Tag: Review

Enhancing My Coffee

I am proud to call myself a coffee addict. I am not trying to be a part of Coffee Addicts Anonymous. But rather I am declaring my love for that morning wake-me-up. And I can almost say with 100% confidence that those around me love that I have my morning cup (or two since we are being honest) because without it I admit to limited functionality…and even some outbursts of aggression.

So I started to research some new additives for my coffee to change it up a little. I tried creamers which were quickly shot down because of the heaviness of the cream and the chemicals in many of the popular brands. I tried adding a shot or two of Starbucks sugar syrups only to realize how many empty calories I was consuming! I also came the realization that I don’t like my coffee that sweet anyway. I even tried switching up my milk selection and trying cashew, oat, almond – even went back to dairy for a bit. I then came across this ideaology called “Bulletproof Coffee” with the catchy headline that stated:

“It’s a high-performance drink that has a massive impact on your energy and cognitive function. Bulletproof Coffee has helped everyone from driven CEOs to professional athletes to busy parents increase their energy so they can do more of what fulfills them.”

Intrigued at the opportunity to essentially spike my coffee game and get an increase amount of energy that is supposed to last throughout the day, I jumped on the bandwagon.

I found a recipe online which consisted of the Bulletproof coffee (substituted for my Kirkland coffee), ghee (think butter fat) and bought the Brain Octane Oil on Amazon.

The results that are expressed on Bulletproof’s website state that I should experience the following:

1) Suppressed hunger. Brain Octane Oil balances ghrelin and CCK, your hunger hormones, keeping you full until lunch.

2) Steady lasting energy. The saturated fat in grass-fed butter slows the absorption of caffeine, which gives you even energy for several hours instead of a caffeine spike and crash. No jitters, either.

3) Mental clarity. Brain Octane rapidly converts to ketones, a type of molecule that your brain uses more efficiently than carbs or sugar.

Okay so I didn’t use the Bulletproof coffee but couldn’t justify paying $14.99+ for 12 ounces of grounded coffee beans. So I guess the question is if the ghee and oil helped? I bet you can guess the answer…

I tested out the oil component several ways over the course of a few weeks to give it a fair shake and I cannot notice a difference at all except that my coffee now leaves my lips moisturized and there looks to be a film on the top of my cup. I blended it and it did nothing to make it better other than a frothy cup of coffee -also nearly impossible to do during the week because it’s more of a pour and go in the morning. I added the ghee even though I am trying to be calorie conscientious because a little extra fat cannot hurt, right? Then I tried the oil without the ghee because why am I starting my day with extra literal fat.

I really gave this a go. I really wanted this to work because who wouldn’t want to jumpstart their day with extra energy, eliminate the brain fog (ESPECIALLy on Monday mornings), suppress my nagging cravings to snack… I even got my husband to give it a try and see if this was a hormonal thing. We tried it on weekends AND during the week (yep, even woke up earlier to dedicate the time to try this). We tried it on nights we slept well and nights were sleep alluded us. We tried it with frothy milk and with our regular cup. The end result was a major fail for us. 

Maybe I need to try this with the coffee but I still cannot bring myself to shell out the cash for the coffee grinds just yet. They did start to carry this brand at my local grocery store so if I can get my hands on a coupon, I’ll try it and see if that combination makes it better. But for now, I have to pass on this one.

So inquiring minds want to know…. Have you tried bulletproof coffee or brain octane oil? Have you ever added butter to your coffee? Do you add anything extra to your cup in the morning?

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Zone Perfect Nutrition Bar Review

On a journey to find something healthy, something quick, and something tasty, I have been started the daunting task of buying different nutrition/protein bars. Below is my review of Zone Perfect Nutrition Bar.

