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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Tryazon: Rhodes Bake-N-Serv™ Cinnamon Rolls #Review #Tryazon #RhodesBread

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I have always been a fan of frozen foods, like vegetables and fruit that go out of season but are readily available all year round. Sometimes even perfectly frozen blueberries will cost less that fresh ones and be in better shape, so the freezer aisle to me is not something I completely avoid. Even companies offer organic meals nowadays from the freezer aisle. I have picked up many “artisan style” breads that come frozen from a local bakery because you just pop them in the oven, bake and have fresh baked bread in 20 minute’s time! Simple ingredients I am fan of and being a cook and baker makes you become familiar as to what goes in what you are making/eating. The freezer aisle is only bad if you purchase ready made meals to baked goods that are more chemicals than real ingredients! This is where we get lost and it’s disappointing because convenience comes at a price and sometimes it’s not even that convenient in the first place.

I tried the microwaved cinnamon rolls before from Rhodes and reviewed them here. Not bad for a microwaved baked good. On the same trip I picked up a bag of the bread loaves, and a bag of the cinnamon (individual) rolls. Two items I bake at home from scratch, so I was looking forward in using them on a busy week. This week, was a very busy week!

 

Rhodes Cinnamon Rolls (Bake-N-Serv™) with Cream Cheese Frosting 

Preparation-

I open up the bag and notice that the individual cinnamon rolls are really partnered in twos and threes. I had a hard time at the store feeling the bags and was hoping I picked well enough because I noticed some were more blobs than others. I travel with two coolers (one for frozen goods and one for fresh), so things defrosting in the truck just does not happen. I can buy ice cream and still shop for 2 to 3 hours without it even it defrosting on the top! I try my best to seperate the rolls, but they seem very attached to their companion, so I do my best.

The directions were simple and opted to go by the one that resembled closest to the time it takes to bake them from scratch. My cinnamon rolls take 1 hour for the dough to rise, you make the roll and cut, then another 30 to 40 minutes for them to rise again, plus bake for 20 minutes! Simple and easy. I put the frozen cinnamon rolls from Rhodes in the oven, which was pre-warmed to 170 degrees. The directions stated it takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes for the rolls to proof and double in size. I’m 2 hours in and watching these frozen rolls more than I do those made from scratch and they are oozing larger in size but not rising. My oven is less than a year old and I check the temperature. Holding at 95 degrees and no change when it comes to rising…..just oozing bigger. I take them out and they are technically double in size (flat wise), so I warm the oven to bake the rolls.

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Baking-

In they go and use convection mode and set the oven to 325 degrees. Directions are clear about not over baking and leaving them in for 15 to 20 minutes, until they are light brown in color.

My house smells bread-y but not that yeast dough you associate with cinnamon rolls. I look in the oven and the rolls look like they are swimming in yellow oil, so I go and look at the ingredients. I shouldn’t have! You have a chemical concoction that makes the cinnamon rolls out of tubes look like saints. You have everything from oils, corn syrups, sugars in every way they can be made down to margarine and so forth. I just don’t see the waiting time worth it when I saw what was in these rolls. I remind myself I ate onion flavored puffy ring chips yesterday, so sometimes chemicals taste good 🙂 .  I allow the cinnamon rolls to bake 25 minutes to get a light brown color and notice the dough has pockets that resemble bread, not the ribbon texture you associate with yeast dough, but I’m committed and now it’s too late to bake anything since I have to start dinner.

This is after "incorporating" the bag's contents more, as they like to separate.

This is after “incorporating” the bag’s contents more, as they like to separate.

Frosting-

I allow the cinnamon rolls to cool and get a baggy of the frosting. It’s yellow in color and not just a faint hue, it’s yellow. I turn over the bag and I recalled right, it states cream cheese but this is not like any cream cheese frosting I have ever seen. The directions state to incorporate the icing and I do the “smashy thing” but it still looks undesirable. I cut the tip off the bag and I taste it……..it’s so sweet and the texture of cupcake icing, not at all like what you put on a roll. Also, cream cheese is there in words but your taste buds just does not pick it up.

