Tryazon: The Ritual of Sakura Skincare Set by Rituals Review #Tryazon #RitualsUSA

As much as we enjoy a day at the spa, reality is that sometimes the spa needs to come to us. Having products that help renew your space not only helps in creating a relaxing environment, but takes the home space to another level.

In comes Rituals, which provides an array of products that can be used at home or even when you travel. Stress relievers on the go! It is no longer not having time to book an appointment but stress hits us at any hour. It can be midnight and a soak in a tub can be enough to make you finish the rest of the week strong just because you took some time to give yourself some very much needed TLC. I have yet to know a spa available at midnight and going out in my jammies at such an hour becomes a drag if the idea of getting out the car comes into play. Stay in your pajamas and use that travel time at a place that has no waiting room, your home!

Rituals has many sets to choose from and products are sold a la carte or if you wish for a more economical idea, you can get a gift set that allows you try out four products from the same line. These are not only great for self gifting but make great presents because one thing we all share, is needing a touch of less stress in our lives. I opted for the set called The Rituals of Sakura. You will find on the Rituals site that they even have gift sets available in size small, medium and large, again accommodating for every budget and each set comes with a gorgeous reusable box. Men are also not excluded (hear they get stress too 🙂 ), so you can also find products for that special guy in your life. Make it a dual spa day!

 

The Rituals of Sakura Renewing Set Includes:

All products assembled in the Netherlands (Amsterdam) and disturbed out of Delaware (USA)

Retail Price: $45 and the site advertises free shipping with orders $40 or more. You can also add an item and receive a free gift when you spend $50 or more. A pop-up window will come up and offers you sign up for emails and again offers a percentage off of orders, making the deals only sweeter.  You can also access Ritual products at Macys’s, Jet, Ulta, and Lord & Taylor

 

Verdict:
The scent in the Sakura collection is light and pleasing. The site advertises the scent of Japanese Cherry Blossoms, which is delicate and Rituals did get the fragrance spot on. The scrub has a soft almond scent that is calming when paired with the floral notes. The shower gel goes further than expected, so a small amount is needed when using. I worry as some gels can be irritating but this gel still had a nice scent that remains but is not overwhelming. I also found it nourishing to my skin versus how some gels tend to strip away moisture and leave your skin feeling tight. Not exactly a relaxing experience, but Rituals got it right where this is a foaming gel that lends itself in being kinder and beneficial to your skin’s surface. I was concerned the body cream would be overpowering as some fragrance enriched products can be. I don’t want to walk by someone and make them feel like I beat them with a cherry blossom tree! Again, a sweet cherry scent that is soft to the nose but does not linger to become annoying. The cream is not heavy and my skin absorbed it, leaving a nice even texture with zero dry spots. I would use this lotion daily and it takes the bore out of my no scent oatmeal one I had been using prior. The hand wash was a nice surprise. I thought it was that extra item in the set that I was not too ecstatic about but after several uses, my hands improved so the not so exciting item became a favorite too. Nice scent and cleanses enough that after cooking, I had no lingering unwanted smells left from making dinner. Again, it is nice when a hand wash with perfumes actually washes versus just give me scented hands.

Final Verdict:
I have purchased products from skincare and bath stores with same scents, but nothing has captured the Cherry Blossom experience as well as Rituals. The ingredients like rice milk aid in softening your skin’s texture, so this a true spa quality product versus just scented goodies that have no benefits.  Finally, a gift set where each item can be used with no throwaways included! I liked that not only for myself but when I gift a set, I know it is not just filler made to look nice and pretty. The ingredients are top notch, non-irritating, and scent wise it became a desirable fragrance I looked forward to using. This is definitely a must buy and will easily make it to the #2018GiftGuide this year!

