The Place to Find Out About Good New Stuff.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Biggest Exercise Video

I have been waiting to write about this for a while, and now I'm inspired because I'm watching The Biggest Loser.

A little over a year ago, I had a certain social event that I wanted to lose some weight for (wink, wink). Having done home exercise videos before, and not wanting to spend the silly amount of money it takes to join a gym in Boston, I went looking for a new gig. Yoga wasn't the answer, pilates wasn't the answer... I started browsing the ExerciseTV channels On Demand through Comcast. Most of the options weren't really my style (Step dance, Strip tease, you know what I'm talking about), but I decided to give Jillian Michaels a chance, having seen only episode of The Biggest Loser. At least she seemed to have her act together, so that was more promising than Carmen Electra.

You know what? I enjoyed her On Demand workouts so much that I proceeded to do them for 3 weeks. Then I bought the DVD at Target. After 2 months, I lost 10 pounds. That was from working out just 3-4 days a week for 8 weeks. Want to know what the DVD is?

Thats right, it says 30 Day Shred. You know whats cool, though? You can adapt this workout system to your schedule and you will still see results, I promise. After I lost my 10 pounds, I went to 2-3 times a week as a maintenance tool, and it works. Now I don't feel like I need to worry so much about my caloric intake because I know I'm doing something to balance in the output area.

One of my favorite things about this workout system is that the workouts are only 20 minutes long, so you can spend time getting exercise without having to give up your entire morning or evening. Also, the workouts are in 3 levels. Don't misunderstand - you will want to work from Level 1 to Level 3, because you need to build up endurance and strength. But, once you get to Level 3 comfortably, you can bounce back and forth between workouts if you need to change things up.

Given my success and satisfaction with the 30 Day Shred workout, I will probably end up giving another of Jillian's workout videos a chance at some point. When I do, I'll be sure to let you in on it!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Back to School Results

So its September and the hot theme of this week is back-to-school. As someone who hasn't gone back to school for 'x' number of years (you don't need to know), I prefer to focus on reviewing those last couple of items that I promised but have yet to deliver for you. First, I need to make a quick espresso...

Ok, sanity is on its way, people. SO. Man, this Aveda Smooth Infusion decision has been hard. Not only have I introduced these new products to my routine, but I have changed a few other variables, as well. This leaves me still unsure as to my final verdict on the C2C hair line. Which brings me to my first ever:


That's right, I said undecided. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the ultimate review on Aveda's Cradle to Cradle hair products is going to take a few more months. Hey, I could whip together something now as a guess, but I wouldn't feel right giving you guys an analysis that I really couldn't be 100% about. The good news is that I'm not giving up on Aveda... but I'm also not ready to be a full convert.

I will, in the meantime, find some other delicious things to talk to you about. Oh, why don't I start with the DDF Glycolic Toner. Great idea.

DDF 10% Glycolic Toner

This has been a really interesting test for me, dear beauty-philes. (I know thats not a word. Don't give me a hard time, I'm still under-caffeinated.) What I haven't updated you on is that I have 5-6 DDF products on the testing block right now, but I'm focusing on this toner. And... I like it, I do. Overall, I see a generally improved skin tone and something I like to think of as mild radiance. It took a little while for my skin to adjust to the astringency of the formula, but I think we're OK with each other now. This will be a curious product to take into fall as I am a "sensitive" girl and my skin does changes its behavior with the seasons. This kind of sounds like the set-up for a sequel. Hmm, maybe it is...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I See the Light

I promised a review of Aveda's Smooth Infusion haircare, and it will be here... just not yet. Instead, I want to talk to you about a different Aveda product that I didn't mention before (I'm so sneaky) - the Light Elements Smoothing Fluid. Have we talked yet about shine treatments for your hair? No? Well, this is as good a time as any.
If you do not currently use a shine serum - and I think most people do - consider it. Stylists usually finish your blowout with some and it tends to be silicon-based. Lovely stuff, I think the last one I bought before Aveda was from Kerastase. As Kerastase tends to be on the pricey end of things, I did not replace the last bottle of shine serum that I bought, and believe me, you could tell the difference. So when I picked up my C2C shampoo and conditioner last month, I asked about shine products and voila.

I like this stuff, kids. First of all, it smells good. Hooray! Second, it does the same thing that every silicon-based product I've ever used does, except its (mostly) natural and comes from a company that is into the sustainability concept. I also appreciate that the Smoothing Fluid doesn't leave my hair looking greasy and gross on the second day - something you find with some shine products.

