Saturday, October 18, 2014

Wellness Rhi-flection: Viva Labs Organic

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of being contacted by a brand I'd worked with in the past and had a positive experience with, Viva Labs. I'd tried their oganic coconut oil and loved it. So when I was offered the chance to try some of their newest products I jumped at the chance since a couple were ones I'd been wanting to check out and another was one I was already trying to introduce into my health and wellness routine.

I received:

  • Organic Chia Seeds
  • Organic Cacao Powder
  • Organic Maca Powder
  • Organic Coconut Flour
  • Organic Coconut Sugar

I was already a fan of chia seeds so they were my first product I busted open to try. I'll admit that I compared them to the bulk bin ones I already had from the local shop I like for stuff like this and I honestly couldn't tell the difference. Since they were actually comparable in quality the only real difference was the price. The local stuff is a little less in cost but I would still recommend Viva Labs' product because it comes in a reclosable bag. They're excellent in smoothies and I love chia pudding!

Next up I dove into the Maca because I'd read a lot about their hormone helping properties. Since undergoing sterilization last year my hormones have been completely out of whack and I've had crazy PMS and menstrual problems that I've never previously experienced. I found that it's rather nutty in smell and taste but that I honestly don't like it. Which means that it's one I hide in other foods to help me combat the hormone chaos. I found it hard to hide in smoothies but that when I make avocado-cacao pudding it adds only a subtle flavor that I can tolerate. I've been really happy with the results and will probably switch to it in tablet form if they ever offer it.

The cacao was next as I am obsessed with cacao's health benefits right now. Every single time I use it I feel good! I notice that just a teaspoon added to a cup of coffee (I like mine black) helps even out the energy boost. But when it all boils down it's pretty much the chocolate at heart which means it's great added homemade nut milk—if you follow this blog you've seen that already—and my favorite, avocado-cacao pudding! I've tried other brands and been happy but this one is crazy smooth and doesn't have the bitter, burned undertones others have had. I highly recommend it.

Coconut Sugar Ice Cream
I jumped on the coconut sugar right away because I wanted to see if it tasted like coconut. Since I like coconut I wouldn't have minded but for those who don't you'll be glad to find out it doesn't! I used it in so many things like coffee, smoothies, and even with cereal but the biggest hit was homemade ice cream that was literally just 3 cups of heavy cream and 3/4 cup of the coconut sugar. It is one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten. I will be purchasing it a lot just to make this recipe. It gives a carmel-like flavor that is stellar.

Lastly, I found myself stumped on what to do with the coconut flour. I've never worked with it before and most of the recipes I found weren't things I'd eat. Ultimately, I went with banana bread but found that it was way too dry, tasted like sand, and felt like eating sand. My recipe was obviously the problem because the flour is nice. It smells good and has a nice texture. I've been thinking I might try using it for making homemade popcorn shrimp or chicken.

Overall, I continue to be really impressed with the quality of each product I have tried from Viva Labs and I hope to get to explore more of their wellness options, in particular their Optimal Greens and their Magnesium have caught my eye.

Notes: I received a sample pack of products in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own and were not influenced by the complimentary nature of said items.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Wellness Rhi-view: Youphoria Yoga Mat

Youphoria Yoga Mat
Company Site: website
Product Details: TOP RATED MATERIAL - Youphoria Yoga's top-grade, high density memory foam helps you stabilize your hands and feet during yoga poses or workouts but doesn't make you lose stability. This yoga mat relieves pressure points in various yoga poses and offers much needed joint relief during impact workouts. This material does not wear like ordinary mats. Great for the long haul!
ULTIMATE GRIP - Top-rated material also means performance where it counts and when it counts. The proprietary grip circles on the bottom of the mat keep it from sliding, even on the smoothest of surfaces. The top-side is built with a unique blend of grip, stability, and comfort, so your hands and feet won't slide. You can maintain balance, and the hard surface below you doesn't wear on your joints!
ODOR FREE - Do you hate the smell of new yoga mats?! Our Youphoria Yoga Mat is not manufactured with any harsh chemicals meaning it shows up odor free and ready to use. You should be concentrating on your yoga practice, not the smell of your new mat!
ECO FRIENDLY - Youphoria Yoga's high density memory foam material is SGS Approved and free from Phthalates. Meaning it is free of harmful chemicals and toxins making it safe for the environment and most importantly, YOU!