Taste Test-

I serve us each a roll and even my Husband says the icing is just so wrong. I take a bite and this is one oily roll that is dry at the same time and you see and smell cinnamon, but you really don’t taste it. I did not finish my roll. Not worth the calories and my Husband does not either. I use to buy the cinnamon rolls in the refrigerated section when we dated. They were fine but never like the bakery, so I began learning to bake and trying recipe after recipe. My Husband will at times even pick-up a tray from the grocery store’s bakery and they are edible and a nice treat for those days I was too tired or busy to bake. The Rhodes Cinnamon Rolls were not unfortunately, not worth the effort and I just don’t get why they are frozen to just be a disappointment.  I also don’t understand the amount of poor ingredients that I can respect chemicals to produce let’s say a Spicy chip that tastes like a taco or something.  You get your junk food fix and you will crave a bag in 3 to 6 months time again.  These cinnamon rolls did not even satisfy a craving as such!  Sad…….very sad because in this house we do think sweet goods are worth the calories and fat, but rule #1, it needs to taste good!

 

I dislike having to give a negative review but honesty comes first and when the cinnamon rolls in a tube taste better and you can find better (i.e. real butter, ect.) ingredients in brands like Trader Joe’s to even the giggling doughy guy, I just can’t say at least these were easy to bake, so you should get them.  Taste matters and I don’t expect to get nutrition out of cinnamon rolls, but my taste buds need to be happy and cinnamon rolls are the type of food you eat with a smile.  These=no smiles :(.  The Rhodes microwave variety were passable and I would have never imagined since these required more time and came from an oven.

 

Connect with Rhodes at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Tryazon and Rhodes.  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.

 

 

Smiley360: Philosophy Ultimate Miracle Worker Multi-Rejuvenating Cream, Eye cream, and Night Serum #Review

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I have been a Philosophy brand fan for some time now. I have sensitive skin sometimes when it comes to fragrances but for some reason the scents used in their body products play nice with me. I had seen the New Multi-Rejuvenating line but had never tried it, so when Smiley360 offered, you bet I said yes!

So, you look at the line and see SPF and think this is just another sunscreen laced product with some moisturizers. Hey, I thought the same until the products arrived and again, let’s not judge a jar by it’s cover. The Philosophy Ultimate Miracle Worker is an entire new way to see sun defense. Philosophy, has been able to capture protection from UVA, UVB, Infrared and visible light. It’s like a ninja in a bottle that protects you from one of the number causes of aging, sun exposure! It’s better than wearing the actual ninja outfit outdoors because that may just draw more attention than we would desire. Philosophy, then went another step further by adding bi-retinol and active plant cells, plus you will notice ingredients like coffee arabica (caffeine) for skin tightening and pongamia pinnata seed extract, another anti-inflammatory agent. You will not only be addressing the issues caused by aging and with continuous use, you will see better results (i.e. improvment), but the tighteners start working the moment you apply them.  Think of the tighteners as a booster for the moment while the rest of your skin starts catching up and looking it’s best. Okay, so Philosophy has again changed the anti-aging game plan and I like this new plan of attack because you bet I am attacking my wrinkles with everything I got and it was time to change the way I battle!

My Philosophy arsenal kit included:

Ultimate Miracle Worker Multi-Rejuvenating “Day” Cream with Broad Spectrum SPF 30
Ultimate Miracle Worker Multi-Rejuvenating Eye Cream with Broad Spectrum SPF 15
Ultimate Miracle Worker Nighttime Multi-Rejuvenating Serum-in-Cream

