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Friday, July 18, 2014

Shake The Crave Review & Free Sample Offer

Shake the Crave is a healthy, filling shake that taste like dessert, and is intended to fill and curb cravings. Not only that, but Shake the Crave is supposed to help boost energy levels (since the glucose converts into ATP, which gives you energy) and may also provide some mental clarity to some folks.

Shake the Crave is a powdered drink mix made from 100% pure ingredients that you add to a glass of milk, designed by one of my favorite companies for health and skincare products -- Trusted Health Products, whom I've reviewed for in the past. Shake the Crave, with only 0.5 grams of fat is designed to fill you up, boost energy and help you feel full longer. Plus, it's only 120 calories and a pure, delicious experience.

Since Shake the Crave comes in chocolate and vanilla flavors.

 I love Shake the Craving because it helps satisfy my seemingly never ending, annoying craving for sweets, even though it only contains 20 grams of sugar. 

I much prefer healthy versions of sweets, and this totally does the trick.  An added bonus is the natural sugar in Shake the Crave converts to glucose, which fuels ATP production in the body, giving you energy mentally and physically. Just what I like -- good, clear thinking and plenty of energy to not only use my brain as well as I can (my job requires a lot of brain use!), but also be active and feel good throughout the day and while doing physical activity.

      My Thoughts after trying Shake the Crave:
I have a nearly intolerable craving for sweets, and always have. So, upon trying Shake the Crave in chocolate flavor, I was surprised at how satisfying the taste is. I'd have never been able to tell, on taste alone that this shake is any kind of healthy product meant to curb cravings and not some sugar-filled drink.

 Taste (Chocolate Version)

The chocolate Shake the Crave tastes resembles a cup of cold hot chocolate, but better. If you've ever had a cup of cold chocolate (instead of hot) then you can easily imagine the taste of Shake the Crave in chocolate flavor.  There are some nuances, of course between this healthy shake and your typical hot chocolate. For instance, there's a subtle minty-ness to it, which is refreshing.

I don't know about you, but I've always added at least 2 packets of cocoa powder to my mug of hot chocolate because if I didn't, it  always tasted watered down. 

Shake the Crave chocolate, on the other hand is surprisingly very flavorful. It's thicker than your typical hot chocolate. While probably not quite as sweet as a cup of sugary hot chocolate, it's still plenty sweet enough. When tasting just the powder, I detected something a bit savory or salty, and expected the shake to be very dull, unsweet and either with that icky vitamin-y taste that most shakes have, or too watery.

Let's just say the the chocolate shake is delicious enough that I left the brownie I had in my plate untouched. The chocolate shake was enjoyable enough that I preferred it over the brownie I'd been looking forward to all day.

Taste (Vanilla flavor)
The vanilla Shake the Crave was far more delicious than I expected since I typically prefer chocolate or strawberry flavors when it comes to shakes and ice cream. But, with the real vanilla flavor to it, I enjoyed the vanilla about as much as the chocolate.  There's just nothing quite like the sweet, yummy flavor of real vanilla, especially if it's a shake or ice cream. If you love real vanilla ice cream, then you'll no doubt love Shake the Crave in that flavor. It contains real vanilla bean, which is noticeable due to the tiny black specs in it. Once I saw those specs, I just knew it was the real deal. 

Like the chocolate, the vanilla is plenty sweet without any funky taste to it as you might expect with a healthy version of a shake. You won't ever be able to tell it isn't a typical shake, even though it isn't loaded with sugar. 

My results with the vanilla Shake the Crave seemed just a tiny bit different than when I'd tried the chocolate a day before. I was extra hungry on the day I used vanilla, so my hunger did not stay away for longer than a good hour before I gave in and finally ate. It did, however take care of my sweet-tooth, which normally lasts long after I've eaten sugar laden foods, so this is really wonderful.


 Does it Keep My Cravings Away? I'm feeling like Shake the Crave might actually be the one. If it can satisfy my sweet tooth and keep the craving for more and more sweets at bay, then that could be life-changing for me.
We all know that one of the dirtiest things about processed sugar is that instead of fully satisfying us after one candy bar, it makes us crave more. That's upsetting to me because I want to enjoy something I love so much without it biting me in the rear like that. It almost feels like a dirty trick.
In my photo of the chocolate, I didn't even add the entire packet of Shake the Crave and before I could even blend the drink and take a photo, I had drank the once full glass close to half way down. I actually ended up refilling the glass to with a little milk and added in the rest of what was left in the packet to finish, after I took the photo. I was just taste-testing when I had to stop myself before I drank the entire glass.

Does it Make me Feel Full?
Yes, but not so full that I feel like I'll pop. That's a good thing, though because if it did make you too full, the purpose would be defeated. You wouldn't want to move!
 I drank my first Shake the Crave, on a completely empty stomach, around dinner time. Since I knew I'd be feeling my hungriest, I thought it'd be a perfect time to put the shake to the test big time. I did end up letting my dinner sit for 3 hours, so the shake was great for filling me up. After a few hours, I had a very small portion of my dinner and didn't feel hungry again for another long while.
While the shake caused my appetite to subside pretty much entirely for a few hours, I think it could vary depending on the person. For someone who's used to eating a whole lot more than me, one shake might not keep actual hunger away for as long as it does me. It should definitely give the feeling of fullness and satisfaction, though.
One more thing I want to make note of in this section is that when I tried a hunger-curbing, weight loss shake in the past, it would give me a bloating sensation, which did keep me from scarfing down food, but once I felt hungry again, it seemed I was eating far more than I would've! It seemed to always have that effect on me, even if I had a meal before hand. Once the hunger came back, it was intense. That caused me to eat larger portions than what I normally would because I felt so starved.
After trying Shake the Crave, it seems when I find myself feeling hungry again, I hardly eat a full meal at one sitting. It may be that the shake is still lingering in my stomach after so long, and it's just taking a lot less food to fill me up. So it took 3 separate settings (within a 4 hour period) for me to finish my entire dinner. 


As for any added mental clarity or energy, I'm not 100% sure I had any changes there. Upon more frequent use, I would be able to better note the changes happening. Trusted Health Products does make mention of it taking longer for some people to notice results in how they feel and their energy or mental clarity levels. 
As you may see in my photos of the packets of Shake the Crave and the instructional paper, the directions say to add the powdered shake to 8 fl oz. of milk and blend on low  for 20 seconds, then 3 more seconds on high. Let sit for 1 minute and blend again, on low for 5 seconds and pour into glass. Then let it sit 1 more minute so ingredients can "rehydrate." Then, you finally get to drink it.
I'll admit, I didn't have time to do all that blending and sitting the first time I tried Shake the Crave, and I was so eager to taste it that I didn't wait. For the sake of doing it properly since I am reviewing Shake the Crave, I did follow instructions to a T the second time, when trying the vanilla flavor.
I can see why blending is useful since as you may notice in my photos, the powder doesn't mix in so well, but I sure didn't mind! It tasted fantastic and I just stirred with a straw.

Added Pros and Benefits of Shake the Crave:
⦁    Contains no artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, preservatives, or isolated/synthetic vitamins.

  • Good source of protein and calcium 
  • Contains fiber and trace minerals, which explains why some people feel so great after using the shakes! Replacing the trace minerals that most of us are deficient in can change everything.

⦁    No gluten, soy, egg, GMOs, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, fillers or binders.

  • Contains organic, non-fat dry milk from naturally raised cows 

(major kudos to Trusted Health Products for these factors!)

 Shake the Crave (Chocolate) Ingredients:Organic, unrefined cane sugar, organic non-fat dry milk, organic cocoa powder, organic coconut powder,  Electrolyte Blend (Potassium Citrate, Calcium Chloride, Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Sulfate, Potassium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride).

Shake the Crave (Vanilla) Ingredients:
Organic non-fat, dry milk, organic, unrefined cane sugar, organic coconut powder, organic ground vanilla bean, electrolytes from mineral salts (Potassium Citrate, Calcium Chloride, Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Sulfate, Potassium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride).

Something I adore about Trusted Health Products is that they have a lot of educational information about their products and more. For example, Shake the Crave has its own information including an article on "why diets don't work," which is useful because you can learn how to take care of yourself. The article mentions how diets are basically deprivation, usually and that is why they fail and why you tend to feel guilty or as if you've "cheated" when you indulge. I personally have never been a believer in depriving yourself of something you really love and enjoy eating, so I tend to prefer a moderation approach. Trusted Health Products says this is how dieting goes and why it fails: Motivation > Deprivation > Craving > Indulgence > Guilt > Loss of Motivation.

The article talks about how diet foods tend to be filled with ingredients that aren't giving your body the nutrients it needs, which is where their product Shake the Crave comes in. It contains 100% pure ingredients, is so satisfying and you can enjoy your indulgence without going through the guilt cycle, which actually makes it even harder for you to lose weight (seriously, think Law of Attraction.)

* Try Shake the Crave vanilla and chocolate shake mix! For a limited time, the manufacturer is willing to offer my readers 2 free sample packets of Shake the Crave vanilla or chocolate shake mix. They said they would love to have readers try out Shake the Crave and agreed to send the 2 sample packets if our readers would pay a minimal shipping and handling charge of $4.95. This is a one-time only offer. Click here to get your 2 FREE sample packets now! (PLEASE NOTE: There's no shipping and handling charge for product reviewers. This  offer  is for any product review  reader that would like to try the product.) 

Visit the Trusted Health Products website
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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Ritual Discovery Kit by Tatcha -- Review/My Results

   If you guys have been following Ribbons & Pearls for a long time, you may already know my deep, love for Tatcha the Japanese skincare company. Tatcha & I have collaborated together in the past, which is where I'd first tried their products, and also where my deep, ever-lasting love for them began.

The photo above is to showcase Tatcha's elegant, beautiful packaging, which includes the box, swaddled in purple tissue paper and the 4 skin-beautifying products each placed in their lavender colored slots and of course the guide and instructions to the Ritual Discovery kit. The 4 wonderful products presented inside such lovely packaging makes this a totally gift-worthy kit, and the ultimate gift for a gal like me who loves her high-quality Tatcha products.


Yea, Tatcha is one of those companies. The one you call your "go-to" for all your skincare needs. The one that never fails you, no matter what your skin may be doing at the moment. Dry and flaky? I know without a doubt Tatcha will have a product for that -- and one that will not only fix me right up, but also leaving me with the feeling that I've just dipped my face in an elegant bath of velvet.

      Luxury Skincare Inpspired by Geisha Rituals is Tatchas "logo," (I guess you call it,) and it sums up their skincare line well.
     You can read -- and I encourage you to do so -- Tatcha's intriguing, geniune journey/heritage here.
    Now that I've professed my dying love for such unique, effective skincare products... 

   You might recall reviews I've written about some of Tatcha's products in the past. Tatcha now has  them all put together -- based on your skincare needs -- in one easy-to-use kit: the Ritual Discovery Kit (for combination skin, like mine) which you'll read all about in this review post. Tatcha has also formulated a kit for other skin types, too:

    Tatcha is a health-conscious company. Their products are safe and  formulated free of awful, harmful ingredients like Mineral Oil, Synthetic Colors, Synthetic Fragrances, Sulfate Detergents, Parabens, PEGs, PPGs, Urea, DEA, TEA or Phthalates.

Ritual Discovery Kit contents

Tatcha has incorporated safe, effective and some of the finest  ingredients -- such as rice bran oil -- into their products for beautifying, cleansing and keeping skin looking youthful. Those are my words based off my opinion of Tatcha.  

 Rice Bran Oil -- An Ingredient for Youth & Beauty

 Back to rice bran oil for a moment. This is found in most of Tatcha products (perhaps even all?). Rice bran oil in Japan, is a popular tradition for skin and hair care as it's known for its ability to keep skin looking youthful and smooth as it increases skins elasticity.

 It also contains Squalane, which increases skin’s ability to regenerate, nourish, hydrate, oxygenate and protect itself.
    Rice bran oil contains antioxidants, which explains its ability to keep skin youthful and protect against damage.  It also contains Vitamins B and E.

   I could spend an entire post on just the benefits of rice bran oil on skin, but I'll try to sum it all up now: Rice bran oil exfoliates, soothes skin, promotes blood micro-circulation -- which has its own benefits such as reducing dark spots,  -- has anti-melanin properties, can lighten skin, has healing and restorative properties. If you guys want the whole she-bang about rice bran oil and its benefits alone, let me know & we'll just dedicate an entire post to that, too.  

   Another reason I love Tatcha is that they've put together this kit, which provides you with everything your skin type needs, allowing you to go about your life without having to pick and prod to find which moisturizer, cleanser etc you need. That's always been something I despised about skincare products. Having to search for the right moisturizer for my skin, which believe it or not has always been a tremendous feat thanks to my weirdly and intensively dry skin. Then, having to find the product to fix the only spots on my face that aren't so dry they flake -- my forehead, which is so shiny that folks around me could use it as a mirror! Combination skin is a b****, and so is trying to find the right products for it.

    You see, a lot of folks, like myself absolutely need a moisturizer. I know some people are able to just cleanse with whatever soap happens to be in their shower & go. Not me. I have to slather on moisturizer, and usually, I have to after showering and as I wake up! 

    The Ritual Discovery kit is quite perfect for my skincare needs, and not only because it's all put together in one kit, based off my own skin-type, but also because the 4 products, especially my all-time favorite skin-saving Tatcha items (to be revealed momentarily) are included.

A look Inside the Ritual Discover Kit's Contents

Ritual Discovery Kit is a 4-step kit, containing:
Step 1: Pure
 One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil.

Step 2: Polished

Rice Enzyme Powder.

Step 3. Radiant

Radiant Deep Brightening Serum.

Step 4. Supple 
Moisture Rich Silk Cream Ageless Enriching Renewal Cream.

Another Close-up of All Products Within Ritual Discovery Kit

  Now we'll discuss each of them and how they work

One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil:
I'll start in order, with the One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil. If some of you still haven't come around to the idea of using oil on your face, let me please just beg you now to try. After all, I have guinea pigged myself right here on Ribbons & Pearls multiple times in the last 2 years by  sharing my adventures into using different oils (olive oil was first) on my skin. Using oil, especially Tatcha's Camellia Oil has been a constant, daily part of my routine ever since I first used an oil on my face.

In fact, I really loved olive oil for my skin. It, for some reason worked so wonderful for me that I kept going back to it, even after trying others like coconut oil!  That was quickly replaced with the Camellia Oil as soon as I used it, I guess a year or so ago. 

In fact, I still had a bit of the Camellia Oil left, even when the Ritual Discovery Kit arrived to me. I have used the Camellia Oil daily, without exception. If I'm not using it as a cleanser (rare, but I do switch up with an exfoliator every few days), I'm always using it upon waking, to remove any left-over makeup & leave my skin glowing. 

Is Oil Really Appropriate for Cleansing Skin?

Oil like the Camellia Oil is a magnificent cleanser for our skin. When I first began using oil, I felt the same thing some of you may be thinking: but oil can't possibly remove all dirt and grime. I was proved wrong. It does remove all of that. In fact it removes even the thickest black makeup and far better than any soap based cleanser. Yes, even better than any make-up remover, including the handy wipes. Nothing comes close to removing makeup and crud from my face like the oil.

If you don't believe me, you can test it yourself, just as I did. Cleanse your face with your regular soap, then go back over it after you're finished with the oil on a cloth or cotton ball. You'll be shocked at what was left behind. 

Camellia Oil washes away dirt and impurities, but does not strip away natural oils.

Aside from the deep cleansing Camellia Oil provides, we can't deny the fact nature never intended for us to strip away all oils from our skin. Sure we should clean it well, and make sure the build-up, sweat, dirt, pollutants, etc. are removed. Being left with skin so dry and tight it felt as if it would crack (not to mention how it looked!) after using any drugstore bought facial cleanser, and even many natural cleansers, was proof enough for me to come to terms with the fact that I simply couldn't use most cleansers. Camellia Oil has been a life-saver for my skin.

What is Camellia Oil, anyways?
The Camellia Oil from Tatcha is a blend of Camellia and rice bran oils.
Camellia oil comes from Camellia Japonica Seed. 

And for the days when my skin needs a good exfolliating, the Rice Enzyme Powder serves it up just perfectly!
  • Camellia Oil is good for all skin types.
  • Non-irritating. Non-sensitizing. Dermatologist tested.
  • Formulated without:
Mineral Oil, Synthetic Colors, Synthetic Fragrances, Sulfate Detergents, Parabens, PEGs, PPGs, Urea, DEA, TEA or Phthalates.

Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Polyglyceryl-10 Dioleate, Polyglyceryl-2 Sesquicaprylate, Camellia Japonica Seed Oil, Glyceryl Behenate/eicosadioate, Water, Algae Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Alcohol, Fragrance (Natural), Phenoxyethanol.

 Step 2: The always promising and one of my favorites -- the little Rice Enzyme Powder super heroes.  

The Rice Enzyme Powder gently exfoliates skin, while giving pores a nice deep cleaning and leaving your skin feeling soft as can be! With ingredients like papaya extract and algae extract, the Rice Enzyme Powder never fails to exfoliate away all the old, while green tea extract soothes.  

It's a dry, white-colored powder that when mixed with water, transforms into a lovely white creamy paste. Add water to before applying.  For some reason, this process always excites me! I love mixing it and the way it feels to apply it, massaging it all over my face is pleasing. Not sure why that is, but something about it feels good, and I especially love that it actually feels as if the creamy product is going way deep down into every pore and totally cleaning it inside and out! I've never felt such a cleansing experience.

 Just what I need in an exfoliator because it allows me to have a deep cleaning without being so harsh it leaves my skin raw or dry as a bone. I like this because a harsh exfoliator used to seem like the only route as anything less than harsh wouldn't seem to really cleanse well.

Know what makes this Ritual Discovery Kit even better? Two of the products -- the Rice Enzyme Powder and Camellia Oil can be combined, which is my preferred method.

I combine a drop of the Camellia oil with the dry Rice Enzyme Powder to add immediate moisturization and glow to my skin as it's being cleansed and exfoliated. This also helps prevent any dryness that might occur.  I even find the powder soothing when there's irritations on my skin.

Other times when time permits, knowing how beneficial the ingredients in the Rice Enzyme Powder are, I love to massage my face well, then just let it dry there. Once dry, it's almost like a face mask, and I just feel like the longer I can keep these awesome ingredients in the powder on my skin, the better. And the best part: it never dries me out! Other products, I wouldn't dare let sit on my skin, or even massage too long because it'd end up drying it out. This never dries my skin out, but provides the deepest clean ever.

What is Rice Enzyme Powder?

A water-activated enzyme powder of rice bran, papaya + HADASEI-3 Bioactive Complex.

  • Gentle for dry/sensitive skin. Classic for normal/combination skin, and Deep for oily/acne-prone skin. 
  • Non-irritating. Non-sensitizing. Dermatologist tested.
  • *The Classic Rice Enzyme Powder and Deep Rice Enzyme Powder have been reformulated with cellulose (plant fiber) beads instead of polyethylene.

Classic: Talc, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Potassium Myristate, Polyethylene*, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran, Papain (Papaya Extract), Dextrin, Algae Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Alcohol, Hydrolyzed Conchiolin (Pearl) Protein,  Phenoxyethanol.
 Gentle: Talc, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Potassium Myristate, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Papain, Dextrin, Algae Extract, Camellia Sinesis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Cl 73360, Iron Oxides (Cl 77492).
Deep: Talc, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Potassium Myristate, Polyethylene*, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran, Papain, Dextrin, Algae Extract, Camellia Sinesis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Houttuynia Cordata Extract (Dokudami), Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Ultramarines, Iron Oxides (Cl 77492)

Step 3 Deep Brightening Serum

Contains :
Asian botanicals + HADASEI-3 Bioactive Complex for radiant looking skin.
The Deep Brightening Serum is one of the items in the kit that can be easy to skip over when lacking time.  However, I've learned that when I do take the time to use all steps of the kit, my skin does appear somewhat better for it. The Deep Brightening Serum does give a serious glow to my skin, not so richly moisturizing as Step 4, but definitely leaves shine. I like to use it at night so it has time to really absorb well. 

The thing about the Deep Brightening Serum is that it does give your skin a radiant look, and it also brightens/lightens skin such as dark spots.  So, I've found that dark circles under my eyes  have started to improve, thank God! I've tried everything under the sun for those suckers. 

The Deep Brightening serum is lightweight and thinner than a thick, creamy, rich moisturizer. It may even double as a moisturizer for people without severe dry skin. 

The Serum is definitely worth sticking with for the results in the long run. Plus, it too has a lovely, fresh scent. The only real hesitation I have about the serum is one of the ingredients, Cyclopentasiloxane. This is usually used in skin-related products for the consistency or to make it have a silky feel. It's recently been showing up in almost every single foundation/cover up cosmetic in stores. I literally found TWO in Wal-Mart that did not contain it. Even Physician's Formula has started using it.  The point, though, it seemed that the cyclopentasiloxane had been causing my skin to break out. I could be wrong about it, but I knew that once I narrowed down every ingredient I was using on my face, only when I removed anything with cyclopentasiloxane did I see improvements. And they were quite major improvements. So, I could do without that being so high up on the serum's ingredient list. We'll see how it goes, though as I continue using the kit. **See my note (below, in the section about the moisturizer) about other reviewers' posted experiences regarding the Tatcha products that contain cyclopentasiloxane.

  • All Skin Types. Non-irritating. Non-sensitizing. Dermatologist tested.
  • Formulated without:  Kojic Acid, Hydroquinone, Mineral Oil, Synthetic Colors, Synthetic Fragrances, Sulfate Detergents, Parabens, PEGs, PPGs, Urea, DEA, TEA or Phthalates.

Water, Glycerin, Propanediol, Alcohol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Squalane (Olive Origin), Isocetyl Stearate, Inositol (Rice Extract), Oryza Sativa (Rice) Germ Oil, Polyglyceryl-2 Triisostearate, Polyglyceryl-10 Isostearate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Behenyl Alcohol, Sericin (Silk Extract), Arginine, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Sodium Hyaluronate, Zizyphus Jujuba Fruit Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Sorbitan Stearate, Caprylic/capric Triglyceride, Hydrogenerated Lecithin (Soy Origin), Algae Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Fragrance (Natural), Phenoxyethanol.

Step 4 Supple  - Moisture rich silk cream

There's nothing I adore more about the Supple Rich Silk Cream than its amazing, fresh scent. It dissipates soon after absorbing into the skin, but the scent makes applying it a real nice experience. It's so herb-y and fresh.

The Supple Rich Silk Cream is definitely rich. It's somewhat thick, spreads easily. It leaves a ... glow behind on skin, and for oily skin, it seems like it might contribute to more shine. However, a little powder does the trick for my already shiny forehead.

As good as a moisturizer may smell, it's totally useless if it doesn't do what it's supposed to do -- moisturize! And it's almost shameful the huge amount of moisturizers piled up in the corner of my room because they didn't moisturize, or they left my skin sticky (something I vehemently loathe). 

While you might have some shine left behind, the Supple cream certainly won't leave you with any of those dry patches or flakes! Like I've said, some parts of my skin are so severely dry that I've literally caked on lotions and moisturizers to no avail! Even those intensively moisturizing foot creams. Yea, that bad. Even after slathering olive or coconut oil on overnight, I still have to apply moisturizer when I wake up.

It's so rare that I find a moisturizer that actually takes care of my dry patches that I'm impressed with this one. It takes great care of any dryness. In fact, ever since I started using the Ritual Discovery kit, I've not had to go the extra mile and add more moisturizer. I've only had to apply it once daily. This is big progress for me! However, this one also has cyclopentasiloxane high on the ingredient list, so I'm going to be on the lookout and hope this won't break out my skin the way previous products containing this ingredient have. 

**Note regarding the ingredient cyclopentasiloxane: It's important to note that while reading several other accounts of folks who've also used the two products from Tatcha that contain it (The Silk moisturizer and Serum), none of them have mentioned any acne or increases in irritation/acne. In fact, out of all the testimonials I read, more than a couple mentioned major improvements in problems like rosacea, while using these. Most testimonials found online, of all these 4 products mention huge improvements in their skin after regular use, so my worries are probably nothing. I will update, though.

Something else I can label a big pro is that this Silk moisturizer can be applied minutes before applying makeup. It works well underneath makeup.

  • All Skin Types. Non-irritating. Non-sensitizing. Dermatologist tested.
  • No sticky, heavy left-behind residues.
  •   Formulated without: Mineral Oil, Synthetic fragrances, Sulfate Detergents, Parabens, PEGs, PPGs, Urea, DEA, TEA or Phthalates.

Water, Glycerin, Propanediol, Alcohol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Isocetyl Stearate, Squalane (Olive Origin), Inositol (Rice Extract), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sorbitan Stearate, Behenyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Germ Oil, Hydrogenated Lecithin (Soy Origin), Polyglyceryl-2 Triisostearate, Batyl Alcohol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Arginine, Bis-behenyl/Isostearyl/Phytosteryl Dimer Dilinoleyl Dimer Dilinoleate, Carbomer, Sericin (Silk Extract), Xanthan Gum, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Royal Jelly Extract, Thymus Serpillum Extract, Algae Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Fragrance (Natural) , Phenoxyethanol.

Pros/Cons - Recap-
Without becoming too exhaustive, lets sum up the biggest pros (things I love) about the Tatcha products in the Ritual Discovery Kit:

  • Very effective, high quality, well-researched ingredients in all the products. 
  • Major benefits include anti-aging, reversing dark spots/sun-spots/age spots.
  • Many people have said they seen all -around major improvements in their skin after regular use for a few months. I'll update as time goes on.
  • Highly moisturizing.
  • Smooth, soft skin that's no longer dry with improvements of dark circles under eyes have been my improvements. 
  • Works well under makeup.
  • Deep cleansing (rice powder and Camellia oil.)
  •  No left-behind residues
  •  Impressive company. 
  • 4-steps is totally worth the benefits from using these 4 Tatcha products.

 Only thing I'm not 100% certain about is the ingredient cyclopentasiloxane in 2 of the products (because of previous acne that I thought was caused from that ingredient). This 'thought' may actually be useless, as I said when I mentioned it earlier. It left me unsure, but I feel like with all the other sensitive-skin testimonials saying such great things, I will probably be just fine.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Izea Code 8220ac8bf11515994d5367c2b59eba44c17db3c141db87a573


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Open Comment Response to Neil Regarding "How to Tell if Olive Oil Soap is Fake?"

regarding "fake soap..."

(I'm having to reply to a commenter via a blog post because Blogger is an asshole about letting me comment on my own freaking posts. So, here's my rather lengthy response to Neil who wanted to know if you could tell if an olive oil soap really contained olive oil. Here's my 'brief' answer. Honestly, it's brief because there are a lot of things to look out for, so this topic could in fact go on further & I'll be happy to discuss it in more detail with you, if you like..._

That is a tough question! I do not have a way to contact you, so I hope this finds you well...

It can be tough to tell if a soap truly contains what the label claims, but usually, with enough research, you can find out. Sometimes. Could you give the name or brand or what the label says? I will gladly look into it for you. We could contact the manufacturer even and usually, that's one sure fire way to get an answer. If they cannot absolutely guarantee you that they have olive oil in their soap, then you can pretty much bet it's a lie. At the very least, if a company can't guarantee it in some way, then it's best to not even bother doing business with them. That's what I've learned.

Aside from contacting the company, sometimes there are some "hints" you can find that will stand out to you as the soap being shady, if you read the label. If it says "glycerin" as the first ingredient, it's probably a mostly glycerin-only soap. Can you check the label and see where "olive oil" is listed? Usually, the way labeling works is the ingredient the product contains most of is listed first, and it goes in that order. So, when you see an olive oil soap with "olive oil" listed near the end of the ingredient list, basically, it's probably got so little of it that it may not even count!

Your best bet with this sort of thing is to opt for a soap that has as few ingredients as possible! Really, a good, high quality olive oil soap from an honest company will have only a few ingredients. For instance, the Olivella I was using had like 3! That's the best kinds because they aren't loaded with other fillers and chemicals and parabens...

Also just by looking through a manufacturer's website can tell you a lot about the quality of their product. Certified organic soaps are trustworthy and will gladly give you plenty of information regarding the ingredients and how much goes into each bar.

I've searched high and low and have tried so many soaps it isn't even funny. Some of the best, most trustworthy I've tried have been reviewed here. For instance, one company I trust fully and am 100% sure uses organic, totally safe ingredients is by Herbaria. You can check them out online & see all their proof of being organic, which is what convinced me in the first place. Only downside is they are expensive and of course, organic doesn't last as long. For teeth only though, it will last for a very long time.

I will say, all the natural & organic bar soaps I've used tend to run out or use up much quicker than your typical store-bought bar soap. Unless you keep it out of the shower when you aren't using it, anyway. I've found that a large bar of 100% organic ingredient soap lasts at least a month LESS than the crap soap. I guess that's how it goes. However, I can't say much about Olivella as I never used it in the shower, so perhaps not all natural soaps would, but usually, a totally natural or organic bar will last a significantly shorter period of time when used as a shower soap, so keep that in mind, too. If it lasts as long as your typical drug-store soap for shower use, then that could be a red flag, if all the other "signs" are pointing to "fake," too.

Look for these words: "Cold-pressed," "Organic," and you can be sure they're safe.

Another helpful hint: it's illegal (supposedly) for soap-sellers to put the word "soap" on their bars! Interesting, huh? So, if you ever see one that says "moisturizer bar" or "beauty bar" or something else that sounds shady and is not "soap," then that's their little loop-hole. Pretty much it's a way of tricking us. It's shady and unethical.

Okay, one more thing that may help you:
if you want to test your soap to see if it's "real" or just a bar of glycerin, you can do so by cutting a chunk off the bar and putting in the microwave for 10 seconds. If it turns liquid really quickly, within those 10 seconds, it's probably not the "real" stuff. If it takes longer to liquify, that's a good sign it's the real deal, but keep in mind, this is no for-sure thing. And I wouldn't want to cause a  real good soap a bad name based off this test only, so just keep your eyes opened for other signs too (like the ingredients label.)

Hope this was helpful, Niel!  If you'd like to discuss it further, or dig deeper into that label, email or comment back & I'll do my best to help.

Apollo's Extra Virgin, Organic Olive Oils Review

 Apollo Extra Virgin Olive Oil -- Review

Apollo Organic Olive Oils have been touted as the all-around best oils by many, and for good reason. Being the olive oil lover that I am, when I was told about the Apollo oils, I was intrigued enough to really want to try them for myself. Thanks to the very awesome folks at Apollo, I have had the blessing/opportunity to do so!  Just reading about the great flavors of them had my mouth watering, so I'll go ahead & share my pleasure with you guys! 

Trying the Apollo olive oils, I discovered one thing quickly -- they really do live up to their hype. I was not disappointed at all. After tasting the two olive oils I've had the pleasure to try, I found myself immediately finding myself in agreement with the rest of the Apollo oil lovers:  they are by far, the most outstanding olive oils I have ever had the opportunity to put in my mouth. I would actually go so far as to call these olive oils "luxurious."

I honestly expected great quality right off with Apollo because of all the hype! I mean, people are really in love with this stuff, but I didn't imagine myself being ga-ga over it, and here I am. Right there with them.

 These oils are really an olive oil-lovers dream, and I have no doubt that they'll be appreciated by even the most luxury olive oil users. Yea, it's that delicious. But enough raving, let's get into why. Let me help you experience the taste as much as possible without actually tasting it. I'll do my best!

I have the two biggest sellers from Apollo -- the Mistral Organic olive oil and the Sierra Organic olive oil. Both are certified organic (by California Certified Oil Farmers) and certified virgin by the California Olive Oil Council (impressive qualities!)

Both have their own wonderful flavors and qualities, so I'm not surprised that I'm finding it tough to love one over the other.  This is somewhat dependent on the dish, really.

Firstly, Apollo olive oils were impressive right off the bat due to their being organic (truly, and with proof!) and cold-pressed. I think it's obvious why organic is so sought after (and these days it's a job to find out if your olive oil is really olive oil, much less actually organic!), but we'll discuss the importance of cold-pressed in a moment.

Mistral is made of french varieties grown in the rugged Sierra foothills. In fact, the Mistral oil is named "for the famed Provencal wind."

As the label says, it's "rich and rounded."

Mistral Organic is the one with the yellow coloring on the bottle. It was instant delish on my tongue upon first trying it, straight.  There was no doubt in my mind that the Mistral Organic would make any dish more pleasurable. I mean any. I enjoyed it simply by itself, for Pete's sake!  

It's the perfect salad olive oil and added something delicious to my chicken quesadilla last night!

The Mistral Olive Oil  is "light" intensity, so it's wonderfully smooth with a slight bitterness that wasn't noticeable each time I tried it, really. I love the hint of super fresh, bitter olive in my mouth, so this one is perfect in every way. It has also been described as "buttery," which I can notice when used on some foods.

Another added 'perk' I enjoy from Apollo Olive Oil is that they include, on the back of the bottle certain dishes the type of oil are most complimentary with. For instance, Mistral says that it enhances most seafood, mushrooms, salads and most white wine dishes. I cannot say much about seafood with olive oil because I'm not a fan, so I obviously don't love it, even with any oils. Either way, I couldn't imagine a seafood lover not loving the taste of their seafood combined with Mistral Organic.

Sierra Extra Virgin Organic Olive Oil

Note the little pour-spout on the bottle lip.

Sierra Extra Virgin  

Organic olive oil -- the one with the green text on its bottle -- is more bitter than the Mistral. To me, it also has a more intense "green" & somewhat grassy taste (labeled "medium intensity), which brings an incredible amount of freshness to any dish. Along with some bitterness, Sierra also has a slight spice flavor to it, to me. This is not intense like other oils I've tried, though, and I prefer it to be subtle spicy and not intensely spicy.

The Sierra Oil is harvested from "decades old trees in the Sierra foothills."

I think the greenness in the Sierra olive oil's taste compliments most herbs, too, especially when used in a chip dip. I also adore the Sierra Oil for steamed vegetables -- really brings out some flavor in vegetables that were otherwise quite bland (greens, especially.)

Just as the Mistral bottle, the Sierra has a list of dishes that the oil compliments well. I love that because it gives you a good idea of what kind of oil you'd "need," depending on your style of food. Sierra says it's great with "hearty dishes" like soups, stew & pasta sauces.

Both Sierra & Mistral Olive Oils are very fragrant/aromatic.

My Favorites Apollo Olive Oil Recipes So Far:
Personally, one of my favorite ways to have the Sierra Olive Oil so far have been on meat. Add some herbs and holy heavenly taste-buds! 

 I adored the flavor of Sierra on steak and pork, and even grilled chicken (with garlic, a sprig from my fresh mint plants, and herbs like parsley, rosemary, etc.). It added the perfect helper to the dryness of the chicken, plus a very welcomed flavor boost.

Oh, Oh, Oh! Can't forget bread! These two olive oils are the best bread dips I have ever tasted & I've been known to really get down with some bread and olive oil dips! Herbs like parsley, oregano, some garlic, rosemary and a sprig from my mint plant -- all tossed in a dish with either of these oils made my night. 

In fact, I'm afraid this simple way of eating olive oil has ruined me for the rest of the measly oils in the world. I've had some great ones, and haven't ever met a quality olive oil/herb bread dip that I didn't adore, but there was nothing quite like it with the Apollo oils.

 I had to have a dip of both oils -- the Mistral (with added herbs to the oil) and one dish for dipping with the Sierra. I just kept going back and forth dipping one piece in Sierra, the next bite in Mistral!

 I even had Mistral with baked little red-skin potatoes, green peppers and thought it was amazing! I even loved corn on the cob smothered in the Mistral Organic oil.  I could literally have this stuff every day (probably on almost every food) and never get tired of it.  

Meredith's Sauce Gremolata found on the Apollo website will be our next try! It sounds perfect and only requires a few, easily found ingredients! I love when I can make a recipe easily, especially if the ingredients are already in the kitchen. This recipe, consisting of only lemon, Mistral, garlic and parsley is absolutely perfect! Plus, I can already almost taste the delicious-ness of those ingredients together.

B will be trying the Mistral grilled cheese recipe. We couldn't think of a dish he'd adore, so when I checked the Apollo website and seen grilled cheese as an option, I just knew that'd be his pick.

Either of the oils (added herbs just like with the bread dip) make a delicious snack with baked tortillas or tortilla chips. One of my absolute all time favorites. 

So, far, I've been using the Apollo Olive Oils on a different dish each night (sometimes more than one!) and have yet to not love whatever I've eaten it with, so this is some truly fabulous oil.


 Fantastic recipes using the fabulous Apollo Olive Oils can be found here.

 Reasons to Fall in Love with Apollo Olive Oils:
  • - Certified organic.
  • - Cold-pressed.
  • - Amazing, delectable, unique flavors.
  • - Olives are organic and hand-picked.
  • - Olives are milled under vacuum to preserve highest nutrient & antioxidant levels. Milled under vacuum ensures higher polyphenol content. An interesting tid-bit: The mill used by Apollo is one of only 5 in the world!

You can even read about Apollo's entire milling process here. Awesome, huh?
  • -Apollo Oils even have the date they were cold-pressed on the bottle! For example, the 2 I have says it was cold pressed in December 2013, which means this stuff is nice & fresh! Not old and stale and of lesser quality.

More pros include the dark glass bottle (important for good olive oil) and the oils came with a nice removable spout for pouring. Heck, the bottles themselves even have a little pour-spout (see photos) at the edge/lip, which prevents it from being so messy.

 Health Benefits of Olive Oil:
Olive oil is high in antioxidants and polyphenols, rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals -- if it's quality oil. Apollo Olive Oil says on the label that their olives contain a high content of both antioxidants and polyphenols.

Polyphenols help your memory stay sharp, minimizes risks for cardiovascular disease, reduce inflammation.

Polyphenols slow bone loss, which is a big plus for me!  Etc.

Antioxidants are anti-aging, they neutralize free radicals and help prevent damage (like that associated with cancer) from free radicals.

 Free radicals are a known contributor to health problems like: muscle and tissue degeneration, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc. See how important antioxidants are now?

They also help prevent Cognitive impairment
Immune dysfunction
Macular degeneration
Antioxidants may even increase longevity and decrease oxidative stress.

Olive oil also helps reduce risk of gastric ulcers.


Other Olive Oil Remedies:
  • Removes earwax build-up! Simply use a dropper to insert the oil into ear canals. I've used this (and coconut oil) to successfully, safely and natural (isn't that the best!) cure ear mites in my pets!
  • Helpful for virtually all skin conditions (eczema, psoriasis, cracked skin, diaper rash, any dry-skin condition, etc.) Also helpful for some skin infections.
  •  Olive oil has been known to help with symptoms of IBS and candidiasis, which most of you know I suffered from severely.  It helps with constipation, inflammation of the digestive system, etc.
  • Olive oil is used in the Hulda Clark parasitic cleanse protocol for tapeworms.

  • Can't forget oil-pulling! Olive oil is one of my two favorite oils (and coconut) for oil-pulling, and I've discussed that a lot here, in other posts. Since Apollo oils are cold-pressed, organic and such high quality, they would be ideal for oil pulling. But I've yet to be able to bring myself to use it and spit it out, so oil-pulling with it will be something I might try eventually, but as for now, I'll stick with eating it.

 What's Considered "Quality" Olive Oil & What to Look For

Equally as important as taste, also nutritition of an olive oil is of great importance to me (and most olive oil-lovers.) That is why I was impressed with all the wonderful qualitites of the Apollo Olive Oils (all listed below). I checked into Apollo Olive Oils and was most impressed that they met the "checklist" that many olive-oil lovers look for in an olive oil.

For the sake of giving my readers virtually everything they need to know about a product, I feel obligated to also shell out knowledge on quality and what you should look for in a product I'm reviewing. So, below we'll discuss what quality olive oil is, what to look for and what you should be wary of, or look out for when shopping for olive oil.

Just like when you shop for the perfect supplements and vitamins, when you're going for olive oil, you also have a checklist of important things to look for (and look out for, for that matter.) I say this because the olive oil "industry" made the news not that long ago for the now well-known olive oil scams happening.

To be brief about that, basically, a lot of the olive oils (especially some of the top sellers in grocery stores) were put through a test of some sort and so many had failed to such an extent that the news article deemed them not even able to be considered olive oil!

So, unfortunately, olive oil is yet another thing we consumers have to look closely into before shelling out $. You want to be sure you're getting actual olive oil, and if you're like me, you want to be sure you're getting the best quality out there. There are several "factors" to findnig the "best quality."  You want cold-pressed, extra virgin and certified organic -- Apollo oils are both. It also doesn't hurt to go the extra mile and find out where your olives were from.

Why Cold-Pressed?

Cold-pressed means it was pressed using the lowest heat possible, to extract the oil. Heat destroys a lot of the nutrition in olive oil, and often means chemicals and other icky things are involved in the process. The natural ingredients and their nutritious content isn't sacrificed from heat, chemicals etc. that come with some methods other than cold-pressed.

Cold-pressed oils retain their high antioxidant content and it means the oil you're consuming doesn't contain any chemical solvents nor has it been bleached and deodorized, which is what happens when oil is mechanically pressed.  

To put it in a list, here's what you should look for:
1. Certified organic.
2. Cold-pressed.
3. Virgin 
Image source: Image Source:
4. Bonus: Find out where the olives came from.

 Olive Oil For Beauty

 To really put the icing on the cake (or should I say the olive oil on the potatoes?), here are some olive oil beauty benefits, too.

I love olive oil not only for its amazing ability to make food taste like heaven, but also because of its mind-blowing health benefits. The health benefits were the first reason I ever got into using olive oil in the first place. There are so many! It's rich in Vitamin A, E. High in antioxidants, polyphenols, essential fatty acids, minerals, etc.
Olive oil was even said to have been a Queen's  "secret to beauty." 

Yep, just olive oil!
(Can't find her name, or the source I read that from years ago, sorry!)

It has been said that using it internally and externally (like on your skin) is one of the best ways to "beautify" your skin. It both nourishes and protects skin.
 A long time ago, I took the challenge to begin using olive oil on my skin. Some of you may even remember me posting about that. I still do.

 I find it to be the best, most effective way for moisturizing dry skin, having a healthy complexion, etc. Plus, using it internally is one way to fight wrinkles and have good skin, so applying it externally likely has the benefits, too.

Olive oil's uses are quite endless for beauty, health and taste! It can be used on hair for shine, overall health and as a hot oil treatment.

It strengthens nails, nourishes cuticles, chapped lips and even feet. Simply add olive oil in bath water to soften (and promote healing!) for all over.

I've used olive oil for all the above, but one area I'm religious is cleansing my face. It has been my go-to as a facial cleanser (once a week,) and makeup remover for a few years now. I use it every morning! Works better than anything.

The Apollo Oils are so amazing, from the fragrance to the taste that I could bathe in them. That could get costly, though.

Please share in the comments  below what  some of your favorite ways to use olive oil are? Any favorite dishes?  Favorite brand of olive oil? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Disclaimer (I know, I hate them, too, but these days you kind of can't afford to note post them.):

I am not a specialist or any other kind of doctor or expert. Content on this blog is not intended to be taken as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or advice of any sort. I'm simply sharing information about my own experiences and results from use of a product or activity in hopes of providing useful information/suggestions to readers, not to be taken as a patient/medical adviser relationship. I am not responsible for what readers choose to do after viewing the content here. Furthermore, I do not hold an "exceptional" or other special relationship with the company mentioned. I'm simply a consumer who worked with the company on a review that is in compliance with FTTC's guidelines. That means, everything you read here is my own words, not anything of the company's. I was not provided with monetary compensation for my review. All information posted has been done so with complete honesty. No action should be taken based solely on the content of this publication ( I'm not responsible.) Readers who rely on the information in this blog to replace the advise of an appropriate health care provider assume all risks of such behavior.