 

To Connect with Rituals, please visit:

​​

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Rituals USA and Tryazon. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

HydroPeptide: On the Go Glow Anti-wrinkle Travel Set #Review #HydroPeptide

dsc_1956

 

In the beauty world there is one thing that has really triumphed when it comes to brand awareness……sample sizes. Whether you call them deluxe size, trial size, travel or just plain samples, being able to try and not invest the full dollar amount towards a product has really yielded dividends both for the consumer and brand-names. I see beauty items like medications, in where you have one popular product that works with many but not all. I have used foundations that get out of the world ratings and then I use it and have a what are they talking about moment. This is why I love being able to try without getting the full sting and not feel bad if a product is not for me.

HydroPeptide believes in the same. A company that is brave enough and confident about what they make, that they decided why not make travel size products for consumers to try and see if they like them. If you become a fan, you can then later buy the full size and also the travel size for those weekend getaways.

dsc_1955

I was sent the Anti-wrinkle travel set called, “On the Go Glow“. The set comes with:

  1. Exfoliating Cleanser
  2. Pre-Treatment Toner
  3. Purfiying Mask
  4. Eye Authority
  5. Face Lift
  6. Everything you need and even a beautiful and useful size pouch to carry the HydroPeptide products along with any mini shampoo and conditioners to complete your travel to-go bag.

 

dsc_1954

 

Verdict:

The regimen is simple. I welcome that not only when travelling but when trying a brand. I always follow the directions to see if the products yield the claims made. This kit left nothing untreated and except for adding my spot acne cream when needed, I just used the HydroPeptide set exclusively. The solutions are light when applied and like the eye cream and face lift, my skin was left feeling fresh after about day 4 of use. By this I mean that I had a natural and healthy sheen without any ill effects of transitioning over to using HydroPeptide exclusively. The mask is out of this world when it comes to clarifying and not over drying. The mask really needs a light application that is thin and even and I am not kidding, your skin’s surface changes after removal. I mean serious positive changes that also helped any acne/blemishes I was suffering from pre to post breakout. The entire set played well with my skin and even though I am not a fan and believer of toners, I can say the refreshing and balanced pH was something that changed my mind about my opinion of toners. This toner is also a “pre-treatment”, so it’s a way to prep your skin for absorption of the coming products after you have exfoliated and washed your face. I get it! It makes sense with this system and I did not view it as an add-on that was wasted. The eye cream is thick but because you use the dab method and a 1/2 a pea size, just with the warmth of my skin, the product quickly was absorbed.  I was left with just a thin layer that I call “good left-overs” because it’s there to protect and continue nourishing my skin as needed. This system by HydroPeptide is an AM and PM kit. Many anti aging systems are geared towards only night use because of the ingredients maybe being to harsh for morning and day time use. Some acids tend to activate worse in sunlight but that is what sunscreen is for and I don’t ever skip on treatments of this kind because just one safeguard means you can get double the benefits, so don’t skip on SPF and you will be fine. I noticed the eye area was my biggest improvement and while I would love to boast that just get the eye cream and go, I have to realize I used everything as directed and that unison of products is very likely the cause for the positive effects. Using 1/2 a pea size on the eye cream and just a pea size for the face cream, I could see the deal with the kit.  Just look at the ingredients on the site and these are serious products when it comes to results and free from sulphates to artificial fragrances and anything that is added as fillers with most beauty brands designed towards anti aging formulas.  I never understood why companies add ingredients that cause aging and/or irritations and still advertise the items as anti wrinkle care.  It’s nice when a company like HydroPeptide comes along and removes the fillers and just works on what you want, your skin and getting the most of the results for the money you invested.  The “On the Go Glow” kit is just that and a great starter at just $78!  I have spent more on nail polishes in one visit and walked away less satisfied.

 

dsc_1957

 

Give HydroPeptide a Go at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from HydroPeptide. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

 

 

Exuviance: Depuffing Eye Serum #Review #Exuviance #NeoStrata

DSC_1490

I have featured Exuviance/NeoStrata products in the past on my blog and have become a huge fan of their lines. The company really addresses all your skin’s needs with products that not only target, but most even reverse and/or prevent from skin issues worsening. My biggest issue most of the year is puffy eyes. No matter how many hours of snoozing I get, I am a puffer fish every morning. As long as the world has nature, which produces pollen and the such, my eyes will swell. I take decongestants and allergy pills but none address the poof I get around my eyes. I have been target treating this area since my teens! My biggest worry was getting dark circles due to the constant pressure and swelling. So far taking care of the problem via eye drops has worked by reducing the problem by 50%, but I’m still puffy! Eye drops also make the sensitive skin around my eyes irritated. I will experience redness to peeling if my watery eyes cry out a few tears after application. Playing catch-up is not so simple, so when Exuviance stated they have a Depuffing Eye Serum, this Puffer Fishy raised her hand!

