Monthly Archives: May 2012

Barilla microwaveable meal – Mezze Penne with Tomato & Basil Sauce

I have a confession to make before I go any further – I’m a pasta fanatic! Any shape, any type you can always count me in if it’s included in a meal. That being said I consider myself a self proclaimed pasta connoisseur if there is such a thing so when I saw that Barilla had come out with its own line of microwaveable pasta creations I was delighted! No surprise I was even more delighted that I had a decent coupon to make my first test run with it even more appealing. Here’s what was on the lunch menu today –  Mezze Penne with Tomato & Basil Sauce:

The nutrition facts for a ready to eat meal are fairly decent in some areas but a little excessive in others. I am concerned about my sodium intake and 690 per serving is a little higher than I’d prefer but that’s the price you pay when most of types of sauces are involved. I also cringed at the 59 grams of carbs in one serving but then again it’s PASTA PEOPLE and a fairly generous portion at that! 😀 On the upside, it’s 320 calories per serving with only 40 of that from fat & packs 11 grams of protein.

As for ease of warming up I give it an A+. All I had to do was peel back one properly labeled corner of the package near the sauce and pop in the microwave for 60 seconds. I anticipated a boil over party so I placed a paper towel under it just in case but it stayed put! After just 60 seconds the sauce was pleasantly hot and the pasta was al dente – perfection. If you’d prefer it softer they advise adding a small amount of water to the pasta and zapping it for another 30 seconds. All that was left was to pour the sauce over the pasta and I was ready to enjoy.

The pasta was fantastic, the sauce was fairly flavorful and the only thing missing was a small packet of Parmesan to top off the meal. Barilla – I hope you’re listening! The masses demand a little bit of Parmesan in their life. Ok ok ok the masses = me but still that has to count for something, right?

You can pick up this or one of their other 4 great varieties at Walmart, Target and other great stores in the microwaveable meal aisle. I found it next to the macaroni & cheese at Target!

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5.30.12 mail goodies

This is a snapshot of what I received yesterday with the exception of 2 items not pictured:

  • Weekly planner from DSW on FB
  • Scrubbing Bubbles package from @ScrubbingBubble on Twitter
  • Marie Claire Outfitt 911 book from @BHWM on Twitter
  • Always pouch from FB
  • 2 Quest Bars from FB – not pictured

FYI The Giada knife set you see in the background I actually won from @Target on Twitter back in November! My first major online win and what sparked my interest in Twitter!



True Botanica Throat Defense

I was sent 2 free products from True Botanica to test, review and blog about. True Botanica is a company that was founded in 2004 and creates innovative nutraceutical supplements, herbal tinctures, functional foods and natural cosmetics. The ingredients for their formulas are carefully sourced from non GMO, biodynamic and organic materials. More information can be found here.

I received 2 containers of Throat Defense in 2 different flavors – menthol and berry:

The intended use of this product is to promote long term immune support (when used daily), a natural throat remedy for quick soothing relief and even a bonus of fresh breath! It utilizes probiotics and other helpful ingredients like xylitol and trace minerals to achieve this goal. Each container comes with 1.1 oz of powder which breaks down into thirty 1/4 teaspoon servings. This product is well suited for the entire family.  Effective for adults, yet gentle enough for children.

I started using this product on Friday of last week and have used it every day since. My first reaction was that I really liked the packaging. It’s fairly vibrant, easy to read and it gives fairly detailed instructions on it. The product itself only takes up about 1/2 of the container but that may be because it advises you to “Shake Well Before Using”. The Throat Defense berry flavor has a a bit of a strong, grainy smell to it but tastes NOTHING like that. In fact, the taste was quite pleasant and had little to no aftertaste! I put 1/4 teaspoon of the crystals on my tongue and allowed them to melt before chewing a bit and swallowing. I tried the menthol out on Saturday and that had a more pleasant, minty scent to it and tasted very similarly to Halls. The menthol even seemed to clear my sinuses very subtly. I can definitely see where the menthol part of the product would be very soothing if I had a cough or sore throat.

Each container can be purchased through their website for $7.90 a piece or at a reduced rate if you’re a member or if you’re buying 4 or more. It definitely affordable when compared to similar products on the market ($6 or $7 for just a 10 day supply).


