Smiley 360: TAZO® Iced Tea Concentrates #Review #TazoTea

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I have featured Tazo Teas on here several times and every time a new product is released, it never disappoints. It’s one of those products I will always venture and give them a try without waiting for feedback because I have become able to trust the Tazo Tea brand.

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Tazo’s newest release is the Iced Tea concentrates that come in tea bag form and also in their liquid state (large carton). The Iced Teas come in several varieties to choose from:

  • Iced Peachy Green
  • Iced Sangria Black
  • Iced Passion
  • Iced Blushberry Black
  • Iced Citrus Bliss
  • Iced True Black
  • Iced Lemongrass Green

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  • The Iced Peachy Green has a nice green tea flavor, which is more towards the mellow side with the fruity notes being the focus. You have a touch of spearmint and a zing from the ginger with almost a sweet Georgia peach finish. I loved it from the first sniff because just how the blend smells will pull you in. I have tried this tea both in cold and warm because a girl sometimes can’t wait. I also love the relaxing feeling the ginger provides and the accent ingredients like the spearmint are just there to compliment and not overpower the peachy green tea party!

 

  • Iced Passion is my all time favorite. I love hibiscus based teas and this little red ruby beauty not only delivers in vibrant color but also in taste. This tea I found more powerful, which is a good thing because a little goes a long way. You have a tropical fruit flair going on, so think of pineapple and oranges. Perfect for summer weather and because it’s an herbal blend, I can even enjoy a perfect cup in the hot late summer nights. You also get a nice flowery scent from the rose hips that just make the perfect bouquet with the Hibiscus!

 

  • The Iced Sangria Black tea sings to my Spanish heart. Finally, a Sangria tea that has those real flavors I associate with the drink. You have the citrus flavors that go so well with the black tea’s base. Just a touch of spice from the cinnamon and again a little sweetness from an apple this time. Sweet and simple is how I describe this blend and also perfect!

 

  • The Iced Blushberry Black tea is my second favorite. It’s a berry blast and you have a dark raspberry that compliments the black tea notes nicely. It’s almost like a dry wine in how it feels when you drink this blend. You then have huckleberry and strawberry. This is not your usual boring berry blend, this one has life and is so refreshing. You smell the sweetness of the fruit when it begins to brew and when cooled, you get a nice snap from the berry mix. I love it because like I mentioned it’s not the typical berries being used, and I love black teas! This one also has hibiscus but not as powerful in flavor as it is the Iced Passion blend.

 

Retail Price Point: $2.99 for the box and this item comes with 6 filter bags, where each bag provides a pitcher worth of tea. You can also opt for the concentrate and skip the brewing. I also found the Keurig Tazo cups for $11.99 and that box yields 16 k-cups. Keep note like the Sangria Black version only comes in the concentrate carton and not made in the boxed tea bags one.  I also attached a coupon link to sweeten the already great deal.

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Verdict:
The Tazo teas are too good for the price point (shhhhh, don’t tell Tazo). I saw $2.99 and thought what the heck am I getting here and I just have started to hoard these teas. I drink them both hot and cold. I have a one cup brewing system and I just measure out between 1/2 a teaspoon or more if desired and it makes the perfect cup. There are days I want a lighter tea and I can dilute the amount I brew and I am set. Being able to drink these teas how I wish makes it work for me. I get bored drinking the same blends but these are so unique and a flavor all their own, that I must start and end my day the Tazo way. For the price your pocket book will be happy and your taste buds will not be disappointed. If you don’t find your flavor, blame me because I love these teas so much that the fear of them not being made (like in forever) sets in. I think once I have 50 boxes of the flavors I love, I will then leave you some 🙂

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Connect with Tazo and find your tea at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Tazo Teas and Smiley360.  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.

Poppy Austin: Green Tea & Vitamin C Bright Eye Moisturizer #Review

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Poppy Austin, is a beauty company, which carries products derived from natural and organic sources. The sources may not be your everyday common lingo, like Barbary Fig seed oil, but that does not mean it’s not something that should be overlooked. The old ways are becoming the new ways, so look at it like you would your skin, new ways to find rejuvenation.