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Ingredients (as listed on the website): avobenzone (2.7%), octinoxate (6.99%), octocrylene (2%) Inactive ingredients- water, c12-15 alkyl benzoate, carthamus tinctorius (safflower) oleosomes, glycerin, cyclopentasiloxane, butylene glycol, methyl gluceth-20, gluconolactone, polyacrylamide, hydrogenated lecithin, cyclohexasiloxane, cetyl alcohol, bifida ferment lysate, phenoxyethanol, ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/vp copolymer, c13-14 isoparaffin, polysorbate 80, acrylates/c10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, sodium benzoate, sodium hydroxide, laureth-7, glycine soja (soybean) oil, fragrance, iris pallida root extract, ruby powder, disodium edta, gluconic acid, alcohol, mica, lecithin, adenosine, cellulose gum, retinol, peg-8, polysorbate 20, bht, chitosan, ethylhexylglycerin, glycolic acid, sorbitan oleate, calcium gluconate, tocopherol, behentrimonium chloride, sodium bicarbonate, ascorbyl palmitate, beta-glucan, potassium phosphate, caprylyl glycol, 1,2-hexanediol, camellia sinensis leaf extract, coffea arabica (coffee) seed extract, pongamia pinnata seed extract, isopropyl alcohol, acetic acid, angelica archangelica root extract, benzoic acid, citrus aurantium amara (bitter orange) peel extract, maltodextrin, citric acid, magnesium aluminum silicate, xanthan gum, lactic acid, ascorbic acid, sclerotium gum, bha, sorbic acid, titanium dioxide (ci 77891).

Verdict:

I am not adverse to using creams because I can control the barrier I want to create. This means lighter application for a thinner film and because this Day cream applies smoothly, application was a cinch. My skin absorbed the product and for an SPF 30 rating, the product feels lighter than my SPF 30 sunscreen alone. I used the product for 2 weeks but noticed a moisturizing difference by day 3. First, when I washed my face it remained moisturized and extra smooth. I exfoliate every 3 days and by day 3, when I need to again, my skin’s texture has changed a little. That glide I get when I apply foundations is not as smooth but with the Miracle Worker Multi-Rejuvenating Cream, my skin felt as soft as day 1 after exfoliation. That I really liked. I stopped any retinol use from my daily regimen and depended solely on Philosophy to keep it up. It did! Now, we have been getting 100 degrees weather in Southern California and that means it is really testing out every beauty product out there. With weather this hot, cosmetics stay on or melt……there is no in-between here. I can say because my primer contained SPF and I stopped using it, this Multi-tasker again played “foundation primer” almost like it was meant to be one. No creasing or sliding off and my make-up remained in place, plus my pores were only being suffocated by the weather, not the product. Okay, I get why you call this a Miracle Worker and for once the name fits how the product performs. My fine lines did not get deeper and because my skin remained smoother longer, it tended to give me a nice healthy even look to the surface of my skin, which means I look better and that thing I aiming for…..a little not my age!

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Ingredients (as listed on the website): avobenzone (2.7%), homosalate (2%), octinoxate (5%), octocrylene (2.16%) Inactive ingredients- water, glycerin, dicaprylyl carbonate, isononyl isononanoate, methyl methacrylate crosspolymer, dimethicone, cyclopentasiloxane, tribehenin peg-20 esters, cetyl alcohol, isostearyl isostearate, trisiloxane, glyceryl stearate, peg-100 stearate, cetyl stearate, stearic acid, bifida ferment lysate, potassium cetyl phosphate, phenoxyethanol, dimethicone crosspolymer, caffeine, chlorphenesin, propylene glycol, carbomer, hydroxyethyl acrylate/sodium acryloyldimethyl taurate copolymer, glycine soja (soybean) oil, sodium hydroxide, squalane, hippophae rhamnoides oil, iris pallida root extract, ruby powder, disodium edta, alcohol, algae extract, mica, lecithin, ascorbyl glucoside, adenosine, cellulose gum, ginkgo biloba leaf extract, retinol, peg-8, polysorbate 20, polysorbate 60, calcium sodium phosphosilicate, bht, acrylates/c10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, chitosan, ethylhexylglycerin, glycolic acid, sorbitan oleate, tocopherol, aesculus hippocastanum (horse chestnut) seed extract, glucose, lactic acid, behentrimonium chloride, glycyrrhiza uralensis (licorice) root extract, sodium benzoate, ascorbyl palmitate, potassium phosphate, potassium sorbate, camellia sinensis leaf extract, coffea arabica (coffee) seed extract, pongamia pinnata seed extract, isopropyl alcohol, acetic acid, angelica archangelica root extract, citrus aurantium amara (bitter orange) peel extract, maltodextrin, citric acid, magnesium aluminum silicate, xanthan gum, ascorbic acid, glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) rhizome/root extract, glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, caprylyl glycol, sclerotium gum, bha, sorbic acid, titanium dioxide (ci 77891).

