Review: Arm & Hammer Truly Radiant™ Toothpaste

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(Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by ARM & HAMMER™ Oral Care as part of a sampling activation for Crowdtap. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review. All thoughts & words are my own. In this Crowdkit, I received a full size toothpaste, 2 travel size toothpastes, and a Spinbrush.)

Good oral health is important. Apart from making sure you have fresh breath, it also affects other body systems, including your cardiovascular. Arm & Hammer has a great name when it comes to baking soda and baking soda based products. Their name is synonymous with freshness. With that said, Arm & Hammer’s Truly Radiant toothpaste does not disappoint.

With my first time using it, I noticed how much fresher my mouth felt after I used it. There was no minty combining with the previous meal, but the toothpaste totally eliminated previous tastes. Even hours later, my mouth felt clean and fresh. I immediately informed my husband that he would enjoy this toothpaste as we both enjoy (and appreciate!) having fresh breath and clean mouths. While the toothpaste itself starts off as slightly gritty, it transforms as you brush your teeth.

I have looked forward (more than usual!) to brushing my teeth each day, and when I compare this toothpaste with past ones, Simply Radiant has them beat, easily.

Concerning it’s whitening ability, at this point, I’ve only used it for a few days and have not noticed too drastic of a change yet. There’s a slight difference, but nothing major.

While it is quite a bit more expensive than my regular toothpaste, I’d purchase it if it were on sale, or there was a coupon. I do have a budget to maintain! If you’re not on a budget, I’d say that this is a worthy purchase. Whiter teeth, fresh breath, and a clean mouth. Arm & Hammer Simply Radiant will make sure that those things will be yours.

Review: Russell Stover Sugar Free Bites (Blueberry & Cranberry)

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(Disclaimer: I received this product, for free, from BzzAgent, in exchange for my honest review.)

Most people don’t go for sugar-free when they are in the mood for a chocolate treat. I know I don’t! I usually grab a candy bar or small bag of dark chocolate goodness and worry about the sugar & calories later! Because I do not consume sweets on a regular basis, I don’t normally pay much attention to the sugar content. Therefore, I have never opted for sugar-free sweets.

I recently received, for free, some Russell Stover Sugar Free Bites, dark chocolate with blueberry & cranberry flavors. It appears to be their sugar free answer to Brookside Chocolates. Fruit & dark chocolate are a great, delicious combination so I looked forward to seeing what Russell Stover had in store for me! When I have had drinks with sugar free sweeteners, I have always noticed a strange aftertaste. I wondered if these would be the same.

From first glance, I really like the bag. I think the lighter colors actually communicate that it is a ‘lighter’ candy. The green and white look somewhat festive. Opening the bag, I was surprised to see how big these ‘bites’ are! Definitely a good surprise. I tried the blueberry bite and immediately liked it! It was SO delicious! After eating it, I waited for that aftertaste to hit. It was very faint. As I ate more, I tasted more of the aftertaste, leading me to want less. I decided to go ahead and try the cranberry and immediately regretted that. The taste of the Splenda (also known as sucralose) was very strong in those.

With that being said, I have several concerns about this product. I decided to take a look at the ingredients and saw quite a few concerning things. First, the cranberry flavor states that it is partially produced with genetic engineering. That is quite disturbing. Why would a candy need that? This is not listed on the blueberry flavor so I do wonder if it is pertaining to the cranberry source. Additionally, the label on both packages warns that excessive consumption may cause a laxative effect. I believe this is from the maltitol, which is listed in the ingredients twice. Maltitol is a sugar alcohol used as a sugar substitute. “Excessive consumption” is relative so there’s no true way to determine the threshold for a person. Sugar alcohols commonly cause laxative effects. Now, to Russell Stover’s credit, the label does indicate that it contains sugar alcohol which, it says, generally causes only a small rise in blood glucose levels. However, the more I looked at the label, the less I wanted to eat it.

(NOTE: When I did eat it, let’s just say – I had to change my plans for the evening after eating these. Never again will I consume anything with sugar alcohols. My digestive system was wrecked.)

Although the sugar content would be different, I’d much rather grab a well known candy bar or bag of chocolates instead of Russell Stover Sugar Free Bites. While being sugar free is a great thing, the things mentioned highly outweigh this fact. I’d rather have pure sugar than deal with the possible effects from Russell Stover Sugar Free Bites. I do not plan to purchase it, and although it would be better for a diabetic than regular candy, I would still not recommend it.

If Russell Stover reworked the formula to remove the sugar alcohol and remove the genetic engineering, I think this product would be a winner. However, until that happens, I cannot, and do not, recommend this product.

TGC: 5 Reasons You Need the Westminster Shorter Catechism

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Over at The Gospel Coalition, Andrew Conway gives 5 reasons that Christians needs the Westminster Shorter Catechism and why it’s worth engaging today:

1. The catechism gives a helpful summary of core beliefs. 

2. The catechism rightly views salvation as past, present, and future.

3. The catechism calls for whole-life discipleship.

4. The catechism opens the door to the wisdom of the Puritans.

5. Our ‘chief end’ really is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.

To view the article in its entirety, head over to The Gospel Coaliton:

5 Reasons You Need the Westminster Shorter Catechism

 

Chloe

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Sometimes, the Lord does things in His childrens’ lives that we don’t understand. There are times when it can make us question His goodness or His plan. Sometimes the Lord gives us glimpses of those plans; sometimes He doesn’t. The struggles in those times are real, deep, and heartfelt. Walt & Annie Manis share their struggles with infertility, transparently, in this video that documents their journey. It was such an encouragement to see them discuss their highs and lows, their wrestling with the Lord’s will, and the Lord’s constant love and care for them.

I pray that this is an encouragement to you!

For years, Walt and Annie struggled with infertility, but in a single moment they realized that God was writing a beautiful story for them that was over 20 years in the making.

Review: Comfort Products Commodore II Big & Tall Leather Executive Chair

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(Disclaimer: I received this Commodore II Big & Tall Leather Executive Chair for free via BzzAgent in exchange for my honest review)

A good office chair is invaluable. If you’re someone that spends a lot of time sitting at a desk, like me, then you know what it feels like to have a good chair that supports you for a long length of time. A bad office chair can lead to back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, and a host of other problems. To put it simply, you need a good office chair!

Enter the Commodore II Big & Tall Leather Executive Chair, which supports up to 350 pounds. I’m only 5’4 so when I saw ‘big & tall’, I thought the chair would be great for my 6’1 husband. I was excited! He spends a lot of time reading & writing so I thought this would be a great support for his frame.

The box was large, but what did I expect? There is a chair in there afterall! The parts were easy to identify by sight and also by referring to the diagram that came with the chair. The paper lets you know how many of each part you should have, and if something is damaged, or you’re missing a part, there is customer service contact information. This was helpful. I identified each piece and followed the instructions to assemble the chair. It took me about 45 minutes and was not hard at all. I enjoy building things and I would say that assembling the chair was a piece of cake. Don’t fear the assembly! Embrace it!

Once the chair was assembled, I sat in it. It felt great! It wasn’t too firm nor too soft. My feet dangled above the floor, but that was just fine. The adjustable headrest provided great head support and the arm rests comfortably supported my arms. I twirled around in it and the movement was smooth and fluid. The leather is easy to clean with a damp cloth should it get dirty. Once my husband tried it out, he loved it! He immediately could see himself using it during his study and writing time. He tilted it back, smiled, and voiced his approval! We knew that we’d be able to relax and take care of our desk tasks without worrying about upper body strain or pain!

The chair has 5 wheels that make it easy to move around your area as needed, not causing any strain to the body. It’s a handsome leather & chrome chair and well worth the money. If you spend long amounts of time sitting, then you’ll definitely want to consider the Commodore II Big & Tall Leather Executive Chair for purchase. Say goodbye to body strain and hello to comfort!

Review: Pantene Expert Intense Hydration Shampoo & Conditioner

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(Disclaimer: I received this product for free from BzzAgent in exchange for my honest review.)

Let me start by saying this: I am very picky about shampoos. Because I have natural hair (free of chemicals: no relaxers, no color treatment) that is curly, I am always on the hunt for shampoos and conditioners that keep it moisturized & nourished. I have my tried & true brands that I use, but I am always open to something new that will treat my hair well. I received an invite through BzzAgent to the My Black is Beautiful Beauty campaign a few weeks ago, which included a plethora of products including Pantene’s Expert Intense Hydration Shampoo & Conditioner. Anything that has the words ‘expert’, ‘intense’, and ‘hydration’ sounds like my hair would drink it up! (Pun intended!) I have never tried any of Pantene’s products, so I was very happy to offer my input.

When I opened the bottles, the smell was great! I had a moment where I just wanted to breathe in the scent. It wasn’t too strong, and it wasn’t too light – Pantene got the balance right. This was a smell that I wouldn’t mind having around for the next few days! The texture was creamy, which I liked. I couldn’t imagine a formula with claims to intensely hydrate being anything else. My hair responded well to it.

The conditioner was thick and creamy as well. While the instructions don’t say anything about leaving it on, I left it on for about 5 minutes before rinsing. It really felt like the conditioner wrapped around each strand and enveloped it with moisture.

Detangling was practically a non-issue and I felt the difference! My hair felt smoother as I rinsed out the conditioner. After toweling my hair dry, I followed my usual method of L.O.C. (leave-in, oil, cream) and my hair felt a lot softer. Once it dried, my curls were very defined and my hair was bouncy. Yes! That is what you want!

Two days later, my hair is still healthy looking, soft, moisturized, and smelling great. Pantene has a new customer in me. I definitely plan to buy this again! The shampoo and conditioner definitely live up to their name. Pantene, you delivered!

Review: Olay Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Cream

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(Disclaimer: I received this product for free from BzzAgent in exchange for my honest review.)

When I was invited to the “My Black is Beautiful” campaign on BzzAgent, I was pretty excited. Haircare, skincare, and personal care products? Count me in! Familiar with the brands, I knew that this would be a great, quality bzzkit. I was excited to get it and start trying everything out. Since I’d washed my hair the previous day, I knew that I would have to wait to use the shampoo, co-wash, and conditioner. I immediately started off with the Olay Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Cream. Olay is a leader in skincare so I thought – anything that they put out will definitely deliver. After all, they know skincare… Right?

What Olay promises concerning the cream:

  • Contains a hydrating formula with a Brightening Complex to deliver tone ingredients 10 layers deep into skin surface fading the look of dark spots over time
  • Brightens, exfoliates and smoothes
  • Regenerates skin’s appearance to help recapture healthy-looking, youthful luminosity

Sounds great! The bottle instructs you to smooth it evenly over your cleansed face and neck twice a day (morning & evening). I washed my face that evening and applied the cream after patting my skin dry. My first impression was the scent. While it is described as light, the fragrance is definitely not that. It is pretty strong and unpleasant, but I decided to ignore it. If using this would give me more luminous skin, I could look past the scent. When I woke up the next morning, the scent was still as strong and it was lingering on my pillowcase. The texture is not very thick, and the cream left a strange residue on my fingers after use. However, my skin felt velvety soft afterward!

When I wore it under my BB cream the next day, I could still smell the strong scent hours after I put it on. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror later that afternoon and my face looked pretty pale, unnaturally so. I asked my husband if he saw the same, and he did. Definitely not what you want a moisturizer to do. I’d also noticed that when I put it on, it would quickly flake on my skin and I’d have to brush off several white flakes of moisturizer. This happened no matter how much or how little I used. Because I wanted to be thorough with my experience of the product, I pushed through this problem as well.

Over the next few days, my skin started to break out & itch on my chin and my jawline, even drawing the attention of my husband. I started using this cream, hoping that I would reap the benefits of the promises that it claimed, but ended with regrets. Along with the breakouts would come a somewhat stinging sensation when I applied it on some days. Red flag.

I gave it 5 days, but decided to cease using it. While it made my skin feel soft, the breakouts were not welcome. With a price tag of over $20, I am glad that I did not purchase this. I would be pretty disappointed all around, especially since it comes from a company so highly regarded in the skincare & beauty industry.

Did it moisturize well? No. My skin was quite thirsty after putting on the cream. Was my tone perfected? I don’t have a lot of dark spots on my skin, so I can’t speak to that. Was my skin luminous? Not in a good way! While I am thankful for the opportunity to review it, I would not recommend this product. Maybe their other moisturizes are great, but for me, my experience was not a good one.