Sunday, October 19, 2014

Bella Naturals Firming Cellulite Cream Review



About a month ago, Bella Naturals sent me a jar of their Firming Cellulite Cream to try.  They claim that this product will "smooth those lumpy bumpy cottage cheese thighs and firm that jiggly butt!"  Quite an interesting claim that I, for one, did not want to pass up!  Ironically, two different manufacturers sent me cellulite cream for review at the same time, so I used each on a different thigh to compare the results.  This was officially my "Left Thigh Cream".

Before even receiving the cream, I received an e-mail from the manufacturer with some hints and tips on how to use the product once I receive it.  I appreciated that they reached out like this and was already impressed with my experience.

Sticky and gooey - after 3 weeks, there was barely any left.
Upon first opening the product, I was surprised by a somewhat minty glue/paint scent.  Bella Naturals informs users that there might be a "menthol" type fragrance, which is the peppermint left extract and peppermint oil, used to reduce inflammation.

Much like the smell, the product also felt like glue.  It was gooey and slimy.  After application, it didn't seem to really soak into the skin - rather sit on top and leave a sticky residue.  I once tried to continue rubbing the product into my skin to see if it just took more "elbow grease" to make it absorb, but the product ended up drying and peeling off, leaving chunks of what looked like dried glue all over my legs.

Once dried, the product does show immediate (although I am sure temporary) results.  My thigh looked sleek and silky.  After three weeks of use, my skin definitely felt softer and smoother, but I was under the impression that this product was basically for immediate results and probably didn't do much long term.  However, I then compared at my before & after photos...

Before & After - look at the disappearance of the lumps and bumps!
I can't be sure of it's actual effects on my cellulite, but my gosh it sure looks like it helped!  In the after photo, my skin looks so much smoother and the lumps towards the front of my leg have almost disappeared!  (These photos also made it apparent to me that I need more sun!)

After 3 weeks of application, once per day, on only 1 thigh, I used up my entire jar.  Therefore, I would suspect a jar to last less than a week of the recommended, twice daily application.  At $20/jar, this could be quite costly.  I personally don't plan on re-purchasing any additional product.

(I received the product mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.)

Body Merry Cellulite Defense Gel-Cream Review



I was lucky enough to be selected by Body Merry to try out their Cellulite Defense Gel-Cream with Caffeine and Retinol for free!  Body Merry claims that this cream will "visibly reduce the appearance of unwanted bumps and lumps and [give you] skin that feels and looks tighter, smoother and younger!" Obviously I was skeptical, but I don't think many women would turn down the chance at getting those results!   Ironically, two different manufacturers sent me cellulite cream for review at the same time, so I used each on a different thigh to compare the results.  This was officially my "Right Thigh Cream".

Very hydrating, not greasy at all!

When I first opened the product, a strong minty smell overwhelmed me - quite similar to Vicks vapor rub.  The manufacturer describes this as a 100% natural mint - green tea - lime fragrance.  The scent didn't bother me, but it was something that I could see others having issue with.  As a bonus, I liked to tell myself that it was a great way to clear my sinuses every morning.

It's very difficult to describe the consistency of this product, and I feel "gel-cream" really does it the best.  It's not at all greasy and leaves absolutely no residue behind - everything absorbs into your skin almost immediately, leaving your skin feeling soft and hydrated.

Then, the magic begins!  I began feeling my leg get goosebumps because of it's cooling effects.  Then, without warning, the product began heating up - leaving my thigh tingly all over.  A word of caution - the first time I tried this product, I might have applied it carelessly and gotten it on some more "sensitive skin" areas.  It BURNS on sensitive skin.  I think anyone who has ever used IcyHot on an more sensitive area knows exactly what I am talking about!  Therefore, be very cautious about where the product is applied!

Then, after 3 weeks of application...

Before (Please, ignore the cat toy!) & After
My skin definitely felt noticeably softer and smoother!  I can't be sure of it's actual effects on my cellulite, because I had to pose my leg differently in the Before & After photos.  It sure looks like it helped, but who knows.  (It also made it apparent to me that I need more sun!)

After 3 weeks of application, once per day, on only 1 thigh, I have about 1/4 of the jar left.  Therefore, I would suspect a jar to last about 1 week of the recommended, twice daily application.  At $20/jar, this could be quite costly.  I personally don't plan on re-purchasing any additional product once this jar runs out.

The amazing thing is, Body Merry offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee - if you don't like the results you get, just contact them and they will give you all of your money back - you don't even need to return the product!  With that kind of customer service, there's no reason not to try this for yourself!

(I received the product mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.)

Friday, September 5, 2014

My "3 Day" Suja Essentials Juice Cleanse

Awhile back, I came across a delicious looking juice cleanse program over at Suja Essentials- I searched reviews and saw great feedback!  Although a little pricey, Suja Essentials takes all of the hassle out of juicing with their cold-pressed, organic juices.  They're packed full of healthy foods and natural nutrients.  I may love food, but this program looked like the perfect thing I would need to successfully do a juice cleanse.

The way it works is you have 6 juices that contain all of the vital nutrients you'll need throughout your day.  You drink 1 juice every 2 hours, ending the night with a yummy, creamy "dessert" juice.  This schedule worked perfectly for me, as I would be stuck at work the next few days and could always just have a juice on my desk and sip at my leisure.

I headed over to Whole Foods to pick up everything I'd need for a 3 day cleanse - plus, I also picked up their Master Cleanse juices, because it sounded delicious and I figured - if there was a chance I didn't like one of the juices, I could just sip on a Master Cleanse, instead!

Now, these juices aren't cheap.  At $9 a bottle, 7 bottles a day, that's almost $200 just to drink liquids for 3 days. Thankfully Whole Foods offers by-the-case pricing, so I did get a tad bit of a discount.  I went home and stocked my fridge and anxiously awaited the next morning!

My entire fridge shelf full of juices - so pretty!
Before starting the juices each day, Suja recommends sipping a glass of water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.  This helps alkalize your body and kick starts it into the cleansing process.  Once you start to feel hunger, it's onto Juice #1!  I read negative comments about this part, but I am accustomed to drinking apple cider vinegar in my water, so this isn't a problem at all for me.  Some other cleansers suggested just taking the tablespoon of apple cider vinegar as a "shot" to get it over with, but I preferred to sip as I got ready for work.  So far, so good.

Day #1, 10:30 am.  Juice #1: Glow

 
After the apple cider vinegar water, I don't start to feel hunger until around 10:30 am.  I break open my first juice, Glow.  It is made from 2 apples, 6 celery stalks, 1/2 cucumber, a handful of spinach, 3 collard leaves, 3 kale leaves, and a sprig of mint.  According to Suja, it is "perfect to start your day with."  Blegh.  It tastes like liquid celery.  I hate celery.  I decide that maybe I can substitute in another juice of my liking instead this one, and put this one back into the fridge.  Onto Juice #2...

Day #1, 11:00 am.  Juice #2: Fuel

This is what I am talking about!  Fuel is delicious.  Suja claims this is a "light, refreshing orange and pineapple blend" - I'd have to disagree and call it an overpowering carrot blend, but not undrinkable in the least.  It has 9 carrots, 1 orange, 1 apple, 1 slice of pineapple, 1/2 of a lemon, and an inch of turmeric.  If all of the juices taste like this, I could cleanse for weeks!  After the initial disappointment, I am back on track and re-excited for this cleanse!  Bring on Juice #3!

Day #1, 1:00 pm.  Juice #3: Purify

Purify is remarkably similar to Fuel, and a glance at the ingredients explains why - 7 carrots, 1 apple, 2 celery stalks, 1/4 of a cucumber, 1/2 of a beet, 1/2 of a lemon.  Lots of shared ingredients, but wow does that 1/2 of a beet really change the overall flavor.  Less fruits so it wasn't as sweet, but thankfully, I love beets and didn't mind drinking this drink, either.  At this point, I am feeling quite full of liquid and just take occasional sips.  Before I know it, it's already time for my next drink and I haven't even finished this one!  I decide to stretch it out a little, in case there's another juice in my future that doesn't appeal to me, and continue sipping on Purify for another hour.

