Two New Favorites: Halo Top Ice Cream & Bio Ray Products

Happy Friday! I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had two new products I couldn’t wait to share with you. Without further ado, here they are: Halotop Creamery Ice Creams and Bioray Detox Products.

Halotop Ice Cream is light ice cream without any junk. You can have a 1/2 cup for just 70 calories! Each 1/2 cup serving has 7 grams of protein and only 4g of net carbs. Even better, no artificial sweeteners and no hormones. They use stevia as a natural sweetener. The only “trick” to having the best halotop experience is to let the ice cream sit on the counter for five minutes to soften up a little bit. The texture is slightly powdery (in a good way) and melt in your mouth. My favorite was definitely the vanilla bean, followed by chocolate, then lemon cake, then strawberry. This product blew me away compared to some other light ice creams I shall not name that were not worthy of being called ice cream! I made a 200 calorie sundae with three smallish scoops of chocolate, vanilla, and lemon ice cream, with a few banana slices, light whipped cream, and a drizzle of reduced sugar chocolate sauce. Hello, yum. You can buy Halo Top at Whole Foods, Sprouts, Vons and Pavilions. Give it a try and be sure to let me know what you think! I’d love to see them make a cookie dough version.

light halo top ice cream review

Halo Top Creamery Sundae – Only 200 calories!

Next is a line of products I was introduced to at Fitcation in October. Bioray is a natural detox company, with its roots in Chinese medicine. Lately, as acupuncture has become a larger part of my health plan for stress relief and weight loss, I’ve been interested in so called “Alternative” forms of medicine. One unpleasant side effect of PCOS are yucky mood swings depending on hormonal shifts, or as some would call it, ragey PMS. (Sorry, male readers. It’s a fact of a lady’s life. You can come back on Monday :) )Bioray has two products, called Before the Flow and After the Flow, that you take in juice or water and are said to help you achieve harmony and balance, reduce bloat and fatigue. I was a skeptic at first, but after several rounds of Bioray, I can solidly say that the PMS symptoms were much lessened thanks to these tonics. Yes, the taste is very earthy, and something you have to get used to, but with the right juice, it’s not noticeable. (I used grape juice). Bioray has several different formulas for men, women, and children, like Liver Life, which I’ll be trying next, Loving Energy for stress and exhaustion, and Cytoflora, for immune system strengthening. If you’re looking for traditional ways to heal that don’t involve filling a prescription, I’d recommend trying Bioray. I met their CEO, Stephanie, at ExpoWest, and was really impressed by how passionate and knowledgeable she is about healing. Give them a look!

bioray detox products liver life

Bioray Liver Life

While I was provided complimentary samples of both of these brands, I was under no obligation to write about them. I receive many samples for review and only share my favorites on the blog. Please let me know if you have any questions and tell me; what new products or brands have you tried and loved? I need some good loose leaf tea brands, and a good dark chocolate. Help a sista out! Have an awesome weekend!

Holiday Gift Guide Review: Taffy Activewear for Plus Sized Gym Goers

Happy Monday, everyone! Can you believe there’s just three more days until Thanksgiving?! Yikes — I need to get my butt to the grocery store to load up on Turkey and all the fixins. Matt and I are hosting this year; but that’s another blog for another day. Today, I’m excited to tell you about Taffy Active Wear, stylish activewear for women with curves. My love affair with Taffy began a couple years ago when I won a pair of workout pants from Taffy on Authentically Emmie. These pants quickly turned into my every-day-after-work pants and my all-the-time-on-weekends pants. They were soft, but had enough structure to suck in the less than desirable pouchy parts of my belly. Plus, they had the perfect amount of flare in the leg. As a tall gal, I like a basic flare, but I don’t need bellbottoms nor am I looking for a straight-legged taper. These are the best pants ever, basically. (I’m so obsessed with these pants I wore a hole into them. Don’t worry – a fresh new pair is on its way. My weekend wardrobe requires these pants. For serious! Pssst. They’re on sale for $22.99 right now too!)

In conjunction with the Latina Lifestyle Blogger Collective (I am an honorary Latina!), I was sent a full Taffy outfit to review. Here’s my review in one word: excellent. You know how sometimes you buy exercise clothes and they’re cut like normal clothes? That doesn’t work for activewear. Especially when you’re plus sized. You need clothes that move with you, that bend and crease, that don’t give you horrible wedgies or VPL. You also want them to be cute! Case in point: the Taffy Wide Waistband Fitted Capri, the Essential Tank Top and the Taffy Essential Jacket.