I looked at all my eye creams, so that means this beauty hoarder….I mean fan started checking all her eye creams and not one had SPF in it. How odd when the skin there is so delicate and I already add SPF to that area but you would think most would have had some. Nope! Things you notice when a company starts doing what others don’t.

Verdict:

I saw the price point and thought this better work. It started working and I fell in love with this eye cream, that I tried convincing myself it’s not that great. Yes, I tried lying to myself because it worked so well. I then added all the eye creams I have that have disappointed both my checking account and my face, and 3 bottles in…….I had already exceeded the retail price. I have to honest and I dislike the price point but this eye cream delivered in every way anything from a jar will ever be able to. I suffer from severe seasonal allergies and that means as long as mother nature has seasons, I shall sneeze, have watery eyes, puffy eyes, look sad when I am not and so forth. This eye cream changed that! I look healthy and alive. Like I sleep like I should and most importantly, happy. The first thing I noticed in the 2 weeks of trying this product was the firmness. My skin’s texture is now smooth under the eye and firm. Not a sag from allergies and zero puff. I also noticed I would get a little tint of yellow when the skin around my eyes was being kept constantly wet by my eyes watering, but this eye cream created a moisture barrier that kept my skin protected, plus improved it. I was aiming for just simple protection and being able achieve that and looking better. Well, I will have a pout when I check out to purchase the eye cream but I just can’t see skipping on it.

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Ingredients (as listed on the website): aqua/water/eau, sodium citrate, isononyl isononanoate, glycerin, caprylic/capric triglyceride, alcohol denat., steareth-21, polyacrylate crosspolymer-6, polyglyceryl-2 diisostearate, cyclopentasiloxane, cyclohexasiloxane, cetearyl alcohol, phenoxyethanol, bifida ferment lysate, glyceryl stearate, peg-100 stearate, steareth-2, citric acid, ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/vp copolymer, iris pallida root extract, acrylates/c10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, xanthan gum, glycine soja (soybean) oil, alcohol, t-butyl alcohol, lecithin, parfum/fragrance, adenosine, cellulose gum, retinol, peg-8, polysorbate 20, bht, chitosan, ethylhexylglycerin, glycolic acid, sorbitan oleate, tocopherol, behentrimonium chloride, limonene, ascorbyl palmitate, potassium phosphate, camellia sinensis leaf extract, coffea arabica (coffee) seed extract, pongamia pinnata seed extract, sodium benzoate, isopropyl alcohol, acetic acid, angelica archangelica root extract, citrus aurantium amara (bitter orange) peel extract, maltodextrin, magnesium aluminum silicate, lactic acid, ascorbic acid, caprylyl glycol, sclerotium gum, bha, sorbic acid.
The Pearls – aqua/water/eau, glycerin, prunus armeniaca (apricot) kernel oil, propanediol, pentylene glycol, phenoxyethanol, alumina, iris pallida root extract, hydroxyethylpiperazine ethane sulfonic acid, silica, xanthan gum, algin, synthetic fluorphlogopite, bht, sodium hydroxide, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium hyaluronate, tocopherol, beta-sitosterol, squalene, titanium dioxide (ci 77891), iron oxide (ci 77491).

First, it felt like I was making a magic potion when I opened this jar. You pour the pink colored pearls that contain the serum and incorporate it with the cream. Wait 5 minutes until it “bakes” (no oven needed), mix again and your beauty potion is complete. The pearls do not remain visible in the cream and dissolve to become one mighty anti-aging concoction.

