Archive for March, 2013

Garnier Skin Renew Clinical Dark Spot Overnight Peel

Well, I may be officially the worst in the world at taking care of my skin. I do not have a set routine. I wash my face in the shower, and sometimes at night I’ll put on an overnight cream. I try to use a lotion with SPF during the day. I forget a lot. Needless to say, if I’m going to work a new skin care product into my “routine,” it had better be easy.

Let’s back up a bit, first. I joined the BzzCampaign for Garnier Skin Renew Clinical Dark Spot Overnight Peel through BzzAgent.com. I got a free full-size bottle out of the deal. To be honest, my first thought was “Eek!” I’ve never used a peel, at home or otherwise, and assumed it would burn, or irritate my skin, or something equally bad. The first time I used it, hesitantly, I was pleasantly surprised. It was no different than using any other leave-on face product. Garnier suggests that you use it at night, and you can put your regular moisturizer right on top of it. You don’t need to wash it off.

Now here’s the problem. Like I said, I’m horrible at remembering to use stuff. I’m really going to try with this one, because I do have some small red spots and scars I wouldn’t mind vanishing. But I really can’t speak for the efficacy of this product right now, because I have only used it a handful of times. So what is it supposed to do? Well, straight from the Garnier website:

Skin Renew Clinical Dark Spot Overnight Peel is powered by Glycolic Vitamin C Complex. The glycolic acid effectively exfoliates and smooths skin, while Vitamin C addresses dark spots. Glycerin and a special acid buffer ensure that the Dark Spot Overnight Peel is gentle on skin to reveal a new radiance.

So, I’m going to keep trying it out. Will update at a later time if I see results!

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Kroger “Good for You”

I’ve blogged before about Kroger products, so you guys know that I am usually a big fan of the high-quality, low-cost foods they offer. This time, the BzzAgent campaign I’m in is about their Greek yogurts and CARBmaster line. I was generously sent a $10 Kroger gift card as well as some coupons to try these products. Now, I don’t eat artificial sweeteners or buy them for my family, so the only product in the line I was interested in trying was the Greek yogurt.

We go through a lot of yogurt in my house, as it’s my son’s go-to breakfast of choice (for the first course, anyway.) My husband also eats a lot of yogurt as a snack, and prefers one with less sugar than most national brands contain. I only started eating yogurt a few years ago, but I use it a lot in cooking and occasionally eat it straight from the container.

Kroger’s Greek yogurt line has an impressive number of flavor options. I always choose Greek yogurt for cooking, so I like to have a few containers of the unflavored and unsweetened kind for making tzatziki (cucumber yogurt sauce, great on Mediterranean food or just about anything else!), roasted garlic cream sauce, or peanut butter fruit dip (just peanut butter and yogurt with a bit of honey – although flavored yogurts are good for that too.) I also like to have a few vanilla Greek yogurts on hand for making “ice cream” with bananas. (Blend frozen ripe bananas with yogurt – it’s just like soft serve!) The Kroger Greek yogurts work fine for all these purposes, but the yogurt  isn’t usually the star of these recipes anyway.

As far as straight eating goes, I think we’ve tried all the flavors by now. My favorite is the Lemon Creme, but the Black Cherry and Blackberry Yumberry have been favorites too. I do have one complaint about the yogurt, though – it has a very chalky texture and aftertaste. I’m not sure if that’s the Stevia (these yogurts are sweetened with both sugar and Stevia) or something else, but my husband really dislikes it, and my son doesn’t care at all.

Schick Hydro Silk® Razor

Oh, hello there skirt season, you snuck up on me!  One of the best things about winter is that I can really slack off on shaving my legs because they are nearly always covered. Well, spring is just around the corner so it’s time to bust out the razor again. Right now I’m trying the Schick Hydro Silk razor for free through BzzAgent. So what do I think?

I’m not one to splurge on a million blades, so the Hydro Silk is a bit of an extravagance for me, with five blades. I’ve been using the Venus Breeze handle with some cheap 3-blade cartridge for as long as I can remember. Honestly? I can’t really tell much of a difference. Shaving with the Hydro Silk might be a little bit faster. I shaved one leg with my old razor and one with my new, and now, a few hours later, they feel the same to me. Both had nice, close shaves, and neither one left me with razor burn.

The design of the Hydro Silk handle is nice – it’s weighted just right and has a soft, rubberized grip to ensure that it stays safely in my hand. I can’t say as much for the included hanger. It attaches with a suction cup that will NOT stay on my shower wall. It’s not textured or anything, so I don’t know why, but it falls off at least once a week, scaring my dog and making her bark in the middle of the night, which makes my husband think someone broke into our house. So I’m literally losing sleep over this.

I like the “Water-Activated Moisturizing Serum” strips, but I have to wonder what the point is, if you still need to use shaving gel while you shave. (Pro tip: Do you have some conditioner lying around that didn’t work out for you? It makes a great shave lotion!) That said, I did shave my legs only with soap, and I have no irritation afterward.

All in all, do I like the Hydro Silk? Yes. Do I like my old razor? Yes. It’s really a wash – I’ll probably  just buy the cartridges for whichever one is cheapest at the moment.

MorningStar Farms

Years ago, my husband used to work at a now-defunct ‘Net Cafe (remember when those existed?) that served a great black bean burger. After we moved away, there was a veggie-burger-shaped-hole in my heart (or stomach) that had to be filled! I came across MorningStar Farms Spicy Black Bean burgers in the grocery, and they immediately became a staple in our house. I have been buying them at least monthly for the past ten years or so, so I was happy to be chosen for the BzzAgent MorningStar Farms campaign. As part of the campaign, I received a coupon for a free MorningStar Farms frozen product, as well as some discount coupons. I really wanted to branch out and try another variety (I’ve been intrigued by the Mushroom Lover’s burger), but I just couldn’t stray from my beloved black bean burgers.

For the record, we are not vegetarians, though I do try to serve one or two meatless dinners per week, for cost and health reasons. My go-to Black Bean Burger preparation is baked patties served with tomato and avocado on a bun, but they are also delicious sliced up as a wrap and with guacamole (though what isn’t delicious with guacamole?!) I like to serve them with sweet potato fries on the side. Once I served them on garlic bread – the health benefits go out the window, but they are really tasty. Speaking of health benefits, did you know these burgers have 73% less fat than ground beef, and are only 120 calories each?

So how do they taste, anyway? A lot of people hear “veggie burger” and think “flavorless soy patty,” but the black bean burgers have a nice kick of spice – not so much that my toddler won’t eat it, though. I like to amp it up a bit with pepper jack cheese sometimes. You can see real chunks of tomato, corn, and of course, black beans. The texture is not really similar to a ground beef burger, but more of a crispy exterior with a soft interior. They are a good size to fit on a bun, but you shouldn’t limit yourself to that! A quick peek at the Spicy Black Bean Burgers website offers several tasty options, like Roasted Vegetable-Black Bean Burger Panzanella Salad.