Friday, August 31, 2012

Dentyne Split2Fit

I seem to go from having zero campaigns to lots all at once at the moment. So most of you know by now that I am a Bzz Agent which means I get sent products to try for free or a small charge, and I get to review them and share the good (and bad) things about the product with you my lucky readers.

The latest product I am trying is Dentyne Split2Fit gum, I', not a huge fan of gum, but I do like to carry a pack in my purse and a pack in my car for those days when I may have had garlic or something else offending for lunch or dinner!

 For those of you who buy a lot of gum you will know that some of the packs can be quite bulky, the advantage with this one is you can split the pack, so you have two convenient size packs that you can choose what to do with. Might be you want to share the pack with a friend or you might want to keep a pack in two different places. The smaller size is handy as it still has 8 pieces of gum in but the size means it will fit in the smallest place, such as a small pocket or a purse without taking up too much space.

I got sent six individual packs to try so if anyone would like a pack just let me know.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

August Foodie Penpals reveal day

The Lean Green Bean

This was my second month participating in the foodie penpals program. 

This month I sent a box to Danielle who blogs at Rexburg Runner.

The person who was matched with me and got to send me a box was Amy who blogs at Amy's Kitchen Creations. When she emailed to ask me what my likes/dislikes/allergies were I told her:

I try to eat as clean as possible. Nothing artificial and no fructose corn syrup.

Allergy wise I'm allergic to mushrooms, and I don't like raisins/dates/figs.

No preference to sweet or savory

Amy mentioned it was a new shopping experience for her, as she bought items and looked for things she wouldn't normally buy. She did a fantastic job and sent me some yummy goodies

As soon as I opened the book the protein chips were the first thing I saw and the words nacho cheese!! So I immediately opened them and ate the whole pack - they were so so good!


I love love love nuts, and havent had cashews in a long time, so was excited to try these, OMG, they were amazing, it was hard to be controlled and weigh out individual portions as they were so moreish, I just hope I can find them in a store near me. The bag lasted less than a week!


I'm a big fan of peanut butter and have tried the Justins hazelnut butter before and really liked it, haven't tried the almond butter yet. Writing this blog post has reminded me that I have hidden them in the back of the cupboard, so I must get them out and try the almond one.


Caramel apple spice, just the name itself sounds so good. I do like tea but have to be in the mood for it, and lately as it has been so warm I haven't had this, so its tucked up in the cupboard waiting for a chilly day, and I'm sure it will do a great job of warming me up.

 These lasted just over a day, they were also super good. I opened the bag as soon as they arrived so I could try them, and I was good and measured out an individual portion, but over the course of 24 hours the portions soon added up and the whole bag was gone. They were so nice, I would definitely buy these in my store if I saw them.

The final item in my box was a beautiful hand written card from Amy :) I love the fact that you also receive a personal note from the sender, it makes it extra special.

Thanks again Amy for such a wonderful box, you did a great job with your choices. I hope you enjoyed the box your foodie penpal sent you as much as I enjoyed mine.


And now it's time for some details about Foodie Penpals.  In case you’re a new reader, here’s a reminder of what the program is all about:
-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of
goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about
the goodies you received from your penpal

-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items
or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also
include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining
what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!

-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your
items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget
about flat rate boxes!)

-Foodie Penpals is
open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you
get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to
post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired
together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 

-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please
note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We've
determined things might get too slow and backed up if we're trying to
send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice

If you’re interested in participating for September, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.
You must submit your information by September 4th as pairings will be emailed on September 5th!
*If you're from somewhere besides the US, Canada or Europe and want to
participate, send me an email and I'll see if we get enough interest
this month!

UNREAL Candy unjunked

I've been a busy Bzz Agent again, as most of you will know I have been a Bzz Agent for many years, and am often sent products to try for free or little charge and I then get to share the good (and bad reviews) of them with you.

The latest one was a new line of candy called UNREAL candy unjunked. I actually received a free bar of this last month via a CVS coupon, so was excited to be sent another free coupon to try another bar - who doesnt like free candy?

There are currently 5 different kinds, all of which are based on similar candy products out there on the market already but these versions are better for you, they contain NO corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oil, no artificial ingredients, no GMO's, no preservatives and have a low glycemic index - sounds good doesn't it?

As you can see they all come in really cool funky colorful packaging, which certainly makes them easy to spot on the shelf. I found mine in CVS where the bars are currently 2 for $2 and the bags are $4.99, I believe Walgreens is also selling them, and they are hoping to launch them in more stores soon.