Verdict:

I am always up for a concoction and this is why I still make my own face masks at home, so this was a welcoming site when I got to play mad scientist for 5 minutes. The jar is large and the serum-in-cream once mixed applies well. My skin felt breathable and I experienced zero problems when it came to clogged pores, blemishes or break-outs. Any small and light scars I have from a recent acne breakout are gone! Yes, that is how quick the turnover process worked for me. I first noticed lightening in week one and I attribute this to the combo work from the kit. The night cream remains on and moisturizes so well, that the next day I would wake up and a thin layer of skin on my marks would peel to reveal a less marked new layer. The darkness went away and I can only see shadows now of the break-out I got last month. My skin on my face is good at healing but it has never pressed on the gas pedal this hard to hurry up the process. I also have a nice glow after I wash my face in the morning to apply make-up. It remains on the days I don’t apply cosmetics, and corrected my T-zone from getting too oily. The pores around my nose are less visible and only depending on Philosophy to control my fine lines, well they came through and again turned back the clock a bit to make them look less visible.

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Final Verdict- Very few kits work in conjunction like this one does. I depended on 3 products solely for 2 weeks and only changed because I am reviewing another brand but will be returning back to Philosophy when I am not testing other manufactures. I don’t say this much because let’s be frank, not everything works as promised. Philosophy exceeded my expectations and I was already positive about the brand! My must buys are the eye and night cream but you have better pick-up an SPF for the day time!

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***Coupon Alert***
Use Promo Code: Welcome15 to receive a philosophy welcome gift (includes 1oz purity made simple facial cleanser, 1oz amazing grace shower gel, and 0.4oz hope in a jar moisturizer) with any $25 purchase

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Connect with Philosophy and try their New Miracle Worker Multi-Rejuvenating line at:

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

BzzAgent: Silk Cashew Milk #Review #SilkCashew

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Non-Dairy milks are not foreign to me and especially enjoy the nut based versus the soy ones. My favorite has been a toasted Coconut and Almond blend I have been enjoying, however when BzzAgent offered the new Silk Cashew milk, I was eager to give it a try.

Silk’s Cashew Milk comes in a carton and is located in the refrigerated section. You see a huge cashew nut, which gets you thinking you will taste the cashew when you try it. I would say that is not what I got when I tasted the milk on it’s own. It’s more closely to soy milk versus any nut milk I have tried. I know cashews have buttery notes and that was not present. I even bit into an unsalted cashew to make sure I had not momentarily forgotten what the nut tasted like. The milk is also thicker in consistency and this is not a natural effect, but more from the emulsifiers and thickeners added. As the product ages, I also found that it tasted less enjoyable. It sort of just tastes like if you took tapioca and blended it finely. I like tapioca and I like cashews, but unsure the Silk Cashew milk delivered what I expected. I tried the product with cereals, granola, fruit to even chocolate and the latter sort of added at least some more flavor and helped disguise the texture, so it’s more a product that I would consider as an add-on. Add it to chocolate to have a healthier chocolate blend. Would be great with whey protein shakes and the such because it’s also not as nutritious as you would want on it’s own. Not high on protein at all…..like less than 1 gram per serving. Yes, it’s only 25 calories for 1 cup but if it were not for the added vitamins and minerals that were added after, it’s not that high. You get 160 mg of sodium and 45% of your daily calcium, which is sourced from the calcium carbonate added. If you buy the unsweetened version, you get 0 grams of sugar but if you purchase the “original”, you get 7 grams. The product is advertised as creamy and I associate the texture more as thick but from the Locust bean, not the nut itself. I think it falls in being a middle of the road product where you could find better nut milks that offer a higher nutrition value and flavor, but if you want a little bit of change, you can try the Cashew milk by Silk.

Ingredients: (Unsweetened version) Cashewmilk (Filtered Water, Cashews), Sea Salt, Locust Bean Gum, Almond Butter, Sunflower Lecithin, Natural Flavor, Gellan Gum, Ascorbic Acid

VITAMINS & MINERALS: Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin E Acetate, Zinc Gluconate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Riboflavin (B2), Vitamin B12, and Vitamin D2.

Retail Price Point: $2.32 at Target for a 64 ounce carton was the lowest price-point I could find. You can also use a coupon here.