Let me first start off with information on the product as can be found on Amazon:

  • PROTEIN: ZonePerfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Nutrition Energy bars are packed with 10 grams of protein to keep you going through your day
  • VITAMINS: A good source of 18 vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants (Vitamins C, E, and Selenium) to help support your immune system
  • FLAVOR: Chunks of chocolate inside, drizzles of chocolate outside and the delicious doughy texture of cookie dough all throughout
  • INGREDIENTS: Our snack bars do not contain any artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols

Also, here is a list of their ingredients:

Brown Rice Syrup, Corn Syrup, Chocolate Drops (Sugar, Chocolate Liquor, Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla), Sodium Caseinate, Soy Protein Isolate, Sweet Cream Layer (Corn Syrup, Fructose, Palm Kernel Oil, Milk Protein Isolate, Natural Flavor, Salt, Soy Lecithin), Whey Protein Isolate, Brown Sugar, Pasteurized Whole Egg Powder, Fructose Syrup, Chocolate Flavored Coating (Sugar, Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil, Cocoa Powder [Processed with Alkali], Soy Lecithin, Nonfat Milk Powder, Vanilla), Glycerine, Less than 2% of the Following:, High Oleic Safflower Oil and/or High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Butter Powder (Butter [Cream, Salt], Nonfat Milk, Tocopherols, Ascorbyl Palmitate), Calcium Phosphate, Peanut Butter, Natural Flavor, Chocolate Powder (Natural Cocoa Powder, Sugar, Chocolate Liquor, Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla), Salt, Vitamin & Mineral Blend (Calcium Phosphate, Ascorbic Acid [Vit. C], Magnesium Oxide, dl-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate [Vit. E], Niacinamide [Vit. B3], Zinc Oxide, Calcium Pantothenate [Vit. B5], Ferrous Fumarate [Iron], Pyridoxine Hydrochloride [Vit. B6], Vitamin A Palmitate, Riboflavin [Vit. B2], Thiamine Mononitrate [Vit. B1], Folic Acid [Vit. B9], Chromium Chloride, Biotin [Vit. B7], Sodium Selenite, Sodium Molybdate, Cyanocobalamin [Vit. B12])


So now on to the actual review!

I bought these (thanks, Target) on a whim as I had heard of the Zone Diet and was intrigued that this came in several flavors including chocolate chip cookie dough and double dark chocolate. For those of you that do not know about the Zone Diet, you can click here for some information but essentially, like all diets, its mission is weight loss, its claim to fame is that you balance your hormone levels/blood sugar while staying “in the zone” and its process is complicated! I am definitely not advocating the Zone Diet, but I figured the bars were worth a try…

Now if you’ve ever had a meal replacement bar, a protein bar, or a “nutrition bar” you know those things can get hard like rocks, chewy like gum, or taste like chalk! Now, these bars actually taste good but my goodness are they sweet! Yes, I know I went for chocolate chip cookie dough but 18g of sugar in 1.58oz (45g) of a bar???? That’s 40% of the bar being nothing but sugar! How that adheres to the “zone diet” I have no idea because it must send your blood sugar levels through the roof! And yes, I know they say their bars “do not contain any artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols”. However, in the ingredients list has several syrups, sugars, oils, and butters which are definitely not good – plut the dreaded “natural flavor” is in there on repeat which is not good because it is essentially lab created but with “natural” components. Okay, let me say though that the bars do taste good overall and they are chewy without being rubbery!

Final thoughts – Would I buy these again? No. It’s not that they did not taste good but I do not feel full or sustainable after eating these. Typically a bar with 10-12g of protein should leave you feeling a bit more full than these do. Also, I am not one for sweets (I totally prefer savory snacks) so the fact that these are so sweet are a bit of a turnoff for me. I have also tried these pre- and post- workout and again, I do not feel satisfied so I am prone to eat again which is counterintuitive.

Cost – $15.99/12 bars (Amazon) or $8.99/10 (Target)

Healthy Home

So one of the steps I have looked at for my health journey is looking at the products I use in my home. Is that air freshener really good for me? Is there a better alternative to clean my furniture? Could there be a better way to organize my pantry items? How can I feel safer in my home and protect my family? I live in an apartment – how could I make improvements to save money every month?

Below are some items and techniques that I added to my home the past few months, have tested, and could not live without! Some were investments, some were quick fixes, but overall they all took my place from an apartment to my home.

Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. While this does not impact your experience or cost with the product, if you purchase through my link, I do receive a small percentage. This allows me to continue bringing you original content and testing out new products. Photos are stock from the retailer’s website – they are not mine.

The first place I wanted to look for a healthier alternative is in the laundry. We all know this is one of the areas we neglect – mostly because we never quite seem to get around to the folding part. But after finding out just how bad those dryer sheets are for the skin, and how they actually repel water (which is the opposite of what you want your towels to do), I made the switch to these wool dryer balls. I bought the six-pack for cost effectiveness but also to give me options. I say options because I get to use my essential oils and customize my laundry scent. For example, lavender for my sheets and tangerine for my towels! They remove static and help reduce drying time because they are wool. They are reusable so one order from a year ago is still going!

