Wednesday, July 29, 2015

SlimQuick Pure Protein Review

I'll admit...  I am always looking for a low calorie protein powder that will keep my hunger in check.   I'm someone who's reply to "are you hungry"  is usually "I could eat." Its very rare for me to feel full.  Its even rarer for me to feel full for longer than an hour or so.  So low calorie protein bars, protein powders, and high protein snacks in general get me through the day without feeling like I need to munch constantly.

Slim Quick Pure Protein is a powder made for women who are also looking for a little help when it comes to losing weight.  With its Green Tea extract and special blend, Slim Quick Pure Protein claims to help women lose 3x the weight.  Of course, eating healthy and getting some exercise has to be part of the equation as well.

I am always a bit nervous when it comes to trying a new product that claims to affect weight loss.  Since I suffer from IBS, my digestive tract tends to be sensitive to different foods and supplements.  Slim Quick Pure Protein did give me slight stomach cramps the first time I drank it while eating a snack.  I upped my "snack" to a meal and didn't get the cramping again.

The drink is sweet - which I like. I like my protein and health products to taste like a treat.  It keeps me from putting sugar in my coffee or running for a cookie when I have a sweet craving.  If you are someone that likes their protein shakes to have an earthy taste, this one probably isn't going to be for you.

So the big question is - Does it work?  Does it help you lose weight?  Its hard to say.  I did lose about 3lbs throughout the two weeks of using this product.  I already exercise and try to eat well so I didn't really change anything lifestyle wise.  Because the Slim Quick Pure Protein gave me a little boost of energy, I'm thinking the weight loss is due to me working a little harder during my usual cardio routine.

Overall, this product is worth a try. As with trying any new supplement, I recommend starting out on a half dose for the first day or so to make sure you don't experience any unintended side effects.

For more information on Slim Quick Pure Protein check out http://www.myslimquick.com/

*This post is sponsored by BrandBacker. Though I received the products free of charge as compensation, the review contains my honest opinion and experience. *

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Dangers of Buying Fake Makeup

Photo: Women's Daily Magazine
Its been awhile since I've written a straight beauty post... So why not jump back into it with a post about why you shouldn't buy fake makeup, right?  Right.  Now I'm not talking dupes - inexpensive brands that give the same look as their higher end counterparts.  No, I'm talking knockoff makeup.  If you participate in any beauty forums, you know these exist and are often sold as authentic.

Urban Decay Naked knockoffs are everywhere.  MAC knockoffs are also extremely prevalent.  There are a lot of people who will choose to buy these products knowing they are fakes: Just to save a few bucks.  There are, of course, ethical reasons for not supporting the sale of knockoff products but did you know that these products may actually be harmful to your health?  Check out the list below for more on why you should stay away from knockoff beauty products.

1. Quality

The packaging may look almost identical.  The actual product may look very similar.  But you will not get the quality of the authentic product. And isn't that the whole point of buying beauty products that cost a bit more?  If you've succumbed to the temptation of buying knockoff makeup, you've become too wrapped up in the "brand name" aspect of what you're using and missing the entire reason as to why these brands are so popular and a bit more costly.  Quality. It would be a better use of your money to buy one authentic product by NARS, Urban Decay, or MAC than it would to buy several knockoffs.

2. Ingredients

Probably the scariest thing about buying knockoff makeup is that the ingredients in the product are unknown.  Because these products are illegal, there is no regulation of exactly what is going into them.  So its no surprise that many knockoff beauty products cause skin rashes.  More than that, many counterfeit makeup items contain toxic levels of arsenic. Not to mention rat droppings. All of that (and who knows what else) is going on your face, lips, eyelids, and waterline- so very close to your eyes.  Its just not worth it.

3. Perfume isn't Safe Either

Knockoff perfume also contains less than appealing ingredients including cyanide and -wait for it- human urine. Wouldn't you just love to spray that on before a hot date?!  I will gladly spend the extra money to make sure I'm not putting poison or any kind of human excrement on my skin.

So how do you avoid being scammed and sold fake beauty products? 

The most obvious answer is to stick to reputable sites like Sephora, Ulta, and the brand's official website when shopping for beauty products online.

Discount shopping websites based in China like Wish and Alibaba are best avoided when buying cosmetics.  Both have been known to sell knockoff beauty products. (Alibaba actually has knockoff Naked Palettes listed on their site as I write this.)

And lastly, know the brand.  Know the collections, know the shades, know the names, and know what the authentic product looks like in detail. Counterfeiters are getting really, really good at duplicating the packaging of popular name brand cosmetics.  But already knowing how an authentic product looks, feels, and even smells can help you detect counterfeit items.  For example, MAC lipsticks are known for their creamy texture and sweet, vanilla scent.  If you find a "MAC" lipstick that is waxy or lacks the wonderfully sweet scent, you know its counterfeit.  If you're looking at the packaging alone, be sure to pay attention to each tiny detail  - especially the font.  On a knockoff the font may be too thin, a little different, crooked, a little too big or a little too small.

If ever in doubt, pass on the purchase.  Better safe than ...rashy.


Monday, July 13, 2015

Balancing Act: Staying Organized & Keeping it Together

Photo: DAN BURN-FORTI
We all have to do it at some point.  Whether you're a mom, a business owner, social butterfly, volunteer enthusiast, or frequent traveler, life sometimes requires us to perform the ultimate balancing act.  Balancing the "want to's" and "have to's" of life.

This is a stressful task in itself and can cause anyone to feel overwhelmed.  But these few simple tips can keep things running smoothly without running you ragged. Check them out below.



 1.  Get a Planner

I know.  Planners often bring people back to their school days of writing down homework assignments and quiz dates.  But planners have come a long way since then.  Whether you choose to get a customizable planner for anywhere from $30 to $60 or a more affordable option found in stores*, having a planner will not only help you remember your appointments (and your children's appointments, and, let's face it, probably your significant other's appointments as well) but it can also help give you a visual of your week. By writing all of your to-dos/scheduling notes in your planner, you will be able to see a visual of how balanced (or unbalanced) your time spent is; making it easier to note where adjustments need to be made.

*More on planner options HERE


2.  Overestimate your time

Overestimate how long tasks/appointments/errands will take to avoid being late or rushed.  The unexpected happens.  It could be a random traffic jam, unusually long line at the store checkout, or your doctor running behind schedule for the day.  Whatever it may be, overestimating how long each appointment will take can help avoid that frantic, stressed-out feeling that comes with being behind.  If nothing runs over, then you have EXTRA time on your hands to spend relaxing, catching up with family/friends, or starting a task that you had scheduled for a later date.

3. Learn to say no

This is a tip everyone gives.  And its always easier said than done. But it is really important to know when to say "No" to a request.  If you're in a phase of life where it seems every moment of your day is booked, it's time to consider answering "no" or even "not at this time" to some requests before you run yourself into the ground. Whether it's your friend's dog's birthday or a last minute volunteer event, it's ok to say "No" and take a little time to breathe.

4. Lie to friends/family who are habitually late.

This one sounds bad... but sometimes it's necessary.  I've found you can't change someone who is habitually late.  They most likely have every intention of being on-time... but something always seems to happen that causes them to show up late... which can put you behind on your own schedule.  They don't mean for it to be disrespectful or hurtful. But you can't control their actions or time management.  You can only control your own.

So, what do I sometimes do?  I tell the late comers the event starts earlier than it actually does.   Now I don't do this ALL of the time - because they will catch on.  I usually pull out this tactic when it's a particularly important event or I have an unusually tight schedule that day. It normally works.  They'll show up "15 minutes late" but actually on time.  If they apologize for being late, I will come clean and tell them they are right on time. No one has ever gotten upset with me for pulling this.  Late comers are aware they are late a lot.  So they usually understand. But again, you only pull this when it's REALLY important.

5. Double up errands when you can

There are times when I've done some grocery shopping at Walmart - even though I much prefer Publix.  Why?  Because I needed more diapers and Publix doesn't carry my son's brand/size of diapers. Walmart, on the other hand,  has both the diapers and food.  So... in order to save time, keep myself from making two trips with a toddler, and spend less of my day stuck behind the wheel, I suck it up and get whatever food I really need at Walmart.  Publix is a much more pleasurable experience, but making my day even just a tiny bit busier when it doesn't need to be is not worth it.

6.  "Me Time" - You need it

This is another "easier said" tip.  But just like saying "no," it is a very important part of keeping your sanity. Whether its watching an episode of your favorite show, reading a few pages of a captivating book, listening to music while taking a long shower, or *ahem* writing, make sure there's at least one part of your day that's for you.  Even if it is just a tiny part.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Review Roundup

You may have noticed I stopped doing the monthly favorites a few months ago.  Finding enough new products that I loved to fill a blog post each and every month was a challenge.  And, to be honest, at times I felt I was putting out a mediocre blog post just to keep up with the monthly reoccurance.   So, now, I will be doing "Review Roundup" posts every once in awhile so that I am still able to share great products with you all.  Enjoy!

Baby Products

CeraVe Baby Sunscreen Lotion SPF 45
This awesome physical sunscreen is paraben and sulfate free.  It was put up to the test in the Summer Florida sun and it passed.  No sunburn, no pink shoulders.   AND the best part?  Not only is it effective, but it is reasonably priced at between $10-$15.  You can find it at your local Walgreens and CVS stores. While you're there, check out CeraVe Baby Moisturizing Cream This creamy moisturizer is another affordable baby option in an otherwise expensive world of baby products.




Beauty Products

Maybelline's Full 'N Soft Waterproof Mascara 
I used this product about 10 years ago and for the life of me... I can't remember why I stopped.  So I picked it up again, and I STILL don't know why I ever said ta-ta to this item.  Great for daily use, this affordable mascara leaves your lashes long and slightly volumized without giving a dramatic "too much for the grocery store" look.


L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Mascara 
This mascara is definitely one for going out.  Dramatic, gorgeously full lashes are what you'll get from this L'Oreal beaut.  And the packaging is pretty beautiful as well.


Food / Beverage
 

Community Coffee
What goes better with parenthood than coffee?  This family owned and operated coffee company not only makes delicious coffee, they also send coffee over to American troops.  There's something for everyone at Community Coffee. Choose from gourmet coffee, flavored coffee, tea, even k cups.

 
Yoplait Greek 100 Whips
I have always loved the Yoplait whips yogurt, but always felt guilty eating non-Greek yogurt (Hello! May as well get some protein for that calorie count!)  Its like the people at Yoplait read my mind. The texture of the Whips yogurt with the protein of Greek.  Yum!