Monday, November 18, 2013

Re-Review of Maggi So Juicy Bzz Campaign

I want to return to re-review and repost a rating on Maggi. I've knocked this down from 3 -4 stars down to a flat 2 stars. When I was speaking to my mother and father about the product, my mom brought up a fantastic point. Sodium content. We told them that we tried the Mediterranean Herb Medley this past week. It was very flavorful, and moist, however to us it seemed a bit strong, even with using only 2/3 packet instead of the whole packet. We told them that this was not our favorite flavor, but will try others. Mom said she was concerned about sodium. I happened to have another packet of this same flavor in the cabinet and looked at the back of the package. I told her it had 10 servings in one packet. We used 2/3 packet for our 2 small chicken breasts, shared between my husband and I. Each serving had 220 mg per serving (which is 9% of one persons sodium intake). My husband and I used 2/3 the package on our 2 small chicken breasts. Between the two of us, we had a lot of sodium/salt. She and I agreed that amount is outrageous and not healthy. That amount of sodium will convince her not to use this Maggi brand. I tend to agree with her. Mrs. Dash is similar type of seasoning, but is salt free. We might just stick with lower sodium or salt free options. Maggi, please make a lower sodium option, perhaps in a pineapple herb or an Indian Chicken Korma.

Maggi So Juicy Bzzagent Campaign

We received several packets of Maggi So Juicy to try. These were free to try courtesy of bzzagent and Maggi. We tried the Mediterranean Herb Medley this past week. We put thawed chicken breasts into the included bag added about 2/3 of the seasoning pack (we have a toddler and did not want to over season this) and put into the oven at 350 degrees. We cooked for a little longer than the cooking time. The bag of chicken/seasoning Maggi mixture was placed inside a pan in case there was any spillage or popping of the bag. It was neat to see the bag puff up when it was ready. It is super easy to use and keeps the flavor and the juices inside. It was very flavorful, and moist. We are not sure we would purchase this particular flavor, as it was not our favorite. We are so glad we used less seasoning. We paired this meal with buttered baby carrots and steamed rice. We would purchase this Maggi brand again, but in a different flavor. It would be nice to see what other flavors the company comes up with. We think a sweet honey bbq type seasoning would be nice or perhaps a pineapple herb seasoning. We eat a lot of bbq in our family. My husband and I agree that an Indian chicken Korma would be super delicious. The whole cooking process was enjoyable and simple. The 3 star rating given by our family is for the actual flavor of this Maggi we tried, but we would up the rating to 4 on juiciness and ease of use. This particular flavor was just not to our liking. Maggi, please add more flavors and we will gladly try those as well!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Bzz Campaign Green Mountain Fair Trade Coffee: Three Continent Blend coffee

I was blessed to try the Green Mountain Fair Trade Coffee this month and believe me, it went super fast. Being an active mommy of an almost 3 year old, I am up early in the morning and then late at night getting chores done. I do not get as much sleep as I need. Often in the mornings I am tired and need a little pick me up to get me going. Also out house is 100 years old, and like ice all day during the winter due to poor insulation. I like to put on my Keen Howser house shoes (seriously like sleeping bags for my cold toes) and make my way sleepy eyed into the icebox that is my kitchen. I need a hot drink to warm up and get me motivated. I selected a kcup of the Green Mountain brand and added whipped cream. Lots of it. I only drink one cup of coffee per day as I want to limit my caffeine. I thought the coffee was delicious, and I never need any sugar in it. I use a fairly heavy hand of creamer, as I like my coffee a nice shade of beige. :)

The coffee I tried was Three Continent Blend coffee, and it was sourced from Sumatra, South America, and Ethiopia. I like how not only did the coffee taste high quality and fresh, (also smelled amazing) the farmers that grow this coffee are given a fair price for their labor. This coffee is fair trade certified. Fancy huh. Yes it is. I like quality in treatment and quality in product. The farmers/producers/and all involved are treated fairly and given a sense of pride with their product. Fair Trade helps the farmers and their communities with improvements in their lifestyle in the way of schooling, drinking water, roads, etc.

I received some coupons for 50% off the actual Keurig machine with a discount code. We already have a platinum brewer, but I shared a coupon with some friends. The fact that the codes were able to be sent over the phone or by email were nice for those who do not live near me. I enjoyed this coffee and my husband enjoyed it as well. It smells amazing when brewed and is delicious to drink. It has a good story to it as well. Green Mountain calls in Good Vibes. I tend to agree. I received these k-cups and coupons free to try in exchange for my review.