Rockin' my Taffy Activewear at the Shoulder Press

Rockin’ my Taffy Activewear at the Shoulder Press

1) The Capri pants are perfect for basically any kind of exercise, because while they help you suck it in, they also don’t ride up (or worse – fall down). These were so comfy I ended up wearing them the whole night after I finished at the gym. I also like the mesh detailing along the sides, which adds a sporty contrast.

2) The Essential Tank Top is adorable with the dove imagery on the front. I actually would wear this as a normal shirt! It’s super soft. One note is that it has a little bit of sheerness, which was actually sort of sassy and sexy with the neon sports bras I favor. I also like the “Work of Art” messaging, because all of us are truly a work of art!

3) The Essential Jacket is my favorite of all three items. I normally don’t wear white, and this jacket may have converted me (You can get it in black, too). The 2X fit me perfectly – enough to feel like I was downplaying the areas I’m self conscious about (tummy), but enough to be nipped in at the waist and show off my hourglass figure. I really liked this fabric, too – it was warm without being stuffy, and I was able to wear it on the treadmill without feeling too hot. I loved how it tied together the whole outfit, and I’ve actually worn this out shopping several times as just a cute, sporty jacket. You can also tell that ALL of these items are really high quality. The zipper pulls, seams and linings are all deluxe feeling. As much as I love Old Navy activewear, I can tell sometimes that its low price translates into low quality. Not the case with Taffy. One more small thing — each piece has a cute little candy logo on it. My galpal Susannah actually noticed it and pointed it out, saying, “Is that candy?!”. It is, indeed, and it is adorable.

If you want to give Taffy a try (you won’t regret it!), you can save 25% with the code LLBLOG for 25% off entire site until Dec 31, 2013. That also includes free shipping — AWESOME deal. (I may need to do a little more shopping. Don’t tell my husband. I mean, how can I resist this adorable tunic tank? It’s only $14.99. Old Navy prices — Taffy quality!) Taffy would be perfect for a gift for YOURSELF (don’t forget to gift yourself this season — we all need a lil’ pampering) or for a wonderful, health conscious gift for plus-sized ladies in your life. I happen to know somebody who’s getting a special Taffy gift from Santa this year! One other thing I also really love about Taffy that you’ll read more about in my upcoming Double Chin Diary giftguide is that from now until December 31, Taffy is giving back 10% to Philippine relief via UNICEF. Giving your money to a socially-conscious company is a great way to give back this holiday season.

Do you have any questions about Taffy? What activewear do you usually find yourself wearing?

FTC Disclosure: I was chosen for this opportunity by the Latina Lifestyle Bloggers Collective in conjunction with their annual Holiday Gift Guide. All opinions expressed are my own.

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lyssaloves

Erba Vita 2-Week Review

While I was wandering Europe over the summer, Alyssa informed me of another product review opportunity I had waiting for me upon my return.  I’m pretty keen on using body cleansing products so when I found out that the company offering the product was Erba Vita, a business that specializes in products with more naturally-occurring ingredients, I was excited to give it a chance

Unfortunately I came down with the plague within a week of my return and had to wait until I was off all my medication before I started putting anything else into my body.

I began taking two capsules a day of the company’s “Weight” pills to ease myself into the transition as they had ingredients like green tea extract in it.  With other ingredients like L-carnintine, cassia nomame, and chitosan, these little capsules were packed full of powders that would help cleanse my system and aide in weight loss.  I did feel a bit healthier over the past two weeks but I feel if my eating behavior was better, I’d probably have more noticeable results.  Of course, I can’t see what has been going on within my body so I shouldn’t only count numbers as results.  I definitely have been more regular, if that fun fact helps explain these supplements better.

Erba Vita also sent over these cool detoxifying bottle tops, appropriately named DETOX,  with fun ingredients like milk thistle extract, burdock extract, and more green tea.  The caps are designed to easily twist onto a bottle of water so it can easily be mixed but my plastic bottle (which made me cheat on my reusable BOBBLE) didn’t fit so I ended up just pouring it into a glass.   The mixture tasted like water with a hint of lime and herbal supplement flavor, as one would expect when packing so many different extracts into one serving.

Now that my body is finally starting to feel ALMOST normal again, I’m going to start taking the recommended four pills a day along with making a point of actually drinking the DETOX drinks as well. Alyssa and I both are going to start getting our acts together today and I’ll be sharing my meal plans later on this week.

 

The American holiday season is quickly drawing near and I know the opportunities to lose weight will draw sparse with every party that I am invited to or every cookie that I will be offered.  If I can start being hardcore now, by the time the sugar season rolls around, perhaps I will be able to resist all those sweet temptations.

Thank you everyone to all your positive wishes regarding my past few posts for my health and education, I love reading the comments and am trying to get better at actually responding!

I hope you all had a lovely Labor Day weekend and if you do happen to be working today, THANK YOU for whatever you happen to be doing to support our country and the way it functions.

Love and lime,

AprilSignatur

Product Review: Knockout Energy Drinks

I was excited to hear from Alyssa while I was away in Europe that another product review was waiting for me upon my return!  I’ve mentioned my love of energy drinks like Redbull and Rockstar before, so I was definitely down to give another brand a try.   I know they’re not exactly healthy, but sometimes I just need a bit of a pick-me-up in liquid form and being that I hate coffee and tea takes time to make, I occasionally reach for something easier.

All five flavors of Knockout Energy

My energy drink habit costs me around $3 per can, depending on whether or not I’ve chosen the right location that features a sale.  The first great thing about Knockout Energy is that they’re only $1 plus taxes to “The Man”, as it says on the can. The company was kind enough to send me 5 of their flavors of drinks.

They have their “Original” flavor which is a citrus taste that I liked best.  There also is a low-carb version of the original for all those who don’t want to consume all the extra sugar.  Another low-carb version is found in their next flavor, “Punch”.  I think the punch flavor was quite tasty and reminded me a lot of the kind of fruit punch I would drink in a blue box.  The low-carb version was incredibly similar in taste to the full-sugar version so that’s a perk that you’re not losing much of the taste.  However, honestly, I didn’t drink too much of the low-carb versions because they both have Splenda in it, something that I have a big sensitivity to.

April’s trying out the Monkey Punch!

The final flavor is called “Monkey Punch” and upon my first sip, I immediately thought, “Mmm, pina colada.”  The flavor that Knockout Energy managed to produce seems to be a blend of banana and coconut, though there definitely could have been other things going on.  Upon following my pina colada thought, I realized that this drink would probably be quite delicious with some rum and a splash of orange juice.  I’m not a big drinker, but I know many people who love to mix energy drinks with booze so if you happen to be one of them – know that Monkey Punch would be the perfect addition to a new cocktail.

Here are some details of the nutrition value of the Original drink:

Original Knockout Energy Drink

Per 8 oz. serving (2 servings per can)

Calories – 110

Total fat – 0

Sodium – 220 mg

Total Carbs – 28g

Sugars – 27g

Protien – 0

Caffeine – 80mg

Niacin – 100%

Vitamin B6 – 250%

Vitamin B12 – 80%

Pantothenic Acid – 50%

 

The low-carb version of this drink chimes in at only 15 calories per serving, 220 mg of sodium, 4 grams of carbohydrates and 3 grams of sugar.  There is the same amount of caffeine and the same amount of vitamins.

Knockout Energy is available throughout the United States and Canada.  If you’re looking for a retailer near you, click on this sentence for their website that will guide you in the right direction.  

You can also check out their Facebook page here:  https://www.facebook.com/knockoutenergy   and Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KnockoutEnergy

I’m grateful for the chance to try something new and you have an opportunity to give this low-cost but high flavor drink a try, let us know!

Thank you!

AprilSignatur

 

 

Perky Jerky Review and Giveaway

Hey everybody, happy Monday! Today let’s talk about MEAT. Marinated, chewy, delicious meat! I’ve talked about my protein challenges before; I’m not a huge meat eater. Despite being raised on a steady diet of beef and chicken growing up in the Midwest, in my teenage years and onwards there was something about meat that just didn’t appeal to me. As I work towards weight loss, one of my biggest challenges is fitting in enough protein, as I often order vegetarian at restaurants and cook without meat. Enter an awesome solution: jerky! Before I tasted amazing artisanal jerky, I thought every kind of jerky was the same, that it all had that kind of dog-foody, fake beef smell and weird rubbery texture. Thankfully I now know better, and my mind has been blown by Perky Jerky. I first tried a sample pack at FitBloggin’ and was impressed with how tender their turkey jerky was, and even cooler, it has a kick of a little energy boosting ingredient called “guarana”, something you usually see in energy drinks. I reached out and asked to try some and they’ve been kind enough today to offer one winner a kit of their amazingly delicious Turkey Jerky, valued at $30. Now that you know what you can win, let’s get in to the good stuff – the taste!

Introducing the brand new Perky Jerky Flavor, Hot and Bothered Beef Jerky.

Introducing the brand new Perky Jerky Flavor, Hot and Bothered Beef Jerky.