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I was sent an eye cream from Poppy Austin to test-drive. The eye cream has green tea, vitamin C and 72% of the ingredients are organic. The base of the solution is mostly an herbal infusion and Aloe Vera, so the product feels light when applied. The skin quickly absorbs the product and the eye moisturizer targets these major issues:

  • Puffiness
  • Dark Circles
  • Increases Elasticity
  • Fine Lines and Wrinkles
  • Protects against signs of Aging
  • and also Moisturizes

 

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Directions: Being that this is an eye cream, a little goes a long way and I use a dabbing technique to disperse the product and then gently applied it to create an even layer. I waited for the eye cream to fully absorb, which ranged between 1 to 2 minutes time lapse, before applying any make-up. I did not experience issues during application of cosmetics to the area or hours later, when some eye creams can cause a “bubbling up” film that tends to make your foundation look like you forgot to blend. This eye cream gave me none of that, so I continued use for 3 weeks.

 

Retail Price Point: $22.49 via Amazon for a 30 ml fluid ounce bottle, which has a top with a pump dispenser.

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Ingredients (as listed on the bottle): Herbal Infusion, Jojoba Esters, Glycolic Acid, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose, Carrageenan Gum, Grapeseed oil, Green Tea, Licorice, Methylsulfonylmethane, Evening Primrose oil, Sodium Ascorbyl.Phosphate (Vitamin C), Wildcrafted Euphrasia Officinails, Tamanu oil, Oregon Grape, Helichrysum essential oil, Jojoba oil, Rosehip seed oil, Palm oil, Hydrogenated Castor oil, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Sodium Hydroxide, Coenzyme Q10, Phytic Acid, Phospholipids, Tocopheryl, Lecithin, Apple, Lemon, Sugar Cane, Dipeptide Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate, Lemongrass, Vitamin C Palmate, Acetyl Hexapeptide-3, Sclerotium Gum, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Xanthan Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Ethyl Hexyl Glycerin, and Alcohol.

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Verdict: On the first week of use, I noticed that the skin surrounding my eyes was moisturized and because I suffer from allergies, I continued use to see if I could get rid of some of the puffiness. I do not suffer from dark circles thankfully, so I could not test the cream against that. My skin remained the same but nourished with continued use. On week two, I still use my eye drops to get rid of my red eyes but also the puffiness and swelling I wake up with. I am happy with the way the product disappears after being absorbed. Zero residue and it does not haunt me later in the day by creating an oily film. The manufacture desires two applications per day for maximum results and I continue use into week 3. As I’m in California, the Winter we have has been mild but I did notice that when the nights are cold, my skin looks firm and feels like so, however not as moisturized. I have been needing to add a small droplet of oil (argan) on those evenings. I attribute it to my own needs due to my seasonal allergies that tend to be serious as we get closer to Spring. I will say for firming and protecting the skin around your eyes, this cream does the job as long as you keep in mind that puffiness will only go so much down without the use of eye drops but compared to the over-the-counter eye creams I have tried, this one fought the battle of the “Puffy Eyes” with great valor!

Connect with Poppy Austin and check-out their line of products at:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Poppy Austin.  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.

 

 

iGotTech: Texting Gloves #Review #gloves

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Cold weather sucks. Cold weather and touch screen devices make for some frosty paws. And that, my friends, is no bueno. So when iGotTech offered me a pair of texting gloves to test and review, it way perfect! And let me tell you, I was skeptical, but these little gloves WORK. And, with every dang thing we own having some form of touch-sensitive surface on it.  It was nice to not have your fingertips feel like ice every time I need to answer the phone, send an email, or browse the web.

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These are well stitched, stylish in black with grey colored touch-friendly tips, and made in a size that fits my normal sized hands. Thick enough to keep you warm, thin enough to work our remote control’s buttons. A 100% satisfaction, full refund guarantee. There’s practically no downsides. Except one. At $12 they’re as much as 4 times the cost of similar items. The other would be a lack of label listing materials used. Some people are sensitive or allergic to certain materials and it’d be nice to know if these are hypoallergenic. Other than that, I have no issues with these gloves, and in fact, they are a must use for me this winter.