Day #1, 4:00 pm.  Juice #4: Fiji

Oh, gross.  I am so glad I waited to open up this juice.  It's another blended celery drink.  They claim it contains 2 apples, 6 celery stalks, ½ of a cucumber, a handful of spinach, 3 collard greens, 3 kale leaves, a squeeze of lemon and a hint of ginger, but I am pretty sure it's just pure celery blended together.  Since I got a late start on my day, I decide to put this one back, as well, and go straight into the next...

Day #1, 4:30 pm.  Juice #5: Green Supreme

I was SO excited for this drink.  5 apples, a bunch of kale and 1/2 a lemon.  Basically apple juice with some yummy greens added in!  .... not sure what went wrong but this was just as bad as the celery drinks.  I took a big gulp and had to quickly choke it down before I almost gagged it back up.  You're supposed to finish your last drink at least 3 hours before bedtime to ensure proper digestion, which means I have to finish one more juice within the next 2 1/2 hours.  I might not be getting my proper daily nutrition for the day, but I decide to just drink the final juice of the night and plan on going back to Whole Foods the next day to get replacement drinks for the green ones - plus I still have the Master Cleanses waiting for me at home!  Onto my "dessert"!

Day #1, 4:30 pm.  Juice #6: Vanilla Cloud

From my prior research and reviews that I read, this was the drink I was waiting for all day.  The yummy, sweet dessert drink - the reward for a full day of cleansing.  1/2 a coconut’s meat, a spoonful of honey, 12 almonds, a pinch of cinnamon, a pinch of vanilla and a pinch nutmeg.  All delicious ingredients, nothing could go wrong with this drink, right?  Wrong.. oh, so wrong.  It's chunky.  You can't drink it, or you will choke on the bits of coconut and almond floating around.  You have to kind of chew it, which is difficult because it's a liquid.  And, for all of the sweet ingredients they use, it's not really that sweet.  I'm not a fan of coconut water, and that's really what this reminded me of.  Chewy, coconut water.  At this point, I am devastated.  Out of the 6 juices, I am only able to keep down 2.  There's no way I can find replacements for the other 4 drinks and continue on for another 2 days worth of a cleanse.

Day #1, 5:30 pm.  Bonus Juice: Master Cleanse

When I get home, I am starving.  I didn't even drink half of the juices that I was supposed to and my stomach needs nourishment.  I decide to give the Master Cleanse a try.  Lemon, Cayenne, and Maple Syrup.  Like a sweet, yet spicy lemonade.  I don't mind a little spice in my meals, and I hope the flavor will satisfy my hunger for the rest of the night.  I hold the first sip in my mouth, and it's sickly sweet.  Way, way too sweet.  As I swallow, I am met with a fierce, burning fire going all of the way down my throat.  I want to vomit it's so intense.  I run and grab a bottle of water and wash it all down, in defeat.

I decide to call up my friend and see if she wants to give it a try - she has a much different palate than I do, and I can definitely see her enjoying some of these drinks.  She LOVES anything spicy and doesn't mind the taste of celery.  Thankfully, I saved the open bottles so I bring them over to her house and let her have a try. 

   ... and she has the same disgust that I did for almost every drink.  She did enjoy the Glow, but hated Fuel.  She had the same reaction to Master Cleanse as I did, and we agreed it is completely undrinkable.  Suja claims this Fresh Start cleanse is perfect for first time juicers, but I have to disagree.  If you haven't juiced in the past, you'll probably have a lot of the same issues that I had during the cleanse.  However, everyone is different and we all have our own preferences!  I highly recommend, if you are going to try this cleanse, to only purchase 1 day to start with - and not get stuck with 2 more days of juice that no one will drink, like me!  And, if you're like me and can't stand celery, this is probably not the cleanse for you.

