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

DSC_0749

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!

DSC_0750

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

 

DSC_0752
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!

 

DSC_0751

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!

 

DSC_0753

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.  😦

 

DSC_0754

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!

DSC_0755

 

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.

 

Advertisements

Kozy Shack: Indulgent Recipe Puddings #Review #KozyShack

Who doesn’t love puddings? I happen to be a huge fan and even make pudding based pies, cakes and treats because puddings go beyond the cup!

DSC_0081

BzzAgent sent me two coupons to try the new Kozy Shack Indulgent Recipe Pudding cups that come in three flavors:

  • Dark Chocolate
  • Chocolate Truffle
  • Salted Caramel
  • Vanilla Bean

 

DSC_0082 (1)

The new Kozy Shack Indulgent Recipe cups is making an already liked food more likable! Made with real ingredients and the recipe is very simple when it comes to easily grabbing an already made and ready to serve dessert or treat, straight from the fridge. I went out to hunt for Dark Chocolate because being a caramel lover, that flavor was already on my “must-get” list. After visiting a few stores and not finding the dark chocolate, I went with trying the Chocolate Truffle variety instead.

DSC_0201 (2)

  • Verdict on Chocolate Truffle:
    My family and I enjoy pudding and maybe because I make the dessert from scratch, we have been spoiled. I was left craving chocolate after trying this version. The chocolate flavor is not intense and the product is smooth, but not velvety in texture. Almost kind of like to much gelatin and/or thickener was added. I turn the package around and not only was a color an indication that there was not enough chocolate, the ingredient list reflected such (i.e. Tapioca starch before chocolate and sugar before chocolate too). I felt it was too sweet to even take a second spoonful, as did my husband, so we passed but felt the product could be saved.

DSC_0202 (2)

 

Ingredients:
Reduced Fat Milk, Sugar, Cream, Modified Tapioca Starch, Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), Contains Less than 2% of Natural Flavors, Salt, Carrageenan, Maltodextrin.

DSC_0203 (2)

Retail Price Point: From $2.76 to $3.75 at most stores. Each cup is about 200 calories per serving and each container comes with 4 individual cups.

DSC_0198

  • Verdict on Salted Caramel:
    This is my go to flavor from coffees, treats, baked goods, to just enjoying Fleur de Sel Caramel. We open the cup and take a taste, it’s more butterscotch than caramel and the salted versus sweetness that makes salted caramel be that buttery goodness is not present. This one again is sweeter but think of it like a vanilla butterscotch variety and then your taste buds get the idea. It may be missing the salted caramel notes, but we found it better than a pudding that says chocolate and is then lacking the key component.

DSC_0199

Ingredients:
Reduced Fat Milk, Cream, Brown Sugar, Modified Tapioca Starch, Contains Less than 2% of Caramel Color, Sea Salt, Natural Flavors, Carrageenan, Maltodextrin.

DSC_0200

Final Verdict:

I don’t like to just dispose of food and especially when I see potential.  Each of these cups have about 23 grams of sugar alone and are thick in texture…….so my brain thought why not make a mug cake.  Calories wise a mug cake would be 2 servings to share and the sugar problem would not be an issue. I used 1 teaspoon of Cake flour (I use an unbleached variety) and a pinch of Baking Soda.  Combine product and start by microwaving the cup for 1 minute and then 30 second intervals until the batter begins to bubble and rise.  I kept checking because I did not want it bubbling over and it took three 30 second intervals to achieve the desired texture I wanted, something molten lava cake-ish! 🙂 Allow the cake to completely cool before enjoying and it’s not only because it’s nuclear hot but so the cake can set.  I used a stoneware based mug because it retains heat best and is microwave safe.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

The final product was not as sweet and we could enjoy the pudding cakes!  I feel the product has potential but if I want pudding as-is, I would not be indulging in this variety mainly because of it being too sugary to enjoy.  There are many Belgium chocolate based puddings that are silky and most importantly, so much chocolate that it drowns every loving taste bud! That is what I want in a pudding 🙂

IMAG3673

 

Connect with Kozy Shack at:

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

 

 

EXUVIANCE®: Bionic Oxygen Facial Masque/Mask #Review #Exuviance

DSC_0151 (1)

I am always on the hunt for new products that take exfoliation to another level. Exfoliating has been one of those actions that made a significant impact in the appearance of my skin. I use to think a deep facial mask every two weeks was sufficient and I had people that shared horrible stories of exfoliating and actually causing damage to their skin. Like with any procedure, knowledge is key and once I gathered information and did my homework, I have thankfully been lucky in not irritating my skin and have had zero regrets.

