Friday, May 31, 2013

Review: Tastykake® Kandy Bar Kakes

I received a sample of the new TastyKake Kandy Bar Kakes from Influenster for testing purposes in the Spring VoxBox, but I could not eat it because I have to be gluten free.  My husband, however, took one for the team and volunteered to eat said Kandy Bar Kake.  He's such a trooper.

Being from the Philadelphia area, I am very aware of TastyKake.  And if you haven't tried anything by TastyKake before, they do have a ton of very tasty treats (including some gluten free ones, which is great for me!)

The Kandy Bar Kakes come in 3 flavors: Peppermint Patty, Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and S'More.  We received the S'More flavor, and my husband really liked it!  They are a bit crumbly when you open the package, so definitely eat these over a plate or something, but the flavors were really nice.  He said it tasted just like you were eating a s'more.  The only thung missing was crunch.  That's what's so great about eating a s'more.  You have all of that ooey gooey chocolate, the warm toasted marshmellow, and it's sandwiched between the crunch of the graham cracker.  Even though the TastyKake Kandy Bar Kakes have graham cracker dusted on top... it needs that crunch when you bite into it.

I hope TastyKake goes further with this new product and comes out with other flavors.  None of these have any caramel... maybe a Twix Kandy Kake? Maybe even a gluten free one?  Yeah???

Overall, if you're a fan of TastyKake, or if you have a sweet tooth, I would recommend trying these.  They are about $1.69 for a single bar, or $4.49 for a family pack.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Palmolive® Soft Touch Review

I know, beauty blog... talking about dish soap--but hear me out!

I received this soap complimentary from Influenster (and these are all my personal opinions, fyi).  I've been using it for about a week or so.  A bit about me--I have terrible hands and nails.  They are dry, cracked, blech. When I have nail polish on, I must be feeling really fancy because I hate the way my hands look.  I always try to convince my husband to do the dishes because my hands are a mess.

Since we switched to using the Palmolive, I actually really like it.  We have the Vitamine E formula at home (the pink one). It has a really nice smell, and it doesn't dry my hands out at all.  Apparently, they even had a dermatologist test the formula.  That kind of brings the whole "tough on grease, soft on hands" aspect to a different level

I received a second bottle of the Palmolive Soft Touch that I brought into work.  This one was the Aloe formula.  While the Vitamin E is definitely my favorite, I do really like the aloe as well. It has the distinct Palmolive scent.  I'm hoping that sharing my Palmolive with my friends at work, it will encourage them to actually wash the dishes that they bring their lunches in.  I also gave them some coupons, too!

You can find the Palmolive Soft Touch at Walmart.  Read some other reviews of this soap here.  And let me know what you think!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Going Gluten Free

Over the past few months, I have been having some health issues.  I knew that something was wrong.   After going to see a few different doctors, I finally had a definitive diagnosis: I have Celiac Disease.  The good news is Celiac Disease is very treatable, and going on a gluten free diet is a lot easier than it was 5 years ago.  The bad news is gluten hides everywhere, not just in obvious culprits like pasta and baked goods.

After doing a bit of research on my own, I came to the very unhappy conclusion that I need to throw away the majority of my lipstick.  While women don't ingest 6 pounds of lipstick a year the way the internet might suggest, the fact is women do ingest some of their lipstick.  Trace amounts of gluten can cause a lot of problems for someone with Celiac Disease.  Do you need to throw away all of your skin care, your cosmetics, and go completely gluten free?


There are many schools of thought about this.  A lot of people have a skin condition associated with Celiac Disease called dermatitis herpetiformis.  This is usually associated with diet, not topical products.  However, some people who suffer from Celiac Disease believe topical products containing gluten can cause a flare up.   The Mayo Clinic suggests that, unlike people with a soy allergy, people with Celiac Disease or a gluten intolerance do not need to avoid all skin care and cosmetics that contain gluten, just a few key pieces.  Soy particles are much smaller than gluten, and can absorb into the skin.  However, several friends of mine who suffer from Celiac Disease respectfully disagree with the Mayo Clinic and avoid gluten in all products they use.

Some skin care and cosmetics companies recognize that Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance can be very serious, and they take very good care in spelling out on their website or in their packaging if their products are gluten free.  A lot of these companies do not.  I emailed a large list of companies over the past week, asking if their products were gluten free or if they had a list of products that are gluten free.  According to these companies, Bliss Spa, Boscia, California Baby, Peter Thomas Roth, and Juice Beauty do not use gluten.  Bliss Spa's Lemon and Sage shampoo and conditioner contain gluten, as does Juice Beauty's Hydrating Mist.  Too Faced (with the exception of their Borderline Lip Pencil), NARS, and Lancome are gluten free. Benefit Cosmetics reformulated their products to no longer contain gluten, but older products that may still be in stores could still contain it.

The fact is, just because a certain product by a company does not use ingredients containing gluten does not mean that it is gluten free.  Cross contamination can happen in the manufacturing process.  Even more unsettling is that many companies receive ingredients from an outside source which could contain gluten.  As of right now, there is no regulation to test for the absence of gluten.  For those people with Celiac Disease who are trying to avoid gluten 100% in everything they use, your best bet is to find a company that ensures they do use gluten in their products.

Your best bet if you aren't sure about a product is to call the company.  Gluten hides everywhere (even in tocopheryl acetate, also known as vitamin E!). For myself, I have decided to change out my lipsticks for ones from gluten free companies.  That means giving up my favorite Yves Saint Laurent lipstick.  My shampoo and conditioner are already gluten free.  I also am going to continue to use my face wash, the Bliss Fabulous Foaming Face Wash, which is gluten free.   All of my other cosmetics I'm going to continue to use--for now.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Too Faced's new Primed and Poreless Pure

I bought a new primer by Too Faced... their new Primed & Poreless Pure. It is oil free, and supposed to be mattifying... also great for sensitive skin, since it doesn't have the small percentage of Retinol that the original Primed & Poreless has. I decided to try it out Sunday for my date with my brother to the Phillies game.


While I'm sure this primer works great for every day use, when you're going to be outside... it can't really stand up to the heat.  My face was melting.  By the end of the game, I had barely any coverage on my face.  Luckily, I discovered an amazing little tool to combat just this problem.  I had some powder in my bag... but I didn't think even that could help because of how hot it was outside.

BROWN PAPER NAPKINS.  Those things are the greatest thing ever.  They absorb better than rice papers do!  Good thing the ballpark has them in massive quantities.  Next time you're going to be outside, grab some of these and stick them in your purse rather than spending the $5-$10 on rice papers.

My final vote on the primer... in general, I think it's a decent primer.  I just don't think it's the best for the situation I was in.  If you have sensitive skin, and you want a primer that's oil free, fragrance free, etc... then it's a great primer.  It just can't stand up to a lot of heat.  So if you're getting married in the summertime, do not use this primer.  Use something like Deslick by Urban Decay or POREfessional by Benefit instead.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Brazil Butt Lift... or what the frak am I getting myself into?

I watched the Brazil Butt Lift infomercials... I was mesmerized... and after thinking about it for about 2 months, and talking to my friend Kitty about it, I finally bought it. For two weeks, I was a GD rockstar. I got up at 6am every day, worked my tush off, and felt amazing. My husband even said to me "I can't believe I'm saying this, but your butt actually looks different."

And then I stopped.

And now I can't fit into my pants.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a healthy weight. I am comfortable with my weight right now. What I'm not comfortable with is not being able to fit into my jeans anymore. If I sit down to eat... sometimes I have to unbutton my pants. People in my family have always struggled with weight and Type 2 Diabetes. I was blessed with amazing metabolism and never really had to watch my weight. Now that I'm inching closer and closer to 30 (I'm 2 years away...) that amazing metabolism is shrinking.

And then I bought this GORGEOUS dress for my friend's wedding (except in coral, not purple) that is a month away (July 21) in the size that I always buy my dresses in... and it's not just too small. I look comic in it. I was so upset.

Enough is enough. No more whining about it... I am going back to BBL. I loved the way I felt when I was doing it, and this time I'm holding myself accountable for it by putting it on the internets. And I will be doing progress photos. The goal is to fit into my pants again... and to fit into the gorg dress I bought for the wedding next month.

I do have a Plan B. If I still feel like I can't breathe in the dress a week before, I'm returning it to the store and picking out something else. But I have confidence that I can totally do this.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

To Naked, or not to Naked?