I did find a place for Silk’s Cashew milk and that is in baking.  The product has a good amount of thickeners and because it’s better tasting than water, you at least can replace some of the product with Silk’s Cashew milk where water is called for.  I baked my usual non-dairy chocolate cake with it and added Cocoa powder and coffee, which I steeped in hot cashew milk.  The recipe called for 1 cup of water or left-over coffee, so why not go with something more flavorful.  The other positive that is hard to pass up, the price point.  Super cheap at Target where a large carton can be found and if you add a coupon, the cashew milk price makes the product taste sweeter!  The only limitations at Target is that you can usually find the original and unsweetened version.  My two Targets did not stock the chocolate or vanilla so far.  Now, I love Silk Chocolate milk, so I’m curious about that version!

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Connect with Silk Cashew Milk at:

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

Sano: Vitamin C Serum+ Daily Skin Revitalizer and Vitamin C Eye Gel+ with Silk Peptides #Review #SanoSerum

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I have been wanting to incorporate Vitamin C into my skin care regimen after doing some research.  In the following weeks, I will be reviewing products that will focus around brands that deliver to your skin the maximum Vitamin C and hoping to see positive results. You can read my post on my research at- Topical Vitamin C use in Beauty Products Research and Information

My first to test and review is by a brand named Sano Naturals.  I liked from the get-go that they back-up their beauty products.  If you are not 100% satisfied with your purchase and skin care experience, they will refund your entire purchase price, no questions asked.  They also include a bonus item with purchase and that is always a positive!

 

Sano Vitamin C Serum+:

On the bottle it states the product is of high potency and a Daily Skin Revitalizer. The bottle is a beautiful cobalt blue in color and the dark hue aids with preserving the product, which is rated at 20% concentration. I next looked at the ingredient list and you have an Organic Herbal Infusion, Aloe, and then Vitamin C. So far I am happy that water is not the delivery agent and other good quality binding ingredients were used along with the vitamin. The list goes on but everything is recognizable and friendly, not something I am use to in the “beauty world”. You get Hyaluronic Acid, which helps with inflammation (puffiness) and dry skin. It’s an ingredient you see for treating Eczema. Sano also uses kosher Vegetable Glycerin to Organic Jojoba oil. Jojoba has many good properties from being used as a fungicide and preventing mildew growth, to being able to deliver moisture without leaving an oily residue.

Results-

Even though most studies for Vitamin C ranged from a month to 12 weeks, I used the product for a period of 2 weeks. I eat a pretty balanced diet that is rich in greens, vegetables and fruit but I have those days that I wish I could say I ate bad, but it’s mostly that time gets in between meals and I eat late. Inconsistency happens! I noticed when I apply the Sano Vitamin C Serum+, my skin quickly absorbs it. It was so quick that my skin felt soft but with no product residue. I even tested one side of my face by applying just simple H2o and even water does not get absorbed at this rate. It usually would roll off but not this serum. So far I was happy with my first application and in not getting an oily appearance and/or feeling. I continued use and by day 4 saw what appeared as smoothness. Let me add no blemishes, pimples, blackheads or any skin occlusions. This serum is friendly when it comes to any acne suffers and even though people say mine is in the mild range, I myself is the one that deals with it so I rate it moderate at times to those moments that you get the monster bump that never comes up. My pores appear smaller just because my skin looks smoother and plumped up but in a good way! I continued use and noticed less was needed as I continued to use the product. My skin was hydrated enough that where I used 2 to 3 drops in one area, then changed to only needing one drop. The one drop then glided better when applied because my skin did experience positive changes. I don’t feel I have lost “years” when it comes to aging but I definitely look better. I look like I slept well, drank all my 8 glasses of water, and even ate well……even though that is not always the case. I was definitely happy with the results!

Retail Price Point: $18.95

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Sano Vitamin C Eye Gel+:

This is a bonus item with purchase.  You again have a cobalt blue colored jar and I love that the product comes with a safety seal that you peel, so no air or anything that can damage or eat up the Vitamin C benefits while in storage. Easy to store and even pack in an overnight bag.