LIMITED TIME OFFER: We are offering $27.99 (50% off) for the first 500 customers. Also, buy one Youphoria Yoga Towel and one Youphoria Yoga Mat and get $5.50 OFF your Total Purchase and Qualify for FREE SHIPPING when you ENTER CODE 1MAT1TWL at checkout!

My new favorite Yoga brand. (5 Stars)
By nature I'm an extremely anxious person. It's embarrassing to admit it but everything stresses me out. From seeing a down vote on a review to realizing I'm out of milk the moment my preschooler wants a bowl of cereal. The last thing I need is more stress when it comes time to workout or meditate. But let's face it, picking a great mat can be challenging. My last mat was a cute hot pink leopard print, perfect for getting my mojo going for pilates but it was so thin and stunk so much when I first got it. It also began flaking right away.

When I got the opportunity to try the Youphoria Yoga Mat in exchange for a review I was really skeptical. The brand was unfamiliar and they were so plain. But I was stoked to find a pure black mat that boasted an ecofriendly material and no odor so I figured it was worth my time to give it a test.

I was absolutely blown away from the moment I ordered. I received an email from Youphoria thanking me for my order and telling me to check out their resources for stress relief, meditation practices, yoga poses, and deals on their website. The brand has a very friendly, helpful vibe that goes beyond the every day purchase experience. When the mat arrived I found it was even better than I'd anticipated. It's thick and plush, which made it perfect for my sensitive knees. Unlike other mats I've tried this one was long enough for me! I'm 5' 9" tall and often have trouble with mats long enough for plank and warrior, not so with this one. The grip is great and so far I'm having no flaking. I workout at home so it's not necessary for my need but there is an included carrying strap made from elastic loops and a braided strap.

What I loved the most though was that there was NO ODOR when I opened it. While they usually wear off the strong odors of most mats are just too much. I wind up leaving them unrolled in a spare room to air out for a week before I can even use them.

I loved the mat so much I went to see if Youphoria had any other yoga products cause I'm in the market for a power ring and a strap for my pilates workouts. Alas, they aren't offering anything like that but they do have a hot yoga towel. If they expand their line though I will definitely be buying from the brand again!

Notes: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Product Rhi-view: Bee Sili Silicone Ice Pop Makers/Food Storage

Bee Sili BPA Free Lunchbox Containers & Ice Pop Maker

Company Site: website
Product Details: It's Fun & Fast for Busy Families to Enjoy Healthy, Thrifty Snacks with Our Eco Friendly Silicone Lunch Box Containers & Ice Pop Molds! *6 ice pop molds stand up in a cup or glass for easy filling * Each mold holds 3.3 oz or about 1/3 cup * Leave 1" at top for expansion when frozen * Run warm/hot water over sides of frozen pop to loosen for easy push up * Let Your Imagination Run Wild * Fill pops: Left over smoothie mix, juice, jello, yogurt, pudding, coconut, almond or chocolate milk with berries, left over baby food, leftover sauces & more! * Adults Only: Margarita, pina colada, daiquiri mixes, jello shots & more? * Pets: On the go, travel snack keeper for your pet's treats * Keep snacks fresh: Nuts, seeds, dried fruit, granola, veggies, candy * Travel: Snacks, vitamins, Q tips, cotton balls, gum, mints * LOVE these bpa free, food grade silicone lunch box & ice pop molds as much as we do or we will refund you 100% for any reason, anytime!
BEE HEALTHY * Make Fast, Fun & Easy Snacks * Six lunch box containers & ice pop molds * 100% LIFE TIME GUARANTEE
BEE ECO FRIENDLY * Go Green * FDA approved, food grade, non toxic silicone meets the highest standards * Completely safe for your family * No after taste or smells
BEE THRIFTY * Save money & the environment * Reusable, long lasting 1.5 X 8 inch silicone containers
FITS in SMALL SPACES * Slim cone shape * Fits in small spaces in freezer, lunch box, travel & gym bag
EASY to CLEAN * No messy drips, dishwasher safe logo and mold * GET YOURS TODAY!!