So, let me know - have you tried the Suja Fresh Start Juice Cleanse before?  What was your opinions of the juices?  Any other juice cleanse program that you'd recommend?  I'd love to find one that works for me!



Thursday, June 26, 2014

Kiss Everlasting French Nails

Yesterday, I posted about how I was lucky enough to receive a Spring Vox Box from Influenster, full of fun products to review!  I decided the product that excited me the most deserved it's very own blog post.. the Kiss Everlasting French Nails.



When I first opened the box, I noticed the length of the nails was 'Real Short'.  I normally prefer my nails to be a little longer than this, but I was pleasantly surprised at how nice they looked once they all were on! They glue was fantastic at making them stick almost immediately - and the little tab helped so that I didn't accidentally get glue all over the fronts of the nails.

The most helpful hint I've ever received regarding applying fake nails is to file the lower part of the nail so that it perfectly matches the shape of your nail bed.  It might take a little extra time, but it makes the nails look SO much more natural and less fake!  The amazing thing about these nails - barely any filing was needed!

My biggest issue - which not everyone will have - is that my nail beds are incredibly flat. Normally when picking out false nails, I need to go with the ones that are specifically made for flat beds. Since these are quite rounded, they do pop off my nails more easily, just because there's not as much nail actually attached directly to my real nail. Still, I just carry a thing of glue in my purse and glue it right back on - no harm done! :) I'm loving these nails, look how amazing they look!


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Spring Fling VoxBox

I am lucky enough to be able to call myself an Influenster!  Every once in awhile, I get products to test and give my feedback on - and I was stoked to receive my Spring Fling VoxBox!


 First off, I want to say that I also got a Labor Day Movie peach pie air freshener in my VoxBox, but it immediately went into my car before I even went into the house. (Yes, I was so excited that I opened my VoxBox at the mailbox!)  To be honest, the air freshener had no smell.  I was hoping that a few days in a hot car might activate it, but no luck.  Oh well - I'm not here to be giving feedback on a promotional air freshener :)  However!  If you're looking for a cute movie, you should check out the Labor Day Movie.  It just came out in January and looks like a really touching film.

Enough about onto that, let's get onto these products!  First I'm going to take a quick second to talk about the Playtex Sport Fresh Balance tampons.  I personally prefer my Diva/Lunette Cup over disposable products during "that time", but I always keep spare tampons on me, just in case of an emergency!  These are great, since they are the 'sport' style, they are a little bit thinner and more flexible than your ordinary tampon - which I prefer!  Once I find a brand I like, I am normally pretty loyal - and it's either Playtex Sport or Kotex U tampons for me!

Next off, we have the Rimmel Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara.  I'm one of those types that think 90% of drug store mascaras are the same.  However, I tried it, and WOW, this stuff works! You get amazing coverage after just one coat, and if you happen to do two coats - your eyes POP! This has became my go-to mascara because of how quickly I can achieve almost-false looking lashes. My only complaint is that this stuff is messy! I've never had a problem with mascaras in the past, but I have mascara EVERYWHERE by the time I am done applying it - on my cheeks, my eyelids, my fingertips - I've done everything I can think of to try and be a little neater, but I've come to accept that I just need to be prepared to clean myself up afterwards. Check out my before & after pic just to see how great this is after just 1 coat!


Last, I will be talking about Nivea's Body Skin Firming Moisturizer.  This lotion is excellent, because it leaves you feeling nice and moisturized, without any greasy leftover.  The scent is nice and fresh, barely there - but honestly, I like being able to layer my scents so I know I am smelling good all day long - so I mainly use this lotion before bedtime and save my "smelly" lotions for morning ;)  Right now, Nivea is giving out free samples for everyone to try!  Check out their page and figure out which product is right for you!

Some lucky VoxBoxers also got to try out the new Softlips cubes - which are absolutely adorable! - but, sadly I was not one of them.  Oh well, maybe next time!

