Sunday, December 29, 2013

Advanced Mineral Makeup: Liquid Foundation Review


 Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Advanced Mineral Makeup is a 100% natural line of beauty products created by founder Annie Mayo, a TV/film makeup artist. Advanced Mineral Makeup is high definition, and created for "close-up" coverage. It is designed to have an airbrush texture, yet to provide light/medium, easy coverage for natural looking skin. Advanced Mineral Makeup is made to enhance the appearance of your skin more than to cover it up; it is used on the popular Grey's Anatomy and NCIS sets. These products have many additional benefits besides providing coverage -- they help reduce acne, combat aging, and help to minimize redness, inflammation, and dark spots.

Advanced Mineral makeup is free of harsh chemicals such as dyes, talc, perfumes, and preservatives. Instead, ingredients like Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc oxide, anti-oxidants with vitamins and Grape Seed oil, Amino Acids, Hyaluronic Acid and human identical Lipids are used. Unlike other mineral makeup, Advanced Mineral Makeup is made to match natural human skin tones up to 99% -- it does this by using an underlying yellow tone which is present in most women's skin. The titanium dioxide found in Advanced Mineral Makeup is a natural sunscreen which will protect your skin from harmful UV rays. The unique blend of mineral ingredients will not clog your pores or weigh down your face, but can help to smooth out uneven skin tones and flaws. 

Advanced Mineral Makeup offers many natural products for all your beauty needs. Some of the products not featured in this review include:

  •  Loose Powder Foundation
  • Pressed Powder Compacts
  • Perfecting Concealers
  • Day/Night Color Palettes (Shadows, Blush, Cream Luminizer)
  • Luxury Lash mascara
  • Kabuki Synthetic Hair Brush
  • Synthetic Foundation Brush
  • Luxury Flathead Brush
  • Isotonix Beauty Blends
Advanced Mineral Makeup can be purchased directly from the website, or in a number of retail stores across the country. You can check its location nearest you using the store locator on the Advanced Mineral Makeup website; it appears that it is found mostly in spas and specialty beauty stores.

Have difficulty figuring out what color to purchase for foundation, powder, or concealers? I do too, especially when I'm purchasing products online and I am not in the store testing them out on the back of my hand. Many websites simply give a description of the different shades that they offer, or a fake picture of the "tone" you would receive (that is usually VERY off compared to the real shade of the makeup). Luckily, one of the perks of Advanced Mineral Makeup is its Celebrity Shade Finder -- a nifty little tool that helps you put a face to the color you are selecting. In order to select my Liquid Foundation, I first went to medium light-medium skin tone, because I feel that my skin tone most closely resembles that of Angelina Jolie, given the choices below. In the winter, my skin is typically a bit the summer I would go to the medium/medium-dark foundation. This is something people often forget when the seasons change (unless they're going tanning)! I then chose the Ginger Snap shade to review from the two choices of liquid mineral foundation, since it had a more warm, orange base to it.

NEW GROUP Shade Finder

I think that the Celebrity Shade Finder worked great in my case. The Ginger Snap liquid mineral foundation perfectly matches my winter skin tone, and blends in well in all areas of my face. As you can see from above, there are six other shades that you can choose from, including: cream puff, creme brulee, praline, french toast, caramel, or toffee. Besides being 100% vegan, gluten-free, and paraben free, the Liquid Mineral Foundation contains powerful antioxidants, as well as Vitamins A and E. It is anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory, and is a great pick for anyone who has sensitive skin, or suffers from acne, rosacea, hyper-pigmented skin, or broken blood vessels. The Liquid Mineral Foundation is great for any age and for all skin types! You can purchase Advanced Mineral Makeup's Liquid Mineral Foundation for just $44.00 through their online store. 

If you are looking for a light, sheer coverage liquid foundation that blends very well with your skin tone, then Advanced Mineral Makeup is for you. I found that it went on easily, either with my fingers or with a brush, and did not settle in any pores. It didn't have a caked-on appearance, and it wasn't too dry, which made it easier to spread than some foundations (and it would go on even better with a layer of moisturizer or lotion). I like that Advanced Mineral Makeup is free of harsh chemicals that would irritate my sensitive skin, and that they are conscious of all different skin types. I love using mineral-based makeup, because it feels and looks more natural. However, I don't think that the coverage was enough for me. I am used to medium to full coverage foundation, not because I have major flaws, but because I like to even out some of the more red, sensitive areas of my skin. I felt as though the foundation did not cover these areas as well as I would like, even with two layers. I am not a fan of "pancake" makeup either -- it is very hard to find that gentle balance. I know that many of you love the light coverage, so I am sure that if you do, you will love this foundation. It has many added benefits and it is great for your skin; if they use it on television, then I must just be very picky! I was impressed with the shade matching and the feeling of the foundation...I just wish it could cover the redness on my face. I think that maybe if I used another product on top of it, such as a heavier powder or a concealer, I might have a better outcome. My mom tried the foundation and thought that it covered well in some areas but not in others, however, she really liked the creamy texture and light-weight feeling. I have posted pictures so you can check out my skin with just the Advanced Mineral Makeup liquid foundation on. My camera has been acting up lately so I was having trouble zooming in and getting a very clear picture. 