The Hot & Bothered jerky was definitely my favorite of the batch because of the amazing heat. With the first bite you can tell it’s going to be spicy, but not so bad that it’s painful. After the first garlicky bite, you can feel the heat start to creep up your tongue, a nice slow burn, as we chili-freaks like to call it. The spice was intense enough but not too much to make you lose the flavor. I really enjoyed the amount of heat in this one, which leads me to my next favorite, the Sweet n’ Spicy Turkey Jerky. When I first tried turkey jerky, I didn’t know what to expect. In my mind, you wouldn’t see turkey as a meat that would taste good dried, but you almost can’t tell the difference between turkey and beef jerky. The Sweet n’ Spicy has a delicious jalapeno tang, followed by an almost honey-like BBQ taste. It was sooo good and perhaps the “safer” choice for those of you who may not like the idea of an awesome, pepper-punchin’ jerky like Hot & Bothered. Did I mention all of these big bags have around only 100-180 calories per serving? Yeah, awesome.

Perky Jerky comes in 5 amazing flavors, including Hot & Bothered and Sweet N' Spicy.

Perky Jerky comes in 5 amazing flavors, including Hot & Bothered and Sweet N’ Spicy.

 

One of the best parts of this jerky (besides the taste) is that the nutritional stats are awesome. The original Turkey Perky Jerky has only 100 calories for the whole bag, which is awesome for people like me that can’t conceive of stopping at one serving. The most caloric flavor is the sweet n’ spicy beef jerky, but even so, two servings will only cost you 180 calories. With upwards of 20 grams of protein, that’s hardly something to worry about. Sodium is a bit high, but you know that will happen with dehydrated meats and jerky in general, so just consume more water to prevent the dreaded bloat. (If I got bloated off this I’d totally make fun of my “jerky jowls” – see, a silver lining in every cloud, right?!) So now that you know Perky Jerky gets the Double Chin Diary stamp of approval, let’s get to winnin’! Ask Lady Luck to pay you a visit by leaving a comment on this post with the flavor you’d most like to try.You MUST leave a comment to be entered to win. That’s all ya gotta do, but if you want more chances, you can do the things below!

For additional chances to win,

Please let me know what actions you have taken and I will make sure to count your extra entries in the final tally! This giveaway will end on July 15 at 11:59 pm and is open to US residents only, ages 18 and up.

Perky Jerky did provide me complimentary samples in exchange for this review, but as usual, if something tastes yucky or is made up of BS claims, it won’t receive the Double Chin Diary Stamp of Approval, nor would it be available for you to receive as a giveaway item. GOOD LUCK!

Assorted Beef and Turkey Perky Jerky

Assorted Beef and Turkey Perky Jerky

 

 

KalorieBox Review and Giveaway!

I love getting mail. Especially now that I work from home, I wait in anticipation for the 4:30 shuffle of steps up my front stoop – knowing then that hopefully, the postman will deliver a bevy of boxes, a parcel of padded envelopes, or at the very least, a stack of letters and not just bills. Usually my mail days are a bust, filled with the mundane reminders of adult life – political flyers, cell phone bills and grocery store circulars. But on Saturday, I scored with the mail – because I received a Kalorie Box!

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KalorieBox is right on par with the new monthly subscription type boxes sweeping the nation – As a current BirchBox member (if you sign up use this link and we both get credit!), a monthly premium beauty sample box for $10, I was eager to check out a box filled with low fat and nutritional goodies. The first thing that struck me about KalorieBox is that it has a charitable angle to it. For each box they sell, they donate meals to hungry children. Pretty cool – I like the idea of losing my weight caused from TOO MUCH FOOD to help out people who don’t have enough (which is why my DietBet winnings this month will go to No Kid Hungry!)

Upon opening the box, I was impressed with the amount of stuff they pack in it. I scored a full sized box of Cheese Thinables, a Zevia lime cola soda, a bag of pirates booty, a fiber one cookie brownie, Peeled dried mango, a Pacific Grove Almond milk drink and a $1 off coupon for Zevia. This was a pretty hefty score, and one I’m still exploring. (Love the Zevia!!!) I have definitely been curious about almond milk but didn’t want to commit to a whole gallon, so I’m jazzed to try this out in a sample size. Also, the Cheese Thinables are pretty darn decent for a large 60-calorie serving (you get a huge handful! They taste just like Cheez-Its!)

KalorieBox

My KalorieBox loot – look at all those goodies!

KalorieBox has a few different options for subscribing – if you order one month at a time, it’s $25. If you order three months at a time, it’s $21 a month, or if you order 6 months at a time, it’s $17 a month. I definitely might check this out for a few months, because I love trying new foods and don’t always have the time to hunt them down at the store. Because seeing is believing, KalorieBox has generously offered one of my readers a sample box! There’s a ton of different ways to enter this giveaway, but I ask that you leave one comment letting me know why you want to win, and “like” KalorieBox on Facebook. This is a RaffleCopter giveaway, so for each action you complete, just hit the “I Did It!” button to the right for your action to be accepted. This giveaway will end next Wednesday at 12 AM PST and is US Only, 18+. (Don’t worry international – I have a giveaway coming up for you soon, too!)

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway