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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Splenda NECTRESSE™ Sweetener - Not Just For Coffee Anymore

I have enjoyed NECTRESSE Sweetener in the usual suspects: coffee, tea, cereal. So when read that you could cook and bake with it, AND I saw the recipes on the NECTRESSE site, I had to give one a whirl.

I settled on the Pumpkin Walnut Pancakes. I chose to make them without the walnuts, as my family are not big fans. Here's my ingredients, all set to go. I actually made the pumpkin puree myself last fall and had it in the freezer ready to go.

Here's the next step...dry ingredients, wet ingredients, and egg whites, your standard recipe setup.


 Final mixing step: beating the egg whites to stiff peaks and folding them into the batter. This is an unusual step for pancake batter; I've never done this with any other recipe.

 And here you go, the finished pancake batter! It has a wonderful sweet, spicy aroma, like pumpkin pie.

 The test pancake cooking in the pan. It puffed quite a bit in the pan, but browned very nicely.

 Tada! The finished product. They're not perfectly I said, the batter tended to puff up and made for awkward turning. But the taste totally made up for a slight flaw in appearance.

The flavor was wonderful: spices, buttery, and lightly sweet My kids wiped them out, and never knew they were sugar-free. I feel comfortable using NECTRESSE, since is natural. I'm going to have to try more recipes...with kids, every bit of sugar you can eliminate helps!

I received this product complimentary from Influenster.

Dickinson's Original Witch Hazel Oil Controlling Towelettes - Not Your Average Towelette


 I got to try Dickinson's Original Witch Hazel Oil Controlling Towelettes, and it is a beauty revelation.

Straight up, this isn't a perfumey sweet item. It's pure, natural witch hazel, and  has the astringent scent associated with it. It takes getting used to, but it does dissipate quickly.

The sensation makes up for it. Both soothing and refreshing, it cleans oil without stripping and leaves skin soft and smooth. It's great for those days when you're trying to run out the door in five minutes and don't want to look like it.

Another save: I have a teen daughter, and her hygiene is less than ideal. She hates washing her face, and will do the zero hour trick to avoid it. Now I chase her with these Towelettes, and there's no escape. No more pimples and blackheads on my pretty girl's face, and less arguments, which is even better.

The wipes are a great size, and the packets are perfectly purse friendly, even with my little shoulder bag. Easy to keep with you anywhere, anytime.

I will be keeping these handy, for both me and the troubled teen. With the summer humidity headed our way in spades, Dickinson's Original Witch Hazel Oil Controlling Towelettes will be a wonderful addition not only to our regular cleaning regimen, but for a fresh boost anytime.

And, of course, I received this item complimentary in exchange for my review.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Sugar n' Spice, and Everything VoxBox!

Another Voxbox! Yes, I'm special, and I

What exactly did I get? I'm so glad you asked. Check out the splendid (or Splenda) bounty that is the Sugar n' Spice Voxbox:

Vaseline Spray and Go lotion, Dickinson's Witch Hazel Oil Controlling Towelettes, Belvita Breakfast Biscuits, Splenda Nectresse sweetener, and the Colgate Optic White dental regime. So wicked cool.

First, the Vaseline Spray and Go. Have you seen the commercial for this? The chick on that does one of the coolest things I've ever seen. Anyway, it really does work as it claims. You spray it on, kinda like those kid's sunscreen sprays, and then rub it in. The formula is very light and absorbs quickly, but really does moisturize, and it lasts. I had nasty winter dry skin, and a couple of shots of this did the trick. Oh, and the scent is AWESOME. Very light and fresh, and a touch fruity.

Dickinson's Oil Controlling Towelettes...these were a huge lifesaver. I have a teenager who would have perfect skin, except she insists she doesn't have time in the morning to wash her face, and forgets to do it at night. These Towelettes took away all of her excuses, the oil, and the acne. I loved the way they refreshed my skin. I have combination skin, and it was the perfect tool to touch up my oily T-zone without drying the other areas further.

Belvita Breakfast Biscuits!  I've been meaning to try these...I kept seeing them in the grocery store an wondering what they were like. I left them unattended, and my son and baby daughter raided them. I did manage to get one, however. They do not look impressive, sort of like oversized zwieback cookies. They taste really good, though. There's a hearty whole-grain feel to the bite, with a nice crunch, and there's a cinnamony graham cracker style to it. They're very satisfying, and perfect with coffee or tea. I'm planning to stash some in the car, since the kids like them so much. You can never have too many healthy snacks.