Interested in learning more about Advanced Mineral Makeup? 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.

Plugfones: Hybrid Earphones/Earplugs

Plugfones : The First and Only Earplugs with Music 

 Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

 Plugfones are a new gadget that help you kill two birds with one stone; they work as hybrid earphones and earplugs. Plugfones allow you to enjoy your music (with quality), while also blocking out and reducing excess noise around you. They have a standard 3.5mm stereo jack, which works well with both android and apple products (as well as most CD players), so that you can listen to music, podcasts, audio books, or whatever your heart desires! Plugfones are great not only for anyone who travels and likes to do so in peace, but also for workers that need hearing protection, such as in construction, factory, or motor-related occupations. Generally, these workers simply block out sound -- now they can enjoy listening to music, if their boss permits!

Plugfones offer a noise reduction rating of 25 decibels (yellow Plugfones in particular), which was obtained from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The range for typical hearing protection devices is between 0 and 30 decibels; the higher the number, the better the protection. In some environments, a volume delimiter may be required as well (also sold on the Plugfones' website). To understand the NRR (noise reduction rating), Plugfones gives an example on its website: if a bulldozer has an average noise level of 100 decibels, the Plugfones will bring this down to 75 decibels, which is the same level as an electric shaver. Without the Plugfones, you could run into hearing loss issues.

Plugfones look very much like regular headphones (see the picture below), with thicker earplugs on the ends. They come in both silicone and foam varieties. Purple or yellow silicone Plugfones retail for $14.95; if you want to customize both the color of the wires and the earplugs, you will pay $19.95. If you prefer foam earbuds, you can choose from green, yellow, or dark blue for $14.95, or, again, a customized selection for $19.95. Plugfones also has several other accessories available in their online store, including replacement earplugs, safety glasses, bluetooth speakers, clip-on MP3 player, lanyard kits, etc. I think that their products are very reasonably priced, given that many regular headphones can run more than 15-20 dollars, without the added benefit of noise reduction. 

 I was excited to be able to review a pair of Yellow Silicone Plugfones. I have purchased "noise cancelling earplugs" in the past, only to be very disappointed. I thought the idea of combing earplugs and earphones was innovative and probably more effective. I have a few occasions where Plugfones could be really helpful for me. For one, I do a lot of traveling back and forth from school on breaks, whether it is by train or in the car. If it's in the car, I'm usually the passenger, so I like to put headphones on when my boyfriend and I don't agree on music. If I'm on the train, I like to try and drown out all of the annoying people sitting near me, especially if I am reading one of my textbooks. I also have a problem concentrating while studying in public places. I typically like to mumble aloud to myself, but I can't really do that on my breaks, because I don't want people to think I'm crazy. However, sometimes even conversations that aren't that loud are distracting to me. Plugfones, I thought, would be great for use in the library, the classroom, or one of the cafes to keep myself focused on my work instead of what is going on around me. Sometimes I also just like a quality pair of headphones to pop on when I am going to the gym or going out for a walk -- it isn't as important that I block out noise in those instances, but sometimes it can get noisy and hard to hear my music if there is construction or if there are a lot of people at the gym.

I prefer the silicone Plugfones, even without having tried the foam ones, just because I know that foam earplugs often bother me, and I feel as if they aren't fulling blocking my ear canal. The silicone are a lot more comfortable, and I felt like the gripping design on the outside helped keep them in a little better than some standard headphones. Usually I'll be walking on the treadmill and my headphones will end up falling out, just because of the shape of my inner ear. I did not have this problem with Plugfones. They did not irritate my ears or make them hurt like some headphones. I like the design. For the most part, Plugfones did a good job of blocking out the noises around me, especially while studying. Although the noises weren't cancelled, they were definitely muted. I feel the combination of a more muted sound and having my music kept me in tune and focused. I can't speak for how they would work in construction or other occupations, because I know the sound levels are much higher, but I can say that they brought all the noise around me down to a much lesser level. For the price, I think that Plugfones are a good investment -- just remember that they REDUCING and not removing the sounds.

Interested in learning more about Plugfones? 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.

OraMD: Review and Giveaway!


OraMD is a breakthrough product for oral health manufactured by Trusted Health Products in Lexington, KY. It is not your standard toothpaste, mouthwash, or breath freshener -- it is all of these products rolled into one powerful little bottle! OraMD is revolutionary, because it acts as all three bacteria-fighting components of oral health when used in different ways. Its consistency is not that of toothpaste or mouthwash. OraMD has a strong, oil-based formula that can accomplish a lot with just a few drops. OraMD is a natural alternative to standard mouthwash or toothpaste, as it does not contain many of the harsh chemicals we typically find in major brands. OraMD is specially formulated to combat the twenty-two most common species of bacteria that are responsible for gum disease, bleeding gums, bad breath, plaque etc.