Exuviance is a company that I have found that innovation is key to the products they make. It’s not just trying to find a way to be different, but Exuviance is about finding the best way to satisfy your skin care needs, bottling it, and this has resulted in many happy customers. I’m one of them!

DSC_0152 (1)

Exuviance’s latest product is the Bionic Oxygen Facial. The product is a mask that can be used 3 to 4 times a week, so you already see where this product differs from usual masks that tend to be so harsh that most manufactures want the consumer to use their products once a week. This is a facial product that also performs differently than the common clay and mud masks out there. Think of how a seltzer bubbles against a glass and that is pretty much defining what this mask creates against your skin!

The new Bionic Oxygen Facial mask pulls out the toxins that collect on your skin’s surface and within the pores. That bubbling effect gently pulls out all the build-up you get from everything you use on a daily bases, from cosmetics to even moisturizers. It’s a “reboot” for your skin….a fresh start that you can experience 3 to 4 times a week! That is cleansing on a whole other level.

DSC_0153 (1)

Ingredients (as listed on the website): Aqua (Water), Perfluorohexane, Gluconolactone, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Dimethicone PEG-7 Phosphate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, PPG-5-Ceteth-20, Polysorbate 20, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Lactobionic Acid, Coco-Glucoside, Perfluorodecalin, Perfluoromethylcyclopentane, Isononyl Isononanoate, Ethylhexyl Isononanoate, Butylene Glycol, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Ammonium Hydroxide, Sodium Cocamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, Polyquaternium-10, Carrageenan, Disodium EDTA, Sorbitan Isostearate, Polysorbate 60, Xanthan Gum, Caprylyl Glycol, Methyldihydrojasmonate, Hexyl Salicylate, Benzyl Acetate, Cyclamen Aldehyde, 2,6-Dimethyl-7-Octen-2-ol, Juniperus Mexicana Oil, Heliotropine, 3-Hexenol, Methyl Benzodioxepinone, 2,4-Dimethyl-3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol, CI 60730 (Ext. Violet 2), CI 42090 (Blue 1).

Retail Price Point: The new Bionic Oxygen Facial mask can be found at Ulta, Amazon or directly from NeoStrata for $65.00. This is for 3.2 ounce bottle. Where you buy matters because for the same price point (or sometimes less), you get extras usually offered at Ulta and NeoStrata. Ulta currently has a “GIft with Purchase” offer going and NeoStrata has a 20% off deal going, with free shipping and a “Gift with Purchase” offer for $100+ orders. Check-out the deals, but so far in my opinion the best bang for even less bucks is via the manufacture directly.

Ulta FREE sample Firm-Ng6 Non-Acid Peel with any Exuviance purchase (offer valid 10/4/15-10/24/15 or while supplies last)

NeoStrata Friends and Family Sale! 20% Off + Free Shipping on All orders.  Free Exuviance Heel Repair on orders $100+.

DSC_0154

Verdict:
I made sure to follow directions and I have so far used 6 applications, within a 2 week period. The mask feels incredible and I make sure to have a moist and wet surface before applying the Bionic Oxygen facial mask because then the bubbling effect begins. It’s not only a re-freshening feeling but like getting a mini massage that cleanses every pore out. On the first use, I noticed my nose’s pores looked less congested and had a smaller appearance. My skin looked as refreshed as I felt and because this product is gentle, you are not left with dehydrated and over dry skin. My skin felt supple and had a nice healthy glow. I continue using the product and it takes only 5 minutes at each application to achieve results. The bubbling and foaming dissipates as time passes, so this new “smart masque” tells you when it’s finishing. On days I was short on time, I even brushed my teeth because this girl need to multitask! After the second week was closing, I can say the results are visible. My skin appears more radiant and healthy. Like with any mask, you apply a good moisturizer after and I did notice my skin would absorb better, so this also enhanced the performance of the moisturizer(s) and serums I am currently using. Being able to use this product on a more regular basis is something I always desired to have but could never find. The Bionic Oxygen Facial allows my skin to have less acne breakouts because it keeps everything cleansed and improves my complexion.

Trying out new skin care systems can be exciting at times and sometimes even disappointing. It’s re-learning from what we are accustomed to but I am always up to for what is new and can actually make a difference. Throwing dollars towards just the familiar but necessarily the best, is not an option for me. So, get out of your comfort zone because your skin will thank you when you try the new Exuviance Bionic Oxygen facial!

Connect with NeoStrata, the parent company of Exuviance today at:

 

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

%d bloggers like this: