Sunday, October 27, 2013

Prevagen -- Improve Your Memory!

 Prevagen - Improves Memory 
Prevagen is a supplement that was developed by scientists and University researchers in Madison, Wisconsin, now under the name Quincy Bioscience. It functions in the brain to enhance memory; it utilizes a unique ingredient called apoaequorin which was originally found in jellyfish (no jellyfish are harmed during this process). Prevagen has implications in improving mild memory loss that occurs naturally with aging, specifically absentmindedness, and general memory.

The main ingredient in Prevagen, apoaequorin, was discovered in 1962, in a species of glowing jellyfish. The apoaequorin protein, when bound to calcium ions, causes the jellyfish to glow. This calcium-binding protein is very similar to the age-fighting proteins in our body that decrease significantly as we grow older. Prevagen's website stated that we lose up to 30,000 brain cells a day when these proteins start to diminish. Prevagen is a source of replacement for these proteins; its mechanism is basically to maintain calcium homeostasis, or balance. The apoaequorin, binding the calcium, can help control the levels in the brain. In some major diseases, such as Alzheimer's, excess calcium levels are thought to play a role.

When clinical trials were performed on rats to test the safety and efficacy of Prevagen, it was shown that the maximum dosage of Apoaequorin did not result in any mortality rate. This published research found that Prevagen appeared to have no pathological side effects. The study was large, double-blind, placebo-controlled, and used computers to assess brain performance. There were 218 adults over the age of 40 that participated, and "improved learning and word recall" were significantly increased. Prevagen also received a GRAS status (Generally Recognized as Safe) by an independent panel of scientists. It was approved for use in food. In 2012, Prevagen was the number one brain health supplement sold in drug stores, pharmacies, and health food stores across the US.

It generally takes 30-90 days to start benefiting from Prevagen, and to notice an increase in the function of your memory. There have not been any apparent drug-drug interactions, but it is always important to consult your doctor before mixing any medications (even supplements). Prevagen can be taken in conjunction with standard vitamin supplements, as it is not a replacement for these nutrients.

Prevagen is non-allergenic; even though its main ingredient comes from a jellyfish, a jellyfish is not actually a fish, so it is safe for people with fish allergies. It is made with a vegetarian capsule that has a gluten-free filler and other non-allergenic, inactive ingredients. It contains: 10 mg of Apoaequorin, white rice flour, salt, magnesium stearate, acetic acid, and disodium EDTA. You can take Prevagen with or without food, once a day.

Prevagen can be purchased at many major retailers, such as Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, and The Vitamin Shoppe. It is also available for purchase on Amazon, or through Prevagen's website. A one-month supply of Prevagen, ordered through their website, is $59.95. If you buy a two month's supply for $119.90, you can get a third month supply for free. A one year supply, running at $479.60, will get you four free bottles. Prevagen is also available in an Extra Strength formula, which can be purchased for $69.95/month supply. Prevagen is a great company, because they offer a 100% money back guarantee. It is nice to see a company's confidence in their product -- if you are unsatisfied with Prevagen, you can return it within 30 days for a full refund. Therefore, there really is no pressure to give it a try if you are interested!

I was lucky enough to try a 30-day supply of Prevagen for the purposes of this review. I applied to review Prevagen, because I was intrigued by the idea of the apoaequorin. I often see other supplements and herbal concoctions that promise to increase brain strength, health, and memory, but I am very wary of them. I have even heard of "brain water"! For some reason, I just feel like the ingredients in many of these mainstream supplements are not really enough to have any effect. However, Prevagen offers something unique and innovative -- these aren't the ingredients that you find in a typical supplement.

Now that I am in medical school, I subconsciously gravitate to the labels of supplements, as well as to the clinical research backing up the safety and efficacy. It is important to me to only take something that has an actual effect, and that will not be harmful to me. I was surprised by the positive reviews and the great research conducted on Prevagen. I liked that, on their website, they didn't just simply talk about bogus trials -- they listed a link right to a scientific research paper which documented the trials. You may not realize this, but many companies selling supplements may claim to have a very safe and effective formula which is backed up by "real scientists and doctors", but if you take a closer look and dig for the actual paperwork from the trial, you may find a slightly different story. Companies can conduct studies with very few participants, or studies that are biased in their favor. If one person says the supplement is effective, they may be the only one that is actually quoted. If just a handful of people say they experienced no side effects, that may be listed as well. However, this is not representative of the majority. This was not the case with Prevagen. They really do seem to have an effective formula that would not cause side effects in the average individual.

I was excited to try Prevagen, not because I am elderly, but because memory and brain health is very important to me. Every day I am studying for my classes, and it is all about retaining as much information as possible. I am often memorizing information on very little sleep, and in very large quantities. I have never worked my brain this hard, so I need all the brain power I can get! I know that Prevagen would typically be marketed towards older individuals, but I think that anyone who needs to study or take the edge off of their "forgetfulness" should try it as well. I took it for 30 days, coincidentally ending right before a week of major exams. It is hard to say whether it reached its full effectiveness in 30 days, but I did feel as if I was able to recall more information than I had the first week of exams. Unfortunately the information was harder, but still. I cannot be entirely sure, because I am a lot harder to test than an elderly person, but I would love to keep taking it to see if I can notice an even bigger improvement. I am sure that for general sharper thinking and to stop forgetting where you put your keys, this would be a really great supplement.  