I think the one question I get more than anything when I'm at work is "Is there even a difference between the Urban Decay Naked Palette, and the Naked 2 Palette?" YES.  Yes there is. And many makeup junkies will tell you the same thing.  Yes, there's a difference.  Do you need both of them? Probably not.

The one similarity between Naked and Naked 2 is that they both contain the shadow "Half Baked" which is a light gold color. That is the only shade that is the same. They also both come with a brush.  Naked Palette comes with a shadow brush.  Naked 2 comes with a double ended brush... one side is a shadow brush, and the other side is a crease brush. The important thing to know about the Urban Decay brushes (and this goes for all brushes made by Urban Decay) is that they are made out of recycled synthetic materials... and because of that, you want to clean them with rubbing alcohol.  That's it.  Just rubbing alcohol.

Now, I could go into depth comparing each shadow in both palettes, but I'm not going to do that. The main difference between Naked and Naked 2 is the tone.  The Naked Palette has mostly gold and bronze colors, whereas Naked 2 has a lot of taupe, grey, and "greige" colors (grey/beige).  Basically, my suggestion is if you are a warm-tone, get Naked.  If you are a neutral tone, get either.  If you are a cool tone, get Naked 2.

If you have no idea what tone you are... look at the color of clothing you wear.  If you look great in orange, red, gold... if you wear a lot of yellow gold jewelry... and if you wear a lot of "earthy tones" for your makeup (browns, greens, peaches) then you would like the Naked Palette better.  But if those types of colors don't match well with your skin tone, then think about Naked 2.

Personally for me, I prefer Naked 2.  I do have them both, but I wear my Naked 2 more than Naked.  People who are Urban Decay Addicts will get both.  You don't need both... not really.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Being a Wen Girl

I have been a "Wen Girl" for a little over a year now.  I was lucky enough to go to the QVC Beauty Bash last year, the final Beauty Bash until QVC decides to bring it back (Dear QVC, please bring it back...).  One of the perks of buying the very hard-to-get $75 tickets is that you get a box at the end of the day that is filled with beauty products that QVC sells.  From Wen, I received a small (6 oz) bottle of each of the regular scents that Wen makes: Sweet Almond Mint, Pomegranate, Fig, Aloe & Cucumber, Tea Tree, and Lavender.

It was a nice way to try it out, because each of the scents do something a bit different.  Fig is supposed to be for very coarse, curly hair.  Aloe & Cucumber is for oily scalp.  Tea Tree is great if you have dandruff (and it's great to mix with the others).  Sweet Almond Mint, Pomegranate, and Lavender are all for all hair types.

The Pros: If you use it PROPERLY, your hair does get very soft, and very healthy.  The more often you use it, the healthier your hair will be over time. It also really does protect your color.  I can't tell you how many times I get my hair colored, wash my hair for the first time with traditional shampoo, and see how much of my color is running down the drain.  In the year I have been using Wen, that has never happened to me... and the past 4 months, I've been a redhead.  I've had almost no fading whatsoever.

The Cons:  It is a bit costly, and you have to use a lot of product.  That's what I mean when I say if you use it PROPERLY.  You're going to read the instructions and say to yourself, "Psh, whatever, I can totally use less product.  I'm not using 30 pumps.  I'm using 5."  And then you will hate it. I use less than what Wen recommends for my hair length.  They recommend 30 to 40 pumps for shoulder length hair, and I use about 20-25.  Another con is that to really get the most benefits, this is the one brand where you need to be brand loyal.  Using traditional cremes, blow dry lotions, etc that are not Wen will cancel out the benefits you get from using it in the first place.  But I'll be honest with you... I didn't use Wen styling products until recently, and only because it came in a set that I bought.  

Whenever I buy Wen, I always look for sets and deals.  I think, at the moment, the only place you can purchase Wen is through them directly, or through QVC.  Personally, you can find the best deals through QVC.

I recommend trying out Wen if you don't mind spending a little more money on your hair, or if you color your hair.  Wen is not for the budget conscience.  A regular-sized bottle is 16oz and costs $29 full price (that's the bottle pictured above.  The size at the top of this review is the 32oz, which retails for $49.50).  This is why I only ever buy it when there is some kind of deal.  I would love to purchase Wen all the time.  Instead, I treat Wen as my special treat.  I will wash my hair with Wen for a month, use a sulfate free shampoo for a few weeks, and then go back to Wen.