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iGotTech, makes several products, and their service is top notch. Followed up with me right away, a testament to their commitment to customer satisfaction. I would cautiously recommend them, but this kind of product is a must have for those of us who don’t do too well with the cold.

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Connect with iGotTech on:

 

 

 

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from iGotTech. 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.

Liztek: PSS-100 Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker #Review #PortableWirelessBluetoothSpeaker

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Liztek PSS-100 Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker with Built in Speakerphone, 8 Hour Rechargeable Battery (Black)

So lest you think that my blog is all about cooking and beauty, a girl’s gotta stay on top of tech these days too. And bluetooth speakers are all the rage these days. Because, even though they’re convenient, mostly earbuds suck. At least the cheapies I’m use to. There are some very high end ones out there that can reproduce fantastic sound. And while my phone and laptop have passable speakers, they’re not winning any awards for sound quality either. Hubby’s tablet is passable in a pinch, but speakers as thin as a nickel aren’t really cutting it for us.

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Enter Liztek’s awesome little bluetooth speaker, the PSS-100. I got to try this little guy for a bit now and for our devices, there’s no going back to the stock speakers for media. With play, pause, skip and back buttons on the speaker, it’s a cinch to control your music. Even watching a movie in bed on Hubby’s Nexus is a treat. Streamed music? Tinny no more! YouTube videos? Dy-no-mite! We can even stream TV shows, again, snuggled in bed, and the days of sharing ear-buds are no more.

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Retail Price Point: $36.95 via Amazon. Liztek products are carried at Costco, Fry’s and BestBuy too!

But hold on, did I mention this little guy has a mic? Yup, it’s also a hands free speakerphone. No more having the phone on the counter, no more wired earbuds and mic that rubs against your shirt and muffles every word. With the bluetooth 3.0 technology, we’re good up to 33 feet away. I have yet to break out Hubby’s tape measure to see, but we’re good with my purse and phone down the hall in another room. Answer and end buttons right there on the speak too. Snazzy. I think I’m in love. Normally, gadgets are strictly hubby domain. I think he’s been yoinked.

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At less than 13 ounces, and less than seven inches long, and just under 2 inches wide it feels tiny, but the twin 40mm speakers will fill an average size room with full, rich sound. It has a slightly rubberized feel so there’s no fear it’ll slip and fall and die a horrible death on the tile floor either. It’s rechargeable lithium ion battery is charged in 4 hours and is good for about 8-10 hours in optimal conditions. It also comes with a 3.5mm audio jack for those devices lacking bluetooth. There are audible notifications on connection, and while Liztek lists those as benefits, it’s the one single thing I don’t love about this device. It’s quite jarring to hear a loud female voice saying “Connecting!”. I could do without it, but it’s a minor quibble overall.

The Liztek PSS-100 comes in a host of colors and has a 100% satisfaction guarantee. It also has universal connectivity with Apple, Android, and just about any devices with Bluetooth capabilities. I’ve so far successfully paired it with our LG phone, HTC phone, Asus laptop and Nexus tablet. That’s 4 different manufacturers and zero problems. It comes packaged with a charging cable, the audio jack, and instructions. And it just looks cool too. Yup. Definitely yoinking this one. Sorry, hubby.

Connect with Liztek at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Liztek.  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.

BzzAgent: Nothing like the feel of a real Board Game! Hasbro’s My Monopoly #Review

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I know a while back it was thought that board games were dead and we would just play them via whatever game system replaced the actual board. I am guilty of purchasing Monopoly to play but as much as it was easy to just turn off the system and not need to clean up after playing, something was missing. Unsure if it is the setting-up process, not feeling or touching anything……but something about just staring at a TV screen is just so anti what a board game is suppose to be. I later just bought a Monopoly set that was some ultra-edition where all the pieces were gold in color. I think I was trying to make up for something!