Interested in learning more about Prevagen? Check out the links below:

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

Friday, October 25, 2013

Allens Vegetables: Popeye and Freshlike Spinach Review

 Allens logo

I am excited to let you know about a post that I am going to be finishing up tomorrow -- I was able to review Allens Vegetables, Popeye and Freshlike Spinach in particular for Spinach Lover's Month! I loved the spinach and I can't wait to share my opinion with you, so check back tomorrow!

Interested in learning more about Allens Vegetables? Check out the links below:

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

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Morphology: A Board Game Review and Giveaway!


Morphology was invented by Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College graduate Kate Ryan Reiling, who first envisioned aspects of the board game while stuck in her apartment during a snow storm many years ago. Along with her friends, Reiling used a Spanish-English dictionary, Jenga blocks, and Pente pieces to create a unique game that served as entertainment during the storm. After making a prototype board game and receiving much interest, Reiling pursued her vision and created Morphology Games in Fall of 2009. In 2010, Morphology received two "Top New Toys of 2010" nods at the New York Toy Fair; later that year it was selected as TIME's 2nd of the Top Ten Toys of the year. Morphology is part of PlaSmart Games.

Morphology is categorized as a "Family" game and is for ages eight and up, as well as for four or more players (since you need to create teams). The object of the game is to "correctly guess the words your teammates build to be the first team to reach the final lily pad".

What will you find inside the Morphology Board Game?
Four Wooden People, Six Wooden Blocks, Nine Glass Beads (of various colors), Twelve Cubes (of various colors), Two Black Circles, One Black String, One Timer, One Green Felt Piece, Four Frogs (your team pieces), 240 Word Cards, One Die, One Board, and One Rules Booklet

The rules of Morphology are simple -- first you want to divide players up into teams. Each team will get a different colored frog and will place it on the starting lily pad on the game board. The team with the youngest player will start, and you will need to decide whether you are playing with "easy" words or "hard" words. When I played, we started off with the easy words until we got the hang of the game, and then we switched to hard words for the second play. I would recommend "easy" words for younger children and "hard" words for older children. Each team will pick their first Morphologist, which is the person who will build a creation based on the word card first. The other team members will be guessing first, and this will rotate each turn. Both teams will start with a Free Play on the first lily pad, which simply means that you can use any of the pieces to build with.

To start, the Morphologist on the first team will draw a word card, and they will be the only one to look at the card. They will read a hint from the word card, and then the timer should be flipped over. Once the timer is flipped, the Morphologist can use any of the pieces included in the Morphology set to attempt to build the word on the card. The Morphologist cannot interact with the pieces (there is an exception, see below), speak (only "nodding, grunting and encouraging" is allowed), or spell out words, symbols, or numbers. Basically, you can animate the pieces you are building with, but you cannot be part of the animation.

The other members on the Morphologist's team have to try to guess the correct word before the timer runs out. If they guess correctly, the team can move their frog to the next lily pad. If they do not guess correctly, they will not go back, but will remain on the same lily pad. Play advances to the left.

Here are a few examples of the words and hints that you might find on a card: "Wagon - transportation", "Car Wash - place", "Volcano - outside", "Shoe Lace - Things you tie", "Tennis - play", "Kitchen - place", etc etc.

When you land on a lily pad that requires you to roll, there are several different rules that you will follow:
  •  If you roll a one - This is called a Free Play and you are allowed to build with any of the pieces, just as you did on the starting lily pad.
  • If you roll a two - This is called Everybody Plays and is like free play, except everyone gets to be part of the action. The Morphologist will build their word, and everyone gets to guess the answer. The first team to guess the correct answer gets to advance to the next lily pad. The only exception to this is if the team without the Morphologist building is right before the final lily pad. You can not advance to the final lily pad and win the game on an "Everybody Plays" or an "Interception" play.
  •  If you roll a three - This is called Morph and is akin to charades, using the game pieces. You are able to use your body to help act out your word if you are the Morphologist. Essentially, you become a game piece! In Morph, there is still no talking allowed.
  • If you roll a four - This is called Interception and the other team gets a chance to guess if your team cannot come up with the right answer. The Morphologist builds their word and the player on their team is allowed to guess first; if they cannot guess, the other team gets a chance to "steal" the play. They can advance to the next lily pad as long as it is not the final lily pad.
  •  If you roll a five - This is called Pick Five and you are only allowed to play with five of the game pieces. This is similar to Free Play, except that after the Morphologist picks up the card and obtains their word, they can only choose five pieces to act it out. After they choose five pieces, they will read the hint out loud and then turn the timer over and begin.
  • If you roll a six - This is called Ribbit Ribbit and certain noises are now acceptable. The Morphologist cannot say actual words, but can make noises that will help their teammates guess the correct answer.

Pick 5 + 1 is the last challenge to complete before you can win the game. For this play, the team without the Morphologist gets to pick the five pieces they would like the Morphologist to build with. They do not get to view the word ahead of time, and they can only choose five different pieces for the Morphologist (you are not allowed to give the other team something like five glass beads). Then, the Morphologist gets to pick one piece to build with after they have viewed their word. If the team guesses the word correctly, they win the game!

