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Posts Tagged ‘Bella Reviews’

bilbl_shoppingsofi I’ve been so excited to write this post, and couldn’t wait to find a few spare moments to do it.  The week before last, the POPSugar MustHave Box for June arrived on my doorstep.  As a POPSugar Select Blogger, I love getting perks like this!

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One of the best things about subscribing to the POPSugar MustHave Boxes is that excitement of not knowing exactly what you’re going to get, but knowing that the box is going to be filled with things you’re going to love.  This box for June completely exceeded any expectations I had.

2014-06-02 16.15.47 My eyes popped as soon as I opened the paper and revealed Emily Giffin’s newest novel, The One and Only! This has been on my To Read list on Goodreads for months, and to have it as the first thing I saw in the June box was a great way to begin the unveiling!  Giffin’s writing is engaging and easy, perfect for a summer beach book.

2014-06-02 16.15.59Next up were these sassy, lemon-scented wet wipes from You Smell soap.  I haven’t tried them yet, but I think they’re going to be a really refreshing way to clean up on the go.  I have them in my “on the go” bag in the trunk of my Beetle convertible, so they’ll be ready when I need them.

2014-06-02 16.16.29 This next item is my favorite of the whole box. I’d never heard of SachaJuan before, but after using this body lotion, I have found my go to scent for summer.  (I wish they made a body spritz or perfume!).  This Shiny Citrus scent is so clean and light, and has notes of jasmine and grapefruit.  The lotion itself is a thin consistency so that it sinks into  the skin quickly, and doesn’t leave you feeling “gloppy.”  I love it!  So much so that the shower gel is on my birthday wishlist.  This product is a great example of why I like the POPSugar MustHave boxes – I discovered something that I absolutely adore, and would’ve never found on my own.

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The Turkish Towel was the next item I unwrapped from the box, and I actually used it last Friday when I went to the movies.  This towel is great because you can use it double-duty.  It’s a good size for lying at the beach, on a picnic, etc, but it’s so pretty that it works well as a wrap on a breezy summer night.  Which is exactly how I used it on Friday.  The weight is perfect to throw over your shoulders, and the color is so pretty, and goes well with lots of outfits.  This is another item I popped into my “on the go” bag so that I’m ready for whatever adventures this summer brings.

2014-06-02 16.17.47 Since I’m still on a weight loss journey and don’t really indulge in potato chips, I shared this bag with my nieces, who absolutely loved them.  My sister liked that they were all natural.
2014-06-02 16.17.57 When I saw these lollies hair ties in the MustHave box, it was like POPSugar had read my mind.  I really needed some new pretty ones, now that my hair is finally long enough to pull back in a ponytail.  These are so perfect for workouts, bike rides, or anytime I want to get my hair out of my face.  I already have one in my makeup bag and one in the “one the go” bag.
2014-06-02 16.18.25 Last but not least, there was a $15 voucher from Native Union, which sells “geeky gadgetry.”

This POPSugar MustHave box was filled with so many goodies, and definitely well worth the price of a subscription.  If you’d like to get it for yourself, I can offer readers  my special POPSugar Select Blogger coupon code to get $10 off of a 3-month subscription. Here are the coupon details:

Code: JUNESELECT10

Type: Save $10 on a 3-month subscription

End Date: 6/30/14
Let me know in the comments which item you’re most looking forward to!

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Disclaimer: POPSUGAR provided me with a complimentary POPSUGAR Must Have box. The opinions I have shared about the box are my own and POPSUGAR did not tell me what to say or how to say it.

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bilbl_shoppingsofiA few weeks ago, SomerSaults Snack Co sent me an incredible package in the mail. They’d contacted me a couple of weeks before that, asking if I’d wanted to try some of their Sunflower Seed Snacks and write about what I thought of them.  When I looked at their nutritionals, especially their fiber content, I said I’d love to.

When I opened the box and saw these happy colors and the care with which it had been put together, I was really impressed.