DSC_1486

 

Exuviance’s Depuffing Eye Serum, works in several ways. First, being in serum form, the product itself is easily and rapidly absorbed. No adding heavy creams that tend to make already that stressed out skin feel heavy and like it can’t breathe. Their proprietary “Eyelissâ„¢ and Actiflow® ” promotes circulation to the area. This action aids with swelling dissipating the fluid that builds and causes the puff effect. This is why I am more puffy in the early morning when I wake up. Everything was allowed to pool up giving me that look that I have been crying when I have not been! As I mentioned and you have heard countless times, our eye skin differs in texture and fragility compared to the rest of our skin on our face. This is why even when applying products you have to be extra nice and why Exuviance created “NeoGlucosamine® “. Think of this as the body builder for your eyes. It will help firm the skin and regain it’s tone, plus this is like I said a new way to treat your eyes. You can apply the Depuffing Eye Serum to the bottom and top of your eyelids. So droopy eyelids also get a work-out! The roller itself creates a soft massage while you apply and being softer is better than being told to use your ring finger when applying. Can’t count the times my ring finger has not played nice and applied product to my eye versus outside of my eye. Exuviance, also added caffeine to the product for instant results. While the other ingredients help your skin regain it’s losses, the caffeine gives you instant lift. You will see in seconds shrinking and tightness, and your eyes look more…..well like they should.

 

DSC_1489

 

Retail Price Point: $72.00 via Exuviance and Ulta. Ulta currently offers a gift with purchase. You get a FREE full size Targeted Wrinkle Repair with any $75 Exuviance purchase (offer valid 7/3/16-7/23/16 or while supplies last). Amazon has a price point of $49.04 but zero free item and because the free gift is at full size, it is hard to overlook a product for free that usually costs $65!  Free shipping via Ulta with a $50 purchase too 🙂

 

DSC_1487

 

Ingredients (as listed on the website):
Aqua (Water), Isododecane, Dimethicone, Acetyl Glucosamine, Glycerin, Polysilicone-11, Polysorbate 80, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Dipeptide-2, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Butylene Glycol, Caffeine, PEG-14M, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Extract, Hesperidin Methyl Chalcone, Citric Acid, Steareth-20, Propylene Glycol, Sorbitan Isostearate, Polysorbate 60, Caprylyl Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol, CI 42090 (Blue 1), CI 15985 (Yellow 6).

DSC_1488

Verdict:

The price. I know. One thing I have learned though that price in the beauty world says zilch about a product. You can pay a lot and get zero results, or it will be the best thing ever. I have also been using a fair priced eyebrow pencil and it works better than the $40+ kit for brows I purchased last year. So, when evaluating this serum, I measure by how it works/if it works, and it has to outperform products of like kind. I love the applicator from the get go. No risk of contamination by messing with fingers in a jar, easily slides and allows me to be kind to the skin around my eyes. Game changer, you can address both upper eyelid and under eye areas. Yes, this is an all purpose eye product that addresses finally the entire eye! So tired of under eye limitations with everything called E-Y-E creams! It’s a serum and my skin loved it. Absorbed it just like the ground in California absorbs water when it rains! I love this because this means no messing with my foundation or even BB Creams. I tend to go light with coverage in the Summer anyways, so this plays well with the let’s go light what I put on my face habit. Now, the results. I wanted to not like you. Okay, the price stings but when I applied Exuviance’s Depuffing Eye Serum to my right eye and lost my Puffer Fish status……..well, it’s a cute name from a Husband that is trying to be sweet about my puffy eyes but it looks like I am sad when I am not. This serum brought the happy me out. I know, I wanted to really say whatever. It works like any caffeinated/Green Tea thingy you can get off the shelf at the drug store, but it did not. I was left with zero residue to deal with like with some gel formulas that peel and my eyes just looked open and like they should. This made me feel better because looking better has a positive effect (at least for me it does). It also lasted.  That is the real kicker because 8 hours later and I look in the mirror, still me with normal eyes! I am not trying for model status but I sure as heck want my eyes to look like my own and not like I have been partying all night (looking like you had fun and did not……so wrong). The price is a hit but softened by Ulta when I hunted because I knew I would be re-buying this serum. Giving me a $65 product that I like and would use…..you got me! I tried running but you worked, so I can either moan and groan (and then give myself more wrinkles) or walk out with smooth eyes and you may call me now the former Ms. Puffer Fish lady 🙂

