Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Snack time review! Nabisco Birthday Cake Golden Oreos

This is a cookie only wielded in the most desperate of times. Times when people like me who maybe used to eat vanilla frosting by the spoonful for dessert need something mindblowingly sweet to get rid of one helluva craving. This week has been a desperate time for me. I'm less than two weeks away from wrapping up the school year at my tutoring program, and life has been one big pile of paperwork. These cookies just showed up in my snack cabinet a few days ago (thanks, family, for the weird and awesome foodz I always find in there!) and I needed to try one, if only to hate on them like almost everyone else I know. 

They taste so. Flipping. Sweet. And they really rock that fake-birthday-cake-borderline-bubblegum flavor, which I found worked strangely well with the golden cookie. I think this is one of those snacks where you really like it, or you really don't. You can practically feel the sugar attacking your teeth as you chew them. (12 grams of sugar for two cookies...I was surprised!) But sometimes...sometimes I just really need a junk processed cookie. These were so bad and yet so good. I mean, they obviously tasted nothing like real vanilla icing OR a proper birthday cake, but seriously if my taste buds could smile they would have resembled toothpaste commercial actors. All I needed were two of these golden beauties to satisfy my super craving. T-t-t-t-t-tasty ;)

Would I buy these again? Well, I didn't buy them in the first place, so wrong question! Ahem, as delicious as they are, I don't think I would buy them myself, because no one else in my house would eat them and I wouldn't buy a package of oreos to polish off on my own. I WOULD, however, recommend them to anyone with a serious vanilla sweet tooth.

Lia's Rating: Loved it! 

I do have to mention that I also tried the birthday cake chocolate oreos. The flavor combo of fake bday cake and the not-so-sweet chocolate cookie was, in my humble opinion, absolutely disgusting. Against the chocolate, the "icing cream" or whatever you want to call it was completely plastic-y. They didn't work well together. Blegh, I say! BLEGH!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Not my usual review!

I've been reviewing books and beauty products for a few months now. While I love reading, and testing out makeup & moisturizers, I also like trying new food! And maybe it sounds silly, but if I find a really good recipe or snack or chocolate bar, I want to spread the word about it. :) (And if I try something disgusting, I want to send out a warning post about that too lol.) So today's review is going to be of a snack I just tried.

I'm a HUGE fan of cheddar cheese, and the many (healthy and unhealthy) snacks coated in it. A family friend who is hopelessly in love with Veggie Straws recommended the Sensible Portions Smooth Cheddar Potato Straws. And of course, I tried them.

You can get them in a pack of 1 oz servings, or in a 7 oz bag (that has seven servings, if you eat your portion according to the convenient serving size info on the back. 38 Straws!) On the front of the bag, the straws appear coated in that pretty orange cheese powder. Alas, this is not the case. The straws have almost NO cheese flavor whatsoever. You're lucky if you can actually see the stingy sprinkling of cheddar on any of them. All you can taste is the potato! It's like a bland form of pringles. And I'd deal with the texture (like very crunchy styrofoam) if these straws actually had an appealing flavor, but unfortunately for me they don't.

I love what the company does with the portion info on the back, but the product just isn't tasty enough for me. If I'm going to taste potatoes, I'd rather eat a potato chip. But I'll give other veggie straw flavors a chance... I'm kind of excited about trying the ranch flavor!

Lia's Rating: Okay (will not be buying again!)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Review of Nothing More, Nothing Less by Ashley Dukart

Note: This is an older YA/New Adult novel. This book contains mature content.

*I received this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Ashley Dukart for providing me with a copy!*
 When Brandon finds that his mother committed suicide, he blames himself for her decision. His guilt drives his young life into a downward spiral of drugs, drug dealing, and violent repercussions when his “business partners” don't get what they want. Haunted by the past memories he often relives, his brothers, who don't always seem to understand him and what he's going through, desperately try to help, but as life becomes further entangled, will Brandon find the escape he so desperately needs before it's too late?
    This was quite an intense story for me to read. I mean, I've read some pretty dark and/or emotional novels, but this one affected me differently. I'm pretty sure it's because those other emotional reads have been paranormal or fantasy books, and this was...well, it was much more real. The way that addiction destroyed so many lives and ruined so many opportunities struck a chord with me, and caused me to reflect on events in my own life.
    The main character, Brandon, is one of those people who has you shaking your head with disapproval one minute, then shaking your head with sympathy the next. The story really revolves around the life choices he's made and their miserable aftermath. You just want to grab his drugs and get rid of them forever. Brandon starts out as a self-medicator with an appetite for drugs, alcohol, and ladies. Mostly drugs, though.They free him from the burden of having to feel, which is apparently a heavy burden on him. (I really disliked him in the beginning because of this. His apathy, his lack of caring about, well, anything.) He has two brothers who are honestly concerned about him, and they try to get him to stop using, with no success. They let him live in their home, where he spends most of his time recuperating from crazy nights out. You soon find out that Brandon not only uses drugs, he deals them too. Many issues he faces in the novel are due to his poor choice of a "career."
    As the story progressed and pieces of his tragic past were revealed, I felt more sympathetic towards Brandon. One bad decision led to another horrible consequence, which led to another bad decision, which led to another consequence... it was a vicious cycle of sorrow, anger, and apathy. Sometimes he really did try to make the right choice, but a previous decision or consequence ruined it and he was dragged back into the world of drugs. There was no miracle rehab, no "love conquers all - even addiction" romance, no religious enlightenments to draw Brandon out of his dire situation. He had to realize, on his own, that life was not better because of drugs...it was worse.
    I appreciated the reality of this novel. Brandon's story did not have a perfect happy ending. (I mean, just as a forewarning, this author was not afraid to kill off characters!) As much as I enjoyed the story, however, I had a few issues with the writing. There was some irritating repetition of certain phrases or ideas. For example, every time Brandon was with a girl, the author would say that the characters "claim" each other's mouths/bodies etc. over and over. Another issue I had is that every time a new character was introduced, even if they were just a really minor character, Brandon would describe what they looked like. It made me think that these characters would return later in the book, or had some unknown importance, but that wasn't the case. 
    Overall, the issues didn't detract from what was a riveting story. You may be blown away by the ending, but it leaves you with a sliver of hope...not just for Brandon, but for anyone else in the real world using drugs. I would recommend this book to older readers willing to read about the harsh realities of heavier drug use, from a user's point of view.

Lia's Rating: Liked It

Check it out on Goodreads here! (There's currently a giveaway happening, ends May 31st)
Check it out on Amazon here!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Beauty Review: Vaseline Total Moisture Clean Feeling Lotion

   As I've continued my search for the HG dry skin relief, I've been testing out some fancy shmancy products and some drugstore products. Vaseline lotions were on sale and so I figured, why the heck not? I grabbed three that sounded like moisturizers I might like. Total Moisture Clean Feeling was the first one I tried, and unfortunately, I'm not impressed.
   There are a few different lotions in the "Total Moisture" line. This one is supposed to leave your skin with a fresh-not-greasy feeling. It boasts about a "stratys-3" formula and pure oat extract, but I don't really care about special ingredients. It's more important to me that my moisturizer is a) non-greasy and b) long lasting.
   It's definitely a lightweight lotion. It smells like oats, I guess, but there's also some other fragrance in there. Not my preference, but hey, it says "fragrance" right there in the ingredients list, so that's my own fault. It takes about 30 seconds for it to absorb into my hands (roughly the same for body.) My skin felt moisturized for about 10 hours. Not too shabby for a drugstore product, methinks! On the bottle, it says that this stratys-3 formula is supposed to hydrate down to the deep layers of your skin, but I didn't get that "my skin's thirst is quenched!" feeling. Total Moisture feels nice for the first few minutes... then I have some issues with it.
   My biggest problem was with its non-greasy formula. It's true, I didn't have that continuously slimy feeling on my hands, long after applying it. That's because I had a continuously powdery feeling on my hands. When this lotion dries, it leaves this sort of film on top of my skin. You know how as a kid, you play around with liquid glue and let it dry on your fingers, then peel it off? No? Oh, well that was basically my childhood. It felt like I had a very thin layer of glue all over my hands. It also felt that way on my body. Gross!
   My other issue was that about 3 minutes after applying, my skin started to feel itchy, and scratching didn't help. At all. Looking at reviews, it seems like the same thing has happened to some other unfortunate people, so it's obviously not a rare reaction. Thankfully the itchiness was only temporary, so I wasn't suffering or anything. Just mildly annoyed.

Overall, I would not recommend this lotion to anyone because of my not-so-great experience with it. Try at your own risk!

Lia's Rating: Horrible/DNF