When BzzAgent offered to send Hasbro’s new “My Monopoly” game, I glanced at the campaign and when I saw “App Store”, Google play and the words “download”, I was about to pass…..I then saw that “My Monopoly” is a way to personalize your board game experience! Yup, the board is still there as is everything else.

What comes with “My Monopoly”:

  • Gameboard
  • 4 Tokens
  • 30 Blank Tiles
  • 4 Sticker Sheets (30 stickers per sheet)
  • 28 Deed cards
  • 16 Chance cards
  • 16 Community Chest cards
  • 32 Houses and 12 Hotels
  • A set of Dice
  • Money Pack and the Game Guide

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Making My Monopoly:

You simply just access the app or you can go on-line by visiting http://www.mymonopoly.com. Then simply upload your pictures and customize your playing experience, print and label your game. Then you are ready to play and have some family fun!

Retail Price Point: $19.99 and can be purchased on Amazon, Target, KMart, Walmart, to Toys r’ Us.

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Hasbro provides you with the same quality game board, you get to engage and hone your competitive skills, get some math, and let us not forget how it feels to have a stack of Monopoly money and everyone’s properties! The best part is the customization and with the amount of stickers they provide, you can change your mind and update the board. Great family fun and no TV needed 🙂 The board also game with a bonus of a free $10 off code at Shutterfly!

You can visit Hasbro and see the “My Monopoly” game board, plus the other gaming experiences they offer at:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Hasbro and BzzAgent. 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.

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.

Swaggable: Belegenza ILLustrious Shampoo & Cleanser #Review

 

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I do not receive that many items when it comes to hair products, but so far the Belegenza line makes any room they are in smell so nice and clean. I have never heard of the brand but I always welcome anything new when it comes to hair care. I have very long hair that is a mixture of normal and fine in texture but not flat or thin…..it’s really just too much hair if you ask me. I pick-up static like a balloon would (frizz central) and the only two positives I can find is it does not break easily and so far no grays (yet) 🙂 You know how people have combination skin problems, well I have those too but also combination hair ones. At least I’m consistent!

I have been using Carol’s Daughter products and very happy but I’m always hunting for something different or better.

I read up on Belegenza and their products on-line. Belengenza’s (bel-a-jen’-za) name is made up of two Italian/Latin words, where Bel meaning beauty and Gen for genesis. The company’s website was very informative and they make hair products that fit everyone’s needs. Their products are gentle but effective and very in tune with nature and using natural ingredients.

Belegenza ILLustrious Shampoo & Cleanser: The shampoo is uses natural extracts that are derived from fruit and vegetables. You have anti-aging extracts like Sugarcane, Apple, Green Tea, Nettle, Sage, Rosemary, Comfrey and Rhizome Root. You also have Castor Beans, 3 types of Seaweeds and Vitamin E and Vitamin B6. No wonder it smells so good but the scent remains welcoming, not over perfume-y. The shampoo is also color safe and free of salt and sulfates. Nothing really synthetic or at all damaging to your hair or scalp. So far I really liked their ingredients and they use an Aloe Vera base versus just selling you products that are just mostly water.

Ingredients as listed on their site:
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate (Vegetable based) , Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (Coconut based), Cocamidopropyl Betaine (Coconut based), Hypnea Musciformis (Hawaiian Seaweed) Extract, Gelidiela Acerosa (Gulfweed Seaweed) Extract, Sargassum Filipendula (Red Mapleweed) Extract, Sorbitol, PEG-18 Glyceryl Oleate/Cocoate (Coconut based), Glycol Stearate (Vegetable based) , Honey, Secret Salon Ingredient, Silk Amino Acids, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugarcane) Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Symphytum Officinale (Comfrey) Rhizome/Root Extract, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Pyridoxine HCL-5-Phosphate (Vitamin B6), Panthenol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethoxydiglycol, Sorbic Acid (Rowanberry distillate), Polyquaternium-10 (Cellulose/thickener) , Phenoxyethanol, Tetrasodium EDTA(Mineral chelator), Citric Acid (Lemon), Phthalate-free fragrance.