This one is a double benefit because it is environmentally friendly and a cost saver! I bought these toilet tank bags in 2018 when I wanted to find a good way to start saving water (we have to pay for water every month) because I know that every flush is an exorbitant amount of water wasted. You’re literally flushing money down the toilet. I bought these tank bags, filled them with water, and placed them in the tank. That day, the amount of water expelled was significant which has reduced our water bill every month. And the best part is that they are holding up great even in the hard water. They are filled with water so they are reusable and conveniently clip to the side of the tank – never obstructing anything inside!

Though new to the house, this is something that I am not quite sure how I lived without! This is the Mealthy CrispLid for pressure cookers (like my instant pot). This is essentially an air fryer but without the need of buying an additional gadget. This allows us to enjoy our not so healthy foods in a much healthier way. We have already made “fried” chicken, french fries, tater tots, and a few other items! If you have an Instant Pot, or a pressure cooker of any kind, I highly recommend getting this!

I have these in BOTH of my crisper drawers and I am so glad I took the plunge to test these out. These are OXO Good Grips GreenSaver Standing Crisper Drawer Insert (2 Pack) and they are amazing little gadgets! So what are these? They are pyramid shaped containers that house enhanced carbon filters which absorb ethylene gas to keep produce fresh longer. And they really work! They will not keep the cucumber crisp for weeks but definitely a lot longer than without. In fact, I was able to get my lettuce to last 4 days longer having this than without them. And they are reusable so I have the filters auto-delivered every couple of months so I can keep my produce longer!

Back to that laundry conversation from earlier… If you ever do laundry at home and don’t want to throw that expensive sweater in the dryer or those jeans because if they shrink one more fraction of an inch, it’ll be WWIII when you try to put them on again…then you need this foldable laundry drying rack by Amazon Basics. It keeps my clothes from getting damaged in the dryer, reducing drying time, and folds up for easy storage!

I have two of these air purifiers by aer -one in each bedroom. They are compact, relatively noiseless and powerful. I even have the filters on auto-ship from Target because of the amount of dust and airborne particles. They have three speeds with the lowest being almost impossible to hear. The filters are easily replaceable and there is a date setting at the top to remind you when you changed and when you need to change the filters. These are great for small rooms, like a bedroom or office.

This compact steamer has been a staple in my home since late 2018 and is used often! I was honestly hesitant to get this because it is plastic but I needed to find an alternative for my husbands’ dress shirts as ironing was not cutting it. I also needed something to help me refresh garments that weren’t quite laundry mat material but not quite fresh either. So I took the plunge and bought this steamer for $25 and am so glad I did! This heats up quickly (within a minute) and the aluminum interior keeps the water hot the entire time you’re using it; the plastic exterior is easy to hold and doesn’t get hot. It even comes with a carrying case so you can take it with you when you travel because you know all those clothes are getting wrinkled in that suitcase!

Each of these products have helped us directly, or indirectly, start making our home a healthier place to live. I really am grateful that I had the opportunity to integrate these pieces into my home and have already purchased some of these several times over for gifts!

Inquiring minds want to know if you have found any household items that you simply cannot live without and how has it helped you? Comment down below!

Amazon Favorites – July

It’s the second half of the year and we are turning the corner on holiday shopping!! I know, you did not want to be reminded of that when the temperatures are nearing 100 and the sun doesn’t set till almost 8pm, but it’s true…

In fact, I have already started my savings account for holiday shopping. Using Digit (which I posted about here), I have started a bucket of funds for the holidays specifically so I know how much I can spend and am not hit with a large bill in December/January! I have also started to write my list AND buy some off-season items so I am ahead of the game.

One of the great things about Amazon and the month of July is the famous (or infamous) Amazon Prime Day which became Prime Days this year. It allowed us to buy a couple of the off items that we have been eyeing for ourselves or the house and not spend as much as we normally do. Plus we started our Amazon Gift Card which automatically renews monthly (giving us our spending limit) and adds an additional 2% if you link your checking account.

So with all of that, lets dive into July’s Amazon haul!

Disclaimer: Please note that these photos are the stock photo from Amazon; they are not mine. Also all links are affiliate and if you purchase the item through my link, I do receive a small profit but it does not change the price or experience for you!

