fundiculous

Trying things, so you don't have to

M&M’s – What’s the latest?


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I hate to admit it, but I don’t vote on much. Presidential, local government, or American Idol, but where I do cast my ballot is on flavors. Doritos? Yep. Lays? You know it! And now, I get the opportunity to make the world a better place, a chance to shape the future, to make a  decision with meaning, voting on the new peanut M&M flavor. You know you have seen the commercials, and if you are anything like me, you were intriged, but also confused because you couldn’t find these promotional morsels anywhere. I actually got online to see if it was for real, or just a lame marketing campaign to confuse us. Commercials seem to do that a lot. (insert Puppy Baby Monkey…yeah. ) I really didn’t get much help other than I couldn’t locate who was selling the flavors (if anyone) and that it seemed that the flavor reveal was in August. Well imagine my shock when making a random stop for Ibuprofen and there were the HUGE bags of each of these delights. To heck with my whole food eating, when there are weird new things to try, it’s just a given I’m going to  try them, and by try them I mean eat the whole dang bag. It’s all for you guys.  I sacrifice so you can have my super important opinion, and possibly avoid consuming 3 pounds of chocolate hard shelled candy and 20 hours on the angry guilt treadmill. (that is when you eat crap you really are pissed you wasted calories on)
Ok So the price is kinda irrelevant when looking at promotional items, however I paid 2/5 on the bags at CVS. So it was a deal….if they weren’t gross.
I tried to do this with my eyes closed, in order to create an unbiased result, but realized that without placebos, triple blinds, and a larger sampling group it pretty much didn’t matter. Plus all the flavors are highly discernable.
First up: Chili
Ok so flavor wise, pretty  much just like a peanut M&M. However, I was actually surprised by the heat that started to build on the second one I ate. Shocked actually. For me, it wasn’t spicy because I use cayenne pepper in a shaker with the salt, but considering the market of “hot” flavored items (aside from death hot sauces with medical warnings on the bottle) these were on the higher end of the zip scale. This was amusing to me, but the question is, would I buy them instead of any other candy on the shelf. No. No I wouldn’t. Well, I take that back, I might just to see how my sissy friends would handle them. You know the ones. They can’t eat the mild hot wings anywhere and balk at anything rated above a single star at the Chinese restaurants.
Flavor 2: Coffee
Guess what? It’s tastes like coffee, but in an unexciting way. I love me some coffee. I drink Americanos with no sweetener or milk, which on a side note is the drink choice of psychopaths-you’ve been warned. But, my love of coffee was not satiated here. It was like the cheap motel room coffee that you dump all the packets they give you in the single serving bags to make it palatable. Then add some crunch, and possible leftover chocolate bar from the vending machine. It was ok, just not magical. I want magical. Would I buy this one? Nope, except for as an add on gift to my Starbucks loving friends.
Flavor 3: Honey
Hmm I just don’t know. Honey can be so great and so terrible. Artificially tasting honey is downright bleh.  I get they were trying to accomplish strong honey taste (honey roasted peanuts are a hot item) but it just came off too much. Again, edible, but not anything I would go out of my way to find them again and buy, and I don’t have any honey crazed fans to justify as a gift.
Normally I post nutritional information and ingredients, but lets just agree on this one that it’s candy, filled with artificial crap that isn’t good for you.
So while it does create biased opinions, I encourage you to shop and try these yourself, and not just take my word for it. Or you can vote without trying. Either way. I am not overly impressed, nor excited about any of these flavors and was truly hoping to be somewhat wowed with the marketing going behind this campaign. At least Lays has biscuits and gravy chips which are awesome, and most of their flavors have been innovative and executed with the maximum greatness a junk food item can. But terrible options aside my vote is cast and my top candidate is Chili, which it gets for originality and giving it some actual heat. These aren’t even good enough to make a point system break down to tally up. It lt was probably the most underwhelming promotional vote-off ever. So thanks Mars for my 20 hours of treadmill run, all in the name of science!
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Going Bananas!