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Performance: The product lathers up really good and even though I do not have color or chemically treated hair, the shampoo worked wonders. My hair was left feeling clean but not stripped. Very calming scent while you shower and a clean welcoming natural fragrance is left when hair dries. I liked how my hair not only looked but felt. The frizz level was very low and my hair just looks healthier. I tried both a natural (air) drying and then the second time used a blow dryer, again happy with both results.

Price Point: $22.00

I was satisfied and happy with the shampoo and it actually made me curious as to how a more suited for me formula would perform from Belegenza’s line of hair care products.

For more information on the above product or to view the full Belegenza line, please visit:

 

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I received the above product free of charge from Swaggable and Belegenza.  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.

TeeChia: Organic Sustained Energy Cereal #Review in Blueberry Date and Cranberry Apple

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TeeChia is a company that takes making a healthy and super nutritious cereal to another level. You have a powerhouse of super seeds like:

  • Chia
  • Quinoa
  • Flax
  • Ramon
  • Amaranth
  • and Pumpkin

I was able to test out both flavors and see for myself how they are.  So far I like that the product uses Organic ingredients and is Non-GMO verified.  Sweetened with only fruit and is rich in fiber.

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Blueberry Date– Gluten-Free and just one packet provides you with 28 grams of Whole Grains, 6 grams of Fiber and 6 grams of Protein. You get a healthy dose of 1200 mg of Omega-3 fats and the cereal contains zero grams of refined sugar. The Blueberry Date also has currants and real dried blueberries, in addition to apple juice. The base of the cereal is rolled oats, dates and rice flour. The directions suggest to simply add water and you can also punch up the protein by adding milk or yogurt after. I went with a simple Lemon flavored Australian yogurt that complimented the Blueberry flavor perfectly. The reason I mention the yogurt being Australian, is that it’s a thicker base and I found the cereal even though I followed the directions and added the hot water first, it remained in a gritty/sandy state. I let everything soak up but it did not seem to want to play well so I resorted to a 20 second zap in the microwave and that helped it blend or at least hydrate to the point I felt this is as mixed as it’s going to get. Tasting it alone was a bit on the flavorless side and I felt the yogurt helped add flavor and reduce what I felt was not a pleasant texture. This is not an oatmeal, as the directions say you can use cold water if you do not feel like eating it warm/hot. My yogurt saved it and I appreciate the healthy aspect and the nutritional value TeeChia products provide. I remained unsure on wanting to have more and knowing this is not a product I can enjoy as-is, due to the odd texture and consistency it delivered.

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Cranberry Apple– Pretty much the same nutritional facts and contents but this cereal has 7 grams of Protein, versus the 6. Smelled better than the Blueberry variety and you pick-up the Cranberry scent immediately, even though this bag looked different (the base) from the Blueberry Date variety. This one had less fruit but looked more powder like. I decided due to the great Cranberry aroma, I would just eat this one with milk and heated up the milk. I added it to the cereal and again the apple squares did not re-hydrate correctly and this cereal was just sandy and goopy. Still smelled great but when I took the first bite, it was so bitter and you had what can be described as to what you find at the bottom of a cracker bag….dusty and powdery with a taste that was so off. I just could not continue. This cereal did not taste like it smelled! I most times make the best of a situation and especially when it comes to eating healthy. I can get past textures but not when the texture plus the flavor was just so….well, bad unfortunately. I wasted milk in my eyes and I even contemplated adding more cranberries because you can see from the picture that there was just not a lot of dried fruit. I then realized there was no saving this bowl and just discarded it because why add more when in the end the bitter and off taste can’t be fixed.

I wanted to really like TeeChia cereals and mostly by what they contain. I have eaten these seeds and actually add them too many of my meals from salads to yogurts. I don’t know why TeeChia’s same mix of seeds tasted so different from mine. I thought maybe the milling process caused some quick oxidation to occur but there was definitely something off in the Cranberry variety. The cereals need some reworking because if you go by the contents, they are really great. You have the texture issue and the bitterness that is just not a way you want to routinely start your morning with. Eating well can taste so good but this just did not do the trick for me.  I also noticed that both cereals do not re-hydrate or look like the product’s picture on the packaging.  I am hoping I got a bad batch because I really wanted to like this super cereal 😦 and mostly because I love their Teeccino line so much.