BzzAgent Review of Kroger Brands for Baby: Comforts for Baby

I had the opportunity to try out a few baby products free of charge, courtesy of bzzagent and Comforts for Baby. Here are my honest thoughts.

Training Pants: First off, I have a hard time referring to these as training pants as they look, feel, and work just like diapers and this issue causes a (big) problem. My toddler treats these "training pants" as diapers and so she goes potty in these without trying to hold it. This was a big negative for me. However, there are some positive notes for this diaper, (yes that is really what they are) so please continue reading along.

We have a 2 1/2 year old girl, she is on the end of diaper use. (or so we hope). It is a long journey, and we want this over. She does too. We tried the Comforts for Baby disposable pullup training pants. She has used these for a weekend away when we went to a kids science museum and then an aquarium. We normally use cloth diapers (Bum Genius snap one size) but have used disposables in the past for traveling. These seemed to work decently well for a disposable. I happened to have a Pampers brand diaper left over from another long getaway and compared them based on appearance and functionality. The Pampers seemed straighter/(boxier??) and did not seem to curve as much to a child's body nor did it have a full leg gusset on each leg opening. If you have ever had a really REALLY messy diaper to change, you know that leg gussets are very important and help keep messes in. I liked how the Kroger Comforts brand had nicer gussets.

Both diapers seem to have a written label "back" that lets you know which side is front vs back. I do need this, but my husband who has not experienced using disposables on our daughter, was happy to see the small labeled area. :) The bee logo on the back of the Kroger brand was cute, the front side had a large red shaded pink lady bug. I would have preferred a cuter cartoon (perhaps maybe Doc Mc Stuffins, Disney Princess, Monster's Inc, or something more recognizable to her) but have never really seen any particularly cute cartoons on a disposable diaper of any brand. I think it would be neat to have disposables that are polka dot, plaid or damask print. (There is a brand that has blue jean inspired, so why not?) The diapers had purple flowers in the front to let you know when the diaper is wet. That seems like a nice idea, however, usually when a disposable is wet, it swells up and gets squishy, which is quite noticeable. We have not had any "messy" diapers, only wet ones. I can see how the break away sides would come in handy for those times. The diapers did not give any rashes or have any leaks. They worked much better than I thought they would. The price point is much more reasonable than a more mainstream brand. The downside of using disposables for potty training is that they look and feel like regular diapers. These will not help in training. Our daughter is currently training in Potty Patty thick white potty panties (unisex). The disposables wick away the wetness and so once she has wet her training diaper she goes on with her activities until changed. With a cloth panty training pant, she notices she is wet and wants changed immediately. I would say these are good for someone looking for disposables, however they won't help much with training.

Wipes: We are currently using the Comforts for baby wipes that we got for free with coupon. We like the grass green almost lime colored plastic tub they come inside. We use wipes for hands, faces, bottoms and many other uses. The pretty bright green tub is something we will use to store toys in when it is empty. It is sturdy and well made, and although these wipes are not our favorite, but they are decently nice. They have a slight texture to them. Our absolute favorite wipes are the 365 brand (Whole Foods store brand), which are super moist, natural and fragrance free. However, these Kroger Comforts wipes are still a great wipe. :)

Lotions: I selected to try the Comforts for Baby nighttime lotion which has a similar calming scent of Johnson and Johnson bedtime lotion. The bottle is a nice lavender purple color. Kroger's Comforts for Baby also includes a full line of health and hygiene items such as shampoos and baby wash, as well as gentle powders and ointments. They all seem to have similar quality and style to the Johnson's brand. Their bottles and formulas look similar. We liked the fragrance of the Kroger brand and it was a soothing scent, perfect for slathering on freshly washed baby skin. I wanted to keep kissing her little arms and cuddle next to her and fall asleep. The lotion was not greasy and seemed to absorb well. We did not have any breakouts on our little girl's delicate skin. Our current brand favorite for baby lotions are Burts Bees and California Baby. They are more expensive but have more natural ingredients and work well with our little girl's skin and our semi-crunchy parent lifestyle. For now we will stick to our current loved brands, but this Kroger brand is a great choice for those on a strict budget who already use Johnsons brand.

