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Voxbox

Influenster and the VowVoxBox

"Vow Vox Box"? Don't Panic!

You haven't missed any invitations or save the date notices.  There are no wedding plans, secret or otherwise.  However, #Influenster recently had another vox box program of products to sample that would go well with the pending blushing bride or possible potential maybe perhaps one day bride. Anyway, breathe.....

This was a smaller vox box but it was packed with some pretty great items from #SallyHansen, #Ecotools, #Puresilk, #Tide, and a coupon for a wedding website by #Riley&Grey.  So let me give you guys the run down.


The first item to try was of course Sally Hansen's the complete manicure nail polish in Barracuda Blue.  What a fun summer name for a pretty light blue polish.  Initially I tried it on both my fingers and toes.  As I figured, I'm not a color on my fingernails kind of girl.  I'm fairly boring in that department sticking with the tried and true french manicure.  But oh my little toesies!  They loved the blue, especially at the beach.  As you can see above.

It was just light enough to brighten up the toes, but not so dark to make people give your feet funny looks.  Well more funny looks.  Lets face it, feet can be kind of funny looking on their own.  But my little toes felt so pretty in pink.... er blushing in blue with this color.  It's a matte babyish sky blue.  Very pretty and feminine.  And definitely an option for the bride who might need that little "something in blue" on her special day.  Try doing a french manicure with Barracuda Blue colored tips instead of the normal white.  Elegant, colorful, and whimsical all in one.

Pure Silk shaving cream was the next up to try.  I've never been one to use shaving cream, instead opting for body soap, shampoo, conditioner, or lotion... Basically just what ever was handy.  I have latin (Cuban) blood in my so unfortunately I tend to have to shave my legs rather frequently, especially in the summer.  Every other day isn't unheard of for me.  The first thing I noticed with the Pure Silk was I got a much closer shave.  This was honestly somewhat of a surprise for me because I didn't think it would make that much of a difference.  So close in fact that it was 5 days before I had to shave again.  A few shaves latter I started with a fresh razor and that familiar dread as they always leave me with little nicks and cuts the first shave or two.  Much to my surprise I walked away without even the tiniest cut.  I was so surprised by this fact that I spend a full 5 minutes standing in the bathroom in front of the mirror looking at my legs examining them for any tell-tale trickle of blood and just flabbergasted that I couldn't see even one drop.  Yay for Pure Silk.  It has turned my shaving routine from a torture to just routine.

The Tide To Go pen was the object I was least looking forward to testing as I have an allergy to Tide.  After much debate and thought I decided it would be safe to try.  It is after all just a small amount on a small spot on a single item of clothing.  It couldn't possibly cause too bad of an allergic reaction.  Of course, I had just spilled coffee on my favorite white tank top that I sleep in.  Tide to the rescue.  Coffee and mornings.... no I wasn't coherent enough to take pictures.  I wish I had.  The pen took the stain out in just seconds.  When I washed the shirt, I did so with regular laundry and not whites with beach.  When it came out of the dryer it was all pretty white with no coffee spots on it.  The Tide To Go pen found a new home in my purse.

Sadly, I did not use the website offer as I have no wedding to plan.  I did look around at their site a little and their offers.  This seems like it would be a great thing to do, especially if you are a bride planning a large wedding, or have family and/or bridal party members who do not live close to you.  It's just another wonderful way to commemorate your beautiful and special day.

Once again, thank you to Influenster, Sally Hansen, Ecotools, Pure Silk, Tide, and Riley & Grey for the items in the Vow Vox Box and allowing me to sample and test them.  The VoxBox program is always fun, helpful, and every time I learn both about new products and known products with new product line that I might not have otherwise.

~sierra

The Next Step from Vitamin Shoppe

I was excited to try these protein shake samples received in my‪#‎GoVoxBox‬ from Influenster




Having used Whey protein shakes in the past to help manage my weight and blood sugar levels, I am hypoglycemic.  I also used them as nutritional supplements for my mother when she was struggling with cancer and unable to eat.  There are many benefits to protein supplements and they come in a variety of types and flavors.  Even weight loss brand names have gotten in on the hype - Weight Watchers and Adkins.  

Having used many different brands in the past and tried almost every flavor, I have learned that I am not a fan of most flavors besides chocolate. That being said I started with the flavor I usually like least.  Just like our mother's used to tell us when there was something on our plate we didn't like... eat it first.  I mixed up half of the vanilla one as was instructed with water, not milk as many other brands of protein supplements suggest.  One sip and I had to throw it out. It was bitter and very watery.  




On to plan number two. Taking the remaining vanilla mix, I  mixed in some frozen peaches and a little milk to make it more like a smoothy. Again, I ended up throwing it out after one sip. 

Having confirmed my absolute dislike for the vanilla I moved on to the chocolate.  This time however, I started with skim milk instead of water, and a little ice for thickness. I was sure I would like this one.  Just about every other brand of protein shake I've ever tried I liked in the chocolate flavor.  However, after the first sip I was ready to toss it. Instead, I let it sit for a few minutes and cleaned my palate with some water just incase I was still tasting remains of the vanilla and/or peach, then tried again.  Still no improvement. After trying a few more sips just to be sure I came to the conclusion there was no possible way I could finish the shake.  The taste of these shakes was just too horrible. 

I've used several different brands of Whey protein and diet supplement shakes to include both Weight Watchers and Adkins among others from our local health food store. The‪#‎NextStepShakes‬ have a bitter taste that lingers on the tongue. I could barely swallow the first sip much less an entire 8oz. After completing the taste tests and cleaning up the kitchen I still had this lingering bitter taste in my mouth and coating my tongue and I had to go brush my teeth thoroughly.  

While I appreciate the samples sent through the ‪#‎Influenster‬ ‪#‎VoxBox‬ program and the cooperation with ‪#‎VitaminShoppe‬ and ‪#‎NextStep‬, this is one product I will not be purchasing.

~sierra


Two Happy Feet

Ok, so it is no secret that I LOVE #Influenster! In the most recent GoVoxBox I received two items from PROFOOT to try, ProFoot Triad Orthotic shoe inserts and the ProFoot Pedi-Rock. They are both wonderful!


I have suffered with Plantar Fasciitis since 2012 when I started walking at lunch and after work for exercise.  It was frustrating to have to slow and at times even stop my addictive routine.  At the suggestion of the pain management doctor I worked for I started using orthotic inserts to help the pain and healing.  And it worked!  So now I regularly replace the orthotics in my shoes to help control the plantar fasciitis with another trusted brand.  So while eager to try a new insert I was also nervous and a bit skeptical, afraid of return PF pain, especially now that I also have developed pretty severe sciatic pain on the right side (oh the joys of growing older!).  But thankfully I was in for a very pleasant surprise.  I have short wide feet and the inserts still fit nicely in my Nikes and were quite comfortable. The arch support was great for everyday walking, standing, etc...  I haven't tried them on the treadmill yet, but considering how well they feel with everyday activities I am hopeful they will hold up well under more strenuous activities.  I will be switching out the orthotics in my other shoes (boots) to the Profoot brand.

Also tested in this #GoVoxBox from #Influenster was the Profoot pedi-rock.  



I struggle with severely dry skin and rough heels ever since I was a child.  This pedi-rock is by far the best I've ever used, even better than what is used when I get a professional pedicure.  I love that it can be used both dry and wet.  Taking it out of town with me when I was working in Tampa I first used it on the go for a quick dry buff before rubbing lotion into my feet.  Then again I used it most recently at home while soaking my feet in warm water.  The pedi-rock is easy to hold with its large contoured shape fitting nicely in your hands.  It is firm yet not hard, kind of soft but not squishy so it holds up to vigorous scrubbing.  Even when it's wet it holds its shape and dries quickly.   It left my feet soft without irritating them.  No nasty scratches or "burns".  It will be interesting to see how well it holds up over time with repeated use.  But this is another item I will be adding to my shopping list.  I'm thinking one for the tub for wet use only and another to keep around for a quick dry buff to the heels before lotion and slipping on socks and shoes.

Thanks Influenster and ProFoot.  #GoPROFOOT !!!




Greek Yogurt by Muller

Muller display at the Publix in Tampa, Florida. I got the strawberry (YUM!) using the complimentary coupon sent to me in the #Influenster #GoVoxBox to try. 

In this age where fast food, processed foods, GMO's, "Low fat" but high sugar or sugar substitutes abound, choosing healthy food options is a must, yet often times a challenge.  I like to cook from scratch and avoid boxed or canned goods that are heavily processed and contain preservatives and artificial ingredients.  I also prefer natural sugar over sugar substitutes.  And along those lines I avoid "High Fructose Corn syrup"  (HFC's) like the plague!  Many of the popular brands of greek yogurt have lots of extra added sugar, and even *gasp* HFC!  So they never make it into my shopping cart.  

Yogurt is one of those healthy food choices that always find its way into my regular shopping.  Being hypoglycemic (chronic low blood sugar) I have always been advised to follow a high protein/low carb diet.  In a fast-paced world this is sometimes difficult to do.  Enter greek yogurt.  Discovering Greek yogurt a few years back I developed an even deeper love for this healthy, delicious, and very filling snack.  It has double the protein of regular yogurt, high in calcium, and can be paired with fruit like tradition yogurts or used in place of heavy cream, sour cream, etc... when cooking and baking. So needless to say, I LOVE greek yogurt.  However, I usually stick with another brand (Chobani). 




After receiving a coupon for a free sample of Muller's yogurt ( #MullerQuaker ) in the recent GoVoxBox from Influenster, I decided to give this brand a try.  To be honest, I had never even heard of it before Influenster.  I was very pleasantly surprised at how yummy and filling the Muller yogurt was.  The yogurt was creamy and there was just enough fruit to mix in to give it that sweet burst of flavor without being over powering.  The strawberries were sweet, not tangy, and had good texture, not too mushy.  And bonus, no HFC or artificial flavorings!  There is added sugar, but at least its not HFC or some other artificial sweetener. So overall I was pleased and Muller greek yogurt will definitely enter my regular shopping list.

Müller Yogurt USAInfluenster @MullerQuaker, #MullerQuaker

~sierra sugar


Goodbye traveling stress, Hello relaxation!


Working out of town last week and I took my   items with me, including  Bath Salts to help me relax after traveling over 400miles to work then busy days in a strange office processing 360 charts.  Whew!  

I am usually a shower person and not very big on Lavender. HOWEVER, I have to say the   +   Bath Salts sent to me from  to try for free was a pleasant surprise. The lavender was not overwhelming, but subtle and chamomile has a long documented calming effect both in western medicine and   approaches.  

Running a hot bat in the hotel room tub, I sprinkled a good handful of the salts into the running water and watched as warm scented bubbles filled the tub and a light pleasant aroma filled the room.  Reminded me of being a little girl with the big pink bottle of Mr. Bubble bubble bath and I had to smile.  I wasn't even in the tub and  was already working it's magic.  After sinking into the tub full of hot water and bubbles I could feel my whole body relaxing.  I can't remember the last time I took a bath instead of a shower, much less relaxed in one.  

After resting and soaking until my fingers and toes were adequately pruned I found the remaining bubbles easy to rinse off even with the soft water of the Tampa area.  I felt calm and relaxed as if most all of the traveling and other stress I'd been carrying around simply washed down the drain with the last of the bubbles.  Needless to say, I found myself using the Aqua Spa bath salts every night during my stay and still had a good bit left over to bring home to save for when life gets to be a little too overwhelming.  Forget the old saying "Calgon take me away".  Aqua Spa Lavender + Chamomile does the trick nicely, gently washing away the stress and leaving a mild, unintrusive relaxing scent.

For those that are unsure about the efficacy of such a treatment, aroma therapy is proven through many studies to be an effective tool in mood altering and stress/anxiety reduction.  It's not a dramatic change, but it does help.  Lavender and chamomile are calming, peppermint is soothing to the stomach, etc...  (though I do not have the sources to site them at the moment, google search is a good tool for those that wish to look it up)

coupon for $1.00 off: on.fb.me/1kQ2RFX

@AquaSpaBath #MyBeautyBreak #RelaxWithAquaSpa

~sierra sugar


Dutch Pancake Puffs with Peach and Banana Compote





Dutch Puff Pancakes w/ Peach & Banana Compote, made 
                                with Nectresse from @influenster Sugar and Spice Voxbox:

For the batter:
6 Tbsp Salted butter
4 Large Eggs
1 cup All Purpose Flour
1 cup Lowfat Milk
1 packet NECTRESSE

For the Compote:
3 Large Peaches, peeled and diced (or substitute 1 can of sliced peaches)
3 Packets NECTRESSE (or substitute 1/2 cup sugar)
2 Bananas sliced
1/4 cup Water
1/4 cup Orange Juice
1 Tbsp salted butter
1 tsp Lemon Juice
Pinch of Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425

Step 1: Cut butter into 12 even pieces.  Put one piece in the bottom of each section of a non-stick muffin pan.  Put pan on the middle rack of the oven.  While butter is melting prepare the batter.

Step 2: In a blender, add eggs, flour, milk, and sweetener.  Blend on high until smooth, about 20-30 seconds.

Step 3: When butter is bubbling in the muffin tins, pour batter from the blender into each cavity of the pan (1/2 - 2/3 way full).

Step 4: Bake for 22-25 minutes, until pancakes have puffed and are golden brown (You may still notice a slight depression in the puffs with a bit of melted butter, this is ok).

Step 5: While pancakes are baking,prepare the compote by placing all the ingredients (except the sliced bananas) into a saucepan and cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly, for at least 5 minutes, until the peaches are soft and most of the water has cooked off.  Turn heat to low and fold in bananas.

Step 6: Remove pancakes from oven and place pan on cooling rack.  Using a spoon or small offset spatula, pop the pancake puffs out of the pan and place onto a serving plate.  Serve immediately and spoon the warm compote over the top of each puff.

(a little deviation from what i normally blog about.  But i love to cook and bake, and these were a definite hit here in the house.)

"I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes."   (Nectresse)