Chocolate Mint Cookie Crunch Balance Bars Review + Giveaway

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I’m thrilled to share that Balance Bar has perfected the taste of “minty dessert goodness” with their Chocolate Mint Cookie Crunch Balance Bars. I have a long personal history with this amazing flavor. It dates back to my childhood when I would always pick mint chocolate chip from all the flavors of ice cream offered at our local shop, or when I had the pleasure of tasting those green and black mint chocolate delights that my mom broke out on special occasions. As I am now a much older adult my palate has changed on most everything, yet the mint flavor is still one that I flock towards. It’s usually in the form of something that I’ll regret having consumed the next morning, like a fattening dessert or a strong mojito. That has all changed now as Balance Bar has brought that same amazing taste into one of their healthy 40-30-30 bars. SCORE!!

If you don’t know about 40-30-30 you should read up on it, there is a ton of literature on this tried and true way of balancing your meals and overall diet. I love how I can now get this amazing taste in the form of a healthy bar. It’s not chalky or fake tasting like other mint bars I’ve tried, Balance has just nailed the taste and it’s just like a dessert bar. So go ahead and grab some as a snack for the road, the gym or the workbag.

My husband has been bringing them to work and eating one each day instead of raiding the vending machine (aka “The Wheel of Death”, as his coworkers call it). My kids would probably go through the whole box in one sitting if they had the chance… my family all agrees on something for once! If you buy the other Balance Bars (my favorites are Lemon Meringue, Honey Peanut and Chocolate Raspberry), this is another great winner to add in to your rotation. Check out Chocolate Mint Cookie Crunch Balance Bars, I have a strong feeling you will absolutely love them.

Giveaway : Want to win a big box of balance bar ?

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  3. Comment entry : What is your favorite healthy snack
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Winners will be picked within 10 days


One Direction – Take Me Home Beauty Collection Review

One Direction - Take Me Home Beauty Collection Review
You may have seen One Direction makeup, it’s pretty hot right now. Here’s a quick review on the Take Me Home Beauty Collection. I like One Direction a lot, but wasn’t sure if the makeup product from them would be good.
My results: Pleasantly surprised! I love the lip gloss, great lipstick ( perfect for daily to night out)
Pretty color eyeshadow… the nail varnish golden glitter color perfect for night out, not too powdery, better use with finger, glittery. The pink color is gorgeous. Another favorite of mine is the lip gloss, the color is not my everyday look, but I had fun with it and it’s great for a party or night out.

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Another great thing is that you get a lot of products, here’s all that’s included. I itemized all of it out and you save a ton by purchasing the kit:
· “Kiss You” Liquilights Glow Gloss – Orange glitter rush lip gloss that glows to neon yellow under UV light
· 4+1 Eye Shadow Palette in the perfect nude shades:
· “Back For You” (velvet crème), “Change My Mind” (peachy shimmer), “C’mon C’mon” (soft taupe), “Little Things” (smoky brown), “Take Me Home” (golden glitter crème)
· “Last First Kiss” – nude-pink sheer lipstick
· “Little Black Dress” – volumizing mascara in perfectly black
· “Live While We’re Young” – multi-dimensional gold glitter nail varnish
· “I Wish” – a warm chocolate brown eye and body crayon
· Includes 5 piece decorator stencil set! Decorate yourself, your stuff, your friends with One Direction doodles.
· Last but not least you get a pretty cool One Direction tin that it’s all kept in. J

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I’d say that this product is not for everyone as it’s not the most conservative in colors and styles. However, it you like to take some chances and mix it up with some bright shades then this is a great product with some really fun options. It’s very well priced, too!

Don’t forget to follow Make Up by One Direction on Facebook

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Easy Holiday Winter Drinks and Cocktails !

Check out Easy Holiday Winter Drinks & Cocktails

by Rika Ag at

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Do you know what goes great with chestnuts roasting on an open fire? A tasty winter cocktail in hand, of course! Hopefully you’ll be able to spend time this holiday season with friends and loved ones, and kick back some delicious beverages that are fun and seasonal. If you have a couple days off you can indulge a bit more than usual, have a nice nightcap or two (or more ;-) and then sleep it off the next morning. Certain flavors and spices really embrace winter and the festive spirit and the same goes for drinks. This is one area where I have no ego and definitely lean on recipes of friends and experts. I think the below recipes sound amazing and I’m proud to share them. Let me know how they work out for you!!

Disclosure : This is a sponsored opportunity with

Paula Dorf’s 2 + 1 for Brows #Review

Paula Dorf's 2 + 1 for Brows #Review

Creating the perfect looking eyebrows is by no means the easiest thing to do in our makeup routine. We must learn what to do with too much or too little hair, find the perfect color match and fill in any missing hairs or imperfections.  All of this and it needs to last all day.

Like haircuts, eyebrow shapes aren’t one-size-fits-all.  Getting great brows for you depends on the dimensions of your face.  Perfect arches can make your eyes look bigger and your face look younger. Beautiful brows will keep our face looks fresh, younger and of course more attractive while wearing less makeup . It’s all about practice (and more practice).

Paula Dorf's 2 + 1 for Brows #Review

paula dorf

I have thin and little hair on my eyebrows. I find difficulties to fill in any missing hairs without looking too fake. Before using a powder eyebrow, I only used to use pencil brows.  I had been purchasing different brands and still couldn’t find the best to create the perfect brows that look so natural and stay long. After searching online and getting some ideas from YouTube, I decided to try eye brow pallete ( powder). I started with a cheap drugstore brand which was less than $5 and unfortunately I had to stop using after i applied for the 1st time.  When am I going to learn?!   I went to Sephora and try one of the more well-known brands, the lady showed me how to use it and I was pretty satisfied with the result but it was quite pricey. I asked her opinion about buying the product. She was very honest and told me that I could  get the same result using other products with less money.

I recently had a chance to try this Paula Dorf’s 2 + 1 for Brows. Yes, i am so excited!  So please continue reading to read my full review! I will highlight some of the most important things for you when determining whether this product would be great for your eyebrows.

Price: $26 – not cheap but probably worth it if the product will help create the perfect brows.  Also, cheaper than a lot of competitors.
Company claims : Create perfect looking brows that last all day! 2 flattering colors + 1 light wax = natural-looking brows. This trio creates a perfect color match and fills in any missing hairs or imperfections for brows that last all day.

How to Apply: Dip Paula Dorf Brush into brow powder to pick up color then dip brush into wax and apply to brows.

About the Product: Use Paula Dorf’s 2 + 1 for Brows to create perfect looking brows that last! 2 flattering colors + 1 light wax = natural-looking brows. This trio creates a perfect color match and fills in any missing hairs or imperfections for brows that last all day.

Result: So easy to apply and long wear. Aboslutely natural looking brows, easy to adjust the color, darken or lighten as you wish. Its absolutely better than too faced eye brow kit i ever had. I also think the brush is wonderful.  Note: for this review I used the brunette – darker shade version of the Paula Dorf’s 2 + 1 for Brows.

Receive a code for a free brush with purchase! Use Code BROWBRUSH at checkout.


Beanitos – Non GMO Snacks Review

Beanitos - Non GMO Snacks Review



Beanitos – Non GMO Snacks Review

Beanitos sent us a bunch of bags to try of their snacks that uses beans instead of potato. corn or wheat.   They instead use either black, white or pinto beans.  Here’s a quick review on what we learned and how we like the product:


Beanitos are have only natural non-GMO ingredients.  They actually taste great!  Beanitos sent us a number of bags to try out so we just put them out at our Thanksgiving party.  I myself LOVED the different puffs varieties (so much healthier than cheese puffs).  The different chip varieties were also a big hit.  A lot of people were using them for dips (I thought they went especially well with the artichoke dip, it was like a fancy way of mixing in a black bean taste.  I saw others eating them straight out of the bag, perfect since there were 3 football games on (yeah, we ran out of Beanitos by the end of the day!).  All of the varieties had a nice crunch to them, and each flavor really popped too.


I especially like how these have tons of fiber and protein and do not have all of the weird chemicals that make up about 80% of the big name chips out there.  I had recently tried quinoa chips and put Beanitos in the same boat: they taste better than their unhealthy competitors!

I love guilt free snacking!  That’s what life is all about to me, enjoying the finer things without having to worry.  Beanitos make a product that fits right in with that, I can see them becoming a staple purchase in our home.  Please let me know what you all think of them.

Activz – Whole Foods Nutrition Review

Activz – Whole Foods Nutrition Review 

If you run a search on health food websites for supplemental powders, many will come up for protein or meal replacements. If however you want to find whole food powder you will have far-less options, and only a few with great reviews. The one that I found had the highest acclaims was Activz, so I was excited to try out their products for a review. Their whole food powder lines come in a great variety, from veggies like carrot, kale or sweet-potato, to fruits like raspberry or blueberry-acai, Activz has a great variety. What seems to separate them from the competition however is their patented dehydration process – “a method which evaporates only the water molecules while leaving vital nutrients intact”. I tried out their mixed berry and sweet potato and they both tasted great. They were potent and pure, just what I’m looking for in my supplemental powders.



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Watercress and Fennel Salad Recipe 

Add  some Fresh and Organic Ingredients : Watercress, Fennel, Tomatoes, Radish

Salad Dressing : 1 teaspoon of Activz Organic Mixed Berry  and 2 teaspoon of White Balsamic Vinegar

Activz has a website with plenty of recipes. You can make these powders the centerpiece of a meal like a smoothie, or add them in to soups, salads or other entrees to add flavor and especially healthy doses of fruits and veggies to a meal. Check out their website, (it’s the one with Montel Williams stating that Activz is revolutionizing the way the world eats. Pretty cool story there about him being diagnosed with MS and his health perspective.

I am looking forward to trying out the coconut water powder next, yum! I could drink that stuff all day didn’t know that it was in powder format from a leader in the supplemental industry. It should save me a lot of money and not compromise the nutritional value.

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Dermaflage Review : Conceals Scars & Wrinkles Instantly

Dermaflage Review : Conceals Scars & Wrinkles Instantly

I recently had a chance to do a product review on Dermaflage. They claim to hide any recessed imperfection for 36 hours, be it from an accident, surgery, acne or wrinkles. To me this sounded like an awesome product as I myself have some lines and scars that I always want to hide. My mom is in the same boat, and I thought it’d be fun to use her as my guinea pig for a change.

My Mom’s After (top) and Before ( bottom) picture : 


How it works: I learned on the Dermaflage website that it “uses silicone to stimulate the skin and fill in sunken scars”. It can be applied anywhere on the body, not just the face. One great plus is that it matches your skin tone and color, too. It is a three step process, first you prime the area you wish to conceal, next apply the Dermaflage and blend it into the skin. Lastly place the Texture Pad over the blend and press around the edges of the scar for a minute or so.

Results: Holy cow, the results were immediate and blew me away! We used it around the eye area as that’s where she and most people have the most wrinkles that they want to hide. Don’t just go off of my words, these before and after pictures I’m including speak volumes! There are no other products being applied in these pictures, just the Dermaflage. It’s amazing what an impact it makes, and all in anon-invasive way without needles (yikes) or makeup.

Positives: The product is amazing, it seems to turn back the clock years on everyone that uses it and make them look younger or more care free by hiding wrinkles and scars. The product has a lot of big names in Hollywood using and backing it, but the company is still grounded in offering full refunds on their starter kits for 30 days. The products are waterproof, allergy tested as well as clinically and dermatologist tested.

Negatives: The process takes a few minutes to figure out the first time as you have to mix a couple of components. It was still quick though, and was super easy the second time around.

Please try out this product and let me see the results. I’d love to hear from those of you that try it out and would be thrilled if you could share before/after pictures. Thanks!

SmileBrilliant Teeth Whitening System Review

SmileBrilliant Teeth Whitening System Review


SmileBrilliant Teeth Whitening System Review

I’m super excited today as we had the opportunity to do a review on SmileBrilliant, the makers of a highly regarded DIY teeth whitening system. Their process is simple, yet extremely professional.

Smile Brilliant

Alternative products we’ve tried in the past:
My husband is the perfect person to try these as he’s used the full gamut of products out there, having problems with each of them:
- Visit to dentist: this worked but it was super expensive! Insurance didn’t cover it either as it was cosmetic.

- Whitening toothpaste: very little success with this one, changes were only margin able

- Whitening strips: had a tough time applying them and keeping them on. Not cheap for the quality of the results and they . Also, these can damage tooth enamel if used improperly (which is very easy to do).

With the aforementioned issues he had kind of done away with teeth whitening and to be honest it shows (sorry babe!). Based on the below pic you can see his teeth have a yellowish tint, lots of room for improvement:

It will be fun to show the after picture side-by-side and see how far along the spectrum it moves with SmileBrilliant.

Smile Brilliant provides lab direct, custom-fitted teeth whitening trays and whitening gel from the comforts of
home. There is no need to visit a dentist and spend $600+ on the same professional teeth whitening service.

SmileBrilliant is convenient and easy:
My husband is one of those people that rarely goes to the doctor to get a physical, and is resistant to go to the dentist. Instead of going twice a year as recommended he goes about once every 1.5 years. He’s not one of those people that dreads going to the dentist, rather it’s just the process of making the appointment, going over there, getting held up in the wating room… it’s a hassle! Here’s the SmileBrilliant process and why my husband is already a big fan over the option of whitening at the dentist office:
Step 1: Simply order online and they send a kit to your door in a couple of days.

Step 2: The kit arrives with a form to fill out and some putty that you mix and place in a tray, and use to take impressions of your teeth. The process was very fast and easy, as advertised it only took us about 10 minutes. The instructions were clear and easy to follow, even easier than other cosmetics with instructions that I’ve reviewed in last couple of weeks. We dropped those trays into a prepaid envelope and sent off to the SmileBrilliant lab this morning. Done-deal, super easy.

Step 3: Their labs create your trays using the exact same process as your dentist would. They are of premium quality and come with syringes of extras like a 2 year warranty, a satisfaction guarantee, a carrying case (perfect for travelers but also to help protect against pets!).

Step 4: Apply the whitening gel to the trays and wear them for 1-3 hours a day for a week.

Steps 1 and 2 were simple, can’t wait for my husband to get the trays and see his teeth start to whiten. We are saving literally hundreds of dollars compared to the alternative of going to the dentist, and it’s been such a simple process thus far. We’ll send you an updated review on whether steps 3 and 4 go as easy as advertised, and how well the product works for my husband. Stay tuned!

Follow SmileBrilliant on Facebook 

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Apothecary Extracts 100% Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil Review + Giveaway

Apothecary Extracts 100% Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil Review + Giveaway


Apothecary Extracts 100% Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil Review + Giveaway

About the company : Apothecary Extracts was founded in 2013.  They company only carry essential oils that they are 100% confident represent the best quality and potency available. Apothecary Extracts is committed to selling only the purest essential oils, available only at

Product benefits/uses : Tea Tree Oil is one of the most versatile essential oils. Naturally fight Acne, Toenail Fungus, Lice, Yeast Infections, Skin Tags, Cold Sores, Dandruff, Ringworm, Fleas, Warts, Psoriasis, and More.
Use to make your own Shampoo, Lotion, Soap, Face Cleaner, Body Wash, and Toothpaste.

My review : The tea tree oil is 100% undiluted, and without impurities while many essential oils are diluted to cut costs. For only $24.95 you will get a huge bottle of 4 Ounce Apothecary Extracts 100% Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil Value Pack, including Free eBook 50+ Uses for Tea Tree Oil. This bottle will last you over a year even with regular uses. I also love the 110% money back guarantee, if you are not satisfy, you can return the product within 30 days for a full refund

I’ve been using the product as an aroma therapy, it helps  reducing my stress level and help ease my insomnia. I just apply a drop behind my neck, on my wrist as we normally use when applying perfume. This tea tree oil is also perfect for a nice hot bath time. I found this is the most relaxing way to feel spa at home. Tea tree oil is known for its topical antiseptic and anti-fungal treatment or infection-reducing benefits . It Heals skin infections naturally and may be use to clear acne. I’ve tested some of tea tree oil on my DIY masks. It helps clear my skin and blemishes.

I think  this is a great product to keep with tons of benefits and the price is insanely affordable. It lasts for about a year!