Although the Store Locator function on Morphology's website is being updated, the board game is available for purchase on Amazon, and in stores such as: Barnes and Noble, Marbles: The Brain Store, BAM! (Books a Million), Indigo, Scholar's Choice, Timberdoodle, etc. The average retail value is $29.99.

I am a self-acclaimed board game geek, so I was thrilled when Morphology agreed to let me review their board-game. Last weekend, my friends from college were able to come and visit my new apartment. I had been anxiously awaiting their visit, because I have been under a lot of stress lately with an overabundance of studying, and I had a whole week of exams prior. We were able to unwind a little, and I was excited to introduce them to Morphology during a "board game night" that we put together. It was definitely a crowd pleaser!

We loved that the rules were very easy to grasp-- at first you wonder if you will remember which number on the die corresponds to which type of play, but there is a reminder on the edge of the board in case you forget. There were four of us altogether, so we formed two separate teams. I think that Morphology would work well with any number of teams. It is also the kind of game that is extremely versatile and appropriate for most ages. It would be a great game for family night, but is also enjoyed by older adults as well. Some of the words were easy to build, and some of the concepts went un-guessed, so the level is well balanced for any age group also. We loved the creativity and innovation of Morphology; I can't say that I have played a game like it before. It is like a nice mixture of some type of charades and a game like Cranium. In my mind, the games that require interaction and thought are often the most fun. Also, the possibilities of game play are endless! There are many words to choose from (480 to be exact!) in different categories, and the beauty of it is that everyone's mind is different, so every word will be built in a slightly different way...that keeps the game fresh and interesting.

It took us around half an hour to finish a full game of Morphology, which is a perfect medium. I took many pictures (which you can see below) of the different words that we least, the ones that weren't in action. Some of the things that we came up with were pretty hilarious. We enjoyed the constraints of Interception, Pick Five, and the Pick 5+1 challenge. We also found that we kept inadvertently starting to make noises when we animated our creations -- we had to keep quieting each other. You don't realize how hard it is not to start trying to explain something in words until you aren't allowed to talk!  

I can assure you that if you enjoy something more than just moving pieces on a board -- if you love to interact and get creative, then you will enjoy Morphology. You don't have to be an artist! Half the fun is trying to wrap your head around how you will create something given the various objects included in the game. Sometimes you have to think outside of the box, and hope that your partner is on your level. If you struggle with your creation, it just adds a nice touch of humor to the game.


Interested in learning more about Morphology? Check out the links below:


 One lucky reader will win their own copy of Morphology, courtesy of Morphology Games! All you need to do is enter on the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to U.S. readers, 18 and over, unless you have permission from your parents. Please be honest when submitting Rafflecopter entries -- remember, I DO check all of your entries for verification, and I will throw them out if they are false. If the form has a spot for you to enter information, please provide me with the appropriate username, link, etc so that it is easier for me to verify your entries! I am not responsible for the shipment of the prize, that is the company's duty. I will contact the winner via email (so make sure to use one that you check) and you will have 48 hours to respond with your shipping information. If you have any questions or if the Rafflecopter is not working properly, you can always contact me via Facebook or email (links on the sidebar). Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 20, 2013

8hr Buzz Energy Shots: Review

What is 8hr Buzz?

8hr Buzz is one ounce, liquid energy "shot" that you can take if you need a quick and long-lasting boost of energy. 8hr Buzz Energy Shots are flavored (a whole variety for different tastes), but have no carbohydrates, no sugar, and only 5 calories per shot. These shots are full of essential nutrients, as well as helpful vitamins like Vitamin B and C to keep you energized all day.

Where can you buy 8hr Buzz?

You can purchase 8hr Buzz Energy Shots at many retail stores throughout the United States. Some of those stores (and you can find them on the distributor locator on the 8hr Buzz website) include: 7-11, Dollar Plus, Lion and Bear Distributors, Wholesale Club, etc.

8hz Buzz Energy Shots have as much caffeine as one cup of coffee, even though it feels like they contain more.  As always, you should limit your caffeine intake to avoid nervousness and rapid heartbeat. You should not take more than one 8hr Buzz Energy Shot per day, and you should avoid this product if you are pregnant, nursing, or under 12 years of age. This product does contain phenylalanine. The high amount of Vitamin B6 and B12 falls within normal RDA limits. It is not approved by the FDA as a dietary supplement. If you want to read the exact ingredients in each flavor, check out this link.

I was lucky enough to be able to review different 8hr Buzz Energy Shot flavors so that I could share my opinion with you. I got to try: Extra Bold Coffee, Peach Passionfruit, Berry Blast, and Juicy Grape. I am always a sucker for trying new energy-themed drinks or food. Since I am in medical school, as you can imagine, I need all the energy I can get! To be honest, I am not a huge Red Bull fan; I really don't like many of the common energy drinks that you find in your local grocery store or in the gas station. I feel like they have a very chalky, medicine-like taste. I can't get through an entire can to get the energy boost because I dislike the taste so much.

Since I don't like the taste of standard energy drinks, I have tried many other things -- energized water, energized foot, and other energy shots. Coffee and soda, unfortunately, do not work for me because I drink at least one Diet Pepsi a day and I am always chugging coffee. Caffeine has to be in a much higher amount or added to other ingredients to have an effect on me. I have had other energy shots, and I also do not like the taste, but at least those go down faster and I can still get the energy boost that I need to stay up for a few hours studying. The problem? I have found that I get an energy boost for a few hours (not as long as they advertise), and then I crash before I intend to, which isn't effective when I need to stay up all night.

