Reviewing Products from Tomoson: Sometimes it’s a no go.

I received this product for free (I paid for shipping and tax) in exchange for an honest review.

Recently I decided to check out Tomoson again and see what kind of fun products I could review. I stumbled upon this Vela Contour from Anacis. I thought “Why Not?”.

Here’s why not.

After wearing it for 40 minutes (the amount of time in the directions), I had a head and jaw ache. I figured I had it on too tight. So the next day I loosened it. Same thing.
After loosening it daily and wearing it per the directions for a week, not only did I not see any results, but I had the same head/jaw ache each time.

Zero Stars. Skip it.

Usually when I try products through Tomoson and I blog reviews, I give a backstory or tips and tricks to use the item. Not this time. I took no photos of myself in this contraption. This face slimmer is a hard pass for me. And honestly, getting a lemon of a product is bound to happen. It’s the law of probability. Sometimes you’ll get something cool, in fact, most times you will. This is maybe the second product in 4-ish years that has lacked any redeeming value.

You can buy this contraption on Amazon or Walmart.com if you feel the need to torture yourself, but as for me, I’ll be adding mine to the donate box.

I received this product for free (I paid for shipping and tax) in exchange for an honest review.

 

First Peek at New RubiosxBlais Tacos at Rubio’s Coastal Grill and Giveaway!

Yesterday I had an amazing experience. I was invited to the media launch of the RubiosxBlais adventure-inspired street tacos.

I posted about this last week, and these tacos BLEW ME AWAY. This collaboration was 2 years in the making, and when you bite into these, you know this was a labor of love.

The three tacos are:

  • Hula Hula Carnitas: Inspired by Chef Blais’ time in Hawaii, the Hula Hula Carnitas taco features pork marinated in a rich blend of gochujang, achiote, and garlic, wrapped in a banana leaf and slow-cooked, creating tender, juicy meat with an authentic Hawaiian Kalua flavor. It is served on a stone ground corn tortilla with mango salsa and garnished with black sesame seeds, cotija cheese and a slice of lime. The taste is a subtly sweet mash-up of authentic Hawaiian and Mexican flavors.
  • Blaised & Glazed Crispy Chicken: Delivering a tangy, zesty taco twist on Buffalo chicken, the Blaised & Glazed taco starts with Rubio’s crispy chicken tossed in Frank’s RedHot sauce, the secret ingredient used in the original Buffalo wings created in Buffalo, NY in 1964. It is served on a warm flour tortilla with crisp shredded cabbage, homemade ranch sauce, and house-pickled celery and jalapeño, garnished with cotija cheese and celery seed.
  • Ancho Po-Boy Shrimp: Named after New Orleans’ most famous sandwich, the Ancho Po-Boy Shrimp taco is a modern take on classic New Orleans street food. The taco features flash-fried ancho-lime shrimp with Cajun aioli, and is served on a warm flour tortilla with crisp shredded cabbage, salsa fresca and a slice of lime.

My favorite was the chicken taco, and here’s why. Details. It’s a taco, but at the same time, it’s all of the ingredients, the details that make it so tasty. The homemade ranch sauce (which has the texture of crema- it’s amazing), and the pickled celery. PICKLED CELERY you guys! Imagine the hot carrots and peppers from your local taco shop, with crunchy celery added. It gives the taco a bright, spicy crunch. And the celery seed on the top-it’s the icing on the cake!

Are you excited to try these tasty new tacos? You’ve got until October, but you aren’t going to wait.

I’m giving two of my readers a chance to experience the RubiosxBlais tasty taco collab (or anything on the Rubio’s Coastal Grill Menu, but you’ll want these tacos). Entering is quick and easy. To enter, click here. I will choose two winners on 5/26/2021. This giveaway is not sponsored or fulfilled by Rubio’s, Facebook, or Instagram.

Meal Kit Round-Up (Reviews and Deals/Coupons)

In my 10+ years as a blogger, I have reviewed a fair number of meal kits on the market. With the seemingly never-ending quarantine and the new normal being social distancing, something different is now more appreciated than ever.

I love trying out meal kits, they are a great way to try new recipes with new ingredients that I may not already have on hand. Here are a few of the meal kits that I’ve tried, links to reviews, and any deals or coupon codes I could find.

Overall, my favorite meal kit company is Dinnerly.

They have a nice mix of kid-friendly dishes and stuff that is decidedly more “grown-up food”. I wrote a review here. In addition to having a nice mix of dishes to choose from, the other thing I like is that Dinnerly is the first subscription meal kit service to offer $4.49 per serving. My big qualm with meal kits is that the meals can sometimes be upwards of $8-$10/per serving. At that point, you might as well go out for dinner!