 

Connect with Exuviance at:

 

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

Social Nature: Kim’s Simple Meals, Organic Macaroni Casserole #Review #TryNatural

DSC_1430

Next on the list, is Kim’s Simple Meals and this is their Organic Macaroni Casserole. The product again is easy to make and assemble. You simply boil the pasta, which is gluten free and made from organic brown rice. You then mix the contents with water, blend and add it to the cooked elbow shaped noodles. Mix and in the oven the casserole goes. The Mac is soy free and made with GMO free ingredients. Vegan friendly and Kosher too.

Ingredients: Gluten free brown rice elbow macaroni*, oat flour*, sea salt, sugar*, dehydrated vegetables* (onion*, garlic* & tomato*), yeast powder*, natural smoke Torula yeast, annatto powder* (annatto extract*, maltodextrin*), citric acid, lemon peel powder* and natural hickory smoke powder [potato maltodextrin, natural hickory smoke flavoring, hydrated silicon dioxide (anti-caking agent)]. *Organic

DSC_1433

Verdict:

The instructions were simple and because I tend to like more bite in my pastas, I did not boil the noodles as long as they suggested. When I blended the “cheese sauce”, it was very watery in texture and had an odd smell that was smoky. Kim suggests you can add your own meatless based meats, like a veggie based bacon. This time I decided to just go as it comes but I can see even adding vegetables. Once the pasta was partially cooked, I added the sauce and it did not thicken. It was more like the texture of a thin juice, versus any bechamel sauce I have made to make a typical Macaroni and Cheese dish. There is no real cheese here but I did notice this box is not labeled dairy free like the burger version. Why not add milk? I have no idea and it was not listed as a suggestion. Not even a nut milk that is unsweetened was not suggested, or even soy milk if you have no issues with it. The burger box had soy…..but I went forward and was thankful walnuts were not suggested like the video shared for the home-style burgers, and no oats! The house smells like something is cooking but it’s not like any Macaroni and Cheese I have had before. Maybe a pasta kind of dish but not Mac and Cheese. It comes out of the oven and it’s like one solid mass. I noticed this in the video also, when the serving was cut. The liquid was absorbed and you still smell something smoky-ish but I could not put my finger on it. Maybe fake bacon bits and along that area. I taste it and it’s not cheese and I have eaten many cheeses in my lifetime. This pretender is more like a rice dish, where the rice is shaped like elbow pasta and a yellow sauce. The sauce creates a pasta cake but no cheese and gooey texture you associate with the original. It was not awful but definitely not super delicious. The only thing that came to mind, is it tasted like that mystery dish where the label fell off the platter, which sat in a buffet/cafeteria line. Surprise-a-Dish! If you like surprises, this may be for you and adding vegetables or other items might spruce it up and make it less surprise-ish casserole.

DSC_1434

Connect with Kim’s Simple Meals at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Kim’s Simple Meals and Social Nature. 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.