A great find for frugalistas. (4 Stars)

If you're a bit crunchy and pride yourself on your frugal-living strategies you're probably a fan of great finds like this. My preschooler loves GoGurts and freeze pops. But I'm not a fan of all the plastic waste let alone the chemical dyes that those products are full of. So when I got the chance to try out these reusable silicone tube-and-cap containers I was very eager to see what I could accomplish.

These are super versatile which makes them an excellent find for the frugal and eco fan. You can get a big container of yogurt and add your own goodies to it like berries or jam to fancy it up then spoon it into these easily. They just need to be kept upright in the fridge (and in the freezing stage, you can turn them sideways once they're frozen). But they also work great for sending things like sunflower seeds or grated cheese for salad topping or small snack items like yogurt-covered raisins or trail mix.

I'm very happy with these overall. They are very easy to wash, come in fun colors (I wish one was pink because that's my kid's fave but still...), and are versatile enough to make their uses pay for themselves over time. I'd recommend them to anyone who like reusable products for food storage and especially for those with kids or grandkids.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Beauty Rhi-view: Facial Oil Cleanser by InstaNatural

Facial Oil Cleanser + Eye Makeup Remover by InstaNatural

Company Site: website
Product Details: The Fastest, Easiest Way to Banish Dirt, Grime & Makeup From Your Face...
After a long day out and about, there still may be dozens of things to do between stepping through your front door and hopping into bed. However don't let your beauty routine slow you down. Speed up and simplify your nighttime beauty regime with the addition of our Facial Oil Cleanser.
The Product
Massage a small amount of the soothing facial wash into your skin to instantly eliminate dirt, grime and makeup. Its gentle yet reviving formula is strong enough to tackle eye makeup (even mascara), yet delicate enough to not remove natural oils from the skin.
The Results
This dual-action energizing blend of oils will gently clean your pores as well as nourish your skin to nurture and moisturize, leaving your face feeling soft and refreshed.
Best of all, InstaNatural's Facial Oil Cleanser is all natural and made from organic ingredients, so you don't have to worry about harsh or abrasive chemicals being used on your skin.
NATURAL & ORGANIC: Our Facial Oil Cleanser is made with natural ingredients, such as Jojoba Oil, Olive Oil, Essential Oils, Tamanu Oil, Hemp Oil, and more.

WORKS FAST: Massage onto skin to gently and effectively remove dirt, impurities and makeup.
GENTLE INGREDIENTS: Our nonabrasive facial wash contains many key active ingredients that work to clean your face and pores without stripping the skin of its natural oils.
POWERFUL RESULTS: Strong enough to be used as a makeup remover - can even tackle eye liner and mascara!
MANUFACTURER GUARANTEE: InstaNatural backs their products with a Lifetime Money Back Guarantee, no matter where you buy our product. If you're not satisfied, simply contact us and get a full refund.

Ingredients: Jojoba Oil, Olive Oil, Essential Oils, Hemp Oil, Tamanu Oil, and Seabuckthorn Oil.

Gentle and effective! (5 Stars)

My skin is known for being very reactive/sensitive, acne-prone, and being a combination of dry and oily to varying degrees by season. It's a mess! Finding something that's gentle but still helps combat acne is so very difficult. I'd read a lot of good things about switching to a cleansing oil so I took a chance on InstaNatural's Facial Oil Cleanser figuring it couldn't do much harm.

I love this. LOVE it. It's gentle. It's effective in removing makeup. I can wash in the morning and not be a grease slick by lunch. Your mileage may vary but I found that my acne (aside from the frustrating hormonally driven kind) was much improved. My skin is soft and much happier than it's been in a long time. I'm very happy with it and would definitely recommend it for those with similar skin concerns.

If you don't already use one, I'd also recommend a konjac sponge with this product to help remove any excess post cleansing.

Notes: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Beauty Rhi-flection: Espionage Cosmetics [Everything Shadows & Lip Venom Swatches]

Forgive me darlings but this post is going to be epic.

