Monday, January 30, 2012

Purex UltraPacks Laundry Detergent Review

I was recently sent a pack of Purex's new Triple Action UltraPacks, a new form of laundry detergent! They're little packets of detergent, similar to what you can use in your dishwasher, but for your clothes!

What the fact sheet says: 
-New Purex UltraPacks are convenient pre-dosed liquid detergent packs that make doing laundry easier than ever.
-Purex UltraPacks manage to squeeze all the performance of [their] new Triple Action liquid formula into just one powerful pack.
-No more mess. No more spills. No more heavy jugs. It's laundry simplified.
-Each Purex UltraPack contains powerful 2x concentrated liquid detergent, giving each UltraPack double the cleaning power in every drop.
-Purex UltraPacks dissolve quickly once the washer is started - even in cold water.
-Purex UltraPacks are formulated and safe for all machines, including high-efficiency (HE).

As you can see from the photo above, I've used quite a bit of the samples up already! They're super convenient and mess free. When they're released, there will be a Mountain Breeze option and a Free & Clear. I love that there is a free & clear version since most laundry detergents with scents or dyes severely irritate my skin. They have left no residues on my clothes whatsoever. I also really appreciate that they dissolve in cold water, as well as hot. I only ever was my clothes in cold water (except whites), so this is a definite bonus! 

Something to point out, if you have a front-loading machine, put the pack directly in the drum with the clothes, not in the drawer as with traditional liquid detergents. In a top-loading machine, place the packet in the machine before your clothes so it can spend more time in the water dissolving. Sometimes I forget to do this and put it in on top of my clothes, and I haven't had an issue. 

I'm not sure how much these are going to be once they're released in February, but I can definitely say that I'm looking forward to picking them up. They're so much more convenient than traditional liquid detergent. Just like the description says, I don't have to worry about a heavy jug, or measuring cup, or spilling. Keep an eye out for them people! I'm telling you, you're going to love them!

Disclosure: Purex provided a free sample of their UltraPacks laundry detergent so I could write a review. However, all of the opinions expressed here are my own.

Purex Crystals and Jockey Product Review & 20% off Coupon

Recently Purex has teamed up with Jockey to test out their new fabric softener that is specially designed to preserve the dry-wicking formula of many sports clothes. Regular fabric softener can loosen this special mesh, ultimately rendering that expensive golf shirt or sports bra useless. I received a set of Purex Crystals in Tropical Splash and a nice, new sports bra from Jockey made with moisture-wicking fabric to test for myself! As my boyfriend is a golfer an appreciates these types of fabrics that can keep you cool and dry while playing, I was especially intrigued.

Here's what the fact sheet says:
2012 Jockey Tech Terry Performance Sports Bra
- Moisture wicking sports bra helps keep you cool & dry
- Convenient key pocket so you can take your workouts anywhere
- Reflective logo at the back
- Breathable mesh panels
- Soft bottom band for comfortable support
-Machine wash and dry

2012 Purex Crystals
- Purex Crystals do not contain oil, so it can safely be used on all laundry, including: athletic wear, towels, children's sleepwear, and everything else.
-Are 92% natural crystals that go in at the start of the wash so they spend more time with your laundry infusing them with long lasting freshness

The sports bra fits very well. The only thing I think I would have liked more is if the elastic on the bottom was a bit more stretchy. I think there really isn't much give with the band, so getting it on and over my head and shoulders can be a bit tricky, but once it's on it's completely comfortable. Over the past two weeks I've worn this sports bra for my regular cardio workouts and it's held up quite nicely! It doesn't bunch up or shift, which is a problem I've had in the past. This little baby also has a hidden pocket right inside the front to keep something the size of a key or a lip balm. Since I work out in my apartment, I don't make much use of this feature, but I remember when I did go to a gym how inconvenient carrying around your key was, trying to find somewhere to keep it on the treadmill where it wouldn't fall off mid-stride leaving you to scramble to hop off and grab it before it was lost. I think this is an ingenious addition to the sports bra. Right now through February 12th, you can sign up for a 20% off coupon for the sports bra!

The Purex Crystals are great! The container comes with this little bubble lid that you can use to measure out the amount you need, and they're not messy at all. The first time used them I thought the scent was a tad strong, when first starting the wash cycle, but it goes away quickly and it's not overpowering on your clothes when they're done. Now I'm someone with very sensitive skin and eczema to boot, and scented laundry detergents and fabric softeners normally irritate my skin. I was a little worried about this when the package first arrive and I pulled out a giant bottle marked with Tropical Splash. I figured wearing something that could highly irritate my skin while working out and sweating my butt off might not have been the smartest idea, so I started out small. I washed a small load of laundry with it in case it set my skin ablaze with rashes, but to my surprise I was fine. I must say that the sports bra has held up under the washings and I haven't noticed any change in the fabric composition. After a few more months of washing I will definitely give an update as to how it's still holding up.

I have continued to use the fabric softener and I must say that I'm falling in love with it. It's so convenient, smells great, and I have even washed my bed sheets with it and my skin has been fine. I would definitely recommend these to anyone.

Disclosure: Jockey and Purex provided free samples of their products so I could review them. However, all of the opinions expressed here are my own.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Strawberry Chobani Pops

In my quest to be the healthier me, I recently came across a tumblr blog through Pinterest called Undressed Skeleton. It's a blog made by a girl named Taralynn and it's about her story of making a choice to be a healthier person and how she's come a long way. Her story really is inspiring. She also has tons of recipes for low-fat and low-cal foods. A hard thing for me to get over is not having my sweets and she's found some great ways to get control of those cravings with things like non-fat Greek style yogurt mixed with sugar free Jell-O! I decided to make her Jello Chobani Pops with Fruit but my own way (you'll have to scroll down to find them on her page, there's no link to the individual recipe).

Since her recipe doesn't list recipe amounts, I had to make mine to taste, and I don't have popsicle  molds, I decided to use cupcake papers. Here's what I used:

24 oz. Plain, non-fat Chobani Yogurt (3 small, 6oz containers)
1 packet SF Strawberry Jell-O gelatin mix
5-6 fresh strawberries, sliced

Yields approx. 15 servings

To make, I mixed all the ingredients together until well blended, then placed in the cupcake papers. I put a decent amount in each paper and I was able to get 15 out of it. Then place in the freezer. I made them at about 8pm and froze them overnight, and had one the next morning. I have never had Greek style yogurt before and turns out it's a bit grainy, but I can live with that! The mixture could also have maybe used another container (6oz) of yogurt because it is a bit tart, but I still like them. For only 26 cal. each, I'll take them! It was super convenient to just grab one and go in the morning as a quick breakfast on my way to work, then have my apple when I got here. The great thing about this recipe, is you can use virtually any combination of fruit and flavored jello mix to come up with any combo you want!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Christmas Mani Fail

For Christmas I wanted to have a Christmassy manicure. This year I was totally into all things green, red and silver for the season, so I decided to go for this look with my nails as well. On Christmas eve, I went for it and ended up using a dark green, Envy by Ulta, and on my accent nails I used Ulta's Gunmetal covered with a coat of Love Marilyn by China Glaze. I loved it! I thought it looked really good, so did my Boyfriend!

Christmas morning I woke up... and the polish on my right hand accent nail was gone. Just gone! It had completely come off and was no where to be found. This has never happened to me before; I couldn't believe my eyes. At first I thought I was just seeing things, but there on my left hand the polish was fine! I checked my hair, the bed, all over the place to see if it had just come off, but I turned up with zilch. So I take a shower and go to get ready and do my makeup, and the polish on my left hand accent finger is now gone! I couldn't help thinking that maybe there was a bad reaction with the polishes and they just didn't mesh. I didn't have time to redo them before leaving for my parent's house, so I spent all of Christmas with only 4 of my 5 nails on each hand painted. I thought it was really funny and really odd!

I still can't believe it. Has this every happened to any of you? I used a proper base and top coat as well, so I don't think it was that. Just plain weird!

Another thing I noticed about this green polish, when applied on its own, is smooth, but even though I waited until it was no longer tacky in the slightest before applying my NYC top coat, it wrinkled and cracked. I haven't had a problem with this topcoat on any of my of Ulta brand nail polishes. I think you can kind of see it in the photos above. It has this cracked/wavy look beneath the top coat. I've also never encountered this before. Such a weird mani experience!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Lavender Look inspired by Dawn from Beautyful Thoughts

This is my attempt to recreate Dawn's Edgy Lilac Eyeliner look. I put my own twist to it. Since black can look too harsh on me sometimes, I opted for a chocolate brown liner to tight-line with and a darker purple shadow, mainly because I don't have any lilac colored shades. Also, instead of using my NYX Jumbo Pencil in Cottage Cheese, I ended up using the E.L.F. eye widener because I wasn't completely sold on outlining the purple until after I had applied my mascara and I didn't want to use a large pencil and risk clumping my lashes. I also didn't use false lashes since I was going to work. Please don't mind my hair, it was a bit out of control today.

Covergirl & Olay Simply Ageless Eye Concealer in 205 - Very Light
E.L.F. Bronzer in Golden
Revlon ColorStay Palette - Lavender Meadow
Brown eyeliner that the label is worn off of...may have been Revlon or Maybelline
E.L.F. blush in Twinkle Pink
L'Oreal True Match Super-Blendable powder in n1 - soft ivory
E.L.F. eye widener - pearl white
NYX Jumbo Pencil in Lavender
Rimmel Lash Accelerator mascara in black
L'Oreal Telescopic Clean Definition mascara in black/brown
Smashbox in Aurora with Mulberry lightly in the center of my lips
E.L.F. Eyebrow Studio Eyebrow Kit

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Me Update

This is just an update about me and what I'm working toward right now.

I've been on and off with working out and my weight for a log time, unhappy with my weight and body shape/tone for a long time, eating great for about a week, then going right back into fast foods, or working out 1-2 days a week for 2 weeks then just stopping. I've recently made a pledge to be better to myself. This wasn't a New Year's Resolution, it was a decision I made on December 27th and I am determined to make this life choice stick. I've been doing cardio about 5 days a week since then, starting off at 20 min/day, moved it up to 30, and I'm not at 50 min of cardio a session. Right now I'm just concentrating on keeping my heart rate up and burning that stored fat. I will begin to integrate strength training exercises in the next 2 weeks and see how that comes along as well.

Working out isn't enough though, so I have also made a commitment to myself to change the way I eat and think about food. I'm using MyFitnessPal to track my daily food intake (actually only on day 4 of sticking to this religiously) but I am determined. Using this program, based on my starting weight(..which is ahem... 165lbs - the highest in my life), my height (5'7") and my age (25), and my desire to lose about 2 pounds a week, to reach my goal weight of 125lbs, my daily caloric intake is 1200 calories. I know 40lbs is a steep goal and I may never reach it, but I'm going to do my damndest to get as close as I can! I was that weight in high school so I know it's a least possible.

Going from my normal diet down to 1200 calories a day has been an adjustment. Even though I'm only on day 4, I've found myself so hungry that I start shaking, so I have had to reach for my rice cakes. But this is another choice I've made, instead of reaching for the candy that's on my desk or going to the vending machine, I have made a conscious effort to have healthy foods around. I have managed to stay under or right at my 1200 limit so far, and I know my body will adjust with time.

I have started measuring out my food so I can accurately track my intake, which really hasn't been as much of an inconvenience as I thought it would be. I was prepared to get very irritated and annoyed that I would have to enter something each time I ate, but it hasn't been that way. I've started putting my meals together the night before, so I already know what I'll be having and can enter it in then. Then if I don't eat part of that, I can take it off and I still have room for something else! MyFitnessPal also has an app for the iPhone and Android where you can scan food items that have a bar-code! Then you don't have to search for the food in their database, making it super convenient.

So far I'm proud of myself that I've been able to stick to working out for 2 weeks without giving up already. I'm also proud that I have taken the time and put in the effort to stick to my calorie limits. As a way of rewarding myself, I think I will try this: Every two weeks that I can keep this up, I'll treat myself to a small purchase, whether that be a new nail polish, top, lipstick or what, that will be my reward. I might change it to every 30 days depending, but right now I'm not trying to pressure myself and get burnt out. Here's to keeping it up and being the best me I can be!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

DIY Teeth Whitening - Super Fast, Cheap, and Simple

My aunt told me this secret about a  year ago, maybe two now, that I think really works. Mix 1 part warm water with 1 part hydrogen peroxide, swish in mouth, and repeat a few times. When she first told me this, I thought it was nits and maybe a little dangerous (I thought it could make me sick) but if you look on the bottle, you can actually use hydrogen peroxide as a mouth wash! So I tried it. I didn't notice much of a difference at first, but after doing it a few days in a row I could really tell it was making a difference. Don't get me wrong, it's not going to give you amazing results the same way bleach would, but it's much cheaper than a kit or strips. I bought a bottle of hydrogen peroxide at my local Target for less than 60 cents. Plus, it doesn't leave your teeth feeling achy or sensitive the way bleach can. My teeth are sensitive as it is so I love that I can use this without worrying my teeth will ache for the next few days.


I like to do this at night, before bed since it helps clean my mouth as well as whiten my teeth. Since I'm going to bed, I know I won't be eating or drinking anything that could just reverse all the cleaning up I've just done. After I use it as a mouthwash, I like to take my toothbrush and dip it in the mixture and brush my teeth a bit with it, just for extra measure.

Has anyone else tried this? I find it works great since I drink coffee or tea on almost a daily basis, it lifts the surface stains that can accumulate. Let me know if you try this and what you think!