Freshly is the next up on our highly received Meal companies. I reviewed Freshly in 2016, and it’s a little different that most of the other meal companies in that all of the food comes already cooked. All you do is heat and eat.

The portions are big, so if you wanted to stretch them, all you would need is an additional side, like a green salad.

Right now when you use Promo Code: LAUNCH15 you will save $60.00 on your first 4 orders($15 per order).

Here is one that I did not get a really great impression of…Home Chef. Maybe it’s because I picked recipes that had a lot of delicate ingredients (read my review here) that don’t transport well, but that was a few years ago, and they may have different recipes and perfected their shipping packaging by now.

If you want to give it a shot I found a deal for you: Right now when you order Home Chef and receive $60 OFF. That’s $10 OFF your first six orders.

I will say the thing that has changed and that I like is that you choose from up to 38 chef-inspired, customizable recipes each week — including oven-ready meals, quick-prep options, and grill packs.

Here is one that I personally haven’t tried, but I’ve seen pictures all over Instagram and a few of my blogger friends rave about- Martha & Marley Spoon.

It seems pretty simple: Each week, 10 days before your delivery day, you’ll receive an email with meal choices. If you’d like to swap recipes, you can do so under “My Account”.

Everything is shipped to arrive fresher than you might see at the supermarket. They guarantee you’ll be able to use the ingredients for at least 4 days after you receive them, with the exception of fish which should be cooked within 48 hours.

Talk Back: I’d love to hear about Meal Kits that you have tried and which ones have worked for you and your family!

Apply for a Chatterbox for Dove Beauty Bar

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The Dove Beauty Bar does more than clean your skin – it gently but effectively cleanses and cares for skin, leaving it soft, smooth and radiant. It’s time to say goodbye to that dry, tight feeling that ordinary soaps can leave behind and make the switch to Dove Beauty Bar! Incorporate the #1 Dermatologist and Pediatrician recommended bar into your family’s daily cleansing routine and #ShareDoveLove.

This Chatterbox is only open to residents of the contiguous US.

If you’re selected as a Chatterbox, you’ll get a great Chat Pack:

  • 1 Full-sized Dove White Beauty Bar
  • 1 Full-sized Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar
  • 1 Full-sized Dove Purely Pampering Mango Butter Beauty Bar
  • 1 Full-sized Dove Pink Beauty Bar
  • 1 Full-sized Dove Gentle Exfoliating Beauty Bar
  • 1 Full-sized Dove Go Fresh Cool Moisture Beauty Bar
  • 1 Dove Beauty Bar information card

NOTE: If you’re selected as a Chatterbox, you will be receiving 6 Dove Beauty Bars in your Chat Pack. Please try your favorite variants and share the others with your friends!

Apply now and if selected, they will deliver a Chat Pack right to your doorstep. You don’t have to throw a party, but you’ll want to celebrate when it arrives! After you try Dove Beauty Bar, chat about your experience, share your opinions and post a review on the site. That’s it!

Get the chatter started! Apply now.

unnamed.pngIf you are new to Chatterbox or Houseparty by Ripplestreet, learn more here. Houseparty by Ripplestreet is one of my favorite Word of Mouth marketing companies!

Always Eat After 7 PM: The Wrap Up!

AlwaysEatAfter7PM_FrontCoverThis post is brought to you by our sponsor, “Always Eat After 7 PM”. The opinions expressed below are my own.

This is week four for us, and my final post (for now) about this pretty cool plan. Check out my previous post here.

As I was hunting for some recipes to try over the coming weeks last night, I came across this quote, “Scientists have established that consuming at least 20 grams of protein stimulates muscle protein synthesis for two to five hours after eating a meal. However, recent research also shows that protein synthesis drops to unexpectedly low levels during sleep, even if you eat ample protein during and after evening exercise. This has led researchers to speculate that this process may fall off during sleep if you don’t eat protein prior to bedtime.” I found it so interesting that I highlighted it. 

We’ve been taught that we need to avoid carbs, and focus on Protein, protein, protein. I love how Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks—While Burning Fat Overnight shows us that we need to have a balance. Rice is ok, veggies are ok, meat is ok, fats and sweets are ok too!

Now that we into week four, I’ve read a lot, learned a lot, and tried some really yummy recipes. I’m not sure I will keep to the plan 100%, but there are aspects that I do like and that I will be continuing on with (like starting with lemon water-  swear that’s a better wake up that a cuppa joe!