Twelve years ago I met my friend Emily online. Back then I was admining a message board I had created as a bit of a refuge for geeks and we quickly bonded over our mutual Star Wars obsession, among other things. For several years she was the little sister I'd never had both IRL and as we wrote characters in a play-by-post RPG that were long-lost Jedi sisters. Yeah, we're cool like that. But as she moved from high school on to college and my son got older and I had my daughter our lives got so busy we slowly went from chatting daily to following one another on social media and having a vague sense of one another's current lives. 

Last year, however, we started making a point to check in with each other and we try to get in a Skype chat every month or so. Isn't it awesome when you go a few years without being close to someone and then once you reconnect it's like no time has come between ya?

During one of our chats she mentioned this really great makeup company she'd helped do some video work for, that her girlfriend also did some makeup work with. It took a few times of her mentioning it during our chats for me to finally go check them out and darnit, now I'm addicted!!!

As you guys probably know, as followers of this blog, I'm not a makeup artist. Nor am I particularly talented with makeup in general. But as a form of expression it's something I love. I only wear makeup once or twice a week to be honest. Most of the time I'm sitting here in my pajamas with my hair in a bun contemplating why I even own bras... I'm all about comfort and zero-effort unless I have somewhere to go.

When I do put on makeup, however, I love to try new products and can go a little crazy. I lean more toward eye shadows and lip products when it comes to color cosmetics. (And nail art products of course!) Which Espionage Cosmetics do with great care and flair.

Something I've always gravitated toward on top of it are limited edition pop culture partnerings with makeup brands. I'm a geek so I kind of want everything in my life to reflect that. Which is why I just adore Espionage Cosmetics' approach to beauty. Because they're a small business, you'll pay a bit more for their products than you would for drugstore brands but you will be amazed at the quality!

During their 3rd anniversary sale back in May I splurged on a couple of Everything Shadow collections and a Lip Venom.

I could literally have purchased every single Collection they make had money not been a factor. I loved every single one! But since I wanted to have this post have a little cross-over appeal with my book blog I chose the sets that I knew would be favorites with them: the Ice & Fire Collection and the Paranormal Collection.

When they arrived I was so impressed! A gorgeous silver mailer and well boxed, perfect for if you wanted to give it as a gift for a friend. But not only that, once it was opened it was made all fancy with pretty tissue paper and their logo sticker. If you're anything like me you probably really appreciate those kind of little touches small businesses take to show you that your purchase is valuable to them.

Now, since we all geek to varying degrees over various things you guys will be thrilled to know that EC don't just make makeup and then sell it, they do all kinds of cool projects with cosplayers and makeup artists in their area. It seriously makes me wish I still lived in Tacoma so I could beg to come watch them work and learn some great tips. Know that if you buy something from EC you are getting something great and supporting the talents of your fellow nerdlings.

And now for the details on my 'haul'...

The Collection of Ice and Fire & The Paranormal Collection

The Collection of Ice and Fire features four Everything Shadows in "rich colors of sparkle and glam to paint the ways of ancient times in modern world of awesomeness".  

This collection contains the following colours:
Iron Price: Smoky eyes don't ask for attention, they command it. With Iron Price as a driving force, your eyes are sure to storm any castle like rolling clouds that spark diamond flashes of lightning. Beauty is the new world power.
Knights Watch: It's that moment between sunset and nightfall that takes your breath away in a combination of shimmering gold and cerulean blue. Whether you're a badass warlord or a defender of good against evil, Knight's Watch is more than just a war paint. It's a vow to be awesome... til death.
Not Today: May the gods of death be damned because beauty this true doesn't die. One true red- no shimmer, no shine, just pure color. For the lips, for the cheeks, for the heart of beauty. Forever.
Sun and Stars: Sometimes in the battles of war, we lose the ones we love, but the beauty of that love shines on forever. Sun & Stars radiates a golden glow of fading love with a hint of red shimmer like the heartbeat of devotion that never ends.

The Paranormal Collection features four Everything Shadow colors that are sure to cause "goosebumps on everyone in the room when you make your appearance".

This collection contains the following colours:
Astral Plane: Take yourself to a whole new plane of sexy with this eye popping purple! Astral Plane will let you experience the planes of sexy, awesome and kick-ass in no time!
Clairvoyant: Commune with your inner vixen with this hot pink shade from a whole new realm! Clairvoyant is a sure fire way to get in touch with your inner hotness.
EVP: Can you feel the presence of something awesome? This chilling black with pumpkin, gold, highlights is sure to speak to others of how awesome you are. Obviously.
Manifestation: This ghostly grey has a little something special. At first glance it looks like a matte grey. Apply with a damp brush and suddenly it manifests a green interference.

Each Everything Shadow contains 2 grams of product and are safe for Eyes, Lips, Cheeks, Nails, Hair. As each contains different ingredients be sure and read the info for each on the website. They have 17 (and counting) ways to use them from the obvious use on eyes and lips to body shimmer or temporary hair color.

Just like when you buy from a store you get quality packaging for the product too. Safety seals on the outside and stickers to prevent the loose shadow from going all over. Well... most of the time. lol My Knight's Watch had a bit already loose in it that got all over when I unscrewed the cap. No biggie.

One thing I wish they did was label the top with the color name instead of the bottom because of how I prefer to store my pots. Some brands have clear tops which make it easier to see what you're picking up. I hate spillage from tipping loose powder pots to see which color I'm grabbing. I might just find some stickers and label them myself. Don't you just love the names they use for their colors? Having brainstormed my own geeky colors for years (and doing nothing with those ideas obviously) it's so awesome to be able to have some makeup that reflects my passions.

Looking at those colors though I bet some of you are thinking they're way too bright for you amiright?

I'll admit I was really intimidated at first. I wasn't even sure that with my frustrating coloring I'd be able to pull off any of these colors! Any fair-light skinned ladies out there who know the pain of trying to find foundation when you have pink, blue, AND yellow undertones? This has been the bane of the past four years of my life. But the good news is that with some exceptions I do tend to look great in almost any bright color.

For the sake of showing you the level of shimmer I chose to do my swatches and then photograph them both inside (without flash) and outside. There they are side by side so you can compare them. As you can see Not Today is a really nice matte while Iron Price, Knights Watch, and Sun and Stars are shimmery.

Truth be told I bought this collection thinking I would never wear these colors beyond perhaps use for Halloween. But I am loving them. Knights Watch is one I'm still not sure I like—blue is never a color I gravitate toward anyway, let alone in makeup—while Sun and Stars is my unexpected favorite. It's very buildable and the shimmer is light enough to not make me feel like I'm overdoing it for an everyday look. I really want to play around with Not Today as a mix-in with lip gloss too! Iron Price is gorgeous but the shimmer level makes it a bit more special occasion ready than what I'm used to so I'm using it more as an eyeliner color.

Right off the bat I loved Manifestation, grays are my go-to color, my comfort zone and it's a pearly shade that has a lilac tone to it that I loved. I tend to shy away from purple but Astral Plane is stunning the perfect color to incorporate into a playful smoky eye. E.V.P. is a really fun black with lots of warm shimmer, perfect for using as a liner with an attitude. Clairvoyant is a rich almost neon pink and I never thought I'd use it but I got a wild hair recently and just did a mega-bold eye that I liked a lot. (If you want to bring your green out in hazel eyes—the story of my life—it's an awesome choice). 

Again for the sake of showing you the level of shimmer I chose to do my swatches and then photograph them both inside (without flash) and outside. There they are side by side so you can compare them. All four have a really pretty shimmer to them. Manifestation's description says a green shimmer but I've worn it several times and notice more of a lavender tone. 

Well, wouldn't you know it... I loved my Everything Shadows so much that a week later I caved and ordered a Lip Venom. Glosses are my crack and I needed another dealer. *shrug* I really wish they did more glosses because I am hooked.

I bought Cold Blooded Killer because the inspiration well... let's just say I'm a HUGE fan of the Underworld franchise. Remember me mentioning the whole Star Wars roleplaying thing? Yeah, I've also run other types of play-by-post RPGs and my UW phase remains a favorite. But I digress... you're here to talk makeup. 

As it happens I didn't swatch Cold Blooded Killer because a) everyone's lips change the hue of glosses and b) I'm hoarding this tube. None for you! lol What I can tell you is that it smells freaking amazing. I could smell its apricot flavor as soon as I opened the package. It does contain carmine so it's not vegan friendly but the other current Lip Venoms are. I love it though, finding a red gloss that looks good on me is hard. This was actually a risk for me... one that paid off because it's the first one I've had look good. If you're fair with neutral tones and have the same problem give it a try.

So that brings me to where I'm at today... this post has actually been a work in progress over the course of two months. (With a highschooler and a preschooler, a falconer husband, and a menagerie of animals, while running a book blog... it just kind of hasn't been an urgent thing, sorry!)

What prompted me to set aside a little time to finish it up is that I wanted to nudge a little in the direction of Espionage's Kickstarter campaign they've got going right now.

Oh hey, you know my friend Emily that I mentioned at the beginning of the post? Yeah, that's her in the badass unicorn shirt in the video. 
I missed out on the Kickstarter they did last year for their original nail wrap launch and I haven't actually tried them yet. But I've been listening to the buzz on the internet and they say they rock. So ya know what... I did some very creative budgeting and went in deep—I was honestly originally only planning to go for $50 because I like heat and internet and food ha!—for the DIANA PRINCE pledge. Part of that was just that I'm a greedy girl and saw the rewards and kinda hoped I'd get something other than just nail wraps but honestly, what really convinced me to go so high was the company itself.
I love that it's a debt-free small business. That they use models of all shapes, colors, and genders! That EC was founded by women with a focus on meeting a need has been a major influence too. 'Cause let's face it... most pop culture and geek properties still haven't quite figured out how to market to the female fan. We're cool with sharing our passions with guys but we want to carry them into other areas that aren't traditionally marketed for guys like makeup. I love my geeky t-shirts but sometimes I want to wear my fandoms and still be in a dress. (You still can't make me sit like a lady in it but I'll wear that dress and my Chuck's and some serious business eyeliner).

And dudes, I want those properties to take notice of what Espionage is doing and take note. Because I am LONG overdue for some of my favorite things to make it into my makeup bag and into other female-centric products. Not just for me but for my daughter. Almost-five and if you follow me around the web you know she's obsessed with Darth Vader, the Doctor, and Groot... and of course, Barbies and Disney Princesses. But you don't need me to tell you which is easier to find on a shirt in the girl's section.

Let's keep putting out money where awesome fandom goods are for women and girls and maybe some day my little Punk will look back at this type of company and take it for granted not realizing they were blazing a trail. ;) On that note I've got to go get that little miss into bed.

Leave me a comment if you like the products I shared and if you back the Kickstarter tell them I sent you!!! 

P.S. -- It's currently at 91% and have 2 of their extra grab bags like I pledged for left and I really want the stretch goal items so I'm hoping they go well over by the Kickstarter's end on October 6th so please spread the word!!!

Wellness Rhi-view: Organic Raw Cacao Powder from Freedom Superfoods

Organic Raw Cacao Powder from Freedom Superfoods

Company Site: website
Product Details: Great taste and blends well, just one tablespoon brings a delicious dark chocolate flavor. Customers have said "smells like chocolatey heaven!"
Perfect for raw treats! Or even baked treats. The secret to a really good homemade chocolate or mocha. Enjoy the smooth rich dark texture in all your recipes.
Being rich in nutrients, minerals & flavonoids our cacao powder is highly alkalizing. As a result many customers report excellent sleep and energy. Marvel as your chocolate cravings disappear. Some buyers have even noticed their appetite has decreased significantly as well.
You know this has been created with quality in mind because we only source from small sustainably run family owned farms in the most secluded, untouched, ancient rainforest in remote parts of the Dominican Republic. The result is the purest of raw organic cacao powder. Which is then processed in our FDA approved facility free of the 8 major allergens including GLUTEN.
Delivered in a heavy-duty, re-sealable stand-up pouch. This makes it easy to store and doesn't take up much space. Also helps your cacao stay fresh. When you order now, know that you're protected by a 60 day, no questions ask money back guarantee - even if you return the pouch completely empty. Your satisfaction is our goal.