All in all, this Comforts for Baby brand is comparable to the well known brand, Johnsons. For many, that brand is a standby. Our family does seem to lean towards more natural brands with essential oils, plant extracts, and recycled materials. We cloth diaper and use cloth training pants. But, for traveling, we think these diapers work well as disposables go.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Kroger Summer Grilling!

I am a bzzagent, and here is my review for the Kroger brands summer grilling foods. I received these items in exchange for my honest and full review. I was so happy to review these. I received these free to try. Kroger 100% Ground Beef Burgers, Kroger Cheddar & Sour Cream Ripples Potato Chips, Big K Ginger Ale, and Kroger Buns were selected for review.

I wanted to get whole wheat buns for the hamburgers, but I could not find them or they were sold out. I was lucky to even find a package of regular Kroger white enriched hamburger buns, as it seems the hot summer weather gave shoppers an urge for grilling. All the Kroger buns except 3 bags (crazy) on the bottom rack were all sold out. The rack (large wooden pallet in the middle of the large bread aisle) that the buns were sitting on consisted of about 3 or 4 shelves. (that gives you an idea of how many bags it had before they sold out) I was happy that the price was $1.00 a bag, so that probably was also why they were almost sold out. We love Kroger prices.

The Buns: do they compare? Are they worth the price? The buns were soft and fresh and comparable to a more expensive name brand. For $1.00 without any coupons, this is a great deal for the quality. They were the perfect size for the Kroger hamburgers we bought.

Here's the Beef: The Kroger 100% Ground Beef Burgers (93/7 lean) came with 12 count ground beef patties and were bagged. These patties were in the frozen section near the boxed seafood area (frozen shrimp, frozen fried fish, etc.) There was quite a variety of Kroger frozen burgers. We usually get Laura's lean beef which ranges from about 90% lean to 98% lean. We try to eat hamburger with more beef and less fat as it is healthier for us. These seemed comparable to our favorite brand. The hamburgers cooked well on our indoor Cuisinart Grill. We loved how the burgers were just the perfect size to eat and fit the buns. It is quite convenient to have the burgers preformed. I was quite surprised at the quality, juicy and flavorful. I have always loved Kroger foods, but in my past experience, preformed, ready to make burgers (in other brands) generally are lower quality meat with more fat content. This was not the case with these Kroger burgers.

Chips and Soda: For the chips, we chose Kroger Cheddar & Sour Cream Ripples Potato Chips. These seemed to be comparable to the name brand. They were pretty good, we just do not eat chips much. We probably buy 2 bags total for an entire summer. I got these chips for my husband, as I normally eat Cap Cod 40% less fat kettle cooked potato chips (the few times we get chips). We also tried the Big K ginger ale in the 12 oz cans. We hated this. We thought it tasted like cheap orange soda--which is weird because this is supposed to be ginger ale. It had no ginger flavor at all. We prefer Canada Dry or Ale 8. But again just like the chips, we do not drink soft drinks often.

Final Thoughts: We only drank 2 cans out of the 12 pack. Except for the soft drink not being of good quality, everything else was tasty and a great value. We will purchase the hamburgers and buns again.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Kroger Private Selections Upside Down Cake in Chocolate Molten BzzAgent Campaign

I was able to try the Kroger Private Selections Upside Down Cake in Chocolate Molten. Here are my honest thoughts on the Molten chocolate from Private Selections. I received this free to try and was given a coupon. This was easy to "bake", just remove plastic wrapping, and place the plastic cake tray onto a baking sheet, bake for 14 minutes and then flip onto a pretty plate, slice in generous portions, and serve to your loved ones. (well, placing cake on an ugly plate, in small slices to enemies is just not a good idea!--they will become really mad.) It is a nice deep chocolate that tastes very rich and decadent. It does tend to fill you up quick so makes sure your second slice serving size is not so generous!!! It tasted homemade, but was a little on the dry side, I tend to make really moist cakes and like to add sour cream or apple sauce into the cake mix to add lots of moist flavor, but since this was ready to bake, I could not change the level of moistness. The cake was fairly easy clean-up (except for some drippy chocolate sauce that was a bit messy!--oops). Here are the cons that sadly will hinder a purchase from me in the future: The cake is not low fat, (aw phooey! I was hoping this was fat free and low calorie--ha ha--joking, but sadly it was a whopping 300 calories for 1/8th of the cake. Where oh where is that cake?? It hard to find in our Kroger, we searched all areas for a good 20 minutes, and the staff had no clue where to find it. My husband actually found some boxes on his own, behind the bakery counter on a stocking cart left unattended and had to grab this cake off of there (do not worry he checked the date and it was still cold, so I guess the person went on their lunch break and left several boxes on the cart). The price was not appetizing: It was free for me but normally is $12.99. Overall - it was pretty tasty. They have a German chocolate & apple amber honey flavor as well. I love German Chocolate cake, but luckily was able to have some homemade baked for me for my birthday this last week....