Splenda Nectresse Sweetener: I have had this item before, and love it. It's a natural sweetener made from Monkfruit, and is very good, with no chemical aftertaste I can discern. I also received a recipe guide, and decided to try my hand at the Pumpkin Walnut Pancakes.

I had my own homemade pumpkin puree, so it was a lot of fun. Here's the batter...the aroma is divine: of the delectable pancakes, cooking merrily in the pan:

They're really delicious. Not too sweet, but with a buttery, spicy flavor, and as I said, they smell lovely. You'd never imagine they were sugar-free. I didn't tell the kids, and they didn't notice. The clean plates tell the tale.

Finally, the Colgate Optic White regime. It includes the toothpaste, a special toothbrush, and a mouth rinse.  I'm a chronic coffee drinker, so my teeth are nowhere near pearly white. Frankly, they looked at Colgate Optic White and said, "Come at me, bro."

On the first use, my teeth looked only a bit lighter, but really felt clean. The toothpaste tasted like standard minty fresh type.   The mouth rinse was very reminded me of rinsing my mouth with peroxide. It makes you literally foam at the mouth, too, but it really gets into the crevices nicely. My gums felt healthier, too.

I've been using it for more than a week, and I see improvement every day. I'm going to stick with it for a while longer and see where I am. They may end up being my new dental buddies. They look pretty happy on my sink, don't they?

Many thanks to Influenster for the opportunity...I had a wonderful time trying all of these products.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Number 4 High Performance Hair Care...What a Ride!

As a member of the BirchBox Birchbloggers, I was granted the honor and opportunity to try three items from Number 4 High Performance Hair Care. Two from the L'eau de Mare line: Hydrating Shampoo and Hydrating Condition, plus the Blow Dry Lotion from the Jour d'automne Style Collection.

First, a bit about N4, as they like to be called. From their Manifesto:

(The most beautiful things in life are found in the simple.)

By combining nature's greatest ingredients, we make your hair be what it should be - the ultimate look that defines new stylistic territories. In short, while still being "Innovative, Lightweight, Color Protecting, Anti-Aging, 100% Vegan, Gluten Free, Sulfate and Sodium Chloride Free, Paraben Free.", they still keep class and style aplenty.

Seriously. Even the packaging screams class. If screaming can be considered classy. Look at this:

Is that not stunning? I kept thinking, there's no way there's shampoo in there. Ah, but I was wrong. It wasn't a disappointment, however, because the bottles inside were just as fabulous:

Can't you see these products in some movie star's marble bathroom? And lucky me, they graced mine instead.

For reference, here is my hair before trying No. 4:

Not exactly exciting, I know. Long, very fine, dry, ragged ends, oily scalp. Horrors and nightmares. Okay, maybe not a nightmare, but a royal pain in the...

Anyway, back to No. 4.  The containers, while gorgeous, are a bit awkward, but I figured it out.

The shampoo felt surprisingly light for a hydrating shampoo, and rinsed clean. I only needed to use one wash to feel clean, which is unusual for my hair. While it didn't weigh it down, at first, I didn't feel that it hydrated much, either. But then I ran my fingers through my hair, and it didn't tangle. So I kept the faith and moved on to the Condition.

Again, it didn't feel heavy at all. I ran it through my hair to the ends, and rinsed. I was unsure of how well it hydrated because it felt so clean, but I stepped out anyway.

Amazingly smooth. My brush hardly snagged, and that is beyond unusual. I moved on to the Blow Dry Lotion, running a small amount through to the ends as directed, and dried my hair.

My hair seemed to lost ten nearly floated.  Here's my after:

You can see that it looks thicker and fuller, but still nicely controlled. All three products deliver as promised, with the additional bonus of making me feel incredibly fancy and chic. Seriously...I could give these items as gifts, and the recipient wouldn't be offended at all. So very upscale.

The one thing I wasn't very thrilled with was the scent of the Shampoo and Condition, but that was a matter of personal preference. The Patchouli was very dominant, and it's not an element I'm very fond of. I tend to migrate toward fruitier scents, and this one was more along the lines of expensive perfume. It was a wonderful scent that brings to mind shining glass and precious stones, and for those with tastes that run along those lines, they will adore it. I did like the scent of the Blow Dry Lotion had a lighter, fresher scent.

So if you want to feel like the classiest girl in town, I'd put these items on your tub. Talk about taking you away.