The first two UN 54 an UN 41 (not sure the reasoning behind those names) are based on plain m&m's and peanut m&m's - I'm not a fan of either so didn't try these ones. Those two contain almost 40% less sugar then the m&m brands. If you look on their website it gives you a full breakdown of calories, sugar, protein etc. The third bar UN8 was based on the snickers and I tried this one last time and I must say it was really yummy, much nicer than I expected and 13g of sugar less than a regular snickers bar. The fourth bar UN5 was by far my favorite and was like a milky way (or a mars bar if you are in the UK!), and has 16g of sugar less than a milky way, and i think it even tasted better than a milky way. The fifth version UN77 is like reeses, and must be popular as there were no single packets left on the shelf! Just the big bag that I photographed, which was fine with me as I'm not a fan of peanut butter cups.

Price wise these are only slightly more expensive than regular candy bars, and they are full of less junk than regular bars, if I am in a store and they sell these I would definitely buy them over the regular bars.

If anyone wants to try these I have some Buy one get one free coupons so let me know.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Week 33

Just realised I forgot to post my weekly update yesterday - my bad!

I would say I ate around 75% clean last week, Tuesday I ate far too much, as I decided to properly clean out my cupboards and anything that was unopened I donated to the food bank, but opened stuff I basically ended up eating!! So a lot of unhealthy stuff, but at least now the cupboards look good :)

I was 1577 under my goal, compared to being over by 307 the week before.

I also ate slightly less carbs this week based on the breakdown - so that must be a good thing, as I ended up losing 1.8lbs this week :) taking my total loss for 2012 to 18.4lbs and I am the lowest weight I have been this year and I think the lowest weight for a few years. I have a collection of weight watchers cards, so need to go through them to see what recorded weights I had over the year.

Hope everyone has a great week and Im hoping to hit the 20lb loss mark next week.

Monday, August 27, 2012

August Bark Box

Another month and another box of goodies, when the Bark Box arrives each month Bluey goes crazy with the box. I normally let him unpack it as he gets so excited, then I let both dogs have treats then I close the box up. This is what happened when I closed the box this time ...

There didn't seem to be a particular theme to this month's box, but it was nice to hear about the new puppies who are now at Bark Box head office

I'm not sure if it is the excitement of all the treats and goodies in the box, but Bluey is always the first one in there!! Poor Jess doesn't get a look in :(

The first item we unpacked were the Elvis treats from Bocce's Bakery, they are wheat free peanut butter, banana and bacon flavor. Both dogs loved these.

The next item was the pig toy from Hyper Pet. It has a piece of elastic rope in it, so you can launch the toy across the room, it also floats. My two are more into fluffy toys, so weren't overly impressed with this :(

Both myself and the dogs are fans of Milk Bone products, their breakfast consists of a few milk bone treats each day. These are the new trail mix, and both dogs loved them. The size of them makes them handy to use as treats when out on a walk.

The next item is a freshening spray from Natures Miracle, that is scented 'baby's breath' - smells like baby powder to me! I have used similar products in the past but am not a huge fan as both of my dogs have sensitive skin.

The final item was a moose antler from Acadia Antlers, my two have had these in the past and loved them, but this time didn't seem that fussed about it, maybe because they ate so many treats!!

Don't forget if you want to save $5 on your Bark Box subscription just use this link

Friday, August 24, 2012

Lake Temescal

I'm always looking for somewhere new to go walking by myself and with my dogs. Recently a neighbor asked me if I had been to Lake Temescal, I had never heard of it, he said it was a short walk from our house and really beautiful. I said I would check it out, then completely forgot about it. 

Then earlier this week someone else mentioned it, so I went on to google maps and decided to check it out, and it was only 0.8 miles from mu house, so i set off with the dogs, it was a gorgeous afternoon, sunny but not too warm.

We took a short cut which involved walking down a set of 43 very very steep steps, and it was a gradual incline up to the lake. Coming home we went the longer way to avoid climbing the steep steps!

We chose to walk on the dirt track side of the road as it was more in the shade then the footpath, I did notice a lot of broken car glass on the road :( , so I imagine it is a popular place for car break ins if you park on the street. As there is a $5 (I think) fee to park in the parking lot if the kiosk is manned. I didn't see any cars on the street, but it was a weekday and the parking lot kiosk wasn't manned, but I imagine it gets crazy at weekends.

It took 23 mins to walk there, but that is with two dogs who stop to sniff everything and I mean everything!!

The view of the lake is amazing, it's hard to believe you are right next to the freeway and so close to my house and I didn't know it was here, it was so peaceful and calm (once you blocked out the freeway traffic). It was quite busy that afternoon with a few school running groups, and we met lots of people walking their dogs, even a few westies :)

There is even a beach at the lake, although there is a small entrance fee if you want to swim. The lake was really clean and the water was clear, but personally I wouldn't fancy swimming in it with all the fish and the ducks! This clearly doesn't put people off as I saw a few people swimming whilst I was there.

One side of the lake is completely paved and the other side is dirt track. This is the view from the opposite side of the lake from the beach. It is pretty much flat all the way round. The dogs loved their walk there and we will definitely be making this a regular walking location.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Week 32

Monday is here again - only 18 more weeks until Christmas Eve :)

This week I went a bit off track and I think I probably only ate clean 50% of the week, my week started off well, then Thursday I went for Afternoon Tea, which was really nice, then I got home and hubby was out that evening and I was so tired I ended up ordering pizza! Although I only ordered a small one, so it was much better than what I previously would have done. Then Saturday we went out to lunch at Outback Steakhouse, the food wasn't great but was OK. I was within calories and making good choices, then I came home and my foodie penpals box had arrived, and it was all yummy treats I had not tried before and I got carried away...

I did however track everything (which I think is a good sign that I was partially in control), but the result was a gain of 0.6lbs this week taking me back to a total loss of 16.6lbs since January, to be honest I was expecting a lot more. I haven't really worked out much this week as my knee is still hurting. Yesterday I bought a wii fit board and did some of the games on there, I think it might have been a little too much impact as today my sciatica is playing up :( so I'm going to attempt to have a rest day today :)

Here are my stats for the week

Whilst resting up today I am going to plan my meals for the week, other than lunch on Thursday I have no other major plans to work around, so  I think it's an ideal time to plan all my meals, as quite often I don't plan then get stuck and grab something not so healthy. Although saying that most of the 'non clean' food is gone now, and I plan on taking the rest to the food bank when I next go as donations.

Have a great week everyone
Sarah xxx

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Afternoon Tea

Today I met up with three friends Marlene, Shannon and Tracey and I also made a new friend Annelies. Sadly Marisol and Deb were unable to join us.

Being British I couldn't turn down the opportunity to have afternoon tea at a local tea lounge, especially when there is a good bloomspot deal on.

Dartealing Lounge (be warned their website has annoying music!) is situated on 3rd St in San Francisco and very easy to get to by public transit or driving. When we first arrived it didn't look that great from the outside - they could do with a nicer sign to make it easier to spot, and make it look a lot more attractive from outside. Although I imagine they don't get a lot of passing 'drop in' customers, unless they already know its there.

For me a proper afternoon tea would involve a lot of cups of tea, and a variety of sandwiches (made with white bread and no crusts), with fillings such as cucumber, cheese and pickle, maybe even egg and cress, and of course a proper English scone (which in my books shouldn't have raisins in!!) and strawberry jam and proper clotted cream. Also a few little petit four cakes (reminds me of Mr Kipling).

Entering the Dartealing Lounge it is smaller than I expected, but very quaint. It does look like an English tea room, and there are a variety of different seats and tables depending on how cozy you wish to be. We had the option as part of our deal to chose 4 sandwiches and 4 types of tea. They do have a huge selection on their menu. We went for the fish n chips, hummus and red pepper, brie and chutney and turkey and pesto.  This was served with a basic salad and dressing (not very English at all!). I'm pleased to say yes the sandwiches were in cute little triangles and they had the crusts removed, although they weren't all made with white bread, however the bread was really good, and didn't taste like the usual not very nice American sliced bread you get!

I really enjoyed the fish n chips sandwich (basically a fish finger sandwich with some crisps (potato chips) in it), it was really nice whilst it was still warm. The hummus sandwich was OK, the brie and chutney was lacking a bit on the brie, but again was OK, and the turkey and pesto was nice.

The tea was served in some very cute teapots (if only my handbag had been bigger ;) ) The four teas we chose were creme de coconut, breakfast candy, jasmine and jade and big keeum on campus. The creme de coconut was definitely my favorite, the breakfast candy and keeum were OK, I didn't try the jasmine and jade one. We weren't given refills on the tea which I was a little disappointed with (there will be a yelp review to follow).


One thing I did notice was none of the teacups and teapots or saucers matched, maybe they were hoping this would make it look quainter or quirky - I thought it looked a little tacky!

 Based on their menu it looked like we maybe getting sausage rolls, being the Greggs lover that I am (I so wish they would open stores in the US) I was super excited about this, but sadly there were no sausage rolls, not sure if this was because we used a voucher or they just didn't have any today. So instead it was on to the scones...

They get a +1 for the fact the scones were warm, but sadly that is about it. For a start they were orange and cranberry - WTF? Have they never been to England! They tasted nice with the 'sweet cream' (not exactly sure what that was - it had the consistancy of whipped butter), and there was also lemon curd and jam if you wanted. The small (very small) heart shaped shortbreads were cute, but didnt taste great.

Enough of my English bitching!! It was actually very nice, we all had a lovely afternoon hanging out with each other and chatting, I have another voucher for there so I will be going back again in a few months, so will make sure I try some different things from the menu then (and I may even get a sausage roll!). Looking at their site it does just say afternoon tea, not an English afternoon tea - so they did deliver what they promised.

For those of you curious to see a proper English cream tea - this photo was taken in England when I visited recently. Minus the cup of PG Tips :)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Week 31

Another great week, I'm definitely noticing the difference that comes with clean eating, I seem to have lots more energy and my eczema has got much better too. I would say this week I ate approximately 80% clean, which I think is a happy medium for me, although I do want to try and do a 100% clean week one week. I'm still drinking lots of water, and have drunk nothing else in the last two weeks :) I went out to dinner this week and didn't touch the sweet potato fries or fries with truffle oil, which is a big NSV for me, as normally I would be eating them all!!

This week I only managed to workout two days as I hurt my knee so have spent a few days resting, but am looking forward to getting back on track this week.

This is my calorie breakdown for the week, although Friday's isn't correct, as I had a bit of a binge Friday night, luckily it was only healthy stuff in the house, but still I never tracked it *slaps hand*

My breakdown of calories is pretty much the same as last week, what it doesn't show is the type of carbs or fat etc which would be interesting to see.

The result of this week is a loss of 2.2lbs, taking me to a total loss of 17.2lbs - which yes is great, but reading back through my tracking, I noticed that I was 1lb lighter than this in April of this year!! If only I had stuck with the plan back then! 

I've decided to set myself a target which is to try and reach 250lbs by October 25, when my sister in law and nieces come to visit from England and we go to Disneyland, this is a loss of 25lbs in 10 weeks, so 2.5lb a week, which I think if I work hard and keep up with the exercise and eating clean is doable. Plus this is in line with the Healthy Wage challenge too. Currently our team our 69th in the table, so we need to work hard to stand a chance of getting a prize.

I found my weight loss jars over the weekend and have updated them, still a long way to go, but the pebbles are moving :)

Thanks for reading and have a great week everyone xxx

Monday, August 6, 2012

Week 30

This week I tried something different, I attempted to eat clean and count calories. This really worked out for me, and as a result I lost 5.6lbs and my total loss is now at 15lbs :)

I would estimate that I ate about 80% clean this week, as I had a lot of food in the house already that wasnt super clean that needed to be eaten. I enjoyed trying some new recipes and cooking more than normal. One big difference I noticed was when I was out and I wanted to grab something on the go, there wasnt much clean food around, so instead I waited till I got home and ate - which is something I've always had trouble with, its always too easy to forget about the donut you ate on the way home from the grocery store, or the chips you grabbed at the gas station. This week the only thing I drank was water, and I found I didnt miss my iced tea or soda at all, my iced tea is sugar free (but it isnt very clean) and Ive decided I clearly don't need it. 

It is interesting to see a break down of the food I ate over the last week too.

I had a lot more protein than normal which is clearly a good thing, and I averaged just under 1500 calories a day this week. The fact I exercised a lot too, I'm sure was also a big help. I worked out everyday, and mixed up my exercise, I swam, did cardio and strength training at the gym, exercise bike at home, and walking. I also sold my fitbit (so no more step counting you will be glad to hear) and I bought a heart rate monitor. It was interesting to see the number of calories burned in each activity, as it came up a lot less than the estimated calories online, so this helps me when I want to eat something as I know how much effort I need to put in to burn the extra calories off.

Looking forward to another great week, its going to be busy, but I know I can do this.

Have a great week everyone
Sarah xxx