After doing some research on shower puffs, or poofs or loofas or whatever you call them, it was apparent that the bacteria that was festering was too much for me! So I wanted a better alternative. I tried hand towels but that just felt awkward, didn’t provide a good lather, and ultimately would be only a slight improvement to the loofah unless you washed it every time you used it. Then I tried just the bar of soap but that was ill-fated. So I found this silicone loofah on Amazon and because of its material, it does not harbor bacterial growth the way that the loofahs do as it rinses clean every time and is not as permeable. I have to say that after using it for almost a month now, I will NOT go back and have already bought one for my mom and husband! It allows the soap to lather well, rinses completely clean, and is soft enough for all areas of the body. The reverse side has harder, exfoliating heads so you can scrub a little better on your arms, legs, what have you. For only $8.99, I think that this silicone loofah is amazing!!

So maybe this is TMI, but since we all go #2, having one of these in the home is so helpful -especially if you share a bathroom with someone! I bought this as a part of the Amazon Prime Day sales. I had tried this in the past but stopped buy them because my husband and I wanted a less floral scent than the original ones. So we tried this one and loved it so much, we signed up for the subscribe and save! We want to have one in each bathroom we, as well as guests, can have their own bottle! It normally is around $10-$12 per individual bottle.

Another item from the Prime Day deals is this back-up battery from Anker. With having so many technological gadgets running on battery and traveling so much, having an extra battery is fundamental. However so many models are big, heavy, and cumbersome to try and cram into a bag with the power cords and adapters. This model is very slim and compact but carries a big charge! It charges quickly and works on Android as well as Apple products – in fact it can charge my iPhone 2x on one charge! It even comes with a carrying bag so it doesn’t get scuffed up and it’s silicone exterior won’t scuff your phone! This is currently $35 dollars but the price has fluctuated. Click here to purchase yours!

I have been wanting to get over-the-ear headphones for over a year now but could not bring myself to shell out hundreds of dollars! So I purchased off-brand headphones that went in your ear for the gym and traveling but it would get annoying especially on a long flight. So when I saw these for 1/2 the price on Amazon during Prime Day, I bought TWO – one for myself and one for my husband. I figured that if they didn’t work, I could return them but if they did, it would be a steal. And thankfully it was! These have a 30+ hour playtime, are noise-canceling, and are super comfortable! I even fell asleep with these on! They are bluetooth but also come with a connection cord if you are on a plane, for example. They are made by COWIN and come in so many great colors! You can use them to listen to music, talk, or just to drown out the surrounding noise. These are the E7 model, which has been recently upgraded, but I honestly don’t need anything other than these! They are great! They are currently $59.99 with a $10 coupon!!

So many of you know that I no longer drink regular dairy milk anymore and have switched almost exclusively to almond milk. While it is delicious, one of the draw backs is that I cannot get those gourmet lattes at home as good as those purchased at those fancy coffee shops (you know who I am talking about). Almond milk just doesn’t foam/froth as well as regular milk so my coffees were always standard and my matcha lattes never had that little extra “oomph”. So when I saw this on sale, I figured it was worth the $10 to try it and worst case, I could save it for the holidays when I make hot cocoa with regular milk for my family or when my husband wants to make coquito – Puerto Rican egg nog (more on that during the holidays). With two AA batteries, I washed this and gave it a go… The results are amazing!!!!!! And clean-up is a breeze. It comes with a stand to prevent damage to the device as well which makes for a nice little display. It also works with eggs and powdered supplements! I can froth my almond milk for my morning coffee in less than 30 seconds!! I honestly don’t know why I didn’t try this sooner. This milk frother by Zulay is currently $14.99 with a $3.00 off coupon.

My husband and I have been working on making some important changes in our home – some of them including green cleaning products while others are healthier alternatives for those overly fragrant aerosols. So I decided to try one of the top rated Amazon diffusers with my doTERRA oils (more on this in a future post) to see if this could truly replace those candles or sprays. I actually took this one to my office to try it before buying one for the home especially since it is only $14.99 (currently with a $2.00 off coupon). This little diffuser is no bigger than the iPhone X but it packs quite the punch! It does light up if you want it to too and can either change colors or stay one color depending on your preference – I personally don’t use the light option in my office. It also has the option for intermittent diffusing -30 seconds on, 30 off or continuous. It has a large enough reservoir that I can have it running for an 8-hour day and I still have some leftover. It evenly dispersing my essential oils and leaves my space fresh and with a hint of cool mist which is essential when living in a very dry climate! I highly recommend the InnoGear diffuser for bedrooms or smaller rooms in your home as it is whisper quiet and has an auto-off feature so when it runs out of water, it turns off! You really should try the Ultrasonic Diffuser!

So I didn’t go completely overboard in July but I definitely purchased more than I had anticipated! These have all been great additions to the home and were items that I was already waiting to buy any way so I did not overly indulge in my splurge Amazon shopping. And of course with Prime these all came in 24 or 48 hours which far beats many other retailers for only shopping!

Have you tried any of these items? What are your thoughts? Anything that you want me to purchase and review for you? Comment below!

Hair Coloring FAIL!

When you have curly hair like I do, getting ANYTHING done to it is very time consuming and often way out of budget. So when I decided I wanted to try something new and lighten my hair, I researched any option I had and came after hours of hunting and millions of IG ads, I came across Madison Reed. Madison Reed is a “do-it-yourself but better” home hair coloring kit. It is not a box kit that you can buy at a grocery store or Ulta, but rather an online company with licensed stylists and colorists on call. They use healthy ingredients and I watched a multitude of YouTube videos including @biancareneetoday who also has curly hair and did their highlighting without damage. Since my hair was healthy and my old highlights lightened so much that they were almost white, I decided to take the assessment and give it a try -it’s only hair right?

After answering several questions, which are the same questions that my stylist would ask, I was presented with a brown that was supposed to be a lighter shade but would still match my overall color. I hesitated but I took the plunge. The kit was about $20 in total and there were multiple guides, videos, and like I said, colorists on standby. After about 3-5 days, my box arrived!

Once Saturday’s workout was complete, I washed my hair and prepped it for coloring. The following day, I started the coloring process. There was step-by-step instructions which I followed to a “T”. When I mixed the ingredients, I noticed the color was very dark but the experts knew what they were doing, right? I have to say that there was no smell which, in my small bathroom, was amazing. I was able to part my hair and color my whole head without running out and waited the time indicated in the instructions. I was so nervous but excited –something new and lighter to match my new Cali life while getting rid of my over done highlights from years past.

After what felt like forever, but was really only 30 minutes, I rinsed out my hair and immediately I knew something was wrong. My hair felt dry and brittle. I added the conditioner which helped a tiny amount and thought I just needed to add my products and it would be fine –or at least that’s what I told myself. Fast forward to the next day when it all finally dried and my hair was BLACK.

I freaked out. This is NOT what I wanted or expected. This is not the color I picked or was “expertly assigned” as per the website’s picture -this was literally black. After the tears were done, I immediately contacted Madison Reed for help and started to research any way to fix this complete flop!

Almost 48 hours later because of time zones and all that, I heard back from one of the experts and was told to buy the glaze and they’d send me a new color for free. Wait…buy another product? I made sure that Madison Reed had a good guarantee when I purchased the initial color because I know my hair is, well, it has a temper of its own. So when I was told to buy another product and then apply another color, I knew I was on my own to fix this.

I have to say though, that the customer service at Madison Reed is on point! They ended up refunding my original purchase after I declined the “fix” and apologized for any issues.

That is when I turned to home remedies, which I have to say actually work! Ever heard of the Vitamin C mixture to remove coloring? Neither did I till I frantically researched options which led me to CVS and purchased 100 tablets of vitamin C and Head&Shoulders shampoo. I crushed up 40 tablets of vitamin C and mixed in enough shampoo to make a thick gel-like consistency. I applied that to my hair and rubbed like there was no tomorrow. Slowly, slowly the color began to turn the soap-suds into a brown color and after 3 washes, my hair started to lighten.

Today, my highlights are returning and my hair looks more like dark chocolate than midnight black. However, my hair does not feel the same ever since the coloring. Could it be the color? Maybe. Could it be the vitamin C? Definitely doesn’t help as the vitamin C does dry the hair. Either way, I have been working diligently to resuscitate my curls with masks, deep conditioning, and gentle shampoo. And my lesson? Save a few bucks every month and get a REAL professional to do my hair coloring…at a salon…correctly.

So tell me … have you had an at home hair color horror story??