An excellent addition to my wellness routine (4 Stars)

Who loves chocolate? I know I raise my hand every time someone asks this one. So I was pretty thrilled to have stumbled on the glory that is raw cacao in my health journey. It has amazing health benefits but for me it's all about taking things that are boring and making them better. Like nut milk. I've recently begun to make my own and found that adding some of this raw cacao to the finished product makes it delicious!

I've tried a couple of brands and this one is high in iron making it a good choice for adding some to your diet instead of taking a supplement. It's great sprinkled over yogurt with raspberries and I made an insanely good ginger hot chocolate from scratch that is my new favorite thing. It seems to be about mid-range on price making it pretty budget-friendly. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to give raw cacao a try.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Gadget Rhi-view: Brieftons InstaVeg Spiralizer [+ giveaway!]

Brieftons InstantVeg Spiralizer

Company Site: website
Product Details: The Safest Spiralizer - Spiral Slicer With Lifetime Replacement Warranty
Made from top quality, 100% BPA-free, food-safe, durable reinforced ABS plastic. Highly versatile thanks to the 4 blade modes for endless veg/fruit creations. The two high quality, ultra sharp stainless steel blades work hand in hand efficiently to create endless spiral slices. Safe to operate with the enclosed slicing tray design, and there is no risk of finger injuries.
Compact, easy to disassemble and carried along when traveling. Minimum vegetable wastage, leaving only a small vegetable disc in the tines of the turning vegetable holder. Easy to clean and dishwasher safe. Use the included cleaning brush to keep it in tip top condition.
Use the included vegetable container with non-slip base to securely catch the resulting vegetable spirals, or without it to produce spiralized vegetables directly over pots and pans. Turn the base container into a storage container with the included aroma-protection lid.
This patented product is perfect for making long vegetable strands for low carb, gluten free, Paleo style healthy vegetable meals quickly. It is ideal for making spiral slices from firm fruits and vegetables like apples, onions, carrots, zucchinis, cucumbers, cabbages, beetroots, turnips, rutabagas, cucumbers, large radishes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squashes, and many more. Works great even for long and wide vegs (up to 8 CM long and 10 CM wide). Make professional-looking garnishes, apple chips, curly fries, onion rings, potato nests, elegant salads, vegetable pizza toppings, and so much more. Ideal substitute for Paderno Spirooli and Gefu Spirelli. Easy quick-start guide with our demo videos, detailed assembly and operating manuals. Bonus cleaning brush, Brieftons Recipe Ebook and free ongoing recipe updates.

Just didn't impress me. (3 Stars)

Earlier this year my mother got super into the whole eating raw trend which I honestly don't think I could ever fully jump on. But any time I can find interesting ways to add in some healthy recipes to my repertoire I'm okay to dabble. Some of the most exciting raw recipes I've come across feature spiralized vegetables used as noodles (these also feature in lots of clean eating recipes too). But you need the right equipment for such a thing which is where Brieftons came along with their spiffy InstaVeg Spiral Slicer.

It's a clever gadget in concept but comes with a definite learning curve. Your veggies (or fruits) have to be very firm to get any success at running them through the InstaVeg well. Unfortunately, in my experience with it firmness wasn't enough. They have to also be at least half the width of the blade or they just make a mess. I had no luck with cucumbers at all and a little success with carrots. I found they were generally too narrow to stay upright. I probably went through four of them before I got the nice spirals I was trying to do... but only about 3 inches of carrot worked. Ultimately, I wound up giving up on it at that point. It's just way too much work for me.

And speaking of work... this is a pain to clean too. Mine is now stained orange. I can only imagine the results if I'd tried beets.

While easy to put together and fairly well made I don't think I could in good conscience recommend this product to anyone who isn't planning on using it regularly. As someone who would probably use it only a few times a month it's just a bit too unwieldy and difficult to clean for my patience level. I would, however, recommend it to those who are clean eaters or raw as a unique gadget to add variety and texture to your favorite meals.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
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