OraMD is more potent than leading toothpaste and mouthwash brands combined for several reasons. First, it has interdental access, which means that it can get between your teeth and down into your gums, to areas which are hard to reach for your average products. OraMD is also formulated to produce fresher breath faster and for a longer period of time. It is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory. OraMD also solves some of the problems that exist with typical mouthwash and toothpaste. Many brands of mouthwash use alcohol-based formulas which are effective at initially killing bacteria, but, at the same time, dry out the mouth. Dry mouth, as a condition, leads to the overproduction of bacteria and plaque build-up. So, in the long run, your mouthwash could actually be acting against you. OraMD is a safer alternative to toothpaste, because toothpaste can contain ingredients which are harmful, such as Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS) and fluoride. Sodium Laurel Sulfate has been linked to skin irritation in many clinical studies, and is also a component of car wash soap and floor cleaners. It helps to sud up the toothpaste, but can dry out and irritate your gums. According to OraMD's website, fluoride has been banned in many countries, but is still available in toothpaste in the United States. It has been linked to damage to connective tissue/the gums, and may be a factor in premature aging, tumors, certain cancers, infertility, etc. With OraMD, you do not need to take a chance with any of these chemicals. 

OraMD contains simple, natural, vegan ingredients which are effective against bacteria and plaque build up. These ingredients are: 100% natural Peppermint Oil, 100% natural Spearmint Oil, and 100% natural Almond Oil. Each of these oils has many medicinal benefits when used alone, and the combination is additive, to produce a very clean and healthy mouth. There are no abrasives or GMOs, and the oils used are of the highest quality. For the first 3-7 uses, the oils may be a bit over-powering, but as you continue to use OraMD, you will get used to the potency of the oils. These ingredients are safe for anyone ages three and up, as well as for anyone with braces, dentures, crowns, fillings, etc.

To be most effective, OraMD should be used in a four step oral hygiene plan that OraMD creators have put together. The directions are as follows (as quoted by OraMD):

  • Brush twice a day in the morning and evening using 2-5 drops of OraMD on a toothbrush and brush normally
  • Floss every evening before brushing - more frequently as needed. Get any food particles out from between teeth.
  • Use OraMD as a mouthwash twice a day: morning and evening. Just put 2-5 drops into an ounce of water, swish and gargle. This is important to kill the bacteria in the entire mouth, including the back of the tongue.
  •   Mid-morning, mid-afternoon and as needed: put 2-5 drops on the tip of the tongue to coat the gum line and teeth to kill bacteria and keep breath fresh.
 One bottle of OraMD should last up to a month using the directions listed above. You can purchase OraMD in regular strength or extra strength varieties. One bottle of regular strength OraMD is $22.97 if purchased through the OraMD website (.5 oz), and one bottle of extra strength is $39.97. The more you buy, the more you save! OraMD has a one-year money-back guarantee, no questions what do you have to lose? I love when companies offer this, because I know that they really stand behind their products. OraMD has 99% customer satisfaction, and is endorsed by many dentists and customers. It can be cost effective compared to the combination of toothpaste, mouthwash, and breath freshening products, especially when designed for specific oral problems like gingivitis. 

I was given one bottle of regular-strength OraMD to review, so that I could share my opinions with you. I am always open to trying new healthcare products, and we go through a lot of toothpaste and mouthwash, so this seemed like a great alternative to try. I made a point to try and follow the four-step oral hygiene plan, but I will admit that I forgot to do some of the steps on certain days throughout the month. I have never been great at remembering to floss my teeth, according to my dentist -- but no cavities or problems to speak of, yet! :)
At first it was strange not to have the texture of toothpaste that you expect to feel while brushing your teeth. It felt as if the oil were going to seep into the bristles of my toothbrush and that I wasn't using enough to get into all the areas of my teeth and gums. You'll probably feel like this at first, but once you are done brushing your teeth, you won't feel that way anymore. I brushed my teeth with a few drops of OraMD just as I normally would, and when I rinsed my mouth felt very fresh and clean. My teeth looked nice and clean as well -- no layer of scum from a night's worth of bacteria, and no food particles stuck in or around them. Although the sensation is odd and hard to get used to, there is no doubt in my mind that OraMD was just as effective, if not more effective at cleaning my teeth than normal toothpaste. The first few times, as I mentioned above, the oils are very strong, but you will get used to them as you continue to use the product. The oils do not have an unpleasant taste -- just a very minty taste, which I like for my toothpaste (I don't really like other flavors, because I feel like they don't clean my teeth as well). I actually think the potency of the oils gives me fresher breath than the toothpaste does. I often feel my toothpaste wearing away by the middle of the day, especially when I eat spicy or garlic-ridden foods, or drink coffee; OraMD seemed to combat even the strongest of these foods.

I'm more of a gum-chewer (bad, I know) than a mouthwash user, but I wanted to stick to the hygiene plan, so I also used OraMD as a mouthwash. I don't think my mouth has had a chance to harbor any of the harmful bacteria that cause many oral diseases -- not when I keep using OraMD. My dentist told me to watch out for gum disease in the future, since I haven't been all that great about flossing in the past. When I brush too hard, my gums often get irritated and bleed. My mouth is very sensitive, and I think that OraMD has been helping with this problem since I started using it. I would definitely recommend this product to any of my readers, especially if you prefer to go the natural route. I hate knowing that I am putting dangerous chemicals in my system, so OraMD makes me feel much more comfortable when brushing.