If you would like to try TeeChia’s Sustained Cereals, please visit them at:

  • On-line– http://www.teechia.com/
  • Facebook– https://www.facebook.com/teechiacereal
  • Twitter– https://twitter.com/Teeccino

 

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I received the above product free of charge from TeeChia.  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.

 

 

 

 

Freeman Eclos Skincare Review #EclosGoBare Challenge

This Summer I was rewarded the Eclos trio as a perk for being a Klout member. The kit included a Skin Prep Cleanser, Moisture Therapy Regenerative Cream, and a Daily HydraPrimer in SPF 30.

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Eclos is part of the Freeman family and uses a natural approach in helping to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and improve skin’s texture. The line derives its anti-aging power from Apple Stem Cells, thus the yellow colored apple featured on the Eclos line. This rare Swiss apple is called the Uttwiler Spatlauber as noted in the Eclos literature.

Uttwiller Spätlauber Apple’s History:
This apple has been harvested since the 1800’s in Canton, Thurgau (northern part) Switzerland and from my research, in 2009 researchers came out with claims of maybe this being the new anti-wrinkle solution even though the trees were dying out at some point. The diminishing of the trees came from people not seeking the apple’s flavor because it tended to be sour, however it is a species that remains with a smooth outer skin appearance longer than other species of apples. After claims were clinically proven to reflect positive results, the species has been regenerated and produced in large quantities for certain cosmetic companies/lines. I saw in my research companies selling creams, serums and/or lotions to foundations with Uttwiller Spätlauber listed as an ingredient. Prices were as high as $395 to as low as $10. I have no idea if “strength” or other combined properties define the price point.

This was a 2-week challenge that I took and because I like to give products a chance to show their full potential, or in this case erase some off my face, I gave the Eclos line a 4 week chance.

Let’s Begin……

  • Eclos Skin Prep Cleanser ($14.99 for 6.8 oz): Labeled as the rejuvenate+clean and the “starter” in the regimen, I was not very impressed by the product. It cleans just like any good cleaner out there and I did not feel a deep clean or any rejuvenation omitting from the foam itself. I used the cleanser in both ways as just washing my face and a few times in removing make-up on those days I was taking a short-cut because I was wearing very light make-up. The wash did not play well at removing even a light application of make-up, as I felt a residue after washing. I had to use a make-up removing wipe even when I was not using my “long-wearing” foundation. I can easily say my grapefruit friend at a lower price point did a better job at cleansing my face, so I do not recommend this as your main wash.
  • Eclos Therapy Regenerative Cream ($24.99 for 2.0 oz): Labeled as the hydrate+strengthen member of the trio. After two weeks of use, I felt my skin was moisturized and soft, however my skin remained the same when it came to the level of fine lines I have. This states improvement of wrinkles and I can say it did not diminish just my fine lines. At the 4-week mark, I looked like I did at the two week and at when I started mark. I like the “back to nature” approach and always welcome a non-chemical application, but apples did not cut it when it came to improving my skin. Yes, it was soft to the touch but that was pretty much it. I also found that less is better with this moisturizer as you do get into residue and oily issues if you use more than a pea size amount for your face alone.
  • Eclos Daily HydraPrimer SPF 30 ($15.99 for 1.0 oz): Labeled as the repair, protect +prime, so this last guy carries more duties. I have tried more primers that I want to admit and, that sometimes not using a primer is easier for me than picking one that brings me more problems than solutions (*cough*UrbanDecay*cough*). Out of all three products I tried from Eclos, this one outperformed and also replaced my former primer. I was not holding out hope and soon was going to blame Eclos if I got frown lines from the disappointment with the above products, but this one makes me thank Eclos. It works and not only did I continue using it, I will most likely purchase it again. This little apple works and provides not only protection but a nice and smooth application of my make-up. The SPF did not cause my skin any problems and I usually use SPF 15 on my face because the higher the number, the higher the oily feeling gets. Not with this primer and I actually felt this was what gave the better results. I don’t feel in my opinion you need the 2 above to see the results and a little goes a long way. By week 6 of using this primer, I had the same softness and actually saw that my skin looked smoother so discontinuing the 2 above at that point made no difference.