Monday, May 20, 2013

Green Giant Veggie Snack Chips Bzzagent Campaign: Review

I was excited to be accepted into this campaign with the Green Giant Veggie Snack Chips. I tested the Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips with Sea Salt, they are made with real sweet potatoes and 14g of whole grain. They have 40% less fat than regular potato chips. I also tested the Roasted Veggie Tortilla Chips with Zesty Cheddar, which are crispy tortilla chips made with real vegetables, and have 17g of whole grain. The taste of the Sweet potato chips reminded me a lot like Sun Chips but with a salted sweet potato taste. I really enjoyed these as I am a big fan of sweet potatoes. I always order a baked sweet potato from a restaurant if the menu has it. I do not eat a lot of chips due to grease and fat in regular potato chips, so a healthier option is always nice. I do enjoy these with a cold sandwich. A good easy, quick side for a hot summer. I liked how these were only 3g of sugar and thought it was neat that they have dried honey as one of the few ingredients. I would get these again, if they were a good price. The veggie tortilla chips with zesty cheddar reminded me of a cross between Sun chips and Doritos. I do not eat Doritos more than maybe once or twice a year (such as at a party or cookout), so I cannot compare the taste as to which is better. (Zesty Cheddar Green Giant Chips or Doritos). For someone like me who does not eat Doritos often, I can say these are still so similar that they remind me of Doritos. These would be great for someone who eats a lot of chips (perhaps daily, packed in a lunch box) and wants a healthier option. Doritos have a lot of added artificial flavors, colors and monosodium glutamate. Monosodium is a food additive for flavor and has been linked to several health problems. I did not see any monosodium glutamate in the Veggie chips, however they did have "yellow 6 and yellow 5." I was hoping to not see any artificial ingredients at all. I noticed the ingredient list on the Zesty cheddar chips was much longer than the sweet potato list. I prefer simple, natural ingredients in my food, cosmetic, and health products. I generally try to buy organic when I can as well. I probably would not buy the Cheddar chips on my own. I'm a BzzAgent and I received a product sample of these chips, free of charge in exchange for my review and word of mouth marketing to others. I also received coupons to pass out.

Monday, April 22, 2013

BzzAgent Campaign: Kroger Foods, a Family Easter Meal.

I was happy to be selected for the Kroger Spring Dinners Campaign. We tried tenderloin, mashed potatoes, crescent rolls and white cake with vanilla icing, all of these were Kroger branding foods. I received the Kroger dinners as part of a bzzagent campaign for review, these are my opinions. I was not compensated for my trial. I did receive these Kroger meals with a coupon voucher. I prepared an Easter lunch for my toddler and my husband after church. I cooked the tenderloin with a marinade of various spices, apple cider vinegar, and broth. I cooked the Kroger brand mashed potatoes as the side dish. I chose the mashed potatoes over the mac and cheese because the Kroger's near us did not have the macaroni and cheese dish. I formed the Kroger brand crescent dough into bunny shaped rolls,each with very large, floppy ears and cute noses (for Easter lunch). We selected the lower fat option of the crescent roll can and could not believe how tasty it was. We agreed it tasted as good or better than the mainstream brand of crescent rolls. We were happy we got the low fat option. (Since we all ate 2-3 bunny rolls each!) For dessert, I made a Kroger brand vanilla white recipe cake with vanilla icing. How did it all turn out? What did we think? The mashed potatoes were a bit thinner than we would have preferred, but we liked the flavor. We normally make our own homemade mashed potatoes with a thicker, more heartier style. We use milk, butter and salt and mash by hand when we make our own. We also enjoyed green beans and buttered sweet baby carrots with our meal, these were purchased by us from Kroger, but not their label branding. My husband complemented on how flavorful and tender the tenderloin was and how he was so happy to get to try this out. My husband and I were both amazed at how nice the tenderloin tasted. It was so moist and flavorful, and easy to prepare. We both enjoyed the crescent rolls (we had the low fat ones, and could not tell a difference in taste from full fat ones). My toddler loves bread and ate 2 crescent rolls---I! (not the healthiest thing, we know). My husband and I enjoyed these rolls and have since purchased these a few times. The Kroger brand cake was not a favorite to my husband or I, as we normally buy the kind with pudding in the mix. The other name brand cake mixes that advertise "Pudding in the mix" on the boxes, are more moist, have more selcetions for flavors, and are only between .50 and $1.00 more in price. These other brands seem to taste better and are more moist. We ended up throwing the icing away after using a few spoonfuls. It was labelled as vanilla, but tasted like a bland white icing with very little vanilla flavor. We will purchase the tenderloin and the crescent rolls in the future. We will pass on getting the cake mix, icing, and mashed potatoes. I received the Kroger dinners as part of a bzzagent campaign for review, these are my opinions. I was not compensated for my trial. I did receive these Kroger meals with a coupon voucher.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Olia Oil powered hair color, 3.0 darkest brown, bzzagent review

