April 30, 2013

Nectresse Sugar Review

Nectresse Sugar 
By Splenda

I received a boss of Nectresse by Splenda in my SugarnSpice Voxbox from Influenster. I've never been a huge fan of "fake" sugar packets so I was a bit biased when I got this. First off I wasn't sure what monk fruit was and why it is supposed to be better than regular sugar so I looked it up!

So the story goes that its named after Buddhist monks who cultivated it nearly 800 years ago. Well then why are we just hearing about it now? Well I guess because its been mainly grown in family orchards, who seem to be sharing the greatness now. It has been tested by the FDA and is affirmed that it is safe - or Generally Recognized as Safe. The monk fruit are GMO free, use sustainable farming practices, and are fair trade.

All this is awesome but really how does it taste and is it better than regular sugar? I really wanted to be able to try and make something with this, but it became to much of a hassle to tear open all the little packs to get 1-2 cups of the sugar I'd need. I really wish I had been able to try out one that was more for baking. I can say that there is a difference in appearance when it comes to the Nectresse and sugar. The Nectresse sugar is darker and has a caramel color to it. The taste, well there was a bit of an after taste though not too unpleasant. I think it is a good alternative to regular sugar, so its definitely a sugar alternative you should try out.

I am going to by a box of the loose sugar to try out baking some breads with. I have yet to find them in stores here by my home, but will be taking a longer trip to Walmart to see if they carry it. So look out for another post of mine showing how it works for bread, cookies, and even cake!

Blueberry Bread With Nectresse
So I decided that the best way to try out this sugar was in my favorite recipe - Blueberry Bread! I love making blueberry bread for my family and myself, but was a little unsure if it would come out the same. I used my usual recipe:

Blueberry Loaf:

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

I still couldn't find a box of the nectresse where it had it not in packages but all loose. I set off to opening up all the packages and even got the kids to help me out. We got all the 1 cup of nectresse needed and toss it in and put the loaf to cook. It was absolutely great - no grittiness, no weird aftertaste. The only thing was that it had a deeper almost smoky type flavor to it. Hard to describe but it wasn't as sweet as regular sugar, but had more depth to it. Overall it worked great and I definitely will be using it more for when I cook and for drinks!

Disclaimer: I received this product for the sole purpose of trying it out. I was under no obligation to do a review, but all opinions are my own. No further compensation was given or received.

April 29, 2013

Woolite Detergent Review

So did you know that Woolite isn't just for your delicates anymore? Yup, they're for your everyday clothing as well. I received some samples from Crowdtap and Woolite to test out Woolite for darks. I also had plenty to share with my friends and family so they too could see how great Woolite is.

The samples I received were for Woolite Darks. It has a great clean smell and leaves your clothes looking great. No fading or nothing for your dark clothes - tees, jeans, even undies! Woolite helps you keep your dark clothes dark and your whites looking nice and bright. I hadn't used Woolite before but now it has become a staple for our home. I try to make sure there is at least 2 bottles just for my families jeans because we all know how it is to find a great pair of jeans. In my opinion it really does help to keep everything darker and looking new. The boys are really rough on their jeans and washing with Woolite helps my pocket because it means less money having to be spent on clothes.

 There is also Woolite COMPLETE which gives all your clothes the right balance of cleaning and caring. It doesn't contain harsh ingredients, so it won't cause stretching, shrinking or fading. With Woolite COMPLETE, you can keep all your clothes looking like new! This isn't as specific as the Woolite for darks, although this also can be used to clean your jeans, just doesn't have that extra oomph. This too has a great clean smell with I've found with all the different Woolites. If you are not a big fan of heavy perfumes then Woolite is a great brand to get because they have very light scents.

 Woolite Delicates is just for that...your delicates! It has a unique formula that won't cause shape loss, fiber damage or pilling because it does not contain harsh ingredients like bleach, phosphates or enzymes. You can follow this link HERE to read more about Woolite Detergents. I love using Woolite Delicates and this was really the only detergent that I used for my -- unmentionables. Buying undergarments can become really expensive so you need a great detergent that will keep them looking great for as long as you can.

Disclaimer: I received 10 samples from Crowdtap and Woolite to share and review. All opinions are my own and no compensation was received. 

April 23, 2013

Book Review: The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

The Pledge (The Pledge, #1)



                               The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

Synopsis: In the violent country of Ludania, the language you speak determines what class you are, and there are harsh punishments if you forget your place—looking a member of a higher class in the eye can result in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina (Charlie for short) can understand all languages, a dangerous ability she’s been hiding her whole life. Her only place of release is the drug-filled underground club scene, where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. There, she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy who speaks a language she’s never heard, and her secret is almost exposed. Through a series of violent upheavals, it becomes clear that Charlie herself is the key to forcing out the oppressive power structure of her kingdom.

My Review:
In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she's spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.

So I really liked Charlie and her loyalty to her family and friends. How she was so willing to give her life for them was great. I have to say the character though were a little flat. You kind of could tell what was going to happen before it did. I knew that Max would end up being royalty and that the leader of the rebels would be his brother. It was still an okay read and it certainly helped to pass the time. I have never read and of Kimberly Derting's books so there was no opinion of her before hand. It grabbed my attention enough to wonder what will happen next, but not enough to run out immediately to buy it.

In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she's spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.

I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

April 17, 2013

Review: Garnier Fructis Hydra Recharge Trio

The horror - its a flat gross mess!

I love Garnier Fructis Products whether its shampoo, conditioner, or any hair styling product. I know it'll be a good quality product because I have experience using Garnier Fructis. So I was really excited to get this BzzCampaign. I have to say I kind of have a thing for hair care products and hair styling products. I think because I'm always searching for that next big thing that I'm never really satisfied. Well With Garnier Fructis' new Hydra Charge Shampoo, Conditioner, and ----, I knew my hair was going to look great. I went ahead and skipped my regular hair products and washed my hair with this set. I normally wash my hair every other day, depending on how the weather is. 

Hair Myth #1: You have to wash your hair every day.
This is so not true, even for those of you who have oily hair. Washing strips the natural oils from your hair so its good to go at day without washing. If you have oily hair you can use a dry shampoo, baby powder, and even corn starch to help pull out some of that oil and leave your hair looking fresh.

First off the smell of the shampoo, conditioner and the 1 minute treatment is wonderful. The shampoo and conditioner have a nice sweet fruity smell, while the treatment has a lighter fruity scent.

The shampoo has some really great things going on with its encapsulated beads of superfruits goji berry, passion fruit and kiwi. Yup tiny little blue specks of wonderfulness for your hair! These make your hair feel silkier and smoother for up to 2 days - which is perfect for me as I wash every other day. The shampoo is a little loose, but lathers up really nicely. Start at the roots and work your way down to ensure every strand of hair is covered.

Hair Myth #2: Washing your hair with hot water is better.
This is a toss up, washing your hair with hot water does open up the pores allowing the good stuff into the hair shaft. It also strips your hair of those natural oils, it can leave it overly porous making it dry and brittle, and it causes frizz! Try a combination of hot and cold like me! Hot in the beginning to open up the pores, add the shampoo/conditioner, etc and then turn the cold water up and rinse it. The cold water helps to close the pores up keeping in all that good stuff and seals the moisture in. Although it can flatten your hair if you have thin hair.

Next up was the conditioner and it smells much like the shampoo. It obviously was thicker and creamier than the shampoo. In order to not have greasy hair remember to not rub your conditioner in. I always leave it in a bit, for a couple of minutes before I wash it out with cold water. It is made with the same things as the shampoo - goji berry, passion fruit, and kiwi but has a stronger smell than the shampoo. No pretty little blue beads in the conditioner but it still did a fantastic job!

You can either use the regular conditioner or the 1 minute Moisture-Plenish Treatment. I can say now that it was a little hard to just leave it on a minute. I normally leave my conditioners on for at least 3-5 minutes so that was a bit of a change and I'm a creature of habit. The treatment has a lighter scent than both the shampoo and conditioner. It is just as creamy as the conditioner and includes the same ingredients as the other two. I can't really say what the difference was between the regular conditioner and the 1 minute treatment other than the time. I found it worked just like the conditioner and left my hair feeling silky smooth, just like the conditioner.

Disclaimer: I received these three products for the sole purpose of reviewing them from BzzAgent. All opinions are my own and no compensation was given. #GotItFree

April 11, 2013

Review: L'Oreal BB Cream

L'Oreal BB Cream

I'd tried a few BB and CC creams so its a bit harder to really sway me in any direction. So when I received L'Oreals' BB Cream I already had a checklist in my mind on what it needed to do.  I expected full coverage but have it be light-weight so I don't feel like its caked on. So how did L'Oreals' BB Cream do - wonderfully. There were some differences obviously with the main one being the Beautifying Beads; which are encapsulated pigments infused in an ultra-light lotion with antioxidants Vitamins C & E. This mullti-tasking skin beautifier delivers 4 beautifying actions in 1: hydrates, corrects, evens and perfects. Instantly transforms to your perfect shade for a flawless, bare skin finish. 

It's so white?!

Wait does it really transform to my perfect shade? I wasn't so sure when I first started putting it on my face. It was so white and I was worried that yet again I had chosen the wrong color for my skintone. As you can see in the photo to the right - after I started to really work it in it started to change. It isn't so white on the left side but still a major difference in color.  I would recommend using a beauty sponge to apply rather than a brush because with the brush it went on a little too heavy and I had to work harder for it to blend in. Using a beauty sponge it did go on super easy and did work into my skin really well. It wasn't at all oily and it really was completely lightweight. This made for no clogged pores which for me is necessary because I tend to have larger pores.

As you can see to the left it really did transform and it pretty much looked like my skintone. It was a bit lighter, but not too noticeable. You know like those women who choose the wrong color and it leaves their skin completely white like a ghost. There are four colors to help you not do that - fair, light, medium, and deep. The price is pretty affordable so how can you not want to go out and try it? I really liked it and thought it did a great job in covering my skins imperfections. There were some problem areas that I needed to still use a concealer on. Overall it would be a great addition to your skincare arsenal.

Disclaimer: I received this product for the sole purpose of trying it out and reviewing it. No compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

Olay Fresh Effects

Olay Fresh Effects
S'Wipe Out! Refreshing Make-Up Removal

While perusing CVS I saw those new Olay face products that are part of the Fresh Effects line. They run around $8-$12 dollars for the various products. I love face wipes because they are just super convenient to have around. So you can imagine my excitement when they were $3.99 each instead of the $8.29 reg price! I ended up buying 4 of them because that's all that was left. Yup I cleared the shelf, but they were restocked the next day so don't be so mad.

Anyway, the wipes are packaged much like most face wipes. I've kind of got a love hate relationship with this kind of packaging. I like the packaging as its pretty easy to open and throw into a bag. I hate the packaging because sometimes the top loses its stickiness. When that happens you basically have a package of napkins because they're useless. Now the wipes are a good size and work really well. They have a sweet clean smell to them and they're really moist.

So how do they stand up to a face full of make-up? Well I had mixed results. It took off my cream, power, and eyeshadow quickly and easily. I did have to wipe a few times though, but after two swipes it was completely off. Now for the eyeliner and mascara - well it didn't take it off much at all. I had to go over it with my Almay remover pads to get it all off. It still worked really well and left my skin feeling good afterwards. That's thanks to the vitamin E it has in it. I think for $8.79 its an expensive buy, so if you see it on sale I'd pick it up. I don't think I'd buy it at retail price because it wasn't too different from other face wipes.

Disclaimer:  No compensation was given and all opinions are my own.

April 10, 2013

Almay Intense I-Color Eyeshadow Review & Giveaway

Smoky-I Kit For Browns

Sorry for the horrible pics this time around, it was like at 1am and I got the mood to "play". So I grabbed my Almay smoky-i kit for brown eyes. I know it says made for brown eyes, but I know it would look awesome with other colored eyes as well. The colors are super pigmented and blend really well. Even better when you can actually see and you aren't applying make-up in low light, which is why my eye make-up looks so messy. There are three colors that come in the kit: brown, pinkish - brown, and a cream color. The pinkish - brown color kind of through me off because it didn't seem to really go well with the other two colors. In the end I think if I blended a bit better it would have been a smoother transition. I know you guys can probably do a better job at it, I'd love to see what you guys do with it. So because I love you guys I'm giving away a kit (for brown eyes) to one lucky person. Oh but that's not all! I've got a eye pencil to go along with it - in black or brown (winners choice). Super easy to enter and will run from today 4/10 till 4/19, so enter today!

**I'll add better pics soon, it was a pretty gloomy day today and I couldn't get any good shots. 

Disclaimer: I purchased the product shown in this review, and no compensation was received. All opinions are my own. :)

April 9, 2013

Garnier Fructis

Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Miracle Dry Oil

I love hair care products, they're one of the things that are in abundance in my home. I have naturally curly hair so I'm always getting a straight iron out and damaging my hair. I do use heat styling products, but lets be honest every time you blow dry, flat iron, curl your hair you damage it. Thankfully you can repair the damage you do to your hair, and a great product to use is Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Dry Oil.

Now Garnier Fructis' Dry Oil has three essential oils - avocado, shea, and olive. So what are the benefits to these oils, especially when it comes to your hair?

 Avocado is a rich heavy oil that deeply penetrates and is full of vitamins A, E, and D, lecithin, and potassium.Avocado oil is known to have natural sunscreen properties that can protect the hair and scalp from harmful UVA and UVB rays. It's also  quite effective in getting rid of dandruff. Shea butter oil also helps to prohibit dandruff as it contains antifungal and antibacterial properties. Shea butter oil is also used to condition, soften and strengthen your hair. Last olive oil, which also combats dandruff, split ends, frizz, and leaves your hair shinier and brighter.

Dandruff is something I deal with and during the summer my scalp gets so dried out and icky that its really embarrassing. I have used many different products and they've weighed down my hair and left it greasy and dirty looking. The picture above shows my hair before I added Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Dry Oil, as you can see it was a little frizzy and dried out. This was after I allowed it to air dry. All I did to it was brush it every few minutes to try and keep it from curling too much.

That's one great feature of Garnier Fructis' Dry Oil, you can use it on wet or dry hair! So after my hair was completely dry I took a tiny bit, about dime size at first, and started working it through my hair. It absorbed really quickly and didn't even leave my hands greasy. Now I ended up doing three dime size to cover my hair. Granted I do have long hair so depending on the length and thickness of your hair, the amount will vary. It left my hair silky smooth, it was shinier, and well it did end up curling it a bit, but I was okay with that. Overall the results of my hair were fantastic. The biggest thing for me was the fact that there was no greasiness leaving my hair light and not weighed down with "grease".

Now the other great thing about Garnier Fructis' Triple Nutrition Dry Oil is that you can use it on your skin
and face as well!  I didn't use it on my skin as it tends to be oily as it is. I had already used lotion so had to get an assistant. My niece has very dry skin and even with lotion she ends up an ashy mess. I had her try it out and she said, " This smells good and makes my skin really soft." I was very happy with the results, and even happier when I she didn't have to reapply it until later in the day. The moisture and smoothness lasted for hours and that was after hrs of play in the sun and grass.

 Did you know?
Avocado oil is easily absorbed into deep tissue, and with its wonderful emollient properties help to relieve the dryness and itching of psoriasis and eczema. It is very useful when treating sun or climate damaged skin that is dehydrated and undernourished as it is said to help with regenerating the skin and softening the tissue. Olive Oil helps clears pores without clogging them, penetrating for a deep clean. Like avocado oil it also works wonders for those with skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. It has an abundance of antioxidants, as well as vitamin A and vitamin E.
Shea Oil smooths out dry skin patches in particularly dry areas such as elbows, knees and heels. It helps to even out and clarify uneven skin tone. Shea helps restore your skin's natural elasticity, helping to prevent premature skin aging. Want smoother legs after shaving? Throw some of Garnier Fructis' Dry Oil on them and look at the healthy, shiny, smooth results!

Overall I really liked thisproduct and I my end up trying it on my face after all. I'm just a little worried that with my already oily skin, this may interrupt the balancing act I already deal with. On my hair it was absolutely wonderful, and on my skin - as well as my niece's, it worked wonders. The great thing is that its only about $5.99 a bottle and there are always coupons for Garnier Fructis products in the papers and online. So you'll definitely be able to get more than one bottle.

Disclaimer: I received this product with the sole purpose of trying it out. #IGotItFree from Bzzagent and received no further compensation. All opinions are my own and I really liked this product.

April 6, 2013

Dickinson's Witch Hazel Face Wipes

Dickinson's Face Wipes
Witch Hazel

Also included in my Influenster SugarnSpice Voxbox were some Witch Hazel towelettes by Dickinson's. I've heard a lot about witch hazel, but never actually tried it. So what better time to try them out than the present.

When I first saw the box I thought it was a waste because I was expecting a pouch of towelettes to be inside. What I found instead were individually wrapped towelettes, which I found extremely appealing. Because they're individually wrapped you can take them along with you where ever you go. Convenient, right?

There are twenty wipes in each box so it won't really last the whole month but it'll almost get you there. They are pretty affordable at about $5.92 a box.

Now the little packets are definitely easy to open and the towelette itself is really big. It is bigger than my hand and is super moist. It was obviously simple to use and cleaned up all the oily grossness from my skin. My skin felt super smooth afterwards and not oily! I have mostly oily skin so this was huge for me. There is one major issue for me though, and I know others have commented on it as well -- the smell. It's a really weird smell just a bit like - pardon me - urine. Once you do get over the smell though, you'll love the results.

Witch hazel is naturally effective herbal extract with exceptional cleansing properties unlike any face care product you've ever used. It conditions, tones and refreshes your skin while protecting it's essential moisture balance. What's more, it is a natural botanical that helps sensitive skin fight blemishes without over drying. It's apparently some awesome stuff!

Some of the Benefits of Witch Hazel:
  • Refines your pores (awesome right?)
  • Removes & controls oil (who doesn't need this?)
  • Soothes irritation (Great for those Texas summers)
  • Locks in moisture (After getting the oily dirty grossness out!)
If you've never tried Witch Hazel in your facial products I'd definitely start out with DICKINSON'S Witch Hazel Towelettes. At an affordable price you can afford to try them out, and I'm sure you'll like them as much as I do.


Sorry for the bad video quality, this is with a webcam and my light is right above me on the shelf so I kind of get washed out a bit, but I think its still good enough.

Disclaimer: I received this product for the sole purpose of trying it out. I was under no obligation to write a review and all opinions are my own. No further compensation was given or received.

Mini Polish Giveaway

Polish Set Giveaway:

Simple giveaway for you guys for some great polish sets. I have used all these polishes and really love them. There will be three lucky winners so good luck ladies!

 1st Prize: Sally Hansen Crackle Polish

2nd Prize: Mariah Carey Mini Polish Set by OPI

3rd Prize: WNW Ombre Mini Polish Set (Review Here)


 These sets can be bought either online or in stores - Target, Ross, Walmart, and Family Dollar. They're all pretty affordable ranging from $3.50 to $10.00! Of course you could always win a set for yourself by entering into the rafflecopter below.