Overall, two thumbs up from this reviewer and I promise a Smooth Infusion review soon(ish).

* Image courtesy of Aveda.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Testing Block Results Part 1

The Kiehls Marvelous Mineral Mascara.

It works!

Thats the quick-bit review. But seriously... I don't hate it. I know that doesn't sound really encouraging, but understand that I've been a sworn follower of Diorshow for at least 3 years. It might take me a little while to fully reconcile to making a change. I have decided in the past 2 weeks that the Kiehls coverage is equal to the Diorshow, and the overall benefits are pretty comparable. The only thing I can't promise is that the lengthening aspect is the same, but if there is a difference, it is pretty slight.

My one gripe really with the Kiehls product is the wand - this first tester gets a little gunky regularly. I end up with blobs here or there, and I swear, its not because I can't apply. I am considering this the trade-off with the Diorshow - which, I might have mentioned previously, gets dried out really quickly.

I do find that the Kiehls cleans off really nicely, which I would not say for the Dior.

Final analysis: Try it. You might find yourself a fan. And for $17, its a very strong contender and comes recommended from this reviewer.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

On the Testing Block: July 2009

So many things to try, so little time. I got home last night with a fuller-than-planned bag of what I guess you would call 'goodies'. All are on the testing block for the next few weeks - let's see what happens.

July 2009 Testing Roster:

Kiehls Marvelous Mineral Mascara

Ok, I am far from the first person to blog about this product, but hopefully I'm not the last. I've read about this so far in Allure and InStyle magazines, but there are several more blogs and websites that have articles/mentions of it. First day of testing is today - I'm giving it 2 weeks until I form my official opinion. Check back for it.

Aveda Smooth Infusion Shampoo and Conditioner

Explanation here: Last week, we watched Leonardo DiCaprio's documentary titled "The 11th Hour," about the global climate crisis, primarily. First of all, it was scary. Second, it did give me some things to look up and check out. I learned about the whole Cradle2Cradle movement and did some research on companies that are C2C certified. Aveda is not completely certified as a company, but these 2 products are 25% of the offerings they have that are - and they are the only beauty company to offer C2C products at all. Also, in addition to working on C2C, the company overall is extremely committed to green practices and the like, which I guess I needed a reminder of. I'm probably going to be checking in with them a little more often for a while and see if I can't get back on the Aveda train and get my green beauty on.

DDF Glycolic 10% Toner

A colleague of mine recommended the DDF brand and on a separate occasion recommended using a Glycolic Toner, so I figured I'd combine and test the two in one product. I'm not sure what the ideal result is supposed to be, but I guess we'll find out, won't we?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Eat This.

Last week unofficially kicked off summer salad season. I don't know about you, but when the weather heats up, I no longer crave the heavy comfort foods of fall through spring and I crank up the veggie side of life. The only dressings left in my refrigerator right now, however, are ghosts of last summer's salad season, and as such scare me just a little. Therefore, I pulled up a recipe recently shared by a coworker and took a chance:

Cilantro-Chipotle Vinaigrette
3 T seasoned rice vinegar
2 T fresh lime juice
1 T honey
1 minced garlic clove
1 minced chipotle chile in adobo sauce
Pinch of kosher salt
1/3 cup + 1 T canola oil
1/2 cup fresh cilantro

Zesty! Spicy! Sweet! I love it. In the past week, I've made this now three times. I'm addicted! A few changes - I leave out the cilantro, and sub chipotle pepper powder for the real thing - but my adaptation suits me more than fine. Last night I even forgot the lime juice and it STILL tasted great. Oops! But hooray! I'm so excited about this great and different flavor and I hope you'll try it for yourself!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Super Mac.

Disclaimer: My favorite food is macaroni and cheese.

You don't have to love mac and cheese the way I do to enjoy Supermac in NYC. Imagine variations on your traditional macaroni and cheese, with choices including veggie and seafood. You think it sounds wrong, but it couldn't be more right. The last time I was there, I brought a friend who has celiac disease. I called Supermac in advance and asked if they could accomodate and was easily told that it would be no problem. What a pleasant surprise! Day of, we walked in, my friend toting a tupperware of gluten-free pasta and Supermac whipped up for her a special batch of the Lobster Mac and Cheese - with no extra charge and even a smile on their faces! What else could you ask for?! So, in a nutshell:
Accomodating? Check.
Delicious? Check.
Reasonably priced? Check.
Fun? Check.
Fast? Check.
Should you go? Check.