Results-

I never thought a gel could deliver moisture I was happy with but this one did the trick. Being that it’s a gel, the product goes on cold and instantly starts working on my morning’s puffy eyes. The Aloe in the product is very gentle to the skin in that area and I love how my make-up glides on after. Some eye creams would roll up sometimes due to the residue left behind and I had to then try to collect these little eye cream left-overs while at the same time not messing up my make-up. Not with the Sano’s Vitamin C Eye gel+. The product is rich in Peptides to Hyaluronic Acid. Do not be fooled, this gel does moisturize but the area is left with a supple and replenished look. I had zero eye irritations and found the gel friendly to my allergy suffering eyes. A little goes a long way, I used what I could as lightly dab out of the container, maybe the size of two rice grains per eye. The instant results alone of reducing puffiness is hard to beat and I used it with the Sano Vitamin C Serum +, just to get that extra help in my problem areas. My only small con is the product coming in jar form. I prefer bottles with pumps or that have an applicator like a dropper. I’m just not a fan of dabbing into a jar due to bacteria/germs, but due to the performance of the product, it would not deter me from buying it.

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Check-out the products provided by Sano Naturals at:

 

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

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

 

Topical Vitamin C use in #Beauty Products Research and Information

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I have been researching and doing my homework on the effects of Vitamin C at the dermis level because even though I have tried products that contain trace amounts, I have never tried a beauty item that it’s main focus was delivering Vitamin C.

How does Vitamin C benefit our Skin:
Upon reading and even finding “home-remedies” for DIY serums to putty like creams, I decided to leave my Vitamin C manufacturing to the professionals.

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a collagen builder. Collagen is a protein that helps in the growth of blood vessels, to cells (and yes, the skin kind too). Your body needs collagen to be able to rebuild and to even creating scar tissue, as this is a form of “rebuilding”. Collagen is what also gives our skin firmness and that supple look we all want due to it’s smooth looking effects. We all want to look vibrant and younger, so this where the antioxidants also play a part, something that Vitamin C contains. Antioxidants aid with everything from inflammation to neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals is what causes damage to our DNA and it’s results is aging, so may see early signs like fine lines, wrinkles, just plain old cell damage that comes from products, to the environment (oxidative damage) and sun exposure/burns. The vitamin is used for dry skin, healing wounds, helping with reduction of fine lines/wrinkles to elasticity.

The research is still limited to the total effects and benefits from Vitamin C via topical application, however I did read that the pH of our skin does effect how much we can absorb, thus benefit from the vitamin. Topical application of ascorbic acid will cross the epidermis into the underlying dermal layers, but you want the higher percentage (concentrate) to be able achieve maximum benefits.

What to look for in Vitamin C beauty products:
Like with most vitamins and my experience with Vitamin A (retinol), oxidation is a factor in deterioration of a skin product that contains Vitamin C. Just exposure to sun, air, light will start the degrading process, so look for products that come in dark colored bottles to make sure you are getting the best bang for your buck. Many of the better products will add other antioxidant rich ingredients to boost and also slow the rate of deterioration and conserve the ascorbic acid properties.

What can you expect by using Vitamin C:
I read studies both in humans and animals. Mostly noted was a high potency of Vitamin C levels being used and in combination with other binding ingredients but the main impact came from the 5 to 10% concentrations used in those studies. This may be why a high potency level will give best results. People reported elasticity changes to reduction of fine lines/wrinkles to a supple and smoother appearance. The impact is greater in people who may not consume diets rich in Vitamin C but even those that did have such a rich diet, noticed positive changes just not as apparent as those that did not. Topical Vitamin C may also have skin lightening effects in a mild form, which are caused by reductions in melanin production and melanin oxidation.

I hope the above helps when making decisions to include Vitamin C as part of your beauty routine!

Smiley: Nature’s Bounty / Optimal Solutions Hair, Skin and Nails Gummies #Review

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I’m always a supporter of finding ways to improve my skin’s health to my hair and nails. Smiley and Nature’s Bounty sent me a free bottle of their gummies, which contain Biotin and other supplements that feed your beauty. I was also sent samples to distribute with coupon cards to give away, a few beauty related items, like a compact and nail file, plus a couple of hair bands.

What’s in it:
This is for a serving of 2 gummies with a Daily Value (DV) based on a 2,000 caloric daily intake diet.

  • Biotin– 2, 500 mg (833% of your DV) > Biotin is usually found in our intestinal’s bacteria and our bodies usually produce more naturally than what our body requires (DV). Biotin is what our cells need to be able to grow, produce Fatty Acids and aid with metabolizing fats and Amino Acids. Now, there are people who may have metabolic disorders, in which enough Biotin is not produced. You will also find people that have a issues producing enough gastric acid be low on Biotin, as patients who are elderly, people who consume alcohol and/or smoke. Another cause is a Immune System disorders. Another culprit that may make a person deficient in Biotin is consumption of egg whites in their raw form and on a daily basis (functional Avidin). Avidin is destroyed by cooking. Symptoms of a deficiency is hair loss, skin disorders to even neurological disorders like depression, fatigue, lethargy to hallucinations.
  • Vitamin C– 15 mg (25% of your DV) > Ascorbic Acid, which is the source listed has been proven to help with oxidative stress. Being that it is classified as an antioxidant, people may see benefits in cardiovascular disease to even those who suffer from inflammation. Vitamin C also helps the immune system and is a natural antihistamine, so you will also find benefits when it comes to allergies.
  • Vitamin E– 15 IU (50% of your DV) > You have probably noticed Vitamin E in many beauty products and I personally use the vitamin in oil form to hydrate and protect the skin around my eyes. Vitamin E is another antioxidant and can help with protecting lipids, neurological function, to even reducing oxidative stress.

Other Ingredients listed- Corn Syrup, Sugar, Dicalcium Phosphate, Grape juice color concentrate, Gelatin, Modified Food Starch, Citric Acid, Lactic Acid, Natural Strawberry flavor, Black Carrot juice color concentrate, Maltodextrin, Fractionated Coconut oil, Carnauba wax, Beeswax and Silica.

Dosage: For adults, Nature’s Bounty recommends a serving of 2 gummies once or twice on a daily basis. They suggest taking them with a meal. A full size bottle comes with 80 gummies in total, so you will run short on a 30-day supply if you go beyond the minimum requirement (once daily).

The Flavor/Taste Test:
The gummies are Strawberry flavored and sweet, with almost a corn starch after-taste. Not your usually clear looking gummy but a more cloudy and waxy consistency.

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Overall Performance/Results:
I took the product until I finished the bottle and I must admit I did not like being short on a 30-day supply if I took the product twice daily (total of 4 gummies). It’s just not convenient and not a manner I usually buy or take supplements. I like the amount of Biotin and Vitamin C and E found in the blend. I found taking 1 gummy in the morning and 1 gummy in the afternoon worked best for me because 833% of a my Biotin daily value in one dose is really just going to purge out with the amount of water I tend to drink through out the day. I prefer absorbing my supplements a little through out the day versus flooding my system with higher (mega) doses. I noticed changes mostly in my nails and the growth cycle did speed up. My hair grows quickly as it is, so I could not comment there but I did not notice any significance when it came to changes in my skin. I did not have fewer or more breakouts.

A few things I did find negative when it came to this supplement was the corn syrup as first ingredient, then more sugar, to the clear window where you can see the gummies from. Vitamin C oxidizes and becomes useless when exposed to light and this is why you always see the supplement stored in dark/solid colored bottles. I know people like to view products when buying but not at the cost of potentially losing a benefit when you are seeking to better your health. I know I m not Biotin deficient and could not locate studies where a person who produces, or in our case naturally produce more than needed; needed a mega-dose on top of that to see results in skin, hair, or nails. I have been drinking more water so I know that helps with the aforementioned, and it comes at a lower cost per unit, plus you don’t get shortened on a 30-day supply there 🙂

Price Point: 80 gummy count bottle retails for $5.79 to $7.99. I found the lower price point at Walmart, with Amazon being $0.10 more and Walgreen’s being the most expensive at $7.99.

You can save by signing-up to their Newsletter- $1.00 off coupon http://www.naturesbounty.com/signup/

You can also try the product and if it does not provide you with satisfied results; get your money back here:

I am glad I tried the gummies because I do believe in working from within to improve our outside. With the coupon and guarantee, I personally feel that it may be something you wish to try and see if you get results. It’s a win/win in my book!

To find more information on Nature’s Bounty and the above product, please visit them here:

 

I received the above product free of charge from Smiley and Nature’s Bounty/Optimal Solutions.  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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