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


Three lucky readers will win a bottle of OraMD, courtesy of OraMD! 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

Yiva Naturals: Pollen-X Review

 Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Yiva Naturals are a line of all-natural supplements that serve as an alternative treatment for several common medical issues. The Yiva Naturals team is made up of seven families who hope to help you alleviate symptoms to lead to a healthier, happier lifestyle.

What does Yiva Naturals offer? 

  • Melatonin - This supplement can aid in insomnia, to help you obtain a more peaceful night's rest. Yiva Naturals has perfected the formula with a unique distillation process that increases the efficacy of the active ingredients. If you have tried Melatonin in the past without success, you may want to try Yiva Naturals' formula, which requires a much smaller dose for a larger impact. One monthly supply will cost you just $34.99 from the Yiva Naturals' website.

  •  Yiva Fertility Boost - Looking for something that can help you conceive a child and start your family faster? This Yiva Naturals' supplement is for you. Yiva Fertility Boost increases overall reproductive health and well-being with ingredients such as a Proprietary Blend, Purified Water, USP Ethyl Alcohol, Agave Syrup, and Rubus Idaeus. With just twenty drops of Yiva Fertility Boost a day, women have claimed to conceive a child sometimes within the first few weeks, or more commonly within four to five months. A one-month supply will cost you $44.99. 

  • Yiva Daily Balance -  This supplement is great for women who need to bring their body into a more efficient homeostasis, especially during that special time of the month. Yiva Daily Balance can help with menstrual cramp relief, irregular cycles, migraines, muscle or joint pain, bloating, heavy flow, depression, anxiety, and mood swings. To achieve your "daily balance", you should take 20 drops of Yiva Daily Balance per day. Women have reported seeing differences in just two to six weeks after they begin taking this supplement. A four-month supply is $94.99.

I was lucky enough to be able to review Yiva Naturals' Pollen-X formula, so that I could share my opinions with you. I was very excited to be given the opportunity, because lately my allergies have gotten out of control. When I was younger, I never had a problem, even when the seasons changed. However, in the past two years I have noticed an extreme change in my body, especially during early winter and late spring. At first I thought I was allergic to a particular thing, such as a certain detergent, or something I had around the house, because it was so uncommon for me; but when I moved to Maine over the summer, the allergies didn't stop. At home I am surrounded by wooded areas, but in Maine we are in a more urban setting...either way, I am still plagued by the mysterious allergies. 

I usually wake up in the morning, especially during this time of year (which is odd) with eyes that are nearly sealed shut (and watery/runny), a stuffy nose, and a scratchy throat. You might think this was the onset of a cold, but it happens every day. Sometimes it makes getting out of bed really difficult, because I'd rather just sleep it off for a few more hours. However, I don't have the luxury of doing that -- I have to be up early for school. After about an hour of being up, the general crappy feeling subsides, but I continue to sneeze all throughout the day, and a lot of the times my eyes itch. It isn't the same degree as a sinus infection, but it is enough to annoy me and the people around me. 

I am really not a huge fan of many over-the-counter allergy relief medications, such as Benadryl, Zyrtec, and Claritin -- even though they claim to have "less drowsy" formulas, I typically fall asleep within just an hour or two of taking them. Unfortunately since I have to be up all hours of the night studying, this isn't going to work for me. The nasal sprays and Netti-Pots really irritate me, so I don't feel like they are worth using. I also do not resort to other inflammatory medications, because if I did, I would be taking them every day -- it isn't a condition serious enough for that. When I heard about Yiva Naturals' Pollen-X I was clearly intrigued, because it offered potential relief for something I haven't been able to rid myself of.

Pollen-X is a liquid supplement that you take three times a day; for me, this was not a drawback, since I do not want the common side effects of the pills on the market. Sometimes I did forget to take Pollen-X since I had to remember more than once a day, but if you can make a habit out of it, such as taking it with every meal, you can keep yourself on schedule. The taste is not incredibly unpleasant, if you were thinking of some of the cough syrups and throat medications that you have taken in the past. Since I took Pollen-X while I was eating each meal, there was no noticeable aftertaste. 

How does Pollen-X work?

It introduces small particles of tree and flower pollen, which contain the allergens that stimulate your immune system to become hyperactive. I just learned about allergens and the immune system in medical school, so it was interesting to see that Pollen-X works in a similar fashion to vaccinations. Rather than just masking the symptoms of inflammation like typical over-the-counter drugs, Pollen-X is getting to the root of the problem. By introducing your immune system to the very things which set it off, you can train it stop overreacting during inappropriate times.

Most people will see results within two to three weeks, and I'd say that I was right about in the middle of that time frame when I noticed that my allergies had gradually started to lessen. It wasn't a miracle cure-all, but I feel that the more I take Pollen-X, the better my immune system does at adjusting its reaction to allergens. Now, my mornings are a little better, because I am less congested over-all, and my eyes are less scratchy and watery. I think that this product's efficacy will be determined by what is causing your allergies. Every type of pollen probably differs a little, and I'm sure there are some that are more common, which is why I responded to Pollen-X. The great thing about Yiva Naturals is that you can try it guilt-free -- if you are unsatisfied, you are backed by a forty-five day money-back guarantee. If you have seasonal allergies, or those provoked by pollen, you really have nothing to lose by trying Pollen-X!

Interested in learning more about Yiva Naturals 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.

EBOOST Natural Energy: Review


Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.
EBOOST is an innovative, new addition to the energy supplement market, created by co-founders Josh Taekman and John McDonald. They were tired of energy drinks that claim to boost your stamina and concentration for hours on a chemical-ridden formula; because whatever additives and chemicals are bringing you up will ultimately end in a crash. EBOOST's co-founders worked with a team of doctors, nutritionists, and trainers to design a formula that was natural, yet effective. EBOOST not only gives you the boost you crave from energy drinks -- it also can assist you with mood, concentration, and recovery from workout. EBOOST has been endorsed by a number of well-known celebrities, including: Jillian Michaels, Oprah, Shakira, Kelly Ripa, Anthony Fasano, and Amar'e Stoudemire. 

EBOOST is soy-free, gluten-free, lactose-free and non-GMO. It is a small energy "shot" that comes in multiple flavors, including: Orange, berry melon (with coconut water), or superberry. Not a fan of taking a quick shot? No problem! EBOOST also offers a boost in the form of a natural energy powder. This powder comes in the following flavors: natural orange, pink lemonade, or acai pomegranate. EBOOST is best if served chilled, and it is recommended that you only have one every 24 hours. You can purchase 12 energy shots on the EBOOST website for just $39.00, or 20 energy powder packets for just $28.00. If you are unsure about which flavor you would prefer, or whether you'd rather have a shot or the powder, EBOOST offers a sampler pack for just $8.99. EBOOST can also be found in stores such as Trader Joes, Bed Bath and Beyond, Vitamin Shoppe, and natural food/fitness stores.

What is in EBOOST that makes it so effective? Well, for starters, it contains green tea and green coffee bean extracts, quercetin, and Vitamin B-12 for energy and focus. These are all natural compounds that can help you make it through your day. It also contains potassium and electrolytes for hydration after a long workout. EBOOST is proud to offer no artificial flavors or colors, and is naturally sweetened. To support your immune system, EBOOST has a nice group of natural ingredients such as Vitamin C, Resveratrol, zinc, selenium, and Vitamin D. Finally, to boost your mood, EBOOST has two compounds known as 5-HTP and Huperzine. 5-HTP is produced from the seeds of Griffonia simplicifolia, an African plant. It is traditionally used as an herbal supplement for depression, insomnia, obesity, etc, as it works to increase the amount of serotonin released in your body. Huperzine is a substance that is derived from the Chinese club moss plant. It works to increase levels of acetylcholine in the body, and may improve memory and learning. 

I was lucky enough to be able to review EBOOST's Superberry Energy Shot and Energy Powder. As I'm sure you know by now, I am becoming quite the expert when it comes to energy drinks/supplements! I keep finding new varieties to review, which is great, because I need all the energy I can get to keep me going through medical school. As I have said in the past, I do not like to take any energy supplement more than necessary, but it is nice to have them on hand for test weeks. I have recently started working out again as well, so I could see EBOOST being very effective for helping to keep me stimulated and hydrated after a workout. My favorite thing about EBOOST, first of all, is that it is all-natural. This is rare to find when it comes to energy supplements, but it definitely makes me feel more safe when consuming it. I think the chemicals, artificial coloring, and fake sugar in other energy drinks makes me nervous; I definitely would not drink more than one a day or three per week if I had a big test coming up. However, EBOOST makes me feel more comfortable. 

I like the added benefits of EBOOST; many energy drinks are there to give you a rush, and that is their sole purpose. EBOOST can help me concentrate on my work better, and also keep my immune system and mood at bay in the process. Those two aspects of life are really affected by medical school -- long hours and being exposed to many sick people puts me in constant battle with my immune system, and my mood can fluctuate just because of the sheer stress. It is nice to have an energy supplement that can tackle more than one problem at once. I know that I am lacking vitamins, so I try to get them in whenever I can. 

I like the size of the EBOOST shot -- unlike larger energy drinks, it is something that could be easily stored in your purse, car, or fridge without taking up any room at all. The packaging is very simplistic and cute. The EBOOST energy powder is something that I would probably keep at home or in a future office; it is nice for when you don't need the immediate boost on-the-go, and you have time to relax and enjoy a glass. I like that you have two options..I don't mind shots or powder, but there are times when I prefer one over the other.

EBOOST, when chilled, was not something I needed to choke down. I only got to try the Superberry flavor, so I can't comment on the others, but I thought the Superberry flavor was pretty good. It doesn't taste like juice, but it also doesn't have that chemical taste. Many energy drink companies try to mask the sourness by added flavors, and end up just making something even more disgusting. EBOOST does not have that problem. I did not mind the Superberry energy powder, after mixing it with my bottled water. Compared to other major brands, I definitely give EBOOST five stars for having a superior taste. As far as energy goes, EBOOST is fairly comparable. I do feel that some of the maximum energy drinks on the market are more effective, but at what cost? I know that I am cramming myself full of chemicals, and that I usually do have that crash later after 6 hours or so. EBOOST gave me no crash, but not the most maximum energy level that I have ever felt. However, for those of you looking for a more natural energy boost, this is definitely the best product. I did drink it in the middle of my last big test week, and it helped me get through. 

Interested in learning more about EBOOST 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.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Farm Rich Snacks - New Flavors: Review and Giveaway

When I first started blogging, I wrote a review on Farm Rich and some of their great frozen snacks. Here's a snippet about their company in case you didn't catch that post:
Farm Rich is an awesome company based out of St. Simon's Island (off the coast of Georgia) which is committed to providing delicious and easy appetizers and snacks for the whole family. They offer a wide variety of wholesome goodies which are sure to please every different taste. 

I love that this company not only has the standard finger foods -- any good, fried/baked snack that you crave at a restaurant, you can now get from the grocery store. The bag has quite a large portion, which is good for many after-school snacks or for appetizers before dinner for a couple of nights. At my local store, they are only $5.99 a bag. When you think about the amount of food you get, on top of the quality, this is a great deal. Here's a little overview of the products that Farm Rich carries:

Right now, you can get a coupon good for 75 cents off any Farm Rich Snacks package just by signing up for their club, to receive exclusive offers and promotions via email. Farm Rich Snacks are available for purchase throughout the United States at many major retailers, including: Hannaford, Dollar General, Price Chopper, Wal-mart, Market Basket, Food Lion, Harris Teeter, etc.

Farm Rich was generous enough to offer me two vouchers to choose between the three new snacks that they are offering -- Toasted Ravioli, Crispy Dill Pickles, and Chili Cheese Bites. It was a very hard decision! My boyfriend and I decided to choose the Toasted Ravioli and the Crispy Dill Pickles. I already knew that I would be more than satisfied with whatever I chose. When I reviewed Farm Rich Snacks in the past, I was really pleased with the quality and the flavor of their food. Sometimes we have certain expectations about the way that we think frozen foods will taste or look, but in this case, it does not apply. 

The Toasted Raviolis were full of flavor, and I was excited to try them because I have never had toasted raviolis before...only regular raviolis, which are one of my favorite foods. Here's some more information about them:

"This isn't your mother's ravioli. Sure, both are delicious and household favorites, but these snacks are super easy to prepare. Just slide them out of the bag, toss them in the oven, and by the time they're done, your kids will be calling them "Mom's Famous Toasted Ravioli."

Ingredients: Ravioli (water, enriched durum flour), ricotta cheese (whey, milk, vinegar, carrageenan), mozzarella cheese (pasteurized part skim milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes), eggs, breadcrumbs (enriched wheat flour), Parmesan cheese (pasteurized part skim milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes), natural flavor, methylcellulose, modified cornstarch, xanthan gum, guar gum, locust bean gum, granulated garlic, black pepper, beta carotene, enzyme modified Parmesan cheese (milk, starter culture, salt, enzymes, cream, natural flavor), soybean oil, bleached wheat flour, wheat flour, water. Contains 2% or less of the following: corn starch, garlic powder, lactic acid, leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, corn starch, monocalcium phosphate), maltodextrin, modified cornstarch, natural flavor, onion powder, Parmesan cheese (pasteurized cow's milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes), salt, spice extractive, spices, sugar, whey, yeast

There are 11 servings in the Toasted Raviolis, with 150 calories per serving (2 pieces), 7g of fat, 5mg of cholesterol, 280mg of sodium, 18g of carbohydrates, 4g of protein, 4% the daily value of calcium, and 2% the daily value of iron. The Toasted Raviolis can be cooked in a conventional oven at 425 degrees for 10-11 minutes (half the bag) or 11-12 minutes for the full bag. They can also be cooked in a toaster oven or in a home fryer.

I think that these would make an awesome snack for the holidays -- especially at a New Year's party, or for watching a football game. Half a bag was more than enough for two people as a side-dish, because the raviolis are very "rich". They have a great, authentic taste, and are even better with a side of pasta sauce or marinara to dip them into. They look great when plated out...nobody would ever know that you didn't make them from scratch! This is the taste I would expect from a restaurant...not at all typical of some of the less-than-par frozen foods on the market right now.

The Crispy Dill Pickles were an obvious second choice. Pickles are my favorite food, and I know that sounds very strange. I actually order tons of extra pickles any time I go out to eat. This is, however, only the second time I have tried a fried dill pickle. They did not disappoint! Here's a little more about them:

"While the results speak and taste for themselves, breading anything can potentially ruin your kitchen, your clothes, and maybe even your day. The good news is, these breaded dill pickle slices are already almost ready to serve. Just pop them out of the bag, slide them in the oven, and get ready for some tasty goodness."

 Ingredients: Pickles (Cucumbers, water, vinegar, salt, calcium chloride, lactic acid, natural flavors, sodium benzoate, turmeric), water, enriched wheat flour (flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), soybean oil, rice, flour, salt, wheat flour, bleached wheat flour. Contains 2% or less of the following: caramel color, dehydrated onions, dextrose, dill weed, egg white powder, garlic powder, guar gum, leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda), methylcellulose, modified corn and tapioca starch, paprika extract (color), spice, sugar, xanthan gum, yeast extract, yeast, yellow corn flour

There are 7 servings in the Crispy Dill Pickles, with each serving being 7 pieces. Each serving contains the following: 190 calories, 9g of fat, 0mg of cholesterol, 490mg of sodium, 19g of carbohydrates, 6g of protein. They have 2% the daily value of Vitamin A, 2% daily value of calcium, and 4% the daily value of iron.

These were amazing! Especially if you plate them out with several different sides; we found that ranch and blue cheese go very well with the Crispy Dill Pickles, but I am sure there are other sauces as well. We used these as a side dish for dinner, but I could have easily brought them to any occasion or event. Again, they had a very wholesome and rich flavor. I think these are pretty unique and most guests would appreciate having something different to try at a party. I definitely recommend checking out Farm Rich's new line of snacks.. they are scrumptious and I can't wait to see what they come out with next!

Interested in learning more about Farm Rich Snacks and their products? Check out the links below:

One lucky reader will win two coupons for free Farm Rich Snacks, courtesy of Farm Rich! 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!!

GoodBelly Probiotics - The 12 Day Challenge and More!

GoodBelly manufactures probiotic drinks and shots that can help you maintain a healthy digestive system, which complements immunity. Probiotics are bacteria (small, living organisms) that are considered beneficial to body; they inhabit the small intestine and directly influence the body's natural balance. Probiotics have been implemented in preventing indigestion, gas, cramps, diarrhea, UTIs, certain types of cancer, and irritable bowl syndrome. GoodBelly uses a specific strain of probiotics known as  Lactobacillus plantarum 299v (LP299V® for short). According to GoodBelly:

"LP299V®, the probiotic in GoodBelly, is a well-studied probiotic originally used by Swedish gastroenterologists to help their patients recover more quickly from surgery. In addition to the research trials suggesting its efficacy, it has been used by millions of people of all ages for over 15 years with no adverse side effects beyond these occasional 'adjustment' symptoms."

It is important to consider the specific strain of bacteria when choosing probiotiocs -- GoodBelly assures its customers that LP299V is a strain that can bypass the acidity of the stomach in order to exert its beneficial effects on the small intestine.  

GoodBelly is vegan, dairy-free, and soy-free, and is safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. It is also safe for children. Being that GoodBelly is safe for so many different food allergies, I think that it is a good alternative to other natural drinks, if you are looking for the digestive system boost as well. GoodBelly can be consumed in any quantity at any time of day -- unlike other supplements that have a suggested dose, you can't have too much of GoodBelly. You can drink it as if it were juice, or you can just have a little once or twice a really is completely up to you! The more probiotics, the better for your system.  

Here are some of the other products that GoodBelly offers which were not highlighted in this review:
  • Family Sized Quart - Carrot Ginger
  • Family Sized Quart - Pomegranate Blackberry
  • Family Sized Quart - Blueberry Acai
  • Family Sized Quart - Pink Grapefruit
  • Family Sized Quart - Coconut Water
  • Family Sized Quart - Tropical Green
  • Family Sized Quart - Tropical Orange
  • Organic BigShot50 (Super-charged with 50 billion live and active probiotic cultures per serving at time of manufacture)
  • GoodBelly+ - Mango
  • GoodBelly+ - Pomegranate Blackberry
  • Gluten Free Carrot Ginger
  • Gluten Free Coconut Water
  • Gluten Free Tropical Orange
  • Gluten Free Pink Grapefruit

I reached out to GoodBelly several months back (I have been terrible about completing my reviews due to school and my state of craziness, but I'm taking this vacation to get back on board) about trying their 12 Day Challenge, which I had heard many good things about. What's the 12 Day Challenge? It's a way to find out how GoodBelly can benefit your digestive system and diet in general. I received vouchers redeemable for free products, but the 12 Day Challenge typically gives customers discounted coupons towards a 12-day supply of GoodBelly. The process is simple! Just sign up, receive the coupons by email, ask questions if you need to throughout the 12 days, report back, and receive another coupon on the 12th day. This is a great way to "test the waters" -- you can try any variety of GoodBelly products to see how your body responds and how you enjoy the flavors. The best part? If you don't love it (and you will), you can get your money refunded within two months of your purchase. You have nothing to lose! I think that everyone should email GoodBelly and take them up on this wonderful offer. I know that I often stray away from investing in products that I'm not sure I will end up liking, and I think this is a process many companies could really benefit from. 
First of all, I had an extremely hard time selecting my twelve day supply. I actually received enough vouchers for more than a twelve day supply, so I was also able to share GoodBelly with my boyfriend, who only had good things to say as well. We ended up selecting the GoodBelly+ Blueberry Acai and Strawberry, the GoodBelly StraightShot, and the Mango and Cranberry Watermelon Family-Sized Quarts. We were so pleased that GoodBelly was this generous. They offer such a great array of flavors, so make sure to check different stores if you decide to purchase their products, because one store probably will not carry the full supply. 

GoodBelly Family-Sized Quart Drinks

These drinks contain 20 billion probiotic cultures per 8oz. serving, with a total of 4 servings per quart. They come in the following flavors: Blueberry Acai, Cranberry Watermelon, Mango, Pomegranate Blackberry, Tropical Green, Tropical Orange, Pink Grapefruit, Carrot Ginger and Probiotic-Infused Coconut Water. They are USDA certified organic (except the gluten-free options). GoodBelly recommends the Family-Sized Quart Drinks for juice lovers who are looking for that added boost to their digestive system. They suggest at least an 8oz. serving per day.