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The blogger sample they’d sent me included all of their varieties: cinnamon crunch, santa fe salsa, pacific sea salt, salty pepper, and dutch cocoa.  They’d also sent me large 60z bags, as well as two different sizes  (1oz and 2oz) of individual snack packs. I couldn’t believe how generous they’d been in sending me all of the snacks to try! (Several weeks later, I still have some of these snacks in my pantry).

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Since it was afternoon, and I was in the mood for something savory, I went for the Santa Fe Salsa first.

2013-11-05 17.43.42 How cute is the cowboy on the bag?

A serving size is 14 snacks.  santafe

Those totals are really great, especially for someone like me who is trying to get as much protein in as I can.  I also really like how much fiber a serving size has.

2013-11-05 17.46.20 The nuggets are really substantial, and I have to say, after eating 14 of them, I was really full!  They’re really satisfying, and make a perfect after-school/3pm snack.

The Santa Fe Salsa were slightly spicy (I LOVE spicy food, so the more spice, the better), and I could definitely taste the jalapeno and chile.   To be honest, after tasting the other flavors, these were actually the flavor I’d be least likely to purchase, but that says more about how much I liked the other flavors.

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The dutch cocoa were delicious and just the right amount of chocolate, without being overly sweet.  I would pop 5-7 of these as an after dinner snack that completely satisfied my sweet tooth.  For people who sometimes crave a bit of sweet in the afternoon, these would be perfect.

The salty pepper were one of my favorites because they have it all – a bit of spice, a bit of salt, and lots of nutty goodness. I enjoyed these so much that I’ll be keeping these in my pantry for regular snacking.

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The pacific sea salt were hearty, and would be a great accompaniment to a piece of string cheese for a snack.  One day I was rushing out of the house without much time to prepare lunch, so I grabbed a bag of these and had them with 2 hard boiled eggs, and for me, that was the perfect meal.  I shared these with my dad one afternoon, and he really liked them, too.

The cinnamon crunch were, by far, my favorite of all the snacks.  I’ll definitely be re-purchasing these.  They remind me of graham crackers, but these taste so much better.  The heartiness of the seeds adds so much texture to the sweetness of the cinnamon.  These were a great snack when I was craving sweets, and I liked that they weren’t bad for me as so many other sweet snacks are.  In fact, the fiber in these actually enhanced my diet.

One of the things I really like about the Somersault Snack Co is that they’re based locally in the Bay Area, in Sausalito, CA, which is about 20 minutes north of San Francisco.  Their whole approach is fun and light, and I like that.

The snacks are available at lots of retailers, including Target and Whole Foods, but they’re also at lots of supermarkets.  The cost is fairly pricey at $4 per 6oz bag, but I loved these snacks so much that I’d definitely spend the money.  Plus, for me, one 6oz bag lasts quite a while.

My recommendation?  Buy them.  They are a wholesome, hearty snack that will definitely keep you satisfied for a few hours. They’ve found a permanent spot on my shopping list.

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1671589-slide-fitbit-flex-black-3lights-72dpiOne of the main things on my birthday wishlist this year was a Fitbit Flex, and I was so excited when I opened it on July 2nd.  Apparently, my parents had quite a hard time buying one – it was sold out at Amazon and Best Buy, but they finally found it at Brookstone.  There are quite a few of these wristband activity monitors on the market, but the Flex was the newest, and I’d heard such good feedback about the Fitbit One and Fitbit Zip, that I decided to give this one a try.  The $99 pricetag is a bit of an investment, but less expensive than a heart-rate monitor.

I’ve used the Flex for almost a month now, and overall, I’m really pleased with it.

Positives:

Motivation: It has definitely spurred me on to get in a bit more activity in a day so that I can hit that golden 10,000 step goal I’ve given myself.  When I was in Sacramento for the teaching conference, I even went down to the motel gym at 9:30pm my first night and hopped on the elliptical machine for 15 minutes to make sure I hit my 10,000 step target, something I would have never done otherwise. I also love the feeling of accomplishment I get when I hit my 10,000 step goal.  This is the biggest factor in why I’ve been enjoying the Flex.

Easy to wear: When I had a BodyBugg, I hated that the armband would show under clothes or when I was wearing something with shorter sleeves or sleeveless.  It looked clunky and ugly.  With the Flex, it blends right in.  Someone looking at my wrist quickly would assume it’s a watch.  I’ve worn it paired with bracelets to a party and no one was the wiser.  I definitely see myself wearing this everyday without making any fashion faux pas.

Measurement: In my opinion, the Flex is an accurate measure of my activity, especially when walking.  I have been really surprised a few times by many steps I’ve actually gotten in a day.  The first time was when I was at the beach with my sister and our dogs – we walked walked along the beach and I ended up hitting 10,000 before we’d even packed up to go home.  I wouldn’t have given myself that much credit if I was calculating my activity on my own.  More recently my cousin and I went walking together along the Presidio in San Francisco, and before I knew it my wrist was vibrating (indicating I’d hit 10,000).  It was only 11am!  That was a great feeling, but I was a bit skeptical of the measurement, so I tracked out path, and found out that yes, we’d walked over 5 miles during our 2-hour session.  The Flex is a nice tool in getting a more accurate idea of how much I’m accomplishing in any given day.  I’ve even secured the Flex to my shoe when biking so that it can more accurately measure my “pedals,” and it seems to work well that way too.

Sleep: I wasn’t interested in this feature when I asked for the Flex, but it turns out to be something that’s pretty cool.  The Flex measures sleep activity, and I was very interested to find out that I am a highly effective sleeper.  Meaning that I take less than 10 minutes to fall asleep and once asleep, I am restless less than 1-2 minutes the entire night.  The hardest part with measuring the sleep is actually putting the wristband in Sleep mode before I fall asleep.  LOL.

Negatives:

Display: I wish the Flex interface was better.  Seeing 3 or 4 dots along the display of the wristband doesn’t really give me as much information as I’d like to have about how close I am to the 10,000 step target.  The display moves to 5 dots and vibrates when I’ve hit my goal.  But when I see four dots on the display, I have no idea if that means I’m at 7500 or 9500 steps.  I won’t know until and unless I take the time to sync it to my computer, which is easy enough, but not convenient when I’m on the go.

Measurement Per Activity: There’s no way to set the Flex to measure how many calories I’ve burned in a single time period, like when participating in a Zumba class, for instance.  When I had the BodyBugg, I could set it so that I’d see how many calories I burned in a certain time period, which was a great tool in measuring my progress.  The Flex doesn’t really do that.

FitbitActivity

This is my actual activity from Wednesday, July 24.

Sure, I can look at the Dashboard after I’ve synced it on the computer and add up each of the lines in a given time period and try to see how many calories I burned, but who has the time or patience for that?  Plus, that only works when I’m back at my computer.  It would be really nice to be able to know that on the fly.  (Supposedly the Flex can sync wirelessly with my iPhone via the app I’ve downloaded, but I have no idea how it works.  And I’m no neophyte when it comes to online gadgets, apps, etc.  This is another negative in my book…

Directions/Guidance: The Flex comes with no directions.  You have to go the Fitbit.com site the first time you activate it and follow their steps.  But finding out how to do things like sync it with the app or whether or not I should wear it in the pool, is not user friendly.  The message boards are somewhat helpful, but who wants to wade through that information?  And again, I’m someone who loves computers, gadgets, and apps.  This is my forte.  If I’m finding the lack of information upsetting, how about someone who is not a big computer user?

Price: Based on it’s functionality, I think the Flex is overpriced.  For what you get, I think $50-60 would be a much better price point.  The Flex is a glorified pedometer.

Overall:

I’m really grateful that my parents bought me the Flex, and I have enjoyed it, but I do think that it’s a tool that I will outgrow quickly.  I’m still going to use it to measure my steps; for example, I’m very interested to see how many steps I put in during an average school workday.  If I had it to do over again, I might ask for the Nike Fuel Band, which displays the steps numerically on the band, offering real-time information.  But really, I think I’m more interested in the information that a Heart-Rate Monitor offers, so I think that will be my next purchase.  (If you use a HRM and have a recommendation, please let me know in the comments).

Since I use MyFitnessPal, I haven’t used the Flex’s Food Tracking tools at all, which is why they’re not mentioned in this review.

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