We all know water is good for us, but do we know why? Always Eat After 7 PM tells us, “Water helps digest your food, expel wastes, regulate your temperature, protect your tissues, cushion your joints, and protect your spinal column, among many other vital functions. It is through water that hormones flow to the proper organs, that nutrients reach all cells, and that toxins are diluted and removed from the body.”

And now that I’m not ravenous when I wake up each morning, I have more focus to get the kids through our morning routine. The most challenging times to curb hunger are just before bed and in the morning. By following the Always Eat After 7PM program, you have the most willpower to stay on the diet because you are eating during the hours when you are most hungry. This also puts you into both intermittent fasting increasing testosterone and your metabolism, while putting you into ketosis.

One of the things I liked most is that there is such a wide array of foods to choose from- and that nothing is ever 100% veteod. If you need a cheat day, take one!

If you’ve liked my posts and picked up a copy of this book, let me know! I’d love to see which recipes you’ve tried, and what swaps you made to live healthier.

Learn more about Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks—While Burning Fat Overnight and how to purchase it here.

Tracking PixelThis post is brought to you by our sponsor, “Always Eat After 7 PM”. The opinions expressed are my own. To learn more about how and why I partner with brands, check out my disclosure page here.

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Always Eat After 7 PM: Goal Setting and Updates!

This post is brought to you by our sponsor, “Always Eat After 7 PM”. The opinions expressed below are my own. hi-res Cheesy Ground Beef skillet - vertical

This is the Cheesy Ground Beef Skillet from Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks—While Burning Fat Overnight by Joel Marion.

Most people assume foods like red meat and white rice can’t be fat loss friendly, but the latest research confirms the combination of protein and carbs (especially at dinnertime) actually helps regulate cortisol (known as the “belly fat hormone”), induces deeper sleep, and even helps stabilize morning blood sugar.

Ours wasn’t as photogenic, so I borrowed the pic from the book. It was simple, filling, and there was enough for lunch the next day! at 30 grams of protein per serving- I was pretty satisfied all night long, and well into the next morning.

And a quote from the book really resonated with me about the lack of hunger I was used to feeling within 20 minutes of rising each morning. “Those who ate breakfast ended up eating about 260 calories more a day, the review found. Those who skipped breakfast were about one pound lighter than those who ate breakfast. These findings led the researchers to conclude that eating breakfast isn’t necessarily a good strategy for losing weight. The science isn’t really there. Breakfast could very well be the least important meal of the day.”

My main reason for joining the Always Eat After 7pm journey is that we just aren’t able to exercise as much as we were pre-lockdown, and I want to keep up with my healthy lifestyle. And wow! Have we ever! You can see my first post here, and the second post here.

The food lists are great! They really help with shopping and meal planning. It is real food and real ingredients.  And the recipes are easy to follow. You don’t need to be a chef or foodie to follow them. Oh, and they are kiddo friendly.  There are so many ideas for snacks too- So you are never left feeling hungry (or in my case… hangry).

The other thing that has really been working well is the Lemon Water 3-Minute Fat-Burning Morning Rituals. “One of the simplest 3-Minute Fat-Burning Morning Rituals, lemon water is a glass of water mixed with the juice of one half of a lemon. This drink provides all the benefits of regular drinking water, which supports weight loss, digestive health, physical performance, and cognitive function.”

We bought some large plastic tumblers recently to help all of us (including the kids) to drink more water. I do my lemon water in the morning while I make coffee and make the kids breakfast. At the same time, I pour ice water for the kids and top with a lemon slice. They feel fancy that they get to drink “spa water” like mommy. Water is a great way to start the day!

“Water helps digest your food, expel wastes, regulate your temperature, protect your tissues, cushion your joints, and protect your spinal column, among many other vital functions. It is through water that hormones flow to the proper organs, that nutrients reach all cells, and that toxins are diluted and removed from the body.”

Learn more about Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks—While Burning Fat Overnight and how to purchase it here.

Tracking PixelThis post is brought to you by our sponsor, “Always Eat After 7 PM”. The opinions expressed are my own. To learn more about how and why I partner with brands, check out my disclosure page here.

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Why I Chose Always Eat After 7 PM

AlwaysEatAfter7PM_FrontCoverThis post is brought to you by our sponsor, “Always Eat After 7 PM”. The opinions expressed below are my own.

Over the past few days I’ve read Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks—While Burning Fat Overnight by Joel Marion cover to cover twice, making notes, and checking our current groceries.

I posted about Always Eat After 7PM last week here.

I decided to give Always Eat After 7pm a shot because we needed something new that helped keep us full, and in my case, help with sleep. I’m not sure if you gentle readers know, but when you have kids, sometimes sleep is elusive.  I also like how nothing is off the table. Moderation and balance are key! “Cheat” days or meals are built into the program. Joel Marion’s Always Eat After 7PM program makes dieting easy and eliminates 90% of the reasons for resistance.

Joel head shotThe author, Joel Marion took his time to research and develop the theories and practices behind this program. In an interview he states, “It actually took several years of researching for me to discover the real science of eating late night. After a few years of tweaking and refining, I finally came up with a rapid fat loss solution that overcomes all the pitfalls of traditional diets.”

Another quote from that interview really spoke to me. Most diets or eating programs are hard to follow, When asked if the Always Eat After 7pm program is hard to follow, Joel Marion said, “It’s not. And that’s exactly why I wrote the book. While any diet is never truly easy, it can be more enjoyable and much easier to adhere to when you understand how Always Eat After 7pm works because it caters to our bodies natural instincts.” And, ladies and gents, is what hooked me. 

We’ve been traditionally taught to avoid carbs, have an early dinner, and never eat before bed. But the fact is, the latest scientific research shows us this earlier model is not the most ideal. We’ve been having big, tasty meals full of flavor (and rice last night- it was so good!).

“A research paper published in Sports Medicine in 2014 showed that people who eat the majority of their carbs at dinner actually sleep better. Carb-induced, quality sleep decreases cortisol (a fat-storing hormone) and ramps up the production of your sleep hormones, serotonin and melatonin. Restorative sleep increases fat-burning hormones—the main one being growth hormone—overnight.”

We’re spending a portion of today meal planning and doing food prep, so our first full week in the Always Eat after 7PM program can be successful! You’ll probably see some new recipes and foods on the weekly Meal Plan post that will be coming up today (or early tomorrow morning, depending on how today goes).

Learn more about Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks—While Burning Fat Overnight and how to purchase it here.

Tracking PixelThis post is brought to you by our sponsor, “Always Eat After 7 PM”. The opinions expressed are my own. To learn more about how and why I partner with brands, check out my disclosure page here.

Always Eat After 7PM Book Challenge: It Starts Now!

This post is brought to you by our sponsor, “Always Eat After 7 PM”. The opinions expressed below are my own.
AlwaysEatAfter7PM_FrontCoverRecently I was offered the chance to check out Joel Marion’s new book: Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks—While Burning Fat Overnight.  Since we aren’t able to hit the gym and we still want to stay on our journey to health, I decided to read the book and give this program a try.

We are still going out for walks several times a week, but I am not able to get the same level of exercise as I was pre-quarantine. And this is in no way a complaint- just a fact of life.

After reading the first few chapters of the book and browsing the recipes, I was hooked. So many parts of this program resonated with me. Here are a few excerpts that got me excited:

 “So, despite all the bad press over the years, certain carbohydrates play an important role in balancing your hormones and regulating your metabolic rate, while avoiding the dreaded weight loss plateaus that accompany conventional mainstream diets. Furthermore, when you eat these carbohydrates, you’ll feel much better than you would if you were following a traditional diet.”


“In general, healthy fats can also help increase feelings of fullness and satisfaction because they regulate appetite through a number of mechanisms, including the release of appetite hormones. What’s more, combining fat with fiber has been shown to further increase the satiating potential of fat. The satiating power of fats is often one explanation offered to describe why some weight loss trials have shown that low-carbohydrate (and higher-fat) diets tend to lead to greater weight loss than low-fat diets.”

We’ve been traditionally taught to avoid carbs, have an early dinner, and never eat before bed. But the fact is, the latest scientific research shows us this earlier model is not the most ideal. I’m excited to try out this program! Joel Marion is a fitness expert and nutritionist debunking the myths underlying traditional dieting and offers a simple, highly effective weight loss program.  This program is easy and eliminates 90% of reasons for resistance.

One thing that has stopped us in the past is snacking. With kids and a busy life, we don’t always have the time or ability to sit down and eat mini-meals or spend hours cooking recipes with strange ingredients. Always Eat After 7PM offers some really great snacking and meal options! All the recipes that I’ve looked at so far actually look tasty and are family-friendly.

If this sounds like something that interests you, I encourage you to follow my blog- I’ll be posting weekly updates with my progress and more tips and tricks from Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks—While Burning Fat Overnight by Joel Marion. Learn more about the book and how to purchase here.

This post is brought to you by our sponsor, “Always Eat After 7 PM”. The opinions expressed are my own. To learn more about how and why I partner with brands, check out my disclosure page here.

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Frugal, Tasty Meals with Dinnerly!

To facilitate this review, the awesome folks at Dinnerly provided our family with 3 meals (4-6 servings each). I received no financial compensation to write this review- All opinions are my own.

I’ve reviewed dinner/meal kits before, and my complaint is always that they are so expensive, upwards of $10 per person, per meal. At that point, I better be going out to dinner, and I am not washing dishes! Secondly, the meals are usually not child-friendly, especially if you have a kid on the spectrum (like we do), who also happens to be a vegetarian.

Enter Dinnerly! At $4.49 per adult-sized serving, Dinnerly is so much less expensive than other meal kits. But how? digital recipe cards instead of paper, fewer ingredients per dish (which means less chopping and cleaning), simple packaging, and no fancy marketing campaigns.

The big kid and I looked at the website and he chose two meat-free recipes, and I chose one with meat.

  • Mediterranean Meatball Stew with Carrots & Couscous
  • Coconut Curry Ramen with Snow Peas & Jammy Eggs
  • Baked Squash & Kale Risotto with Parmesan

recipeWhat I really like is that the recipe tells you what is in the kit for your recipe, and what you will need from your own kitchen (and trust me, it’s nothing special or fancy).

The directions are great for those who don’t have a lot of cooking experience. My 8-year-old was able to read the steps and follow them. He helped me cook the Risotto, and he measured, stirred, poured, and ripped up the kale into bite-sized pieces.

The 4-6 adult-sized servings are pretty generous, by the way. With every meal, there were closer to 7 servings. I always serve side dishes with the main dish. Most nights we had salad or some kind of veggie side dish. When we had ramen, I picked up a bag of pork potstickers from 99 Cents Only for the grown-ups, and also made a miso dressing coleslaw. If you want to stretch meals further, I suggest adding sides, or maybe sneaking in some extra veggies (I added 1 cup of peeled, diced crook-neck squash to the Mediterranean Meatball Stew).

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Tamari Sauce for Ramen

Some of the recipes needed a little “kick”- especially the ramen- so we added ginger, red chili flakes, and a bay leaf to the broth. BUT, since everyone has different levels of spice tolerance, Dinnerly Kits are a great place to start if you want to explore different flavors and cultures without having the buy a bunch of new and/or different spices. For example, the ramen kit comes with two of these cute little packages of Tamari sauce. I did clean one of them out when I was done and now it’s in the kid’s toy kitchen.

Everything is pre-measured and ready to go, even the spices. This is another reason I love Dinnerly- It cuts down on food waste.

75557570_10157525826901061_3062456495460319232_n75443029_10157525826876061_5954310997228388352_nThe veggies are all super fresh and ready to be cut up! The risotto came with two little cubes of parmesan cheese, that my 8-year-old grated and sprinkled like a pro!

I made the Mediterranean Meatball Stew with Carrots & Couscous and took it to a friend for a night in. It was cheaper, healthier, and tastier than stopping to grab takeout. It was so tasty and filling.

If you want to check out Dinnerly, they have been nice enough to create a promo code just for my readers! The code to use at check out is hewesfamily15, and it’s active through the first week of December and only valid for first-time users. The coupon code is worth 15% off! To get started, visit Dinnerly here.

I think Dinnerly would also make a great gift for a family that just has a baby,  or someone who might need a little love.

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Butternut Squash & Kale Risotto
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Coconut Curry Ramen
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Meatball Stew and Cous Cous

Score Free stuff to review with Tryit!

Screen Shot 2019-09-12 at 8.27.08 AM.pngBazaarvoice TryIt Sampling gives you the opportunity to try FREE products in exchange for your honest opinions!

As a member of TryIt you will provide authentic feedback for the products you receive. You’ll be invited to try products based on your preferences and program participation, so be sure to complete your full profile if selected to join!

Screen Shot 2019-09-12 at 10.45.40 AM.pngSo far, I’ve received Cat food for Kitty Fiona, and I’ll be reviewing a blender soon (it is set to arrive via UPS today!). You receive emails once items are available, and you have to jump into action quickly and apply as soon as you receive the email and supplies are limited for each review campaign.

I only apply to review items that we need, and man, do we need a new blender!

TryIt is legit! Click here to sign up and learn more.