 

Social Nature: Organic Guru Energy Drink #Review #GuruEnergy

DSC_1412

When I think of energy drinks, the last thing I associate with them is real ingredients. So many are filled with ingredients and proprietary blends, which not only stimulate a burst of energy, but you come down crashing as fast as the energy lasted. I began just avoiding them five years ago but there are days where I was dragging and even the red colored bull was an item I went after when coffee failed me. I started now looking for better drinks that increase endurance with a slash of energy, just to make Mondays a little easier to deal with when I just can’t seem to start the week off right. Some of the drinks I pick now have ingredients like teas to even chia seeds.

In comes Guru drinks, they offer an organic alternative rather than a science experiment in a can. Guru also is only 115 calories for a 12 ounce can with 30 grams of sugar. I was also able to locate the cans easily at my local Sprout’s Farmers Market but I noticed you can purchase directly from the company or even via Amazon. Guru is not only certified Organic but GMO free, gluten free and even a Vegan friendly drink. But does it deliver the energy you need and desire like it’s other rivals?

DSC_1414

Ingredients: sparkling water, organic cane sugar, organic white grape juice, citric acid, apple acid, natural flavors, organic green tea leaf extract, organic guarana seed extract, organic echinacea flower extract, organic panax ginseng root extract.

DSC_1413

Verdict:
I put the can in the fridge overnight to have it cool and ready for the next day. I start hitting that wall at around 2:00 in the afternoon and decide to give Guru a try. I open the can and the sniff test is okay and not unpleasant. I decide to give it a try and this not only where the drink failed me. It tastes like cough syrup and not really good, even though I at least enjoy that the drink is cold on a very hot day. I continue to drink Guru and it has a bad aftertaste, that lingers and also thickens your saliva. That medicinal taste just intensifies the more I drink it and I try to not even hold the drink in my mouth because it even makes my gums taste weird. Not great when it came to flavor but if it gives me energy, I tend to be one of those people that can overlook taste a bit if the product works. I wait 30 minutes, nothing. Another hour passes and the taste is at least starting to go away or maybe I am getting use to it. Oh, Guru is an energy drink……and I have none. Twelve ounces of phlegm giving drink that goes against the mindset that if the taste is like medicine, it should do the opposite of thickening it. After some coughing, clearing of throat and so forth, the energy never hit me or even knocked on the door. I would have taken even one hour of reward after drinking 12 ounces of Guru but the Guru isn’t the giving kind. At $2.50 a can and it was on sale at Sprout’s, I can’t see buying it when other drinks with less volume provide at least some energy, even if you crash after. You add the poor taste and I have felt more refreshed after drinking cold water on a hot day and that never thickens my saliva.

Connect with Guru at:

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

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.

 

Tryazon: Rhodes Bake-N-Servâ„¢ Cinnamon Rolls #Review #Tryazon #RhodesBread

IMAG3596

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

 

 

NeoStrata GIVEAWAY: Skin Active Antioxidant Defense Serum (a $78 value!) to 25 Lucky Winners

 

NeoStrata Company, Inc.

 

Serums are one of the greatest invention when it comes to skincare products. It’s a thin solution, which gets absorbed quickly with the user being able to layer other products over the serum to enhance the results.

I have featured NeoStrata products on my blog and you could be one of the 25 (U.S. Only, sorry) winners of their serum called Skin Active Defense. This is a $78 product you could win for free!

The serum you use makes a world of difference because this is the first layer you apply and the product your skin will absorb the most from. I always look for anti-aging properties and extra benefits, other than just moisturizing agents. I want to combat everything from free radicals because prevention is key! Some serums give instant “lifting” results, while others work with long term continual use but many now a days that come from a good brand like NeoStrata, well they can do both jobs with great success.

NeoStrata Skin Active Antioxidant Defense Serum (as posted by the manufacturer)-

NeoStrata Skin Active Antioxidant Defense Serum protects skin from future signs of aging and is formulated with 8 powerful multi-action antioxidants designed to combat oxidative damage. The potent combination of Citric Acid and Lilac, Green Tea and Chardonnay Grape Seed Extracts works together to neutralize five different types of free radicals and helps preserve healthy DNA, lipids and cellular membranes. In addition, this super potent source of EGCG Green Tea Extract protects against inflammatory mediators in the skin.