boxing-bananas_1860353i-picture by Terry Border
Battle of the Bananas!
So today, instead of just giving you a review on one product, I’m going to hit you with a double whammy of a banana head to head. It’s going to be epic my friends. I am going to change your life, or maybe just your snacking, or possibly nothing.
If you follow this blog at all, you know I love Trader Joes, and a lot of its products. They are affordable, delicious, and the staff is always incredible. Whenever I see new things here I always grab them, and rarely am let down. So, of course, even though I am not a fan of dried bananas, when I saw the dried baby bananas, they went right in the cart.
The second bag o’ dried bananas was from Whole Foods, which I had seen a promo for the product on one of the 8 thousand health ads  I somehow found time to subscribe to. It’s Barnanana chewy banana bites. I did linger on these a little longer, but eventually conceded in order to do a comparison.
The quick look:
Trader Joes Dried Baby Bananas-
Price: 1.99 per bag
Size: 6 oz
Ingredients: Dried Bananas
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The contender:
Barnana- Organic Coconut
These come in 6 flavors: Organic Peanut Butter, Organic Apple Cinnamon Organic Coconut, Organic Chocolate, Organic  Coffee, and Organic Regular
Price 4.99 per bag
Size:3.5 oz
Ingredients: Organic Bananas, Organic Coconut
**I selected the coconut because the only flavors without added stuff, sugars included, are original, coconut and apple cinnamon, which they didn’t have in store**
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Let me preface, I don’t like ripe bananas, and therefore, don’t usually like dried bananas, The texture is off, and the flavor is just too much, but what really kills the sale is the smell. I use so much air freshener when I make banana bread, I’m surprised the confection doesn’t taste like Febreeze. I hate the smell. It makes me gag. Dog poop doesn’t make me gag, but super ripe bananas do.
So yes, I took on a ridiculous challenge for myself, but I won. I conquered, and here are the results.
Trader Joes Baby Bananas
While not organic, I’m usually not super worried about that with bananas. They have a peel, which doesn’t make them impervious, I understand, but in they aren’ t in the dirty dozen so it’s not going to make or break my purchase.
I opened the bag to find some very inedible looking fingers. The smell was milder than I anticipated, so no instant gag reflex. I don’t have a great sounding way to describe these little morsels, so skip the next sentences if you have a weak stomach. Just kidding, but they are weird. Imagine leathery limp phalanges of a less than appealing complexion. Sad dejected looking fruit. But I was too deep to quit now. I picked one up out of the bag. Not sticky, but not as dry as I was anticipating. It wasn’t leathery at all. It almost seemed demi-dried. First bite.
MIND BLOWN. These have the best texture ever. Ready for this? GUMMY BANANA BREAD. I was tempted to grab a bag of nuts and stick them to the side.  These are chewy, but tender. Not the dry, sore jaw, chewy. Seriously, amazing. Addicting. Oh ship, the whole bag is gone and I only bought one. Anyone running to Tj’s today? Maybe like now?
From a nutritional standpoint, dried fruit are obviously high in sugar even without added sugar, but as an on the go snack that won’t bruise in your purse, it’s a good go to. The bag is re-sealable.
The nutritional info is below:
tjbanana
Ok so Barnanas have some stiff competition here. I’m hoping for a TKO in the second round.
Side note, this company upcycles bananas, which I think is genius and a great use of resources. I love companies that are trying to be sustainable, and these guys are doing that. That and the term upcycling bananas is just funny to say.
So I’ll be honest, I did pass these up a few times because 5 bucks for a small bag (3.5 oz) of banana bites seems a little overkill, upcycled or not. I can buy 10 bunches of organic bananas for that, so  when I finally bit the bullet it was solely to do this comparison, in hopes of being blown away.
These are marketed more to the “health foodie” versus Tj’s product. So it’s a high potassium snack, etc, etc. I think a lot of companies use that excuse to say, we are a super product, but taste like crap, but we don’t have additives and are super amazing for you. I eat whole foods, more now than before so I am wary of additives. I mostly don’t eat them. (Ignore MM’s post) but I also like to have good tasting food. Ok side rant done.
Barnanas don’t fall in this category. They aren’t just dried bananas, which I think I was expecting nugget coated in whatever their flavor was. But they are cubes, which the OCD in me kinda loves.  These aren’t as sweet as the baby bananas, which was surprising, and the texture is closer to a nutritional fruit bar. I felt like these were less of an indulgence and were overall less satisfying to my sweet tooth. Flavor wise they are pretty mild, no overripe banana stink, and not overwhelming on the banana. While the wrapper says they taste like banana bread because of their process, I didn’t quite feel that was accurate.
Nutritionally speaking:
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If you couldn’t tell I am a fan of the dried baby bananas. The price is a no-brainer, and the texture and flavor is way more satiating than the Barnanas. It almost feels guilty, but it’s not. The Barnanas are good, but for the price point and lack of overall awesome factor, I just can’t justify that for a snack that costs me less than 29 cents a banana. I do like their mission, and would support them for that reason, but I didn’t LOVE them. I rave about the baby bananas.
Scores:
TJ’s Baby Bananas: 9.5/10
Pros: Price, no added ingredients, re-sealable package, delicious, nutritious
Cons: not organic, no sustaining program in place
Barnanas Coconut: 6.5/10
Pros: Taste is good, no added ingredients, Organic, Great concept and program, eco conscious
Cons: Not my favorite taste/texture, expensive for the quantity
To see more Trader Joes Products go to http://www.traderjoes.com
To see more of the Barnana’s story and all their products http://www.barnana.com
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Tessemae’s Dressings and Sauces


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Well, again, I’ve slacked for way too long. Blogging takes time and I literally have a trillion things I am working on at any given moment. Since I do it as a hobby, it usually gets put on the back burner. There are a pile of products I have to review, and I will definitely get to them sooner than next year!

At the end of January I started a Whole 30, which I will review in its entirety later, but for now, I have some products to share with you. One thing when you are participating in Whole 30 you find out how terrible products really are. EVERYTHING has added sugars, chemicals, etc, and while I am not going to write everything out of my life forever, it was definitely and eye opener. I mean what the heck am I supposed to stick on my chicken strips when I don’t have the time or energy to make sauce??!! UGH. Well, Tessemae’s products is one answer.

The particular ones I am reviewing are their Classic Caesar, Matty’s BBQ Sauce, Lemon Garlic, and the Ranch.

Firstly, let me introduce the company- Tessemae’s All Natural. As you guessed it they are all-natural with a large portion of their condiments and dressings being organic as well. It started out as a mom just wanting to give her kids a dressing to encourage veggie consumption that was free of artificial ingredients. I am a sucker for small family companies. (not that they are small, but I love the starting point!

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First up- Classic Caesar

This so far was my favorite. It’s Whole 30 compliant, and not too bad. Keep in mind these are made with natural ingredients, and with it being compliant means it has no dairy, no soy, no added sugar, no grains, no msg, carrageenan, etc. SO with all those things in mind this was a pretty dang good dressing. After being on Whole30 I loved it even more. It tastes like Caesar, not reminiscent of Caesar, which is important. Sure, if you aren’t used to eating clean some things seem a little different, but even people who weren’t participating in our diet, liked this dressing, although many still preferred other Caesar dressing brands.