I was very surprised by 8hr Buzz Energy Shots, as I had never heard anything about them, so I guess I was wary of how they would work. First of all, I really like the unique pouch design; I haven't seen other companies with this product presentation. It makes them very convenient for slipping in your purse if you are going to the library or if you have a long day at work and you need a buzz halfway through the day. They don't take up any room at all, but they definitely pack a punch. All you have to do is tear off the top and squeeze it into your mouth like toothpaste.

I wasn't the biggest fan of the taste, especially of the Peach Passionfruit, which was very sour. The Extra Bold Coffee did not taste like coffee to me, but it wasn't as unpleasant. The Juicy Grape was a little better, just a tad bitter. My favorite flavor was the Berry Blast; I wouldn't drink a whole cup of it or anything, but it was the most true to the flavor it was supposed to represent, and it wasn't as sour as the other flavors. However, do not let this aspect completely turn you off to this product. After-all, this isn't an energy drink - it is an energy shot, so really the idea isn't to have the best flavor, but rather the effect of the product. I definitely liked the Berry Blast flavor better than the chalky flavor of Red Bull or Monster, although I am not sure everyone would agree with me. The initial flavor of all of the 8hr Buzz Energy Shots is better than the after-taste, also. However, it goes down quickly.

What really surprised me (in a positive way) was the boost that I received from 8hr Buzz Energy shots. If they did not work, the rest would still be sitting on my table. After I tried the first one, the other three were gone within a week. I first picked up the Juicy Grape around 7 pm, when I started to feel myself become a little drowsy. On a typical day, I get up at 6 am, and I am in class anywhere from 3:30-5 pm, then I need to go home and study for as many hours as I can before I fall asleep. On the weekends, I also get up around 6 am and try to study for as many hours as I can with minimal breaks. It gets extremely monotonous, so, especially after class, I physically can't keep myself awake all night. I don't like to get into the habit of taking energy shots on a daily basis, but in this case, I "had" to do it for the purpose of the review. (: I was very pleased, because I was able to stay up until 2 am and I got a huge chunk of studying accomplished that first night.

How did I know it wasn't all in my head? Well, first of all, about ten minutes after taking the 8hr Buzz Energy Shot, I felt a huge wave of warmth run through me. Every time I took one, I felt flushed and had to open a window or get out from under the blankets. This may not be the best for my body, but I see no problem with taking these every once in awhile. When I take other energy shots, I do not feel the same increase in warmth (only when I have chugged an unpleasant Red Bull in the past), so I took this as an immediate sign of 8hr Buzz Energy Shots working on me. This is, apparently, the effect of the Niacin (Vitamin B3) which increases blood flow near the skin. Also, like I said, drinking additional coffee or soda does not cause me to stay up later at all because I am so conditioned to it. I feel as though the ingredients in 8hr Buzz are the right combination for my body, to keep me alert. If there was a crash, I didn't notice, because it was far past my bedtime! 8hr Buzz really does have an increased duration of energy compared to other standard energy shots/drinks, which tend to only last for three or four hours. The warmth wore off within 10 minutes, but the effect lasted. I was not jittery or bouncing off the wall...I wasn't shaking and I didn't get a headache. I felt a nice, healthy alertness and concentration, which kept me in-tune to my textbooks and very motivated for the rest of the night. Remember -- to get the maximum effect from 8hr Buzz, you need to take it as one energy shot. Don't drink half at once and leave the rest for later. I would definitely recommend this product to anyone who needs the occasional boost!

Interested in learning more about 8hr Buzz? Check out the links below:

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

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Cassani Fogless Shower Mirror: Review
 The Cassani Company, based out of New York, specializes in manufacturing products for the home and for the improvement of daily lifestyle. Their products are "innovative and practical" for the modern household, to help increase efficiency; they are shipped through several European and Asian distributors. Though they are a relatively new company, Cassani products are very well received on Amazon, and I hope to see more from them in the future.

I had the opportunity to review The Cassani Company's Fogless Shower Mirror, so that I could share my opinions with you.

The Fogless Shower Mirror comes with:

  • 1 Stainless Steel Mirror Wall Hook (comes with adhesives)
  • 1 Stainless Steel Wall Razor Holder (comes with adhesives)
  • 1 Cassani Fogless Shower Mirror
The "installation" is extremely easy, which was one thing I was very happy about -- there are no screws or anything complicated to mess with. All you have to do is to first remove the protective coating that comes on the mirror (which kept it from becoming scratched in the mail). Next, you position your stainless steel hooks in your shower. I recommend NOT applying this directly after a shower...give it some time to allow the area to dry. The Cassani Company recommends that the area be clean as well, so that the adhesives will have the greatest opportunity to stick to the shower surface. All you have to do is peel the adhesive off the back, place the steel hook, and apply firm pressure on the hook for about 45 seconds. The adhesive is much preferable to suction cups, which tend not to hold tightly in the presence of water. I have also had suction cups become brittle and mineralized in the shower before. The Cassani Company suggests that you place your mirror somewhere away from the direct stream of the shower -- in a position which is least likely to have cool air enter from outside the shower.