Giveaway form: http://bit.ly/1GvoLNf

It’s easy to win by just completing the form and following NeoStrata and interacting via Twitter (@neostrataskin)

Good Luck!

Connect with NeoStrata at:

 

Un Rato Juntas: Clairol Nice n’ Easy with “CC” ColorSeal Conditioner #Review #AsiSoyClairol #UnRatoJuntas

DSC_0216

I don’t experience gray hairs yet, unless you count the 1/2 one I found two months ago. I figure it’s a warning of what is yet to come but a lot my friends already dye their hair and it’s not just for covering up grays, but they want to change hues, tones, to just wanting a nice fresh new look. The market is filled with dyes, as I recall when I use to dye my hair, it was an avast selection of brands and colors.

DSC_0217

One thing a dye user seeks is being able to depend that the box will yield the desired color you seek to achieve. Many times you flip a box over, look down the column and find your current color, but after use, the color does not even closely match the column of the color you were suppose to end up with! Permanent color means that you either learn to love it, or wait some time and try again to avoid hair damage. Not something I ever wanted to do! The other feature I would seek, is a dye that is not harsh on the skin and hair, but still left you with a vibrant shade that lasted. After so many years since do-it-at home dyes have hit the market, sometimes going with what brought you to the game is your best bet!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Clairol’s Nice n’ Easy says it all. It’s a brand we all associate with from commercials, magazine ads, and most times the intro to being the first boxed dye you ever used. The one that gave you faith that you can do this and succeed. We all succeeded, so we used other colors and then slowly expanded to other brands and so forth, thinking we would yield the same results. Error! This is the area where I got lost and almost lost my locks. I should have gone back to the faithful Nice n’ Easy but I thought because I had so many times dyed my hair and ended up with fantastic results, that would always remain being the same.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Un Rato Juntas sent me a party kit, which features Clairol’s Nice n’ Easy brand that is part of the Procter & Gamble family. The process has not changed since I dyed my hair, but the formulations over time has improved due to innovations. The box comes with:

  • ColorBlend Formula
  • ColorBlend Activator
  • CC ColorSeal Conditions
  • and a pair of Expert Gloves

DSC_0224

Retail Price Point: Mass Merchandisers like Target, Walmart and Drug Stores from CVS and Walgreen’s have the boxes ranging from $6.50 to $7.99.

DSC_0225

Verdict:
Nice n’ Easy provides 100% gray coverage that lasts up to 8 weeks. The mixing is as easy as can be, so that means no chemist degree needed. The colors to choose from varies by store stock but Clairol has 45 shades to choose from. The days of bad surprises is a thing of the past because you can get an idea by just flipping the box over, finding what color your current hair’s color is, and right on the outside of the box, you can see the color change the dye can achieve. Simple! What I love best than just the results, is the CC ColorSeal conditioner. This conditioner softens and protects your hair and dye. It almost acts like a restorer because your hair is left feeling softer than before you dyed your hair. There are times that even when I did not need to dye my hair, I would pick-up a box and use the conditioner like a hair mask because I love how my hair feels after. Clairol is also generous with portions, so I had glossy hair for weeks. Sometimes moving away from the brands you can trust is what gets us lost. We pick-up boxes that are shiner, make over the top promises and sometimes cost double the price or more. Why waste time and money, when Clairol’s Nice n’ Easy makes achieving beautiful hair easy and affordable!

Connect with Clairol’s Nice n’ Easy and find your color at:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Clairol, Nice n’ Easy and Un Rato Juntas.  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.

Tryazon: Rhodes Cinnamon Rolls, Microwave and ready in 60 Seconds #Review #Tryazon #RhodesBread

IMAG3597

Oh, what a title can say in just a few words can illicit a person to salivate instantly. That is exactly what occurred when I received first notice that this event was up for grabs. When I was accepted, it was a mix of drooling and happiness at the same time.

