Posts Tagged ‘ review ’

FIBER ONE® PROTEIN CEREAL

I enjoy eating cereal for breakfast, especially on busy mornings. Cereal with extra protein? Well, that’s just an added bonus! I was excited to try the Fiber One Protein Cereal. I haven’t tried any Fiber One products before, so this was my first experience! And it was…lackluster.

I received two boxes of the cereal free through BzzAgent.com, Maple Brown Sugar and Cranberry Almond. These are labeled as “granola cereals,” so I was expecting something a little closer to the granola I make at home (oats, nuts, dried fruits) but they seem much more like crisped rice cereal with a few other bits mixed in. I tried the Cranberry Almond first. Not enough cranberries, not enough almonds. It had a strange artificial flavor and was way, way, WAY too sweet. Both these varieties have more sugar than many popular sugary kid’s cereals with marshmallows! The Maple Brown Sugar variety was a bit tastier, but even sweeter, as you might imagine.

The good news? Both cereals stayed very crispy in milk up until the end of the bowl! I also felt full all morning after eating the cereal.

I understand that it’s difficult to make a product tasty, good for you, and that holds up on the shelves, but I’d rather spend a little extra time making my own granola, or just having a bowl of oatmeal with some nuts sprinkled in than fill up on sugar and (practically nutritionally devoid) crisped rice. This one’s a no-go for me!

Disclaimer: I received these product for free for testing purposes through BzzAgent.com, but my opinions are my own!

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Garnier Oil-Free B.B. Cream

I’ve been itching to see if BB creams live up to all the hype I’ve been hearing for the last year or two. What better way to try out a product you’re not sure of than trying it free? I received a full-size tube of Garnier Oil-Free B.B. Cream in Light/Medium free  through BzzAgent.com.

A little about my skin before I get to the review: I am really pale, and my skin tends toward the oily side. I have darkish areas below my eyes (stupid allergies), large pores, and some reddish areas.

Ok, so first impressions of the BB Cream? It’s not so much of a cream. It’s pretty runny, and if you lay the tube down, you run the risk of the product coming right out. A bottle that stands on end might be a better choice of packaging. That said, the thinness of the “cream” allows the product to cover a large area of skin with a small amount.

I wish there were more color options available. The Light/Medium was a bit too dark for me and led to a little bit of a “mask” look. Once we get into summer, it will probably be a good match, and I’ve found that using a little less of the product made the color difference less obvious.

BB Creams contain sunscreen (SOOOOO important for me – I burn in 10 minutes in the sun!) but I’m not convinced that I would use enough of this product to actually protect my skin. However, I have worn it outside several times this spring and have yet to get a sunburn, so it appears to be effective. They also contain moisturizers and this one in particular contains minerals (including Perlite – which I use in my garden to retain moisture in the soil) that absorb oil and leave a matte finish. Garnier claims that this will last all day, which I haven’t found to be the case, but it does last for at least half the day.

This product has been gentle on my face, and hasn’t caused any breakouts or other undesirable effects. It does a good job of evening out my skin tone and making my dark eye circles less obvious. It doesn’t necessarily minimize my pores like it claims, but honestly, that’s not a huge concern of mine anyway. This is an excellent product for downsizing my morning beauty routine. Before, I would mix my foundation with a little moisturizer with an SPF 15, and follow up with concealer, and maybe a translucent powder. Now, I can replace all that with one product (though sometimes additional concealer is necessary.)

Overall, I am pleased with this product and will continue to use it!

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.

Neutrogena Norwegian Formula® Hand Cream

My family and I recently spent a few days at a huge indoor waterpark. Waterslides in Ohio in January, pretty nice, isn’t it? The only problem is combining days of swimming in super-chlorinated water, frequent showers, and incredibly dry winter air leads to really flaky, cracking, painful skin. Luckily, I had just received a whole slew of Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream (seriously, a full-size tube as well as a ton of mini samples) for free in the BzzKit from this BzzAgent campaign. A little goes a long way, so this was a really generous amount of product.

The best about this hand cream (beside the price, which is a totally reasonable $4.99 for around 200 applications) is that it really reverses the damage to your skin in one use. My skin feels so smooth after applying, and it lasts for hours. I used to work in a dental office, and with the constant hand-washing, we always kept an ultra-expensive hand cream around – I wish I had known about this product back then! It works as well, if not better, than other really pricey options. The packaging suggests you can use it on your lips, too. I haven’t tried that yet, but if it heals them like it does my hands, this is definitely going to become a winter staple in my house. It’s available in unscented too, so it won’t clash with your perfume.

Post Alpha-Bits Cereal

After joining this BzzCampaign, I received in the mail a free full-size box of Post Alpha-Bits cereal as well as some coupons. Super WHY! is my son’s favorite TV show, so he was thrilled to see Whyatt on the front of the cereal box. Then he realized there was food in the box, and forgot all about what was on it.

Cold cereal is a favorite snack in our house (and often one of two or three courses in my son’s breakfast – he can never have just one thing.) I tend to stay away from the super-sugary breakfast cereals (though I admit a weak spot for Cinnamon Toast Crunch) and usually purchase Cinnamon Life or Honey Nut Cheerios. I remember eating Alpha-Bits as a kid when my mom bought it on occasion, and I guess I sort of lumped it in with the sugary frosted cereal category in my head. I never really considered purchasing it for my family. Imagine my surprise when I found out that Alpha-Bits have less sugar than the cereals I usually buy, and a similar amount of whole grains.

And of course they are delicious! They stay crunchy in milk longer than the average cereal, and are not too sweet. Everyone in our house enjoyed them. My son is starting to learn to read and liked putting the letters together and asking me what they spelled. Some of them are a bit hard to recognize, although I suppose that’s to be expected when you’re making letters out of food.

Now here’s the problem – they don’t seem to be sold in any grocery store in my area, only at Target. I wonder why? I would probably buy them on occasion if they were found where I usually shop, but I don’ t find myself at Target very often, and when I do, I’m almost never purchasing food.

Smartfood Selects Snack Foods

I’m a snack food junkie, so I try not to buy snack foods all that often lest I find myself covered in orange cheese, having eaten an entire bag of Doritos in one sitting.  Smartfood Selects might change that though, because they are both tasty and not terrible for you.

As a bzzAgent, I received a free full-size bag of Sour Cream and Onion Puffed Corn as well as two snack size bags, one of Garlic Tomato Basil Hummus Popped Chips and one of Cinnamon Brown Sugar Multigrain Popped Chips.

The puffed corn was tasty (even though I’m not a sour cream fan) and had an odd but strangely addictive texture, like fluffier popcorn without the crunchy kernel part. My son didn’t really like them, but everyone else had mostly good things to say. The puffed corn was not too salty or too powdery (I hate that mess that gets all over your fingers!) I also liked the recloseable bag that it came in. We’re always losing our chip clips in this house. The bag lasted in our house about a week, and the product never got stale, even though it contains no preservatives. They’re also baked, not fried, so there’s no greasy residue all over your hands or the bag.

I liked the popped chips better. They have a great crunchy texture. I had some leftover caramel dip in the house so we ate the cinnamon chips with that and it was DELICIOUS. I’m a sucker for cinnamon and sugar, so these were my favorite! The hummus chips were really interesting. We eat a lot of hummus in our house and it never occurred to me that garbanzo bean flour might make a good chip! These were the favorites of my two-year-old as well as some of the other people who sampled the snacks. I can’t speak to the staying power of the chips, because none of them lasted long enough to get stale.

I’m glad to have found a snack food that I can bring to parties or even munch at home that isn’t loaded with artificial ingredients. While I’ll still eat snack foods only in moderation, I’m glad to have found a smarter choice!

Glade Expressions Collection

I live in a house with two cats, a dog, and a toddler that is still sometimes in diapers. Needless to say, it doesn’t smell like roses and freshly-baked bread in here all the time. Enter BzzAgent and the Glade Expressions Collection campaign! As part of my bzzKit for this campaign, they sent me coupons for two FREE products – one each of the Fragrance Mist and Oil Diffuser starter kits, plus a bunch of extra discount coupons. Yay! Two floors in my house, and they can both smell nice!

There are four scents in the line: Cotton & Italian Mandarin (scent mist only,) Fuji Apple & Cardamom Spice, Lavender & Juniper Berry, and Pineapple & Mangosteen. Where I redeemed my coupons (my local Target,) there were only three scents available for each product. I was hoping to pick up the lavender fragrance mist, but it wasn’t on the shelves, so I opted for the cotton instead. I planned on putting the spray in my upstairs bathroom, and I’m not a fan of food smells in there for obvious reasons. I also would have preferred the bamboo oil diffuser holder to go on my kitchen windowsill, but it only came in the pineapple scent and that one seemed a little too sweet for me, so I opted for the white holder and apple scent combo instead. It’s apple season anyway, right?

So, before picking up this fragrance mist, I really didn’t understand the point of refillable sprays. I mean, isn’t that just extra landfill fodder? But after pulling off the holder label, I get it. The design is clean and tasteful, and looks fine sitting out in my bathroom. (Bonus, guests don’t have to go searching through my cabinets to cover their shame!) Most of the branding is on the utilitarian refill, so the only thing you see is the stylish white silhouette of the holder. The scent is fine. I expected a really chemical smell, but it mostly just smells like hotel soap. What does cotton smell like anyway? I am firmly planted north of the Mason-Dixon line, so the only cotton I ever smell has been bleached, dyed, and woven within an inch of its life. In the future, I’m more likely to refill with lavender, assuming I can find it.

I like the apple scent more. It really smells like crisp, slightly spicy and sweet apples. Of course, that just made me want to make apple crisp all day,  and my poor husband was dying to go apple picking. (We got that out of our system shortly after.) The fragrance was really strong the first day, but mellowed out considerably in the following week. My sister-in-law commented on how nice the house smelled during a visit a few days after. We also went out of town for almost a week, and the house didn’t smell like cats when we got home! Now, about three weeks after putting the diffuser out, I can only occasionally smell it. I assume that’s because I’ve gotten used to it – it’s a lot easier to detect after I’ve been out of the house for awhile. My only complaint is that the once-white refill is starting to yellow at the top – the same way a reed diffuser turns darker at the ends. In the bamboo holder it might not be as obvious, but contrasted with the white one, it’s noticeable. I have it in a window, so maybe the light affects it somehow. I do appreciate the spill-free design, especially with a toddler and inquisitive cats.

All in all, I’m pretty likely to purchase a refill, at least for the diffuser (we don’t go through a whole lot of the spray in our house, but maybe now that I’m leaving it in plain sight, we will!)