When you want to use the Fogless Shower Mirror, all you have to do is to remove the mirror from the wall hook and place both sides of the mirror under warm water from your shower for a few seconds. This helps give the mirror its "fogless" property. This apparently happens because, by warming the mirror, you remove the difference in temperature between the mirror and the shower air. By equalizing the temperature, you reduce the instance of fog. Being detachable, the mirror is great for either use at home or during travel.

Why shave in the shower instead of outside?

There are several benefits -- the first is that the steam from the shower will actually make it easier for you to shave. The steam keeps your pores open and simultaneously softens your skin, which gives a nice, closer shave. You won't have to be plagued by razor burn! Second, being in the shower keeps the razor free of hair and warm, which is especially great if you don't use shaving cream (though I don't know anyone who doesn't!). The next benefit is the fact that, since you are in the shower already, you won't be leaving behind a messy sink for your girlfriend/sister/daughter to have to clean up afterwards. I hate having to take a wash cloth and clean out the sink when I didn't make the mess -- it is definitely a girl pet peeve! Any way you look at it, the Fogless Shower Mirror makes for a better and more enjoyable shave. I don't think any guy could say no! It is also a permanent place to keep your razor, so you never have to worry about misplacing it.

You can purchase the Cassani Fogless Shower Mirror through Amazon for just $14.99, which is a steal. If you qualify for Amazon Prime, the Fogless Shower Mirror is eligible. This would make the perfect gift for the man if your life. Or, if you are a man, get this as a present for yourself! There is free shipping when you buy two or more mirrors. One great thing about this company? If you are not satisfied with the Fogless Shower Mirror for any reason, you have the opportunity for a no-hassle, money-back guarantee within 30 days of purchasing. They are wonderful with customer service and strive to keep everyone happy!

My boyfriend "installed" The Cassani Company Fogless Shower Mirror while I took pictures. He gives it a five-star rating. He says that it is nice to be able to stay in the warm shower (especially now that it is getting colder outside) to shave. He loves not having to get out and wait for the mirror in our bathroom to de-fog. We typically have to open the window in the bathroom to get some air flow in order to start the de-fogging process. He says that he has definitely noticed an improvement in how close his shaving is since using the Fogless Shower Mirror. He says that his skin feels softer and he tends to have less razor burn, but also that he just takes more time shaving since he gets to stay in the shower to do it! I think its a great idea, because I couldn't imagine getting out of the shower to shave my legs. I tried once and I ended up with a ton of red bumps -- my skin really needs the constant hydration from the steam to stay soft. My boyfriend really has no complaints with the Fogless Shower Mirror -- he says that the width is just about perfect, and that it really stays fogless as advertised. He likes having a place for his razor, and the fact that the adhesive is so strong. We both had our doubts with how well it would stick, but luckily, it has held up for about two or three weeks now with no problem. It is not too small for shaving, but it is also not too large so as to "junk" up the shower, if you are worried about that. We think that it would work well in any size shower.

Interested in learning more about The Cassani Company? Check out the link below:

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

Beauty Without Cruelty: Shampoo Review

Beauty Without Cruelty 

Beauty Without Cruelty was originally founded in 1963 by the trustees of BWC Charitable Trust, an animal welfare organization, in England. The major founder of the company was Katherine Long; she was dedicated to creating a company which manufactured products that were not tested on animals and did not contain any animal products. Beauty Without Cruelty began with the first line of natural, cruelty-free cosmetics! Katherine passed away in 1969, and the company was taken over by trustee Lady Dowding. In 1978, the torch was passed to Joseph Piccioni, who helped the brand expand into a very successful name in England.

In 1989, Beauty Without Cruelty made its way into the United States. Today, the company not only offers a quality line of cruelty-free cosmetics, but also skin, hair, and body focused products. There is something for every woman and for every need!

Beauty Without Cruelty offers far too many products to list, but I have listed some examples below, for any readers that are curious. Also, I urge you to check out my other review of Beauty Without Cruelty, where I highlight their Facial Cleanser.

  • Hair Styling Products
  • Facial Cleansers
  • Specialty Moisturizers
  • Vitamin C Skin-care
  • Hand/Body Lotion
  • Blush
  • Loose Powder
  • Nail Color
  • Liquid Makeup
  • Lip Pencils
  • Mineral Eye Shadow
  • Natural Lip Stick
  • Natural Eye Pencils
  • Natural Cream Concealers
  • Natural Lipgloss
  • Mascara
  • Travel Size Products

For the purpose of this review, I received one Beauty Without Cruelty Moisture Plus Shampoo (from the premium aromatherapy line) and one Lavender Highland Shampoo (also from the premium aromatherapy line). These were both travel sized (2 fl. oz. size), and are available for just $2.99. They make a great vacation buy! I would much rather use these than the ones you typically find in a hotel. The large, regular size of each shampoo is available for just $10.95. The great thing about the Beauty Without Cruelty Shampoo is that they are 100% Vegan/Vegetarian, paraban free, S.L.S free, and they have no synthetic fragrances. The Lavender Highland Shampoo and the Moisture Plus Shampoo each are pH balanced and contain 100% Pure Premium Oshadhi Essential Oils.

The Moisture Plus Shampoo has a plant-based formula; the jojoba and plant proteins help to moisturize, nourish, and repair your hair while also cleansing it. It is specially formulated to restore life and luster to damaged, dry, or color-treated hair. The vitamins within the Moisture Plus Shampoo will also help strengthen damaged hair. It is recommended that you use the Beauty Without Cruelty Moisture Plus Conditioner alongside the shampoo to experience the greatest effect!

The Moisture Plus Shampoo contains the following ingredients:

Purified water, sodium c14-16 olefin sulfonate, cocoamidopropyl betaine, Cananga odorata (ylang ylang) oil*, Lavandula hybrida (lavandin) oil*, Simmondsia chinesis (jojoba) oil*, Aloe Barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice*, panthenol, sodium pca, glycerin, wheat protein, methyl gluceth-20, sodium cocoyl glutamate, glycol monostearate, Oenothera biennis (evening primrose) oil, Betula alba (birch) leaf extract, Betula alba (birch) sap extract, Melilotus officinalis (clover) blossom extract, Tussilago farfara (coltsfoot) extract, Equisetum arvense (horsetail) extract*, Urtica dioica (nettle) extract*, Achillea millefolium (yarrow) extract, inositol, Macrocystis pyrifera (kelp) extract, Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) extract, Salvia officinalis (sage) extract, tocopherol acetate, niacin, soy protein, yeast extract, citric acid, phospholipids, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, ethyl hexyl glycerin. *Organic 10% Organic Content

 Out of the two shampoos that I tried, this one was my favorite. I have extremely thick hair, so this bottle was really only enough for one- one and a half uses, but would probably give around two uses for someone with thinner hair. I really liked the Moisture Plus Shampoo, because my hair tends to get very dry starting in the Fall and Winter months. I am a chronic hair straightener (always trying to remove stubborn waves) and hair dryer-user (if I run out of time in the morning or at night). I don't color my hair that often anymore, but maybe once every six months. The condition has definitely improved from the past, but just given the natural texture of my hair, I could always use the extra moisture and the luster that I am lacking. I felt like this shampoo really did the job. Generally, my hair only feels rejuvenated after I leave a nice conditioner on there for a few minutes, but this shampoo seemed to help give it some life and leech a little of the dryness out of it. I would love to see what the combination of the shampoo and the conditioner would do for it. The scent is a light, refreshing mix of different essential oils; it is nice to have a naturally scented formula for people who are irritated by harsh chemicals. It definitely did the job of cleaning my hair as well. 

The Lavender Highland Shampoo contains the following ingredients:

Purified water, sodium c14-16 olefin sulfonate, cocamidopropyl betaine, glycerin, Lavandula angustifolia (highland lavender) oil*, panthenol, ascorbic acid, citric acid, niacin, soy protein, Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) extract, Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) extract*, Anthemis nobilis (chamomile) extract*, Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) distillate, Salvia officinalis (sage) extract, Equisetum arvense (horsetail) extract, Urtica dioica (nettle) extract, Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) extract*, inositol, biotin, Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice*, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, ethyl hexyl glycerin. 

The Lavender Highland Shampoo also contains a plant-based formula, and is made to serve a dual purpose; it cleans your hair while also restoring "natural balance, body, and shine". This shampoo also contains plant proteins which will help strengthen your hair and keep it looking vibrant and fresh. The Lavender Highland essential oil is actually a sought-after oil from the high-mountain regions of France. It is recommended that you use the Lavender Highland Shampoo alongside the Lavender Highland Conditioner. This shampoo is generically great for all hair types and conditions. 

The Lavender Highland Shampoo did an efficient job of cleaning my hair thoroughly, but didn't quite provide the moisture or shine that I received from the Moisture Plus Shampoo. That is simply because my hair is dry -- if you have oily hair or combination hair, this is probably more the shampoo for you. The scent is really relaxing and refreshing, and made my whole bathroom smell good. I actually received compliments on how great my hair smelled the next day! Again, this travel size was good for just over one use on my hair, but I do recommend purchasing the travel sized bottles if you are looking to find the best fit for your hair before you commit to buying the full size. 

Here are some of the other hair care products that Beauty Without Cruelty has to offer:

  • Daily Benefits Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Volume Plus Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Rosemary Mint Tea Tree Shampoo/Conditioner
  •  Revitalize Leave-in Conditioner
  • Volume Plus Spray Gel
  • Natural Hold Hair Spray

Interested in learning more about Beauty without Cruelty and their products? Check out the links below:

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

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Zaca Recovery Patches: Review

 Zaca Organics Six Zaca Recovery Patches for $15 52% off
 Zaca Recovery Patches are all natural, topical patches that can be applied to many areas of the body for the promotion of "feel-great mornings, clear-headedness and bright eyes". The organic ingredients range from antioxidants, to vitamins, to amino acids. There are no stimulants, no sugars, no harmful chemicals, no herbicides/fertilizers, and no calories to worry about. The ingredients are from non-GMO sources and contain no lactose, dairy, cholesterol, gluten, eggs, casein, peanuts or MSG. The FDA rates the ingredients in the Zaca Recovery Patches as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). Each package contains six, 1 inch x 1 inch patches; the patches are sticky on the back and have a gauze-like texture on the front. 

How does it work?

All you have to do is apply the Zaca Recovery Patch on any part of the body that is hairless, dry, and oil free (recommended but not necessary) before you go out for the night. The Patch is to be left on for twenty four hours. If you need to shower, or if you plan on swimming or getting wet, it is recommended that you do so before placing the patch, or wait until the twenty four hour period is almost up for full effectiveness.

Zaca Party Patches contain the following ingredients:

Vitamin C (3 mg), Lycopene (5 mg), NAC (3 mg), B1 (4 mg), Prickly Pear (3 mg), B5 (1 mg), B3 (2 mg), Magnesium (3 mg), Taurine (3 mg), Lipoic Acid (3 mg), Milk Thistle (5 mg)

Zaca Recovery Patches have gained a lot of media attention; they were featured in: The Doctors, The Denver Post, and on NBC. They have nearly a five star rating on Amazon, and for good reason.


Pictured above are some of the common places that Zaca users put their patches. I found that the upper arm locations are great if you are wearing short sleeves or long sleeves, and that the hip region is the best if you are wearing a dress or don't have sleeves to cover up your patch. The wrist might be a good place if you have a large, fancy bracelet or watch to accessorize with! 

Right now, as a limited time offer, you can order one pack of Zaca Recovery Patches (6 patches) for just $19.95 on their website, here. If you buy two packages of patches, it is just $39.95. If you buy six packages of patches, it is $109.95. I think that these make wonderful Christmas presents. If you buy one package, you can split them up as "stocking stuffers" for older "children" in the family!

Initially, of course, I looked at the Zaca Party Patches with some level of skepticism, though the idea caught my interest. I have heard the same thing as you have; hangovers are not curable. I have fallen victim to many "home remedies" in the past without triumph. I even remember my mom buying me some sort of "hangover juice" as a gag gift towards the end of college...and I remember it not working very well. The best I could ever come up with was some good old fashioned rest and maybe ginger ale and crackers. I decided to apply to review the Zaca Party Patches because I saw something different than the hoax-y drinks and pills on the market -- something natural and not harmful for your body. The patch interested me, because I know that infusing your body constantly with nutrients it is lacking is probably the best way to relieve dehydration and numb sickness. I know that IVs, while not the same, have this basic concept. 

Being in medical school, I no longer have the time to go out every weekend as I did in college. However, I still enjoy an outing every once in awhile, especially on mini breaks and after large tests. A few weekends ago, after my first week of very stressful exams, two of friends came to visit from college. I knew exactly what to do -- I grabbed the Zaca Party Patches as we were getting ready and convinced them to put them on as I was. I figured this was the best time to test the validity of the patches... you have to understand, I've had the same bottle of wine in my fridge for two and a half months. My tolerance is far depleted (which is okay with me, as it makes the night A LOT cheaper), and I was sure I was going to have a rough time waking up the next morning. My friends and I went out to dinner and then I took them to some clubs in the city. I consumed my fair share of alcohol, presumably, since I was dancing. Unfortunately, my friends ended up getting sick that night, so I can't really say that the patch worked for them. However, I went to bed without so much as a cracker or water to soak up any of the alcohol and I woke up feeling better than I ever do.

I placed the Zaca Party Patch on my lower stomach just prior to going to dinner, and I left it on until the following morning. I thought that it might have problems sticking to my skin all night (especially through dancing and all), but it stayed on just fine, despite rubbing on clothing. Usually if I drink a fair amount, I end up feeling "leeched" and lazy the next morning, whether it's enough to classify as a "hangover", or not. I hate the feeling, because it usually results in me wasting half of the day, laying in bed and watching television. I usually end up with a slight headache from dehydration, though I am fortunate not to get to that nauseous point very often. With the Zaca Party Patch on, I woke up at eight in the morning ready to go, just like any other day. I am still unwilling to drink most weekends just because I need the time to study, but it is nice to know that I might not have to worry if I ever do. Being a science-minded individual, I would like to try this several more times just to make sure that the patches continue to work for me, but so far, so good! I was lucky enough to receive plenty of Zaca Party Patches to use and to share with friends.

I also decided to try using the Zaca Patch on a typical Monday, where I start class at 8 am with a quiz. I then have four hours of lecture, a break for lunch, and then another high-stress oral quiz in anatomy. I have anatomy until five thirty; needless to say, Mondays are not my favorite days, and I am always lacking in energy from staying up the previous night to study for both quizzes. The Zaca Recovery Patch is not JUST for hangover can also help with the stress of a long day on little sleep. It can also help with relief from exercising, traveling, or altitude sickness. I often feel sluggish and crappy if I don't get at least five hours of sleep for a jam-packed day. The Zaca patch definitely helped in this manner as well. I felt more alert and refreshed wearing it, especially since I have been battling multiple illnesses in the past few weeks.
I love the Zaca Party Patches, because they are so easy and convenient -- you just stick it on and forget about it. You don't have to worry about taking some kind of pill with harsh chemicals, or drinking some disgusting mixture of stuff that is loaded with calories. The Zaca patches are stress-free, and you won't even remember that you are wearing them. The texture is very non-irritating, and it doesn't really hurt when you remove the patch. Nobody will know you are wearing it unless you put it in a place that isn't covered by clothing. 

Interested in learning more about Zaca Party Patches? Check out the links below:

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

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Beauty Without Cruelty Facial Cleanser: Review

Beauty Without Cruelty was originally founded in 1963 by the trustees of BWC Charitable Trust, an animal welfare organization, in England. The major founder of the company was Katherine Long; she was dedicated to creating a company which manufactured products that were not tested on animals and did not contain any animal products. Beauty Without Cruelty began with the first line of natural, cruelty-free cosmetics! Katherine passed away in 1969, and the company was taken over by trustee Lady Dowding. In 1978, the torch was passed to Joseph Piccioni, who helped the brand expand into a very successful name in England.

In 1989, Beauty Without Cruelty made its way into the United States. Today, the company not only offers a quality line of cruelty-free cosmetics, but also skin, hair, and body focused products. There is something for every woman and for every need!

Beauty Without Cruelty offers far too many products to list, but I have listed some examples below, for any readers that are curious. Also, I urge you to check out my other review of Beauty Without Cruelty, where I highlight some of their haircare products.

  • Hair Styling Products
  • Shampoo/Conditioners
  • Specialty Moisturizers
  • Vitamin C Skin-care
  • Hand/Body Lotion
  • Blush
  • Loose Powder
  • Nail Color
  • Liquid Makeup
  • Lip Pencils
  • Mineral Eye Shadow
  • Natural Lip Stick
  • Natural Eye Pencils
  • Natural Cream Concealers
  • Natural Lipgloss
  • Mascara
  • Travel Size Products


Beauty Without Cruelty products can be purchased at many local, natural food retailers. They can also be found online at the following websites:,,, Internatural,, or the BWC online store. Their products are very reasonably priced considering the quality of their ingredients. 

For the purpose of this review, I received a travel-sized Beauty Without Cruelty Facial Cleanser (2 fl oz.).  This cleanser is part of their Premium Aromatherapy line and is available for purchase for just $2.99. You can purchase the full size Facial Cleanser (8.5 oz) for just $11.95. This Facial Cleanser is great because it works for any type of skin, from normal to oily; it has a 3% AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) complex.

The Beauty Without Cruelty Facial Cleanser contains the following ingredients:
Botanical infusion of: Lavandula angustifolia (lavender), Calendula officinalis
(calendula), Lonicera fragrantissima (honeysuckle), Anthemis nobilis
(chamomile), Cucumis sativus (cucumber), Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf
juice*, sodium C14-16 olefin sulfonate, cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium lauryl
glucosides hydroxypropyl sulfonate, Citrus aurantium (sweet orange) oil*,
Cananga odorata (ylang ylang) oil*, Pelargonium roseum (geranium) oil*,
Lavandula hybrida (lavandin) oil*, panthenol, allantoin, magnesium ascorbyl
phosphate, glycerine, tocopherols, glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid,
sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate.  10% Organic Content. *Organic ingredients.


You can use this Facial Cleanser for the removal of impurities, oil, dirt, or dead skin cells. I found that it also worked well at removing a layer of light makeup left at the end of the day. It is pH balanced, so it cleans your skin deeply without changing the balance -- you don't end up dried out or overly oily. The Beauty Without Cruelty Facial Cleanser is soap free, paraben free, and 100% Vegan and Vegetarian. It has a pleasant mixture of essential aromatherapy oils to help cleanse and refresh your skin.

The directions are simple: Rinse your face with warm water, apply the cleanser, gently massage over your face and neck, rinse thoroughly with warm water, and then pat dry with a washcloth.

I chose to review the Facial Cleanser over other products because I feel that the facial cleansers I currently own are very inadequate. I didn't invest a lot of time searching for a good one, or money for that matter. I always feel like my facial cleansers are more geared towards fighting impurities alone, and that, because of that, they leave my face incredibly dried out and irritated. I have extremely sensitive skin, so even some of the lower strength cleansers leave me with red patches and scaly spots. It's hard to find a cleanser that does more than just clear acne -- and it is really hard to find one that can do more than one thing effectively.

I really liked the Beauty Without Cruelty Facial Cleanser. I ended up wishing I had a larger size bottle, because I went through the travel size rather quickly! I would definitely only recommend this size for a short vacation. I think that this is the perfect size to bring on a trip, and it probably would go through airport security just fine. This is like the size that you find in your hotel, but the quality is much better. These travel sized Facial Cleansers also make great present toppers for all those women in your life, since Christmas is right around the corner.

It has a very pleasant smell, which is probably from the combination of essential aromatherapy oils. It smells fresh but not overpowering. I love how it foams up very lightly, but has a very soothing texture...nothing gritty or overly soapy. It didn't irritate my skin at all, which is surprisingly -- I guess that's what I get for continuously using products with harsh chemicals. You can really tell the difference when you switch to something that has natural, cruelty-free ingredients. The Beauty Without Cruelty Facial Cleanser successfully removed all makeup and anything else on my face, leaving me feeling refreshed before bed. I feel like it took effect on my (very slight) pimples, without having to go through that dried out, icky feeling. This Facial Cleanser definitely performs more than one function nicely, so I think that it is a great buy for the price. I know you will not be disappointed, especially if you are looking for something vegan/organic.

Interested in learning more about Beauty without Cruelty and their products? Check out the links below:


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