Rhodes is known for their Bake-n-Serve breads. This company is one of the first brands that made me feel comfortable with an oven. Fresh baked breads are always a crowd pleaser but sometime the pleaser is short on time and/or energy. It does not mean I love my family any less and this is why sometimes I need an “emergency stash”. Yes, we have emergency situations when an unplanned event or even the clock got the best of me and I have no after dinner treat. When you are the baker in the family and you have to share you did not bake anything for that day……oh, those eyes you get can just break your heart. My Husband has yet mastered the oven but is an expert at grilling and smoking meats. He also mastered the art of using a microwave and failed in patience class, so 60 seconds of wait time was made for him.

IMAG3612

Cinnamon rolls is something I make at home but it takes time, so I probably do not bake them as often as would liked. Also, there are days where someone is in a cinnamon-y mood while another person has a fruit craving. I make fruit based rolls too but I’m not making 2 batches to satisfy every craving, and don’t even get me started on who eats what type of a nut and the other person doesn’t. I need an out! A form of salvation for the sweet little monsters in my life!

IMAG3611

Rhodes created the answer and a 60 second promise for a product that is often seen in stores cold, laying in a silver colored tray, and usually dry. Rhodes took everything everyone wants in a cinnamon roll, a warm gooey roll all your own and when you want it. Magic!

Now, I wish my microwave could deliver. I did experience some difficulties in locating the product and Rhodes does have a store locator, down to what product is offered in each store near you. The only obstacle was that the New Microwave rolls were not a product option you could select from the drop-down menu. I finally started hitting stores and located the rolls (one bag) 20 miles away and when I arrived at the Neighborhood Walmart Store, they had more items than what the product locator reflected. I called stores at the end to avoid wasting gas too and I highly suggest in doing so. Just kindly ask for the “freezer” department when calling and that you are looking for the Microwave Rhodes Cinnamon rolls. Not to be confused with the Ready to Bake Anytime cinnamon rolls. The new Rhodes Microwave Cinnamon Rolls come in a bag (not a tray) and the bag is brown-orange in color with a large 60 number on the front of the bag.

IMAG3620

Verdict:
I found literally the last bag they had and always check the back of the freezer. I reached until I got a frozen paw but that bag had my name on it. I always see low stock on a product as a good sign. It’s popular and probably well liked, and that tends to make me want to try them. Each bag holds a count of 6 cinnamon rolls, so even though my weekend get-together had more people, we figured we share (it’s a new diet we are trying 😉 ). We had only one roll in the bag that had stuck to another but all the cinnamon were in a nice shape and intact. We played it safe and microwaved one roll at a time and I put toppings out, to even a separate type of frosting (cream cheese) with soft caramel swirls in case someone wanted a different topping versus the icing it came with. You can toast pecans and add that too, to even fruit that is fresh or from a jar. Customization is really easy to do. Everyone tasted the frosting and except for one person, they were the only one that opted to use the icing the rolls came with, so I was happy to have both options available. Once you microwave the product, the roll does increase in size a little bit about 25% larger, however the cinnamon roll is fair in size overall. Feedback was 50/50 when it came to how the product tasted and texture. The roll is soft and gooey, but for some it was a little to gummy while others felt the cinnamon roll begins to dry out (not harden thankfully) a little to quick for them as it cools down. The sweet factor was a little high for some and others felt the cinnamon was not strong enough, but agreed when I mentioned the idea of sprinkling a dash on top of the icing/frosting could fix that. My cream cheese based frosting was very liked and that seem to make up for what I consider to be small short comings for a roll that is ready to enjoy in 1 minute’s time. You may have to eat it a little faster if you worry about the dough drying out but I can share one thing that does have some value, everyone ate their serving!  So even those that did not consider this to be their favorite cinnamon roll did not feel it was not edible, it was just not like others they have had. I myself have had worse from bakeries but for a product with no time constraints and no mess other than the plate you are eating it from, I think Rhodes did as well as you can do with microwave dishes. Nothing will be as good as from the oven but this little cinnamon roll satisfied my sweet tooth!  I fought for my 1 bag of cinnamon rolls, so that meant I had 2 more coupons left when it came to trying Rhodes products and I picked out 2 different ones.  So, stay tuned because I will be reviewing and sharing those with you too.

 

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.

 

 

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: