Are We Crazy for Confetti?

I think it’s time to talk about one thing that is running rampant in our grocery stores; confetti. Have you noticed the rise of confetti products everywhere? I swear it’s all cake, cookies, Pop-Tarts and more with nothing but sprinkles galore.

Look, I enjoy sprinkles just as much as the next gal. A spoonful on my ice cream, cupcakes, or donuts not only adds some extra sugar but also makes the dessert even more fun and appealing. However, this year I have seen an excess of “confetti” products hit the shelves. When did the “confetti” or “birthday cake” product category get so big?

Pillsbury has even broadened the range of confetti products by introducing Funfetti pancake mix. Now, the confetti cakes and cookies I can understand, but pancakes? Even though I don’t like to admit, pancakes are pretty much just a dessert in disguise. When you throw sprinkles into the mix, the breakfast facade is completely lifted.

I’m not completely against confetti, Funfetti, or whatever you want to call it but I have seen so many confetti products that it really makes me wonder if brands feel compelled to add these products to their portfolio. I tend to think of Pillsbury when it comes to confetti because they introduced Funfetti cake in 1989. Although Pillsbury has definitely expanded the Funfetti brand across other products, they are no longer the only player in this space. Recently, brands such as Pop-Tart, Hostess, Hungry Jack, and many more have joined in on the confetti craze.

On Ranker, Funfetti cake ranks 21 on a list of cakes based on deliciousness. Similarly, a survey conducted by 973 The Dawg found that Funfetti came in last on the list of most popular birthday cake flavors. It appears that confetti is not the first choice for many consumers, so how come we are seeing even more products coming out with the same theme?

Let me clear the air; I do not have a personal vendetta against confetti. In fact, I think the confetti and birthday cake products are pretty fun. I believe that confetti appeals more to children rather than adults, but there must be a growing market for these products if so many brands are releasing their own spin on it. I simply want to acknowledge that confetti is taking over right before our eyes.

How do you feel about the rise of confetti foods? Let me know in the comments below!

This Wet n Wild Highlighter Is Not Your Basic Witch

We are nearing the end of spooky season and soon all of the Halloween-themed products will be gone. Among other products in a recent VoxBox from Influenster, I received a wet n wild MegaGlo Highlighting Powder in the shade “Not Your Basic Witch”.

Wet n Wild “Not Your Basic Witch” MegaGlo Highlighting Powder

As wet n wild’s website states, this shade builds off, “Our fan favorite MegaGlo Highlighter, now with a fright night twist.” Yes, as you can see this is a black “highlighting powder”. There are many color variations for highlighting powders including white, pink and even blue; but a black highlighter? I just do not understand.

“Not Your Basic Witch” is actually a really pretty shade. In fact, I can see many uses for this as an eyeshadow to darken the outer crease or create a beautiful smoky eye. It’s sparkly, almost metallic finish adds more flare than a traditional black shadow, but I personally would never seek out a such a dark highlighter.

It is clear that wet n wild planned the launch of the “Not Your Basic Witch” highlighting powder to coincide with Halloween. Many people do buy makeup around Halloween to achieve a particular look; however, outside of this holiday, I see little use for a such a dark highlighter.

In my opinion, this shade should never have been marketed as a highlighting powder. A highlighter provides contrast and draws light to areas of the face including the cheekbones, eyes, and nose. “Not Your Basic Witch” does quite the opposite. Rather, it acts more like a contour powder if anything. I think a dark highlighting powder defeats the purpose of a highlighter.

Aside from creating a nice smoky eye, I cannot think of many uses for this product. Yes, you could use this to achieve a spooky makeup look, but you probably have a black shade in your inventory that will do the trick. Unless you use black shadows on a regular basis, I recommend saving the five dollars and picking out a different shade of wet n wild’s MegaGlo Highlighting Powders.

Note: I received this complimentary product from Influenster for testing purposes.

The Inside Scoop on Chips Ahoy’s Ice Cream Sandwich Maker

Everyone make way! Chips Ahoy is here to stir up some competition this holiday season with the new Chips Ahoy Ice Cream Sandwich Maker. Every year, it seems we are inundated with fun, new gift sets from brands like Oreo, Coca-Cola, and more. Last year’s hot item was the Oreo Ultimate Dunking Set, but this year I think Chips Ahoy is coming to steal the spotlight.

Now, I have read that this product will drop at Walmart on November 1, but there are Big Lots locations currently carrying it. For the reasonable price of $12 (at Big Lots) you will walk away with all of the tools you need, besides the ice cream, to create the perfect ice cream sandwich.

Inside this kit you will find:

  • 1 ice cream scoop
  • 1 sandwich mold
  • Chips Ahoy cookies
  • 1 sprinkle tray
  • a bag of sprinkles

I’m not sure if I was more excited about the ice cream sandwich maker itself or all of the possible flavor combinations I could create with it. Nevertheless, I picked up some ice cream, more sprinkles, and a pack of Chewy Chips Ahoy before heading home.

Between the various types of Chips Ahoy cookies and countless ice cream flavor options, the possibilities are endless. I prefer the Chewy Chips Ahoy cookies over the original, so of course I had to buy them. The hardest decision of this entire process is picking out the ice cream to put in the center. I decided to try out Mint Chocolate Chip and Cookies & Cream for this first attempt.

The ice cream sandwich making process is simple. As the box states, “Scoop, Layer, Press, Roll [and] Enjoy!” I do recommend waiting until the ice cream is completely frozen, because my ice cream had begun to thaw while making the sandwich, leading to some ice cream dripping on the counter and floors as I hustled to eat it. Otherwise, I love how easy it was to create a custom ice cream sandwich at home.

Overall, the Chips Ahoy Ice Cream Sandwich Maker will make for an entertaining gift this season. Whether by yourself, with friends or family, this provides a fun activity for all to participate. Make sure to stay on the lookout for the Chips Ahoy Ice Cream Sandwich Maker as it rolls out in stores on November 1.

REVIEW: Ben and Jerry’s Snackable Cookie Dough

I am not afraid to admit that I’ve taken a spoon to a Costco-sized tub of Nestle Toll House Cookie dough on occasion. Now, there is an even easier way to snack on cookie dough without the shame of eating out of the bucket. Ben and Jerry’s recently added snackable cookie dough to their product lineup to entice cookie dough lovers alike.

Ben and Jerry’s debuts Snackable Cookie Dough Chunks on Instagram

Interestingly enough, this snackable cookie dough is located in the freezer section next to all the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, whereas other cookie dough products can be found in the refrigerated section. The packaging instructs to keep the cookie dough chunks frozen, otherwise the dough gets too soft and loses its form.

I often find it difficult to locate new products around me, so I was surprised to find these cookie dough chunks on a recent trip to Target. At about $4.30 per package, you receive 8 ounces of snackable cookie dough to enjoy. Ben and Jerry’s also made sure to give customers options and introduced 3 varieties: Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, and Vegan Chocolate Chip.

At Target, I found both the Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip flavors, but did not find the vegan version. I decided to purchase the chocolate chip cookie dough and resisted the urge to break into the bag on the commute home. By the time I got home and opened the package, the cookie dough pieces had begun to thaw.

The Ben and Jerry’s Snackable Cookie Dough Chunks are beyond delightful. I expected the cookie dough to be more firm; however, the chunks were fairly soft and chewy. By storing the cookie dough in the freezer, the cookie dough keeps its shape and avoids sticking together. Each chunk has the soft, sugary texture that us cookie dough fanatics crave in addition to tiny chocolate chip pieces in every bite.

I’m not sure about you, but I have tried to create edible cookie dough myself and it’s a pain to manage. The Ben and Jerry’s Snackable Dough removes the hassle of making edible cookie dough and the shame of eating raw cookie dough out of the package. This product can accompany a bowl of ice cream or stand on its own. Regardless, if you enjoy cookie dough I am sure you will love the Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough Chunks.

An Honest Review of Chick-Fil-A’s Mac and Cheese

Chick-fil-A, the home of the original chicken sandwich, recently added mac and cheese to its lineup of delicious sides. This marks the first permanent side dish addition to the Chick-fil-A menu since 2016. Now, I enjoy pretty much everything that Chick-fil-A has to offer. My order generally consists of the Hash Brown Scramble Bowl and a Vanilla Cold Brew for breakfast or a nugget meal for lunch. Not to mention, Chick-fil-A’s waffle fries are incredibly hard to beat. With an already great menu I wondered, “How does mac and cheese fit into this equation?”

I’m not sure if it’s a regional thing, but I have seen a resurgence in mac and cheese sides on restaurant menus lately. For example, KFC introduced a new $5 Fill Up Mac and Cheese bowl which combines the restaurant’s famous mac and cheese and chicken in one meal. The Vermont White Cheddar Mac and Cheese at Panera has become a fan favorite over the years; well until its recent Tik Tok controversy. Nevertheless, I was surprised to see Chick-fil-A hopping onto the mac and cheese train, but of course I had to give it a try.

This side comes in three different sizes: small, medium, or large. I ordered a small and enjoyed as a side to the rest of my meal, but I can see the larger portions being used for a family dinner or a party. A small portion of mac and cheese will cost you 260 calories, which is comparable to a small side of fries (280 calories). The mac and cheese can stand alone as a meal if that’s what you prefer, or you can substitute for fries in any meal.

Pictured above: Small side of Chick-fil-A mac and cheese

According to the Chick-fil-A website the macaroni and cheese dish features, “a special blend of cheeses including cheddar, parmesan and Romano.” I enjoy the kind of mac and cheese where you can truly taste the combination of cheese, and that’s exactly what you get in this dish. The Chick-fil-A mac and cheese reminds me of the homemade version that my mom makes on special occasions. Underneath a thick layer of melted cheese lay a mixture of macaroni and a rich, creamy cheese sauce.

Whether you add as a side to a chicken sandwich or enjoy on its own, the Chick-fil-A mac and cheese serves as a wonderful new addition to the menu. I now understand why this dish passed in each of its test markets with flying colors. This dish brings a more home-style element to the already popular menu. I am interested to see how Chick-fil-A will continue to innovate with its products offerings after the roaring success of the mac and cheese.

The Starbucks Reserve Experience. Was It Worth It?

It’s overrated. You will pay $10 for a cup of coffee. The drinks are exactly the same as a regular Starbucks.

These are all comments I have heard about Starbucks Reserve, and ones that kept me from going for a long time; well until now. Of course, assumptions and negative comments affect what we consume, where we go, and how we live; but I decided to give Starbucks Reserve the benefit of the doubt.

As an avid coffee drinker, I do find myself looking for local coffee rather than visiting a Starbucks. Since they are on about every corner, I often pick up a cup of coffee from Starbucks out of convenience. I will say that every time I travel to Seattle, the place where the coffee giant originated, I always look to local coffee shops for a good latte.

While Starbucks does have some tasty drinks, I think the coffee can be hit or miss. Aside from human errors that affect the drinks, one of the most common critiques of Starbucks coffee is the bitter taste. It’s almost as if the beans are roasted a little too long. Regardless, I do drink Starbucks coffee fairly often and have found a few go-to drinks that I enjoy.

What’s The Deal with Starbucks Reserve?

In 2014, the very first Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room opened in Seattle. Since then, Starbucks has expanded these roasteries and bars across the world. Starbucks Reserve highlights the rarest, most unique coffee that Starbucks has to offer. Here customers can understand more about where the coffee is sourced and indulge in drinks that cannot be found in traditional Starbucks locations.

Starbucks Reserve is about more than simply coffee, it’s designed to be an experience. Roasting beans, brewing coffee, and carefully crafting signature beverages; Starbucks Reserve focuses on creating an atmosphere for those who want more than just the average coffee shop experience. Think about it like a winery, where you can see the source of the grapes and truly grasp the time and dedication it takes to produce a fabulous bottle of wine. At Starbucks Reserve, customers witness the transformation from coffee beans to a premium cup of coffee.

Was It Worth It?

It was 100% worth the visit.

I’m not going to lie, you will pay a premium for a drink from Starbucks Reserve. A regular Caffe Latte at Starbucks will run you anywhere from $3 to $5 depending on the size. At Starbucks Reserve, a Caffe Latte ranges from $4 to $5.50, and that does not include any syrups or other add-ons. You will notice even higher prices on the drinks that you cannot find at a traditional location.

I went into the experience knowing that I had to try an Affogato. For those who do not know, an Affogato consists of one or two shots of espresso poured over a scoop of ice cream. In addition to the Affogato, Starbucks Reserve serves several other drinks including ice cream, coffee flights, and more.

Aside from this drink combining two of my favorite things, I was thoroughly impressed. The ice cream is not overly sweet but compliments the espresso very well. As the ice cream melts, this delightful mixture of coffee and cream starts to form in the bottom of the cup. In my opinion, the espresso was more smooth and less bitter than what I have gotten from a regular Starbucks location.

The atmosphere in the Starbucks Reserve Bar differs from that of a traditional location from the menu to the coffee and more. This establishment is geared more toward those with a true appreciation for a premium cup of coffee rather than the occasional drinker. To get the full experience, I recommend finding a comfortable place to enjoy your coffee and observe the care and attention the baristas put into each drink.

In addition to the great atmosphere, our barista was also incredibly knowledgeable and explained the true differences between the traditional locations and a Starbucks Reserve. Next time, I definitely plan on trying the “Siphon Experience” which uses a siphon brewer to showcase the changes throughout the brewing process. This experience completely changed my assumptions about Starbucks Reserve and I fully intend to visit again in the future.

Save Damaged Hair with Pantene Intense Rescue Shots

Let’s face it ladies, we put our hair through a lot. From coloring to styling, our hair loses nutrients over time becoming rougher and duller in the process. The new Pantene Pro-V Intense Rescue Shots set out to repair over-styled and over-treated hair. According to the website, “Pantene Intense Rescue Shots provide deep conditioning [and] noticeably repair extreme damage in just one use.”

The instructions are very simple; shampoo and condition as normal, spread the rescue shot throughout your hair, then rinse. It does not specify on the bottle how long to leave the product in your hair. I made sure to apply the product evenly and waited a couple minutes before washing it out. Even after a good rinse, it felt as if I had leftover conditioner in my hair, but I decided to let my hair dry and see the results.

After my hair dried, I could immediately tell it looked more healthy. My hair is naturally wavy but after using the Pantene Intense Rescue Shot I had little ringlet curls. In addition, the rescue shot tamed my normally frizzy hair, making it much easier to manage. I noticed the biggest difference on the second wash after using the rescue shot. My hair appeared more sleek and shiny. I decided to put my hair to the test against the flat iron, and to my surprise, I found less breakage and my hair looked great after styling.

If these Pantene Intense Rescue Shots were available when I was in high school, I could avoided so much hair damage. Since I did so much damage to my hair years ago, I have used many deep conditioners and other hair treatments. These rescue shots actually work and I found a noticeable difference in my hair after just one use. Personally, I can see myself using this product every 2-4 weeks, but they can be used more often if needed. For about $2 per rescue shot, this is a much easier way to achieve a deep condition without taking a trip to the salon.

5 Things You Need for a Spooktacular Night In

It’s that time of the year where the weather cools down, the blankets come out, and pumpkin spice takes over the world. To me, fall means enjoying a good night indoors with my family, friends, or significant other. Here are five things to help you spend a Halloween-inspired night in:

1. Gather Your Favorite Candies

Regardless of age, I think everyone enjoys Halloween for one reason; the candy! Nowadays, there are so many different candy brands that it can be difficult to choose just one. Pick up a few bags of your favorite candies to indulge in throughout the night or invite some friends and do a candy exchange.

2. Prepare a Scary Good Meal

Cool fall weather calls for a warm, homemade meal. While you may not have all day to cook a pot roast, there are a bunch of quick, delicious meals to make for the occasion. For instance, pick up a couple pizza crusts and toppings to make personal pizzas for everyone to enjoy. If pizza isn’t your thing, check out these other scary good recipes.

3. Watch Spooky Movies

Whether you enjoy horror, animation, or thrillers; there are plenty of movies to help you get in the Halloween spirit. Netflix offers a variety of movies to choose from. Indulge in a spooky Netflix Original like Bird Box or have a Scream marathon; the choice is yours. If you don’t have any streaming services, check out Freeform’s 31 Nights of Halloween schedule to find the featured movie of the night.

4. Make a Cup of Hot Chocolate

Throughout the fall and winter I drink an excess of coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. On a night in, I like to snuggle on the couch with a big mug of homemade hot cocoa and whipped cream. Want to know the best recipe for hot chocolate? You can find it on any can of Hershey’s Cocoa Powder. Give it a try and thank me later.

5. Decorate Pumpkins

Pumpkin decorating can be a fun activity for all ages. Grab some pumpkins, a carving set, and any other craft supplies to make the best jack-o-lantern on the block. Make it a group activity and challenge your friends to see who can carve the best pumpkin. Whichever way you slice it, pumpkin decorating is great way to get in the spooky spirit.

This list is not exhaustive and there are so many other fall-inspired activities to do throughout the season. Start fall off right by spending a fun night indoors making memories with the people you care about most.

Nothing Bundt Pumpkin Spice Goodness

I am not a Texas native. In fact, I spent most of my life in Southern California before making the big move. Getting acquainted with the new environment, I finally discovered Nothing Bundt Cakes and was instantly hooked.

Founded in Las Vegas, Nothing Bundt Cakes has changed the game for readily available, delicious cakes. From a full size bundt to the little bundtinis, Nothing Bundt Cakes are delicious. These cakes come in a variety of flavors like Red Velvet (my personal favorite), Lemon, and more. Want to know the best part of the experience? There are free samples available every time you visit!

In addition to the classic flavors, Nothing Bundt Cakes carries a seasonal flavor every month or so. Can you guess the fall flavor? Yes, of course it’s Pumpkin Spice. Now, I know that pumpkin spice has completely taken over the world, but pumpkin plus Nothing Bundt Cakes equals pure perfection in my mind so I had to try it.

The pumpkin spice cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes is absolutely to die for. Each bite of moist cake features a hearty pumpkin flavor with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. The cream cheese frosting piped on top compliments the cake perfectly, adding a new layer of texture and sweetness. This cake provides the fall flavors that we all know and love. Pair the bundt cake with a hot cup of coffee or tea and enjoy.

This fall favorite is only in stores for a limited time. Make sure to snag your own pumpkin spice bundt, bundtlet, or bundtini before time runs out!

Natural vs. Traditional: Which Deodorant is Better?

Within the last few years, the idea of using natural deodorant rather than the traditional kind spread rapidly. Walking through the deodorant aisle, you are sure to see a host of “natural” deodorant brands taking up more shelf space. However, there are several misconceptions about the differences between natural and traditional deodorant. Let’s clear the air:

1. Deodorant and antiperspirant are the same.

With so many deodorant or antiperspirant brands, it can be easy to confuse them. In fact, people tend to use deodorant and antiperspirant synonymously; however, these two are not the same. Deodorant does as the name implies; it blocks odor. Most brands of deodorant do not contain aluminum at all. An antiperspirant seeks to reduce sweat by using aluminum to block sweat glands.

2. Aluminum in antiperspirant leads to cancer and Alzheimer’s.

People often believe that the aluminum in antiperspirants is harmful to the body with some claiming that the skin can absorb the aluminum leading to Alzheimer’s or even cancer. According to a study conducted by Klotz, Neff & Drexler, there is no conclusive evidence to show a connection between aluminum exposure in antiperspirants and these diseases. In fact, aluminum appears all around in the environment and can be absorbed through water, food, cosmetics, and more.

3. Natural deodorant is better for you than traditional deodorant.

It’s important to refer to the list of ingredients on the deodorant labels. Make sure to check whether it is simply a deodorant or a 2-in-1 deodorant and antiperspirant. Natural deodorants may include more natural ingredients such as essential oils that can be better for those with sensitive skin. However, if sensitive skin is not an issue for you, rest assured that your go-to drugstore brand is not harmful.

Overall, the type of deodorant you want to use depends solely on your personal preferences. I enjoy natural deodorant, especially Schmidt’s, because of the consistency and long-lasting scent; however, I still use traditional deodorant or antiperspirant on occasion, especially when I am exercising.

Recently, I have seen brands of natural deodorant in stores charging nearly $12 per unit. In my opinion, one stick of natural deodorant is not worth $12 no matter what it’s made of, and you can achieve similar results from any other natural or traditional brand. Regardless, the choice is yours. There are a ton of great brands, both natural and traditional, to choose from.