I found the primer reasonably priced and also stocked from Target, Ulta, Walgreens to even Amazon, so if you are interested in trying the apple…..it can easily be picked or even delivered to your home. Want more on Eclos? Visit http://www.freemanbeauty.com/eclos and they also have more products related to the line and also easily purchased directly from the site.

I received this product from Klout and Eclos, free of charge. I am not obligated in providing positive/favorable feedback, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the brand and/or it’s products, which may differ from yours.

What to do when an Apple falls from the fridge?

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Earlier this week, my Husband in an attempt to get to a Pomegranate, dropped a large Granny Smith Apple.  The poor apple bounced several times on the tile and rolled.  The only thing it did not do was split open.  Now, I must admit I am one of those people that takes my time picking my produce and makes sure it has no dents or damage, so you when I picked up the apple….let’s say it was misshapen!  I told him not to worry that I will think of something to do with the poor thing.  The apple did not give me time as it began to bruise and by morning and had large brown spots!

I have never worked with fruit pectin and always have wanted to that I even have a few boxes (so many plans I have but I do not always accomplish them).  The apple was too small to even make a small pie, as I have the pie pans to do so with.  Not in the mood to just munch on a cold apple on a cold day, my alternative was “pocket pies”.  I purchased a pie making machine at Macy’s, which comes with a dough cutter (one for the bottom portion of a pie and a small circle that serves as the top).  I always have rounds “pre-cut” and placed in the freezer so it makes it easier to use.  This apple (well, what remained) was not even big enough to supply filling for 4 mini pies, as that is what the machine makes.  So, I just used the “pre-cut” dough and figured I wing it!

Recipe:
1 Granny Smith apple that was large at one point but after peeling and sculpting, it was more like a medium sized apple
A thin pat of butter (unsalted)
1/4 tsp of white sugar and since I store my used Vanilla Beans in it, I took out a 1/2 inch bean from the sugar and added it to my mix.
A little dash of cinnamon and grating of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of Fruit Pectin (I used the Ball branded one)
1 egg used as a wash and also to seal your pies (I just used a fork for crimping)

I started by just melting the slim pat (it was practically a shaving) of butter on the stove.  Once that dissolved in the pan, I added the sugar and stirred until it dissolved and began to bubble.  I then added the apple (cut into squares and some pieces looked like triangles), the spices, and the used vanilla bean I retrieved from the sugar canister.  I cooked that for a minute on low heat and then added the Fruit Pectin (stirred some more).  I cooked that for 2 minutes and since I dislike mushy apple filling, I left a crisp still in the apples, keeping in mind they would further cook when I bake the pies.  I also liked how quick and nicely the pectin thickened the juices!

DSCN1328Before Baking and you can see I just used a pizza pan and some parchment paper to bake them on.

To assemble your pies, you allow the filling to cool first.  I then took rounds of dough that were equal in size and plopped about a tablespoon and a half of filling in the center.  I took the top portion of the dough and used a piping tip as a cutter to remove a circle from the dough.  I did this because the pie needs to breathe when baked…you don’t want to make apple bombs in the oven :).  I did not want to discard the little round so I used a toothpick to shape it into a heart and added it to the top of my pie.  You literally use your ravioli making technique and just add egg wash to the dough bottom of your pie, put the top on, crimp with a fork and then egg wash the top.  I then just used the egg wash as my glue to stick my mini heart on.

DSCN1329I was just able to yield 3 small Apple Pies but the Apple was saved!

These came out so good that I ventured into making preserves for the first time.  I made strawberry, blackberry and blueberry.  So simple and because I can control the sugar and fruit content, we ended up with berry full jars (no skimping here) and not overly sweet.  I used the berry preserves later to make pies and berry squares…..but that is next week’s post 🙂

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Enjoy the weekend!

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