I was happy to get one box free of hair color, and be part of the BzzAgent Garnier Olia campaign. I color my natural dark brown, almost black hair every month as I have had premature greys since my twenties. (I am thirty now). It was getting about that time to color my hair, as I saw a few sprigs of greys arriving. (YUCK).

I tested this color in 3.0, which is darkest brown as my hair looks almost black in some lighting. I used a coupon for a free box and then purchased a second that same day at Walgreens for $9.99. It was easy to find these in the aisle. Here is what Garnier Olia claims and how they describe their product:

    First oil-powered permanent home hair color
    No ammonia
    60% oil blend with natural flower oils
    100% gray coverage
    Maximum color performance
    Visibly improves and restores hair
    Pleasant floral fragrance
    In 24 different shades

First Look: I really am quite fond of the pretty packaging. The yellow flower on the black background is a nice touch and looks classy. The gloves inside were black and they did fit me fine but were a tight fit. They may not fit larger hands or a man. (Men do color their hair too). The gloves felt a bit cheap, but most at home hair colors are that way. The black gloves did make it seem nicer.

Words of wisdom: If your hair is past your shoulders, I do recommend two boxes, or you will not have enough for your entire hair. Luckily used the free coupon and purchased the second box the same day, and was able prevent any disasters of running out. Ok, back to the review...

The applicator bottle looks fancy and fun, however is not easy to hold at all. The shape makes it near impossible to hold with gloves and while applying the color. The first box of color I used the applicator as directed. I found the color dripping out of the tip and some would slide down the side of the bottle and cause it to be slippery. This brings me to the cons. This design of the bottle is a big con for me.

Cons: The bottle was very awkward to hold and difficult to use. I dropped it a few times, into the sink, and the formula of the colorant is hard to remove from the sink.  Our old, dated wooden grain faucet handles (circa early 90's---eww tacky, but it came with the house) are now stained permanently with black hair color.

The second box of hair color, I used with the lid off and after mixing, applied to my hair with a haircolor applicator brush that I happened to already have on hand from other time I colored my hair. (wow that is a long run on sentence, lol).

Fragrance and Oil technology: Oil powered, conditioning the hair. Garnier says this oil propels into the hair allowing the colorant to promote vivid, long lasting color. The fragrance was the best part of this hair color. It smelled less like chemicals, and more like a fragrant hair oil treatment. The mixture was not as thick as I hoped it would be. I am used to using John Frieda foam, and the thick foamy, non drip application. The olia once mixed, stayed an off white color, and looked like thin watery mayonnaise. I was a bit disappointed in the thickness.

I use many oils in my own hair and beauty routine, so I am already a promoter of oils and their benefits. I use a variety of oil mixtures in my hair even before learning about Olia Hair color: avocado oil, almond oil, apricot kernal oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, and essential oils such as tea tree, rosmary and lavender. I am not sure what oil types are in Olia.

The coloring process: I left the coloring on for the directed time and rinse my hair. It took a lot of rinses to get this out. I made sure to rinse well since I colored right before bed and did not want to ruin our white pillow cases.

Afterward: My hair felt a bit parched afterward (I was not not happy) and was not the easiest to comb out. I went to bed with an old towel on my pillowcase and the next day my hair still was a bit dry in texture, and my heart sank. I wash my hair every 2 days so wanted to wait before washing to find out how it felt.

