Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Breyers Smooth & Dreamy Ice Cream Treats

As temperatures rise and summer approaches, my family starts to crave frozen treats even more than usual, and clamor for ice cream in the freezer. Whether enjoying dessert on the back porch while watching the setting sun or grabbing a frozen treat out of the cooler at a picnic, it doesn't really feel like summer without ice cream in hand.

The one problem my family has with ice cream, though, is that so much of it is filled with artificial ingredients. Whether artificial flavors or colors or both, these man-made additives are toxic to my older daughter, who has autism. Her behavior takes a serious turn for the worse whenever she eats anything with artificial colors or flavors, forcing me to be extra picky about the ice cream treats I choose for my family.

So when Mom Central asked if I wanted to try out the new Breyers Smooth & Dreamy ice cream bars and sandwiches, my first question was: what's in them? The answer is all natural ingredients with no trace of artificial colors or flavors!

The Breyers Smooth & Dreamy ice cream bars and sandwiches come in six flavors, including Chocolate Caramel Brownie, Vanilla Caramel Chip, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Chocolate Covered Strawberry, Vanilla Fudge Brownie, and Triple Chocolate Chip. We tried the Vanilla Fudge Brownie ice cream sandwiches, and my entire family loved them. Despite being low fat and low calorie, the ice cream was deliciously creamy and the rich chocolate fudge flavor of the cookie packed a full-flavor punch.

Compared to other low-cal ice cream sandwiches I've tried, this one had a better flavor and the cookie didn't crumble to pieces or stick to my fingers. I appreciate that this is a treat my entire family can enjoy thanks to no artificial colors and flavors. My only criticism is that I was hoping to avoid high fructose corn syrup as well, but it is present in the ingredients. If Breyers could change one thing for me, I'd ask them to remove the corn syrup.

That criticism aside, the Breyers Smooth & Dreamy ice cream treats are tasty. And with no artificial flavors or colors, 160 calories or less and 4-6g of fat per serving, and delicious mix-ins and swirls, these bars and sandwiches make for refreshing snacks and desserts.

Want to try them for yourself?

I've got 5 coupons for a free box of Breyers Smooth & Dreamy ice cream bars or sandwiches to give away to 5 lucky readers.

To enter to win, just leave a comment below telling me your favorite flavor of ice cream. I'll accept entries until Monday, August 2, 2010 at 11:59pm Eastern Time. Five winners will be chosen using a random number generator after that date. Winners have three days to respond to my e-mail or another winner will be selected.

Be sure to leave an e-mail address so I can contact you if you're selected. One entry per person, US residents only.

Good luck!

Full disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Breyers and received products necessary to facilitate my review. In addition, I received a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hooray For MORE Pants That Fit!

I still maintain that I am one of the hardest figures to fit clothing to. Smaller waist, big hips. Bordering on plus size, but with a small bra size. Average height, but a long torso so every shirt is too short.

As I've said in the past, jeans shopping has always been the worst for me. I live in my denim, but finding denim that fits me properly is like trying to find the foot to fit the glass slipper. I've had luck with only two brands of jeans, one of which I now can no longer fit into because I've lost too much weight. (Yay getting fit! Boo missing out on one brand of great jeans!)

However, Lee is sill there for me, and I am truly thankful for that. Ever since they challenged me to try a pair of their jeans a year and a half ago, promising they could find a pair that fit me, I've been sold on Lee. They make jeans that fit all women, not just teens and those who are blessed to have slightly more proportionate curves than me. I live in their bootcut jeans in the colder months, and in their capri jeans in the summer. I love the Natural Fit line, and I especially love their No-Gap Waistband line of denim.

Back in the spring, Lee sent me a pair of their Slender Secret Nassau capris in black to try out. I had just eeked down to a slightly smaller size, and when I received these found they fit at this smaller size, but were still a little tight. I stashed them in a dresser, knowing they'd be perfect in a month or two. I liked the slightly dressier stretch sateen fabric, and the patent belt added just the right touch of professional to make this an option for work.

This was one of the first times I've been able to try out non-denim from Lee, and once again they didn't disappoint. Once the heat of summer arrived, I found these pants in my dresser again and found they now fit just perfectly. (Thank you, diet and exercise!) I love that there is plenty of room for my hips, but the waist also fits properly - no gaping! I've worn them to work with sandals and received several compliments. I also appreciate that after several washings, they still look like new - no fading and no pilling.

And thanks to this pair, I've expanded my work wardrobe to also include the Slender Secret Claudia Capri and the Comfort Fit Straight Leg Pant, which I have renamed the World's Most Comfortable Work Pant Ever. You've never seen someone so happy to get dressed for work.

If you've read my other Lee reviews, I probably sound like a broken record, but I honestly love these pants! I can't count the hundreds of other jeans and pants I've tried on in my adult life, and 99% of them didn't fit. Now it's easy for me to buy new pants - I walk into Kohl's (my shopping mecca of choice - yours may vary), and go right to the Lee displays.

Sure, not every pair of Lee fits me, but I know the Slender Secret, Comfort Fit, and No-Gap lines are good bets for a good fit on a curvy figure. If you want to know which Lee pants would fit you best, be sure to try out their Fit Finder online - it's always worked for me.

If you happen to be going to BlogHer, look for me there - I'm sure to be wearing one of my favorite Lee pants during the day! And if you're still looking for clothing for BlogHer, check out the great sale prices at Lee's website right now!

Full disclosure: I am a Lee Fit Ambassador, and as such received the pair of Slender Secret Nassau capris mentioned in this review. All other pants linked in this review were purchased by me, and I've got the credit card debt to prove it. No positive review was guaranteed nor expected - and considering I received these over two months ago, Lee may have thought I forgot about them. But I didn't, because I really, really do love them.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Smart for Life and underWAY Provide Sweet Options for Weight Loss

Many of us constantly strive to reach our "ideal" weights, but navigating soccer carpools, business trips and bedtime stories often get in the way of our achieving results. Healthy eating on-the-go and exercising suffer when schedules become busier, and sorting through the plethora of products and services on the market proves an overwhelming, time-consuming effort in itself. I want to lose weight, but I want it to be easy, and I also want my food to be portable, going with me with little prep. That's why I agreed to review products from underWAY and Smart for Life, to see if it was possible to find diet foods that are actually filling, portable, and tasty without being full of artificial ingredients.

The underWAY supplement drink, infused with a special HeroFiber and heart-healthy vitamins, works naturally to suppress your appetite and quench your thirst. underWAY curbs your hunger two ways. Its special formulation not only takes longer for the stomach to absorb, it also slows the absorption of what's already there, making you feel fuller, longer. What's more, its unique ingredients stimulate your stomach, telling your brain you've consumed more calories that you really have which, with underWAY, is almost zero! It contains no preservatives, sodium or caffeine, with only 10 calories and 2 grams of carbs per 8 oz. serving. HeroFiber, a soluble dietary fiber, helps maintain normal levels of cholesterol, glucose and insulin that are already in the normal range.

Smart for Life all natural, 60% organic products offer great snacking on-the-go, containing necessary nutrients like Omega-3 fatty acids and HeroFiber, with zero trans fat and making you feel fuller, quicker. Adopting a new 7-meals-per-day schedule featuring 6 cookies or products plus a balanced dinner allows your body to maintain steady blood sugar and glucose levels, and to burn more fat for a longer portion of the day. For variety, Smart for Life also offers soups, shakes, bagels, cereals, cupcakes and more.

A recent study done at the Boca Raton Smart for Life Weight Management Center showed that out of 46 subjects that used a portion-controlled, protein-rich, low fat cookie with unique fiber technology, all subjects lost weight with the average being 13.1 pounds in 35 days. Five subjects lost over 20 pounds in 35 days and 20 subjects lost over 15 pounds in the first 35 days. The 46 participants lost a total of 601 pounds with one patient losing 38.7 pounds in 35 days.

My experience:
I was sent a variety of products to try out, including cookies, cupcakes, cereal, shakes, soup and two flavors of the underWAY supplement drink. All of these products are designed to work together, with the solid foods being interchangeable in the diet to provide some variety.

The goal is to eat one cookie roughly every two hours during the day with a large glass of water to help keep you full all day long, with a balanced regular meal at dinner. The cookies are loaded with fiber, and I was pleased to see that I could pronounce every ingredient written on the package. (And lots of those ingredients were organic!) I'll admit I was a little surprised at how small the cookies were when I opened the package - how was one tiny little cookie going to keep me happy for 2 hours?

Surprisingly, the cookies were very filling! One cookie was enough to get me through for two hours, and I liked that I could simply bring a cookie with me if I knew I'd be out and would probably get hungry. The underWAY supplement drinks also helped during those times when I needed a little something extra to help me feel full until it was time to eat again.

I loved the chocolate chip cookies, but the oatmeal raisin cookies were a little too dry for me. The carrot sunshine cupcakes were delicious, and the chocolate cupcakes were equally tasty. Both the grape and the acai-pomegranate underWAY drinks were good, too - there was a slight aftertaste, but it was barely noticeable when drinking it very cold.

If you have a serious weakness for sweets, this diet would likely work well for you. If you get burned out on sweets easily, I wouldn't recommend it, as nearly every meal is something sweet. I didn't get bored thanks to the variety of foods, but I did find myself a little tired of sweets after day three.

The only downside I found to the Smart for Life and underWAY plan is that it doesn't seem to be quite enough if you're working out along with dieting. On the days when I went running, one cookie wasn't enough to help me recover, and I found myself unbearably hungry during that time. But the plan is perfect to use for my non-running days. Using the Smart for Life system when I'm not exercising would be a great way to make sure I don't undo my progress from the days I exercise. And then I also wouldn't worry about sweets overload, too.

Did I lose weight during this one week trial? I'll be honest: no, I didn't. But I also wasn't able to follow the plan exactly on the days when I was working out. I am, however, still losing inches while the scale remains the same, so clearly something is going right. I've been on the biggest plateau of my life for months now, so anything that keeps the scale from going up is a winner in my book.

Would I recommend Smart for Life and underWAY? Yes, absolutely. The food is made from quality ingredients, it's tasty, and it does a good job at keeping you feeling full. Those who aren't fond of sweets or who exercise heavily may not be interested, but anyone else would likely enjoy the plan.

If you want to try it for yourself, here is a special 10% discount code for underWAY and Smart for Life products. Please use MCUS10OFFUW for underWAY products at and MCUS10OFFSFL at These codes expire Aug. 30th.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of underWAY and Smart for Life and received samples of the products to review.