Ingredients:

Organic coconut milk, Olive oil, Lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce (apple cider vinegar, Liquid coconut aminos, Organic balsamic vinegar, Ginger, Organic date puree (organic dates, lemon juice, water), Lime juice, Spices, Black Pepper, Sea salt), Organic mustard (Organic Vinegar, Water, Organic mustard seed, salt, Organic turmeric, Organic Spices ), Sea salt, Black pepper, Garlic, Parsley

Rating: 8/10

Pros: Tasty, didn’t taste like an alternative, natural and mostly organic ingredients, no preservatives, fresh

Cons: They are a little pricey per bottle, but I always feel that is relative to what you are getting. I’d rather pay more for natural ingredients, than chemicals.

 

Nutritional Info:

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Second- Organic Lemon Garlic

I was a little bummed by this dressing on my salads. It was underwhelming to me, and while I suppose I could have dumped a ton on my greens, that somewhat defeats the purpose of eating a salad. What I was looking for was bright and perky, but it seemed more tame and I actually ended up squeezing lemon juice onto my salad to compensate.

On a side note, it did make a great marinade on my chicken and artichokes, which made me SUPER excited as I didn’t want to waste it. Would I buy this one again? Maybe, as I can make a marinade for much cheaper, however, it’s nice to have a standby when you don’t feel like, or don’t have the time to whip something up.

Ingredients:

Organic Sunflower Oil, Organic Lemon Juice, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Organic Mustard (Organic Vinegar, Water, Organic Mustard Seed, Sea Salt, Organic Turmeric, Organic Spices), Organic Garlic, Sea Salt

Rating: 6.5/10

Pros: Good marinade, all natural, Organic, fresh

Cons: Not as zippy as I wanted. Needed something additional

Nutritional Info:

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Ranch:

Be forewarned, I’m not a HUGE ranch fan anyway. I felt it was too trendy for me when everyone started putting ranch on EVERYTHING. I prefer to just taste the food I am eating, not ranch. And I don’t love buttermilk tangy ranch. Don’t ask why, but I just don’t.

If you are looking for a ranch substitute, this really isn’t the same. Ranch-ish maybe, but definitely tangier than I like myself. It’s not thick and creamy enough to convey that same delivery. Another thing I didn’t love about this, is the coconut milk in it hardens in the fridge which if you want to just pull out and use is semi-frustrating because it doesn’t come out of the bottle. A few minutes of prep time and I can run the bottle under hot water, but I’m not sure how good that is to do each time you want to use it.

I tried to mentally accept it as just “not ranch” and just determine it was a whole different dressing, however even then I just didn’t like the taste. Tried it on hot wings, veggies, salad, marinade, but across the board I can’t love it. And my husband, who eats ranch on anything, won’t eat it. Now, on their website I no longer see just “ranch”, they have Zesty Ranch and Southwest Ranch, but not this one. Perhaps it is no longer. I would be willing to try those, as they might have additional flavors to make it more exciting, but I’d pass on this one again.

Ingredients:

Organic Coconut Milk, Lemon Juice, Mustard (Water, Mustard Seed, Vinegar, Salt, Spices), Spices, Sea Salt, Onion Powder, Organic Coconut Aminos, Garlic Powder, Apple Cider Vinegar

Rating: 5.5/10

Pros: All Natural, great for those with dairy allergies, no chemicals or junk ingredients

Cons: Not ranch-y enough, because I think ranch kinda needs the crap fillers to be truly what it is…

Nutritional Information:

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And lastly

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Matty’s BBQ-Organic

This was a lifesaver. While I am not normally a fan of sweeter BBQ sauce, this one really saved our Whole30 and we continue to use post 30. I do cheat and add hot sauce because I like the spiciness, but it allows me to not have to make my own sauce, and since I smoke a ton of meat, I cannot appreciate this condiment enough! You can definitely tell it’s date sweetener versus sugar, which actually for me is a win. I spent my whole life thinking I hated dates. The only rationale I had was I hate raisins, so why wouldn’t I hate another wrinkly brown fruit. Then I ate an entire box on the way to my grandparent’s house. Hooked, and well don’t eat a box of dates in a sitting. Didn’t think about that at the beginning of my drive.

The delicious caramel-y taste of those dates deliver a much more complex tasting sauce. The consistency is fantastic, and it was neither to thin or too thick for any meat I stuck under it. And if you want to modify, it’s easy to adapt to your need, without creating a completely new product. Smokey? add chipotle. Spicy? Add hot sauce or cayenne. You get the point.

Ingredients:

Organic Date Puree (Organic Dates, Water, Organic Lemon Juice), Organic Tomato Paste (Organic Tomatoes, Salt), Organic Balsamic Vinegar, Water, Organic Mustard (Organic Vinegar, Water, Organic Mustard Seed, Sea Salt, Organic Turmeric, Organic Spices), Sea Salt, Organic Black Pepper, Organic Coconut Aminos, Organic Spices, Organic Onion Powder, Organic Garlic Powder

Rating: 9/10

Pros: Organic, no gunk, tasty, easily modified to suit taste, thick, Whole 30 compliant

Cons: Again bottle price is a little high, but you get what you pay for.

Nutritional Info:

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Summary: As you know I love companies who provide products made from love, from wanting to better our diets, and that are creating delicious items. In this regard Tessemae’s All Natural is awesome! They have so many products, and I love how user friendly their site is with recipes, ideas, and information. No one is hiding anything. The nutritional info isn’t buried in 4 pages of other stuff to avoid seeing what these are. Additionally, while the price point may be high ($6-7/bottle) compared to your Hidden Valley, remember that Tessemae’s are using high quality ingredients, not paint chips and artificial flavors. I plan to continue to use the BBQ and the Caesar Dressing, and will be trying new products as I get to the Whole Foods that carries them. (The one on the far side of town) So, if you are starting a Whole 30, eating Paleo, or wanting to just not eat crap dressing, and don’t have the time, energy or motivation to make your own, I do suggest giving these guys a shot! Don’t be swayed by my opinions, as taste is relative to each person, and if they were just gross I would say listen to me. They weren’t. Some just weren’t to my tastes. So enjoy!

Check out ALL their products and their awesome site at

Tessemae’s Dressings

The nice looking pictures on this site were taken from Tessemae’s and the Ranch (which I could not locate any more on their site are mine) So thank you for letting me borrow your pictures.

 

 

 

 

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Dreaming Cow Grass- Fed Cream Top Yogurt


HAPPY COW

HAPPY COW

I’m ALWAYS in the grocery store looking for new products, new flavors, anything interested to mix up the hum drum of snacking, or eating/drinking. Yogurt in the last few years has EXPLODED in variety, flavor, texture, origin, milk type, etc. I have tried almond milk yogurt, coconut milk yogurt, goat milk yogurt (blech), Icelandic yogurt, Asian yogurt (didn’t think they did much with milk..but oh well), Greek, standard, with toppings, without, premixed, unmixed, no mix, etc. So when I saw the Dreaming Cow Grass Fed yogurt in odd flavors on sale, of COURSE I had to try! Super cute little purple cow logo beconing me with adorableness.  The three I picked out were Maple Ginger, Honey Pear, and Blueberry Cardamom. Like most fancy yogurts they are pretty spendy per serving 1.29. So right in the Greek Yogurt range. BUT if they were delicious, I am all over it.

As you all know I am a big fan of natural foods, whether grass fed, free range, organic, etc. I guess in a weird way, I appreciate that animals have a decent, relatively happy life before we consume them. Hmm that sounds weird. However, this option does not always fit in the budget, and while I could probably go vegetarian to balance the money thing, I HIGHLY doubt other people in this household are on board. So whenever there are things I can purchase I do.

I like yogurt as a post workout snack. It’s high in protein and has carbs. Great. So after my workout, I opted to sample the Honey Pear. I love honey and I love pear. I did not love that I got neither of those flavors in this yogurt. I’m not sure if my taste buds were napping, but I could barely discern anything that represented those items. However, I figured it was still quality so maybe just that one wasn’t their best. A few days later I tried the Maple Ginger. Again, two flavors I love, and again major let down. I struggled to identify anything in this that was maple or ginger. While I can appreciate not having overwhelming taste, especially when you use quality ingredients (I can appreciate a high quality plain yogurt for it’s creamy, tangy, deliciousness) I do want to taste something if I opt for flavoring. I want to feel like there is fresh pear in my yogurt. I want that little sweetness an natural flavor of maple. Their website says their yogurt naturally layers in a sense. That cream rises to the top, and the spices kinda settle to the bottom. I don’t know if mine were defective, but I really didn’t get that either.

I hate to be disappointed in a product. I know TONS of people LOVE this yogurt, but for me, I’ll stick with Noosa, Siggi, and Even the new Oikos Triple Zero. Sorry Dreaming Cow. Love the concept, love the quality, just didn’t work for me. Maybe the Blueberry Cardamom will win me back and I can update this to awesomeness, but for now…

5/10

Pros: Grass Fed, unique flavor blends, high protein, not overpriced, in the median for calories

Cons: lacking in flavor, 25% of your saturated fat (it’s yogurt…)

To check out their site for more flavors and info check them out at:

http://www.dreamingcow.com/

Nutritional Information below:

Ingredient List (using Honey Pear as an example)

Grade A Pasteurized Non-Homogenized Grass Based Whole Milk, Honey, Pear Juice, Natural Pear Flavor and Live Active Cultures: S.thermophilus, L.bulgaricus, L.acidophilus and bifidus.

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GoFundMe- Funding some smiles


Ok, so I hate to ask and I hate to put it on my blog, but because I need new teeth and life isn’t exactly being helpful, and I barely even operate on facebook (i just signed up and have 7 whole friends..just to do GFM) I would like to post this on here. Tacky, probably…but it is what it is. Sometimes, you just have to ask for help. A few life changes have put me in a position where I have to ask. So, if you love my blog, hate my blog, etc….here is the link to my story. Thanks for being readers and if you don’t donate…I totally understand.

www.gofundme.com/carpediemsmiles

Also, I run a bulimia recovery blog (although been slacking there too) it’s http://www.secondchancesmiles.wordpress.com

Check it out if you are ever in the interested category 😀

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Sweatblock Antiperspirant- the end to damp underarms?


Wanna hear something gross? I mean, I already have posted pictures of my close up pores, no makeup, and goodness whatever else. (thank God I haven’t blogged about hemorrhoid creams…right?) Well. I sweat. Just my armpits though. Always have, and MAN is it annoying. Cold, hot, dry, humid…doesn’t matter. Cheap crap deodorant or expensive “clinical strength” stuff, nothing is guaranteed. I eat well, I shower, I wash my clothes, what the heck? So one day I figured I would look a little deeper. Thanks to my trusty Amazon Prime, I located a product with PHENOMENAL reviews. Sweatblock. It looked cheesy and info-mmercialy, but I couldn’t argue with 4.3 out of 5 stars on over 2000 reviews. Nope. That would just be silly. However it is 8 individual towelettes for 20.72…which seemed spendy, but I figured if it REALLY worked, then it would be totally worth it. Theoretically each is supposed to last a week, so at that rate, 8 is 56 days…so good enough. Click, ordered, on my way to being sweat free.

Upon arrival I read the directions. Night shower, dab, don’t rub, dry for 5 minutes, wear deodorant as usual. Easy enough? No wipe in a clockwise circle for 37 seconds then flip, dab, and wipe counter clockwise for 21 seconds. So I showered up, dabbed, and waited. A little sting. Some mild, annoying itching, and a gross smell of clove. Fortunately, once it dries that fragrance goes away, but ugh I hate clove. It can stay in weird potpourris and bathroom sprays I don’t use…just not on my body or my cooking. I threw my deodorant on, and went to bed.

The next day I got dressed like normal and started like normal. Results? Mostly dry. Only lightly damp, but definitely an incredible improvement. I had read on someone’s review that one application was not enough. They would reuse the wipe the next night and that seemed to help significantly. Fortunately, I had saved mine just in case. That night, redabbed and waited for the magic to happen.

Day 2 proved to be success. No weird, underarms marks, no dampness, nada. It was like magic. Something that had plagued me since my teens was simply remedied. No more armpit cover to raise my hand, no more secret wipe to remove moisture when on a night out on the town in a dress. no more looking like I just left the gym…but without yoga pants and a headband.

The next test was to see if it actually held up for the full 7 days. For me it started to lessen on day 5 but really didn’t go back to full sweat until about day 11. For me? Epic win.

Guys: it showed positive for guys, however I am not sure with the hair how that is affected. I shave my pits (yes razors are our friends) and so I am not sure overall if that changes anything.

Rating: 9/10

Pros: Worked well with slight adjustments, does last, easy application

Cons: A little expensive (works out to 37 cents per day), I’ve only found it online, smells like clove, stings and itches

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After such a long delay, what to review? Oh how bout Yves Saint Laurent


Yeah, that’s a mouthful. I don’t even have any idea how to say it, but I can say that I love it. So I guess that is a start. I don’t do many makeup reviews, because, well to be honest, I’m not a makeup-y type girl. I love the idea of it, and I am enamored by smoky eyes, and the skills many women have to turn their look sultry, but alas, I’m more adept at working on a car than playing with eye color. However, as I am aging (OH MY HECK 30 is next month) I am trying to find makeup that I love. Not just stuff that gets me by. First on the docket? Foundation. I am still new to primers, etc, but foundation is essential for evening skin, covering a few flaws, and creating a base if needed. My skin is combination, sometimes dry and annoying, and sometimes I’m a greaseball- thank you T-zone. I don’t have ridiculous pores (I don’t think, well I mean I do think that I have ridiculous pores, be we all nit pick ourselves too much) I have a few scars and my skin tone isn’t as fresh as it was last year, or a decade ago.

Thanks to my trusty Sephora site I found Yves Saint Laurent LE TEINT TOUCHE ÉCLAT Illuminating Foundation. What I wanted was a mid coverage look (I prefer to look like I am not wearing makeup) that was easy to apply, didn’t make my skin angry, that looked good all day, didn’t require a hundred tools to apply, and made me radiant. Is that too much for a girl to ask for? Caveat- I do suggest using sponges or brushes, or whatever you like to apply. I don’t because I’m lazy, but it would probably be even better.

My first application I tested on my clean skin. It went on very smooth. Sheer enough to go on effortlessly, and with enough coverage to even out my skin. Did I look airbrushed? No. But did my skin glow? You bet your bum it did. It blended flawlessly, no weird chin lines to worry about, or off coloring. The only place I didn’t love it was the flaky skin around my nose (which was non-problematic later after an exfoliation) It didn’t sit heavy under my eyes, which is great because I have fine lines and soft smile wrinkles. (If I say smile wrinkles, it makes me feel better about it)

The fresh scent was not overwhelming and I actually kinda love it now. The pump dispense is awesome because it’s pretty accurate on how much I need per application. Throughout the day, I did not get greasy, not did my makeup melt off my face (it was also very humid and warm, so this is a good thing) And when I washed it off that evening, it was painless. No skin irritation. The next day, I didn’t have any issues, and the next week, there were no breakouts, no issues, nothing. People were telling me a sparkled, (in a not glittery stripper sort of way) It gives you that dewy fresh look. And instead of foundation and then another cream or powder over the top of it to get the same look, it’s just built it. And that glow doesn’t make you look greasy like some of the other “illuminating” foundations I have tried.

Now to the nitty gritty. I know it works, and I love it, however here are some other reasons to use it:

SPF 19 (while not amazing, at least it is something)

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
– Parabens
– Sulfates
– Petrochemicals
– Phthalates
– GMOs
– Triclosan

 

I don’t know what some of those are, but I appreciate that they aren’t in there. We are all trying to get away from a lot of them (whether it be your shampoo, or your chapstick) so I appreciate companies that are moving forward in creating products without them.

It comes in 16 tones, so you can find a good match.

Price: $57.00 per 1 oz bottle. I will admit I don’t wear foundation nearly every day, however I still have about a third of a bottle left and I bought my about a year ago. You don’t need a ton of it every day.

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With foundation, although I don’t think the dewy look is well captured because the picture degraded a bit to put on here. No primer, nada else

Pros: Clean, easy application, dewy, fresh look, lots of color options, SPF, and free of ugly ingredients

Cons: More expensive, colors sell out a lot, and could use a higher SPF

Overall rating 9.7/10

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Derma Rolling Conclusion- No happy ending


I know I know, you were all waiting with breathless anticipation. Procrastination was key here for buildup, or something like that. Well, unfortunately I have bad news. Derma Rolling was not for me. Sad, actually. For those of you just getting here. I purchased a 1.0 mm titanium derma roller, starting out with once per week, then increasing after not seeing results all the way to every other day. While not intolerable, it definitely wasn’t something I looked forward to doing. Between the sunburn feel, itchiness, light headache after, if it came down to an ice cream cone and derma rolling….ice cream wins hands down. However, It could have been the worst feeling thing on the planet (short of kidney stones, labor, and your eyes drying out from the inability to blink) and I still would have done it, IF it would have worked. For me, the derma roller did nothing except sting, and make my skin peel. My skin did not look younger. My collagen production was still sad. The fine lines and wrinkles did not even slightly lessen. the chicken pox scar on my forehead (which was my biggest obvious marker) still is exactly the same depth as before. It is not any less visible or noticeable. So for me, and all the variations (serums, no serums, lotion, increase frequency, etc) the few months I attempted to roll, were in vain for results. Perhaps it works great for some (I still see great reviews) but for me, I will stick to just trying to keep my skin hydrated, clean, and try sleeping on my stomach less.

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Prosonic Glow (or Prosonic 2) – New and definitely improved!


brushAs you all know I love my first Prosonic Face Cleaning brush tool. It was an affordable alternative to the Clarisonic brush, which I am sure is also great, but I just couldn’t justify it in my head for whatever reason. Then I started getting complaints about people using their Prosonics and the issues they had. Everything from DOA brushes, to explosions. I stuck by my Prosonic, because it still worked and I had no issues, which made me happy, however I wasn’t going to condone further use for others. To be fair most of the Prosonics were just fine, but I think people were also unhappy with the customer service they felt they got (or didn’t get). Again, I personally had a great customer service experience, and had no complaints.

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Recently, Prosonic made some MAJOR changes. They released the updated and completely altered Prosonic Glow (aka Prosonic 2) and while many I’m sure are onboard, I know there are some hesitant people out there. Being as I loved my Prosonic, I really wanted to see what the Glow was all about. Just so you all know, (legal disclaimer here) I did receive my Prosonic Glow for promotional use, so that I could do a review on it. However I did ask for it and was not approached to do a review or anything. My soul is worth more than a face wand 😀 Ok. So here it goes.

Umm I love it. I love it more than cheesecake, and possibly more than the bubblegum flavored sparkly cupcakes I get in Vegas, probably not more than my dog though 😀 He’s kinda awesome.

more than this....

more than this….

 Let’s break it down:

The Kit comes with: The wand, 3 brush heads and a pumice head (one for regular, one for sensitive, one for body), a tube of face cleanser, micro exfoliator, and of course the charger.

When it arrived in the mail, it immediately got plugged in. I even got the lavender colored one (not that I would have cared if it was white, but color is so much more exciting….now lime green…if that would have been an option…) I let it charge the full 24 hours (as suggested before use) A few things I would like to note here, the indicator light is nice and bright and a little different than before. It blinks when the unit is charging and stops blinking when it is done. ALSO, one thing I don’t think I mentioned before and it is the same on the new version is that the cradle charger disconnects from the power cord. I love this feature as I have a small bathroom and already too many things in it and the LAST thing it needs is power cords tangling up my toothbrush, flat iron, and deodorant. So it gets charged elsewhere, buuuuuuut I can disconnect and bring the cradle in where it can sit happily on my counter sans jungle vine madness.

Use: The first thing I noticed it how much better the tool itself feels. The rubberized coating feels more durable and expensive, and actually more comfortable. (not that it was bad before) Then I pushed the buttons. Three settings, which are indicated on the handle. I noted more power than before. Yay! I like the high setting, because, well it works for me. Upon bristles to face, I notice something huge, something amazing…like contouring. The brushes hug your face in exfoliating, cleaning-tasticness. Wow. I didn’t think I would notice is that much, but it really, really makes a big difference. Not only does it feel better, but the areas that might have gotten a little left out before (nose creases I’m looking at you) are easier and better cleaned.

Just as before I did the circles all over my face, and it felt grand. You know when you go to the dentist and they clean your teeth, how amazing it feels? You know how you just don’t get that same feeling at home with your normal toothbrush? That’s how this is. It’s the dentist version. My skin was clean and refreshed.

I love subjecting myself to public scrutiny. However, whilst I still have blackheads, I don't have the annoying one that poke out and are really gross. They are much better at the moment

I love subjecting myself to public scrutiny. However, whilst I still have blackheads, I don’t have the annoying one that poke out and are really gross. They are much better at the moment. those bright white things are nose fuzzies…

One cheek breakout free, even along my chin line!

One cheek breakout free, even along my chin line!

Someday I will do a makeup review so I can put my face on here not all scary looking....

Someday I will do a makeup review so I can put my face on here not all scary looking….

It’s been a whole week of Prosonic Glow, and I’m more than happy with the results. 1- I work on the computer a lot, more than any person should, and so I do more than my share of my hands propping up my head whether on my chin, cheek, forehead, or whatever creative place I put them to avoid clogging my pores where I did earlier. I just can’t help it. Since my prior zits cleared up, I haven’t had a one, which is unheard of for me. Are all my blackheads gone? No, but they actually look much better around my nose and forehead.  Do I look 20 again? Not so much, but I can’t help but to keep feeling my face because it is seriously soft. I might look 20 by the end of next week 😉  Right now I am in super dry climate, and this has made it so my skin isn’t all patchy and gross when I put on foundation. My skin is behaving, which is fantastic. Also, I haven’t even had to do ONE recharge. I use it morning and night for about 4 minutes, and it’s still going strong.

I guess I should hit the other stuff too. The sensitive brush is great. I tried it (which they also have a new click on system for the heads…very easy) but I’m good with the plain old normal brush. In the shower, I also tried to the body setting and brush head. Honestly? It works pretty good, but my loofah is so much faster, and while it might not do as fabulous of a job, I’m usually in a hurry in the shower, so time is precious. I do like to use it on my neck and upper chest area, and the shower usable feature on this allows that. The face cleaner is fresh smelling, and works well. I have used it, as well as foaming face wash, and even cleansing oils-and the Prosonic was up to the task on all. I’m not sure if it was my skin itself or if the formula changed on the exfoliating scrub (microdermabrasion type) but it felt to be more effective than my regular exfoliators. That could just be that I haven’t used theirs in a long time. It worked magically. Lastly, is the pumice. Eh. So SO. I’m not a huge pumice . It says it’s for dry, rough skin, which I’m not sure is supposed to be like your knees, feet, or what, but it just didn’t really seem practical. On the feet wasn’t so effective, because I don’t know about you, but when I pumice, I pumice with a mission, so the amount of pressure (not powersanding pressure) bogs the Prosonic motor down. It might be good if you used it every day to lightly go around the feet, and eventually you would have nice feet every day, but since it’s not flip flop season right now, my feet are somewhat lacking in roughness. I’ll give it a go come spring.

Some other things that are very important here to assuage your fears of exploding wands and tools, the Prosonic  parts and manufacturing has been upgraded and changed. Some of the parts are even produced by Samsung, which is a reputable brand you will recognize. (now if they could just make this dang screen on my s4 invincible, I would really appreciate that). Recently, I have been doing a lot of manufacturing research on a project I’m working on, and have a better appreciation for when things can go bad. Make Me Heal recognized there was an issue and worked to eradicate the problem. The new Prosonic Glow is almost nothing (component or manufacturing wise) of its predecessor. Additionally, the assembly of the product was previously done in China, which is ok, but now they are currently assembled in the good old U.S. of A, which has more stringent requirements.

The bottom line here? I loved my Prosonic, and had no issues previously. But I really, really, enjoy my Prosonic Glow so much more. It feels better, it cleans better, and I’m happy to be able to say go forward and buy one without worry. It’s still WAAAAAAY cheaper than the Clarisonic,  at 99.00 on their website with all the goodies, and no, I don’t make commission on your purchase. I’m just glad the second version has so many changes and redesigns that you will love! PS. It comes in White, Lavender, Pink, and Red.

Oh and PPSS, to avoid water all over the mirror and flung everywhere, when you are done, just tap the brush head a few times on a towel. That gets most of your water off.

You can see more info on it at http://www.makemeheal.com/mmh/product.do?id=140614

Thank you Ariel at Make Me Heal for the Prosonic Glow. Love it!

Also, below is a direct copy/paste breakdown of the upgrades and changes. Most of them I touched on, but a few I did not.

Manufacturing Improvements:

Highest Quality Components:  Since the last ProSonic version, we have changed some of the part suppliers and now have the critical parts that are responsible for the key functions of the device all made from leading manufacturers including Samsung.  This has eliminated the quality issues that were reported by certain users.

Factory Upgraded to meet ISO Certification:  We have upgraded our factory and have undergone a compliance process with the highest ISO manufacturing standard (International Organization for Standardization).  As a result, the quality of the product is drastically improved. The ISO Certification is pending for the factory we are using.

Assembly: The new ProSonic is 100% assembled in USA, whereas before it was assembled in China.  This allows far greater control and oversight by our staff over the quality of the final product.  We conduct stress tests and quality assurance tests at the final assembly phase in our United States facility, thus eliminating any defective units or problems in this process.

New Features:

  • Faster Speeds with More Powerful Motor: Due to the upgrade of the motor’s power, the speeds on the ProSonic 2 are much faster than the previous version, leading to more effective cleansing and superior results.
  • Battery Lifespan Increased with Over/Undercharge Protection: The battery supplier has been changed and the battery life is far longer than before.  In tests, our new ProSonic 2 lasts without a need for a charge for at least 2 times longer than the leading competitors.  We have added an over and undercharge protection to ensure the battery’s life is protected which eliminates an issue that was there in the previous version for certain users.
  • Automatic Shut-Off:  We have created a new automatic shut-off feature to prevent battery drainage if the device is accidentally turned or left on, so that the device shuts off after 8 minutes of continuous use.
  • Pulsating & Vibrating Technology versus Rotary/Spinning:  Our new ProSonic 2 is based on a new patented technology that was absent in the last ProSonic version in that it is sonic with multi-directional Pulsation & Vibration, leading the skin to be squeezed, moved, pushed, and twisted.  The effect of this is deep cleansing and exfoliation and penetration into the deeper skin layers. Most of the brushes sold on the market, with the exception of Clarisonic, are spinning brushes working on an old-tech rotary technology that offer inferior cleansing due to the fact that the bristles spin without actually squeezing and moving the skin so that the deeper skin impurities are not removed.  The ProSonic 2, unlike the previous version, is based on the best-of-breed technology.
  • Cleansing Brush Head Change:  The cleansing brush head has a concave shape (as opposed to a flat head with other brushes) which is a new feature not found in other devices.  This leads to improved cleansing around the contours of the face.
  • Body Brush Bigger:  The body brush head of the ProSonic 2 is now 35% bigger than the previous version to allow for coverage of larger surface areas.
  • New Bonus Pumice Stone Brush Head:  The new ProSonic 2 includes a Pumice stone brush head for treating dry skin areas (i.e. elbows, feet).
  • Memory Speed Function: For user convenience, there is a new memory function that enables the device to start up with the last cleansing speed that the user had it on.  This eliminates the need to switch speeds to get to the desired speed.
  • Sound Feature:  The new ProSonic 2 has a sound feature that is activated when the device is turned on or off, or when the speed of the device is changed.
  • Charging Light Indicator:  To improve the user experience, a feature change has been made to have the charging light blink until the device is fully charged.  Once charged, the light stops blinking and turns steady.
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Blueberry Cha Cha Chia Pod


As you know I love Whole Foods, and it is pretty much impossible for me to leave empty handed. Let me just say today was the first day I was able to located my Harmless Harvest coconut water for the first time in MONTHS since they were always out of it when I go there. I am glad no one was with me because it could have been embarrassing. So thirst quenched…check. Anyway I was reviewing the Chia Pod, more specifically Blueberry flavored.  These little convenient guys were in the yogurt area, and obviously caught my eye. I heart chia, because it’s just so weird. It’s pretty snotty when it is a pudding, which in a way is greatly amusing to me, for both the reason that no one around me will ever eat it, and because it’s just an odd, odd, thing. Like a science project really. So today’s trip had me pick up one of these guys because, well, I like blueberry, the ingredients were simple, and I could easily hide it, if it truly was amazing. The price tag was a little steep for a single serving item, however chia is touted for its superfoodiness sooooooo buck it up Sunshine. 3.69 later I was out the door consuming my coconut water in a state of pure awesome relief.

chia2

Even though I was starving and I probably should have eaten the pod instead of the lemon white chocolate coconut cookie from WF bakery (OH cookietastical) I didn’t and waited patiently until after my REAL dinner (which might have also included a Cinnabon…) One thing I really like about this pod is the built in plastic shovel spoon. It’s firm so it doesn’t break, (not that chia is concrete) and it’s just so handy. I think I might keep the container when I am done and make my own, or put yogurt parfaits in it or something. It just looks straight out of a pinic kit. Ok ok, back

chia1

on track. Sometimes ADD is a terrible thing, and you should be thankful this isn’t a live blog…..oooooh the tangents.

Visually, it’s odd, but we know that. My friend made a comment that it looked like something on Fear Factor…which when you stare at it and kinda zone out, you don’t see the Statue of Liberty in 3D, but it does kinda look like a bowl of frog eyes….hmm. Whatever. Fear is not a Factor. While you expect this to be more of a “pudding” texture, it is actually a little difficult to get the spoon functioning properly. Mine just wanted to split and be kinda gummy. I did eventually manage after playing with it for awhile. First spoon in. Texture? Well if you aren’t familiar with chia puddings, you should be warned, it’s an awkward texture. Kinda like thickened pudding with teeny tiny tapiocas in them. I personally find it amusing, but it can be a real turn off for some. Taste? This is where I feel let down. I appreciate that the ingredients are chia, coconut milk, and blueberry. No sweeteners, chemicals, etc. However, chia has virtually no flavor itself, I personally couldn’t taste the coconut milk in this one, and the blueberry is actually on the bad side. You know when you defrost really crappy, flavorless, mushy, slightly dried out blueberries? Well I think that is what is in the pod. The flavor is underwhelming, which negatively impacts the overall experience, and to top it off, when you do get a chunk of blueberry it is no bueno. After a few bites I actually parked it in the fridge to finish later because I just really didn’t like it.

chia3

Nutritionally speaking A+++, but to get a real winner you need to have good flavor. I don’t need it to be sugar laden and butterscotch in taste, but at least use berries that are delicious and flavorful so you can enjoy blueberry. Maybe I should have gone with one of the other flavors, which I will do next time (if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Side notes about Chia Pods. They are dairy free, and vegan. The spoon and container are recyclable and made from 30% of recycled product. Also chia is REALLY good for you. One pod contains all the omega 3 you need for the day, as well as 25% of your fiber. That is kinda awesome.

Nutrition Facts:

Ingredients: Sun- Ripened chia seeds, coconut milk, real blueberries

Calories 130  
Total Fat 9.0g  
  Saturated Fat 5.0g  
  Trans Fat   0.0g  
 Polyunsaturated Fat 4.0g  
        Omega 3 ALA 3.0g  
        Omega 6  1.0g  
Potassium   113.0mg  
Total Carbohydrates   8.0g  
Dietary Fibre 7.0g  
Sugar  5.0g  
Protein  3.0g  
Cholesterol  0

 

As you can see it is a nutritional snack with low cal (for what you get) high fiber, lots o’ omegas, some protein, and some potassium.  It does keep your hunger down and energy up.

Overall: 5.5/10 : I hated to score it so low, but it really just wasn’t tasty. And not just not tasty (because I eat plenty of healthy, not tasty things) but because the blueberries themselves have the potential to be great, but these just didn’t carry much flavor, and the flavor/texture they did was worse than what you find in crappy yogurt. The texture of the chia doesn’t bother me, however be wary if you are a very texture sensitive eater. It is also pretty spendy for a single serving, and in chia form I would much rather have one of the chia warrior bars. It gets 5.5 for have a great container, excellent nutrition, and potential. I will try the other flavors and see what I come up with.

You can get more info on their products and company at http://www.thechiaco.com.au/

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