I waited another day and used my boar bristle brush and used the tiniest dab of almond oil on my ends. After a good brushing my hair was less damaged and parched then it was the night I colored.

Did this change my life? Is my hair healthier and quenched? I am not sure this made my hair healthier afterward, but it may actually be less damaging than the majority of other hair color formulas. I am happy that this does not use ammonia. Is there good news about this hair color? Well, for a person who colors every month, (like me) this is probably a good option since it adds some type of oils into the hair and is ammonia free. I do wish this was a foam, as I have better luck with foams.

If they could find a way to make this an oil powered foam color, and use a pump applicator like the Frieda, I would buy this again. The smell is lovely and the packaging is cute. I am fond of Sunflowers, and I do love Michael Jackson (his favorite flower: sunflower--lol random fact for you)

The biggest con, is the applicator and how messy it is. The second con is how I need to use 2 boxes. John Frieda foam is so far the ONLY color I have had success with only one box with my long thick hair. I have tried almost every hair color brand on the market, and with all I need two boxes.

I enjoyed reviewing this product. These thoughts are all my own.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Kroger Simple Truth Products from BzzAgent

This was an exciting campaign for me and my family. Simple Truth products are found at Kroger and are natural and organic products. These products were easy to find at our local Kroger with full color signs located throughout the store featuring the new and healthy products.

Here is Kroger's view on their new product line:

"These foods provide a simple, uncomplicated and trustworthy solution to the challenge of simply better living. You’ll find Simple Truth and Simple Truth Organic items throughout the store during your everyday shopping trips. Clean, simple packaging and easy-to-understand ingredient statements take the chore out of selecting Organic, Free From 101 and Natural foods."

When I opened my free bzzkit, here is what I received in products and coupons. I will also list what I selected in the store if it was a coupon that had several options of products to choose.

One (1) 12 oz. bottle of Simple Truth soda in Sparkling Blackberry Pomegranate

One (1) Simple Truth health and wellness bar in Fudge Graham

Coupon for one (1) Free bag of Simple Truth frozen fruit (I selected blueberries)

Coupon for one (1) Free bag of Simple Truth veggie chips (I selected sweet potato)

Coupon for one (1) Free Simple Truth almond milk (I chose chocolate)

Pass-along the savings to friends, family, and other consumers coupons for 20% off featured Simple Truth products.

Breaking down that previous statement, "Clean, simple packaging and easy-to-understand ingredient statements" I found this to be true in every way. I liked the look of the packaging of the products, the pleasing to the eye colors of white and greens, with a few splashes of coordinating colors at edges of packaging. The overall look of the packaging was, as they refer in their motto as "clean." The simplicity of the packaging actually made it feel better made and top quality. I think far to many product packaging have crazy colors and logos that are distracting from allowing you to see what is in the product.

I shared the nutrition bar with my husband. The bar tasted quite nice for a healthier option treat. (Good substitute for a candy bar) It did have a higher amount of sugar than I would have liked, 18 grams of sugar, 230 calories and 28 carbs! (yikes)

Simple Truth Sparkling Blackberry Pomegranate is sweetened sparkling water. It did not taste bad, but it was very sweet and our family does not drink soft drinks any more. My husband and I did not finish the entire drink between us. We have a 2 year old and she currently has only had apple juice once in her life (and it was watered down half with water and the rest with 100% no added sugar juice). My husband and I water down all our 100% juices before we drink them. We drink water, teas, and milk in this household, so this drink tasted too sweet for us. This It does contain 12% of juice (which also contains sugar) and it is free of artificial preservative and ingredients. I would have liked this drink to be 100% fruit juice with no added sugar, and have the sparkling water in it. We sometimes will have a treat of 100% cranberry juice and sparkling water mixed together or a similar flavor juice.

The frozen blueberries are great, (I only wished the bag was not so small) and I have used the berries in my frozen smoothies. I add frozen strawberries, some unsweetened plain greek yogurt, oj with pulp, 1 banana, and the blueberries. A wonderful breakfast idea!

I tried the chocolate almond milk from Simple Truth's version, it was decent, but not thick like I was hoping. I normally drink soy milk which has 7-8 grams of protein a serving, this was about 1 gram. I was not too pleased about that and also wished the milk was frothy and thick like the TruMoo milk I tried a few weeks ago.

My favorite and the winner of this campaign was definitely the sweet potato chips, I ate the whole bag in 2 days (and sorry did not share!) These chips are deliciously tasty, and are crunchy, remind me of a sweet potato that has been cut up into slices and baked, and 3 grams of sugar.

I am excited to try more things from Simple Truth.

I was sent these samples and coupons to try these items out and review them.

Monday, March 4, 2013

MorningStar Farms prime burgers bzzagent campaign

I selected the "griller prime" veggie burger, as it seemed to be the most similar to a meat burger. I cooked the burger on the stove top in a skillet one day with non stick spray and then melted some real cheddar on it. I also baked some crispy onion rings in the oven (precooked frozen). When the burger was ready, I added a crunchy sandwich pickle and some A1 steak sauce. 

I was quite surprised at how decent the MEATLESS burger was. I am not sure how often our family will purchase these, however, they are a quick and healthier option. MorningStar Farms Grillers Prime Veggie Burgers contain 9g fat (17 g protein) per serving, compared with regular ground beef containing 15g fat per serving. 

The second day I prepared these as instructed for the microwave. However I was not as successful as I hoped. The first hamburger: I got ahead of myself and put it in the microwave without putting the correct time--I just figured I was going to put in 3 minutes and press start. It came out horrible and rubbery like a mix between cardboard and rubber tire (that is what I would imagine a hamburger rubber tire would taste like--luckily I have not tried eating a tire before. :) ) 

The second of the hamburgers: I actually put it in the microwave for the correct time and in turned out not too bad--but not as great as the stove option. (This is an method for those in a hurry or who do not want to make a mess in the kitchen or who are cooking for one). I think the best option for flavor is to cook on the stove. 

I still like a good thick meaty hamburger and will not be able to give up meat, but this is a good option for those dieting, or want a meat-free meal. I enjoyed this free trial of MorningStar Farms prime burgers by bzzagent campaign, and these thoughts are my own.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream: Simple and fun manicure guide for soft hands and beautiful nails

I had the opportunity to try out the Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream and I was able to test it out for a few weeks. Our family of 3 has all used this cream. I will also post a simple and fun manicure guide for soft hands and beautiful nails. :) So be sure to read along after this review.

Family Use Child/Adult: My daughter is now 2 and with the winter months and her sensitive toddler skin, she would get dry red patches of skin around her thigh area and back. I used about a quarter (coin) size amount over her  entire back and about a dime sized amount over both legs at night. I appreciate the fact that this cream absorbs quickly into skin and is not overly greasy feeling. This is nice because we do not want stained bedding or clothing.

Her skin is improving and it seems to be gentle on her skin. I like how the scent is not overpowering, it is a simple scent. The color of the cream is a translucent clear white and almost goes on like an ointment and cream in one. It does seem to look overly white and sometimes gets slightly tacky if too much is applied at once.

I tried this product on my hands each night for a week (and am still using it until the bottle is used up). I used about a dime sized amount total for both hands and then used cotton stretchy spa gloves over my hands while I slept. I realize I could have gotten away with a pea sized amount I am sure, but my hands this past month or so have been extremely sore and chapped from the winter. I also seem to have a rash on my hands that will not go away (not sure if it is from new a detergent or a certain new soap I use. I have had this rash 2 weeks and am working on clearing it up with this cream regimen.

My husband has tried this cream as well for his split and cracked hands. His hands are worse than mine so he will need a larger amount of cream and will use this longer.

Face/Hands: I did try this on my face after my shower for 3 days as I was having some severe dry skin last week (very hot daily shower use in winter and one of those mornings last week had a overuse of harsh face cleansing and scrubbing.) My face cleared up after the 3 days.

My Opinion: I really like this product, the only thing that knocks a star away from 5 is that it is not the easiest to rub in. I have to rub it in very well to make sure it does not look white in color on my skin or leave a tacky residue.

I do like that it is not overly greasy and does not appear to stain. I think the retail price is reasonable and I like that it is in a tube instead of a jar.

Future use/purchase? I will continue to use this as my "go to" cream for my hands throughout the winter months (at night with my cotton gloves). I will purchase this on my own when the sample is used up.

Is this working? How did I use this? I tried this on my hands nightly for a week and still have some redness from the skin irritation, as I am also still trying to figure out what is causing the rash and burning. I liked how the burning cooled and calmed down almost immediately after applying this cream. The glycerin seems to be the helpful ingredient in this cream. I applied all over my knuckles and in between my fingers. I also made sure to use it near my cuticles.

Overall Thoughts: This cream is an inexpensive and effective treatment for hands and other areas of skin. The packaging tube is easy to use and looks nice and simple. This cream is quite easy to find and is available in most drug stores and supermarkets.

EASY Manicure!
Nails need hydration and protection, in order to prevent cracking, splitting or brittle nails. Drink Plenty of water daily and make sure your calcium and iron intakes are healthy. Aways use a hand cream to keep the nails strong and healthy. Use a cream that is especially formulated for hands, and choose something without harsh ingredients or strong fragrances (these could irritant the skin) . If you do not have nail or hand cream, substitute tea tree oil, vitamin E, jojoba oil, or coconut oil. Take Biotin supplements as it helps your hair and nails. Keep nails at a maintainable length. File nails when needed. Wear rubber gloves when doing housework and cleaning such as dishes or using harsh chemicals/scrubbing bathroom tiles, etc.

The above info is mainly a healthy maintenance of your hands and nails. For the actual manicure, trim any rough or jagged edges of nails, and file as needed. Use any of the above oils or cuticle cream or hand cream such as the Neutrogena Norwegian Cream and massage into hands and cuticles. If desired, paint your nails your favorite color or go simple and classic with a pale pink or clear polish. My favorite brand right now is Essie as they have so many selections for colors. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Bzz Agent Review: CoverGirl Flipstick

I am a lover of makeup. I am also one who likes trying new products immediately. I often "google" a new beauty product once it is seen on a television commercial, or in a store display and want to find out more about it.

If a product is designed to give me "fuller lips" or "longer, fuller eyelashes", or "toned, slimmer hips and thighs", I am on my way, headed to my nearest store, or searching the internet to read reviews. I am definitely a consumer and love trying new products once they hit the market.

I have always been fond of the CoverGirl brand. My first face powders and foundations were CoverGirl when in middle school. The quality, availability, and price point have always been a positive for me with this brand.

When the opportunity to review a new lipstick line from CoverGirl arose, I jumped at the chance. I was sent 3 dual ended "flipsticks" to review.

CoverGirl Blast Flipstick is a double ended lipstick. It comes in 13 different varieties, and that of course is really a total of 26 shades! That is a nice value for your money. Each flipstick is a mix of two complementing colors. One end is a more of a creamy matte like shade, and the other end is a shimmery accent shade. They are designed to be worn alone or together, and this can create many looks depending on the occasion or mood.

I tried the 3 flipsticks, but only Vixen (deep fuschia and a light shimmery pink), seemed to work for me. I am a pink shade lipstick wearing gal, and my skintone is pale, fair, ivory toned with pink cool undertones. I will wear red lipstick on rare occasions when I am wanting to glam it up.

The other colors in the dual flipsticks were too orange or brown for my skin tone. Stunner is a coral-ish orangey shade with a shimmery gold end, and the brown toned one is called Minx, which is a darker brown and a shimmery bronze.

I was not a big fan of the long skinny lipstick type. I realize that in order to do a dual ended product perhaps this was the best way to accomplish that idea.

I seem to use lipsticks that are the classic shape and easier for me to apply. I like the wide lipsticks and not fond of skinny tubes. I think the idea of being able to create 2-3 looks in one is great. With these lipsticks you can create a simple look or add some shimmer for a evening look. Either end can be worn alone or add the two for a bolder look.

The wearing time seemed nice on these lipsticks, and the colors were bright. I do think I would have done a better job reviewing and liking these if I could had picked out my own 3 flipsticks in the store in person. I have never been a fan of extremely dark or brown shades for lips. I like colors that are pink toned or red toned, as they look more healthy and closer to a more realistic lip shade.

Would I buy these on my own? I think I would of I could pick out more colors that suited my skintone and personality. I think that sending a coupon for 3 lipsticks to choose on my own in store or a chance to select what colors were sent for trial to me would have been best. Not everyone will look best in the colors that were sent.

I chose 3 stars for the fact that the colors sent did not suit me. I have not seen the entire line of flipsticks so not sure if there are more colors for me to choose that I would like better. I Would say the Vixen is a good match for my preference and skintone. The lipstick being a dual stick is a great idea and makes my pocketbook happy at about $8.50 a stick. (That is like 2 lipsticks for that place).

CoverGirl Blast Flipstick can be found at most large retailers and drugstores.