As you can see in the top photo, I also received some Kiss Everlasting French Nails.  I'm actually going to set aside a-whole-nother blog post, just for this product!  Keep an eye out!

Do you wish you could receive free products in the mail to test, too?  You'll need to be invited by a current Influenster!  Just comment with your e-mail below - or send it to me in a private message - and I will send an invitation your way!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Free Yummy, Healthy Snacks - Delivered to Your Door!



Awhile back, a friend introduced me to graze and I fell in love.  I'm not sure who is more excited to get a box of healthy snacks in the mail each week, my kids or myself!  I am content in knowing that my kids are "grazing" on snacks that are healthier for them than the alternative chips and junk food.

Graze boxes are packed full of vitamins, minerals, whole grains, and more.  Each box is unique, and customized to your tastes!  After trying every box, you just log into your account and rate the snacks, Love It, Love It, Send Occasionally, or Never Send Again.  They use your preferences to determine which snacks you should enjoy!  So far, my favorite is Hot Cross Yum, but all of the flapjacks are phenomenal, as well!

I admit, I've loved about 95% of the snacks we have tried from graze.  A lot of them are things I wouldn't normally snack on, either!  Each box costs $6, including shipping all of the way from Europe!  Sadly, this site is by invitation only, so not everyone can join yet.  The good news is, graze has given me 1 free code to share - the first person who uses this code will get a FREE box of graze shipped to their house!  (Please comment below if you use the code so that I will know to remove it.)



... were you too late and the free box was already claimed?

Have no fear!  I recently found another snacking service just like graze!  Introducing...


nibblr!  Nibblr appears to be just like graze, only it is open to the public!  It is also $6 per box, including shipping - but the more you pay for upfront, the less your cost is.  (If you pay for 4 boxes at a time, it is only $23, instead of $24)  Do you want to try nibblr for free?  Just go to http://www.nibblrbox.com/ and use the referral code: FIRSTBOXFREE


And please, leave me a comment!  Have you ever tried graze or nibblr?  What are your favorite snacks from them?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

OxiClean 2in1 Stain Fighter plus Color Safe Brightener


I was graciously chosen by Smiley360 to try the latest from the trusted line of OxiClean stain removers - the OxiClean 2in1 Stain Fighter plus Color Safe Brightener.  Now, the OxiClean 2in1 Stain Fighter is an additive to your laundry routine - it doesn't replace your laundry detergent!  You just pour it onto your stains, like you would pre-treat with any other brands.



I received this product just in time, as I like to clean my make-up brushes off on my white bath towels without thinking.. (I really need to get a darker colored towel in my bathroom specifically for my make-up brushes!)


I wanted to see how well OxiClean worked on old stains, so I threw in a pair of some very old white sweatpants, whose bottoms were completely brown from always walking on them.

I finished up my load by throwing in some other dirty clothes - including some cleaning rags that cleaned up a little too much dust.

 And then I waited... and when the washer told me they were done, I put the clothes in the dryer and waited some more...

Finally, it was time to see how well OxiClean 2in1 Stain Fighter really worked!


All of the foundation, and powder, and blush.. was completely gone!  My rags came out white!


My sweatpants were cleaner!  Now, there are years and years worth of dirt stained into these pants - I didn't expect to see any difference, but wow!


Pros:
My stains came out - even old ones!
My whites honestly looked brighter than they normally do.
Even if you don't have a specific stain, you can still add it right into your detergent for extra stain fighting, color boosting power!

Cons:
It was hard and awkward to apply directly to the stain.  You have to attempt to drizzle it out onto your clothing out of a large jug.  I like how other brands come in spray bottles or rolls for easy application.  Because of this, I feel like I wasted unnecessary product trying to pour it in a small area, but having it spread everywhere else, instead.

I am so grateful that Smiley selected me to try this product and share my experiences.  It really is a great laundry additive to get out your stains!  Best of all, right now OxiClean has a $1 coupon available.

Want to try the latest products just like me?  Join Smiley!