BUT for 5 lucky fans they will get to also try it absolutely FREE and here’s how:

1 winner will be announced on the following dates: 5/31, 6/4, 6/6, 6/8, 6/12

There are 2 mandatory and 1 bonus requirements listed which will be verified by me once the winners are selected so PLEASE make sure you complete all that apply:

**ENTER HERE for your chance to win 1 of 5 bottles of Throat Defense (your choice of berry or menthol): Savings Frenzy True Botanica Sweepstakes **

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Jergens® natural glow & Protect Daily Moisturizer

Recently I received a free sample of Jergens® natural glow & Protect Daily Moisturizer via Facebook:

As more and more information is released to the public regarding the current effects of the sun on our skin and how it relates to skin cancer I am not keen on taking the risks I used to as a kid/teenager. Back then I would sit out on the front doorstep with BAY OIL slathered on my legs in the hope of getting a little color but hey the 80s were crazy and the ozone was definitely more powerful than it is today some 20+ years later. Now I am wearing 50 or higher SPF sunscreen when I am out and about which prevents that fabulous glow I ♥ but I’d rather be pasty than roll the dice with my health.

This product is pretty fantastic overall. It doesn’t have much of a smell, isn’t greasy and it glides on just as easily as any lotion in my collection. Not only does it moisturize but it also contains SPF 20 – something I definitely don’t put on anywhere but my face on a regular basis. I went ahead and put it on the areas that are exposed on a regular basis (arms, chest, back, legs) and made sure to thoroughly wash my hands after and allow the areas to dry before putting on my clothes. After a few days, I definitely notice a faint but recognizable glow. Nothing like that of a true tan but I’ll take any color I can get! Kudos to Jergens for such an innovative product and for having the Skin Cancer Foundation’s stamp of approval on it!

The downside is that it’s fairly pricey compared to other regular lotions on the market. Target near me has it for $7.99 and Walmart has it for $7.84 a bottle. I wound up using most of the 2 oz sample I received in about 4-5 days so I imagine the 7.5 oz version would last a few weeks at best depending on how much you use and how frequently. Perhaps you could score a better deal online or make use of some of the coupons I’ve seen floating around for it if you’re interested in trying it out for yourself!

All I know is that I’ll be squeezing every last drop out of the bottle! 😀


5.25.12 mail goodies

Attached is a photo of the fabulous goodies I received in the mail today and where (when I can remember) they originated from:

  • Kiwi & Shout Clean Team Prize Pack (I didn’t even know I won!) – FB sweepstakes
  • True Botanica products – 2 bottles of Throat Defense, Face Moisturizing Cream & Boswalla lip balm
  • Olay ProX Skin Anaalyzer – Olay Freebie Friday
  • Crystal Light Mocktails sample & coupon – FB freebie
  • Always coupons – Always goodies
  • Coupon for free Silk Milk

Kiss Nail Dress – updated

I received a complimentary package of Kiss Nail Dress from Influenster’s VoxBox program:

The package that I received was called “Cocktail” and ironically out of all of the available styles that was one of my favorites other than Peplum! One fact about me is that I don’t normally make a habit of having long fingernails and paired with the fact that I have tiny hands I feared this product might be a bit of a challenge for me but I enjoy a challenge from time to time!

The kit comes with a nail file and a few sheets of various sizes decals to choose from and even with as small of nail beds as I possess I was still able to quickly and easily find ones to accommodate me. I cleaned my nails with rubbing alcohol and thoroughly dried them before applying as the instructions advised. Since the decals were almost an exact match to the size of my nail beds application was almost complete foolproof! The tricky part came when it was time to shape the nails.

The instructions advise and illustrate that you should bend the excess decal over the front of your nail and file it away. This was not possible (for me at least) seeing as the decal was extremely flimsy and no real match for the nail file. Solution? I just used a pair of nail clippers and within seconds I had my first nail clipped and shaped to perfection as you can see from the photo above! The entire process took around 10-15 minutes but that’s at least 50% less than your standard manicure AND at a miniscule fraction of the cost! The real test comes now to see how long they will last but 2 days, 2 showers and multiple handwashings later they are still holding strong. I tote around the extra decals in my purse just in case an emergency arises and I need to put on a replacement.

In summary I highly recommend this product! A co-worker almost didn’t even believe me that they were fake or at least not just a clear decal of the “bling” design over my own pink nail polish. Impressive!


UPDATE – 7 days later and the nails are STILL intact! I only have a very small part of the tips of certain nails missing but it’s almost entirely unnoticeable! I really must reiterate how impressed I am with this line of Kiss products! I cannot wait to try out a new design!




Metamucil fiber single (sugar-free)

Yes, you read that correctly – I am writing a product review on Metamucil sugar-free fiber singles. Why? Well for starters I submitted my information in the hopes of sampling just one of them for free and wound up with around 30 over the course of 1-2 months in my mailbox so I figured the universe might be trying to send me a message (or perhaps their shipping department made a huge oops but I digress). Growing up I always equated fiber with elderly people but with new research it has come to our attention that EVERYONE needs more fiber in their diets – even at the “ripe old age” of 31 I am fiber deficient! So, here goes nothing:

The sample package arrived with 2 separate easy to open pouches that only advised that it needed to be mixed with 8 oz of liquid. What they didn’t tell me was that if I didn’t feverishly mix the powder IMMEDIATELY in the water and IMMEDIATELY slam the beverage like it were a drinking contest I’d be swallowing a heap of fiber in one gulp come the end of the glass. The good news? Once I figured out what I did wrong with the first 2 glasses the ones that followed were a breeze!

I was impressed with the taste of the product. Orange is never a bad choice in my limited opinion and it left me feeling a tad reminiscent of the days of Tang. Anyone else remember that delightful, packed to the core with sugar drink of the 80s? It wasn’t as gritty as I was fearing and was relatively easy to finish as long as I didn’t start with ice cold water.

As far as nutrition goes, each single 5.85 gram packet contains 20 calories, 5 carbs and 3 grams of fiber! You can drink up to 3 packets daily which knocks out 9 grams of your 25-30 recommended grams per day. Who knew fiber could be so exciting? 😉

Did I mention that the coupon lover in me rejoiced at the site of a $2/1 coupon in each sample package as well? I rest my case!

Jason Restorative Biotin Shampoo

As an active member of Klout, a site that measures you internet influence based on activity from sites such as Facebook, Twitter, etc., I was recently awarded a perk from a company by the name of Jason. I was under no obligation to receive the sample or talk about this company. I get no additional benefits for talking about the product or company. I hadn’t heard of the company until it was on Klout so I did a little research and found out that it has been a pioneer in the natural sector since 1959! Long before natural or “organic” as we call it now was the way to go.

The perk was for a full sized bottle of their Restorative Biotin Shampoo:

I absolutely loved the packaging but was shocked to see that while it is a natural product I still was baffled by at least over half of the ingredients it contained (or at least was  bit tongue tied trying to pronounce them).  The shampoo itself had a bit of a unpleasant scent to it – this coming from a woman who LOVES things that smell good. I know that a product can natural and still smell pleasant so that was a let down for me. Upon using the shampoo I found that even with a generous amount mixed with water it didn’t lather up very well. I wound up having to use another shampoo I had alongside it in the shower just to really feel some sort of cleaning action happening up there! Needless to say I was unfortnately not impressed and I was really rooting (no pun intended) for this product to knock my socks off!

With a price tag of $8.97 per bottle on their website I most definitely will not become the loyal customer they had hoped for. 😦


5.21.12 mail goodies

Attached is a photo of the fabulous goodies I received in the mail today and where (when I can remember) they originated from:

  • Degree motionSENSE deodorant – won from a giveaway by Self Magazine
  • Downy unSTOPABLES, Tide Pods and Bounce (not pictured) samples – FB giveaway
  • Kiss Nail Artist & Nail Dress – earned from after completing a badge for their recent Vox Box sample program

Dr. Scholl’s® For Her High Heel Insoles

Recently I was selected to participate in a BzzAgent campaign for Dr. Scholl’s® For Her High Heel Insoles. Anyone who knows me is fully aware that I am in ♥ with shoes – namely stilettos. Heck – my karaoke “stage name” is Stiletto for crying out loud! I don’t think there could have been a more perfect campaign for me to be a part of than this seeing as I have over 25 pairs of gorgeous stilettos that I wear on a regular basis.

I opted to test drive this product in a pair of chunky heels I purchased at Old Navy (about 3 inches tall). It took a little bit of work to actually figure out the ideal placement for the pads but once I got them in my feet seemingly let out a sigh of relief. I had a small cushion with each and every step and since these were sandals they even seemed to fit more comfortably – less sliding around and rubbing against the straps. While this worked out GREAT for this type of shoe I am curious to see how the cushion will fare in shoes that are quite form fitting to begin with (i.e. pumps, etc). BUT I wore these heels out on all of my errands yesterday and by the end of the day my feet still had a slight ache to them but the areas that would usually be plagued with callouses were definitely not nearly as agitated!

Verdict – I plan on using most of the $4 coupons they included in my campaign package for MYSELF I liked them so much. They sell for $7.99 at Target and right now there’s a $2 Target coupon available to stack with the $4 coupons making them only $1.99 a pair! Although, I might just purchase the For Her Ball of Foot Cushions this time around as I don’t really need the support as much in my heels or arches. I have wisely set one package aside to be used in my wedding shoes come October. I might have to do a blog update after wearing those and the insoles for at least 12 hours that day!

More information can be found here – Dr. Scholl’s For Her Foot Care