This product comes in a 4-pack and also contains 20 billion probiotic Colony Forming Units (CFUs) per 2.7 oz serving, in addition to a daily multivitamin (9 essentials!) with calcium. These little drinks come in a variety of four flavors: Blueberry Acai, Pomegranate Blackberry, Mango, and Strawberry. GoodBelly recommends them for people who aren't huge juice-drinkers, or for people that need extra vitamins, especially those who don't like to take pills. These are perfect for me, not because I don't like juice, but because this is the tastiest vitamin I've ever had!

GoodBelly Straightshot

 The Straightshot is a dairy-free, lightly flavored oatmilk probiotic drink. It also contains 20 billion probiotic cultures per serving, with no additional sugar. This product comes in a four-pack and also is organic, as well as dairy and soy-free. It is only 30 calories per serving, and comes in a four-pack. GoodBelly suggests consuming one 2.7 oz. shot per day. Straightshot is great for anyone that likes the simplistic, no-sugar added side of things.

I contacted GoodBelly not only because I had heard good things about their company, but also because my digestive system has always been a little "off", without me going into unnecessary detail. I may have a bit of an intolerance to certain foods that I just won't admit to myself, namely coffee and other things that are very acidic. I often find myself with a stomachache if I eat too many processed or fast foods, but unfortunately my schedule has almost forced me to do so in the past few months. We do cook healthy occasionally, but sometimes when I am in the midst of a big exam, it is just easier to order a pizza and wings. I have been paying for this by having to take Tums; my stomach just becomes very unsettled and I often get nauseous. I feel a lot better and less bloated when I eat a larger portion of fruits and vegetables. However, since I knew my diet would be suffering, I thought it would be great to test GoodBelly -- maybe this is what I needed to finally put myself in balance.

Just as I was in the middle of my 12-day Challenge, we touched on the topic of certain bacteria and so-called "normal flora" occupying our stomach and small intestine during one of my classes. I learned about some pretty profound studies linking a lack of "good" bacteria in the stomach and other digestive organs (from too many antibiotics, illness, etc) to conditions such as obesity and colon cancer. There were studies done on rats that removed much of this good bacteria, causing the rats to become morbidly obese. Around this time of year, I know that people get sick often and are taking too many antibiotics; we are killing off a lot of these bacteria that our system needs. It give me a whole new respect for the importance of maintaining an adequate flora. Probiotics are an important addition for so many reasons!

I was really pleased with the results of my 12-day challenge. I started myself off with the Mango and the Cranberry Watermelon Quarts. The flavors were eamazing! I expected it to taste "overly healthy", or to somehow be able to taste the probiotics, but I was wrong. These drinks both tasted like a thick, smoothie-textured juice; if I hadn't been sharing with my boyfriend, I would have probably had the whole carton in two days. I would drink these on their own, or put them in a base for a smoothie with cut-up fruit (or vegetables) and some ice. I actually really preferred GoodBelly's Quart-Sized drinks to many of the major, sugar-filled drink blends that are out on the market right now. These will definitely be an addition to my apartment in the future. It is nice to know that you are getting such a health boost from something that tastes so good...there is no reason to compromise anything with GoodBelly!

I was a little more wary of the Straightshot, though I chose it for variety purposes. I wanted to try to give each product a solid review, and to see which I would like to purchase the most in the future. I thought the Straightshot would be exactly what the name implied -- something that I take as a shot just to get it down. Not the case! I thought the flavor of the Straightshot was very unique, and I actually found myself wanting more when it was gone. The same thing went for the GoodBelly+ Blueberry Acai and Strawberry flavors. These quick little drinks were great, because they also provided me with the vitamins that I am desperately lacking. I think the Strawberry was my favorite, but it was very close. I can't find anything bad to say about ANY of the GoodBelly products that I would tried. They have the flavor down, the benefits, and even the packaging! The tops of the GoodBelly+ containers are cute smiley faces, which would probably encourage your children to drink them if you packed one in their lunchbox. On a side note, remember to shake your GoodBelly products so you don't end up with "grit" at the bottom.

My stomach felt great after taking the 12-day Challenge -- I think that I will make this into a year long challenge instead. I know that GoodBelly now has a permanent place in my fridge, and it is a product that I would have never thought would taste so good or have such an effect on my stomachaches and cramps. I'm sure that it will only get better over time. Every one is different in terms of digestive health, but I really feel that this is a product that is worth checking out if you have any of the symptoms that I listed above, or if you just want a cup of something new and flavorful for lunch.

If you're interested in purchasing GoodBelly, they have a store locator on their website. Some of the major retailers that sell their products include: Hannaford, Wegman's, Whole Foods, Mother Earth Market, The Fresh Market, Kroger, Earth Fare Natural Foods, Chamberlins, etc. GoodBelly is available nationwide, and usually can be found near the yogurt or dairy section, despite not containing dairy. 

Interested in learning more about Good Belly and their products? Check out the links below: