No broken or smashed ones and I added them to a salad, which made my dinner look like a beauty and my taste buds were 100% satisfied when it came to the flavor and texture. You get a nice brine that is not over loaded with acids or too high in flavor when it comes to the marinade. Oloves found the perfect balance where the other flavors compliment versus taking away from the olive. A bag this size retails for a little over a $1.00.

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  • Hail Merry Grawnola in Orange and Cranberry– Another hit for the Hail Merry family and this raw nut and fruit blend is packed with flavor that is perfectly balanced. Many orange flavored items are over powered with a poor tasting juice that smells better than it tastes, but not here. You get the hints of citrus and the granola is crunchy and not coated with that honey/orange juice glaze that gives you sticky fingers. You have ingredients like raw almonds, maple syrup, buckwheat groats, fresh orange juice, dried apples, raw pecans, and cranberries. The blend continues with raw sunflower seeds, walnuts, flax seeds, vanilla and a touch of cinnamon and salt. Perfect and craveable, plus energy packed. Most ingredients are organic and this product is gluten free, Vegan friendly, grain free and packed with Raw Omegas. Hail Merry products make you look at the label twice and it’s not a trust issue, it’s that you can’t believe something so good is not doused in sugars and bad stuff! This 1.5 ounce bag retails for between $2.50 and $3.00.

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  • Buddy Fruits in Mango Passion & Banana– The drink comes in a resealable container and Buddy Fruits is simple in the ingredient list. You have pure blended fruit derived from Mango. Apple, Banana, and Passion Fruit juice…..that is all. The pouch delivers a taste just like you would imagine the fruit combination would be. Great product to drink as it is or even add to smoothies. I semi-froze mine to enjoy on a hot day and it got a nice slush consistency that made me wish I had 2 of these in my box. The 3.2 ounce pouch retails for about a $1.00 to $1.25.

 

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  • Freshly Wild Super Foods, Kale Joy in Jazzy Sweet Mustard– Healthy surprise sent me another thing I’ve been dying to try, kale chips. Because let’s face it, everyone gets “munchy” from time to time, but potato chips are all kinds of unhealthy and bad for any diet in excess. From Freshly Wild, a small Portland, Oregon-based health food company, comes Kale Joy in Jazzy Sweet Mustard flavor. Not just your average dehydrated kale chip, these are handcrafted and carefully dehydrated in a small kitchen “powered by renewable wind energy”. Cool. Gluten-free, non GMO, and vegan, three things that are quite popular right now. Using “… only the best juices, nuts, seeds and spices”, this little guy is coated in crunch and flavor, with little bits of nut and seasoning all over. Neat-o. In a resealable .75 ounce package to boot. Crispy without being crumbly, and a satisfying crunch that fills that “munchy” feeling I mentioned earlier. Tangy and sweet. Two things jump out at me: 1 is that unfortunately, a lot of the chips became “shards” at the bottom of the bag. And 2 is that for only an ounce, you’d be paying between $4.50 and $6.00 a bag. Yowza. Fortunately, a little bit goes along way.

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  • Snip Chips in Dill Pickle– This is a Parsnip and Coconut snack mix. I have never even sniffed a blend like this or much less had one but I’m a try it all and then decide type of gal. The product is parsnips, raw coconut, raw cashews, apple cider vinegar, dill, garlic and lemon, plus a touch of chipotle, mustard seed, and Himalayan crystal salt. I dive in and it’s not crispy but more of a dehydrated like texture, I have seen these at my local Sprout’s Market and they come in other flavors. I like dill pickles and found myself puzzled by the blend as I knew it.  I did go back for a second and third piece. The verdict is still out on this one for me as much as I tried to make-up my mind about it. I guess I’m in the middle about it, I don’t love them or dislike them but unsure if I will be having more. Sun Chips does have other flavors and maybe the cheesy one would be better. This bag at a weight of 2 ounces retails between $5.49 and $5.99.

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The Daily Crave Veggie Chips– Remember that “munchy” feeling I mentioned? The one that comes between meals and runs diets? Yeah, that one. Here’s another product that should make you feel a little less guilty about munching. Note that I said “should”. I’ll explain that in a minute. The Daily Crave is a snack food company that boasts on their website:

*100% All Natural
*100% Vegan
*No Artificial Ingredients
*No Dairy
*Non GMO
*No Artificial flavors
*No Artificial coloring
*No Hydrogenated Fats
*Perfect for Dipping

That’s a mouthful. And it’s got a neat package, a good price, clever marketing, what’s not to love? Well, a close look at the ingredient list reveals that these are not all that different from, say, those chips in a tube shaped can that stack so nicely. Potato flour, potato star hotel, and oil are the first 3 ingredients. And while there is salt and sugar, it’s thankfully in very small amounts. Almost as small as the amounts of actual veggies in these veggie chips. Now, that’s not to say they aren’t tasty, because they are. But for all they got right, they also got quite a bit wrong. Snazzy packaging and trendy buzzwords do not a great product make. A small filled bag at just 1 ounce retails for $1.33 (retail bulk price).

  • Snapz Premium Grilled Zucchini Crunch & Snapz Premium Pineapple Crunch– I hate being a snack buzzkill, so let me mention a couple of yummers that I loved. Snapz Crisps makes an entire line of gently dehydrated fruit and veggie crisps, so there’s something for everyone. They are a “Brand leader for non fried fruit and vegetable crisps, 100 % natural, not fried or baked. Using unique technology to ensure the products are very crisp (?) they combine the fun and enjoyment of crisps with the goodness of fruit and vegetables. Appealing to all ages groups — young and old alike.” I got to try both sweet and savory with their Premium Pineapple and Grilled Zucchini flavors. While I appreciated the subtle flavors of the grilled zucchini, a little touch of sea salt would have really livened it up. But the pineapple crisps were a hit all around. Too often there are added oils and sugars in dried fruit that completely drown out the flavors of the fruit, but not here. I love the one item ingredient list: Pineapple. Winner! Tasty, crunchy, tangy. Not oily, not overly sweet. What’s not to love? Fat free, gluten free, nut free, GMO free, sugar free, salt free, preservative free…can it be true? It is, but I came crashing down to earth when I went to buy some more: 12 bags (0.46 oz each) were over $17 plus tax and shipping at Amazon. That stings. I really hate that the closer you get to real foods the more it costs, but that’s the reality in America anymore. I will say I really, really enjoyed these and will be on the lookout for them when next I darken the market’s doorstep.

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  • Righteously Raw Chocolates in Mint, Rose, and Dark chocolate– The Dark has a nice creamy and intense cacao notes. It’s not perfume-y, just chocolate satisfaction all the way through at 83% pure cacao you can believe it’s good and no bitter notes at all. It’s the espresso of chocolates! The Mint version has 82% cacoa and it’s not your typical mint that is creamy, think more of a “dry mint” taste where your mint is derived from peppermint so you get the sharp notes combined with the dark chocolate. A good combination and I liked that it was different than the typical mint flavors I have tried before. Then comes the Rose. I love roses and have even indulged in pastries that contain rose water……I took a bite and the flavor was so off, that I quickly chewed and opened the Dark version for salvation. It tasted like something bad had been infused and not like any rose I have eaten or even smelled. The tricky part is the bar smells like just dark chocolate but when you bite, something bitter and sour just takes over your mouth. It says red raspberry powder, brown rice protein powder to red beet are mixed in with the chocolate. Rose hips is last on the list and maybe it’s the flavor combination but it’s a no-go on the Rose and I love chocolate and have even continued to eat chocolate that when asked how it is, I reply “ummm, it’s okay”, but continue munching. Could not do that with the Rose. Righteously Raw did well with the Dark and surprised me nicely with the Mint, so go there when buying this one. The 3 chocolates I received are considered “bite-size”, so finding a price point was a bit difficult but buying in bulk of a bag of dark was 16 pieces for $22.99 via Amazon, making it under $0.70 per bite size bar.

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  • A $25.00 gift card– was also included and can be used towards the purchase of a Healthy Surprise box, making the smaller one more than 50% off. Good company when it comes to continuing patronage with their customers.

I liked being able to try some brands I had never heard of, brands that I have seen but knew nothing about, and seeing the familiar ones like Hail Merry but trying new items from a company I know and purchase products from. Exploring is fun and The Healthy Surprise Company does the hunting while you do the munching. I believe every subscription company should at the very least be tried once and to get a good idea, try it a second time. I did feel some items were overly priced by companies but that is not Healthy Surprises’ fault. It did let me adjust my shopping list by making sure to add some companies to my list and knowing what products to just walk away from. If you are into exploring new items and new flavors, but in a “better for you” way, try Healthy Surprise. I found a great link you can use, which is via Groupon. For a limited time you can get the $60 box for $30!!!

Visit Healthy Surprise and get the Groupon deal at:

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I received the above product free of charge from Healthy Surprise. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

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